Monday/Tuesday, November 21-22, 2022, Auto Train home

I slept very well Sunday and woke about 5AM. I will start with a couple of photos from the ship, the dock at Cartagena, and from the Panama Canal.

Breakfast hours at the Holiday Inn were listed as 6:30 to 9:30. I knew I could get coffee there at any hour and went down about 6 and they were virtually set up for breakfast. I asked the staff and they said they tried to open early because they had a lot of work crews who left early. It was also the nicest breakfast setup of the any of my hotels this trip.

The drive to the Auto Train in Sanford is about an hour and a half. Hotel checkout was 11AM and I left about 10:30. I had planned to spend a little time walking in downtown Sanford. It felt a lot like a museum town with a lot of empty storefronts, and some things like antique shops and used book places but I did find what looked like an inviting restaurant and a nice ice cream parlor. It just felt right to get lunch there with a grilled ham and cheese at the restaurant and a cup of blueberry cobbler ice cream at the ice cream place.

Checkin for the Auto Train is supposed to be 12:30 to 3, and I headed to the station a little after 1 Things were not moving with cars backed out onto the street. After I sat for about 20 minutes someone said the incoming train was late and it would be at least another hour. I pulled out of line, and after driving around a bit I pulled into a Burger King for coffee. I returned about 2:15 and the line now went past the station’s side street and out onto the main highway, a total of about 3/4 mile. Fortunately, it did show signs of movement, quite slowly but it was about 3:15 when I finally got to the booth.

I am glad I did not sit in the car all that time but when I got checked in I was left stuck with the third dinner seating which was estimated at 10PM, essentially my planned bed time. I also had a ZOOM finance meeting with my church scheduled for 4 to 6 PM. I tried to keep up with it first on my IPAD in the crowded station, and later from my roomette on the train from my laptop but with the announcements in both the terminal and train that I could not ignore.

Boarding, normally at 4 did not take place until almost 5, and sleeping car passengers were among the first aboard. I was in Roomette 2, very close to the toilets and central stairway. When my attendant Eloy came by I asked if there was any alternative to the late meal. “Sadly no”, but a bit later he came by with a ticket for the second seating. Thank you!

Dinner came about as we were passing through Jacksonville. I dined with a large family (spread across 2 tables) doing some sightseeing in the Baltimore/Washington area and returning with stops at other destinations along the way back to Tampa. My choices for my final served dinner of the trip were Rigatoni Bolognese and Ultimate Mayer Lemon Cake.

I slept very well overnight and woke about 5. The sun came up in the Rocky Mount area shining through the trees.

When the Conductor came on at 7 he estimated our arrival in Lorton at 11:30. I grabbed a coffee cake to save for our arrival for lunch. We actually beat that time and pulled into the station about 10:55. Disembarkation for our passengers came at 11:05 just about the same time the first of the car carriers pulled up to the ramp.

The first car cars (30 “priority” vehicles) were announced at 11:15 and my car (274) arrived at 12:05. The drive home was fairly routine except for a slow-down on the Washington beltway and I was home about 2.

Between restocking my fridge, sorting a pound of junk mail out of a handful of stuff I need to look at and a few other errands, and sleeping longer than usual, it has taken me back to get back to this but for now things are pretty close to back to normal.

Since it has taken me so long to get back to this my parting shot will be a wish for a great Thanksgiving for all who celebrate it.



Sunday, November 20, 2022, Disembark Eurodam, Cocoa

Sorry, I did not use the camera a lot for the day, but I was up and on deck very early, just in time to catch the pilot boarding at 4:30.

I remained mostly on deck walking until we arrived at the dock and the first lines went out about 5:15.

HAL’s Lido Marketplace does not directly serve one of the things I love but rarely get at home, raisin bread toast. I’ve found though that they do have raisin bread and if I just ask for a slice of raisin bread it’s at the ready and then I carry it 10 feet to the toaster they’re happy to take care of the other half.

