At Sea, Wednesday March 5 ~ Panama Canal Cruise

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Weather Forecast:  Sunny High 81 / Low 77

Sunrise 6:32 am / Sunset 6:06 pm

From the Navigator: After passing the Santaren Channel, Coral Princess will alter to an easterly course as we enter the Old Bahama Channel, which lies between the Great Bahama Bank and the Northern coast of Cuba.  We will continue to follow the north coast of Cuba before rounding Punta Maisi at the eastern end of the island.  We will then pass through the Windward Passage which lies between Cuba and Haiti.

I woke up about 8:30 and took a shower in that tiny shower stall.  A removable head shower would be better in tight quarters like that.

Tom was reading on the balcony. He’d brought me coffee, a croissant, banana and yogurt.  Nice!

After a bit of me writing this, Tom napping, we went up to Horizon Court for real breakfast.  We almost always sat looking out the windows over the bow.  It was such a nice view.

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We wandered around a bit and went to the Wheelhouse where I’d planned to join the Princess Pop Choir.  Tom was going to wait but ended up knowing all the songs so he’s singing with us, too :)

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We’ll have rehearsals every sea day and a final show the last night.  James, the leader, said we’d get special pins to wear.  Oooh!

Our songs, complete with choreography, will be:

Oh, What a Night

Waterloo

Isn’t She Lovely

It’s Not Unusual

We Are the Champions (might not be in the final show)

Sweet Caroline

We Will Rock You

We will be wearing black and white (where have I heard that before?!?) and our pins.

I have some black shorts with me but I didn’t think that they were performance-ready so when we were walking around later, I bought some black capris (and a *few* other things)

We talked to one of the young crew members, Hannah from Southhampton.  We’d seen her at the show last night.  Turns out she lives right up the street from James but they’d never met until this cruise.

After choir, we wandered around a bit, toward the atrium and into a couple shops (see black capris, above) , watched a bit of “Goofy Golf” and ran into some folks Tom knows (Jim and Rosie).  Goofy Golf consists of hitting a golf ball down a stairway with a right turn and hill at the bottom.  The ball was supposed to go into a plastic cup…eventually.

Back to the cabin for some reading and email, Then I decided to go out to a deck to read, instead.

We sat by the Lotus Pool for a while, then out on the deck.  I think I rested my eyes in both places.

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It was formal night but I didn’t feel like going to the bother so we just got a bit more dressy, but nowhere near formal.

We ate in the buffet, anyway, and the main meat offering was roast lamb.  Yummy!

We were a bit early for the show, but there was a string trio playing in the Wheelhouse across the hall.  We went in there – they were playing Mozart, Vivaldi, Ravel, Strauss but the thing that got to me was when they played Astor Piazolla’s Oblivion.

Several years ago, Alice and I were talking about skating and I mentioned that several of the skaters were using the music of Astor Piazolla.  She’d never heard of him so I played some of his music over the phone for her.  She immediately fell in love with his Oblivion and ended up buying the music for herself.

I couldn’t believe that this little group was playing this, another reminder of my Alice.

There are several versions of Oblivion on YouTube, none with string trios, so I liked this the best since it showed off a violinist:

We went into the show in the Princess Theater – it was completely full – so we sat in the 3rd row.  It was wonderful.   The show was called What a Swell Party and featured music of Cole Porter – how can you go wrong? I was just amazed at the talent the singers and dancers have.

After the show, we went out to see what was running on MUTS.  It was the end of Jobs and we stayed for the rest of that and into the beginning of the next showing.

After getting a glass of ice water, we went back to the cabin.  A reminder that we change our clocks forward tonight.

Lots of promising activities tomorrow, including choir practice.

And, on TV tonight – Great Expectations.  I loved that book.  The movie (2012 version), not so much.

I read about a paragraph of mine (Pigeonwings) before I fell asleep.

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Day Four, Montego Bay, Jamaica – November 20

Jamaica

We were up fairly early this morning and watched the ship make good use of its azipods to dock next to the Star Taurus, a crude oil tanker.

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After that was successful, we went to the Garden Cafe for breakfast.

About 10:30, we went down to 4 and down the gangplank to check out a bit of Jamaica.  We were at the regular cargo pier (#2), so we took a shuttle over to the cruise terminal.

This terminal was several tacky shops but Tom got some postcards and I got a little bag for carrying my Kindle on deck.  He looked at watches in The Royal Store but didn’t buy anything.  They gave us a free Jamaica keychain for looking.  Whoopee!

We took the shuttle back and made good use of most of the other folks being on tours and such.  We had a hot tub to ourselves for over half an hour.

