Saturday, August 18, 2018

Day 8 - Fri August 17, 2018 Puert Quetzal, Guatemala - Crystal Symphony - San Francisco to New York

Day 8 - Fri August 17, 2018 Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

We woke early (we had gained an hour) and got our one hour walk out of the way while it was still dark and relatively cool.  While we were doing our early morning walk, we were treated to some a breathtaking sunrise. 

In the distance were volcanos (shrouded in some mist, but still visible).

A view of where we walk for an hour every day.

We followed that with breakfast outdoors at the buffet.  We enjoyed talking with a couple from Chicago/Florida during breakfast.  Interestingly enough, they were actually booked on a European Danube River Cruise and got a call the day before they were to leave notifying them that their cruise had been cancelled due to a lack of water in the Danube.  They quickly got this cruise booked, packed and flew to San Francisco. We’ve met many nice people on this cruise.  It is definitely a friendly group.

BTW - it was a quite ugly port, very commercial (no walking off the ship allowed), you had to get off and ride the shuttle.

None of the shore excursions appealed to us in Guatemala, and we decided to stay onboard while in port today.  Crystal ran a shuttle into town today to a craft market.  We were in The Bistro this morning and spoke to someone (Buzz-who we later met at the Cruise Critic party) who had taken the first shuttle in this morning and described the craft market.  That confirmed our decision not to go there.  

Skinny Latte in the Bistro
We are trying to get rid of things in our home, not accumulate more.  Apparently, the “downtown” area was a taxi ride from the craft market.

We spent the morning at the pool (in the shade) and the swimming pool water was very refreshing.  The wonderful Lido deck attendants also provided plentiful ice water as well as chilled washcloths (nice touch!)

Lunch was in the Main Dining Room – The Waterside, and was very enjoyable.

All aboard was at 3:30 pm with sailing set for 4:00 pm.  At 3:45 pm there were many shore excursions returning.  Obviously we will not be leaving port on time.

Dr Jay Wolff gave a lecture at 4:00 pm entitled “Teddy Roosevelt Takes Panama.”  With it being a port day, this was the only lecture scheduled and was well attended.  Roosevelt decided that Panama was the place to build a Central American canal (while others believed that the canal would be built in Nicaragua).  The French company that was going to build the canal and offered their company to the USA for $40 million, including their assets.  Roosevelt met with the Panama Canal Commission members individually, no one knows what took place in those meetings.  After much negotiating it was finally decided that the US would build the canal in Panama.

The Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle was held in the Palm Court from 6:00 – 7:00 pm.  There are many Cruise Critic members on this cruise, with 131 having signed up for the party.  While it is difficult to count how many attended, a rough estimate is 75+.  The party was quite lively and we met more delightful Cruise Critic members.

We had a wonderful dinner in The Waterside with Cruise Critic members Buzz and Carol – both cruising solo.  It seems the shared table for solo cruisers is still not working well.  Buzz was entering The Waterside after the party just ahead of us.  He was told there were no available shared tables, so we asked him if he would like to join us.  He tried to text Carol to see if she would like to join us.  One of the wonderful Head Waiters overhead the conversation and said she was seated elsewhere and went and asked her if she would like to join us, and we’re glad she did.  We enjoyed great conversation, and great food.  Now the bad news, we were so busy chatting that we forgot to take any food pictures until dessert!

Julie and Bob both enjoyed the Roasted Pear, Celery & Blue Cheese Salad with Carmelized Walnuts and Pear Vinaigrette.  Excellent!

<<Insert imagination>>

For her entrée Julie loved the Pan-Fried Black Spotted Grouper with Mango-Coriander Ragout and Polenta Croutons.

<<Keep imaging>>

Bob had the French Onion Soup and Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy.

<<You are getting the hang of it>>

Our waiter recommended two desserts and we each tried one of them:
Chocolate Canoli with Spumoni Ice Cream, Ricotta Filling, Chocolate Banana Tuile, Lemon Zest

Sour Cherry Tapioca Trifle with Vanilla Tapioca, Sour Cherry Compote, Dark Sponge Crumbles, and Chocolate Covered Toasted Almonds

We went to the late show of a Comedy Ventriloquist – Mark Merchant. He’s certainly an amazing ventriloquist – you truly can’t see his lips move at all.  We’ve seen his act a number of times over our cruises – and he is always updating it with fresh material (much of it provided by politicians).
Although there were other shows to attend, we decided to call it a night.

Today we walked 16,803 steps, 7.72 miles.

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