Being EARLY to arrive has it’s advantages. Self disembarkation was supposed to start at 7, but it was almost 7:30 when the first people left the gangway. From there things moved quickly. My Brown 2 was listed as 8AM but the first call actually came at 7:50. Things moved quite quickly and in the terminal I found several porters at the ready. I had one big bag and 2 wheelaboard bags; one had straps and I COULD have carried it as a back pack but it would have been a struggle.

Passport control was by facial recognition and the porter took me all the way to my car at level 3 in the garage. I hope my tip was sufficient and I left the garage at 8:15. That was really nice as it started raining about 8:30.

I have 3 churches of interest in South Florida. There is a church in Miramar where the Pastor grew up in my home church and they have an 8:30 service. My usual church in Miami meets at 11 but is being rebuilt and they are worshiping at a sister church in Miami Beach. I had hoped to get to the Miramar church (my GPS showed an arrival 20 minutes late which I was willing to live with) and then drive by the Miami location for a look at the church in progress, and finally get to Miami Beach.

My GPS asked if I wanted an alternative route to avoid tolls. I made the mistake of saying “no” and ended up on the Florida Turnpike. I encountered a series of accidents and ended up spending about 40 minutes crawling along for 4 miles. Miramar church was out of the question now, and rains became torrential. They did pause briefly when I got to the Miami church but I found no place to park and did not really see much of the project.

Torrential rains again as I arrived at St. Johns on the Lake in Miami Beach, now meeting jointly with the Miami church. I visited First Church Miami a few times while on cruises from Miami, and I ended up on their email list and got a notice of online services while stranded in Perth after the termination of the QM2 due to Covid. I’ve been following their online services most of the time since.

Traffic was quite slow up to Palm Beach but then opened up, still raining most of the time. I arrived at the Holiday Inn Express Cocoa (I95&Fla520) a little after 4. I left to meet Rogers widow at the Outback in Viera about 5, although I got lost on the way and kept her waiting quite a while. We each had a very nice steak diner, winding things up about 6:30.

My home church offers both in person and livestream worship Sundays but has not yet restarted the fellowship hour after the service. Instead we have a ZOOM fellowship hour Sunday Evenings at 7 and I got to my room just exactly in time to get started. We had a nice chat for about 40 minutes.

It was a long day of driving and I tried to watch some of the late ship departures from Fort Lauderdale but it was a struggle. My parting shot for today is weather related. It’s been strange. I can’t remember Port Everglades being closed for part of a day but it happened. Strange indeed.


Saturday, November 19, 2022, Final Sea Day, MS Eurodam

The weather did not improve much Saturday but at least the bottom of my foot was significantly better. When I first left my room the forward promenade doors on both sides of ship were roped off, giving me a good clue of what the prevailing weather was.

Sunrise was 6:55AM, just before the Lido Marketplace opened, and I stepped onto the aft deck after getting an omelet. The sun was coming up over the stacked pool loungers and I had to fight a substantial wind to get a photo.

I did most of my walking on the ship’s interior corridors (decks 5,7, and 8). I did go back up to the lido just before breakfast closed for a waffle, and walked back on the promenade deck from the aft entrance to the forward entrance.

I went back about 11:30 before lunch and walked from the forward entrance around the bow and stern returning to the aft doors for one full but split lap around the ship. Overall about 40 minutes total walking, a LOT better than yesterday.

My biggest activity for the day was preparing to leave the ship, mostly packing up all my junk in a manner that would facilitate nights in a Cocoa hotel and on the Auto train. Once Faisal had made up my room the bed became a war zone, and remained that way through dinner.

In his final noon update Captain Bant indicated we had sailed 929 miles from Puerto Limon averaging 21.7 knots with 304 remaining to meet the pilot at 4:30AM tomorrow. We have a strong breeze and choppy seas with a temperature of 27/81.

I made a final visit at 2:30 to Lincoln Center Stage for a program of works by Chopin.

We were all present for our final dinner at table 30. Not long after arriving the sun disappeared into the clouds out our back window.

My final dinner on the Eurodam was Classic Caesar Salad, New York Strip Loin, and Red Velvet Cake a la mode.

I passed on the final Mainstage offering, Step One Dance Company. The planned show had been “In Tandem” but Gage indicated it was being replaced by Humanity due to the sea conditions.