In a bit, a couple folks joined us.  One was a veterinarian and Tom told her about my Cushing’s experiences.  After about 45 minutes I got out to read for a while.  Then in the pool – salt water!  Who knew?

Tom thought I should go over and talk to the veterinarian but I said I was on vacation, not here to “talk shop” unless I found that Cushie-looking woman again.

We stopped by the Great Outdoors and had some coffee.  A yellow butterfly flew by but didn’t stop at our table.  It wasn’t as big as Alice’s butterfly, but I wondered all the same… How does a tiny thing like that fly up to the 12th deck of a ship?

I’ve been thinking a lot about Alice on this trip.  She would have loved this cruise, especially the Sea Days.  Looking all around at the vastness of the ocean, the beautiful clouds, sunsets, the moon.  I know her soul is out there, somewhere, in one of these beautiful things that God has created.

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Great Outdoors

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Great Outdoors

Back in our cabin, it was fun watching people hustle back to make the 3:30 all-aboard.  I got some shots of the ship just sliding out from the dock, parallel to it, instead of backing into the Star Taurus.  The folks on board that ship looked happy that we didn’t hit them, too.

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We bid a fond adieu to Montego Bay and head off into the sunset.

We tried the Garden Cafe for dinner tonight, too.  Pretty good – both plates worth!

The usual after-dinner deck stroll, then back to the cabin.  I was asleep by 9:00PM…and up at midnight doing my website chores and blog-writing.

We didn’t go to the show again.

Tonight’s towel animal was a lobster.

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Today’s Stats:

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Today’s Forecast:  Mostly Sunny 85F/30C

Sunrise: 6:22 am

Sunset: 5:34 pm

Arrival: 8:00 am

All Aboard: 3:30 pm

Day Three, At Sea – November 19

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With the new time, my watch is correct again.  Now I have to remember not to keep subtracting an hour.

Up about 8:30 and started drinking coffee on the balcony and writing in this blog.

At 10:30 we went for breakfast at the Garden Cafe.  They were almost closed. Yesterday they closed for breakfast at 11.  Today, 10:30.  By the time the cruise is over, maybe there will be no breakfast.

Walked around, read, nap, lazy day…

My wrist broke out in a rash so I won’t be wearing the watch anymore anyway. Aloe vera seemed to help.

More pictures from Deck 13:

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Off to the Mongolian HotPot.

Several staff asked if we were familiar with this process and we were able to say that we were since we’d eaten at this very place on a previous cruse.

We were talking to the chef while he cooked and he said that this ship was the only one with a Hot Pot restaurant.  Most of the others had the Chinese and Teppanyaki like we do but with Sushi as the third choice.  Glad we’re on the HotPot cruise :)

Our appetizers were steamed vegetable dumplings, seaweed salad and edaname,

The main course was Shabu-Shabu with Udon noodles, chicken, ginger, bok choy, nappa cabbage, carrots, onion, snow peas, broccoli

My dessert was green tea cake with green tea ice cream.  Tom had a variety of fruits with coconut sauce and a mango sauce.

We stopped by the store again but didn’t buy anything then did our evening walk around the decks

The show tonight is the comedian David Naster from the first night.  Didn’t go.

Our towel tonight was a swan (or a turkey?)

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This is very similar to our cabin:

Did You Know?

Norwegian Cruise Line sails to five continents and more than 120 ports of call.  With more than 65 itineraries calling on 52 countries, there’s aways a cruise that’s perfect for you and your family

Norwegian Cruise Line offers more onboard dining choices than any other cruise line.

The other ones aren’t worth my time typing out since they’re talking about the Art Gallery, Colombian Emeralds and other “selling things”.

Today’s Stats:

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Today’s Forecast:  Chance of Rain 77F/25C

Sunrise: 7:10 am

Sunset: 5:44 pm

Day Two, At Sea – November 18

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I woke up about 6:30 and sat out on the balcony writing yesterday’s blog post with the help of the Freestyle Daily newsletter.

We’re definitely off the river now but it’s still pretty calm.  Some seaweed floating by – there might be a storm somewhere.

About 9:30 or so we went to the Garden Cafe for breakfast – and ate too much!  A woman with a major Cushing’s-looking hump went by.  I didn’t see her face but I’ve been looking for her since, just in case. We walked up to the 13th deck, the Sun Deck and wandered around.

I had signed us up for the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet and I was sure that it was at 11:00 am in the Star Bar on the other end of 13 but when I looked at my phone, the time said 10:00 so I was sure we’d missed it.

