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live Island Princess 59 day Circle South America Ja 9 -Mr 7


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Day 47 Monday, Feb 24, at sea

A quite day for us – started mostly sunny but clouded over in the afternoon.  Just enough swells to give the ship some light movement. 

 

Tomorrow in Salvador I have another private tour organized on the roll call.  The description is –

In the morning, we will visit the historical sites of the city, its colonial houses and monuments and we will know a little about the history of the first capital of Brazil. Then we will have a quick snack in a typical street vendor (acarajé tent) and savor the unique flavors of Bahian gastronomy. In the afternoon, we continue our tour visiting the region known as Cidade Baixa, where we will contemplate the beautiful landscapes of the port area of Santo Bay.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Excellent value for money

• savor the unique flavors of Bahian gastronomy

• Private tour is operated only with your party and a guide / driver

Take a peek into the neighborhoods of cobblestone streets, shops and culture of Salvador on a 6-hour day tour.

From radical visits on monumental sites to the Historic City protected by UNESCO, you will see a complete blend of what makes Salvador remarkable and turn everything around to see the most that the city has on a 6-hour day trip.

Visits:

· Barra and Lighthouse Fort

· Monument to the Independence of Campo Grande

· Lacerda's elevator

· Rio Branco Palace

· Cathedral of the church Basilica

· Church of St. Francis of Assisi

 ·Largo do Pelourinho

 ·Carmo Church

· Tororó Dyke

 ·ice cream shop in Ribeira

· Ribeira - Loja de Sorvetes

· Bonfim's Church

· Fortress of Montserrat

· Model market

The tour includes:·Transfers, Accompanying Tourist Guide duly accredited and Church Visitation Fees

 

Expecting several others ships and big crowds due to Carnival tomorrow.  Hoping it does not affect the tour.

 

Re question on Yellow Fever - I am going to assume the reason you need the shot is because you are stopping at Devil’s Island, French Guiana.  The mainland rainforest in French Guiana can be an issue for illness.  Other countries don’t care that you only went to an island off the coast, you were still in French Guiana and therefore flagged as needing the vaccine.  I have never heard of anyone getting sick going to Devil’s Island – I assume ships would not go there if it was a big issue.  It is up to other countries to determine the vaccines needed depending on where you were before but they only consider the country as a whole.  

 

For this voyage we are only doing some so called ‘scenic cruising’ around the island so no yellow fever concern for us.  I have been to the island previously and don’t recall any insect bites but if you want to be extra cautious use a Deet product.

 

Today’s quote of the day - Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. -Vince Lombardi

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20 minutes ago, AWorldCruise4Me said:

Love your reports! This cruise is a bucket list item for me and I had sort of put it aside. Reading your reports makes me want to go next year! Thanks for posting them.

 

Go as soon as possible.  Rates and cabins are in favor of passengers since the Coronavirus has emptied the cruise lines, hotels, restaurants, etc.  it is going to get a bit worse, I feel, before it improves.  People are already cancelling trips and staying closer to home and away from large crowds.  Cruise lines will be making staggering offers shortly just to survive.   For awhile offers of free Wifi and impossible upgrades will be the norm.  I'm considering something with Princess, myself.  Jack. 

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24 minutes ago, 2old4this said:

 

Go as soon as possible.  Rates and cabins are in favor of passengers since the Coronavirus has emptied the cruise lines, hotels, restaurants, etc.  it is going to get a bit worse, I feel, before it improves.  People are already cancelling trips and staying closer to home and away from large crowds.  Cruise lines will be making staggering offers shortly just to survive.   For awhile offers of free Wifi and impossible upgrades will be the norm.  I'm considering something with Princess, myself.  Jack. 

It is a good thought but have concerns regarding quality of experience. In reading the post it appears that recently additional medical screening is delaying them getting into ports and what if the cruises start being refused to dock at all due to an illness on the ship? I also worry that if the cruise line isn't doing well things like food quality will suffer. And what if the staff is demoralized or depleted due to concerns or budget cutting. I'd rather sail on a financially healthy cruise line with all aspects being funded as they should. Since the next offering of this itinerary is in the late fall (I believe) there is some time to assess the situation but right now I'm not in a hurry to jump on an ailing industry. I do hope the budget minded continue to cruise. I'm just not sure I want a budget experience. However it is tempting to book something and see what happens...

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10 hours ago, AWorldCruise4Me said:

It is a good thought but have concerns regarding quality of experience. In reading the post it appears that recently additional medical screening is delaying them getting into ports and what if the cruises start being refused to dock at all due to an illness on the ship? I also worry that if the cruise line isn't doing well things like food quality will suffer. And what if the staff is demoralized or depleted due to concerns or budget cutting. I'd rather sail on a financially healthy cruise line with all aspects being funded as they should. Since the next offering of this itinerary is in the late fall (I believe) there is some time to assess the situation but right now I'm not in a hurry to jump on an ailing industry. I do hope the budget minded continue to cruise. I'm just not sure I want a budget experience. However it is tempting to book something and see what happens...

