Seabourn Odyssey, Panama Canal: On The Best Ship Ever?

The Canal opened in 1914, and since then close to a million ships have made the trip from ocean to ocean. Ten years ago last month we turned the canal over to Panama. Soon it will be bigger. There will be two new locks that will handle ships up to 160 feet wide and 1,200 feet long. It won’t be completed until 2015, but when it opens, it will be a big benefit to the cruise lines.

The canal still functions in a way like it did in 1914. Take one huge ship, add one rowboat, throw a line

and attach it to a “mule”.

They’ve tried different ways to grab on to boats, but the rowboat has yet to be bettered.

As you go through the Canal, big freighters, oil tankers, etc. pass you going the other way. I think each ship has a designated “waver.”

The ship that captured my attention was a yacht transport. The expansive deck packed with million dollar boats. Actually, the Pacific to Atlantic traffic was sparse, but the people still turned out to watch whatever came by.

Weird to see flashbulbs going off as some tried to photograph our ship.

I must say it’s the little things that make Seabourn Odyssey special, like Miraflores Margaritas served on deck.

If the Panama Canal is in your future plans, be sure to read “The Path Between The Seas.” You’ll be mesmerized by the story of the creation of the ditch, and your passage will mean much more to you. It took 400 years to get the job done.

Last night we ate in Restaurant 2. Before we went, I checked the menu, which changes each night and then repeats weekly. I couldn’t figure out the courses, or how we would order what appealed to us.

It worked this way: Each paragraph describes a course that is served on an oblong plate. Each described food is deposited on the plate in small separate portions. Tasty for sure, with immediate service and explanations of each course. It was an out-of-the-ordinary culinary experience.

One of the great things about Odyssey is the dining venues. Colonnade changes its theme each night. For example, Thai Bistro, Japanese Bistro, Indian Bistro, etc. The dress code is always casual.

My digital camera has a feature that, when set, will automatically take a shot the moment the shootee smiles. Left in that mode and pointed at any of the crew, it would be clicking all the time. There must be a smile class that has to be taken before getting a job on Odyssey.

Here’s a quote from my wife’s email to the kids:

“This is the best ship we have EVER been on! Gorgeous, fantastic food, everyone is so friendly, even the passengers!”

Entertainment is specialized; famous violinist, famous pianist, and a vocal quartet that gets good reviews. We’ll make it to their next performance, but for tonight it’s tuna tatar (sic) in The Restaurant.

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