Home in So CA

We arrived back home on Saturday, April 5, in time to celebrate my birthday on the 6th with friends. The cruise was mostly great, but there were health issues and some rough weather. We saw some beautiful new parts of the world and met a lot of fun people. Now, we are home for a month. On May 3, we are getting back on the Crown Princess to take it to Vancouver, BC, Canada. Hope they have the Norovirus eradicated!!

Here’s some email(s) that I sent from the ship. Also posted and put pix on Facebook from my smart phone. Glad I have that!! I’ll try to add photos, soon. Hope this finds you all well and happy.

March 14: Hello to everyone. We have been on the Crown Princess cruise ship since Thursday, March 6. Until today, I had tried to not do internet onboard and to go online while in port. It has been difficult to find good wifi locations and have not had enough time, so decided to pay for a package.

The cruise has been a mixed bag of good and bad. It started with the whole ship being on Red alert for Norovirus. About 1000 passengers had been sick on the trip down from Florida to Buenos Aires. All our food, even in the buffet was served for us by crew with plastic gloves; we were told not to use the public bathrooms; and there were many announcements about washing our hands. In addition, there were no salt and pepper shakers and we could not touch hot sauce, etc. in bottles. This lasted for 5 days and we all were careful, so the restrictions have been lifted.

Our first port was Montevideo, Uruguay for 2 days, we had been there before for other visits, so only spent a little time ashore. Then after being at sea, we went to the Falkland Islands. We had to tender in and the sea was rough; it was cold, windy and rainy. We walked around and found a pub for a beer, but no wifi. They used British pounds for money, but the exchange was different from UK, not in our favor. The monopoly thing.

Next we headed to Cape Horn. Wow, the seas were rough. We are in the very front and felt all the waves for 2 days and one night (worse than on our first TransAtlantic cruise). Finally, the captain announced that we could not make it there in time; he could not go at top speed. So we headed to Ushuaia, Argentina in Patagonia. It was beautiful with snow capped mountains. They have had more snow this summer, than ever. We had a really nice 4 hour tour with an English speaking tour guide and visited the National Park of Tierra del Fuego, fantastic. After we left we passed several glaciers, 2 were really big. We should see some more tomorrow.

Today, in Punta Arenas, Chile, we again had high winds and cold weather. Since we had to tender in and the winds this am were 50 mph, we decided not to go ashore. Those who did weather it, said it was not worth it. Since, we are headed to open sea again, after this, we hope that the Pacific lives up to its name.

I’m involved in the Pop Choir again and it is fun. We are doing different songs and the director has a totally different style. Rose is a young, petite Chilean lady. The group is a lot bigger than on the Caribbean; about 40 of us.

We are both well. Jim’s feet hurt off and on, but he is doing pretty well. Yesterday, on Ushuaia, the walking was tough, so he hurt afterwards, but was glad he did it.

March 23:More from the Crown Princess. We are at sea today and tomorrow we will go to our first port in Peru.

I’ve already mentioned Ushuaia and glaciers, but will try to attach a couple of photos. The Amalia glacier was really beautiful, but not quite as big as some that we have seen in Alaska. We traveled for a couple of hours in ice fields to get there (small little icebergs). We were definitely glad that we had our heavier coats and gloves with us.

In Chile, we visted Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas and Angelmo market one day. We hired a taxi driver for 4 hours. Hector was very friendly, but only spoke Spanish; I translated. Next, we docked in Valparaiso. It is a picturesque city with many hills and acensores (inclined elevators or funiculars) to reach the tops of about 17 of them. We took El Peral one to Concepcion section of town. The graffiti is very artistic and colorful. We had a beer in an old bar (110 years old), Bar La Playa and got free wifi. Our lunch was seafood empanadas which were very juicy, tasty and large. The port of Valparaiso is the busiest that we have seen (closest to capital of Santiago). We had to be shuttled to the terminal because we were surrounded by containers, trucks, cranes and a lot of bustle.

Our last stop in Chile was Coquimbo with local bus to La Serena, the more touristy town. We visited the main square, walked around town and shopped and ate at the Mercado. Everyone in Chile was very friendly and helpful. When we needed information about where to find the bus stop or store or where and what to eat, they were willing to help and some tried to use their English. I’ve been doing alright with my Spanish; able to ask questions and communicate most of what we need.

Peggy and Craig have been a little sick the last few days; congestion and cough. We have not gotten that, luckily. They are better today. The weather is warming up, so that will help. Even able to make use of the jacuzzi and pool. I have had a few telephone calls with voice mails. Cannot see them or open them, due to not having international calling plan. So, sorry to anyone who might have tried to call. I can send and receive text while at sea, however. And of course, occasional email and facebook posts. Our best to all. Cheryl and Jim

P.S., JoAnn Brown, the Pop Choir performance was fine, and fun. Jim is better also. We are still having a good time despite minor problems.

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