Incan Empires Cruise with Holland America

 

We left Vernon at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 for the Kelowna Airport for our flight to San Diego and the beginning of our 30 Day Incan Empires Cruise with Holland America.  Vernon was 2 C with cloudy skies when we left home, the roads were clear but sloppy as it had rained earlier that morning.  Our good friend, Marjorie was at the Airport to wish us a safe journey.  The flight to Seattle departed on time with Seattle having 7 C under partly cloudy skies.  The continuation of our flight to San Diego also left on time and we arrived some 20 minutes earlier than scheduled.  San Diego was a much warmer 16 C upon arrival.  A short taxi ride to our hotel for check-in was followed by drinks and dinner.  We relaxed watching TV in our room before retiring.

 

The Web Sites I have provided are to enhance the attractions we enjoyed and provide more background for you … enjoy!

 

Throughout this journal the metric system will be a constant to record temperature, distance and the like.  For those not using our metric system, below is an abbreviated conversion table to the US system of measurement:

 

Temperature                                                    Speed

 

20 C  =  68 F                                                    20 knots  =   23 mph

23 C  =  73 F                                                    90 knots  =  103 mph

25 C  =  77 F

27 C  =  81 F

29 C  =  84 F

30 C  =  86 F

32 C  =  90 F

 

Thursday, February 2

 

This was a day to ourselves as we had arrived a day early for our cruise not wanting to chance missing our departure due to bad weather back home.

Both of us had a restful sleep and awoke to clear skies and sunshine.  Richard took a long walk along the harbour and back at the hotel relaxed and did some people watching.  Anita read off and on during the day.  The temperature reached 21 C for the day’s high.

 

Friday, February 3

 

We awoke to clear skies and sunshine.  Our ship had arrived sometime earlier that morning and the first announcement from the ship Richard heard was at 6:30 a.m.  The boarding process was set to begin at 1 p.m. and we arrived early to avoid the long line ups.  Check-in was fast --- we were done by 12:30 p.m. but had to wait until 2:20 p.m. to board the ship.  We encountered a 35 minute delay on the walkway to the ship before gaining access to our stateroom.  First order of business for Richard was to reaffirm our early dining as our card showed us to be with the open dining option … not what our boarding pass had signified.  We ended up with our early fixed dining option at a table for 4 and not 8 as was first signified.  We later learned there were some 270 passengers onboard continuing on with us from the Hawaii cruise just ended and so assumed that was the reason for us not getting the early fixed dining option as first choice.  We had the mandatory fire drill at 4:15 p.m. before our scheduled 5 p.m. sail away.  In the Ocean Bar after, Anita and I met our friend, Dave from Port Alberni whom we knew was on this same cruise.  Drank a toast to our cruise mates from our last cruise who had not chosen to sail on this cruise with us.  At dinner later our table mates were a no-show.  We did join another nearby table of 8 as they too were short of guests.  At 9:30 p.m. we attended the first evening show in the Showroom at Sea that saw all members of the cast introduced.  The show was short, only 20 minutes long.  Clocks were advanced one hour tonight.

 

Our ship, the Rotterdam, 780 feet in length, carries 1,341 passengers plus a crew of 589 and has a maximum speed of 25 knots.  She has ten decks, served by 12 elevators. 

Onboard facilities include a pool and hot tubs, 6 bars, casino, gymnasium, greenhouse spa, medical centre, photo gallery and retail stores.  Entertainment is offered nightly in the Showroom At Sea and the Wajang Theatre offers daily movies.  Onboard dining is in the La Fontaine Dining Room, while buffet meals are provided in the Lido Restaurant.  The Terrace Grill also serves lunch and Canaletto offers Italian at dinner. The Pinnacle Grill offers an elegant, sophisticated dining experience featuring premium Sterling Silver beef, inspired seafood dishes and many select wines.

