December 12, 2017

Day 18 – Willemstad, Curacao

When I awake at 8:00, the ship is already cleared for passengers to get off the ship. As I take the elevator to deck 11, something does not look right. I have been in this port many times, the view is wrong. Am I confused? Were we diverted to a different port?

After a hot fresh waffle for breakfast I go to deck 12 to investigate.

Three or four years ago Curacao began restricting the number of cruise ships that were allowed to call here. There was a main pier for one ship, and several others could dock in the channel. There was concern that the cruise ships were restricting commercial traffic in the channel, and these dockings were being curtailed. Obviously the political winds have changed. Since I was here a year ago, a new pier has been constructed, it is being build past the existing pier, further from the entrance to the channel.

It is still under construction, but we are tied to it. The view of shore is not what I am used to, it is 750 yards further from the channel entrance.

The Adventure of The Seas is moored at the old pier, and Silverseas Silver Muse is docked in the channel just past the floating bridge.

From the new pier where we are docked it is over a mile walk to the floating bridge. No shuttles, and taxis are a minimum of $20. No choice but to walk it. The temperature is about 80, the skies mostly sunny with some clouds.

I spend about three and a half hours walking into and around Curacao. The city appears to be very prosperous. Shops that had been closed for years are now open again. The passing clouds drop a little rain, but it is good. Just enough to cool off, but not get soaked.

On the way back I run into my four neighbors from Clermont. We sit and have a beverage and then continue on our way. I leave them in one of the many jewelry stores and resume my walk back towards the ship.

By late afternoon many passengers are still ashore, taking advantage of our 10 PM departure. For some reason the Concierge lounge is unusually rowdy tonight, rowdy but not over crowded. I have no explanation.

Pinnacle members always have a lunch with the officers on each cruise. The message being given to them is that the cutbacks on amenities has reached the end, and something new is coming that the Pinnacle members will be very pleased about. No details were shared by Royal. Time will tell.

I mentioned that the ship has been decorated for Christmas. I forgot to mention there are also banners recognizing Hanukkah, and Jewish services are being held for the passengers that are interested.

The repairs that were made to the beverage dispensers in the Concierge lounge only lasted about 2 days. Since then they have resorted to pouring all mixes from cans. Maybe there was too much pressure on the repairman to finish before the ship left dock.

The show for tonight was canceled as the lead singer is still in quarantine. Quarantine is standard procedure for any passenger or crew member that is diagnosed with any illness that could potentially be contagious. It is one reason that many passengers won't visit the medical center when they should. They would rather make a hundred others sick instead of giving up a day of their vacation even though most cruise lines will give a prorated credit for the time in quarantine. It's a problem for which I don't have a solution.

Night time departures are not that frequent, and I intended to watch the sail away tonight at 10:00. I promptly went to the railing on deck 12 at about 9:55 to find that we probably had left 20 minutes earlier. Good passengers, they obviously all returned to the ship early.

Tomorrow we will be in Aruba, our last port of call before returning to Florida in four days. Aruba is only a short distance from Curacao. The seas are perfectly flat tonight.