2023 Panama Canal group teeshirt
2023 Panama Canal group teeshirt
click to enlarge

A Diary & Photos for our 2023 Cruise - Panama Canal!

Below is some information on where the 2023 Spirit of the West Cruise is going. We hope you enjoy the diary as we head to the Panama Canal. See the map below (or scroll down). We will sail on Princess Cruise's "Emerald Princess" - below is a photo showing what she looks like.

See the map below (or scroll down).
Go to the Itinerary below (or scroll down).

2023 Panama Canal group teeshirt
2023 Panama Canal group teeshirt
click to enlarge

Princess Cruise's Emerald Princess We will sail on Princess Cruise's Emerald Princess

Princess Cruise's "Emerald Princess"

Diary for January 16th to February 1st, 2023

All photos will enlarge if you click on them

January 11th

4 more sleeps with this outside view

How on earth do we pack all this?

JW Steakhouse in LA - a great start

Huge big boxes of watermellons and ...

L-R Janet, Mike, Eileen, Chris Currier

Welcome reception with slideshow

Janet trying out the souffle

Our room :-) a mini suite

We have announced the 2024 cruise destination! We'll be doing the bucket list trip in and around
South America next February on the Sapphire Princess! See the 2024 cruise page on Hugh's web site.

Showing off at Formal night.

A tequila tour & tasting with Janet & Chris at Hacienda Dona Engracia

A very interesting and educational tour

3 tequilas and 3 flavoured tequilas

Up, down, center, enter!

Some pretty good stuff!

Good enough that he sold us nearly $500 USD worth!

Kathy got her horse fix ...

Thoroughbred horse barns and a jumping arena

A group photo as we were leaving

Caught the cab number and driver in this $500 USD photo! (ask us :-)

C & J bumped into a friend who was with John Horgan & his wife

We met the lovely Kasia Bodurka (Global News Weather) on the Malecon

She took us to this super nice restaurant

Kasia took this of Mark and his fish tacos

A really fun lunch with Kasia on the Malecon

Some of the calmest waters that we have ever seen

Maria, our guide at Rancho Caballo De Mar, in Huatulco

Mark on his horse which was a well behaved stallion

Kathy on her mount, another well behaved stallion

We rode through some jungle and then some tall grass

and then some REALLY tall grass!!

Here we are where the Rio Copalita meets the Pacific Ocean

The beautiful beaches seemed to go on forever

Mark's horse would go in the ocean ... until a big wave stopped him

Back at the river for a nice cool drink

Back at Rancho Caballo De Mar after a great ride

Then lunch in Huatulco with the ship in the background

And of course a nice cool drink for us too!

And even more refreshing, a swim in the ship pool

Bunny told Mike I was taking a photo in the galley tour

The cooks all waving and saying hello to us

We were the first to be able to do a galley tour since Covid

Jim, Karen and the head chef with us (a private group galley tour)

Friends from the Island that Mark hadn't seen in about 40 years!

Crocodiles sunning on the Rio Tarcoles in Costa Rica

An Iquana blending in at our private group Nosavar Ranch tour

One of the tractors & wagons that pulled our group around the ranch

Rio Tarcoles running into the Pacific Ocean at the Nosavar Ranch

A couple of the many "live fences" around the grazing pastures

A few of the 95 horses in training for the trailride business

A machete, a big catch rope, and a cruper are all part of this rigging

One of the Vaqueros is off to move the cattle back to their pastures

One of three wagons that toured us around the ranch

Michelle ....check out this little guy waiting to be saddled

The ranch put on a great buffet lunch for our group ...

