dennis s. hurddennis s. hurd

Monday, November 28, 2022

Learning More about Peru

Day 10 - This cruise has been pretty good so far as we get plenty of future port info during our free 'sea days'. We did attend one on Lima, Peru today. However, we won't really have much time to see the city of 11 million people. Our ship will get into port at around 4:30 pm tomorrow.
  Day 10 
We have plans off the ship for seeing Machu Picchu. In fact, our next port will sort of be a bucket list stop so we can fly up to the most visited site in Peru. 

Our group from the ship will depart on the morning of November 30. We'll spend two nights in Cusco, once the capital of the Inca empire. We have some sightseeing there. Next, we will take a very early train out the Urubamba River valley the very next morning and spend two or three hours at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

We'll then spend our second night back at the hotel. We get up at some unGodly hour to fly back to Lima and drive overland to meet our ship at the next port in Pisco on December 2nd. 

This cruise is an excellent way for us to get a taste of South America. As stated previously, although we have been to 70+ countries, we had never set foot south of Panama until a few days ago. We will be able to decide on places that might interest us for future, more thorough, exploration.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

A Day in Manta, Ecuador

Day 9 - This morning our ship stopped in Manta long before we were awake. We had no itinerary for this port, so right after breakfast, we walked from the cruise port terminal to the south. There was a big triathlon going on and some of the streets were closed for runners. We spotted the mall and stopped to buy superglue in the Mega-Maxi department store. Just as in Panama, Ecuador uses the US dollar as its currency.  You see, in Miami, the entire bottom of my left, Addidas runner fell off. Rather than throwing the pair away, I'll try a little adhesive.
  Day 9 
We didn't have a map and I'd forgotten to load the city in Google Maps before we disembarked. So we did a walk around that part of town.  This part of the city was up on a bit of a hill.
  Day 9

We went back out and ate lunch aboard as we knew our ship was staying until 6:30 pm.  So, later in the afternoon , we took the HAL shuttle to the Civic Plaza.  We walked across a pedestrian overpass to snap some photos in front of the M*A*N*T*A  sign.  It seems as though a lot of development is going on in town.

Day 9

We walk a lot on the Oosterdam as we're near the front and often visit the back.  The normal daily walking plus our two trips in town added up.  My watch says we walked over 11.8 kilometers today.  

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Pollywogs to Shellbacks

Day 8 - The elevator carpets in Holland America's Oosterdam clearly show that today is Saturday. That demonstrated the fact we boarded this ship one week ago! Already? It was a 'sea day' as we now head toward a port in Ecuador.   We enjoy hanging out onboard our ship between ports.

Day 8

Day 8

So although we don't actually cross into the southern hemisphere until midnight, it was a perfect day to commemorate that passage. We've noticed that the staff has been ramping up during this trip with new staff boarding at different stops. Many of these new folks have never crossed the equator, so needed to undergo a sort of hazing that often takes place in world Navies. 

The aft pool will have to be cleaned as new shellbacks removed the food-colouring-based paints that'd been poured over them. Much of the ship turned out to watch the antics.
  Day 8

Day 8

Friday, November 25, 2022

Panama City

Day 7 
Day 7 - We woke up at the cruise port in Panama City. (Just a note: It isn't completed yet.)  We needed to take a bus to the terminal or a bus that would take us downtown. We chose the free shuttle to the Multiplaza Mall. We remember much of the city from a trip of one week in 2018.  It is hot and humid here, more humid than we find comfortable.  We were scouting to find locations we might want to spend a winter; however, although interesting, Pamana City didn't tick the right boxes.  Today's visit was most definitely welcomed.
  Day 7 
However, I wanted to pick up some talcum powder and a mild soap bar. The cruise ship's liquid shower/body soap seems to give me a bit of a rash. Because of the port construction, our bus took a long time to get away. Getting the bus back to the ship also took much longer than expected.  We made it though.
  Day 7 
We did pull away before 5:00 pm and are now heading south towards Manta, Ecuador.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

