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My Panama Canal Cruise – Part 1

On Thursday 1st November 2018 I will be starting my day early for my journey from Manchester to San Diego, in order to join Holland America Line’s “Volendam”. This will be my second cruise on the Panama Canal.

My journey starts with my first flight from Manchester to Dublin departing at 08.15 from where I then catch my flight to Washington and then onwards to San Diego, arriving at 20.09 California time which will be 04.09 2nd November here in the UK. Like I said, a long day as I will have to be up at 04.00 to be at Manchester for an 05.15 check in time.

I then transfer to the Hilton Garden Inn for 2 nights before my cruise, as I like the extra day to recover from long flights. On the Friday I intend to spend the whole day by the airport, as aviation is my hobby and there are numerous aircraft I need to log and some to photograph.  Aviation is my way of relaxing, although I will have checked my business emails before I leave the hotel for the day, in case anything needs to be done first.

Saturday 3rd November after breakfast I might go to the airport for a couple of hours, as I’m not that far from it. There’s no need to get to the cruise terminal again, only a short taxi from the hotel till around 11.30. I will then be joining the “Volendam”, a ship I have cruised on before when I did a Far East cruise from Singapore a couple of years back. I am looking forward to my cabin this time as I have a Lanai cabin, which has balcony door access onto the lower promenade deck and my own private sun lounger to relax on. Looking forward to spending my evenings in the Piano bar with a good sing a long, I love the atmosphere in there. I do go to a couple of the other bars before the entertainment starts in the Piano Bar. I personally can’t go to the theatre shows as they use laser and strobe lights which I’m not allowed to be near. However this still doesn’t stop me enjoying the evenings on board ship.

I have two days at sea to recover again and relax and laze about.

I have done the Panama Canal before, in the other direction, which is why I picked this particular cruise to say I’ve transited the Canal both ways. The ports of call are mostly new ones for me so looking forward to seeing new places. I visit Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco both in Mexico, Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala, Corinto in Nicaragua, Puero Caldera in Costa Rica, then transit through the Panama Canal which I’m really looking forward to getting some new captivating photos of, as I remember last time the ship was only a few inches gap either side of the canal. Then Cartagena where I have been before, another 2 days at sea where unfortunately I will be starting to pack for the journey home as the last port of call is Half Moon Cay. I’ve spent many a relaxing morning there, as it’s Holland America Line’s private Island and then back into Fort Lauderdale and my flight home via a slightly shorter journey, with just one change at Newark.

As this cruise starts on the 3rd November, I will be wearing my poppy with pride. On the evening of the 10th and day of the 11th, it is the 100th anniversary of the ending of World War 1 and I’ll be wearing my medals, which are going with me. Hopefully I will be allowed to read the Exhortation in the Piano Bar on the evening of the 10th.

Here’s looking forward to a wonderful cruise and meeting some lovely people, along with some wonderful destinations.


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