2016 Panama Canal Cruise
March 12 - Embark The Westerdam
This was our last morning at the Pillars Hotel. We ate on the dock again in nice warm Spring weather. Our special breakfast treat was eggs Benedict. Very nice. No champagne though. We packed, checked out and caught a cab for Port Everglades at 11:30.
The Pillars Hotel is a small boutique hotel. It is beautifully maintained both inside and out. The food is good and the personnel are terrific. I made our reservations using hotels.com. This might have been a mistake because we were assigned the smallest room in the building. It was very cramped. The door opened toward the closet. If the closet door was open, the doors would hit each other. The closet was almost useless. A refrigerator occupied all of the floor space while a safe, irons and spare bedding filled the shelf. We could hang some clothes, but that was it.
Once you went past the closet, the main room was 12X15 and the bed took most of it. A desk, a straight-back chair and a dresser stood against the outside wall leaving a narrow opening to walk between it and bed. End tables stood at the head of the bed. It was challenging to find space for the folding dodads that held our suitcases.
The bathroom was nice. It had a tub/shower. It took me two days to figure out the lever that switched between the two modes. The room was quiet. It had good air conditioning and a ceiling fan. Being from the part of the country where natural air conditioning is used, we opted to rely on the fan.
Enough about our room.
Our taxi arrived and we were off for our sailing venture. It was a short drive to the cruise port ( Port Everglades). It took a while, though. We and the cab have to clear security and another checkpoint before we arrived at the terminal. We handed our bags to the porters hoping that they would end up in our stateroom. Then we went through security just like at the airport. Next we filled out an illness check sheet. After riding the escalator, we sat in long benches and waited our turn to check in. Once we checked in and received our all-in-one plastic ID cards, we sat on other benches until our number was called to board the ship. Finally we found our stateroom on the m/s Westerdam with our luggage waiting outside its door. Our room has a compact bathroom, lots of closet space, a king-sized bed, a desk, a couch, a table and a veranda with three chairs. We are on the fourth deck known as the Upper Veranda deck.
It was mid-afternoon by this time and we were very hungry. We immediately found the buffet on deck 9 called the Lido deck. A light lunch was much appreciated. We then spent some time to unpack and organize our room. Then it was off to explore the ship.
When our ship left the dock, we spent some time on out veranda watching the activity. There were other cruise ships and many smaller boats in the harbor. A small group of people were on the breakwater waving to us as we entered the Atlantic. I was fascinated by the pilot boat and the pilots as they maneuvered in the wake of our ship. Here are a few photos of our sailing:
We elected to have early seating for dinner. We are at a six person table next to a window where we can see the ocean flowing past. So far our table mates are Bob and Sandy from the San Diego area. They are a very friendly couple and have done many cruises. She is a retired office manager while he is an electrical engineer. He is a little older than us and she is a bit younger. I had a seafood cocktail, good bucatini pasta and key lime pie. Ann had butternut squash soup, a Niçoise salad and creme brûlée.
Our evening entertainment was a B B King review in the Queen's Lounge. The group had a trumpet, saxophone, a lead guitar, a drummer, a bass guitar, a keyboardist and a female and male vocalist. Not bad. We were also entertained by some amateur dancers from the audience.