My 2 bags for the porters went out about 7:55, leaving me just the things I will use tonight to carry off the ship. I hope to be in bed early tonight.

As my parting shot, the cruise is basically over but not the trip. I still have travel and family time tomorrow, and the Auto Train Monday to Tuesday. It will be a busy time; I will be back but perhaps not before I get back home.



Friday, November18, 2022, At Sea, MS Eurodam

Friday was not a good day as I was somewhat under the weather in more ways than one. When I started what should have been my first “Lap with a purpose” I found the forward promenade deck hard to open with the wind howling outside. I quickly decided that walking was not a good idea at least for then. Heading up to the Lido and out to the seaview pool with coffee, there was some drizzle with evidence that harder rains had found some leaky spots. In addition, a sore spot on my left foot was bothering me, especially when I walked.

Surprisingly, when the time for sunrise came, I found there were more breaks in the clouds than I thought, and saw my first horizontal sunrise. I did not see the sun until several minutes after it had cleared the horizon, and it first really emerged as some fast moving clouds blew out of the way.

There were a number of activities, although I only partook of a few and did quite a bit of packing. At 10 Captain Bant appeared on the Mainstage, presenting a virtual tour of the Bridge and Engine Room, and answered some questions.

On Deck For A Cause was at 11:30. The 5K walk normally benefits cancer research but for now the funds are being used for medical aid to Ukraine. Our hostess explained that the cause was especially poignant for her because she had been assigned to the Volendam for several months while it served as emergency refugee housing. While the wind was not quite as bad then as it had been earlier I still found it a tough walk.

The group started out all together but spread out nicely well before the end of the first lap.

I only walked for one lap but there were refreshments out for the end of the walk. The shirts are different this year. While they have always been white with blue lettering, this year they are blue with white lettering.

In his noon update Captain Bant indicated we had sailed 399 miles since leaving Puerto Limon with 833 to go. Conditions might even be a bit rougher Saturday (they appear to be but at least my foot feels a bit better).

My main activity in the afternoon was a visit to Lincoln Center Stage for a Brahms concerto. A very interesting juxtaposition of very different movements.

We were all present at Table 30 for our final Dressy dinner. My choices for the evening were Apple, Pear, and Cucumber Salad, Cracked Pepper Beef Tenderloin (holding the shrimp), and Vanilla ice cream.

I was out of the dining room barely on time to be on time for the 7PM Mainstage show, a repeat performance by the Island Magic Steel Band. After the show I did some more packing and called it a night about 10PM,

As my parting shot today, some sea days are better than others, but it’s hard to complain when you eat well with no shopping, no cooking, and no cleanup. I’ll take it.





Thursday, November 17, 2022, Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

Since we had moved the clocks back Wednesday night sunrise should have come up early and I was on deck about 5:30 to a very overcast drizzle, although while was at the Seaview Pool the pilot boar came by.

While I’ve been to Puerto Caldera on the Pacific side of Costa Rica several times, this was my first visit to the Caribbean side, and we docked right next to the town.

The tours all seemed to take up our entire time at the port and I was not interested but did take a walk into the town about 8, turning towards the ocean once out of the city.

It did not appear to be a very nice city; even the village square seemed quite dingy, and the sidewalks were a bit uneven so I tried to walk carefully. The one thing I saw that looked quite nice was the city Teatro.

I was off the ship about an hour; I was impressed by one bit of recycling, the benches at the cruise terminal were all based on recycled oil drums. I did not try sitting since there was still a bit of a drizzle.

The rest of the day on the ship was pretty quiet; I did have a church related zoom meeting at 1 but did not really do a lot else.

All aboard was 3:30 and the tours pretty much all returned on time. In his sailaway update Captain Bant indicated we had 1233 miles to Fort Lauderdale and we would need a speed of 21kt to be on time. We would advance the clocks overnight to get back on Fort Lauderdale time.

We were well away from the pier just a bit after 4.

Sunset was 5:03 but I went up to the Seaview Pool to catch the last little bit of the sun before it disappeared behind clouds about 4:50.

Diane and Sharon finally returned to the Dining Room after several days away. My choices for the evening were Classic Caesar Salad, Roasted Lamb Shoulder, and Vanilla Ice Cream.

