Royal Caribbean Cruise April 24, 2011 Part Seven – Tenerife

Our third port and the first after spending six days in the Atlantic was Tenerife. It is the largest of the Canary Islands.

Since we were going to spend two days in Palma De Mallorca, we decided just to take a walking excursion around a part of the city to get an idea of what it was like.

This is the first photo I took in Tenerife. Do you notice anything unusual about it?

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Royal Caribbean Cruise April 24, 2011 Part Six – Sunsets Are Awesome

Live is a little like a day on an ocean cruise. There is a beginning and an end. Just like the end of a day on the ocean, some of the most beautiful parts of our lives occur during our sunset.

Many of us move to Panama during our sunset years. I can honestly say that the most beautiful times of my life are happening now.

Remember sunsets are awesome. Let me share some of the sunsets I witnessed on the cruise.

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Royal Caribbean Cruise April 24, 2011 Part Five – Curacao & Barbados

Today I am going to cover the first two ports of RCCL cruise. The first stop was Curacao. It is really a beautiful Dutch settlement and one of my favorite stops on the Caribbean route. While I took several photos, most are no different than last time. Being lazy, I will direct you to the post of our previous cruise to see some of the sites of Curacao.

I will however post this one photo. Those from Boquete always seem to know how to show the rest of us up. While I was feeling a little tuckered out from the walking I had done to get across the long bridge to the see the rest of Willemstad, I see Chris looking chipper and ready to take on the world. He was zipping along with Ruby on one of those new fangled motorized Segway devices.

Maybe he looks so chipper because he knew he was going to be the star attraction in the evening’s juggling show. Continue reading

Royal Caribbean Cruise April 24, 2011 Part Four – Towel Art

If you have been on a cruise, I am sure you have found towel art in your cabin when returning in the evening.

For such a simple thing, it is still something I always look forward to.

Here are a sample of the friendly creatures we found during the cruise.

Sunglasses always make their way to the towel art if the are left in the room. Kinda gives it a personal touch.

How about this bird? Continue reading

Panama Marine Services

I am still working on more of the cruise postings, but I thought I would add this related post. As you may remember, I used Jularmo Travel & Tours to make my and Lilliam’s arrangements for our cruise.

What I want to tell you about today is another business that is providing the opportunity for Panamanians to be a part of the Cruise Industry. The business is Panama Marine Services.

One of the owners of Jularmo Travel & Tours has over 30 years experience working in the cruise industry and has worked in many positions aboard the ships. This experience is very valuable to the cruise industry because of cruise industry’s demand to find qualified employees that are multilingual.

Panama Marine Services holds qualifying interviews in David for the major cruise lines. In David, Maritime Professional Institute of Panama is located in the same building as Jularmo Travel & Tours and it is the training arm that provides all of the mandatory training needed to qualify individuals to interview with Panama Marine Services.

The other day I was talking to Jessica Moss and she invited me to see one of the qualifying sessions in process. I was interested because I had seen several Panamanians on the Grandeur of the Seas cruise to Spain and one had told me he had been able to get his job by interviewing Panama Marine Services.

Here is his photo that I took during our cruise.

I knew him from Hotel Best Western, where he had worked as a waiter. Continue reading

Royal Caribbean Cruise April 24, 2011 Part Three

What is there to do on a cruise? Will I get bored when we are not at a port? If you have specific questions, ask and I will try to cover them in the comments.

There are a multitude of activities that are available on a Royal Caribbean cruise. RCCL is known for keeping its passengers entertained.

RCCL puts our a document called the “Cruise Compass”. You will find it on your bed each night when you retire and it will tell you the time and place for all activities the next day. It will be in the language your specified when you registered.

If it is a port day, it will identify the port and the time you may leave the ship and the time you must be back on-board. The second time is EXTREMELY important. This was the first cruise I remember going on that someone didn’t return soon enough and the ship left without them. Flying to the next stop to rejoin the cruise is not a trivial thing.

If you want to stay on the ship and not exit at a port, that is not a problem. There is still plenty to do. Some people just like to take it easy and read a book and enjoy the peace and quiet.

A ship, like the Grandeur of the Seas, is like a floating 5 star hotel. It has restaurants, casino, bars with entertainment, coffee and ice-cream shops, duty free shops, movies, evening shows, gymnasium, spa, and much more. Something is going on all the time.

I know many from Boquete spent a fair amount of their time in a bridge class. Lilliam took a water color class and jewelry crafts class. There were games of trivia, games in the swimming pool, ping-pong tournaments, dance classes, rock wall climbing, Feng Shui class and even activities for the very young. Some had a personal goal to see just how much weight they could gain per day. (Guilty as charged!)

There was a bulletin board so you could make contact with people of similar interests or friend you heard were on the cruise.

Here is an interesting story. One day it was extremely nice on deck and Lilliam and I were getting our exercise. Lilliam wanted out photo taken, so I ask a couple that was reading on deck if they would mind taking the photo.

When I was thanking them for taking the photo, I asked where they were from and they said England. Another couple were close and listening and I asked if they were from England too. They said they were. I ask haw they were enjoying the cruise and what they had been doing. One couple replied that they were having a great time and had been searching for another couple with the same last name that they thought were distant relatives and they hadn’t been able to find them.

