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Deaf Cruise Panama Canal
March 26-April 6, 2007

Our Panama Canal cruise was a pre DSA (Deaf Senoirs of America) Conference cruise. It was a great opportunity for many of us to combine the one week conference with an 11-night cruise in the Caribbean. We were 64 people from seven different states in the US. Since we had plenty of interpreters, we could enjoy all the shore excursions, onboard activities and night shows with interpreter service. Ice Carving
Ice Carving at the pool deck
Picture: Kermit & Barbara Capes
Some of us enjoyed parasailing
Some of us enjoyed parasailing
Picture: Laura Kay Darvill
Labadee in Haiti was our first stop. It is a mountainous island, blanketed in tropical foliage and exotic vegetation. While the island is a perfect location for water-lovers, it’s also easy to find places that make you feel as if this were your private natural kingdom. Parasailing was a lot of fun for some members in our group.
Aruba’s capital, Oranjestad, is a blend of Dutch and Caribbean culture, which can be found in everything from the cuisine to the architecture. The charming boutiques and tropical gardens illustrate its European influence. While being in port, most of us went on the Aruba Town & Countryside Drive, others had a blast at the Off-Road Adventure tour, and some of us enjoyed the Sailaway Beach and Snorkel Cruise.
Colorful Curacao
Colorful Curacao
Picture: Laura Kay Darvill
Aruba
Aruba
Picture: Laura Kay Darvill
A drive over the fabled Queen Juliana Bridge, 185 feet above the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, presents one of the most breathtaking views of Curacao. The island’s abundance of forts belies its warm, welcoming nature. Tourists mingle with the local shoppers and fishmongers at the Old Market. Many different tours invite the visitor to discover the beauty of this well known island. The Cultural Curacao tours took us to a beautiful restored plantation house. A guide showed us around the museum and gallery. The main building (1735) is now a meeting place for art lovers. It houses exhibits as well as cultural items of interest. In Dutch “Bloemhof” means “Flower Garden”, which you cannot miss! The second stop was at the Dinah Veeris Botanical Gardens. The owner lead us around through her wonderful garden and told us about authentic trees and enormous variety of herbs and their uses.

Finally, we got to the highlight of this cruise, the Panama Canal. The construction of the canal was one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken. We got up early in the morning to follow the approach to the locks and to experience how the lock system works. It was very impressive to see the huge ocean liners confined into a little space where the ships are lifted to reach the next water level. Surprisingly, the entire process did not take very long and we were ready to disembark at Lake Gatun for our tours. The first stop was the locks where we could follow the procedure from a different perspective, from land. A lot of interesting technical data was provided to envision the building process and the daily operations. Afterwards, we headed to Portobelo, an old market town with the remains of a fortress. The flood of gold that poured through the trails across the Isthmus was traded for goods from Spain and Europe. Portobelo became the emporium of the riches of the two worlds, the most important commercial depot of the period and a Paradise for Pirates. Gatun Locks Panama Canal
Gatun Locks Panama Canal
Picture: Laura Kay Darvill
Gatun Locks Panama Canal
Gatun Locks Panama Canal
Picture: Laura Kay Darvill
Portobello
Portobello
Picture: Laura Kay Darvill
Canopy Tour in the Rain Forest
Canopy Tour in the Rain Forest
Picture: Laura Kay Darvill


Costa Rica's beautiful flowers
Costa Rica's beautiful flowers
Picture: Kermit & Barbara Capes
The last stop on our wonderful itinerary was Puerto Limon in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is very passionate about preserving its environment and protecting its natural resources. Bird sanctuaries and vast protected areas offer visitors a rare glimpse of forests, endangered plant and animal species. It was hard to pick one of the many tours offered in Costa Rica since each tour is very special and a delight. Most members in the group went on the Hacienda Experience tour, others enjoyed a canopy tram ride in the rain forest, and some discovered this beautiful country on a tour by train, boat, and bus. The group that went on the Hacienda tour went to a region that is blessed with exuberant tropical forests with sugar cane and coffee plantations, macadamia trees and tropical flowers. While being on the property, we had the opportunity to learn about the ancient methods of cultivation and process of sugarcane. We saw how the extract of the sugar cane is cooked, filled into the molds and converted into a delicious sweet with macadamia nuts. Later, there was an introduction to the cultivation of coffee from the red coffee berry, the pealed coffee bean covered with the inside parchment to the roasted coffee been, followed by a coffee tasting session. Lunch was served in a covered hall surrounded by exotic gardens. After lunch we visit the colonial chapel brought by German pilgrims in 1880.


Thank you card
Thank you card from
Barbara, Virginia and Ruby
A flower bouquet from my clients
A flower bouquet from my clients
delivered after the cruise
Thank you card
Thank you card from Jim and Nancy Cummins

Contact Kerstin's Travel to book your next cruise by sending an e-mail to kerstin@kerstinstravel.com



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