Before starting my travel blog, I used to send travelogues of my journeys by e-mail to my friends and family. I saved some of those e-mails as a travel journal to look back on, so I thought I would share some of those with you.
The following are excerpts from travels in South America, in 2009. After a pre-cruise visit to Valparaiso, Chile, Mom & I boarded Royal Caribbean’s “Radiance of the Seas”, for a “working” cruise, to San Diego. On board, we taught arts & crafts classes to the passengers:
I am at an internet shop in Lima and ít´s only $1/ hr. for internet.
The Radiance of the Seas is a fabulous ship! The Jewel of the Seas (sister ship) used to be my favorite ship on Royal Caribbean, however, the Radiance was the first in its class.
Leo, my contact person on the cruise staff told me that the company dumped tons of $$ into this ship to make a big splash and great impression when it was revealed. Although it is now 8 years old, it looks just beautiful! There is so much gorgeous wood used throughout the ship, wonderful glass art work, tasty decor in all the public areas, etc. It is definitely the most tastefully decorated and built-out ship I have ever been on.
The food on the ship has been good, however, they serve much more fish than shellfish; typical of Royal Caribbean as compared to Princess. I miss the shrimp I ate often on the Sun Princess, but the fish is good, too… And, the chocolate desserts are delicious, as was last night´s Dulce de Leche Cheesecake!
A favorite place to enjoy lunch on the Jewel of the Seas was the Seaview Cafe. They have one on this ship, as well, so I enjoyed a nice salad while dining near the railing at the aft end of the ship. It was sunny and in the low-70´s- beautiful! And, it´s a quaint little seafood cafe with a great ambiance inside and out.
As for the entertainment, it is fabulous! We saw a terrific aerialist duo on the first night, the Beatle Maniacs (Beatles tribute band), a couple of nights ago, and a great production show last night. Overall, I always find the guest entertainers to be great on Royal Caribbean. And, their Brazilian band in the Atrium is awesome!
Our cabin is in a fantastic location- if it ever gets rough. We are located at the bottom, on deck 2, mid-ship. Excellent!
Now, for the ports… Lima is a very busy and loud city. And, it´s not very photogenic in the city. But, we didn´t take a tour today and really didn´t see much. After taking the shuttle in, we walked up to the Indian Market and other crafts markets and bought a few things.
Then, we headed back and here I am at the internet. Not much seen and nothing photographed, except at the markets…
From what I understand, the northern part of Peru and the inland regions are a must-see! Since we are on a ship and it can´t be done, I am satisfied just doing what I did. That will have to wait for another day, I´m afraid.
Our last port was La Serena, Chile. The free shuttle took us into town and we spent a full day there. I enjoyed the architecture, the people were very warm and friendly, and it was a comfortable place to get around on foot.
The big surprise of the day was being there for the 84th anniversary of the military and local police. There was a ceremony and parade, so we got caught up watching all the festivities. The highllight was seeing all the groups of school kids lining up to parade in their school uniforms; each school a different one. The kids were so friendly and happy! And, they loved being photographed. More importantly (to them, at least), was seeing how they looked in the photographs! They crowded around after each one so they could see themselves and giggle. Cute! It was so much fun.
After roaming around the crafts market and picking up a couple of things, we headed next door to the largest grocery store I had ever seen! I bought chocolate, of course, as well as some spices for Bruce. Then, we stopped over at the deli and picked up a couple of empanadas to enjoy for our little lunch. Delicious!
Overall, it was an enjoyable time walking around the town and having a relaxing, slow-paced day. And, it was nice not being herded around on a tour. As a matter of fact, the only tour we booked is for Ecuador, and it´s only for 31/2 hours. It will be a relaxing cruise…
Following our stop in Peru, we visited Manta, Ecuador, and Puntarenas, Costa Rica, before ending our cruise in San Diego. Due to an outbreak of the swine flu, in Mexico, we had to skip our ports in that country.
Here are a few photos from Ecuador:
And, a few from Costa Rica:
Our cruise ended in San Diego, so I will leave you with a view of downtown, from the ship: