Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

Summary of our cruise

Now that we are home, and looking back on our Amazon trip, several things stood out about the trip. First, we love the Royal Princess and small ship cruising. We loved not waiting in line for anything, getting up close and personal with the cruise staff and sitting with Captain Ivan Jerman at the Captains lunch. Our entertainment on board was excellent, but as always, a magician who does the same tricks. We got to know most of the dancers quite well, our favorite being Natasha the dance captain from Sydney, Australia. We were again fortunate with good table mates and outstanding trivia partners.
Perhaps the highlight of the trip was an idea that Judy came up with before we left. We had been on basically this same trip three years ago and as always we had taken a ton of pictures and we were again going back to the village of Boca Da Valaria. Boca is a small village of about 75-100 people that live along the Amazon in very small houses on stilts to stay above the rising water of the Amazon. Before we left we printed up about 30 of the pictures that we had taken of families and kids in this village. When we stopped there this time we went back to the same houses and gave them to the families and of course to the kids we could find. They were all thrilled. And again while we were there we took more pictures, had them printed up on the ship and took them back to the village again on our way home. Again, we got the same reaction, they loved them, especially the two girls that posed for Judy.
Another highlight, THIS TIME I CAUGHT A PIRANAH!!!

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Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

ST Barths

Well, we couldn’t get into St Barths today because the sea was extremely rough and we were suppose to take tender boats in. We are very glad we got to go in the last time, of course with my heart condition; it was probably good that we didn’t chance another topless beach.
In recapping the last few days, I think I mentioned that we were again invited to the Captains lunch as two of the forty most traveled passengers on board. This time we were extremely surprised because we were seated with Captain Jerman and it was an interesting lunch. The Captain is English but lives in Australia. We enjoy him for his wit which includes the statement at the welcoming party that said “A speech is like a women’s dress, it needs to be long enough to cover the essentials, but short enough to keep everyone’s interest”. We have run into the Captain since that lunch and he always acknowledges and asks how we are doing. We have had a lot of Captains lunches, but this was the first time we were at his table.
Now two more sea days and home on Saturday.

Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

Trinidad and St Lucia

This blog covers both Trinidad and St Lucia. We have been to Trinidad so many times that we did not bother to leave the ship, instead chose to read and Judy even got her swimming suit on and went to the pool.
In St Lucia we took a tour to the twin peaks which really set the island apart from others. The tour took us to a botanical garden, a volcano that is still spewing sulphur, a beautiful waterfall and lunch. At the volcano I chose not to take the long grinding walk up to a vantage point, it turns out that my pictures were as good as Judy’s and she had a tough time with the stairs and the steep grades. Lunch was buffet style and was just ok, some chicken, some fish, beans and bananas used as a vegetable. I think I will stick to the good taste of ripe bananas.
We got a new entertainer on board in Trinidad and she is a terrific piano player. She is billed as a female Liberace and lived up to the billing. She played everything and actually took requests during her program. She uses no music and apparently has committed over 2000 pieces of music to memory. We can’t wait to see her again.
Tomorrow we will again be in St Barths, and we are just going in and walking around a bit and probably not go to any of the beaches this time. Was too tough on the heart the last time.

Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

Devils Island for the fifth time

Today was another day at Devils Island (Isle Royale) and being this was our fifth time here, and not much else we could see on the island, we stayed onboard today and won two more trivia’s. We have been on a roll the last few days and today we won hats and bags. (at least no more luggage tags). We really enjoy our trivia team; we have a couple from Texas and one from Washington traveling together. They had met on a past cruise and have traveled together on a couple more.
We have gotten hooked on Sudoku: the library puts out three new ones each day, each with a increasing degree of difficulty. Surprisingly Judy and I do them together very well, because we look at the numbers differently, so we have been breezing through most of them pretty quickly.
We continue to meet new people and have had breakfast and lunch with very interesting people. We have a lady on board who joined this ship in 2007 and stays on it permanently. The cruise staff really caters to her and there is even a picture of her near the dining room.
Tomorrow, another sea day and we are having lunch with the Captain and his staff for being one of the forty most traveled passengers on this cruise.

Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

Two days at sea

We have spent the last two days at sea enjoying the Royal Princess and the great staff and friends we have made. We have been going back to trivia (I guess we are both tired of reading) and have won three of the last four (I know we don’t need anymore luggage tags). I think we go because we enjoy the people we play with.
We passed over the equator again without seeing the line, maybe it was because the captain came on and told us that the line was a little red this time because of the weather and we were looking for the black line, oh well, maybe next time.
We have really come to like this small ship, we never wait in line for anything including elevators (which the ship only has four of), the staff is extremely friendly and we have come to know may of them. One of our favorites is Natasha, she is one of the dancers and also on the cruise staff. She is from Australia, and extremely good dancer and interesting to talk with. Tonight another formal night, yuck, six of them on this trip.
Tomorrow, Devils Island.

Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

Boca Da Valaria for the second time

Today we visited Boca Da Valeria for the second time and took back all the pictures we took and had developed onboard. Three girls recognized us as we arrived at the dock, and guided us to their house with a couple of stops along the way to drop off some other pictures.
When we arrived at their house, Judy pulled out the pictures and showed them to the mother who was extremely happy and of course the girls were really amused and grabbed their pictures quickly and couldn’t stopped giggling as they walked us the whole way back to the dock.
This turned into an amazing adventure for Judy and me. We put big smiles on faces of both grownups and youngsters. Judy had a great idea when she decided to this before we left home.
Tomorrow, another visit to Santarem, not sure we are going to do anything but still having a good time.

Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

The Boi Bumba

After hearing much about the Boi Bomba, today was our day to go, and we surely wern;t disappointed. Boi Bomba is actually held in June and is the second largest celebration in Brazil. Boi Bomba pits the blue followers against the red followers in the samba. Thousands of people compete for each side and it turns into a competition of dance, costumes, and extremely elaborate and large animated creatures, with some of these being huge. We got a one hour sample of what happens in June (the one in June goes on for a week) from members of the blue followers. Our performance had more than a hundred dancers that never stopped dancing. The performance was wonderful and made us tired just watching the constant nonstop dancing. I have no idea where they get the energy, but they are all amazing.
Tomorrow, back to Boca Da Valeria, where we are looking to take back the photographs we had taken on our way here, and had printed on the ship. We hope that the people will be as excited about our recent pictures as they were of the three year old ones.
We finally met our new tablemates and they seem like a nice group, but it will be hard to beat the ones we had for the fist leg of our trip. Will let you know more as we get to know them better.

Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

Meeting of the waters

Well, the people finally are leaving to go home, and the new people have gotten on and we spent almost nine hours on boats touring the backwaters and seeing up close and personal again “The meeting of the Waters”. It is amazing to see the black water of the Rio Negro run alongside of the muddy Amazon for miles and miles without ever merging, Because the two rivers differ in several important respects (clarity, density, temperature, acidity and suspended sediments) they flow together side by side. We also seen giant lily pads, had a great lunch and toured a rubber producing farm. The guides here have been exceptional and now we are looking forward to the Boi Bomba performance in Parintins.

Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

Manaus day 2

Well, our second day in Manaus was an interesting one. We said goodbye to our table mates last night because they had to leave at 6 this morning, but guess what, they stayed another night. Here is what happened, because of all the snow storms in the States including Atlanta, Princess charter flights which were Atlanta based could not leave, so none of the people expecting to join the ship on Saturday and the people expecting to leave couldn’t. Manaus normally has only flights out of their airport to Sao Paulo and Panama City and because they have no landing lights, only daytime flights are allowed. This seems really strange for a city of almost 2 million people. I am sure the Princess people went entirely nuts because they couldn’t get people here or get people off until Sunday. We stayed on ship all day, read, played some cribbage and commiserated with all the people who couldn’t get off. And of course we went to another on board performance of the dance group and it was even better than the first time.

Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

Manaus

We arrived in Manaus this morning and will be here for three days. We have a tour scheduled for Sunday and we are looking forward to an all day tour into the forest.
Manaus is a large city with almost 2 million people and at one point about one hundred and twenty five years ago was considered one of the richest cities in the world. It all had to do with rubber plantations. We walked into the port which is a bustle of activity because this is the port for most commerce in and out of Manaus. It was as we remembered, lots of street side shops, not designed for tourists but for the locals. Tonight we had a folk loric show onboard and it was outstanding with lots of different kinds of dance and costumes. We said goodbye to our tablemate’s last night and tonight we will say hello to some new ones, hopefully as nice as the last group.

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