... complete with cerveza & Chris is showing that it is good

Kelly Deschamp, part of our group, snapped this photo of us

At the end of a great day we saw this sand sculpture from the dock

Freighters anchored out waiting in the cue to enter the Canal

Laundry day in E720 (there was only one dryer and a big lineup)

The Bridge of the Americas that we'll pass under tomorrow

A 5 km walk from the ship towards Panama City with Janet and Chris

This one's for you Jill, he posed in the tree for us

Not sure what this is but it's purdy! They were all along the walkway

And so were these ... not sure what they are either

Kathy and Chris checking out a sign enroute about the Panama Canal

Chris took this of us at the sign in front of the Bio Museo

Dora!! Inside, the museum of biodiversity was very good

Centuries ago the horses looked almost the same as today

The 4 of us then took a cab into "Old Town" (Casco Antiqua) Panama City

The restaurant, with awesome Sangrias, used to be a bank

After lunch another museum, this one the history of the canal

Another really good museum that was thoroughly educational

5:15 AM and all the freighters waiting to enter the canal

Looking back as we pass under the Bridge of the Americas

Sunrise as we enter the first lock of the Panama Canal "Cocoli Lock"

You can see Gamboa Cut in the new channel was a big project!

One of the tankers that passed us in Lake Gatun between the sets of locks

Tugs pushed the stern of the ships side to side to make the corners

More freighters were anchored out waiting for the next lock "Agua Clara"

Mike visiting us as we watch the freighters pass by our balcony

Not a whole lot of extra room even in the new canal locks

Control tower on the right and the water storage reservoirs on the left

The big double gates shutting behind us as we leave Gatun Lake

A single gate opens in front as we are about to enter the middle lock

An enormous container ship leaves the locks into the Atlantic Ocean

The water storage reservoirs that are used to raise and lower each lock

The group photo at the back with the Panama Canal in the background

We took in the culinary show in the theatre - note the staff numbers

A second to last night in our favourite bar, Vines!

Jim took this "family photo" on the stairs at Vines

As well as this real family photo Chris, Mike, Janet, Eileen

Oooooh ... the map on the TV shows that we're heading home :-(

A last chance to grab a little sun after a swim in the back pool!

A ship photographer photo at the back of the ship in the Panama Canal

And a ship photographer photo at the front - think it was windy?

A ship photographer photo on our last formal night

Then we were doing a second photo shoot the same night ...

... and Captain Giuseppe Castellano jumped in and said "me too!"

Janet and Kathy enjoying their Mud Slides with Joseph in the background

One of the many ship staff at the Captain's Circle Party

"He who shares his food does not spend life alone" in Panama City

An afternoon by the pool as we pass under the last bridge

Happy hour in the sun at our cabin on our great balcony

A very good Princess show - The Culinary Show! Funny!

Kathy, Janet, Chris, Karen, and Jim at our last Vines visit

Romeo and Joseph in Vines ... two of Princess's great staff

On our way home - the Emerald Princess dead centre

Back home in the hot tub with our Accent Inn ducks! The End :-(

Check out next year's destination! The 2024 cruise around South America
next February on the Sapphire Princess! See the details on Hugh's web site.

For more photos see Hugh's website diary page at: www.Hugh-McLennan.com.

Our Itinerary!         Top of Page

The 2023 Spirit of the West Cruise.




Itinerary (times are tentative)

Day 1

January 16th

Fly to Los Angeles

Transfer to LA Airport Hilton Hotel

Day 2

January 17th

San Pedro Cruise Center LA

3:00 PM Departure

Day 3

January 18th

at sea


Day 4

January 19th

at sea


Day 5

January 20th

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Day 6

January 21st

at sea


Day 7

January 22nd

Huatulco, Mexico

8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Day 8

January 23rd

at sea


Day 9

January 24th

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

7:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Day 10

January 25th

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

7:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Day 11

January 26th

at sea


Day 12

January 27th

Fuerte Amador, Panama (Panama City)

6:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Day 13

January 28th

Panama Canal full transit new locks

6:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Day 14

January 29th

Cartagena, Columbia

10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Day 15

January 30th

at sea


Day 16

January 31st

at sea


Day 17

February 1st

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

7:00 AM

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Here is a map - showing the Panama Canal cruise stops. Click to enlarge.

2023 hosts, Mark and Kathy McMillan
2023 hosts, Mark and Kathy McMillan
click to enlarge

2023 Panama Canal
2022 Cruise - Alaska!
click to enlarge

Mark and Kathy on Holiday!
Mark and Kathy on Holiday!
click to enlarge

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