Panama Canal 2015 21 Feb. Day 2

Oceans and Seas » Caribbean
February 24th 2015
Published: February 24th 2015
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What a joy to sleep in! A relaxed morning waiting for our transfer to Port Everglades. At the last minute, I nip over and purchase a couple of bottles of wine from Big Daddy's Liquors (no, not making this up). We are allowed to bring one bottle each on board.

Transfer via van. The port is terrifically busy, and we are pleased to be in an official vehicle that can jump some backups. If we were in a cab, we might still be caught in that traffic jam.

Our ship is Holland America's Veendam, which accommodates about 1500 passengers. By complete coincidence, this is the exact same vessel that we took around South America in 2011. We endure the standard hurry-up-and-wait to be processed and to board the ship. It takes about two hours; we are on board by 4:20. Our room is the mirror image of what we had in 2011, small but comfy, slightly aft of midships, with a starboard porthole.

Our first priority is to have some food. This is not a problem aboard a cruise ship. We spend some time afterwards checking out the house band playing in the central atrium by the pool: a bunch of young kids who sound great. The sax player blows a #11 on top of the final maj7 chord on the first tune, so I know he's hip.

The ship is now under way. We unpack, then have supper. We have opted for open seating, so our seat mates each night we eat in the dining room will be a random draw. Tonight we have a couple from Norway and another from Montreal. We always enjoy meeting new people and this is a great way to do it.

Later we catch the final minutes of the musical show, than spend the rest of the evening in the piano bar. There's a special part of my heart reserved for piano guys, because I used to do this myself. Anyway, Lee is great. He has nice deep baritone voice and gets the chords mostly right.

The ship gently rocks us to a blissful sleep.


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