2019 World Cruise - Day 8

Thursday 01.10.19 - Passing through the Panama Canal

Details from the Princess Cruise Lines:

Day 6 - 10, January 2019 Dress Code: Smart Casual 27 °C / 81 °F Overcast Arrival: 5:00 AM All Aboard: 4:00 PM Panama Canal Full Transit Cruising through the Panama Canal will be one of the unforgettable experiences of your voyage. It takes approximately eight hours to navigate the 50-mile waterway linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, allowing you to experience firsthand one of the engineering marvels of the 20th century. Completed in 1914, the canal marks the culmination of a dream born in 1513, when Balboa became the first European to cross the Isthmus of Panama and sight the Pacific. In 1880 Ferdinand de Lesseps and the French Canal company, builders of the Suez Canal, began construction in Panama, only to be defeated by disease, staggering cost overruns, and massive engineering problems. The French sold their claim and properties to the United States for $40 million, a staggering loss of $247 million on their investment. The United States began construction in 1904, completing the project in 10 years at a cost of $387 million. Building the canal meant solving three problems: engineering, sanitation, and organization. The project, for example, required carving a channel through the Continental Divide and creating the then-largest man-made lake ever built, as well as defeating yellow fever and other tropical maladies. The United States oversaw the operation of the Panama Canal until December 31, 1999, when the Republic of Panama assumed responsibility for the canal's administration. The Panamanian government controls the canal through the Panama Canal Authority, an independent government agency created for the purpose of managing the canal.

Today is our second journey through the Panama Canal. I started off by taking a lot photos from our balcony located on deck 7, mid ship.

I woke up Shelly so that we could go upstairs for the breakfast buffet. I had an everything omelette, turkey, ham, sausage, bangers, Lyonnaise potatoes & an English muffin.

Shelly had an omelette with bacon, ham, mushrooms, double jalapenos, and two cheeses, plus an English muffin & side of cottage cheese with fruit.

Our first trip through the canal occurred back on 10.07.17 aboard the Coral Princess. This was before I decided to start this blog. During that trip, we had an aft balcony, which I think gave us a better view of all the action. I took over 350 photos & 3 shorts videos.

So since we did not have that great of a view on this trip, I decided to work on the blog while we watched TV. We happened to catch a great flick called Woman in Gold.

Afterwards, we went to lunch in the main dining room.

I started with the chicken gumbo. It was rather tasty, but the roux was not dark enough & there was very little rice. I had no sausage in mine, & only a little bit of chicken. In my opinion, Shelly's recipe is much better. 
New Orleans Chicken Gumbo
flavored with andouille sausage and okra over steamed rice

As my entree, I chose the rigatoni, plus I added some grilled chicken. It looked like Kraft Mac n Cheese, but tasted way better. Especially after I emptied the bottle of Crystal hot sauce.  
Rigatoni in Four Cheese Sauce + Grilled Chicken
with fontina, Gruyere, provolone and reggiano

Crystal hot sauce makes it better

Shelly also had a cup of gumbo. She says, "It was a decent gumbo with more okra than anything else.  Adding the Crystal's made it much better."
New Orleans Chicken Gumbo
flavored with andouille sausage and okra over steamed rice

She also ordered the mixed greens. "I loved the tart green apples, sharp scallions, and walnuts."
Mixed Greens with Apple, Scallions and Walnuts
with balsamic vinaigrette

For her entree she chose a vegetarian dish with plenty of diced artichokes and light goat cheese.
Artichoke & Goat’s Cheese Tartlet
with green leaf salad

For dessert, I had 2 scoops of ice cream while Shelly chose an eclair.
Rocky Road Ice Cream

Chocolate Eclair
chocolate dipped choux bun with vanilla custard filling

During & after lunch I snapped a few shots as we continued through the next set of locks of the canal.

Then we went back to the room to watch an interesting & informative replay of Deb Fraioli’s Panama Canal presentation, before taking over 100 photos as we passed through the Bridge of the Americas.

Then we ran up to Nibbles for some sushi.

Followed by a great performance by pianist Linda Gentile.

After the show, it was time to meet up with our new friends at table #34, for dinner in the main dining room.

None of the main courses excited me so I just ordered several small plates. First was tapas style chorizo sausage. This was by far my favorite dish of the night. I really hope they serve it again soon. A sexy runny egg topped a wonderful mix of potatoes & chorizo, that is served on top of some sort of crema.
Tapas Style Chorizo Sausage, Paprika Tomato Cream
fired potato brava, pepper poached hens egg

Shelly & I both tried the lychee and watermelon in Oriental-spiced syrup. We both thought it was exceptionally good! It was sweet, cold & refreshing.
Lychee & Watermelon in Oriental-Spiced Syrup
perfumed with star anise, cardamom, fresh mint and crystallized ginger
Again, we both ordered the rustic beef & vegetable hot pot (served with a crisp miniature empanada). We both found it to be disappointing. It was just a bowl of beef broth with a few vegetables, then a sad empanada that looked like it was made from can biscuits.
Rustic Beef & Vegetable Hot Pot
served with a crisp baked miniature empanada

I also made the mistake of selecting the calamari & squid. This was no where close to edible. It seemed like I was chewing on a piece of rubber. I sent this back to the kitchen.
Grilled Calamari Steak and Poached Baby Squid
on a bed of citrus-marinated fennel shavings
After two failed plates, the black bean chowder was a welcomed replacement. I was much more pleased with this thick & hearty soup. Definitely a lot better than the above listed. I actually ate all of it. 
Black Bean Chowder
hearty soup with golden-fried tortilla strips and sour cream

As an "entree", I chose the Caesar salad & added the crab meat from the burger. This tasty salad was perfect. I think this should be a standard menu item.
Classic Caesar Salad + Caribbean Jerked Crab Meat
crisp romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, parmesan cheese and herb croutons.

For her entree, Shelly went with the snapper. She wasn't that impressed with it. Sometimes the items on these cruise ships are hit or miss. It's not very often that they leave you wishing you had ordered something different. 
Pan Seared Red Snapper with Chili
cilantro and lime butter sauce bok choy, rice pilaf Wahoo

At least there's always dessert to try & end the night with good flavors.

Maybe I expected too much. My cheesecake was another let down. It arrived warm, I like it better when it's served cold. This was another dish, that I didn't finish.
Traditional New York Cheesecake
macerated strawberries

Luckily Shelly loved her Chocolate Journeys dessert. She has not found one of the chocolate journeys to ever be anything but phenomenal.
Chocolate Journeys: Coconut Mousse with Dark Chocolate Cream and Crunchy Roasted Coconut
Coming from Florida and growing up in the pastry industry, coconut mousse is a personal favorite of Chef Norman Love, He created this extremely popular dessert with a dark chocolate crème brûlée, featuring a crunchy roasted coconut base, a coconut buttery cake and finished with a coconut mousse.

I moped back to the cabin, thinking about tomorrow's day at sea & hoping that the food will be better.


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