April 13, 2023 – Thursday – Oranjestad, Aruba

2023 Panama Canal Cruise

I ordered room service breakfast for this morning at 6:45am, since I’m signed up for a Sail and Snorkel excursion that leaves at 8am. I enjoy my favourite bagel and lox, along with a continental breakfast and coffee. I’m at the appointed check-in spot outside the cruise terminal by 7:45am, and we walk to the catamaran tied up just down the dock from the Nieuw Amsterdam.

Although I forget to bring the floating handle for my GoPro, I manage to hang onto it, not dropping it to the bottom as I snorkel today! I take 4k video underwater of the fish at the first snorkel stop at Boca Cathalina, and of the ship wreck at the second stop. The Antilla shipwreck site is a challenge, since the wind is up so the water is rougher, there are crowds of people swarming all over, and some of the excursion boats are literally right over the wreck! Despite all these odds, I manage to shoot some video and survive the experience, however I’m glad to be back safely onboard the excursion boat. There is unlimited Rum punch and other beverages on the return to town.

I had thought I would wander around Oranjestad town, but it is already too hot for me, so I return to the ship. After dropping my snorkel stuff in my stateroom, I first grab a table in the shade beside the Lido pool and have a beer, a Dive In Impossible burger and some fries for a late lunch. I then return to my stateroom to get cleaned up and relax while transferring my photos and video to my MacBook Pro.

My dinner this evening is in the Main Dining Room at the same big table as two nights ago, where I join a mix of Americans and Canadians. We enjoy back and forth banter, recollections of past travels, and even some more serious subjects. I have shrimp crostini as a starter, and roast chicken with stuffing for my main – both very tasty with a glass of Pinot Grigio wine. I finish with a chocolate torte for dessert and a cappuccino. After dinner, I go to the B.B. King’s Blues Club to enjoy some great performances by the troupe of musicians and singers.