Bucket List Cruises A Friendly Cruise story through the Panama Canal

logoBucket List Cruises A Friendly Cruise story through the Panama Canal.  The voyage was called a “Cerulean Celebration” Cruise From Miami, Florida, USA, to Caldera, Costa Rica November 19, 2014 voyage 4329

Friendly Cruises can now take this off our bucket list, “A Panama Canal Cruise” on Crystal Cruises.

We flew into Miami the night before we were to board the beautiful Serenity, Crystal Cruises newest ship. We booked our first night at the International Miami Airport right on the Concourse next to the American Airlines incoming flights. It was a late night and easy to get to hotel. We were able to walk right to the hotel after collecting our baggage. It wasn’t anything fancy but it was a place to lay our head for the night.

The next morning we went down to the baggage claim area and found the Crystal Cruises personnel holding up a Crystal sign. We left our luggage with them to deliver to our ship’s stateroom. Crystal Cruises’s representatives escorted us to our motor coach which took us and other passengers from the Miami airport to the ship. It was easy and quick to check-in at the pier and boarding was a breeze. The gracious stewards on the ship escorted us to our luxurious room. We left our carry-on luggage in our room and we went to lunch at the “Lido Restaurant”. The Lido was at the top of the ship and all the tables had a view of the port of Miami and beautiful Caribbean waters. Our preference was to take a table outside in the fresh sea air.

Food Crystal CruisesThe food was excellent on the Serenity throughout the voyage. There were so many choices of tasty fresh vegetables and fruits as well as exquisite choices of cooked dishes. If we didn’t see it on the menu we would ask and they would make it for us.

ACBLWe then explored the ship, discovered the show room where the nightly entertainment would be including the casino, library, card room where we knew we would be playing during our voyage on the ACBL duplicate bridge with an instructor. There were three specialty restaurants, one being Italian, Asian, and another called Tastes where we could go if we needed a change from our main restaurant. We found the movie theatre which had current movies playing twice daily. The Internet room, the spa and fitness rooms, the University at Sea which taught us the latest in digital filmmaking course for the iMovie for the IPad, then my husband spotted the golf area where the PGA professional would be talking about “sand play”.

ButlerCrystalCruisesAs the excitement built we went back to our Penthouse where we unpacked and put our things into the spacious walk-in closet with so many drawers and hangers. It was obvious we wouldn’t fill them all. What a nice luxurious room we had. We had wireless internet, we had a private balcony, the spacious bathroom with Jacuzzi tub and separate shower. A couch and chair sitting area and a big king size bed.

Our room steward came in and introduced herself and then the butler came in and introduced himself. The life of luxury. On this ship everything is paid upfront which means gratuities and internet service on this sailing were included. The liquor cabinet/refrigerator was stocked with our favorite liquor and soda pop which also was included in our price.

Our safety was taken very seriously and every passenger had to show up for the life boat drill or they came to find you.

It was beautiful pulling out of the pier of Miami seeing the city lights and music playing. We knew we could settle in quickly.

Our first stop was Key West, one of my favorite USA ports. We were docked very close to the main area actually in a naval base where the Navy Seals were being trained. The tram or trolley cars gave us complimentary shuttle services into the main part of town and told us the history of the area. Street performers were everywhere.

Entering Gaton Locks - PanamaThe other stops included Cozumel, Belize, Honduras, and Costa Rica. One of our favorite excursions was in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica which took us on a boat ride on the canals through the rainforest. What a site to see and hear the howler monkeys, the crocodile, the beautiful butterflies and birds. The iguanas were hard to pick out but our excellent guide from Crystal Cruises excursion company called Swiss Travel Company based in Costa Rica found them for us.

We must admit Crystal Cruises provided us with top notch vendors to take us around; the busses were good and the guides excellent. We know when traveling with Crystal Cruises we will be taken good care of while in their luxurious hands. Crystal Cruises is very dependable and reliable. They are excellent.

Freighter entering Locks, guided by mules - PanamaThe highlight of this voyage was going through the Panama Canal. We went from the Caribbean side to the Pacific side and it took about (8) hours. The mules that were connected to the ship were something to see and we learned about the good engineering and what was done when building the canal. We learned the history and experienced the whole route. Saw the beautiful landscape and knew we experienced it in the best way on Crystal Cruises.

Of course one of my highlights happened daily when I could play ACBL duplicate bridge with people from around the world. I call it an international game. Our Director was the well known E.B. and Sarah Dyer.

There was never a dull moment. We maintained exactly the schedule we wanted and are dreaming of another bucket list. A WORLD CRUISE!

To learn more please contact Lona Lee Thull an Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar ECCS ~ 480-358-1496 ~Friendly Cruises helps define pleasure “Pleasure means Business and Business can mean Pleasure”

*Highest certification in the Cruise-Travel industry*


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *