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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Panama Canal Cruise — October 4, 2010 – Day Eleven

This was an at sea day and a chance to catch up on my blogging and photos. Our ship was sailing a a whopping 3 knots per hour towards Cartagena on an eastward course through the Caribbean. Why so slow? I don’t know but I think it had something to do with moderating our speed so we would arrive in Cartagena at the scheduled time

It finally dawned on me what cruising was all about. It is not about eating or partying, it’s about shopping. Yesterday when most of the passengers were lined up three deep to watch as we passed through the locks of the Panama Canal the ships crew put out all of the sale items on deck 11. When the announcement was made over the PA system that the sales were open the rails cleared as all of the passengers rushed to see what they could buy.

The shops are located on deck five and are only open while we are in international waters. Each day they will have a specialty sale. Today it was emeralds as we were going to Columbia, a country famous for those little green gem stones. You can buy just about anything on the ship. You can buy liquor and perfume, watches and jewelry, logo apparel and cosmetics, toiletries and personal items, cameras and binoculars, cigars, and just about anything you want. All of the merchandise is sold without taxes and at a very competitive price. Also, the products are top quality.

The shopping area is always crowded and you will see people walking around with their little blues and white plastic bags filled with goodies, including my wife. Shopping and the casino are our biggest on board expenses.

The new mega ships like the Freedom of the Seas and the Odyssey of the Seas have a shopping street with brand name stores where you can really spend some serious money. So when you take your next cruise don’t worry about bringing everything you need. Pack light and leave plenty of room in your suitcase for the things you are likely to buy on board.

Click here to view an updated version of my Panama Canal Gallery

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