2007 Cruise - Panama Canal


I am SO excited to be going back onboard the Regent Mariner. This is the same ship that I was on last year for the Hawaii/Tahiti cruise. I have found out that Janet and Phil from Missouri will be back onboard, as well as performers Maz and Natalie. Dinners are already planned with each.
This is a 16 day cruise through the Panama Canal (see itinerary).

For those who do not remember, the Mariner is an all-suites ship, with cabins of 320 square feet and each with a balcony. It is now all-inclusive, and because I was on the last trip, internet service is also free. There is a maximum of 700 passengers on the cruise.

I have planned shore excursions at:
Cartagena: Historical Cartagena and the Palace of Inquisition
Panama Canal: Former Canal Zone and Gutan Locks
Huatulco: Pleasant Bays Tour
Acapulco: Acapulco Highlights and Cliff Divers

I will be leaving just after midnight on Friday, April 27th from Sacramento, transferring in Houston, then on to Fort Lauderdale with arrival near 11:00AM. I will then take a taxi directly to the ship.

Thanks to Candi at Abbott Travel in South Dakota for once again taking care of all the arrangements.

I invite you check this page daily, as I will be posting updates and photos as often as possible. I will add to this log from the top, so that new entries can be seen first.

Also, please feel free to e-mail me. Just click on the link at the top of this page. I love to hear what is going on. I will do my best to respond.

April 27th

I was picked up by Vintage Limousine at 9:20PM on Thursday night. As their suburban truck was not available, I was taken to the Sacramento Airport in a long stretch limo. 

Arrived at the airport at 10:00 and went through check-in and security in nothing flat.

The 12:30AM fight was on time and first class seating is a wonderful thing. 

About 30 minutes out of Sacramento, one of the stewardesses went  to the restroom and a large man walked to the front of the plane and half fainted, falling to his knees, blocking the restroom door. The stewardess tried to get out, but was trapped inside, so she began ringing the help bell over and over. I figured that the man was having a heart attack and we were going to head back to Sacramento and the trip would be off. Came to find out that he had not eaten in 3 days. They got him up, the stewardess out and gave him orange juice. All was well and on we went.

The 2nd leg of the flight (Houston to Fort Lauderdale) also got off to a rocky start. We were taxiing to the runway and came to a halt. The pilot told us that we needed to change out the communications panel on the outside of the plane. So…I thought that we were going to be there a long time and that the trip would be off. They happened to have one there, and changed it out in 10 minutes.

We arrived in Fort Lauderdale at 11:00 and off to Port Everglades to meet the Mariner. This is only about a 5 minute cab ride from the airport. They do check your ship ticket and passport before you are allowed into the port area. There is a nice waiting area and there were probably 30 people already there. A small wait (until 12:00) to board.                     

Had a steak sandwich at the pool grill and waited for the room to be ready at 2:30. They told us at 2:00 that we could proceed to our rooms.  Once in the room, Jade, my stewardess, arrived to introduce herself and to check if there was anything I needed. Luggage arrived shortly after and I ran down and ironed 8 shirts. Glad to have that out of the way. 

Went out to the top deck for the sail away at 4:15, and then it was boat drill time.

After the drill, we had a "block party", as everyone came out of their room and the ship staff served wine and cheese. Very nice touch. I have found out that I have no neighbors. An empty room on one side of me and at least 2 on the other. It should be a very quiet cruise.

It was then dinner time. Once again, great food!!

Up next is the welcome aboard show and then off to the casino before crashing from exhaustion.

One of the nice things is that even after a full year, many of the crew members welcomed me back by name. My original stewardess (Silvia) is taking care of rooms about 5 rooms down from mine, so we have already caught up on things.

 I have met some wonderful people onboard, so I know I will really enjoy the cruise. 

A few photos have been placed on the photo page, so be sure to check that page out too.

One nice new feature is that wireless internet is now available in every room. No more need to run down to the 6th deck to check e-mail.

April 28th

The “Fabulous Places” show last night was ok. It is not a true show, more of staff introductions with 3 short production numbers thrown in.

 I visited the casino for a few minutes. My favorite table game has been removed, so will have to work out a substitution.