A Shortcut from the Atlantic to the Pacific

Day 6 - We set the alarm early this morning. We didn't want to miss the first set of locks on the eastern side of the Panama Canal. The locks take ships up to the level of the man-made lake and saved a whole lot of digging prior to the canal's opening in 1914.
  Day 5 
Cruising the Panama Canal has been on our wishlists for a number of years. We thought we might end up on a re-positioning cruise from the Caribbean to our part of the continent at the beginning of an Alaskan cruise season. Luckily, instead, we were able to take this cruise for the start of winter in Argentina.
  Day 5

The trip took pretty much the whole day.  We weren't up until the first locks were within view.  We ended the canal shortly after taking the locks on the western side back down to the level of the Pacific near Panama City.   The time was after 5:00 pm.  Just four years ago, we saw them from the Visitor Center here.  

The weather was great today and some cloud cover kept things a bit cooler.  What an amazing feat of engineering back when my grandparents were born!

Day 5

We pulled into the cruise port near Panama City at around 7:30 pm and it was dark by then.  We will stay tonight and tomorrow night too.  We didn't take the bus into town tonight but instead met our tablemates for a traditional US Thanksgiving dinner in the dining hall.  

Tomorrow we will take a shuttle and see what's changed here since our last visit in 2018.  At the time we decided not to investigate a complete winter in Panama but we enjoyed this booming city nevertheless.  Tomorrow we will pick up some sundries. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Towards the Eastern Side of the Panama Canal

Day 5 - This morning we had to do our own COVID Antigen tests in the stateroom. Then, they were collected by the staff to ensure we were virus free.  We are.

We did note a room or two down at the end of our corridor where the folks had to pack bags. They must have been moving to a special, isolation stateroom until they test negative. Most one-week cruises no longer have any testing or restrictions. However, Holland America is still testing cruises of 15 days and longer. I assume they must follow the rules of the various ports at which the ship visits too.
  Day 4

After breakfast, we attended a brand-new presentation on the history of the Panama Canal as prep for tomorrow's transit from east to west.  This is the main stage where we attend shows in the evenings.  Last night we saw a 'mime/magician' in an odd but amazing act.  We will forgo the performance of the dance troop tonight as we've already seen Humanity a number of times on previous voyages.  

In addition, we had an initial 2:00 pm meeting for passengers taking the Overland Cusco & Machu Picchu Adventure.  This begins on December 1st but there were extra instructions and information provided today.  A total of 133 guests will be with us from the ship.

We've been going to the main dining hall every evening at 8 o'clock.  We will again tonight just because of the enjoyment of our tablemates.  We have Stan, an older Southern gentleman as well as the New Hampshire couple and their relatives formerly from Maine but now full-time Floridians.  

Tomorrow, I'm sure the ship will put on a big Thanksgiving dinner.  For the entire day, up to that point, we will be on deck watching the views along the Panama Canal.  We'll have two nights docked in Panama.  We already know our way around Panama City.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022


Day 3 
Day 4 - Yay! How exciting to see a tiny bit of a place we've never been to. We arrived in Aruba before we got out of bed. We had to be ready for an excursion pick-up at 9:45 am. So, we ate a leisurely breakfast in the Lido Marketplace.
  Day 3 
A bus brought us about 3 minutes to the other side of the cruise port and we then boarded a catamaran which brought us to the Atlantis submarine. It was a fantastic dive of 140 ft under the surface. We saw lots of different types of coral, thousands of fish, and deliberately sunken ships. The coral and fish seem to love their artificial refuge.
  Day 3

Day 3 
This seems like an interesting place that is administered by the Dutch. In fact, all citizens are granted citizenship of the Netherlands. This might be a fun place to return on a quick sun vacation someday. 

Our ship pulled away from the pier at around 4:45 pm.

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