 

AWorldCruise4Me:  To each his own experience and concerns.  I do not feel sorry for the airlines or the cruise companies as they must deal with crisis like we travelers.  They do it for the profits and we travel for the joy of it.  When all things are well balanced, the lines and we travelers get the best of things.

 

The strategy I propose is based greatly on speculation and on desirability.  I speculate things will settle down as they always do between flu seasons.  In other words, see beyond the crisis we face today and assume it, too, will end.  I say it reaches its height in number of flu cases in mid-Summer 2020.  It will take cruise and airlines months to recover and get back into full swing with their offers and pricing.  Pick a cruise now scheduled for next winter, a bucket list cruise you never expected you'd do, and go for it.  Keep asking for all the perks the line has to offer.  Is it nervy and pushy both, yes, but you have something to dream about while you wait for the Coronavirus to be whipped and put behind us.  Jack  

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Jack,

I do believe you are correct. In fact I have already searched the cruises on the Princess web site this morning. The only circle South America I could find, leaving and returning to the US, was Jan. 6 2022 on Discovery Princess. If you peek at my signature we recently sailed 3 weeks on the Coral Princess and love it! It was my favorite ship ever. I'm not sure I would like a big brand new one like the Discovery. Plus it appears premiumly priced due to being new. Not sure what happened to the Coral and Island offerings for circle South America. I'll have to look a litte harder.

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Waynetor;  so after being on the Island for your wonderful cruise;  would you sail her again;  what did you like about the ship and what didn't you like about the ship?  Thanks

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43 minutes ago, AWorldCruise4Me said:

Jack,

I do believe you are correct. In fact I have already searched the cruises on the Princess web site this morning. The only circle South America I could find, leaving and returning to the US, was Jan. 6 2022 on Discovery Princess. If you peek at my signature we recently sailed 3 weeks on the Coral Princess and love it! It was my favorite ship ever. I'm not sure I would like a big brand new one like the Discovery. Plus it appears premiumly priced due to being new. Not sure what happened to the Coral and Island offerings for circle South America. I'll have to look a litte harder.

 

I will enjoy reading what you eventually do on your long-range cruise planning.  I'm looking closer in for something after my July cruise on Island Princess.  Something warm with sleepytime sunshine and anytime between November and February 2021.  I'm not up to those 60 day gigs.  For me 15 to 20 days easily satisfies my cruise interests.  Jack 

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Feb 25 Salvador, Brazil intro

The full name of this city is Salvador de Bahia but it is normally just referred to as Salvador.  Salvador is divided into 2 neighbourhoods; Cidade Alta (Upper city) and Cidade Baixa (Lower city).

 

Salvador was the first colonial capital of Brazil, and is therefore one of the oldest cities in the Americas. This beautiful city boast wonderful Portuguese colonial architecture with its Pelourinho district being an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Located in a very large bay, in the center of the harbour is Forte de Nossa Senhora.  The original fort was started in 1605.  The current fort dates from 1728.

 

Average high temperatures in February does not vary a lot here.  Daily high temperatures are around 31C (88F), rarely falling below 29C (85F) or exceeding 33 (91F).  It is almost always muggy with around 62mm (2.5in) of rain for the month.  The coldest temps all year are in winter when it can drop to 21C (70F) at night.

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Day 48 Tuesday, Salvador, Brazil 7 – 5pm

As we slept last night, the Island Princess was sailing to its final port of call in South America.

 

On our previous time here, we took the Lacerda elevator from the cites lower level to the very colonial upper city.  Very nice area to wander around.  The elevator is not far from where the ship docks so no shuttle is needed to see the local sites.  We did that in the morning and then back to the ship for lunch.  After lunch I went out again and found a winding street that went up to the old city.  As soon as I started to walk up several locals started to wave me off warning me not to go up there.  The lower level is not vey wide, but like the area at the top it is full of colonial buildings.

 

Today started off sunny but slowly clouded over with a shower just after I got on the ship around 3:30pm.

 

We were joined in port by a Costa and 2 MSC ships.  The terminal had a few vendors and tour reps plus a tourist rep with maps.  Outside there were taxis and independent tour people looking for customers.

 

For today’s tour the organizer had enough people from the roll call to fill 2 mini-buses and more people wanted to join so she had one of them contact the company to start a new 3rd group.  With the large group the price was brought down to $40US each.