We have about 500 passengers onboard at this time, picking up the other 200 in Los Angeles on the next to the last day of the cruise. They will be continuing to Alaska.

Awoke this morning at 7:00 with breakfast served in the room at 7:30, then out to walk the top deck while the room was being made up.

Went out to the pool grill for lunch and chatted with Michael, a younger passenger (from San Francisco) traveling with his parents (from Texas).

Spent a few hours laying out by the pool and visiting with several guests.

Before dinner, there was the Captains Reception, where I had my photo taken with the Captain. If it turns out well, I will be purchasing that and posting it online.

The ocean was a bit choppy just before dinner (just enough to notice), but has since quieted again.

Dinner was wonderful tonight with Lobster (yes, me, the NO seafood person having lobster), and a “chocolate trilogy” for desert that was to die for. The presentation on the plate was the best I have seen.

Tonight’s show is my favorite “Thoroughly Modern Broadway”.

April 29th

The show last night was very good. It was nice to see Maz and Natalie on stage again.

After the show, I went to the coffee bar and sat and chatted with a few passengers until 1AM.

I awoke at 3:00AM, as the ship began to rock and roll quite a lot.

Now at 9:00AM, I am again sitting in the café having taken a Dramamine, but still not feeling great. I may have to just take it real easy today. Part of this may be due to the fact that the room next to mine was re-carpeted last night, and the smell of the glue was quite strong overnight.

We took a different course than what the drawing shows. We went to the east side of Cuba, and last night, passed between Jamacia and Haiti. We are still on course to be in South America tomorrow.

As an update, what would my cruise be without a medical evacuation. As we understand, a gentleman had a bladder blockage and had to be evacuated at noon from the ship. We were diverted west towards Jamaica early this morning to get close enough for the evacuation, which means we will be missing our stop in Cartagena tomorrow and heading directly to the Panama Canal to be able to meet our time on Tuesday. It will be another full day at sea.

I have uploaded a photo of the evacuation in the photos area.

The seas have smoothed quite a bit and I feel much better

I spent a few hours by the pool today. The sun is very intense and there was no breeze, so jumping into the pool sure felt nice. The ocean temp. is 77 degrees, so that is what the temp. the pool water is. (Salt water pool).

Also spent an hour in the casino learning the table game version of “Texas Hold-‘em”. Not sure if I like it or not. They still have “3 card poker” and “Blackjack” as table games along with craps and roulette. There is also some new electronic poker game that several players sit at, but it has not been manned yet.

I have been asked about dinners onboard. Tonight was a "Country Casual" evening, which is a shirt with collar and slacks. No tie or coat required.

Dinner choices are usually 3 appetizers, 2 soups, 2-3 salads, a pasta dish, a sorbet or sherbert cleanser, 4 choices of main course (with additional chicken, steak or fish on a regular basis) and then a complete desert menu with 6-8 choices.

This evening, I had the marinated artichoke heart appetizer, a caesers salad, a vegetable pasta dish, avacado sherbert (don't ask), breaded weiner schnitzel and a cherry custard tart. All of this, of course, served with a white and/or red wine. Tonight's selections were from Chile.

Tonight's entertainment is a comedian, so I figure I will skip that and head to the casino. I should note that Daniella is still aboard. She is one of the dealers in the casino that I have a great time visiting with. Bob and Geri Kelly from PA are a couple who I enjoy chatting with while playing table games. They are out on the tennis court most days and in the casino in the evenings.

We turned back our clocks last night, so we are now 2 hours ahead of California time.

April 30th

I have fallen into a routine. Breakfast in the coffee cafe (fruits, rolls and juices), then up to the pool deck for relaxation and lunch at the pool grill. The coffee cafe is new to the Mariner this year. They took out part of the library and a few computer tables to make room for this. In doing so, they made a wonderful area that serves continental breakfasts in the morning, and cookies and snacks in the afternoons.

This afternoon, we made a quick drop anchor stop off the island of San Andres, Columbia (see photo page). This is the manditory international stop, as we did not stop at our original South American port. It was only an hour stop and no one was allowed to leave ship.

The outside temperature is about 85, but with a bit of humidity that makes it seem about 95. The cloud cover, when it is there, is much welcome. The sea temperature is 77 degrees, as is the pool.