I passed on Comedian Jose Sarduy on the Mainstage and timing did not work for me on Lincoln Center Stage performances at 6:30 and 8. I had hoped to briefly drop by the Orange Party at 9:30 but dozed off about 9 and completely missed it.

My parting shot today will be a salute to the internet and technology. While the wifi on ships is spotty, at least when most passengers are off the ship it was possible to attend a meeting that would otherwise have been impossible.




Wednesday, November 16, 2022, Panama Canal and Colon

I don’t think I will ever get tired of the Panama Canal. While this is my first partial transit, I have been through the entire canal 8 times (6 on Crystal Symphony plus Crystal Serenity and Prinsendam).

I got a bit of a shock when I first stepped outside. Since my first time on Queen Victoria in 2010 I had seen the signs at the aft of the promenade deck that the bollards at those aft corners might be used on the Panama Canal and the area might be closed, so I was not surprised at that today, but was surprised that the front section of the promenade deck was also closed off.

I have way too many photos and rather than take the day chronologically, I think I’ll mostly talk about various viewing spots and perhaps save some things for future days when not much is happening.

I had thought Deck 12 above the Crow’s Nest would be a great place. While the vantage was nice, the plexiglass was an obstacle to great viewing, and the angle did not fit with viewing things close to the ship. I did get a nice sunrise shot from the top of the outside stairs and liked the direct stairs from there to the crow’s nest.

I did not spend much time in the Crow’s nest. It was crowded, the windows were a bit of a problem, and the angles were not great. While there I did get a Panama Roll. They’re essentially buns with a bit of filling with something that tasted like apricot. I enjoyed one, but not something I really would go out of my way for.

I understand little front “porches” on decks 6 and 7 were opened up and I think that would have been a nice choice if I had been aware of them.

The bow was open but I was not all that impressed. It isn’t really the bow; there’s at least one open deck below and further forward and I think that would impair viewing things that are close. In part I missed opportunities on the bow because we seemed to have arrived earlier than had been planned, and we already had lines attached when I realized how close we were. The Panama canal uses very old school methods of attaching the first lines via a relay with a rowboat called a “panga”. In the past I have watched the panga crew do their job, but this time I missed the action (the most likely place to see it would be near the bow) and only got a look at one as we left the canal. On the way down, to the sea I barely ventured out to the bow due to rain.

One of the nicer places to be for me was the Seaview Pool Deck. It was easy to go all the way port to aft to starboard with great views down in any direction. I got at least one nice shot of the gates closing behind us,

Once the rain started I headed to the promenade deck. My preferred location there was near the midship stairs where there was great visibility close to the ship, an easy crossing from one side to the other, and the lifeboats provided great protection from the rain. Entering the lake I noticed for the first time a turntable at the end of the space between the 2 lockage lanes where the mules turned around to have their lines facing the canal locks.

On the trip back to sea I spotted what had originally been a visitor center (that center has now been moved to the Agua Clara locks). One of the exhibits from there is a reminder that things do change slowly on the canal. Originally the lock gates were opened and closed by a huge cog wheel while now pneumatic cylinders do the job.

My final vantage point will likely come as a surprise. I think I have mentioned that I am on Deck 1, the lowest passenger deck, in an oceanview (no balcony cabin). Before the cruise I was offered a very attractive upsell to a verandah, at a price I would gladly have paid if it was anything but a Panama Canal cruise, but I stood my ground. It’s something I picked up on my Crystal Panama Canal cruises, where the corresponding deck had the dining room and some lounges but it was even better on the Eurodam. It is the only spot I know of where you can be aware of actually being inside the lock chambers rather than looking down on them. In the “uplocks” collage we were already in the first lock when I entered my room, looking at a lock wall I could almost touch if my window would open, rising up into the light as the water lifted us, then moving forward as the slanted middle chamber gradually encased the room in darkness, and finally rising to daylight again.

Once out of the upstream locks we anchored near the dam which makes Lake Gatun possible and a number of passengers got off for shore tours that would rejoin the ship in Colon.

