Seabourn Sojourn Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles December 17, 2013 to January 4, 2014
December 13, 2013 This is the fourth year that we are spending on a Seabourn ship over the Holidays - 2010/1 on the Sojourn, 2011/2 on the Odyssey, 2012/3 on the Quest, and once again back on the Sojourn. Because we are continuing on the World Cruise this year, Seabourn provided us with luggage transfer, air transportation, and limo service from our home to the airport, all of which went smoothly.
We stayed at the Westin in Fort Lauderdale for four nights prior to boarding the Sojourn. Our agreement is that Cliff goes bird watching in the mornings and Eleanor shops in the afternoon. I added a number of photographs to my Birds of Florida Gallery and managed to get my first photograph of a sora. The weather was sunny, warm and windy for our stay, which we much preferred to the snowy cold weather in Connecticut! We ended up eating dinner at a wonderful restaurant by the name of Casablanca for three of the four nights in Fort Lauderdale.
December 17thBoarding went smoothly and after the mandatory safety drill we set sail for our first port, Cartegena, Columbia on December 20th. Our first Formal Night was on the 18th and Eleanor looked marvelous in one of the new gowns she brought for the trip. On this first segment of the voyage we have an interesting group of lecturers:
Dr Norman Caisse who participated in the Apollo space project and in the search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence programs and has a Doctorate in Astronomy;
Professor Paul du Quenoy of the Department of History and Archaeology at the University of Beirut who lectured on the various ports and countries we will visit; and,
Danny Catt - a biologist, world traveler, author and photographer from Canada who lectured on the various wildlife we will have the chance to observe on the cruise.
We loaded our Kindles with lots of novels, so our sea days have been relaxing attending lectures, meeting other passengers, a surprising number of which we remember from other cruises, and watching the evening entertainment.
December 21st After 3 sea days we docked in Cartegena. This was the fourth time in as many years that we stopped in this Columbian city. We were docked some distance from the Old City and decided to stay around the port area where they had a new visitor center with a few shops, as well as quite a menagerie of birds and other wildlife roaming the property. Here is a LINK to photos I have taken in Cartegena during the past 4 years.
December 22nd We anchored in the San Blas Islands, Panama for the day. We took a short tender ride to a small village of Kuna Indian People. They are poor, but an absolute delight to visit and PHOTOGRAPHS.
December 23rd Our transit through the Panama Canal was pleasant with beautiful weather. From our perspective aboard the ship we could not tell that much progress had been made since last year on the new locks. Here is a LINK to photos I took in January from the Regent Mariner and those from this trip on the Seabourn Sojourn. This was our fifth trip through the canal.
December 24th Quiet day at sea. Most evenings we have been invited to dinner at a "hosted table" and have met lots of interesting people, lecturers and entertainers. We declined the invitation for the evening and enjoyed a quiet dinner for the two of us and a piano performance by Hyperion Knight, who I have gotten to know quit well during the cruise.
December 25th We docked at Puntarenas, Costa Rica and participated on a crocodile and bird watching tour. This was the third time we did this tour and I was able to get a couple of decent photos to add to my gallery of birds in this part of the world. We joined the ship's Doctor and nurse for Christmas Dinner and then enjoyed a special Christmas Show.
December 26th Another pleasant Sea Day
December 27th This was our second visit to Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala. The first time was two years ago on the Seabourn Odyssey. It is the largest port in Guatemala and not the picturesque. A short shuttle bus ride from the dock there is a collection of craft shops which we walked about, but then returned to the ship for the day. PHOTOS
December 28th Puerto Chiapas, Mexico is a pleasant port with a new visitor center. We skipped the tours and instead walked through some of the shops and watched a local dance group. PHOTOS
December 29th Our port was Huatulco, Mexico. The surroundings are beautiful and the town is relatively new with many shops. Our destination for the day was a tour to an ecological preserve for crocodiles and other reptiles, mammals and birds. It was over an hour drive from the port. The country side was interesting, but the destination not that great. PHOTOS
December 30th A sea day that we used to relax and read. I worked on catching up with my photos and some end of the year book keeping chores.
December 31st The last day of 2013 was a pleasant day of cruising along the Mexican coast on our way to Cabo san Lucas. We were invited to join the Staff Captain for dinner. The year concluded with a special New Year's eve show in the Grand Salon.
January 1st We were anchored for the day in Cabo san Lucas, which is really a spectacular location. As we had visited this port on two previous occasions we did not participate in a tour, but just enjoyed walking through the shops along the water front. PHOTOS
January 2nd and 3rd These were sea days as we cruised from Cabo to Los Angeles. We were invited to dinner on the 2nd with Den and Bobbie West which was very enjoyable. Most of the guests on this cruise will depart tomorrow and we will then be off on our 116 day cruise to Venice
January 4th This turned out to be one, if not the best, cruises we have been on in the terms of comfort (smooth seas for 18 days) and being well run. We enjoyed seeing old friends and made lots of new ones. Most evenings we were invited to dine with entertainers or crew members.