Late afternoon I went to the casino and won $100 at 3 Card Poker, and $315 on a quarter machine.

Dinner was spent with Phil, Janet and her parents in the Signatures Restaurant, a very nice French Restaurant. I had the rack of lamb, and a very nice conversation with all.

After dinner, Janet, Phil and I went to the casino to play a few rounds at the tables. I did not win there.

It is 11:00PM and time to get to bed, as I will be up at 5AM for the Canal Crossing.

May 1st

Awoke at 5:30AM to watch us enter the Panama Canal. It was raining lightly, but that subsided by 6:00, just as we getting ready to enter the lock system.

As we approach the locks, we go through the "breakwater", which looks very much like going through the Delta, with a low fog on the tree-lined banks.
They tie up our boats to the railroad system "mules" via a cable. That cable is brought aboard by row boat. They have not found a better way to get the cable from the shore to the ships. They once tried shooting them across, but that was too dangerous. They also tried motor boats, but because of heavy rains at times, they were unable to get the motors started.

We will be lifted 85 feet, through 3 gates into Gatun Lake. The gates use gravity to put water into the gate areas. These gates use 52 million gallons of fresh water for each ship that goes through the lake. That water goes into the ocean from the lake. About 35 ships go through the gates per day.

They receive 200 inches during the rain season, which begins this month. This rain allows them to have enough water for the process.

It costs about $200,000 for this ship to go through the canal, but this saves many days of going around South America. It is cheaper to go through the Canal than around the Cape, which is about 26 days longer.

Took the  tour of the "Former Canal Zone and Gatun Locks". We spent an hour at the Gatun Locks learning about the operation and watching a cargo ship go from one end to the other. It is VERY interesting to watch the process. We then took a bus tour of the area that America  used to own,  much of it now deserted. Because of the amount of money made from the canal, there is very little tax, a great health care system and infrastructure. However, most of the new buildings are on the Pacific Ocean side, where off shore banking is the next largest form of income for Panama.

Along the way, we saw sloths and iguanas.

We then returned to the Gatun Yacht Club (where there are no yachts any more) for performances by the locals, and local natives selling their wares. The locals still wear their native clothing, which is basically a G-String for the men and no tops for the women. The men are tattooed quite heavily. In fact, it looks like they are wearing short pants, but this is all done with intricate tribal tattoos.

Returned to the ship for a German lunch and BBQ. Layed out in the sun for an hour, and then at 3:00, it began to rain heavily. That only lasted 20 minutes.

At 4:00, we raised anchor and crossed Gatun Lake in preparation for going into the Miraflores Locks to the Pacific Ocean.

Gatun Lake (man made) is 200 square miles. It is 50 miles from one end of the canal to the other. Each lock is 110 feet wide and 1,000 feet long. The widest ships allowed (until the new locks are completed in 2012) are 106 feet wide, 965 feet long and 39.5 feet draft depth.

Part of this canal also looks very much like the California Delta region. Very narrow river with vegetation (and rocks) on each side.

We crossed the continental divide at about 6:30 and then through the first lock (Pedro Miguel) at about 7:15. We were held at the end of that lock for a short period of time before heading to the Miraflores Locks. We were allowed to move on at 8:30PM.

Dinner tonight was excellent. I even asked for the recipe of the salad dressing. It will be delivered to my room tomorrow. They finally served California wine with dinner. It included Haywood Chardonnay from Geyserville, and a Zinfandel from Paso Robles.

Went through the Miraflores locks shortly after 9PM. The captain tells us the water drains out of the lock (dropping us down) at a rate of 3 million gallons a minute. Amazing statistics.

Spent some time in the casino. No luck there tonight.

We are turning our clocks back an hour tonight, so we will now be 1 hour ahead of California time.

May 2nd

Awoke at 6:30 and had breakfast.

Went back to the room and saw dolphin swimming alongside the ship. I was able to capture a bit of it in movie form on my camera.

We are traveling up the coast of Panama this morning. I have posted a picture of one of the islands off the coast. You can see how smooth the ocean is today.

Still a bit humid. It drizzled a bit at noon, but not enough to run for cover.