 

Saturday, February 4

 

Our first night at sea provided calm seas and we awoke to a clear and sunny sky.  We sat with a couple who had been on our last Holland America cruise 3 years ago at our first breakfast.  They lived in New York.  The second couple at our table were Aussies from Queensland, near Brisbane.  We learned that our ship had previously been under Code Red for some time coming from Hawaii to San Diego.  After breakfast it didn’t take long for both of us to begin our onboard ship routine with Richard doing his morning one hour walk on the promenade deck and Anita off to the library to read.  Tonight’s Dress:  Formal, the first of eight such nights.  The Ocean Bar again offered Happy Hour from 4 to 5 p.m. daily which Anita and Richard attended daily.  However, Happy Hour no longer offered drinks 2 for 1, instead now its buy 1 drink and receive the next 1 for $1.   Entertainment in the Showroom at Sea was an evening of dance featuring CJ Blair & Veronika Chernyavska.  After the Show and before retiring we spend time in the Ocean Bar listening to The Neptunes and watching the dancers on the dance floor.  We also enjoyed the Adagio Strings in the Explorer’s Lounge.

 

Sunday, February 5

 

We awoke to sunshine and clear skies.  At 10 a.m. we were at anchor off Cabo San Lucas just off the southern tip of Baja, California.  This was our first use of tenders to go ashore on this cruise.  As we’d been here numerous times in the past we had no plans on going ashore.  We enjoyed a leisurely day as Richard took some photos with his new camera, did his daily walk and enjoyed some warm sunshine on the outer decks.  The temperature reached 22 C during the afternoon.  After dinner we attended the evening show, “Love, Broadway” that saw the cast sing many familiar old tunes.  In the Ocean Bar we chatted with our friends, Dave and Doreen and Bruce and Annette, the couple they were travelling with.  Clocks were advanced one hour tonight.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Cabo San Lucas                     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabo_San_Lucas

 

 

 

Monday, February 6

 

Skies were mostly cloudy when Richard first opened the curtains today.  In port at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico today, another place we’ve often visited on prior vacations.  Richard did plan to take a short stroll onshore.  At the conclusion of breakfast the sun had returned and it was noticeably warmer, 22 C at 9:30 a.m.  By afternoon the clouds reappeared and there was far less sun.  Entertainment was from Elliott Maxx and was good.  We’d seen him on an previous cruise.

 

Hereunder is the Guest Nationality Breakdown for the first half of our cruise.  The Front Office no longer supplied actual passenger counts, only percentages, so the listing has been calculated based on the total passenger count assuming no vacancies.

 

Nationality

Percentage

Total Count

 

 

 

Australia

1

14

Canada

20

268

England

5

67

Netherlands

3

40

United States

70

938

Other

[China, Denmark,

Germany,

Italy, Turkey,

Sylvania, Ukraine]

1

14

 

 

 

Total:

 

1,341

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Puerto Vallarta                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto_Vallarta

 

Tuesday, February 7

 

Day 5 of the cruise and a day at sea.  We awoke to overcast and dark skies while the outside temperature remained warm and pleasant.  Richard and Anita followed what, by now, had become their regular daily routine.  Happy Hour drinks were served in Dave and Doreen’s stateroom together with their friends, Bruce and Annette.  We enjoyed George Solomon as our evening entertainer.  He’s another we’d previously seen and truly enjoyed.  More good conversation was shared in the Ocean Bar afterwards before retiring.

 

Wednesday, February 8

 

This was our second sea day in a row and the early morning provided partly cloudy skies.  Tonight’s Dress:  Formal.  We did not vary our daily routine and the temperature reached 26 C today.  Onboard the ship on a daily basis a number of talks and workshops are offered / scheduled and from time to time we attend those that interest us.  Acclaimed pianist Tian Jiang performed tonight and his music was outstanding.  Good conversations with our 4 Canadian friends in the Crow’s Nest while listening to old tunes concluded our day.

 

Thursday, February 9

 

In port at Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala today.  We had sunshine upon waking this morning.  We participated in our first shore excursion, “The Best of Antigua” for some 8 hours taking up our entire day.  Driving to Antigua, a World Heritage Site, we passed through countryside of coastal cattle and sugar farms that changed to volcanic landscapes aw we approached the city.  Walking the cobble streets in the city was quite difficult.  Lunch was served at Casa Santo Domingo, a restored convent that now houses a five-star hotel and cultural center.  Richard really gave his new camera a workout , experimenting with more inside shots with and without the flash. The weather was good and we drove through a brief rain storm coming back to the ship.  Tonight’s entertainment, “Livewire” , husband and wife, offered Irish and Celtic music which was quite enjoyable.  Our visit to the Ocean Bar was short as attendance was poor.  We watched some TV in our stateroom before lights out.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Puerto Quetzal            http://www.7blueseas.com/destinations/port.asp?pid=171&rid=18

 

Antigua                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antigua_Guatemala

 

Friday, February 10   

 

Today in Nicaragua, we’re in port at Corinto.  Morning arrived with sunny and warm as we made our way to breakfast.  Research had told us that this port offered little to see so chose not to go ashore.  The beaches around the community were undeveloped and not ideal for swimming or sunbathing.  Accordingly, we followed our established routine of exercise, enjoying the sun up at The Retreat and reading.  Tonight’s entertainment was Variety Showtime featuring Elliott Maxx, Livewire and George Solomon, all back with new material.  Clocks were advanced one hour tonight.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Corinto                         http://www.nicaragua.com/chinandega-region/corinto/

 

Saturday, February 11

 

It was sunny and hot today with 30 C at 1 p.m.  It’s now Day 9 of our cruise and a day at sea.  Richard attended 2 seminars on future port destinations, “Things to See and Do in Panama” and “Things to See and Do in Peru”, both presentations given by Travel Guide Lisa.  The Shore Excursions for Fuerte Amador, Panama, a 2 day stay, were too costly and ones we’d seen on a prior cruise through the Panama Canal and involved a lot of walking which Anita could not do.  As a result we chose not to use the tender procedure required to go ashore on Sunday.  In Peru we are scheduled to be there for 4 days in total so will do some excursions that will need to be booked. 

The Canadian, headline news of events in Canada is again available at various locations on the ship as is the American version, Times Digest, eight pages of headline news from the pages of The New York Times, and versions for England, Germany and the Netherlands.  This allowed us to keep abreast of major events and weather.

Tonight’s Dress:  Formal.  This evening, “It Takes Two” presented by the Stars of the Showroom at Sea was our live entertainment.  Afterwards a visit to the Ocean Bar brought our day to an end.

 

Sunday, February 12

 

We awoke to another sunny morning and were at anchor in Fuerte Amador, Panama by the time breakfast had concluded.  As mentioned earlier we chose not to go ashore.  The high reached some 28 C today.  As we’re in port the daily presentations one might attend were limited and the Dining Room closed at lunch leaving only the Lido available for food during the noon hour.  Richard did take numerous photos of the many ships at anchor near us awaiting passage on the Canal.  There was no live entertainment this evening, instead a movie which we chose not to attend.  We listened to the Adagio Strings in the Explorer’s Lounge then later in the Crow’s Nest enjoyed Big Band tunes before retiring.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Fuerte Amador, Panama                     http://www.whatsinport.com/Fuerte-Amador.htm

 

Monday, February 13

 

On our second day here at Panama we awoke to just another fine sunny morning.  Again, no plans on going ashore and so spent a leisurely day mostly on the outer decks.  Craig Diamond, master magician & funny guy, was our live entertainment this evening.  In the Crow’s Nest we later enjoyed Karaoke before returning to our stateroom and bed.

