Thursday, 16 February 2012

Ports of Call on the Queen Victoria

Lift bridge over the inside waterway in Fort Lauderdale
Going south away from the Canadian winter becomes more imperative with each passing year.  This year we are cruising out of Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal aboard Cunard Line's Queen Victoria.  Even sitting on a bench at Port Everglades, the cruise port, is a treat because the air is soft and breezy with palm trees in view, the symbol of warmth and invitation for me and no jacket required.  Fantastic after having to wear boots, down jacket, scarf and aviator cap with the ear flaps down very time I ventured outside.

As I've mentioned before, I always like to read a novel that takes place where I am traveling.  I picked up one by John D. MacDonald.  His hero is a feisty roustabout Robin Hood type named Travis McGee, who gets money back from scam artists and returns it to the rightful owner.  I had read several in the series some years ago when I was going to a friend's cottage in Haliburton that had a collection of MacDonald's books.  It was a rollicking read and took place in Fort Lauderdale very close to where the Queen Vic was moored.

A freighter leaving Port Everglades for the Atlantic Ocean

Queen Victoria docked in Aruba
After two days at sea we docked in Aruba,  practically a desert island with a consistent temperature of 29ºC or 84ºF and  a constant breeze.  The capital city, Orangested, is quaint with an obvious Dutch heritage evidenced by the gingerbread house style buildings.  It has become a popular resort destination because the weather is always sunny and predictable.

When we sailed out of Aruba in the early evening heading to the Panama Canal we could see a dozen ships on the  horizon all sailing to or from the canal.

By the Way -  Make sure you pack Gravol for a cruise.  When the wind direction makes the ship roll it can play havoc with your balance, i.e. seasick.

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