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April 30, 2019

Just Returned from Our Panama Canal Cruise!

by June Moore, Singles Travel International Concierge

panama-canal-deck-card-game

There are the vacations that center around adventure, those that focus on landmarks, or even those that just allow a bit of relaxation.  At Singles Travel International, our members enjoy wrapping them all in one!  Over the course of two weeks, our voyage through the Panama Canal gave it all!

As an avid traveler, you may be thinking, “Panama?, Been There, Done That,” but I hope to show you why returning may be more enticing than you think.  Imagine never returning to the same beach, a favorite restaurant or even the workplace day after day.  (Okay the last is stretching it just a bit, as it’s what funds the travel!)  Lucky for those members who joined us for the second time in Panama, an even longer vacation, for a full canal crossing.  We had a brand new adventure.

I was fortunate enough to travel on the previous Panama Canal cruise that sailed roundtrip from Miami.  It was great!  We cruised through the first set of locks and anchored in Gatun Lake.  From there, our group took an excursion to experience the journey through the remaining locks to the Pacific Ocean.  It was an experience!  In my opinion, cruising is a great way to travel.  There are many positive attributes to cruising, but one of the greatest is that cruising allows you to sample a  destination.  It’s enough to quench a thirst and to bring you back to experience more.

3 Reasons to Cruise Longer:

  1.  It’s a vacation!  Why limit all the fun, excitement, and adventure to just 1 week!
  2. Extra days allow for greater distance to travel = more places to cross off the bucket list!
  3. Extended vacations make up for the time spent traveling. 

Fast forward to our recent trip.  I’ve been through the canal, so it will be about the same, right?  Well, I flew to Los Angeles to meet the group for our pre-cruise stay.  This is a favorite part of the adventure for me.  It’s like a mini reunion of past guests and a welcome to the family for our newest members.  The group stayed at The Roosevelt Hotel, on Hollywood Boulevard, allowing the group the accessibility to the sites of Hollywood within walking distance.  Upon my arrival, I made my way out to scope out the area.  What a treat!  The Grauman’s Chinese Theatre was just on the other side of Hollywood Boulevard, where the premiere of Shazam! was busy getting set-up. So many star sightings, so much to do!  The wonderful part was that we could easily retreat to our little oasis at The Roosevelt.

Our vessel for this voyage through the Panama Canal was the Norwegian Star.  The two week itinerary had us cruising down the coast to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Acapulco, Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua; Puntarenas, Costa Rica and Cartagena, Colombia, with just enough days at sea before delivering us to our disembarkation in Miami.

All of the ports were such a pleasant surprise and many that I had not had the opportunity to enjoy prior to this voyage.  The group enjoyed many adventures of touring, ziplining, walking through the rainforest, and braving the crocodile river.

This sailing took us the entire length of the canal.  It was such an enjoyable day, starting at sunrise as we passed Panama City to early evening as we traveled out of Gatun Lake.  Whether enjoying the scenic passage from the bow of the ship or as group from a cabin balcony.  One of the favorite moments was our gathering for a champagne toast at Spice H20!  Throughout the days leading up to the canal passage, the ship offered many lectures that provided more insight on the history of the canal; as well as a full narration of our day cruising through the locks.  An added bonus for me, was one of the STI members’ grandfather helped to build the canal.  He shared photocopies of the newspaper article and pictures of some of the items brought back.  It was a treat to have him with us as it was a more personal journey for him.  Thank Randy!

One thing that I have learned over my years traveling with Singles Travel International is that it’s the people you travel with that enhance the journey.  One distinct feature of group travel is that you can go to the same location time and again, but have a different experience.  I enjoy the conversations, the adventures, and just the amount of fun that we share. Whether it’s experiencing something new, making a new friendship, or just crossing off items from the bucket list, there’s always something new to encounter and we hope to see you soon!

Check out some of our longer upcoming cruises:

Now is the best time to plan!

 

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