Sunday, Feb 5 - Getting to Miami

The limo driver was right on time and it was an easy trip to Pearson. Light traffic on Sunday morning, of course. At the airport, the usual routine took a relatively short time and soon we were heading for our gate. Along the way we passed a departures board and found that our flight was delayed by 45 minutes, so we settled in and read for awhile, then got lunch. By that time, our flight had been delayed an additional 50 minutes and our gate had changed. It’s a good thing we planned for an overnight in Miami. Someone sitting near us was missing part of the event she was going to. The flight was uneventful, but there was a long wait for luggage, then a huge crowd for the hotel shuttle to the Miami Regency. The rest were people whose Air Canada flights home to Canada had been cancelled, so they were being put up at the hotel for one or two nights. Only the bar was open, but they had food, so we ate before going to our room. Good service, nice room.


Monday 6 Feb, Miami Cruise Terminal - At Sea

 After a quick breakfast, a nice ride to the cruise port in a Porsche taxi with an interesting young Cuban driver. Check-in was easy, then we sat in a huge waiting area until shortly after 11am. We were among the first group to board, so the buffet area wasn’t crowded, but that didn’t last. Cabins weren’t ready until after 2:30, so after a bit of a stroll we found shaded lounges on the pool deck until we were called to move into our staterooms. 

We easily found our luggage, and our room. It’s a very small space, mostly filled by the bed, with little storage, so settling in was a challenge. We managed though, and this will be our cozy setting for the next 11 days. The Welcome Aboard entertainment was very high-energy and loud, but lots of talent. Dinner was very nice and staff terrific.

Feb 6 - All Photos


Tuesday, 7 Feb – At Sea

 After a good night’s sleep, we had breakfast in the buffet restaurant. Lots of choice, but crowded and noisy. There was an offer of a Pandora-style charm bracelet with 5 charms for $10, so I got one. Then I teamed up with 3 strangers to come 2nd in a trivia contest. We had the right combo of areas of knowledge and some luck, but another team did one better than we did, and won a deck of cards. We enjoyed lunch in one of the full-service restaurants,

then had some quiet time before playing bingo. No prizes there, either. One of the musical groups was playing in the lounge and we really enjoyed that. Dinner in the Palace restaurant was terrific. The ship’s entertainment crew put on another high-energy show in the evening. They’re really great


Wednesday, 8 Feb – Grand Cayman Island

What a great day! After a buffet breakfast, we grabbed beach towels and took the tender into Georgetown. We registered for our tour, then checked out the jewellery store next door, where Larry bought me earrings. The shuttle took us across the island, where we boarded a small boat with 7 other passengers and 4 crew. After a bit of a ride, we arrived at a place where 4 other, larger boats were anchored and many people were standing around on a sandbar. Our captain maneuvered the boat around and was about to settle into a spot, when suddenly he told us to hang on – one of the other boats had come loose and was drifting rapidly toward a crowd of people. The captain there managed to get it under control and carefully extract the boat. Meanwhile, our captain had quickly gotten out of the way to give him space to move. We then parked and got into the water, where we were immediately surrounded by stingrays. This sandbar is called Stingray City, for good reason. One of the crew picked one up and explained it to us, then we all tried holding them, kissing them and playing with them. 

They’d come up and swim against us on their own, rub our backs and legs and accept backrubs from us. Fun. Then we moved to another area where there was a coral garden, anchored, and 4 or 5 of us snorkeled for a bit. The water was quite rough in both places, but that just added to the fun. I usually have trouble snorkeling in rough water, but it was fine this time. We got back to the ship in time for a very late buffet lunch. Our dinner reservation was very late anyway, so this seemed fine. While we were resting up from the morning’s exertions, the restaurant, Cagney’s Steakhouse, called and offered an earlier reservation, which we happily accepted. It was a delicious meal in lovely surroundings. The weather turned bad as we left port and top decks were closed. We were rocked to sleep all night.

Feb 8 - All Photos


Thursday, 9 Feb – At Sea

High seas and winds continued, though there was sunshine. After breakfast, we took our cards to the library meeting room for a game of Spite and Malice. We enjoyed lunch in the Palace dining room and then some trivia and a game of bingo. Dinner at The Crossings was delicious.

Later on we went to the lounge because the group who were appearing had really impressed us before. But they were doing different music tonight and it wasn’t to our taste. We turned in early because tomorrow morning’s schedule is mysterious. We may have to leave the ship at 7 am or even earlier.

Feb 9 - All Photos


Friday, 10 Feb – Cartagena, Colombia

It was more than a little confusing – we knew we were docked at 6 am, but didn’t know if we were cleared to go ashore. We were supposed to meet our tour 45 minutes after docking. When we realized that we could go ashore, we rushed through breakfast and dashed off. Although we were late, one other person was about a half hour later, and 3 from our tour never made it at all before the 8 am departure.  Our guide was Ben Torres, a very knowledgeable local who also helps out in schools in poorer areas, teaching history and literature. It was a very interesting tour of Cartagena – starting with the fortifications and with explanations of the history of Colombia, Cartagena, the Conquistadors, slavery and eventual independence under Simon Bolivar. 

