Fort Lauderdale, Aruba, Cartegena, Panama Canal, Cabos San Lucas

This was a cruise that Gail and I had hoped to take for a long time, and we finally took the plunge this year. Our daughter Tracy and her husband Paul Wakefield from Australia joined us for the trip. We travelled on the Celebrity Cruise Line's MERCURY and left from Fort Lauderdale, travelling to Aruba, Cartegena Columbia, Cost Rica, Acapulco, Cabos San Lucas and finally disembarked in Los Angeles. The ship was just a delight, as was the cabin, and the cabin crew and the dining room attendants who were pleasant and courteous. The trip through the Panama Canal was everything and more than we had dreamed of. We did not enjoy some of the other ports, and we also do not have any kind words for the Cruise Line itself or for most of the on board cruise directors. It was almost like it was their first time, or that they were doing it without pay, not sure which.
The Mercury at dock in the port of Aruba, the first stop after leaving Fort Lauderdale. Aruba is an island in the chain of Islands called the Dutch Antilles. We did not get to see any of the beaches on the island, but did spend some time in the market place in the port.
A street scene in Cartegena. There were some beautiful old buildings in this city first built by the Spaniards over 450 years ago. I had a hard time dealing with the street vendors.
This photo was taken just as we were about to enter the first locks on the Carribean side of the Canal. We will enter the lock on the right beside the Norwegian Sky, already in the lock to the left.
In this shot, we are leaving our lock which is fully flooded, while to the right of the photo, the other lock has been drained back to sea level. A large freighter is getting ready to enter this one.
This photo shows the gates closing behind us after entering the lock, followed by flooding of the compartment we have just entered. All of this flooding is done by gravity, there are no pumps involved with either raising or lowering the ships. The building on the right is the Control Tower situated in the centre of the three first locks.
Cruising the canal in our favourite location. Construction started over 150 years ago and over 25,000 men lost their lives in the undertaking.  And yet, there was enough planning and engineering and foresight to allow a ship the size of ours (900 feet long by 120 feet wide) to use the locks designed well over 100 years ago.
Costa Rica, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas
After leaving the Panama Canal and entering the Pacific Ocean we travelled up the coast of Central America to stop in the above three places.
After dropping back down to sea level on the Pacific side, we leave the canal and pass under the Bridge of the Americas, which is virtually at the end of the Pan American Highway. The highway ends just to the south or left of this photo at Panama City. A person can drive from here to the Arctic Ocean.
This is a metal church, constructed in Belgium and transported to the City of San Jose' in Costa Rica. We were there on a Sunday afternoon at Easter time, and of course the church was packed.
Gail in Acapulco, on a lookout with a view of the harbour and the city in behind her.
Gail and I getting off of the ship in Cabo San Lucas. Condo's in the background are in the harbour in Cabo.
A view taken from a hotel along the coast, just north of Cabo San Lucas. Not too clear is a ship of the Mexican navy to the left, and our ship the Mercury to the right. The hills behind are the actual cape of the southernmost part of the Baja peninsula, and mark the meeting of the warm waters of the Gulf of California and the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean.
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