 

We met and got of the ship at 7:30 hoping the guide/bus would be early for our 8am pick up.  Well, that did not work out.  The guides showed up but no buses.  The guide said they were trying to get buses.  It too between 8:30 and 8:40 to get the buses for the 3 groups putting everything behind schedule.  Once our bus got under way our tour went well and the guide did a very good job.  I was told one of the other buses had the air C break down and instead of dropping the group off somewhere they could explore they just waited an hour for a bus replacement – not happy people in that group.  The company was ‘Your Tour’.  You have to feel sorry for the person trying to help fellow CC members do a nice tour and end up with a headache.

 

Several of the buildings that we were taken to, I had seen previously but there was enough new, plus we had a guide so it was worth it.  Being an UNESCO protected area, not much is any different than our 2008 visit.  Our guide said the Pelourinho historic town centre has been an UNESCO site for about 30 years – prior to that nothing was being done to save the buildings.  Many of the buildings in the lower area are just shells.

 

Our first stop was at the shrine church Pardoquia Saint Ana do Rio Vermelho.  Besides the church, there was very nice sea views there.

 

Next we stopped at a small lake (Dique de Tororo) where there are several statue in the water each representing African gods.  In the background there was a soccer stadium that can have 55,000 fans.

 

Next we were dropped off in 1 part of oldtown and walked uphill to the Igreja e Convento de Sao Francisco church Tickets were needed to go inside.  The main part was built between 1708 and 1728 with additions being done until 1774.  800 pounds of gold was used in construction.  The church has many religious scenes made of Portuguese blue tiles.  A most impressive construction effort.

 

After that we had some time to explore the area before heading to the elevator for a ride to the lower area.  The original elevator was built 1873 to move goods but current use is passengers only.  There was no line up to go down hill but a long line to go up hill.  It was free to use today.

 

Next we spent 45 minutes at the Modelo market which is not very far from the port.  Our guide had told us the quality of goods in the market would not be as good as in some of the shop in the upper town.  It was more time than I would have preferred but that’s the way tours go.  There were nice places to eat and drink around the market including a veranda area on the top level overlooking the bay and marina.  Some people found something to buy at the market, but I was happy with taking pictures around the market.

 

With carnival bringing over 2 million people to town over the week there were several areas with a large number of temp Johns set up.  Most activities don’t start until late evening and go to around 4 am so e did not see anything.

 

Our bus picked us up there and we drove along the waterfront to an Art Gallery by the sea.  It was in a pretty beat up home (no windows upstairs) but they had hand made decorative individual tiles or art work made of many tiles.  From there it was a short drive to an Ice cream shop (started in 1931) that is a bit of a local hit spot to go.  It had many varieties. 

 

Next was Basilica do Senhor do Bonfim built in1745 and known as the ‘Miracle church’.  There were great city views rom its location.  It was another elaborate designed church with a wonderfully painted ceiling and more Portuguese blue tile wall art work. 

 

We were running out of time and some areas were blocked off due to carnival so it was back to the ship.

 

Our guide constantly referred to the city as Bahai instead of Salvador which is what Princess calls it and what I have seen it called.

 

With sunset around 6pm we were able to enjoy some of the sail-away after trivia.  

 

This raps up our Brazilian ports – the 5th largest country in the world.

 

Today’s thought of the day - Some people see the word "impossible" while others see this as two words I’m Possible

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Day 49 Wednesday, Feb 26, at sea

A nice relaxing few days coming up.  We won’t have a chance to set our feet on solid ground until next Monday.  At noon it was 28C (82F).  Water depths over the day ranged from 40m to over 1,000m.  We were about 20nm off the coast.  Late morning until around 1pm we could see a slight view of the coast.  It looked like there were hills ranging from a sixteenth of an inch to a half inch high.  Around 1am we started to pass a very large city.  We could see lots of thin needles sticking straight up a half inch or so.  I believe it was Recife, but could have been Natal.  This is the area of South America that is closest to Africa.  From here we will sail a more north-west path.

 

As we reach the eastern part of our current time zone the sun rise has gotten much earlier as has sunset.  Being close to the equator (8+ degree south at noon) we have 12hr, 13min of daylight.  We are expecting to cross the equator around 5am Friday.

 

Tonight we received the dreaded Disembarkation questionnaire – after only 7 weeks they are thinking of getting rid of us.

 

One more comment re Salvador – the public buses all had wheelchair symbols and appeared to have a lift.

