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Monday, February 28, 2022

Beginning Caribbean Cruise

Aloha Everyone,

The Enchanted Princess is the flagship of Princess Cruise Line.  Newer and bigger, we can see improvements, modifications and upgrades from other Princess ships. After the two of us passed COVID tests prior to boarding, we walked on board greeted by enthusiastic hand clapping by nearly two dozen staffers.

Our stateroom is located on Baja, the 11th floor. While our outdoor patio is smaller than the one we had on the Emerald Princess, the interior of our stateroom is roomier. J.J. and I also noted a more spacious bathroom and better appointments.

This evening’s entertainment featured Steve Morris, a comedian and vocalist with some very funny jokes directed to baby boomers. Very appropriate for the audience.

Marco Baguno, an enthusiastic cruise director, announced that the ship has approximately 2,000 passengers and 1,050 staff.  The number of passengers is about 50% of ship’s capacity.

J.J. and I celebrated our 3rd Princess cruise for 2022 with an ice cream treat.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Rodeway Inn at Port Everglades, FL

Aloha Everyone,

Even though our ship’s debarkation was delayed, with our Global Entry card, the US Customs & Immigration process was quick. Fortunately, Rodeway Inn shuttle just drove up as J.J. was trying to call them. There were 6 cruise ships at the pier including another Princess line.

Rodeway Inn is an old motel with an old motel layout. J.J. found and booked this place online for the following reasons:

Free shuttle service.
Free WiFi (unfortunately does not really work)
Free breakfast - juices, coffee or tea, eggs, baked goods, oatmeals & dry cereals, apples

There are a number of reasons why cruise industry is rebounding:

CDC’s loosening mask restrictions
People who have been cooped up in their homes or in their communities are ready for adventure
Some sectors of society have money to spend
Russian invasion of Ukraine is galvanizing especially Europeans

We shared our breakfast table with a couple from Tennessee. The wife commented, “I never dreamed of seeing two wars in my life time. WW2 and now this.”

Wherever you are, stay safe and be grateful and live your life peacefully.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Our Final Day on the Emerald Princess

Aloha Everyone,

Finally, we have calm seas and ideal conditions to pack up our suitcases. We left our two suitcases outside of our stateroom before going out for dinner.

Found out we don’t need to get antigen test prior to starting our next cruise. That would help us accomplish other things on our one day in Fort Lauderdale. Per the revised requirements of Princess Cruise line, we will be given antigen test prior to boarding the Enchanted Princess.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, February 25, 2022

Wrapping up our Panama Cruise

Aloha Everyone,

Cruising during the time of COVID, one has to be prepared for modifications and changes of itinerary and schedules. We are thankful to ship’s staffs and Captain Christopher B. Lye. Our Panama Cruise is concluding safely. Captain Lye used dry British humor to give daily briefings including the ship’s current position, history of our ports of calls, geography and significant points of interests mixed with his own personal experiences of visiting them.

Our meal selections have been wide and more multi-national. Today one of our servers was from Ukraine. She expressed her worries and anxieties while her country is under attack by Russia. Our sympathies and prayers that the current conflict will end swiftly in a matter acceptable to Ukrainians.

We acknowledge our stateroom attendant, Joel, from the Philippines. His cheerful demeanor is admirable. His normal workday begins 5:00 am or earlier and often does not end until near midnight.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Cartagena, Columbia

Aloha Everyone,

Turbulent sea interrupted our sleep. Took 1/2 tablet of Dramamine. I tried to join J.J. for breakfast, but the boat was rocking too much. Instead, I ate a couple of soda crackers and 1/2 cup of dry Special K with black tea and I called it my first meal for the day.

Disembarkation was easy. Ocean breeze helped a little even though heat and high humidity convinced us to limit today’s activity to remaining in the aviary located next to the port with paid access to WiFi.

Except for one section of the aviary, where they are caged, all birds are “visitors.” They hang around for free food, no predators, sheltered existence, a good life.

While JJ and I sat and used the paid WiFi to reach our family and friends, a juvenile white-faced monkey hopped on our table and made a begging gesture. Imagine this perfect photo opp which I had to let go.

We met fellow passengers who went on a tour of Old Town Cartagena. Uniform comments were that it was too hot, too humid to enjoy. Too bad. On our previous visit to Cartagena, our ship docked at a different pier where the beauty of the city, the magnificent Fortress of San Felipe laid immediately in front of our eyes.

As our ship pulled away from the shores of Cartagena, we were able to see a section of an old fortress.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Crossing the Panama Canal

Aloha Everyone,

Panama transit is the highlight for this cruise. Completed in 1914, the Panama Canal was one of the greatest achievements of mankind. Diseases, problems with engineering and finance, the French Canal Company gave up the project after 9 years and heavy losses including 25,000 lives.

Panama declared independence from Columbia in 1903. Today, Panama is a sovereign nation. The canal saves 8,000 miles for a ship traveling around South America and 12,000 miles for a ship traveling from New York to San Francisco.

Due to shipping congestion, the captain dropped anchor for about two hours in the middle of Gaton Lake, the largest freshwater man-made lake.

Carol & Fred are from Detroit, Michigan. We were seated next to each other and enjoyed an interesting conversation.

Transit fee for our ship is $525,000 which was passed onto the passengers.

Aloha -- Cathi