We toured a couple of small museums, reflecting a rather different view of history than we learned in school, and one explaining the emerald mining and processing. We resisted buying more emeralds, though that was tough. They’re beautiful, and far less costly here than at home. Cartagena is a very large city, divided into neighbourhoods that are identified by socio- economic
  levels 1 – 6. Higher levels subsidize the utilities of the lower ones. It was hot and humid, even though this is the dry season, considered much more comfortable than the wet season. After lots of walking on small streets and alleys, we were tired and hungry and hot. Back on ship, we went directly to lunch, followed by showers and naps. After a quick zoom with Rosemarie, Bill and Bruce, we went to dinner, requesting a shared table. It was fun meeting 6 new people and chatting. One couple lives in Dundas (we were surprised to discover that we’re nearly neighbours), another in Scotland and the others were sisters from Florida and Texas who get together on cruises twice a year. Then Larry headed off to a comedy show while I relaxed in our room.

Feb 10 - All Photos


Saturday, 11 Feb – The Panama Canal

Larry was up and out on deck about 5:00 am as we approached the Panama Canal for a 6:00 am entrance. 

He got a good position at the front of the ship.  I dozed and watched the TV view from the Bridge camera until about 5:30, then went forward, grabbing a coffee on the way.  It was still dark and I didn’t find him, but I had a good view for the hour or so until we started to enter the first lock.  The three locks that took us up to Gatun Lake are all right together, so the process is continuous.  A commentator provided interesting technical and historical information.  

Larry found me about the time we had entered the first lock and we had breakfast by a window, enjoying the beautiful scenery – lush green rolling wooded hills.  We returned to our balcony for the rest of the transit into the lake, where we arrived at about 8:00 am. Earlier, when we approached the locks, we seemed to be the first through and now could see that each lock behind us had a ship in it.   It was warm and humid and although the sky overhead was blue, there were clouds

around us, and it appeared to be raining out on the lake. We had a good view of Gatun Dam, which provides all the electricity for canal operations.  While we were on the lake, we watched many different kinds of ships coming and going, and the lifeboat tenders from our ship taking people ashore for land excursions back to Colon to reboard the ship.  

Meanwhile on the ship I had a poor showing at trivia.

As we headed back to the locks (our canal experience was to enter Gatun Lake and then return and dock at Colon for a brief docking) we watched and photo graphed the process via the bridge camera feed,

then from our balcony.  Once we were into the locks, we moved to the Palace dining room and watch through the window while having lunch, then played a couple of games of cards.

Once we were back out on the open sea, it was like being part of a convoy; at one point we counted 36 other ships in sight. I wondered if we should watch for U-boats or torpedoes! 

It was a lazy trip to Colon and once there it took a very long time to land. Those on the shore excursions were given priority to board as they had waited a long time for the ship.  Finally with about 1 hour to our dinner reservation we went ashore.  We didn’t have much time, but it turned out to be plenty.  We entered through a large hangar-like structure, set up to handle large numbers of cruise passengers, but empty.  There was a small craft market as we left the building.  Then we entered a huge and interesting very new shopping centre, in which all the stores were either closed or not yet operational except for 2 or 3.  It fact it seemed that this centre might have been built but never opened. Perhaps a victim of the pandemic.

Another market was there, but very few customers.  We continued through to a street where everything seemed to have closed for the night.  That’s when we turned back and went to dinner at La Cucina on the ship.  Nice meal, good surroundings.  I’m becoming known – one upside of food issues I guess [ Right says Larry: every day she consults with staff and preorders from the next few days’ menus so they provide garlic- free meals every time.  Never such personal service in any home restaurant].

Feb 11 - All Photos


Sunday Feb 12 – Port Limon, Costa Rica

Costa Rica is really quite wonderful.  Although they suffered like all the tourist places during the pandemic, it still seems like a thriving place.  Where we docked is colourful and lively, with a vibrant market area.  Musicians and local people were there to greet us.

Beyond the terminal we found our guide for the day, Alberto, of Greenway Touring, and found seats on the small bus.  We began by taking a highway beside the ocean, stopping a few times when he spotted howler monkeys, sloths or interesting birds.  At Cahuita National Park we walked for about 30 minutes through rainforest at the edge of the (very rough) Caribbean, again seeing birds and plants of interest.  After a few minutes at the beach, we retraced our steps and rejoined our driver.

The next stop was an organic plantation, growing mainly bananas (tiny ones), but also cacao, coffee and a few other things.  We enjoyed a cup of coffee and some bananas and walked through the plantation, learning about the various crops, how they grow and are handled and transported.

The final segment of the tour was a ride on a wide, calm river when we saw various local plants and birds, and were introduced to a baby rescue sloth. 

