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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Panama Canal Cruise update!

For those of you who prayed that our luggage came in time to make it to the cruise, thank you so much. Your prayers worked. Although as expected, not without a few glitches!You may think that praying for suitcases to arrive is not a priority prayer??? But I was mostly concerned about how stressful the situation was getting for Chuck. We once went on a cruise where 2 people died. And someone we know was on a cruise with their whole family once and her father had a heart attack while standing at a cruise ship railing looking out at the beautiful sea. You wouldn’t think that being on a cruise would cause any stress or health concerns but apparently it can. So, thank you for your prayers. Now back to the luggage story! The original time that it was supposed to arrive was at 12:55 p.m. but the flight actually arrived at 1:30 p.m. We were repeatedly told by Southwest airlines that our luggage would be coming in from Tampa on carousel 6. So we waited and waited…and waited some more. Finally, luggage started arriving, and we waited, and waited and waited even more. When it looked as though most of the luggage had come out, and ours wasn’t there, I asked a passenger who was also waiting for their luggage where they had come from. He told me they had just come from Nashville!!! But he also said that the luggage from Tampa was coming in on carousel 5. Arrrrggghhh! Time was ticking away as we ran over to the other carousel, and waited for that luggage to start coming out. We happened to be going through this with another couple from Massachusetts who had also flown from Hartford and were having the same experience. We had been a bit more fortunate than them in that we were given two toiletry bags from Southwest airlines and they were not. When they asked for bags in the morning so they could at least brush their teeth, they were still denied! They had not slept much the night before because they were so upset about their missing luggage. As we were waiting for the luggage to come out, I happened to notice that the man of the couple had a Lenny & Joe’s baseball cap on. That made Chuck and I laugh because for those of you who know Chuck, you will remember that he loves Lenny and Joe’s. Turns out the wife has a friend who lives in Madison, CT and she goes to Lenny and Joe’s when she comes to visit her friend. Shortly after that, the luggage arrived on the belt. And of course we waited some more. I made a comment when it first started coming out that our luggage was probably last because it was put on first. And I was right! At 2:00 p.m., the last few suitcases that were delivered on carousel 5 belonged to the 4 of us!!! But at this point it didn’t matter…we had our suitcases which meant I didn’t have to go on this cruise alone! We quickly boarded the Princess Cruises bus, a transfer arrangement we had made when the time was getting tight. After stopping to pick up a lot more passengers at different stops at the airport, we finally made it to the cruise port and onto our ship at 3:00 p.m. The latest passengers are allowed to board is 3:30 p.m. and as we arrived on the ship, they were already making the announcement about the emergency procedures drill!!! This was the latest we had ever arrived on a cruise ship, and I was actually starting to get quite hungry, and missing our usual trip to the Horizon Court buffet that we usually make soon after we get aboard. After the drill, we were happy to return to our room and find all of our luggage waiting for us. We changed our clothes that we had been in for 2 days now, and met our steward who stopped by and then came back with our glass of welcome aboard champagne from Princess cruises. We headed up to the Sailaway party, which consisted of a lot of waving to people on the beaches and in the condos on our way out to sea. We were finally off on our Panama Cruise adventure! The ship is beautiful, although much smaller than what we are used to. There are only about 1800 people onboard. The ship is more compact than most because it has to be narrow enough to make it through the Panama Canal. In the atrium, where most Princess ships have 3 stories and are wide, in the Coral Princess, there are 4 stories, and all the action is packed right around the middle of the atrium. The top floor houses an internet cafĂ©, library and card room. The next level has a piano and wine bar. The next level down has a few stores, and the bottom level has a passenger services desk, excursion desk, as well as a future cruise services desk. There are a few pools onboard, and a buffet area that is smaller than others we have seen. But the food is delicious, and I don’t think we have had as many naps in 3 days as we have had on this trip!!! We are resting and relaxing, and life is good!


  1. YAY!You got luggage!

    Karen, have you gone on cruises other than Princess? We're looking at Carnival from Long Beach to Mexico and back.



  2. Yes, we have Joe. We have been on Holland America and on Norwegian Cruise lines ( NCL ). Carnival makes me a bit nervous due to all the bad press lately, and also they are known as the "Party Ship" with a lot of younger people that like to party so we stay away from it. But my parents have been on carnival and like it...go figure!