Seabourn Odyssey
Fort Lauderdale to LA
December 20, 2011 to January 5, 2012
Dec 16th - 20th        We had a pleasant 4 days in Fort Lauderdale prior to boarding the Odyssey.  We
stayed at a very nice small hotel about a block from the beach.  The
Alhambra Beach Resort gets top rating
on Tripadvisor.  It is not luxurious, but very clean and comfortable and the staff couldn't be more friendly
and helpful.

I made two trips to wildlife preserves in the area and added a number of photos to my gallery of

Dec 20th                Boarding the Odyssey was a rather drawn out affair thanks to US Customs and Coast
Guard,  Because this was her first port in the US after arriving from Europe the entire ship crew had to
participate in an inefficient immigration procedure standing in line for several hours which meant that
readying the ship for arriving passengers was delayed,  Additionally the Coast Guard insisted all of the
systems on the ship be powered down which caused the Internet and cell phone service to be inoperable
for the first part of the cruise.

The seas were a bit rougher in the Caribbean and Atlantic than they were last year.  We did not have any
problems with sea sickness, but a number of passengers were not as fortunate.  Our first port was
Cartagena, Columbia.  We toured the city last year and decided to just stay on board for the day.  We had
wonderful weather on Christmas Day as we passed through the Panama Canal, and the weather was
peaceful and sunny with smooth seas when we reached the Pacific that evening.

The ship was decorated beautifully for the Holidays with several trees, and arrangements of gingerbread
houses and poinsettias throughout the vessel.  It goes without saying that the ship's crew were warm,
friendly and efficient.

Dec 27th                This was our first day setting foot on solid ground since boarding the Odyssey one week
earlier.  We repeated a tour we had done a year earlier from Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica to a coastal
mangrove where we toured the area in a boat and saw lots of different birds and enormous crocodiles
along the shoreline.  I was able to get a good photograph of an American Pygmy Kingfisher, a new species
for me - so as far as I was concerned the tour was a success,  Eleanor enjoyed the day very much.

Dec 29th                Our port was Puerto Quetzal, Guatamala.  The original itinerary called for us to be in
Acapulco on New Year's Eve which we were looking forward to, however Seabourn apparently decided
that would not be a good idea given all the violence in that part of Mexico and instead added a stop at
Puerto Quetzal.  The port itself was not at all attractive.  There was a small handicraft market at the port
which we walked through. We decided not to take any of the tours which involved either a lengthy bus ride
or flights to ruins in the interior.   We enjoyed our day on the ship which we had pretty much to ourselves.

Dec 30th                You are probably surmising that we have gotten pretty laid back about sight seeing and
skipped the tours at Puerto Chiapas, Mexico and once again stayed on board for most of the day.  The
weather has been delightful.  We were in Puerto Chiapas last year and enjoyed walking around the city, but
we are slipping into a "been there, did that" frame of mind and really enjoy just reading and relaxing on
board the ship.  Our room is extremely comfortable with a nice balcony.

Dec 31st                The last day of 2011 was at sea with a sunny sky and calm sailing.  We were invited to sit
at a table hosted by the ship's chief engineer with another couple who are from Milwaukee.  After dinner
we enjoyed a Holiday show in the Odyssey's Grand Salon which ended at 11:00 PM.  We rushed back to our
room to watch the ball drop in Times Square (we were one hour behind New York time).  We skipped the
"Rock the Boat" celebration held outside under the stars to bring in 2012.

Jan 1st                   New Year's day was once again sunny and calm.  It was another sea day.  For the most
part we just enjoyed the warm weather and read our books and magazines, but did attend an interesting
lecture on the life of Houdini given by an English Magician that is one of the entertainers on the ship,  The
entertainer for the evening show was an extremely talented violinist from Los Angeles.

Jan 2nd to 5th       Our only other port on the final portion of the cruise to Los Angeles was an afternoon
in Cabo san Lucas.  The weather was perfect and we enjoyed walking through some of the shops. We had a
full day here last year so decided to skip the tour along the coast.  They also offered snorkeling and whale
watching for those looking for a bit more action.

The seas were calm along the Mexican and Southern California coast.  We did experience a couple of days
of cooler foggy weather which we have found is typical of this area.  It was clear and beautiful when we
reached LA.

As has become typical it seems like the US immigration personnel go out of there way to make life difficult
for tourists.  We were forced to get off the ship in LA even though about 25 of us were continuing on the
cruise.  We consider ourselves to be relatively savy travelers, but were at a loss as to what was expected
of us.  After several hours we finally made it back on to the ship.

When the ship reached LA it was boarded by hoards of US Health Inspectors who repeated the whole
procedure the ship had gone through in Fort Lauderdale two weeks earlier.  I guess it provides lots of
jobs, but it seems such a waste of money.

We will now be at sea for the next week and reach the South Pacific Island of
Nuku Hiva on the 12th.

Here are links to my Photo Galleries: