Sunday, November 30, 2014

Panama Canal Cruise, Part I 11/17 - 11/27/2014

Panama Canal Cruise
Part One
Fort Lauderdale, FL to Willemstad, Curacao

We had a wonderful trip and saw many new things. Our ports of call were in the Bahamas (Half Moon Cay), Aruba, CuraƧao, Cartagena, Colombia, Colon, Panama, and Limon, Costa Rica. Good activities on the cruise (Holland America Line), food wasn't "great" so the best part of that is neither of us gained an ounce. Unheard of.

We took tours in all ports except Panama where we just wanted to stay on the ship and see all the activities in the canal - fascinating. Got up very early. We got up early many days for our excursions and that was the only bad part of the cruise.

I'm just going to post my favorite photos and a little comment. My favorite port was Cartagena, Colombia. Pulling into the harbor was breathtaking.

The hard part of cruising is that you only get minutes in huge countries, but I guess the little taste can be enough to let you know if you want to return for an extended visit.

Holland America Line - Zuiderdam
Everglades Port - Fort Lauderdale, FL

End of land

 Sail away

One of the swimming pools

 Real orchids on every table

Ms. Zuiderdam

 Beautiful island

Most beautiful water I've ever seen
Beyond crystal clear

 Fun to have room service

 Haiti - my friend Lammy was on
Haiti doing her volunteer work, sent her a hug

Flower arranging demo on ship

 Beautiful fresh flowers everywhere on the ship

Aruba Tour - Colors of Aruba
One of the ABC Islands, all ruled by Netherlands Antilles (Dutch)

Old Dutch Windmill

California Lighthouse, 1916
named after the SS California that sank in the area

Cemetery - after 6-7 years they take out the bones
clean them, put them in a box and keep the box in the crypt.
Family members can then be added to crypt as needed.

Quite a little hike to top.  Nice view

These guys are big, a little spooky

Pretty emu egg

 Beautiful Aruba Coast 
Fun watching the waves crash

Thousands of stacked rock piles people have made for good luck.
They are all around the island.

We ate on 2nd floor here at Iguana Joe's

Gouda cheese totally surrounding shredded chicken,veggies & spice, baked until golden.  
The original recipe called for an entire wheel of gouda cheese being hallowed out - can you imagine!!!!!  Yum.  Our favorite meal of the entire trip - called Keshi Jena

Pulling into Willemstad, Curacoa

 A lovely carillon, 1953

Curacao Museum, 1853

Wild flamingos - a highlight for us

Hato Caves - long walk up, up to
caves, but very interesting. 

 Very large iguana sunning himself

Willemstad is one of the most picturesque
cities I've seen.  You can see the floating bridge.

We toured the Curacao liqueur factory
and had samples

Bottling the liqueur, not high tech, but jobs for people.

Queen Juliana Bridge
We drove over it twice, quite beautiful views

I can't even believe how adorable the downtown is.  One could take hundreds of photos here.
We had beer under the white umbrellas -- thank goodness

Rainy season, it poured twice that 
day and I mean poured.  Weird to drink beer when it is raining.

 Queen Emma Bridge - an amazing floating bridge for foot traffic
 that we got to watch open to let ships through.

Brion their local beer was very tasty.

Sunset on Part One
(to be continued)