While laying out by the pool, and older gentleman was on the lounge chairs under cover behind me. He had his iPod on and I am sure without him realizing it, he was humming and singing along. It was too bad that he could not hold a note or find a pitch that worked. We were all trying very hard not to laugh. Meanwhile, they were playing some music over the sound system (before the onboard musicians got there) and it was the same 2 songs over and over again for about an hour....so between the 2 things going at the same time, it was quite entertaining.

At about 4:00, we were across from the Panama/Costa Rica border.

Tonight's dinner in the Compass Rose Restaurant was prepared by Guest Chef Stephen Lewandowski of Tribeca Restaurant in New York. He has been hosting a "Spotlight on Food and Wine" during the week. The dinner tonight included an Asparagus Appetizer, Roasted Tomato and Eggplant soup, a pasta dish, lemon sorbet and a main course of Lamb. It was quite good.

I sit at table 41. It is normally a table for 4 but is positioned at the back entrance to the restaurant with one side enclosed in glass, so it is made into a table for 2. The reason I now kind of "own" this table is that Daniel is the waiter I had on the last cruise, and is one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet. He treats me very well and we have nice conversations between courses. I also go the restaurant right when it opens at 6:30, so they see me coming and just tell the greeters to take me to table 41. When I had dinner at Signatures, the following night, Daniel and his 2 helpers all came over and told me that they had missed me the previous night. Daniel also works up at the pool grill, so I see him for lunch each day, although there are no specific waiters for specific tables up there.

Tonight's show is a combination of past performers...a singer and a comedian. I will not be attending. Tomorrow night is the next Production show, so I will be sure to catch that.

May 3rd

Awoke at 6:30 and started laundry.

The ship arrived in Puntarenas at 7:00, and I went ashore shortly after 9. The streets are lined with vendors selling their wares. The town is quite poverished, but quaint once you walk inland 3 blocks to the center of town, where the church (see photos) is located. You would not want to use the beach for swimming, as the ocean is a bit polluted here. There are children begging for money in the tourist area. All of the people are quite nice and for the most part speak english as well as the native spanish.

I purchased a few items, visited the church and came back to the ship.

Spent a bit of the afternoon by the pool.

The captain has told us that we may get into high winds tomorrow evening. I have received an invitation to join the Cruise Director's Table for dinner tomorrow night. This is a nice change from last year, where as a single male traveler, I was almost forgotten. I will also be having dinner on Saturday night with Maz and Natalie (who were in the production company the last time I was onboard.)

At 5:00PM, we were coming out of the inlet that lead to Puntarenas and are again traveling up the coast of the Pacific.

A call arrived shortly after 5PM with an invitation to a cocktail party for those who booked through a Carlson Agent (Regent is a Carlson Family Company). A very small, but nice gathering with a chance to spend some time talking with the Captain.

Have found out that tomorrow night is also the "Seven Seas Society" Cocktail Party. Those passengers who have been on more than 21 days of cruising with Regent are invited. This will be held in the theater as there are so many on the cruise who have been on many more days than I have...some in the 300 - 400 day range.

The production show tonight was quite nice, although the cast had to work through many technical glitches.

Went to the casino for an hour and a half after the show.

For some reason, we turn our clocks AHEAD an hour this evening, so we are back to 2 hours ahead of California time.

May 4th

Another sea day, so it was up at 7:30 and down to the Coffee Cafe for fruit and juice. I spend this time in the Cafe each day to allow Jade, my housekeeper to clean the room. She also does this during dinner. Fresh flowers are replaced and a plate of fresh fruit is changed daily. Also, any of the beverages that are used from the refrigerator are replaced. It is stocked (free of charge) with sodas, water and beer. There is also a bucket of ice that is replaced daily.

At 9:00AM, I headed up to the pool deck and hung out until 1:30, taking a quick break for a steak sandwich at the pool grill. The grill is open from 11:00 to 4:00 each day and offers Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Cajun Chicken Sandwich, Cheese Burgers, Steak Sandwiches, and a selection of salads and ice cream. There is also a refrigerator unit that has cold sandwiches and fruit salads available. In addition, on each sea day there is usually a special lunch served out at the pool area. There has been a Tex-Mex day, a Grill day, a Sea Food day. This is all served buffet style with salads and breads served. No sooner than you sit at your table, there is a waiter to take your drink order.