You generally cannot see the new locks from the old of vice versa, but I did see a ship headed for the new locks from Lake Gatun.

On the return to the Atlantic I tried a couple of vantage points as it was raining but by the second chamber I returned to my room for more of the light-dark-light sequence getting some nice closeups of the lock walls, the gates and hinges, the water rushing into the chamber from the bow cam, and even how dark it could get in my room in the depth of the chamber.

After leaving the locks I stepped out to the Seaview pool for a couple of other views, first a remnant of the original canal as dug by de Lesseps. It isn’t much of a canal.

A bridge has been under construction for the past several years, and was opened just a couple months after my last transit on the Prinsendam. It’s quite majestic.

I did something I’ve never done before in Colon, stayed on the ship without ever getting off. I had been to Colon on the Crystal Symphony in 2018 and knew there was nothing there that interested, so I never even crossed the gangway into the terminal.

It was just me again at Table 30. Banyu and Agus even prepared a setting for Diane and Sharon with their ice tea at the ready but we never saw them. (Could they have been on a tour?) My choices were Radicchio and carmelized pear salad, Parmesan coated Veal Loin, and Butter Pecan Ice Cream.

The show in the mainstage was billed as the Step 1 dancers with “Off the Charts” I went with low expectations but was pleasantly surprised. They were joined by the Billboard piano duo so it was a full live experience, music, vocals, and dance.

We gained an hour overnight to get on Costa Rica time but my sleep schedule seems to be out of whack, dozing off during the show and not sleeping much if at all.

Quick parting shot, I need my sleep schedule back.




Tuesday, November 15, 2022, Cartagena, Colombia

By the time I went up for coffee (About 5:30) the lights of Cartagena were quite prominent. The Cartagena cruise port consists of 2 finger piers about 1/4 mile from a terminal complex, although the finger piers handle containers as well when not used for cruise ships. It was busy today with USNS Comfort hospital ship closest to the terminal (on a 2-month relief mission to the Caribbean), then the Royal Clipper tall ship, the Eurodam, and finally the German relief ship Maria S Merian on what appeared to be a provisioning and crew rotation visit.

I was near the Seaview Pool when the sun came up a little after 6. We were fast to the pier about 6:30 as I partook my first waffle of the voyage.

We were cleared about 7 for what would be a short call, only to about 1PM. I have been to Cartagena many times and did not plan anything like a tour but did take a walk into the interesting cruise terminal, pausing for photo of Royal Clipper on the way to the terminal.

The terminal has a large room with a number of vendors but what makes it special is a sort of mini wildlife park, mostly birds. I saw several peacocks, pink flamingos, black swans, and an anteater in my wanderings.

On the way back to the Eurodam I paused for photos of the Comfort and Eurodam and was back onboard about 9 after about an hour on shore.

Lunch was a rather strange combination of string beans, roast potatoes, skim milk, and ice cream.

All aboard was 12:30 but we had a number of stragglers, both tours running late and some walking up independently, even after 12:45. When the last of the tours returned, breaking down the gangway was a finely tuned choreograph that probably was all accomplished in about 5 minutes. Captain Bant reported our journey to the canal would be 281 miles, and I saw open water between us and the pier about 1:06.

Gage had a talk on “Unexpected Heroes”, sports in the Caribbean, speaking about groups like the Jamaican Bobsled team. He is a great presenter but he started losing me when we got to cricket. I had decided if not completely captivated to leave a bit early, and probably missed about the last 15 minutes to spend a bit of time and money, booking 3 cruises on 2 trips for next year.

I had expected that all 3 of us would be at Table 30 but Sharon and Diane were no shows. My choices for dinner were s Gourmet Greens, Pork Chop, and Diplomat Strawberry Tart.

The entertainment on the mainstage was comedian Jose Sarduy. He was pretty good but not great. I was pretty drowsy after the show and did not accomplish much.

As a parting shot, sometimes things creep up on us. It dawned on me after booking 3 cruises that one of the things I must make a priority once back home is renew my passport.