 

Tuesday, February 14 – Valentine’s Day

 

It was yet another sunny and clear morning when the curtains were first opened this morning.  Day 1 of 2 scheduled sea days and the sea conditions remained calm as they had been since leaving San Diego.  At noon, 26 C was the temperature.  Trivia is held after lunch on sea days and Richard does attend in the Crow’s Nest.  On days in port the time changes with Trivia being on at 4 p.m. which conflicts with our Happy Hour time.  We were invited to share Happy Hour with friends, Dave and Doreen in their stateroom today.  In total there were 6 of us including Bruce and Annette.  Tonight’s Dress:  Formal.  Arriving for dinner tonight, each lady was given a red rose.  Alfreda Gerald sang a Tribute to the Divas in the Showroom tonight.  We closed out our day with a visit first to the Ocean Bar then in The Mix listening to Piano Man Buddy all the while enjoying good conversation with our friends from home.

 

Wednesday, February 15

 

This second day at sea in a row we awoke to a mixture of sun and cloud in the morning.  We are due to cross the Equator sometime today.  This morning all staterooms received a Health Notice memo advising that due to an increase in the number of gastrointestinal illness [GIS] cases the ms Rotterdam was Code Red status.  This meant changes in routine for guests and servers alike:

n  salt & pepper shakers no longer appeared on dining room tables, servers offered us packets of same;

n  baskets of bread and trays of butter no longer appeared on dining room tables; servers offered guests just one bread item and served the butter patties;

n  tea was made and poured by the servers as one no longer received a tea pot;

n  food in the Lido Restaurant was put behind cellophane barriers, not to be touched by guests but served to us by staff;

n  the self-serve Laundry was closed;

n  in the men’s washrooms the individual rolled towels had been replaced with paper towels;

n  in the Library, books available for loan were locked up behind “cages” … should one want to take out a book the attendant would unlock that section and secure the book requested … passengers could not touch the books directly.

At 2 p.m. 25 C was the temperature.  Brett Cave, singer, was tonight’s entertainment.  Unlike our previous Red Code experience on our Panama Canal cruise in 2009 we did continue to receive the serving of our nightly chocolates in our stateroom.  We closed out our day spending some time in the Ocean Bar after the live show.

 

Thursday, February 16

 

Today here we are in Peru for our very first visit!  We awoke to cloudy skies and enjoyed room service for our breakfast as we had an early departure for our shore excursion, “Mochican Culture, Trujillo Highlights & Huanchaco” .  We visited Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luma – the temples of the Sun and Moon respectively – at the Mochica archaeological site on the northern coast of Peru.  In Trujillo we visited the main square,

and the colonial house of the Urquiarga family before enjoying Peruvian food at a local restaurant in the fishing village of Huanchaco.  We then stroled the beach taking photos of the unique reed boats.  Next it was on to see the remains of Citadel of Chan Chan – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the stunning ancient capital of the ancient Chimu Empire.  It was a long day but just a great tour and returning late to the ship our Happy Hour was an abbreviated one.  Phil Hughes, ventriloquist, entertained us after dinner and afterwards, as we were all tired, time spent in the Crow’s Nest was brief before we retired.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Trujillo, Peru                             http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trujillo,_Peru

 

Huaca del Sol, Peru                 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huaca_del_Sol

 

Huaca de la Luma, Peru          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huaca_de_la_Luna

 

Chan Chan, Peru                     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chan_Chan

 

Friday, February 17

 

The ship’s fog horn sounded numerous times after we retired last evening and then again this morning as it was very foggy when we first awoke.  At 10 a.m. we were due in port at Callo [Lima] Peru.  Our stay here in Lima is for 3 days.  Certain restrictions imposed earlier under the Red Code were lifted this morning … the laundry was open again as was the swimming pool on the Lido Deck with restrictions in the Lido Restaurant to remain in place for a few more days.  All was back to normal in the dining room at breakfast and in the public washrooms around the ship.  We received our first statement of onboard charges for the past 2 weeks this morning.  Here’s a new twist, and the first we’d ever encountered on a cruise … due to the dense fog the port was closed and we had to anchor for 1 hour before the fog abated and we could dock!  Richard went ashore with the others from home to see what was available for tours as the shore excursions offered onboard were not acceptable to us.  After lunch 5 of us [Anita stayed on the ship] took the free shuttle into town and then by taxi to the Indian Market for a walk through.  A taxi then returned us to the free shuttle pickup location and our return to the ship.  After dinner, “Variety Showtime” featured Brett Cave, Craig Diamond and Alfreda Georald for our evening entertainment in the Showroom at Sea.  Back in the Ocean Bar plans for our Saturday outing were discussed and finalized.

