Panama Canal Cruise 2015

Here's our Panama Canal selfie!
Here’s our Panama Canal selfie!

Feb 27th – March 10, 2015

We booked our cruise almost immediately after we got off the ship on our 2014 cruise.  I’ve been wanting to cruise the Panama Canal

for a while and we’re finally making it happen.


Packing – Pick-ups, Etc

I printed out our trusty old packing list and made a few edits.  Sue is watching Clydie for us again, so that makes us all feel better.

My first airport pickup was Scott.  He started his vacation on Saturday, the 21st of February.  Our weather down here had been pretty darn cool until he arrived!

Jessica came in on Wednesday, February 25th.  She arrived on time and ready for some warm weather.  She got it!  After we picked her up, we went to eat at Alice Sweetwaters, by our place.  Scott went to the HOA annual meeting – Jessica and I hung out and had fun on the lanai.

Thursday – we did a little thrifting and I got a pedicure (too cheap to purchase on the ship).  We picked up the last few supplies for the trip.  We ate Maroni’s pasta for dinner – very good! (thanks Tom and Peg)

Day 1 – Disembarkation – Port Everglades

Brianna got this from the Port Everglades web cam !
Brianna got this from the Port Everglades web cam !

We were packed up and filling up the gas tank at 9:30 am.  The trip to Park-n-Go took about 1 hour 45 minutes.  Check-in was quick and we waited about an hour to get on the ship.  First time for us using a different terminal.

Jessica and I high-tailed it to the Sanctuary to book our luxury chairs for the entire cruise.  It’s located at the back of the ship, so we have wonderful aft sea views of where we’ve been.

We found our rooms and went to the grill for burgers and hot dogs.  What a treat.  Scott bought his ultimate soda card (he gets slushies and soda for the entire trip with this)

Sailaway was a bit late, but it really doesn’t matter.  Brianna sent a picture of us she got from the Port Everglades web cam.  Was a fun sailaway in our cabin.  Jessica brought over guacamole, salsa, chips, and veggies with dip.  Note- all of our stashed liquor arrived safe and sound 🙂

Dinner was at the anytime dining restaurant.  Scott had his shrimp cocktail (ate this every night), soup and prime rib.  I had the same, except fo rthe shrimp.  I had cheesecake for desert and Scott had creme brule.  Delicious!

We pretty much just wandered around the ship to get our logistics in order.

Well, it WAS an 11 day cruise... :)
Well, it WAS an 11 day cruise… 🙂

Day 2 – Sea DayScott lounging

I woke up around 6:00 to walk, but they were cleaning the Promenade Deck, so I went an dwalked on the pool deck.  I have to figure out what I’ll be doing the rest of the cruise regarding where I’ll do my walking.

Meals – Breakfast in the dining room – I had Eggs Benedict and Scott had pancakes and bacon.  Delish!

Activities – I’m off to Zumba this morning and Scott will head to the Sanctuary.  We have a meet and greet for 11:00 at Crooner’s with the Cruise Critic people.

In the Sanctuary, we had afternoon tea – well, we had the little sandwiches, treats, and scones.  It was great.

It’s formal night – happy hour sunset at Jessica’s cabin.  Lots of laughs.  We had dinner after a bit of a wait.  I had beef tournedeus with some goofy onion tart.  Scott had some beef and french fries, as well as his shrimp cocktail.  Desert was souffle for Scott and some chocolate raspberry thing for me.  I’m stuffed!!

Day 3 – Sea Day

Holy Rolling Sea!  We’ve got some nasty weather – some rain and lots of pitching back and forth.  I went to Zumba and it was quite a site to watch all of us trying to keep our balance 🙂

Breakfast in the dining room – Jessica joined us.  I had a fruit plate and some sausage and hashbrowns and of course the ever popular danish roll.

We skipped lunch, but made up for it at Tea Time while lazing at the Sanctuary.  We met Nanci and Frank (from Cruise Critic) for dinner.  Scott had the usual shrimp cocktail, french onion soup, and some kind of seafood jambalya.  I had the french onion soup and tilapia.  Fudge cookie with ice cream for desert for me, and Scott had a sundae.

Activities – Bad weather in the morning, so we just hung out.  We went up to the Sanctuary around 1:00 and stayed the afternoon.  After dinner we went to the Universe Lounge and watched a band and did some 50’s trivia.  We knew a lot of the song titles, but few of the band names.

Day 4 – Aruba

We started the day with breakfast in the dining room.  Scott had pancakes and bacon with grapefruit.  I had the lumberjack.  Steak and eggs – yummy. We got off the ship in Aruba and walked around town.  We found our iguanas and did a little shopping.  We came back and grabbed hot dogs at the grill by the pool.  Off to the Sanctuary for rest and sunning.  Had tea with sandwiches and scones again.

We had sailaway in our cabin with Jessica – lots of laughs and fun again.

Scott and I went up to the buffet for dinner – German night.  I had pork and mashed potatoes.  Scott had bratwurst and saurkraut and potatoes.  Too much food today!!

Day 5 – Sea Day

Scott sanctuary

Here's Jessica kicking back in the Sanctuary
Here’s Jessica kicking back in the Sanctuary

Slept in this morning – Zumba for me, Breakfast in Horizon Court for Scott.  Hung out at the Sanctuary.  Hot dog for lunch and a lovely Tea in the afternoon.  Late dinner I had surf and turf and cherries jubilee for desert.  Scott had fettucini alfredo and his cocktail shrimp.  Cherries jubilee for him too.