Monday, November 14, 2022, At Sea, MS Eurodam

I was up about 4:45 and took my first “Lap with a purpose (coffee) about 5:30 as we were about 25 miles off the Colombia coast. It was only about 20 minutes until sunrise and I waited but the sun did really not appear through the clouds, and decided to walk one additional lap, catching a nice view near the end of that extra lap.

Once the sun was up the heat became quite brutal and I only walked a total of about 6 laps in the morning.

Gage had his presentation on the canal at 10. He talked a lot about the canal history, not much about our transit but did say he would provide commentary as we went through. I asked a couple of questions at his 11AM Q&A in the Crow’s Nest and now have a preliminary plan for the transit.

In his noon update Captain Bant indicated we have sailed 232 miles since leaving Aruba with 167 remaining.

I’m finding it hard to account for my afternoon but it was mostly computer work. I had reserved the 4PM hour for a church finance meeting but it ended up being cancelled. It was also the night of the Master Chef’s dinner but I missed it because I had reservations at the Pinnacle Grill.

My choices for the evening were the Heart of Romaine Caesar Salad, Filet Mignon, and Key Lime Pie.

The show on the Mainstage was the BBC Earth Film Seven Worlds One Planet in Concert, a stunning display of wildlife in all it’s variations with live accompaniment of 3 of the Lincoln Center musicians. While it had some things in common with the Step One show the visuals were stunning and the musician’s talents were fully utilized. I enjoyed the show immensely.

My parting shot is something of a throwback. While I blame some of my difficulties on my advancing age I remember finding the heat and humidity when I was in Southeast Asia on the Zaandam in 2012 overwhelming even then. Some things do not really change.




Sunday, November 13, 2022, Orangestad, Aruba

I did not do a lot of walking on the promenade deck as I had planned on mostly walking in town. I did do 2 “Laps with a purpose”, the first one just for morning coffee, and the second timed with sunrise, and my first bit of breakfast, most a ham and bacon omelet freshly prepared.

I had thought that with leaving 1 day late and missing 2 ports we would have a lot of time to be early, but that’s not the case. We only were due to spend about 6 to 8 hours in port, so that left a lot of travel to make up, and our originally planned 7AM arrival became 8AM. We had expected to be the only cruise ship in port but as I expected that was not literally the case. More often than not the MV Freewinds, some kind of training ship for the Church of Scientology was there as well. Even though it appeared to be a turnaround day for the Freewinds it had no practical impact on our visit.

I normally worship with my church about half the time in person and half via the livestream broadcast. The service is 10:30 which is 11:30 Aruba time, not the most convenient for a port visit. I did go up to the lido for milk about 11 but lunch would wait until I returned from town. With most of the other passengers off the ship the livestream went reasonably well.

I headed out in search of socks about 12:40. My last 2 visits to Aruba have been emergency shopping expeditions that became very frustrating but eventually had a happy ending. The last time was at the end of the 2019 Prinsendam Grand South America voyage where I was starting to pack and decided I needed more luggage straps. I checked all the possible stores and most had bags but not the smaller items like straps. I left Aruba completely disappointed, but happily 2 nice luggage straps showed up as “pillow gifts” the last formal night. This time between google maps and my IPAD app there were a few promising stores for socks. There was one store (Polo Ralph Loren) that Google Maps indicated would be open but it was not. By this time I was near the old Protestant church and I dropped by for a look. I have never seen it open but a sign said there was a service there at 8:30 Sundays. That’s an interesting possibility if I ever return on a Sunday.

The other stores I had in mind were either closed Sundays or boarded up with for rent signs. As I returned to the ship I checked one of the souvenir stalls and got a blank stare; frustrated and exhausted from the 91-degree heat index I was about to give up. I did step into the “I love Aruba” shop which was on my way, and amazingly the guy took me right to a bucket of socks and showed me one that would work. My only remaining stops getting back to the ship were a pause for a photo of the Eurodam and a cup of water at the gangway.

I was back onboard about 1:40, just in time to get up to the lido for a light lunch before it started closing. On the back deck I paused for an overview photo of Orangestad from the back deck before heading back down to my cabin and air conditioning.

I had booked Canaletto Italian restaurant because Sunday is the day that Chicken Parmesan is the specialty. For those not familiar with Holland America it is an enclosed section of the Lido Marketplace that is used in the evenings as a specialty restaurant.

