Sunday, May 21, 2023

Fuerte Amador/Panama City, Panama

Welcome to Panama! More specifically, Fuerte Amador. 

Panama City, Panama
A view of Panama City from the dock
In the past when we’ve arrived here we needed to use the ship's tenders to get ashore but not today. They are building a new terminal but it’s not complete, so all we can do is dock and take busses out. No passengers could walk anywhere in the area as it's all a construction zone. 
cruise ship construction at Panama city cruise terminal
Coming soon
Can’t use the nice new gangways yet
All the way at the other end of the ship at the farthest spot away from the new terminal (at the back of the last bus) is where disembarkation occurred for tours and those wanting to do their own thing.
buses lied up at cruise ship pier in Panama City, Panama
Like an obstacle course
As we’ve taken tours here before, I was just going to go and eat some local food. I searched out a place with a nice menu, but then started questioning whether I really wanted to go or not. Several factors pushed me to stay onboard.

1. It was laundry day. The free-to-Elites laundry perk is taking up to 72 hours this voyage. Even though there is no laundry room on this deck I did some exploring to find an available one. $3 to wash and $3 to dry and I’ve got enough clean clothes to last me until Fort Lauderdale.
deck 5 laundry room on Island Princess
Deck 5 laundry
2. I watched the busses loading and unloading passengers and saw the struggle some folks with walkers and canes had taking the big first step onto the bus. I know from climbing in and out of the pool every day my quads are getting stronger, but it’s going down big steps that give me trouble. Not sure I wanted to risk it with how unstable my feet are right now.

3. Watching the busses drive by packed full with people shoulder-to-shoulder was not something I wanted to participate in. Over the past few days there has been a big increase in the number of terrible sounding coughs around the ship. One lady in the pool yesterday said she thought she was getting a cold but it was probably just the humid weather. And then she proceeded to cough and cough and cough. Yeah, definitely not a “humidity” cough. On a related note, I went to the open space on back of Deck 8 to take pictures and…ran into the Covid wing. The tell tale sign? Small tables piled with dirty dishes outside cabin doors.

4. Since Scooter can’t do rain, the deciding factor wound up being the weather. It was sunny when we arrived but clouds quickly moved in and the forecast went to 100% chance of rain. The percentage held true just as I was folding my laundry.
Too late now
Looks like ship food instead of Panamanian food
3”-5” of rain expected today
Boy, did it rain hard. It ranged from rain to downpours to torrential downpours. It may have briefly stopped but I wouldn’t have known it because I wound up taking a nice afternoon nap in my nice comfortable bed with the door open, listening to nature’s own sound machine. 

We’ll drop anchor close by tonight and hang out until our scheduled transit time tomorrow morning. Yep, it’ll be a bucket list moment for many on the ship - traveling through the Panama Canal.

Time zone changes: We set clocks ahead again a couple days back so we’re now at 3 so far.