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    Returning to the ship in the late afternoon, on this our last day in El Salvador, to a welcoming line up that made me feel like the Queen on a world tour!


      I thought to myself the ship will remember scenes like this - the band reminded me of being on a hurtigrute on the national day in Norway...

      ...but with an exotic Latin American carnival character!


        The Captain awaits the arrival of press and tourism dignitaries, and later I sneak into the Harald Jarl lounge to photograph the photographers!


          It's quite a party on the quay, and those two never seemed to stop dancing - I'd had a bit of a twirl with the fella myself at our VIP welcome!

          It felt rather like the end of a cruise, saying goodbye after our marvellous time in El Salvador. In wishing the Salvadorans well for the future, I do wonder about their ambitions for bigger scale mass tourism. For now we were special, and I felt it had been a privilege and a pleasure to spend several days there in a 'small ship' context. It seemed bizarre to read this USA travel warning...


          • ombugge
            ombugge commented
            Editing a comment
            You could just change the heading to make it a warning for tourists who travel in certain parts of USA.

          • Seagull
            Seagull commented
            Editing a comment
            Nice one ombugge

          USA,yes. Outback Australia can be risky as well. No-one with any sense would travel alone in the semi-desert; even a couple still has risks.


            Doh, I've just realised, this is Pacific coast!

            So Serenissima must have passed through the Panama Canal again. Or did she round the Horn?
            Harald Jarl, Honningsvag to Svolvaer, Summer 1985.
            Deck plan geek.
            The first 5 days after the weekend are the toughest.


              Oh what a lovely post dear Deck Plan Geek.

              It makes me realise thàt I ought to have taken more responsibility in this forum to document the comings and goings of our HJ following pakarang's presence aboard her on the 'maiden voyage' as Serenissima. Our ship was actually into transatlantic winter seasons, very much including Cuba well before the present scenario in changed political circumstances when it seems anything that floats wants a slice of that action. Serenissima made a number of circumnavigations of Cuba in an ideal small ship context (as well as in conjunction with the more familiar island cruise destinations in the Caribbean, though at those popular places there are probably more suitable small ships for guests whose focus is more on sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling).

              From the start there were a number of itineraries taking in destinations across on the Pacific coast, and some of the Panama transit webcam pictures were captured here on CVF.

              Now I didn't really think I had a 'bucket list'. I'm a go back to places kind of person. But when I realised that Serenissima will be sailing in the Indian Ocean this coming winter season 2017/18, I accepted that absolutely anyone with even the slightest interest in ships wants to grab a chance to transit the Panama Canal, and for me that had to be on a hurtigrute! (and yes I wanted that to be on a surviving traditional ship, although ...update possible on Fram, and maybe the newer Explorer Ships to and from Antarctica).

              My cruise on Serenissima ended AFTER her last canal transit, and, although I have already shown photos from a land excursion to the new Panama Canal Expansion, there will of course be more of my onboard photos through the original canal locks here in this thread, to add to Bengt's wonderful capture from the Panama webcam which so delighted me!

              So I hope this explains how, even on this perhaps last for the time being Pacific coast cruise for our ship, she made such newsworthy and super special 'firsts' in El Salvador.
              Last edited by Seagull; July 17th, 2017, 11:06.


              • Clipper
                Clipper commented
                Editing a comment
                Cecilia, thank you and sorry for not catching up properly. "Pacific" is clearly stated twice on page 81. My real problem is that I don't have time to visit CV so often these days. Too many other competing activities (I would say "interests" except many of my activities right now are not at all interesting).

              Day 8 - 29th January 2017 - Corinto, Nicaragua.

              The ship reaches a new country overnight, and when I take my customary stroll around the decks, the pilot boat is just arriving.


              • ombugge
                ombugge commented
                Editing a comment
                They need a Pilot ladder on the tug to climb DOWN to the ship?.
                "Fender jumping" is strictly against ISM and HSEQ.

              • PoloUK
                PoloUK commented
                Editing a comment
                Jumping? Looks like he's being thrown!

              The port of Corinto is the main port of Nicaragua, and it was nice to see some commercial activity, although the port was actually rather quiet at this time in the morning, and a calm sea to match.


                A drive of an hour and a quarter took us to the town of Leon, once the capital before Managua. There was much colonial architecture to admire, with many streets of single storey houses as well as numerous churches and a magnificent 18th century cathedral. I also liked the 1930s Art Deco architecture of the City Hall. After our wanders, many of us cooled down with local refreshing beer in a pleasant café on the main square.

                Returning to the ship

                I took a couple more ship photos before heading for the lounge for a lecture entitled "A Simple Explanation of a Complex Geology" (having promised the lecturer not to ask too many difficult questions!)

                Before dinner it was time for an extra mandatory safety briefing, as on the following days we would be making a number of landings in the zodiacs. Sometimes to a small quay or jetty, but also directly onto tropical beaches! The next destination in Nicaragua promised fishing village, colonial town and freshwater lake, and the emphasis would continue to shift towards the "Natural Wonders" of the cruise's title when we continued into Costa Rica.


                  Looking at the new images, there is definately a bit of me that wish I was still working on cruiseships and perhaps even a small one like the Serenissima.

                  Looking at the scenes, there is a sense of understanding the moment and remembering my own time saling around the world.

                  The smells, the sounds, the excitement and the colors.... all things I miss sometimes when saling back and forth a dull Norwegian fjord.
                  With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                  Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                  Main page:

                  Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.


                    Day 9 - 30th January 2017 - San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

                    We had arrived off San Juan del Sur, and the sea was looking considerably choppier than it had the day before in Corinto.

                    The windy weather prompted me to attempt a photo of the Nicaraguan flag!
                    Last edited by Seagull; August 20th, 2017, 17:28.


                      The ship is anchoring - we are supposed to use the zodiacs to tender to the jetty, but with the prevailing wind direction I am betting we won't land here today...

                      ...despite this relatively benign view, the particularly clear blue sky (though it changes rapidly), and the pleasant temperatures out on deck.


                        As guests finish their breakfast and venture outside, we seem to have reached that moment that happens on every Serenissima cruise when, looking down forward from the bridge wings, someone asks "How do I get down there?" I usually think it's easier to accompany them than explain, especially if reaction to mention of 'the starboard side' fails to inspire confidence!

                        I'm looking down from the observation platform, and now a senior officer is out on the foredeck looking to sea and adding weight to my earlier prediction.

                        So it was probably around this time that the Captain announced that we wouldn't be able to land.
                        It meant we wouldn't get to see Lake Nicaragua, but on the whole, a more laid back relaxing day was probably no bad thing. We had been to ports where going ashore individually was scarcely possible, the distances to the places of interest and the excursions longer than would be the case in other parts of the world, and there would be lectures to catch up on, and photos to sort out and share.


                          One activity that would have figured in the excursions came to us instead of us going to it - birdwatching.

                          I'm not seriously into this kind of photography, but this simple snap seemed a promising start.

                          Well, in a seaside situation we have most of us aimed our camera at large numbers of ...err ...seagulls flying around, but I had a wow moment when I realised what I was looking at here!