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twangster

ūüéĶPanama! ūüéĶ Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019

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I love how they have integrated shops And other facilities (bathrooms !) into the old fortress ‚Äúruins‚ÄĚ. ¬†It is so practical. ¬†They would never allow this in the US. They have done similar integrations in Cura√ßao, which is one aspect that has endeared me to that island.

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I was impressed with how nice the old city is and how pleasant it was to walk around.

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Colombia is open to many religions but the Catholic church played a distinct and primary role in the religious history of the nation.  

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This is the Sanctuary of Saint Peter Claver that we saw from the fortress.

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Admission is included in our tour.

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Quite breathtaking inside.

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We walked through the streets of the old city to reach our next stop.

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Since Spain had conquered Colombia when Spain went through the period of the Inquisition so did Colombia.  Our next stop was at the Palace of the Inquisition.

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Within these walls justice was served for various crimes including being accused of being a witch. 

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Off with their heads!

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It was quite a dark time in the history of Cartagena until residents had enough and stormed the Palace to end the inquisitions. 

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Our bus dropped us off at the other end of the cruise terminal.  The cruise terminal in Cartagena is kind of unique.  It includes an eco park.

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This is free and you have to walk through it to reach the ship.

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Giant anteater.

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There are two aviaries within the park.

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It's a very nice way to return to a ship.

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You can walk to the eco park from the ship.

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If you don't feel like walking the rest of the way back to the ship there is a free shuttle bus.

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Thinking of my next visit here I think I'll spend the day in the old city.   Towards that end I noticed they have Uber here.

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With that our day in Cartagena was done and we sailed away in the dark.

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I was very impressed with Cartagena and will definitely look for itineraries that stop here.

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8 hours ago, twangster said:

Day 13 - Cartagena, Colombia

I had few expectations for this day and it turned into a highlight port that I intend to revisit.

Lived in Cartagena from 2011 to 2014. Terrific place! I recommend it for everyone, especially foodies. Your pictures are fantastic! 

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Day 16 - Sea Day

Back in familiar waters.

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Captain reports we are on schedule for a 7am arrival.

Solarium roof was open again.  Enough pictures of that.

Typical sea day except it involved packing.  Ugh.  The cruise is nearly over.

TNF by the pool.  The football feed we are receiving has no vocals, just game noise.  Even the commercials have no vocals.  Oh well, it works.  

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7 hours ago, twangster said:

Our bus dropped us off at the other end of the cruise terminal.  The cruise terminal in Cartagena is kind of unique.  It includes an eco park.

Giant anteater.

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There are two aviaries within the park.

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Oh, my heart!!!¬† During my zoo keeping time, I was privileged to¬†care for half a dozen toucans, and they were, by far, the most enjoyable birds that I ever worked with (even though one of them had a habit of rapping me in the back of the head if I wasn't quick enough with his grapes), and anteaters were a dream of mine to care for, but we never acquired one.¬† I love all of those toothless wonders¬† ¬†ūüôā

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Day 17 - Ft. Lauderdale

After 4,890 nautical miles we have arrived into Port Everglades terminal 18.  That's a new personal best for a single sailing and longer than my transatlantic last year.

Nice sunrise for our arrival.

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Our cruise...

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Windjammer open from 5:30am to 8:30am, Dining Room 6:30am to 8am.

I was told to go with the last luggage tag number 31 leaving at 9:45am to meet my shuttle to Port Miami.  

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A word about Voom.  Vision uses the older satellite technology but having said I was able to make long phone calls and stream content using Surf and Stream.  While it isn't as snappy as the new technology used on newer ship, it worked fine for me with the understanding this is satellite based internet and not the internet I have at home.

Voom results for the cruise:

Date                      Download        Upload         Latency 

10/30/19 21:45       2.074            2.779            557 
10/31/19 8:58         3.726            4.233            584 
11/1/19 10:11         3.474            3.447            587 
11/3/19 10:33         2.752            2.566            552 
11/4/19 9:04           3.576            2.243            578 
11/5/19 8:42           2.645            2.998            671 
11/6/19 8:05           2.631            2.573            675 
11/7/19 15:25         3.316            2.303            709 
11/8/19 14:58         2.192            2.496            674 
11/9/19 11:37         2.22              2.095            676 
11/10/19 7:08         2.523            3.065            664 
11/12/19 9:00         1.641            2.676            663 
11/13/19 7:44         1.13              2.016            669 
11/13/19 9:07         2.504            2.676            670 
11/14/19 8:40         2.557            2.799            666

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Cruise Summary

This was another bucket list cruise that lives up to that reputation.

It introduced me to several new destinations that each warrant a return visit.  Puntarenas and Cartagena stand out as top ports while the transit of the Panama Canal completely lived up to all my expectations.  Simply wow.  

This is my second time on Vision of the Seas and she fulfilled everything I needed for this cruise.  An issue with my cabin temperature was fixed within two hours on day one and I had no issues for the remainder of the cruise.  The crew were fantastic in all respects.  

The only thing I can think to complain about was the lack of enough tenders in Cabo San Lucas.  Using the four dual purpose lifeboat/tenders from the ship simply wasn't enough and it impacted out useable time in port.  The ship offered a lot of excuses for this but at the end of the day if they can't figure out how to execute tendering in Cabo they should drop the port. Fortunately I've been there before and it wasn't the reason I booked this cruise.

Seeing the operation of the Panama Canal locks firsthand and up close was amazing and I'm glad I experienced the original Panama Canal.  It's not an experience I'll soon forget.

When I return I'll spend more time down low watching all the action from lock level.  

My decision to save money by booking an ocean view cabin worked out fine.  Looking back I don't think I missed out by not having a balcony or suite.  Even if I had a balcony I wouldn't stay out there for the canal transit as there is too much to see on both sides of the ship.  Balconies were more than twice the price of my cabin so not only did my savings cover my stay on the Queen Mary, excursions and airfare but also left enough to pay for my next two cruises.

I have a few other bucket list type cruises in the future but I'll be looking out for another Panama Canal cruise after those.  

I hope you enjoyed following along and I thank you for viewing.

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5 hours ago, twangster said:

The only thing I can think to complain about was the lack of enough tenders in Cabo San Lucas.  Using the four dual purpose lifeboat/tenders from the ship simply wasn't enough and it impacted out useable time in port.  The ship offered a lot of excuses for this but at the end of the day if they can't figure out how to execute tendering in Cabo they should drop the port. Fortunately I've been there before and it wasn't the reason I booked this cruise.

 

I hope you enjoyed following along and I thank you for viewing.

This was a great blog! Thank you!!! I really enjoyed it.

NCL Bliss also tender in Los Cabos, how do they manage the tendering of double the passengers than VOS?

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1 minute ago, carlosalonsor said:

This was a great blog! Thank you!!! I really enjoyed it.

NCL Bliss also tender in Los Cabos, how do they manage the tendering of double the passengers than VOS?

They buy every local tender boat - literally all of them, for the day.   Cabo isn't set up for big ships so when one is in port it consumes all available resources.

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Thanks so much for sharing your impressions and all of the amazing pics.

DH went through the canal on numerous occasions back in the days when he worked on the old Sitmar line but I have never been and it's bucket list for me too. Aiming for three years from now to celebrate a landmark anniversary. 

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