Panamal Canal Cruise - Shipboard Activities

When we first booked this cruise, Ted and I were both a little nervous about spending 14 days at sea. At least half the days were spent at sea, with no land in sight. Surely we would have times where we were bored, right?

So wrong! We're cruise veterans, so we knew there would be activities to fill our time, but since we'd never cruised on Holland America before, we weren't sure if they would appeal to us. In our past cruise experience, we've seen a lot of Belly Flop Competitions and Hairy Back Contests by the pool deck. Frankly, those don't thrill us.

Holland America exceeded our expectations! First of all, there was a well-appointed fitness center with lots of new equipment. We did manage to work out several times a week (Ted more than me, I admit!). Then there was the pool deck - ahhh! How can you not relax beside a wonderfully heated pool while floating in the ocean?

Then there were the workshops. Now, that was a wonderful and educational way to pass the time. We took workshops in digital photo editing, digital camera techniques, history lectures on the various ports we visited, cooking classes, and I even took two watercolor painting classes. (Take a look at my painting versus the original. Uh... okay, not great, but since I've never painted a thing in my life, I don't think it's all that bad!)

One fun thing we did was while we were cruising through Panama. The item in the daily program said, "Swim in the Panama Canal!" The canal water was brown and thick and pretty yucky, but I admit I thought they really were going to let us swim in the canal. We showed up at the rear pool deck (there wer 2 pools), and the cruise director told us we were going to swim in the pool while cruising through the canal. We had to do an "alligator dance" before we dove in and swam to the other side of the pool. Technically, we swam while in the Panama Canal, and we have certificates to prove it. (Okay, folks, this is where I'm letting down my guard and allowing you to see me in my bathing suit, though I know this isn't a very flattering pose. But, you see, it was so much fun! Nobody worried about what we looked like. We just had fun!)

At the end of every day we enjoyed really good shows put on by a variety of entertainers. The ship's singers and dancers were among the best we've ever seen. They did one show performing 40's and 50's music that was incredible. We also had a series of special entertainers -- a John Denver performer (who sounded so much like the original we were halfway convinced!), an amazingly talented flutist (She said, "What's the difference between a floutist and a flutist? The size of the paycheck. I am a flutist.") And we saw a commedian, and a professional hammered dulcimer musician, and ... the list goes on and on. Some really thrilling performances!

Besides the workshops, there was karaoke, and trivia contests (I actually participated in a team that won one night!), and dancing lessons (Ted and I learned three different waltz steps, and Ted got to dance with one of the ship's professional dancers.)

Bored? No way. We didn't have time to be bored!