Panama 2008

Fort Lauderdale, FL

16 March 2008

Fort Lauderdale General Information

At Sea

17 March - 18 March


Fort Lauderdale Map

Photographs and Commentary
click on pictures to enlarge

16 March

This morning we left the Lowitz home at about 11am and headed for Port Everglades where Mel and I left Susie and Fran with the luggage and headed to the airport to drop off the rental car. By the time Mel and I got back to the ship, Fran and Susie were in the cabins and were unpacking our clothing. Shortly after we arrived onboard, we got together with some of the couples traveling with us and began the eating ritual that is a major part of cruising.

Next came the "lifeboat drill." We didn't actually go anywhere near any lifeboat in this drill. The signal blew indicating an emergency, we grabbed our life vests and headed for the muster station. Our muster station was in the Wheelhouse Lounge. Crew members instructed us in how to put on the vests and told us what to do in a real emergency. I think a higher percentage of the passengers listened to the instruction compared to the one or two people that listen on a plane.

Once we were out of Port Everglades we began to relax and spent some time watching the Florida coast disappear in the mist.


March 16th 2008, Port Everglades, Florida USA

With all passengers and crew on board, we let go our mooring lines at 17:04, and the Captain manoeuvred the ship off the berth. We then swung the ship's bow to port and headed for the exit channel. At 17:28 once clear of the harbour we disembarked the pilot, that assisted us on the Bridge leaving the berth, and after that a southeasterly heading was set into the "Straits of Florida" and then south towards the "Santaren Channel" just north of Cuba.

Ships at the exit of Port Everglades

A line of cruise ships departing Port Everglades. Four ships pulled out ahead of us. As we passed the apartment houses in the background, the ship saluted the tenants with blasts of the horn. People were lined up on some of the balconies waving at us.

Ft Lauderdale from Port

Downtown Fort Lauderdale seen beyond the cranes. The Caribbean Princess is the last ship to leave the port.

Intercoastal Waterway

Passing the Intercoastal Waterway. Hollywood is in the background.
Traffic was so heavy that a police boat was holding up the small pleasure boats to avoid collisions with the cruise ships.

Hollywood/Miami in the mist

Hollywood and Northern Miami disappearing in the mist

group relaxing on deck

Some of our group of friends relaxing as we depart Port Everglades

17 March

Life at sea is tough... You get up and eat. You sit in the sun all day reading, listening to music and eating. At night you eat, get entertained and go to sleep. Well, that is a bit of oversimplification. There are numerous activities beyond those mentioned above to keep a person busy and fit. The gym has workout equipment for those who want to keep in shape. For those that don't want to sweat (perspire for the more cultured), you can walk the deck. There are promenades on the deck where a little less than 3 times around is a mile. This is done in the fresh air with a brisk breeze pushing you or offering resistance.Of course, there are a number of pools, including one that is limited to adults. There are courses one can take on computers, digital photography, pottery (reminds me too much of summer camp) and other crafts. Then there is the shopping.


March 17th 2008, At Sea

Throughout the night a southerly track was maintained until we entered the "Old Bahama Channel" where we navigated for the whole day with the Cuban north coast on our starboard side and the "Great Bahama Bank" on the port side.

Noon Position: 21°38'.6N 0760 29'.7W

Temperature: 25.5°C/78°F

Wind: North Easterly Beaufort Force 6

Barometer: 1021.7 hPa

Weather Conditions: . Partly Cloudy.

Just after 21.00pm we reached the eastern tip of Cuba and entered the "Winward Passage" between Cuba and Haiti.

Fran and Mel's Picture

Taking in the sun... but not too much

18 March

As I got up this morning, I noticed that the seas were a bit rougher than they had been yesterday. My morning workout was on a treadmill that was oriented along the long axis of the ship. I didn't really think about the rolling motion until I noticed that I was walking on the treadmill like a drunken sailor and could not walk a straight line. By the time I finished my workout, the rolling motion of the ship increased. By late morning the swimming pools were closed because they resembled wave pools gone berserk. Anyone attempting to swim would be dashed against the sides and, quite likely, hurt. I also noticed more than a few people looking a bit green and more people wearing patches to prevent sea sickness.

A few of us signed up for a wine tasting seminar this afternoon. Two of our friends figured that drinking wine would not make them feel any better and dropped out of the event. It was an interesting event where five wines were presented for tasting.

Tonight was the first formal night in the dining room and the captain's reception cocktail hour.


March 18th 2008, At Sea

During the early hours in the morning we maintained a south-west track and, once clear of the Haiti west coast, we altered our course southeast through the Caribbean Sea toward Aruba.

Noon Position: 16° 29'.8N 073° 15'.OW

Temperature: 26 °C/79°F

Wind: Easterly Beaufort Force 6

Barometer: 1018.2 hPa

Weather Conditions: Sunny & Fine.

heavy seas in the pool

The seas were considered moderate and yet the ship was rolling quite a bit. So much so that the pools were closed because of the waves generated by the motion of the ship. Anyone in the pool would be thrown against the sides and possibly hurt. None of this bothered Mel, seen relaxing at top center.

Getting ready for the first formal night. Four of the ladies posing in the passageway outside our cabin. From left, Fran, Leda, Luellen and Susie.

Waiting for formal pictures

Our friends waiting to have their formal pictures taken. The photographer was annoyed because several of us were taking pictures of the same subjects and they set off his flashes.

Five of the six women in our group posed for me. I thought they were all there and didn't realize that Luellen was not in the group until I looked at the pictures after dinner.

Our group

Anniversary cake

Our 40th Anniversary cake... a month early.

Left, Our group. From top: Fran and Mel, Susan and Warren, Linda and Jan, Leda and Bob, Luellen and Warren, Lynn, Susie and Sam. A fellow passenger offered to take the group picture. He didn't know what he was in for until he was handed three or four cameras from the group.


Fran & Mel's Pictures

Warren & Luellen Anniversary Kiss

Warren & Luellen Anniversary kiss

Guys waiting for formal picture

The Guys


Waiting for the show to start

Next Day