While laying out, you are offered drinks, water and cold towels. All of this is now inclusive, so it really is a nice touch. I brought several boxes of the Crystal Light fruit punch mix packets with me and just add that to the bottled water.

In the early afternoons at the Coffee Cafe, there is a full layout of cookies and cakes with fruit juice available. The Coffee Cafe offers a full selection of espresso, latte, cappuccino, mochas, coffees and teas...all made to order and served at small coffee tables. Again, no extra charge for any of these items.

The disappointments on the ship are that the boutique and gift shop have the same merchandise as one year ago. With the return ratio of passengers, you would think that they would have new product every few months.

The captain has just informed us that we will be arriving in Huatulco earlier than scheduled tomorrow. Originally we were to arrive at 2 and now it will be 12:30. All excursions have been changed to an earlier time, and those excursions that had been cut short are now back to full length.

I should mention that the ship blew a pod several months ago and has been fixed to about 80% power. That means it usually takes longer to get places and Regent had shortened all of their port times with this in mind. This also meant that they shortened excursions (ie: on a horseback riding tour, they took out a half hour swim stop. That has now been put back in place).

I attended the "Regent Seven Seas Society" cocktail party. It was held in the theater. This is for any passenger that has been on a Regent Ship more than 21 days. There were just over 300 people attending. They recognized 4 passengers who had been on cruises more than 300 days. I sat with Janet, Phil and Janet's parents for this short reception.

Then it was off to dinner at the table with Bryan Townsend and Dionne Lochner, the Cruise Director and Assistant Cruise Director. Dionne is a former ship dancer and she has worked her way up. There was also another older single lady passenger and another couple at our table. We had a wonderful conversation and dinner that lasted about 2 1/2 hours.

It was then back up to the casino for another evening of "Bonus Texas Hold 'Em".

May 5th

Today marks the half way point of the cruise. It has been such a pleasant and relaxing trip that it actually seems like I have been onboard for several weeks.

Once again, it was up at 7:30 and the usual breakfast.

Went out to the pool deck between 9:30 and 11:30, then had lunch

We arrived a bit ahead of schedule (12:00) in Huatulco (pronounced Wah-tool-coe...accent on tool)

Today is a "Pleasant Bay Tour" in Huatulco, Mexico. This is a ride aboard a large pontoon type boat to visit 6 of the bays in the area. (I thought I needed some time on a boat at sea). That tour began at 1:30 and I was back on the ship at 4. This was a nice overview of the beaches and bays of the Huatulco area. There are 9 bays and 30 beaches in this area.

I had thought that there would be a "Cinco de Mayo" celebration in the town, but I did not see any signs of it.

A quick refreshing shower and then off to dinner.

Tonight, there is a comedian/magician who I will pass on, and continue directly to the Casino, where I am still playing on their money.

They have just added a new screen on the TV which gives us the outside temp. At 8:30PM, it is 82 degrees with 82% humidity.

Question Answered

I was asked what activities the ship offered (as it seems I do not participate in any of them). Here is a quick overview of a typical "sea" day:

Fitness programs run from 7:30 to 10:15. There are enrichment lectures (usually one at 10 and one at 11) in the morning, bridge classes and a cooking or wine demonstration.

During lunch, there is always some sort of entertainment at the pool deck. Whether it is the Mariner 5 jazz group, or a piano/singer duo.  Also during the day there is a variety of games such as Baggo, table tennis, golf or shuffleboard where you can compete against other passengers for "tokens" that can be redeemed for prizes at the end of the cruise.

After lunch there are dance classes, art seminars, another enrichment lecture, a casino tournament, arts and crafts hour, an afternoon movie in the theater, tea time trivia and bingo and late afternoon yoga and fitness classes.

In the evening, there is pre-dinner dancing and after dinner there is a show of some sort (tonight a comedy magician), then in the Mariner Lounge and Observation Lounge there are piano and guitar players, and every night the disco is up and running.

Plenty to do and eat...or just relax, as I often do, and enjoy the ride.

May 6th

Awoke at 7:30 and had breakfast. The internet connection was out, so unable to update the site until now.