I did a load of laundry and we had a nice sunset happy hour.  Lots of laughs again.

Day 6 – Cartagena, Columbia

Segway Fun!
Segway Fun!
Parrots at the terminal - they have a nice aviary and some monkeys too!
Parrots at the terminal – they a nice aviary and some monkeys too!

We woke up early for our Segway tour with Cesar in historical downtown.  What a fun time – well worth the 70.00 per person.  Nicest port we’ve ever been to.  Lots of birds, monkeys, etc.  Came back and took a snooze, then went to the Sanctuary.  Sailaway was at 2:00, so it was fun watching it from the back of the ship.

We went to Bayou Cafe for dinner.  I had filet mignon and lobster – yumm.  Scott had porterhouse and shared the lobster with me. This restaurant cost extra, but was delicious

Day 7 Panama Canal – ColonPanama Canal Bridge

We woke up early, as we started into the canal at around 6:00 –

We went to the Sanctuary, where they had a special Canal day – we had breakfast there and mimosas, along with coffee and danish.  Our tour started organizing at about 8:40 – We tendered and took a very long bus ride to the ferry that would take us through the rest of the canal to the Pacific.

I was very disappointed in the Princess Excursion, as I was pretty sure the one I booked was more “water” and less “bus”.  The bus was hot and we got pulled over by the policia on our way to the ferry – ugh!  The boat was overcrowded and not very nice.  Scott and I pretty much stood up for the entire canal trip (about 7 hours).  I’l going to let Princess know I didn’t think much of the excursion.  There was food on the boat, but wasn’t very hungry.  When we got back to the ship, in Colon, we grabbed some sandwiches from the International Cafe.  Had sailaway with Jessica and we went and grabbed some pizza by the pool for a late snack.  Tiring day –

Day 8 – Limon,  Costa Rica

Boat trip in Costa Rica
Boat trip in Costa Rica

We got up early to go to our shore excursion.  Scott sat this one out, since yesterday was so busy.  We went with Alice and her friends from Pittsburgh.  Jorge took us through the canals.  We saw lots of wildlife, including howler monkeys, two and three toed sloths, caymen, alligators, iguanas, frogs and lizards.  We ended up at Bonita Beach.  Jessica and I had some snacks and a couple of Imperial beers.   We had a delayed sailaway at Jessica’s.  One of the tour buses got stuck in traffic.  For dinner we ate in the dining room.  We all had spaghetti and meat balls – yummm!

Day 9 – Sea Day

Lazy day for me and Scott.  We had breakfast – an  omelet for me and French toast for Scott.  I did a load of laundry and the rest of the day was spent at the Sanctuary.  Formal night tonight.  We ate in the dining room with Jessica – everyone had the lobster.  Nice meal.

Day 10 – Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Rasta man!
Rasta man!

We had breakfast in the dining room.  Scott had pancakes and ham.  I had cereal.

We walked into town and did a little shopping.  We found Jessica and went to Margaritaville and had a couple of Mai-tai’s.  Yumm.  We also got an internet fix there.  We got drenched in a quick rain shower on the way to the ship. Back on the ship and we had lunch at Sabatini’s (Alfredo’s during the day).  Pizza was good.

Up to the Sanctuary.  The rain had stopped and we hung out until sailaway.  Got a little more rain so we went back to the cabin.

We had dinner at The Bayou Cafe again.  Scott had the porterhouse steak again, I had blackened chicken.

After dinner we went to watch the magician Alexander Great.  It was pretty good.  We went to the casino to get some cash for tips (I played a little, but didn’t win anything).

Day 11 – Sea Day

Our final full day on the ship.  Scott and I had breakfast in the dining room.  We went to the Sanctuary for a day of relaxation.  That’s pretty much what we did all day.  There was lots of sun, so we used a ton of sunblock.

We had lunch there – I had a yummy burger and fries and Scott, the beef and beet sandwich.  Of course we had Afternoon Tea also with the yummy scones.

Jessica came to our cabin for the sunset – it was our first really good sunset on the entire cruise.

Scott and I had dinner in the dining room.  We both had the turkey dinner and apple pie for desert.

We finished our packing and put the bags out for disembarking.

Back to Port Everglades

We (Scott) realized that we had the wrong color tags if we were to get Jessica to the airport on time.  He ran down to the desk last night and got us an earlier disembark time.  Our bags were waiting for us and as soon as we got to the pick up spot, our Park ‘n Go guys was there to pick us up.  No problems getting back to Naples.  We had lunch at Perkins and dropped Jessica off and headed home.  The new airport ramp was completed, so that was pretty cool to use.

Some thoughts on the cruise, as I filled out our evaluation.

  1. They did not handle the dinner crowds very well at the dining room.  Several nights we were backed up and had to stand in line for up to 1/2 hour or so.
  2. Loved the narrator guy for the Panama Canal. He also had shows on some of the ports.  He was very interesting.
  3. Loved our Sanctuary people – Anabel, Ramil, and Daryl. They worked their butts off for us and made sure we enjoyed our stay there

2 comments on “Panama Canal Cruise 2015Add yours →

  1. Just wondering if 5 cruise days are too many on an 11 day cruise. Haven’t done the Panama Canal cruise yet – but this looks like you just went in part way and did not take the ship all the way through…correct?

    1. Hey Mary –
      We love our cruise days, so we thought it was just fine. Yes, it was a partial transit of the canal. We took an excursion that brought us through to the Pacific. I wasn’t going to get that close and not finish the job! Thanks for stopping by – Kim

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