 

Saturday, February 18

 

This is our second day here in Lima, the largest and capital city of Peru and the skies were cloudy upon waking.  Anita developed diarrhea during the night and had spent an most uncomfortable night.  Richard, of course, did not get a good night’s sleep.  Anita did not accompany us on our planned outing today as she was confined to our stateroom.  The 5 of us engaged a van and visited the ruins of Pachacamac.  The drive to and from the site was in traffic similar to what Anita and Richard had experienced in Cairo, Egypt … road laws and stop signs were ignored, horns sounded often and we witnessed a number of near accidents as vehicles passed extremely close to one another.  Here no one follows the designated lanes, if 4 lanes are marked out there could be 6 or 7 lanes of traffic in one direction!  Our drive took us, in part, on a toll section of the Pan-American Highway.  We first encountered clouds and fog off the ship but driving to our venue the clouds lifted, the sun came out and the morning was warm.  It was a most enjoyable outing and Richard found the scenery at the ruins very similar to that in Egypt  Back onboard the ship Anita had a visit from the nurse, had her blood pressure and temperature taken – all normal with the request that she remain in her stateroom until noon on Sunday assuming no more bouts of diarrhea.  She had to complete and return a questionnaire on the food she had consumed for the 3 meals today all courtesy of room service in the stateroom.  Richard attended Happy Hour and dinner by himself … Anita’s was missed by everyone!  This evening, a Peruvian Folkloric Show, “Magic Peru” was our live entertainment offering but with only 1 show at 9:30 p.m. and Richard did not attend.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Callao, Peru                 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callao

 

Lima, Peru                   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lima

 

Pachacamac               http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachacamac

 

Sunday, February 19

 

This is our third and final day in Lima and 4:30 p.m. was our scheduled sail away time.  As we had lost and gained new passengers while in Lima a mandatory emergency fire drill was held at 4:445 p.m.  This morning a scattering of cloud greeted us when the curtains were first opened.  We had no plans on going ashore today.  At noon Anita joined Richard for lunch in the dining room, a nice change for her after 2 days of confinement in our stateroom since becoming ill.  All the staff we associated with were glad to see her up and about again, as was Richard.  This evening, Shirley Dominguez performed on the electric harp for us.  While her playing was good, music from the traditional harp still remained better, at least that was Richard’s opinion.  A short visit to the Ocean Bar with our friends after the live show concluded our day.

 

Monday, February 20

 

The first partly cloudy morning we’ve encountered and there may be showers later in the day.  A sea day and, of course, Tonight’s Dress:  Formal.  This morning was laundry day and this served to change our daily routine somewhat.  The clouds did burn off to leave a sunny day … 25 C during the noon hour.  The seas remain calm as we begin our return journey to San Diego.  After dinner, the Stars of the Showroom at Sea presented “Dinner Belles” for our enjoyment.  The music of Elvis Presley was then enjoyed in the Crow’s Nest followed by time at The Mix listening to Piano Man Buddy before retiring.

 

Tuesday, February 21

 

We awoke to find us in Ecuador for the first time ever, Guayaquil, Ecuador.  It is the largest and most populated city in Ecuador and is located on the western bank of the Guayas River, which flows into the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Guayaquil.  A cloudy morning with no plans for us going ashore.  Despite the clouds the air temperature was extremely warm.  During Happy Hour that afternoon we experienced a rain shower and some lightning.  The entertainer, Kuba, was on stage this evening.  We’d seen him on a previous cruise and again he put on a great performance.  Afterwards and before retiring, in the Ocean Bar, we discussed our plans for going ashore in the morning.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Guayaquil, Ecuador                             http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guayaquil

