Vision of the Seas
We were already at Puntarenas when we woke up. We took the 9 hour Costa Rica Highlights Tour. We drove through beautiful mountains and saw fields of sugar cane, coffee and bananas.
Our first stop was at the beautiful grounds of Swiss Travel, where we had complimentary fresh fruit and beverages.
We continued on to the capital, San Jose. Our first stop there was at the art museum where we saw ancient artifacts and gold jewelry. We next visited the National Theater. Both of the places were beautiful, but there were so many of us from the 3 tour buses that they were really crowded. We stopped at a hotel for a good buffet lunch where the hotel staff provided excellent service along with 2 strolling musicians.
On the way back we stopped at Sarchi, where we bought a 2 foot long hand painted ox cart, which we had shipped home, along with several smaller items.
We arrived back at the ship at 5:45 p.m., just in time to change for the 6:00 p.m. dinner. The show was Rhythm Nation, a song and dance presentation by the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers and Los Diablos Gauchos.
Attended ship board activities. I made a gift box in a craft class. Headline Show Time was The Comedy Magic of Nick Lewin.
Monday, October 30th: Panama Canal
We got up early to be sure we could get a good viewing spot. The ship started the approach to the canal and entered the first set of locks at 7:20 a.m. We watched us go through these locks from the balcony of Jim and Jessieís 7th deck stateroom. Throughout the day we moved to different locations; decks 10, 9, and 5. We left the last set of locks around 4:15 p.m.
The evening show was The Comedy of Alan and Shane.
We were already at Cartagena when we got up. We took a 4-hour tour and our tour guide, Jacinta (JJ) was very good. He explained a lot about Colombia and pointed out many points of interest. Our first stop was at La Popa Monastery, which was at the top of a mountain and provided a spectacular view of the surrounding area. Next we stopped at Fort de San Felipe Barajas, which was very interesting, but hot with fairly steep inclines. We also stopped at the naval museum and 2 shopping areas. At every stop we were surrounded by very persistent venders.
We returned to the ship around 12:45 p.m. and the ship left port around 1:30. The ship celebrated Halloween with Halloween parties in the Schooner Bar, Some Enchanted Evening Lounge, and on the Pool Deck. Several of the crew and approximately 100 passengers dressed in costumes. The evening show was concert pianist Craig Dohn.
Wednesday, November 1st: Aruba
In the morning we did some shopping for souvenirs. There were a lot of shops and malls very near the pier. In the afternoon we took a tour. We stopped at the Casibari Rock Formations, Santa Anna Church, and the Natural Bridge. We took a ride on the Seaworld Explorer, a semi-submersible, where we saw the wreck of the Antilla covered with coral, with many fish swimming around it. The evening show was Rock on Broadway with the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers.
Celebrity Show Time starred The "Golden Voice" of Hal Frazier. That night was the gala buffet.
We cashed in our Ship Shape dollars for a sweatshirt and a carry-all bag. The evening entertainment was Au Revoir, with The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers, The Gravitational Comedy of Sean and Dave, and Los Diablos Gauchos.
Debarkation was very poorly handled. Communication was poor. There were insufficient seats in the areas where we had to wait to debark. And there was no organization in getting on the busses to the airport.
Overall the cruise was good, but couldnít compare with our previous cruise on Monarch of the Seas. Dining room service fair to good, with food usually taking very long to arrive, and on several occasions got orders wrong. The head waiter was quite pushy, but when he couldnít convince us to eat every meal in the dining room, had minimal dealings with us until near the end of the cruise, when Iím sure his increased attention was because he wanted a good tip. The assistant waiter, Jorges, was excellent, even though this was his first cruise. Attention to detail on this ship was not good, for example, it was common to see dead flowers in vases.
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