We sat on 12 of a while, by the pool, just relaxing and decided to go shopping.  I needed some glue for one of my sandal soles that was leaving the rest of the sandal.

When we got up, I saw a guy in a Cruise Critic tshirt and we followed him to the elevator.  He was going to the Meet and Greet!  I guess my phone compensated for the difference in time zones and we hadn’t missed it.

We got to the Star Bar and signed in just before about 10 officers came in.  The heads of the various departments were introduced and answered questions.  We got their phone numbers in case of problems.  We were able to sign up for dinner with one of them on Cayman Island night.

Left there and went shopping.  On the way, I saw that no one was at the restaurant reservation desk.  We signed up for Brazilian Churr-whatever for tonight at 7:30.  We’d always wanted to try that.  This was a perfect opportunity at only $20 each.

Tomorrow night we go to the Mongolian Hot Pot.  We did that before when Michael was with us and loved it.  We’re looking forward to experiencing that again.  As an aside, I am the only person I know (or have heard of) who owns her own personal Mongolian hot pot.  It makes a great conversation starter at dinner parties.

Finally got to the store.  I found my glue and we got a couple tshirts, one on sale.

Up to the cabin.  I was reading and suddenly it was quite a bit later.  How did that happen?

Out on the balcony, I finished my first book Midnight at Marble Arch: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel, by Anne Perry.


Started City of Dark Magic: A Novelby Magnus Flyte.  I love having all my books on a Kindle.  So much easier than carrying a suitcase of books!

 

Back up to 13 for Tom’s meeting and I read out on the deck, same as yesterday.

The sunset was so glorious again. Looking out at it, it looks like you can get a glimpse into heaven.  I said a few words to God and reminded Him to take good care of my Alice.

It got chilly after 5:00 pm, same as yesterday.  Maybe tomorrow i’ll remember to take my hoodie.

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We stopped by the grill to see if they had bratwurst and sauerkraut like they did last time, but no :(  Probably just as well.  That was a daily occurrence before.

We did get burgers, fries and stuff to tide us over until dinner at 7:30.

Back to the cabin/balcony.  Tom napped, I read.

I got semi-dressed up since it was what passes for formal night here and we headed out.  We thought we were following the signs to Moderno, Brazilian Churrascaria but ended up in a long hallway of cabins.  Back to the elevators and tried again.

We ended up in a horseshoe shaped area, in a bar.  We stood there for a few minutes and finally had to ask for help.  The waitstaff indicated we should be on the other part of the horseshoe so we went across the connected part.  I’m sure these all have names but I have no idea what they would be.

We got to what turned out to be the back of Moderno but we didn’t know that.  Another waitperson said we were in the wrong place and we needed to go up to the hostess station at the horseshoe tip.  Sheesh!  We followed their signs.

Came up behind the hostess and kind of surprised her, I think, but she took us to our table.  Folks explained us things to us as we were going but I missed the info about the tongs.

Excellent salad bar with Brazilian and other exotic selections.  Brazilian seafood chowder and bean soup.  I had the bean soup due to my seafood allergies.

I used the tongs for the little round parmesan bread balls.  No problem.

Turned the little card to green to let the gauchos know we were ready for the 10 different types of  meat to start appearing.

The first one was 2 kinds of sausage.  One was Spanish chorizio, the other Portuguese something.  I tried both and they were both good.

Then, chicken legs marinated in lime juice and chicken breast wrapped in bacon and maybe marinated in something.  I just had the leg.  The gaucho had trouble getting it off the skewer (maybe wrong term for this) so she indicated I should take it.  I used my fork.  Should have used the tongs.  Oh well – next time!

Pork rib with BBQ sauce and marinated in red wine.  I had trouble cutting it but what I could get was very tasty.

Various cuts of been including sirloin and filet minion.  All wonderful and so tender.  No fork needed.

We could have made an evening of this, one meat at a time.  I was already stuffed and wanted a dessert so I flipped my card to red.  Stop the meat!  I missed out on the lamb but it had to be.

Mango rice pudding for me made with tres leches.  I had thought it would be like Mango Sticky Rice.  Similar but different.  I liked it and it would be a new favorite of mine had I never had the sticky rice version.

Back to the cabin. Our steward had left us a towel animal.  Tom thought it was a rabbit.

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I changed my clothes, mainly to lose the heels and back out .  We saw our steward and I thanked him for the rabbit.  He said it was a bulldog.  Oh, well!

Out on deck.  We wandered around a bit then back to the cabin.

I read (and napped) for a while as Tom went online.  Then, it was close to midnight so I did my Pender website work.

Then, actual bedtime.