 

Re a question on feeling about the Island P.  As mentioned before this is our first time on the Island but had been on the Coral.  We have been on Princess ships from the Pacific up to the Royal class and each has plus/minus.  One down side here is the atrium – it is too small to do very much in – the stair cases take up a lot of room so for most events there it is crowded and people are clogging the stairs.  The dining room is nice – there are more tables for 2 percentage wise compared to other ships.  There is a splash pool but the 2 main pools each have a minimum depth of 5’3” which is deep for a lot of people.  It is nice having an indoor and outdoor area on deck 14.  The indoor area can get hot on a sunny day.  The wooden lounge chairs there all have comfortable cushions.  The Sanctuary takes up the aft deck 15, but there is a recessed area on deck 16 that can offer aft views which is nice.  People seem to be very well spread out with seldom crowds being any issue – early in the cruise there would be line ups at 5 to get into anytime dining but recently the line ups are closer to 7pm as people wait for the early arrivals to finish.  Overall the food has been good.  I find the items like French Toast and pancakes in the buffet rarely taste fresh – the edge always tastes like they have been sitting out for a while.

 

There is a dry dock coming up soon after this voyage – I’ve not heard what is involved.  

 

The crew have been excellent but they do rotate, so what we have will be different in the future.

 

Today’s quote of the day - Because we don’t believe that walls do anything but divide.  And we do believe that you shouldn’t fear what is different – you should go see it.  You shouldn’t draw back from those who are different – you should go meet them.  Lisa Lutoff-Perlo (Celebrity Cruise President and CEO)

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Day 50 Thursday, Feb 27, at sea

Today we had a cloudy morning and late afternoon but nice mid day- 28C (82F) with slight seas.  At noon we were 50nm off the coast. 

 

Yesterday we passed the cruise port cities of Recife and Natal and today we passed Fortaleza – all ports we visited in Jan 2008.

 

The latest update on the equator crossing is between 6 and 6:30am tomorrow- there will be a ceremony later in the morning.

 

The youngest passenger on board had his 2nd birthday this week.  He will be platinum when he gets to Ft. L.  I’m sure he will appreciate his free internet on his next cruise.

 

At lunch today we had a table out by the grill, a little old couple walked slowly up to the grill and order`s 1 burger and 1 small order of fries.  The couple took a table near the railing and started taking food off of the plate.  They asked the waiter to bring them an ice-tea.  Soon it was delivered and so there they sat with one hamburger, one order of French fries and one drink.
The little old man carefully cut the burger in half.  He placed one half in front of his wife.  Then he carefully counted out the French fries, divided them in two piles and neatly placed one pile in front of his wife.  He took a sip of the drink, his wife took a sip and then set the cup down between them.
As the man began to eat his few bites of hamburger, when a waiter saw what was happening, he politely offered to get another meal for the old couple to eat.  The old man replied that they were just fine. They were used to sharing everything.
Then the waiter noticed that the little old lady hadn’t eaten a bite.  She just sat there watching her husband eat and occasionally taking turns sipping the drink.  Again, the young waiter came over and begged them to let him get them something additional to eat.  The man again explained that no, they were used to sharing everything together.
As the little old man finished eating and was wiping his face neatly with a napkin, the young waiter passing by again could stand it no longer.  Again, he offered to get them some additional food to eat.  After being politely refused again, he finally asked a question of the little old lady: “Ma’am, why aren’t you eating?
You said that you share everything.  What is it that you are waiting for?”
She answered, “The teeth.”

 

Today's thought of the day – Never confuse motion with action. – Benjamin Franklin

Edited by Waynetor
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Day 51 Friday, Feb 28, at sea

Hey, its winter again.  We crossed the equator at 6:02 this morning and by noon were just over a degree north. 

 

At Horizons breakfast they had a special section set up for items with chocolate.  We have had breakfast up there most days and this is the first time we have seen that on this voyage.

 

Another equator crossing at 11am today moving from the southern summer to the northern winter.  Only 6 passengers (others were eligible but did not volunteer) and 9 crew participated.  The first passenger got to kiss the traditional fish and then they all got a very good dosing of whip cream.  The crew all ended up in the pool along with the CD.   The crew video person did her best to make sure no one else got good pictures by standing right in front of the participants as much as she could.  I had to take quite a few shots trying to get her just out of the way, 

 

It was my kind of winter day – 28C (82F).

 

Around noon we passed the area where the Amazon River flows into the Atlantic.  The Amazon carries a mass amount of silt several km/mi out to sea.  As we passed, we were about 100kn off the coast so no sign of the brown stain this far out.

 

Today’s thought of the day - Each time we travel, use local transport at a destination or buy products from a local market, we are contributing to a long value chain that creates jobs, provides livelihoods, empowers local communities, and ultimately brings in new opportunities for a better future.  Tourism can only prosper if it engages the local population by contributing to social values, such as participation, education and enhanced local governance.  At the same time, there can be no real tourism development if such development damages in any way the values and the culture of host communities or if the socio-economic benefits generated by the tourism sector do not trickle down to the community level. – Taleb Rifai UNWTO Secretary General

Edited by Waynetor
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