It had fallen from a tree into the river and had been rescued by local people, but the mother wouldn’t take it back.  They’re going to release it into the wild in the next month or two.

Back at the port we were greeted with cool wet towels and enthusiastic singing and dancing crew members.  We were just in time for a late lunch on the back open deck before showers and feet up for a while.  We left port in late afternoon on the way to Belize (after a day at sea).

Feb 12 - All Photos


Monday Feb 13 – At Sea


Remembering Lorrie on her birthday –
Larry has been working on the blog and our photos.  He’s discovered that our camera isn’t working properly [Larry: later in the day re-discovered how the camera settings function, so we will see how the next batch turn out.  Also, while the internet bandwidth works for Streaming, blog uploading is difficult and photo uploading is almost impossible].  Good thing we have a couple of phones that take good pictures.  We hadn’t been carrying them, but took one along yesterday. 

This morning we woke up early and watched the sun come up over a distant heavy cloudbank to the east.  The sea is still far from calm and it’s very windy. While we were enjoying breakfast on the back deck it got much choppier.  We could see rain off in the distance, but we stayed in sunshine. I played trivia and bingo before lunch, but no joy on either – close on both, but apparently that only counts in horseshoes. Tried to watch yesterday’s church service after lunch, but the internet didn’t cooperate,  so that’ll have to wait. Once again we shared a table for 8 at dinner and had interesting conversations with people from Montreal and Miami. The big show was a (rather fake) competition among the 3 lead singers in the ship’s entertainment company. Of course  my favourite was the first eliminated, but at least the guy who couldn’t seem to keep his hands off his crotch didn’t win.

Updating the Blog...                                         Janice briefs her special menu "consultant"


Tuesday Feb 14 – Harvest Caye, Belize


Happy Valentine’s Day!! We exchanged cards first thing in the morning, then had breakfast on the back deck, sharing a table with an interesting woman from Michigan. It was a warm and sunny day, with clouds in sight but not overhead.

The Harvest Caye experience was somewhat disappointing. There was another ship already docked, so we had to anchor and use tenders. We didn’t get to the dock until well after noon, after sitting in a lounge for 2 hours, not having any idea when we’d be called to board the tender. Once ashore, there was still a very long walk to the entrance, which resembled something from Disney World. We opted for lunch on shore, since we’d miss it on board. Service was slow, so we had very little time to explore. It would have been nice to swim, but there wasn’t time. We visited the beach, saw the zipliners and had a look at the gigantic pool, then took the long walk back to the tender, and back on board. It was a lot of waiting and walking for not much enjoymen

Feb 14 - All Photos


Wednesday, Feb 15

With a morning on board, I got in both trivia and bingo. OK but no prize on trivia and one number from winning bingo. So once again, no rewards. The afternoon tour of Cozumel started with a lot of tension. We realized that we were docked at some distance from the meeting point and would need to take a taxi. To get off the pier involved navigating a huge shopping complex with aggressive vendors and little by way of direction. Eventually we found a taxi queue and got to the other shopping centre, but couldn’t find the meeting spot. A very helpful guy from another company walked us to where we needed to be. There we met Fresia, a lovely young local woman, who was out guide for the day. 

We were supposed to ride around in some kind of dune buggy  (we saw lots of them), but hers wasn’t working, so she drove us in a Mustang convertible. The third person who was supposed to join us had cancelled, so it was a personal tour. 


First stop, snorkelling off the beach. Not as interesting as Grand Cayman, but it was nice to float in the warm water and see fish and reef growth.

Then we drove to the other, less sheltered side of the island – the surf was quite something-- and stopped at St. Martin Beach for quesadillas and margaritas. Giant margaritas! 

We told Fresia that we didn’t need any shopping or tequila stops, so she drove us around other parts of the island and then back to the pier where our ship was.

 Since we knew about the shopping centre it was a quicker transit back. After a bit of rest, we dressed and went to dinner, where we shared a table with 5 other people. There was lots of talk and laughter and we were a bit late getting to the show in the theatre. It was very good, but mostly a  repetition of the one we saw early in the cruise.

Feb 15 - All Photos


Thursday, Feb 16

 Our last day on board the Sky, so we started by finding all our disembarkation instructions, and those for the Air BnB we’ll move to tomorrow.

Very pleasant breakfast on the back deck, then we played a couple of games of Spite & Malice [J. ended by 3 game streak] before going to trivia.  It was sports-themed, so I was surprised that I had any correct answers, but I did OK. 

Then we had a briefing on how this ship in run.  It’s pretty complex.  [posting is not complete, but I’m posting this anyway.  Aside: L discovered this morning that J’s cell phone has been collecting her email even though not activated on the ship.  It seems that if your phone is on and data is not off, that it acts like at home only at a high price.  Email she read on the laptop cost $100 on the phone.]

Note: The posting fragment below is a random piece of the most recent posting and seems impossible to remove.  PLEASE IGNORE.