Seabourn Sojourn Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles December 20, 2010 to January 5, 2011
December 20, 2010 This was our third cruise with Seabourn and the second on the Sojourn. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale on December 16th and did some last minute shopping and made a couple of trips to the Loxahatchee refuge where I was able to add a couple of new species to my bird photographs. On Sunday evening we watched a number of cruise ships depart Port Everglades including the Seabourn Odyssey (sister ship to the Sojourn) which followed the Allure of the Seas (largest passenger ship in the world at 5,400 passengers) under a beautiful moon. We boarded the Sojourn and recognized several of the crew members from our September cruise. The first several days we were at sea on our way to Cartagena, Columbia. We enjoyed several lectures on the early Spanish and Portuguese sailors to this part of the world.
December 23rd We docked in Cartagena at about 2 PM and participated in a 3 hour tour of the city. It was cleaner than what we had expected and is rich in history. One little known fact is the Spanish Admiral, Blas de Lezo, defended Cartagena against a major English assault under the leadership of Admiral Edward Vernon. Under Vernon's leadership was Lawrence Washington, George Washington's older half brother. Lawrence survived the battle and when he returned to Virginia he named his estate Mount Vernon in honor of Admiral Vernon. Upon Lawrence's death George Washington inherited Mount Vernon.
December 25th This was the second time we transited the Panama Canal, and it all went very smoothly. We reached Colon on the Caribbean side at about 6:00 AM and were in the Pacific Ocean by 4:30 PM. Panama is undertaking a major upgrade of the locks to accommodate the large ocean going vessels that now are unable to transit the canal. There had been a lot of rain in this part of the world, and in fact the canal had been closed for over 8 hours a couple of weeks earlier. Christmas on the ship was quiet. The crew had put together a number of displays including a large gingerbread house with lots of cookies etc. Red poinsettia plants were throughout the ship including one in our suite. Everyone looked nice on Christmas Eve dressed in Tuxes and evening dresses.
December 27th Our second port was Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica which had not changed much since we were last there about 10 years ago. We took an enjoyable trip to a mangrove area where we boarded a comfortable covered boat for a ride through the mangroves. The area was full of crocodiles and the bird life was diverse and active.
December 29th After another day at sea we arrived at the port of Puerto Chiapas. Mexico has done an excellent job of creating new cruise ship ports in this part of the country. They are clean and orderly, with nice facilities and reasonably priced souvenir shops. Notably absent were the obnoxious and aggressive timeshare sales people which were ever present in many of the other tourist locations we have been to in Mexico.
Seabourn provided transportation to the nearby city of Tapachula. We walked through a flea market area and had a good time looking around and trying to talk to the merchants, most of whom spoke no English. It was obviously a town not geared toward selling to tourists. The people were all friendly and loved for us to interface with their children as indicated in the photos I took.
December 30th We docked at another small port, Huatulcto. Mexico where we drove to the small towns of Huatulco and Pluma Hidalgo, two small rural Mexican villages.
2010/2011 We cruised during the last day of 2010 and the first day of 2011. We had an enjoyable New Year's Eve dinner, but did not stay up for the midnight celebration.
January 2nd Cabo San Lucas definitely exceeded our expectations. We were especially grateful to find no time share salesmen lurking at every corner. We took a tour of the coastal highlights and especially enjoyed San Jose del Cabo.
January 3rd to 5th Monday was another pleasant day of cruising. We arrived in San Diego at about 1 PM on Tuesday, but decided to stay on board the ship. Our arrival in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning was smooth. We took a cab from the cruise terminal in Long Beach to LAX where we flew directly to Kauai, Hawaii. The Delta flight was comfortable and we arrived in Lihue about 30 minutes early.