We arrived at the dock in Acapulco at 9:00

10:00AM begins the "Acapulco Highlights and Cliff Divers Tour" a 3 1/2 hour tour.

The tour first visited the "Old Town" of Acapulco, then stopped for the cliff diver/dancing show. There were 5 divers from 2 levels. Looks just the same as it did on "Wide World of Sports". Our tour guide told us that there have been no deaths at this site. They followed the diving show with traditional Mexican dancing, then it was on to the newer parts of Acapulco, then a shopping stop.

(Another note here: I don't appreciate the forced shopping stop here. It is at one jewelry store where you are stuck for 30-45 minutes. Several of the guests decided to walk back to the ship rather than shop, although from here, it is a LONG walk).

At the dive show, I met up with Neil and Massimo from Australia. They are great people to visit with and I will keep in touch with them.

We were back onboard by 2:00, so a quick lunch and an hour of laying out were in order.

Dinner this evening was very nice, and I had some photos taken against a white background (something I have wanted to do for some years).

After dinner, went to the casino, where I am still playing on their money.

Tomorrow is a sea day, and we turn our clocks back one hour. This makes us one hour ahead of California time.

May 7th

Another sea day, so awoke at 7:30 and had breakfast.

Met with Phil and Janet and chatted until 11:30. In the middle of all of this we had another "Code Blue".

Lunch at the pool grill....and then at noon....another "Code Blue"

We are now on our way to Puerto Vallarta. We will be making a port call to disembark the 9AM Code Blue passenger. We understand this is for a pace maker that is having problems. (As with the first evacuation, the passenger has had problems with this issue even before boarding the ship.) This is really our 4th Code Blue. The last was a broken hip. She disembarked in Huatulco.

This quick stop will not change our schedule, and we will still arrive in Cabo at the proper time.

We arrived for a quick drop off in Puerto Vallarta at 5:00PM. The ship did not go into port, but stopped out a sea and a small boat pulled up to us to allow the passenger to disembark.

At the same time, I took the galley tour with 20 guests and Executive Chef Mike Romhild. He is very proud of the fact that the Mariner is the only ship in the world to receive the top  score (100 points) 3 times in a row. We visited the cold, hot and dessert galleys as well as the dish washing area. One of the questions asked was "what is different (food wise) about this set of passengers". The answer was "Berries". We eat more berries than expected. Also, less breakfasts are ordered for room service than most cruises.

Dinner tonight was with Cruise Consultant Lynn Madsen and Social Hostess Louise Ross. Also joining us was Bernard, another single passenger from England who has spent his life in aviation sales.

A visit to the casino rounded out the evening.

May 8th

Woke up at 7:30 and had breakfast.

We came into Cabo San Lucas at 9AM and were anchored by 9:30. On the way in, we passed "Lovers Beach" and their famous arch rock.

I joined Phil and Janet on a walk around the city and checking out many of the local stores. There are a lot of shops and small booths near the point where you get off the tender, but we went out further into the city and found some nice shops. I bought a hand painted tile (of the arch rock). This was from a shop run by a nice young lady who did all of her own work and had a small shop of her own.

We were back onboard by 12:30, where it was time for lunch and laying out by the pool, which only lasted for an hour. As we pulled out of Cabo, it got very windy and cool.

We have been given our passports back in preparation for customs in Los Angeles. This year, instead of going into the theater and through customs there. This year, we will be required to get off the ship and go through customs at the L.A. terminal, then reboard the ship.

Relaxed in the afternoon and then had a very nice dinner with Maz and Natalie (production cast). We got caught up on everything we have been doing since the last time we were all together on the Mariner.

The rest of the evening was spent at the casino donating funds.

May 9th

Today is our last full sea day (with Los Angeles and Port Hueneme tomorrow and Friday)

We all woke up at 7:00AM as the ship's fog horn began its "every 90 seconds" blast. It is very foggy this morning.

Went down to the 6th deck for the usual breakfast.

The fog finally cleared at 10:30, so waited a bit and went out to the pool deck for another grilled lunch.

Sat in the sun for a few hours, then chatted with a few passengers until time to change for dinner. Tonight is the final formal night, and I had dinner with Phil and Janet, her parents and Christina Andrusyshyn, the Travel Concierge Manager and Nico, who is also a Travel Concierge. It is just a coincidence that we were invited to the same table.

