October 21, 2019

Oct 20 - A Sea Day

When I awaken the ship is still creaking, groaning an rolling. The skies are producing a steady rain. The pools are empty except for 5 or 6  hardy souls that realize the rain will get them no more wet than the hot tubs.  The pools remain open but empty as the water sloshes about quite vigorously, potentially an invitation to be slammed into the edge of the pool. A few deck chairs under cover are occupied, but otherwise  nearly everyone is finding refuge indoors.

We are moving at a mere 15 knots, soon a mid sized container ship overtakes us. Probably bound for California

I listen to the excursion presentation for our upcoming Mexican ports, an interview with the executive chef, and a presentation on many of the upcoming repositioning cruises. One actually caught my attention. I have to check the medical schedule first to see if I should even consider it.

Trying to always be one to learn new things, I learn about a virus that is threatening the world wide crop of banannas. So far no luck in stopping the deady disease, the only hope being a resistant GMO breed that is yet to be developed. As the disease is currently spreading, banannas will probably be extinct in 15 to 25 years. Before then expect the price to rise exponentially. Yes the crops in Costa Rica, Guatamela and all other countries are already being affected.

The violinist is doing a matinee show today, billed as not being a repeat of his show several days ago. I pass and use the time to write this.

Just for the cruious, the rain jacketed life guard stands at his post at the edge of the empty pool.

Entertainment tonight is another comedian, not my favorite entertainment, but he is good.

The rain continues all day, but the seas gradually subside. The creaking and rolling subsides by bedtime.

Oct 19, 2019 Crossing The Panama Canal

The skies are clear and sunny as we take our position to enter the first lock. We are the tenth Northbound ship of the day. Yes Northbound. The canal runs more North and South than it does East and West. In fact when we exit on the pacific side we are actually further East than when we entered the canal.

As expected we use the old locks, locks that have been in operation for over 100 years. A very large container ship right behind us uses the new locks. Obviously too long for the original locks. Many passengers scramble to find a viewing spot on the bow of the ship. I elect a spot on the stern that is much less busy and offers unobstructed views.

Our narrator for the crossing had worked for the canal for over 30 years and did an excellent job of explaining the transit. It didn't appear to me that the canal was especially busy.

Once in Gantun lake we are in a hold position for several hours to allow South bound traffic to clear the narrow channels. The weather remains good most of the day with just a few showers. We must be one of the last ships to exit as locked behind us are a small sightseeing ferry and a private yacht, possibly 45 feet in length maximum.  

It is well after dark when we finally reach the pacific. Clouds and rain preclude any view of Panama City. The seas have increased to 5 or 6 feet and the ship begins to roll.

Roast turkey for dinner, one of the better offerings from the galley. It is tender and flavorful.

Tonight's show is an Elton John tribute. A good show but I feel Kelly Goodrich does a better job immitating Elton.  

Hopes were raised that the internet was fixed. It hasn't worked since we left Florida.  This ship has just returned recently from Europe where it spent the summer. When it reached the coastal US the antennaes were supposed to lock in on a different satelite. It didn't happen.  A technician was flown to Colon where he boarded the ship to fix the problem. We will see.

Through the evening and thru the night the ship creaks and moans in the higher seas. The ses sickness bags are hung everywhere. I will seep well, unfortunately there will be a few passengers that are not as happy.

Tomorrow is a sea day as we head North West towards California.

Oct 18, 2019 Colon, Panama

I wake early enough to watch our arrival at Colon, Panama. the seas are flat, the temperatures comfortable in the low 80's and the skies dark and threatening.

Dozens of ships are anchored within the break wall surrounding the entrance to the harbor, many more are waiting in the distance. Either waiting for a load of cargo, or waiting for their alloted time slot to enter the canal.

Colon is not a large city, but is a large port for commercial traffic. Many ships are unloading or loading containers, bulk cargo, or autos. A large modern CNG carrier awaits off shore.

A special treat in Colon, We share the cruise terminal with the former Monarch of The Seas, one of my favorite ships that I sailed many times out of Port Canaveral before Royal sold her to a sister brand Pulmantur.

Today is also our day to bunker, or take on fuel. My guess, the least costly port we will be in. The fuel tanker remain tied alongside most of the day.

The overcast skies turn into a light drizzle. Most passengers are taking tours, even the solarium is nearly empty.

I elect to stay on the ship except for a brief vist to the shops on the pier. I finally have phone service and am able to download all my emails and text messages. It takes me over an hour to read thru them and either respond or as more often is the case, delete them.

Despite the large number of Diamond level and above passengers, the service in the Diamond lounge has been excellent.

It is after dark when we leave port to take our position to enter the canal in the morning.