Curacao – 08:00 to 22:00
This is our only stop in the Caribbean and is one of the ports I eagerly awaited, having fond memories of the Curacao arrival from the 1970’s, when we called here every 2 weeks while I completed trans-canal cruises aboard the old Island Princess. Up early for the arrival, I was somewhat disappointed when we docked at a new berth on the south shore, adjacent to the channel entrance. As per previous ports, I will complete a separate post for today’s tour.
Temperature: High 27C/81F, Low 26C/79F – forecast, actual high was in low 30’s
Wind/Weather: Gale force trade winds of 30 to 35 kts. Partly cloudy.
Clox: Z-4 (no change)
Throughout the early morning Sea Princess maintained a SE’ly course towards the western tip of Curacao. Once passed and clear to the south of Curacao, course was altered to an E’ly heading, following along the coast. The pilot boarded shortly after 07:00 and by 08:00, Sea Princess was securely alongside her berth at Mega Pier.
Shortly before 22:00, the Captain let the lines go and thrust Sea Princess off the berth. Once clear of the berth, we altered 180 degrees, maintaining W’ly courses along the Curacao coastline.
An island in the Southern Caribbean, located about 40 miles off the Venezuelan Coast, it is part of the former Netherland Antilles ABC Islands – Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. It is now the Country of Curacao, which is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Tourism, government services, international trade and shipping are the main employers on the island.
During my previous visits to Curacao, I recall us entering a narrow entrance channel with rows of colourful buildings on either side. Enroute to our berth we passed through an open pontoon bridge, then under a high level bridge before securing alongside, close to the shops. Therefore, I was out early this morning, especially as the entrance would be somewhat challenging in the strong winds blowing across the entrance. However, I was somewhat disappointed as we altered close to the shore, heading towards a new berth, that would have made it a very challenging entry into the channel with the prevailing winds. Much to my dismay we continued heading towards the berth on the shore adjacent to the channel.
What I recall as one of the most spectacular arrivals turned out to be very average. Once alongside we headed down to Princess Theatre awaiting our tour to the National Park, beach and museum, all located at the western end of the island. I will complete a separate post to describe the tour.
Today’s tour was only 4 hours, so we were back aboard by 12:30, grabbing a quick snack before heading back ashore armed with laptop and Judi’s ipad. We found wi-fi available at the shops on the dock, but didn’t want to take up bandwidth from the crew who don’t have the time to wander further afield. Up in the adjacent mall we found a Starbucks, which had good signal and bandwidth, so we called our daughter Heather on Skype, chatting with her, Jamie and little Owen. Well, at least we talked to Owen, as at only 6 months he doesn’t quite respond, except with smiles and happy oohs and aahs! Counting down the days and hours until we see him again, and Heather & Jamie.
After the Skype session, I headed out for a walk to explore the town, while Judi wandered through the shops. I got back to the ship about 18:00, just drenched in sweat from the temperature in the low 30’s. After a quick shower we headed up to Horizon Court for a quick dinner, as the dining room was open seating tonight. After dinner, we contemplated heading up to the deck party, but elected to just chill on the balcony. Our balcony overlooked the shore, as can be seen in the above photograph, so it was very pleasant, especially as the sun started setting and the Curacao lights illuminated. A very pleasant evening, just sitting and watching the comings and goings on the wharf and the surrounding area.
About 22:00, Sea Princess departed Curacao and shortly thereafter turned through 180 degree, which meant our view changed to only ocean, so we finally called it quits and headed back into the cabin.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.