Tonight we change our clocks forward one hour.  Easy for us since we never set our watch the hour back when we got to New Orleans.  We’ll be on time again rather than automatically always subtracting an hour.

The show tonight was Band on the Run with music from the 70s.  We didn’t go.

Did You Know?

The Norwegian Jewel was completed on August 4, 2005 by Meyer Werft Shipyard in Papenberg, Germany after 2 years and an estimated cost of $420 million.

The Norwegian Jewel’s maiden voyage started in Europe on August 10, 2005

Approximately 1,200 crew representing over 60 nationalities work on board

1,000 gallons of paint were used to cover the  Norwegian Jewel’s exterior and an additional 3,000 gallons for interior surfaces

There are 12 passenger elevators and 10 elevators for guests and crew.

Today’s Stats:

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Today’s Forecast:  Partly Sunny, 77F/25C

Sunrise: 6:19 am

Sunset: 5:02 pm

At Sea, January 13, 2013

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We woke up in the morning and it was very foggy, so foggy we couldn’t even see see the river.  We got our bags repacked up and visited the little shops again in case there was something we missed.

The bellman took luggage to the taxi but the driver wasn’t quite sure how to get to the port.  He did find it after a bit and we were on the Navigator of the Seas in about 30 minutes and having lunch at Windjammer Café.

Even though our luggage hadn’t arrived yet, we went to our cabin and checked out where storage space was hidden.

4:00 PM was the required muster drill. The Captain said we’d have fog horns going until we passed another cruise liner at 11:30.

Sat in the solarium for a while to people-watch.

Up to our cabin.  I took a few pictures from the balcony. I read on the balcony for a while and dozed off.  Susan napped.

5:30 we went to the circus parade.  What fun!

This wasn’t “our” circus but it was from our ship in September

My pictures:

 

Then dinner at Coppelia

We have a table for 4. Our table mates, Pat and Jamie are from the desert in California and drove here to see the National Parks and such.  They’re aunt/niece and travel well together.

Luis (from Nicaragua), our waiter, forgot to take my order at first.  All following meals I would be first!  i had drink of the day, key lime pie lemonade, vidalia onion tart, prime rib/veggies/potato and chocolate cherry pie.  Joanna, our assistant waiter, was from Poland.  I think they said the staff was from 143 different countries.

Went to the show.  Dancers, comedian. Great band…they played Sing, Sing, Sing!

Walked around.  Luggage arrived when we got back!  Unpacking

Tried to sign up for 2 tours from tv. Didn’t work so I filled out a form and dropped it at the excursions desk. Susan got ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s.

Unpacked. Ordered room service breakfast.

Foghorn did keep going off.  Very foggy!

We passed 2 cruise ships very close, a Carnival and Norwegian. After the carnival, a pilot ship pulled up right beside us and picked up 2 pilots who had been on our ship. The dots on the pictures are the dense fog.

I fell asleep almost immediately.

Tower Pools?

I mentioned earlier today that I didn’t think I was a fan of tower pools, although I’ve never been in one.  To me, they seem like an outdoor bathtub.

The Crane’s buildings have towers/turrets on the corners with plunge pools built into them.  The one here in the penthouse involves a climb up 3 stairs to access.

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I put my feet in long enough to get this image from inside:

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“Our” regular pool seen from up here, right on the end, by the ocean.  Next stop – Africa!

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And the view from “our” regular pool can’t be beat!  The infinity edge makes it seem like it goes on, well, forever.

Barbados

A normal day here I would have sat out in my bathing suit, reading, and when it got too hot, I’d hop in the pool for a bit. Today I read a lot and did computer work. The bathing suit is still dry…

Hurricane Irene Day

Saturday – I guess that Hurricane Irene has hit North Carolina.  This one looks a bit concern since my Mom is in Virginia and our son and my best friend are in New York – both places where this storm is projected to hit.

 

Reminds me of Hurricane Carol which hit where we lived when I was a kid.  My Mom said “let’s go down and see the waves”.  Our car got stuck and we probably would have washed out to sea had we not been blocking the path of a truck who wanted to get out of the area fast.  He pushed us to safety.

Hurricane-1954

 

We lived on a small embankment and when we got home, we could see that the road directly below us was flooded and people were going by in rowboats.

 

Even here it is pouring rain today.  I’m not sure if there’s another hurricane brewing or not.  I guess I’ll just read inside today.  I’m still on book #5.

 

Sunday is supposed to be our catamaran.  We’ll see if it gets cancelled or postponed.  It looks like rain off and on here for the rest of the week, though.  I guess this is why it’s called “the rainy season”.

 

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