 

Wednesday, February 22

 

We arrived in Manta, Ecuador while having breakfast in the dining room.  We again had cloudy skies this morning and during the docking process we were able to watch a huge fish boat unload tuna onto waiting trucks.  When leaving the ship to take the free shuttle into Manta a light rain was falling.  In Manta we walked the streets and a nearby market in the rain.  With the rain falling photo ops were limited.  The air temperature was 25 C and by noon Anita and Richard were back onboard having lunch in the Lido Restaurant.  The other 4 remained on shore and returned later.  The afternoon turned sunny and very warm.

On a previous cruise mention was made about the older ages of guests onboard.  On our current cruise this held true and the age limit was even greater ranging from 85 – 95 years of age.  The average age was 77 on this cruise.  As well, there are a number of vastly obese men and an extremely large number of disabled guests onboard, in scooters, in wheel chairs and many using canes, sometimes two canes to get around.  Kimika in Concert, a night of music and fun, was the live entertainment offering in the Showroom tonight.  Visits to both the Crow’s Nest and The Mix closed out the day for us.

 

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Manta, Ecuador                       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manta

 

Thursday, February 23

 

A sea day and party cloudy skies greeted us this morning.  Last night at 9:45 p.m. we crossed over the Equator.  Each guest received a “Crossing The Equator Certificate” today.  As the morning progressed the sunshine returned and 25 C was the noon hour temperature.     Nadia Zaitsev, pianist, provided us our live entertainment this evening.  We spent time in both the Ocean Bar and The Mix before retiring to our stateroom.  Clocks were turned back one hour tonight.

 

Friday, February 24

 

In port today at Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica.  This is the port for Puntarenas, the capital and largest city in the province.  The tender procedure needed to be used to go ashore.  Again we took advantage of room service for our breakfast as our shore excursion called for an 8:45 a.m. departure time.  We booked the “Eco Tropical Mangrove River Cruise” … our second time doing this cruise.  We had partly cloudy skies first thing this morning and our departure was delayed somewhat so that at 10 a.m. when we got off the tender it was hot … 35 C .  The 2 hour cruise along the Guacalillo estuary & the Tarcoles river this time had lower water levels and we were able to see numerous birds and some crocodiles, the crocodiles so camouflaged that the photos taken may not turn out.  We saw termite mounds hanging from trees, not built on the ground … this due to the rains, we were told.  In our group was a 95 year old gentleman.  After the cruise he was ill from the extreme heat and on the coach ride back he vomited a number of times. 

We were over an hour late leaving port this afternoon due to a medical emergency that saw an ambulance take someone away.  This was not the first time for this to occur on this cruise as we’d seen at least 2 other similar situations, all due, we believe, to the older ages of the onboard guests.

No live entertainment was scheduled tonight.  We opted to watch the movie presentation of “Water for Elephants” and afterwards in The Mix learned that the ship was under Code Red for a second time due to illness.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica                 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puntarenas

 

Tarcoles River                                     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C3%A1rcoles_River

 

Saturday, February 25

 

A Health Notice advising us of the Code Red designation we had learned of last night was delivered to all staterooms early this morning.  Today is a sea day and we awoke to sunny skies this morning.  This afternoon we received back our Passports that we’d had to give up at the time of boarding back in San Diego.  At 1 p.m. the air temperature read 26 C under sunny skies.  Tonight’s Dress:  Formal.  The Stars of the Showroom at Sea performed “Unforgettable” which consisted of many old and familiar tunes – a good production.  Visits to the Ocean Bar and The Mix to hear Piano Man Buddy ended our day.