Nico then joined me to watch the Production Show "Beyond Imagination".

After the show, I went to the casino and won back yesterdays donation.

We turned back our clock for the final time, which will put us on California time.

May 10th

Awoke early this morning, after 2 more "Code Blues". The first was at about 12:30AM, the other at 2:40AM. No altered course. We also had a Code Blue yesterday afternoon, but that was a drill on a lower crew deck.

It is a bit overcast at sea this morning.

We are scheduled to arrive at the Los Angeles Port around noon, and then we will go through customs/immigration. Last year, all we had to do was go to the theater and present ourselves and passports there. This year, we will be required to go off the ship and through the port terminal. We then must wait for the entire ship to clear before being allowed back onboard.

Dale Jackson (my best friend and pharmacist who lives in Los Angeles) is scheduled to join me onboard today as my guest and stay through dinner.

It became very foggy once again and stayed that way until arriving at the entrance to the port.

We arrived at the Los Angeles Port at 11:30. Lunch was served at the same time.

The first group of passengers was disembarked  at 1:00. My deck was called at about 1:20. It was time to say goodbye to some of the friends that I have met onboard. They are disembarking in Los Angeles, as it is closest to their home. They were all catching taxi's or being met by family out in front of the terminal.

Met Dale out in front of the terminal and then we went back into the terminal to wait for the rest of the guests to disembark. This was a 2 hour process and a mess. Dale needed his badge to get onboard, and they did not have them ready, and when they did, they sent him to 2 different places to get it. He finally was able to board and we were off on a whirlwind tour of the ship meeting staff along the way.

We relaxed and laid out by the pool for an hour, then it was time to get ready for dinner. Daniel, the waiter, did an especially nice job of presenting dinner.

We visited with Phil, Janet and her parents for a few minutes, then found a nice place to just sit and chat and get caught up.

Time flew by WAY too fast. We just made the 10:30 "all aboard/off ship" time and I came back up to the 10th deck to find Dale's car keys in the room. I ran back down to the 6th deck and, because it was after 10:30, one of the officers took the keys into the terminal and found Dale digging through his pack and tossing everything everywhere looking for them. At least he got them and was able to make it out of the parking lot. (They told him it might be closed by the time he got there.) I ran back up to the 10th deck. I was drained. Relaxed a bit before going to the casino when it opened at 11:30.

It was a great day !!

May 11th

Awoke at 6:00AM as we were arriving in Port Hueneme (Why-nee-mee). This port was added to the itinerary as there is a large travel group that is based here and they made arrangements with Regent to drop off and pick up over 100 passengers at this port.

Had an early breakfast in La Veranda Restaurant, as rear of the ship was facing the ocean.

Began to do a bit of packing, then lunch and pool time.

We left Port Hueneme at 1:00, and are heading to San Francisco.

Ran into Nanette, one of the passengers who was on the Hawaii/Tahiti cruise. She boarded yesterday and is heading to Alaska. She invited Janet, Phil and myself to her suite for wine and appetizers before dinner. Nanette's sister and mother will be joining her when we get into San Francisco, so she has the suite all to herself. She is in the "Master Suite" on the 9th floor, which takes up half of the front of the ship. It has 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, the dinning room area, a full wet bar and a balcony that runs the length of half of the front of the ship. The suite also has butler service. He was there to serve the wine (when told that it was time).

During this cruise we have traveled 4,824 nautical miles.

The things I will miss most: 7 course meals every night...and having my towels picked up off the bathroom floor twice a day.  : )

May 12

Awoke at 7:30AM to prepare for departure. I was out of the room by 8:00, although we were not required to be out until 9:00. We went under the Golden Gate Bridge at around 8:45 and were docked by 9:30. (See photo of ship in SF Bay) I hung out near the pool deck for our group to be called to disembark, which happened right at 11:00.

My driver was waiting 2 blocks away, so a phone call brought him to the Pier within minutes. I was home by 1:00.

Unpacking, going through mail and getting Corky home kept me busy until 4:00. I will be saving the wash until tomorrow.

It has been a great cruise and I hope you have enjoyed reading my log and viewing the photos.