Because we’ve now transited the Panama Canal many times, it is no longer an all-attention-consuming event. We now tend to sleep our normal 8 hours rather than set the alarm to arise at the first light of day. We no longer have our noses plastered to the windows, or cameras attached to our hands, or layers of sunscreen to protect us from 8 hours of exposure to the sun.
Today, we awoke while sailing thru the first approach channel. I took some photos from our cabin as we transited the Gatun Locks. We ate lunch while sailing across Gatun Lake. At this moment in time, we are transiting the Miraflores Locks and will soon be on our way to Fuerte Amador, the port city for Panama City.
Please read the blog from 1/14/2018 for more photos and details.
Meanwhile, here are the photos taken from our cabin this morning:
Recently, I picked up the Fall 2018 issue of Milieu Magazine. This is the 5-year anniversary issue and is simply chock-full of interesting articles! One, in particular, captured my attention. It was in the travel section. Written by Charlotte Di Careaci with photography by Miguel Flores-Vianna, it transported me to the fall of 2015 and our very first visit to the amazing Greek island of Patmos!
Located in the Aegean Sea, Patmos is famous because John of Patmos, who wrote the Bible’s Book of Revelation, did so, here, sometime around 70AD. The cave where John received the Revelation is located between the capital city of Chora and the port city of Skala. The Cave of the Apocalypse is open to the public and has made Patmos a destination of pilgrimage. In 1999, Chora, the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian, and the Cave of the Apocalypse were all named UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Today, Patmos is a destination paradise for travelers seeking solitude, beautiful beaches, awesome mountain cliffs, amazing monasteries & convents & churches. Oh yes, the architecture is enchanting! We have visited the port city of Skala. Our short visit consisted of strolling the narrow streets, sipping coffee in welcoming outdoor cafes, shopping charming independent boutiques, savoring the seafood, and gazing, in admiration, upon the sites!
Reading this Milieu article took me back to that most pleasant port -of-call. We look forward to returning, someday! Meanwhile, I thank talented people like Ms. Careaci and Mr. Flores-Vianna for awakening the memories that bring the sights, smells, and emotions of travel back to the forefront!
I must confess, day 2 in Rotterdam was consumed by all things SS Rotterdam and Holland America Cruise Lines. We had ended Day 1 coming aboard, checking-in, dinner & drinks, and a little wandering through the public rooms before settling down in the cabin. We had a comfortable room: sitting area, desk space, king-size bed, TV with some English language programming, and a really nice curved-glass enclosed shower. We slept well under feather duvets with the porthole windows open to catch the breeze. But we did find the mattress to be hard as a board! This has been a problem that pops up frequently in European hotels. Could it be we’ve grown old, soft and stiff?
We awoke on day 2 to a bright, warm, sunny day. After breakfast on the outside Lido deck, we took the Engine Room Tour and then followed it up with the Bridge Tour and Ship’s Tour. Roger, of course, loved all the mechanical details; I was more interested in the history and design aspects. It was all fascinating!
Holland America Line has announced the sale of the MS Prinsendam to the German travel and cruise company, Phoenix Reisen. The Prinsendam has been chartered back to HAL and will continue its planned itinerary through July 1, 2019. At that time, Holland America will absorb the remaining Prinsendam voyages into those of the Rotterdam, Veendam and Volendam.
I’m writing this post because we have traveled aboard the Prinsendam many times and have a deep and enduring fondness for this unique ship. She is known as the “Elegant Explorer” for her classic style and intimate size (she carries a total of 835 passengers.) The Prinsendam can enter and explore ports that larger ships cannot.
We first sailed aboard the Prinsendam in October, 2009 to the Mediterranean and Black Seas (then repeated and expanded the experience in 2015); in 2011, and again in 2013, we sailed the Baltic Sea, North Sea and Kiel Canal; the most amazing cruise EVER was the South America and Antarctica adventure in 2014. Our last voyage aboard the Prinsendam was in 2015.
We were curious to see San Juan again. The 2017 Hurricane season was very damaging to Puerto Rico and the repairs are on-going! Ironically, just a few days ago, a contractor managed to knock down a critical power-line and wipe out the electricity! Happily, power was restored by the time we arrived and Old Town San Juan looked as lovely as ever! The buildings had been cleaned and many were newly painted. Although lots of street signs were missing, the overhead electric wires were firmly replaced and in working order; the roofs were repaired; everything was neat and clean!
This was our last port-of-call for the 2018 HAL World Cruise! We’ll be home in a few days and must now get busy packing up for the disembarkation! Thank you for joining us on this adventure. We love to hear from you as we travel; and it is our sincere hope you find these destinations as interesting as we do!