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Royal Caribbean Cruise April 24, 2011 Part Two

For anyone that has gone on a cruise, one of the first things that they will mention is the food. On Royal Caribbean there was plenty and it was first rate. There were several places to eat aboard the Grandeur of the Seas.

There was the Windjammer Marketplace that was open for all three meals and offered the most flexibility. It is a cafeteria style. The only photo I took was this carved decoration. Everyday, there was a new carved fruit greeting you when you entered the Windjammer.

There was an enormous variety to choose from. Most was in buffet format and you picked what you wanted. For breakfast, there was also an area where you could have eggs prepared the way you wanted them. I preferred the omelets.

For lunch there was an area for sandwiches and they always had a large meat entree that was sliced the way you wanted. It was usually a ham, roast beef or turkey. There was also a sauce that complimented the meat.

The dessert area had enough choices to make you gain weight just by walking buy it.

While we ate at the Windjammer several times, I preferred eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Great Gatsby Dining room. I enjoyed the ability to visit with other passengers on the cruise and breakfasts always put you with someone you hadn’t met. Here is one of my breakfast omelets. Continue reading

Royal Caribbean Cruise April 24, 2011 Part One

OK. I am ready to start putting together my thoughts on the trip that Lilliam and I returned from the end of May. It was an outstanding trip and happened because I read a post from a fellow blogger on a repositioning cruise being offered by Royal Caribbean.

This was the first repositioning cruise I had taken. They are used by the cruise companies to move a ship to another part of the world and if you have to move a ship, it is always good to offset expenses with passengers.

This particular cruise left from Colon, Panama and it’s final destination was Palma de Mallorca, Spain. It was a 17 day cruise with stops at Curacao, Barbados, Tenerife, and ending in Palma de Mallorca. Between Barbados and Tenerife were six days of nothing but Atlantic Ocean.

With that background, let’s talk about logistics and getting started. Since the cruise begins in Colon, Panama you have to get to Colon. For me that meant my flying to Panama City, spending one night in a hotel and then getting transportation to Colon. I had transportation lined up for me by Jularmo Travel & Tours. It went flawless. Several flew into Panama City and were picked up by a RCCL bus at the airport.

This may be a good time to mention a little information about Colon. Colon is not a safe place. The areas where the cruise ships dock are secure, but they are fenced in and protected. However, many that boarded this cruise came from Europe, because the cruise terminated in Spain. I talked to two people that had spent some time while waiting to walk around down town Colon taking photos. Not a wise thing to do. One individual said he took a taxi to the ship from town and the taxi driver told him he was lucky he got in one of the honest taxis because he might not have gotten to the ship. WORD TO THE WISE: DO NOT SPEND TIME IN COLON SIGHTSEEING!!

The ship boarding in Colon is always easy, based on my two cruises leaving from Colon. This one was slightly easier because I had taken the time to fill out all of the information on the Internet prior to the trip and didn’t have to do it there. Entire time to get on the ship was about 20 minutes.

The first thing Lilliam and I did after putting boarding was go to eat. While we were eating, Lilliam was sure she recognized the people at a table close to us. I looked and sure enough there was Kevin Sanchez, who used to work at Mrs. Mendozas. He had taken a job with RCCL and was now working in the Ben & Jerry’s on-board Ice Cream shop. His grandmother, Raquel, had come this day to visit him while he was in port before he left for the journey to Spain and future destinations with the Grandeur of the Seas.

We set sale in the evening. Continue reading

Passport Requirement Question for Panama

I received a question from a Chiriquí Chatter reader that many of you will be interested in.

Here was the question:

As you are probably aware, the police now seem to have check stations on seemingly all the roads in/out of David all the time checking drivers license, car registrations, etc. The one on the road to Las Olas also routinely includes a DUI breath analyzer. One of the things that has also surfaced in the last couple of days is that the police at the stations are ‘jacking up’ people who are not carrying their passport (and not just the driver)- saying ‘no,no’ copies are not good enough.

When I got here 4 years ago I was told (and am certian I saw it in print ) that Americans did not have to carry the passport itself, just a copy of the ‘cover page’ and the page with the current stamp. Was that really the policy? Has there been a change in the policy or is this just the latest game?

Thanks (again)

Larry

I said I would get a current understanding from the U.S. Embassy. Here is the response I got today.

Thank you, Mr. Williams,

This is the information we have posted in our http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_994.html webpage related to acceptable identifications in Panama:

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Anyone not bearing identification at all times, including tourists from the United States, will be penalized by the Panamanian authorities. U.S. tourists need to provide an original, valid passport at entry in Panama. While in Panama, American tourists should carry either their original passport or an original, valid photo I.D. such as driver’s license with a photocopy of the bio-data page in their U.S. passport and a photocopy of the page in their passport that contains the entry stamp to Panama.

Please note that the information says …an I.D. ….“with” a photocopy of the bio-data…… The Panamanian authorities have the right to request proper identification to citizens in Panama when they deemed it necessary.

Regards,

There you have it.