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Deaf Cruise Eastbound Panama Canal
October 1-18, 2010

Backstage tour: Oh! The dancers' <br>costumes are heavy.
Backstage tour: Oh! The dancers'
costumes are heavy.

Our adventure of 18 days started in San Diego, CA. Celebrity's Mercury was waiting for us in the city's port. Soon, we started sailing towards Mexico. Our cruise included several days at sea. While cruising, we kept busy on board the ship with trivia, attending various lectures and workshops, teaching an ASL class, enjoying the fabulous shows, having fun in the casino. There were also behind the scenes tours of the captain's bridge, the kitchen and the engine control room. On our visit to the backstage of the theater we learned more about the daily on board life of the cast. Quite a few nights were filled with deaf game shows. There was never a dull moment.

Our first port of call was Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Cabo San Lucas is located on the southern tip of Baja California's peninsula. Most of us joined a bus tour that included a longer stop in San Jose del Cabo, a visit at the Cacti Mundo, an ecological cactus garden and a visit of a glass blowing factory where we watched talented native craftsmen creating beautiful glassware. San Jose del Cabo
San Jose del Cabo
Chapel of Peace in Acapulco
Chapel of Peace in Acapulco

Acapulco is a well-known beach resort that's seen many Hollywood stars and millionaires since the 1950s. The streets in the city are always busy and the night life is very vibrant. The city is located on a semi-circular bay that has been used as a port since the early colonial period. While on our tour, we drove up the steep streets to the Chapel of Peace from where we had a breathtaking view of the bay and Roqueta Island. After visiting the chapel and the surrounding area, we descended the hill and went to the old part of the town. There we visited the Fort of San Diego that today accommodates the Acapulco Historical Museum. A very nice display provided information about the daily life in this area during the colonial period. Our next stop was to La Quebrada where we watched the world famous high cliff divers. The tour finished with a refreshment at the Flamingo Hotel, the vacation refuge for Hollywood stars in the fifties.

Huatulco, Mexico is located on the Pacific coast in the state of Oaxaca. It is the result of a recent tourist development initiated by the government of Mexico. The area has nine marvelous bays and the main town is La Crucecita. Our tour began with a stop at the Bay of Tangolunda to enjoy the wonderful view. We then went to La Crucecita to a workshop where a wooden weaving loom was still in operation. The final products were available for purchase in an adjacent store. Next, we visited the church in La Crucecita. The church is famous for the world’s largest painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The last stop in town was a small, family run store with a large variety of local products. We had a chance to try some of them like Mezcal, tortillas, hot chocolate, and grilled grasshoppers. The tour continued to the marina of Santa Cruz where we embarked a catamaran and had a nice mini cruise along the shoreline. Weaving loom
Weaving loom
A walk along the trails in Inbio Park
A walk along the trails in Inbio Park
Puentarenas, Costa Rica was our next stop. The country is home to a rich variety of plants and animals. Therefore, an eco tour on the Tarcoles River was our choice for the first day. The area of the river is home to one of the world's largest crocodile populations in the wild. Also, there are over fifty different bird species. The mangrove forests are popular nesting sites of resident and migrant waterfowls. A delicious tropical fruit buffet was waiting for us on our return.
Since the ship stayed in Puentarenas over night, another day of adventure was waiting for us. Our first stop was Inbio Park, where we experienced Costa Rica's natural resources. We followed a guided tour along a trail of tropical growth found in the rainforest. The tour continued to Cafe Britt's plantation and roastery. During a fun filled show we learned about the marvels of this small country and its world-famous gourmet coffee. The lunch was delicious and gave us the chance to experience Costa Rican flavors.

The highlight of our cruise was the passage of the Panama Canal. The canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The construction of the canal was one of the most difficult engineering projects and changed the shipping between the two waters forever. The work at the canal began in 1880. As many as 27,500 workers are estimated to have died building the canal. The canal opened in 1914. Recently, a new project started on the canal to install bigger locks. When finished they will be able to accommodate larger ships that otherwise would not be able to pass thru the canal. Locks at the Panama Canal
Locks at the Panama Canal
Street Vendor in Cartagena
Street Vendor in Cartagena
The seaport of Cartagena, Columbia was our next stop after leaving the Panama Canal. The city was founded in 1533 and named after the port of Cartagena in Spain. Once, the city was a preferred target for pirates until the fortress was built. The city flourished in the 18th century as the main hub of commerce and transportation. Our tour started with a photo stop at the Fort of San Felipe de Barajas, we continued to Las Bovedas (The Dungeons) for handicraft shopping. Then, we walked through some of the streets in the old town and enjoyed the beautiful houses with wooden balconies decorated with an abundance of flowers. A visit of the Inquisition Palace reminded us of the time of the Inquisition that started in the city in 1610. The second floor of the palace presents a small historical museum. The Pierino Gallo Mall was the last stop and satisfied shopping enthusiasts.
Cococay, Bahamas was our last stop. Cococay is one of the Berry Islands, approximately 55 miles north of Nassau. The island offers activities like swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, parasailing, scuba diving, and Waverunner piloting. Two ladies in our group took advantage of the chance to go parasailing. And they loved it! But before this adventure happened, almost all of us went on a Eco Adventure Boat Tour. We learned about the local flora and fauna of the Berry Islands and viewed marine life like giant sea starfish and land crabs. Giant Sea Starfish
Giant Sea Starfish

Group Picture
Group Picture

What our clients said after the cruise:

Hello Kerstin,
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you so much for the lovely rose and "I love you" paper cut in the vase and birthday cake. Deanna DiVincenzo

I had a great time on Eastbound Panama Canal Cruise. Barbara Evans

it was really nice getting to know you on the cruise. I'm in awe of your passion and work ethic. You give all. I'd would like to pay your efforts back by doing all I can to make people aware of your great services.
Nancy Hammons

Hi Kerstin,
What a wonderful cruise we all had!! Thank you so much for making this arrangement with lots of fun. Most of all meeting you!! ...
Marjorie Klish

We really enjoyed our cruise very much especially with you. Lots of memories.
Barbara Christianson

Hi Kerstin,
We want to thank you for making our trip thru Eastbound Panama Canal Cruise wonderful. Finally my dream for this cruise became a reality! We will always cherish the memories of this trip. Thank you for surprising Cheryl with a Chocolate cake, red rose and I love you Sign. The rose bloomed in our cabin for a good 10 days. Your daily plans for the next day was well received before we hit our sacks. Your hard work on this cruise made our trip even more enjoyable, we can't thank you enough. You deserved our: Job well done with our thumbs up.
Love, Jerry and Cheryl

Thank you present from <br />Peter and Nancy Kensicki
Thank you present from
Peter and Nancy Kensicki
Thank you card from <br />Peter and Nancy Kensicki
Thank you card from
Peter and Nancy Kensicki

Contact Kerstin's Travel to book your next cruise by sending an e-mail to kerstin@kerstinstravel.com

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