Sunday, February 26

 

We’re in Puerto Chiapas, Mexico today.  Sunshine and very warm this morning as Richard went ashore to take photos.  We’d been here before so had nothing planned onshore.  George Sakellariou, guitar virtuoso, was our entertainment headliner tonight.  Musical offerings in the Bars were not to our liking this evening so we returned to our stateroom to watch a little TV before retiring.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Puerto Chiapas, Mexico                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_of_Chiapas

 

Monday, February 27

 

We’re in port at Huatulco, Mexico for an extended stay until 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday.  Clear skies and sunshine greeted us this morning.  We’d been here before and visited many of the nine bays this tourist destination offers so we did not go ashore.  The air temperature had reached 27 C at noon.  Dolores Park, a singer, provided our live entertainment this evening.  We closed out our day with a visit first to the Ocean Bar then in The Mix listening to Piano Man Buddy all the while enjoying good conversation with our friends from home.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Huatulco, Mexico                                 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huatulco

 

Tuesday, February 28

 

A day at sea and glorious sunshine greeted Richard on his daily walk this morning.  While at breakfast we passed through a large school of dolphins and had the same pleasant experience during our noon dining when 28 C was the temperature.  Also while enjoying lunch an announcement was made lifting our Code Red status and by dinner time most everything had returned to normal.  Tonight’s Dress:  Formal.  Dan Bennett performed comedy for us tonight.  We again closed our evening spending time in both the Ocean Bar and The Mix.

 

Wednesday, February 29

 

Zihuatanejo, Mexico, the authentic Mexican village near the oceanfront resort of Ixtapa is where we are on Day 27 of our cruise.  Our first time here and Richard utilized the tender procedure to go ashore for photos.  This he did while enjoying the warm sunshine once more.  Back on the ship he took more photos while on the promenade deck.  That afternoon, Happy Hour was enjoyed in Dave & Doreen’s stateroom with our Canadian friends.  Variety Showtime tonight featured new material presented by Dan Bennett, George Sakellariou and Dolores Park followed by a visit to the Ocean Bar prior to a return to our stateroom for a restful sleep.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Zihuatanejo, Mexico                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zihuatanejo

 

Thursday, March 1

 

In port at Manzanillo, Mexico today … our last port on our cruise before returning to San Diego!  It was a cloudy morning when we woke up.  Richard went ashore to take photos there and more once back on the ship.  By 11 a.m. the clouds were gone and the sun had returned to give us an pleasant afternoon.  Jay White, recreating Neil Diamond, was great as our entertainer tonight.  Visits to the Ocean Bar to enjoy music from The Neptunes and The Mix to enjoy Piano Man Buddy concluded our day.  Clocks were turned back one hour tonight.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Manzanillo, Mexico                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manzanillo,_Colima

 

Friday, March 2

 

This is the first of two consecutive sea days as we return to San Diego and the end of this cruise.  The Mariner Society Brunch has been scheduled for today.  We awoke to partly cloudy skies this morning and expect it will be a cooler day with 21 C at noon and too cool for sitting on the outer decks.  Tonight’s Dress:  Formal – our last one!  The Stars of the Showroom at Sea presented “Amore” tonight … one of their best performances on this cruise.  Once more our day ended with visits to both the Ocean Bar and The Mix.  Clocks were turned back one hour tonight.

 

Saturday, March 3

 

This is the last full day of our cruise and we received notice from the Captain of complimentary cocktails tonight from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. – a thank you for the cooperation given with special procedures during this voyage.  Overnight we had experienced some wind and resulting ship movement, the first really noticeable on this cruise.  It was just a gentle rocking, nothing of great concern.  There were clear skies when we awoke today.  Walking to breakfast it was 18 C at 8 a.m.  A disembarkation meeting was held at 10 a.m. and packing was done after lunch.  That afternoon at 5 p.m. turnout for the free drinks was huge … many turned up whom we’d not seen before on this cruise!  We enjoyed one last live show presentation, “Laurent & the HALCats” then spent time in the Ocean Bar saying farewell  to staff and fellow passengers we’d gotten to know this past 30 days.  Back in our stateroom we found the Cruise Log, a summary of our voyage, waiting for us.