In addition to the Chicken my choices were Canaletto Salad, Pasta Genovese, and Pistachio Gelato.

At the end of the meal I stepped out on the aft deck as the sun was disappearing behind the clouds for the day.

I did not really do a lot in the evening but did accomplish some computer work and join in my church’s “Sundays at Seven” fellowship time on Zoom, of course that was 8 Aruba time.

We gained an hour overnight returning to the same time zone as Fort Lauderdale (I don’t think there are any remaining time changes). All Aboard was 10:30. I had just gone to bed then but it felt like we started moving just about that time.

As a parting shot, I have heard that one of the most requested items in homeless shelters is socks. After the last few days I have a new understanding for that need.





Saturday, November 12, 2022, At Sea, MS Eurodam

In early February of 2021 a sudden heart valve issue gave me a pretty difficult 3 months of diagnosis leading to a mid-May surgery that restored much but not all of my former functionality. Saturday was a good day. Part of it may be called cheating but I have actually been doing it that way for years. While I started Friday walking 200 feet to the lido for coffee and 200 feet back, Saturday I left my room, walked around the bow on the Promenade deck, all the way back on the port side, around the stern to the aft entrance, went up to the lido for coffee, and then back across the lido to midship, and back to my room. While not technically a lap around the promenade deck it was the full third of a mile and I’ll take credit for it. Between traditional laps and “Laps with a purpose, I had 10 laps today for 3 1/3 miles of walking. I haven’t done that since leaving Queen Mary 2 in Perth back in 2020.

Somehow, it was a very busy day but I hardly took any photos. I started the organized part of the day at 10 in BB Kings with the talk on future cruises. Lots of nice ideas including some very exotic things that I will no longer tackle, and a couple of nice reasonable options.

Off at 11 (with one lap around the promenade deck sandwiched in between) to Gage’s talk on Cartagena. Again, a lot of nice choices but I will probably not leave the port complex with it’s de-facto wildlife park.

I was by the seaview pool at noon. Unfortunately, Captain Band did not give his update until almost 12:15 and by then I was in line at Dive-In and did not hear a word he said. By my gps we were 354 miles from Aruba. The midship pool deck was a nice place to enjoy my fries.

The Documentary “American Experience:Panama Canal” was shown on the Mainstage at 1 (and 3). The 80-minute film was very interesting. I was surprised that even the successful builders had an extended struggle trying to build a sea level before determining that locks were needed. I would have thought that would have been an early decision considering that the concept was implemented successfully on New York’s Erie Canal almost 100 years earlier. Unfortunately, I also discovered that the HAL provided mask put a lot of pressure on my nose and I could not wear it the full 80 minutes.

I continued to the Lincoln Center Stage at 2:30 for a Mozart performance (with one of my own masks). This group consists of piano, violin, viola, and cello. I was a bit surprised that only the 3rd piece used the full ensemble. The first piece was a piano solo, then a violin/viola duo, and finally a concerto featuring the whole group.

It is now clear that there will only be 3 of us at Table 30. The others are Sharon from Naples, and Diane from Ft. Lauderdale. My choices for the evening were Classic Caesar Salad, Rustic Lasagna, and Triple Berry Alaskan Tart a la mode,

Near the end of dinner I caught the last bit of sun for the day out the aft window

I thought the entertainment on the main stage hit a new low. I’ve felt in the past that the Step One Dance shows were essentially a one-dimensional program with only live dance but no live music or vocals. If only “Humanity” rose even to that level. Most of the show had perhaps one or 2 of them dealing with canned images and illusions that could just as well have been filmed as a movie, with only about 10 of the 45 minutes featuring real and talented dancers. If other shows are similar I will not waste a lot of time there.

There was a question on Cruise Critic about availability of snacks in the shops. On the way back from the show I stopped for a couple photos of the candy display.

As today’s parting shot, since my heart issues I have had reduced stamina and started wondering if a decent promenade deck or at least a decent place to walk was necessary for a good cruise experience. Saturday’s experience answers that with a resounding YES.