2016 Panama Canal Cruise
March 16 - Willemstad, Curacao
We arrived in Willemstad, Curaçao at 7:00am while we were eating breakfast at the buffet. We had to get up early because the shore excursion that we signed up for was at 8:30. Forty of us boarded a large bus with a tour guide. Even though she was German and had been here for a little over two years, she was very knowledgable and told us a lot about the history and culture of the island. We made several stops. The first was at an open-air museum which was a typical native house and grounds that was used after the Dutch freed all of the slaves in the 1860s. The second stop was at a desolate national park along the limestone rocks at the end of the island. We watched big waves crashing on the cliffs. The third and fourth stops were at a popular sandy beaches that had pure white sand and light blue water. These beaches had several swimmers and were a drastic contrast to the other water stop. Our last stop was at a defunct salt flat that now is popular because flamingos feed here. We arrived back at the ship four hours after we started. Ann and I felt that this excursion was very worthwhile.
I was pretty hungry when we arrived and we wasted no time getting to the buffet. It was very crowded. We sat with a couple from New York. He is a travel agent and has been on countless cruises. He told us about some of them and got us interested in a couple itineraries. He arranges cruises for groups and really likes doing this because once the group is onboard, the responsibility for the group is turned over the the cruise line.
After lunch we had some downtime. Then we decided to walk into the old town to get some supplies and to take some photos. Willemstad is a very colorful town. All of the buildings are painted with bright colors. The story behind this is that the governor of the town was getting bad headaches because of the sun reflecting from the white buildings. He made a proclamation that all of the buildings had to be painted with any color other than white. His headaches went away.
We didn't spend much time walking around. It was getting hot. We went over the old pontoon bridge, found a store for Ann's supplies, found a bunch of photo ops and got some exercise. It was nice to get back to the ship to cool off.
Because we had a little time before dinner, we decided to go to one of the bars and have the drink of the day. It was a mojito made with coconut rum and something blue. It was happy hour so we paid for one and got the other one for a dollar.
Both of our dinner partners were no-shows at dinner, so we ate alone. I had some mini crispy fish cakes, a shrimp cocktail, linguine carbonara and lemon sorbet. Ann had tomato soup, southwestern salad and bananas with cream and cake. We did our one-mile laps to settle all of the food.
This was our route to get here (Continued from the last two days):