 

Sunday, March 4

 

We awoke early to await our call to visit Customs.  Our scheduled time to leave the ship was 10:30 a.m. --- late as we had no flight to catch.  We planned to overnight in San Diego then fly home on Monday.  There was a delay with Customs and we were a good 1 hour late before being called.  Once again a number of guests refused to comply with a visit to Customs when called upon causing a delay for those wishing to disembark the ship early.  We left the ship at our appointed time and onshore found San Diego to be enjoying brilliant sunshine with 27 C the forecasted high.  As expected our rooms were not ready upon arrival at the Holiday Inn and we waited until 2:30 p.m. to gain access.  Internet was free at the Hotel so Richard made use of it to send greetings to family and friends … the first such contact since leaving home the first of February.  We ate a leisurely lunch outside enjoying the fine weather, thoroughly enjoying the time which was so different after the past 30 days on the ship.  Later that afternoon we enjoyed drinks and dinner outside remembering recent times in Australia where we did the same.

 

Monday, March 5

 

Enjoyed the free breakfast the Hotel offered then at 8 a.m. took the free shuttle to the airport to await our flight home that was due to depart at 10 a.m.  The morning had high overcast skies with only 21 C the expected high later that day.  So glad our Sunday had been sunny and warm!  Our flight left on time and we had a somewhat “bumpy” descent into Seattle where at 1 p.m. they had partly cloudy skies, 6 C and windy.  We had ample time for lunch before our connecting flight to Kelowna.  We arrived in Kelowna to partly cloudy skies at 5 p.m. and 3 C for a temperature.  Cleared Customs just fine although the officer couldn’t believe that we had not made any purchases while we had been away.  We were met in the lounge by both our neighbour, Alice who had agreed to drive us back to Vernon and our good friend, Marjorie who was there for the same purpose.  In San Diego I had emailed both ladies to saying that we’d accept Alice’s offer to drive us home even though we had first asked Marjorie to do so.  Marjorie lives in Kelowna and so would have to return home after driving us to Vernon.  Apparently Marjorie’s computer was down and she did not get my message.  She was pleased to see us and not upset with the change in plans.  We were home in our Vernon apartment by 7 p.m. after having had dinner at a local restaurant with Alice.

 

Conclusions

 

This was our third cruise with Holland America.  We were extremely pleased with our ship, the ms Rotterdam and all that was available to us during our 30 day cruise.  The voyage down to Lima, Peru proved more interesting than the return trip mainly due to us having previously visited many of the ports on prior cruises.  Weather conditions were great and we certainly enjoyed our “escape” from the Canadian winter.  During the month away, Richard read 3.5 books and Anita read 1.5 books … this on top of all the other activities available to us while onboard the ship.  We enjoy what Holland America offers and so have booked a cruise for January 2013 giving us almost a full year to plan and dream!

 

Cruise Log:   Friday, February 3, 2012

                        Depart San Diego, 5:54 p.m.

                        Sunday, March 4, 2012

                        Arrive San Diego, 6:00 a.m.

 

Ports

Mileage

Average

Speed

 

 

 

San Diego – Cabo San Lucas

741.1

19.25

Cabo San Lucas – Puerto Vallarta

295.8

19.08

Puerto Vallarts – Puerto Quetzal

1,025.0

17.52

Puerto Quetzal – Corinto

226.6

17.43

Corinto – Fuerte Amador

736.9

19.14

Fuerte Amador – Trujillo

1,113.1

17.81

Trujillo - Callao

272.0

18.13

Callao - Guayaquil

662.5

20.08

Guayaqui - Manta

165.9

12.76

Manta – Puerto Caldera

694.5

18.04

Puerto Caldera –Puerto Chiapas

572.4

15.68

Puerto Chiapas – Huatulco

223.0

17.84

Huatulco - Zihuatanejo

357.0

15.39

Zihuatanejo -Manzanillo

200.0

14.81

Manzanillo – San Diego

1,134.7

18.60

 

 

 

Total Distance

8,420.5

 

 

1 Nautical Mile = 1.155 Statute miles = 1.85 Kilometer