On Our Spring 2019 Cruise Itinerary

 

Especially for my wife, travelling through the Panama Canal is the key reason we took this cruise. Especially since taking the cruise, there is no question – the Panama Canal is an engineering marvel.

A few months before the trip, my wife read Path Between the Seas (David McCullough) – a book that many feel is the most comprehensive and accurate about the canal’s construction. I know she highly recommends this book and would encourage others to read it before cruising the canal.

The second reason for our selection of this cruise was Cuba – that land Americans were forbidden to visit for many years – a land that Europeans, Asians, and Canadians would visit. Cuba – a land serving as another issue dividing Americans based on their political party. Because Havana was my favorite stop, I will definitely have a post featuring Old Havana. (Note: Visiting Cuba requires a ($75) visa.

Besides the Panama Canal and Cuba, I have never visited Mexico or any other country in Central America. (My wife had been to Mexico.) An added bonus was that friends of ours in Cincinnati also have a home in Guatemala, and this was a chance to visit them there (which we did not know at the time we booked the trip).

Because our travel history has focused on North America and Europe, we knew Central America would provide a different experience – which it did! Several quick notes:

  • People are very friendly and appreciative of our visits
  • Poverty is obvious
  • People are very proud of their culture
  • Pursuing tourists for sales can be relentless

For those wanting to cruise the Panama Canal in the future, your itinerary will most likely include ports you hadn’t imagined – which is OK! Besides, cruising the Panama Canal is very interesting. Keep in mind that some cruises advertise the Panama Canal, but don’t actually sail through it. They may actually port on one side, then provide excursions into the canal zone. We discovered that the rainy season is May through November. Amazingly for us, the first half of April only provide a few specs that would be cleared from a windshield with one swipe.

Bottom Line: If you want to cruise the Panama Canal, go!

40 thoughts on “On Our Spring 2019 Cruise Itinerary

  1. Congrats on being able to go on that kind of cruise! That’s great to know about Havana being your favorite stop. I have looked into going to Havana and will at some point. They have good flight deals out of Charlotte to there. I appreciate the quick notes on Central America.

    I’ve only been to Canada and Europe outside the US myself as of now. But I plan on changing that late this year in November.

    Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a good question. I haven’t looked into flights going there in a couple of months, but I do know Delta and AA go there. Almost all itineraries connect in Miami before Havana that I recall. I’m not entirely sure at the moment how it is. Looking forward to when you post that Havana entry though.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like a terrific itinerary! The canal, certainly…but Cuba!! Oh boy! Can’t wait to see your post about Cuba. Mexico is a wonderful country to visit, the people are warm, friendly, kind and the seafood is incredible. I hope you saw some less ‘touristy’ places in Cabo (which by my thinking is a party stop). I always think it’s better to see the off the beaten track in tourist traps.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Monika,
      The combination of the Canal and Cuba was difficult to pass! What we saw of Mexico was quite touristy, but I enjoyed seeing the T-shirts promoting the “fun side of the wall” …. we laughed. In general, we like to find our own stuff, but on this trip, we were uncharacteristically cautious.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Panama Canal is truly a marvel. To think, the inspiration for it goes all the way back to the 16th century. And to think of all the deaths that occurred during the construction of the Canal, it’s almost like a ghost story could be attached to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catherine,
      Definitely agree with your architecture statement about Havana … and Canadians are lucky to have easier access that Americans. Although my stay was short (measured in hours), at least I had that.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mexico is so close, it was always like another state for a long time – we’d pop over for dinner after a day at the beach – but the unrest and cartels put an end to that relaxed fun.
    The canal has so much history and the science/engineering. Would like to see that – sounds cool
    You can re-live Lucy and Ricky’s era in Cuba. What a trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ray,
      Your comment made me laugh! Then again, 25+ inches of rain per month for 6 months is a lot of rain! … More than I can imagine … especially compared to Cincinnati’s paltry 42 inches annually.

      Liked by 1 person

      • People talk about Seattle as being rainy. Their rain is misty and dreary. We have more rain in a couple of months than the do all year. Then, there’s hurricanes. That season is June 1 until the end of November.

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  5. I agree on the McCullough book, Frank. For me it was one of the most enjoyable reads of its kind, including the engineering aspects. We took a similar cruise and recall it fondly. Our ship entered the canal from the Atlantic and then returned the same way. It was a year or two before the larger canal opened.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jim,
      Cheers to you reading the McCullough book (something I haven’t done and probably won’t). Thanks for also sharing a bit of your canal cruising experience. I imagine your engineering mind was at working connecting what you read, what you see, the new canal’s construction, and more. It’s quite the engineering feat!

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  6. When I went on my Hawaiian cruise for my honeymoon, I asked one of the stewards (or whatever they are called) if the average age of those on board was 75! I felt it was quite the “powder head” cruise. He said nah… you want the oldest crowd? Go on the Panama Canal cruise! (One year we filled the on-board morgue…Oy!) So I figured I’d wait a few years 😉
    I say this totally in jest, you know. I have been to Cuba but not yet to Havana. My niece spent two weeks in Guatemala as a student and said the people were lovely. I have been to parts of Mexico, so I’m good with that one…
    Yeah, I think I’ll still wait for this one 😉

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  7. Sounds like you had a great time.
    I’m quite looking forward to the pics of Old Havana. Although it’s in decay, time has stood still for awhile.

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