R V Sun 1996
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(above) Royal Viking Sun in Aruba on Christmas Eve
(Rated 5 Star+ since 1990, the highest rated ship in the world!)

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Itinerary Show Map
= ports at anchor
Wednesday
18th December
- Fly to Fort Lauderdale, USA
stay overnight
Thursday-Fort Lauderdale, USA
(pm) embark Royal Viking Sun
Friday-at sea
Saturday-Cozumel, Mexico
Sunday-at sea
Monday-at sea
Tuesday-Oranjestad, Aruba
Wednesday-Christmas Day at sea
Thursday-Transit Panama Canal
Friday-at sea
Saturday-Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica
Sunday-at sea
Monday-at sea
Tuesday-Acapulco, Mexico
Wednesday-New Year's Day at sea
Thursday-Mazatlan, Mexico
Friday-Cabo San Lucas (cruising)
Saturday-at sea
Sunday-at sea
Monday-San Francisco, USA disembark
& transfer to hotel
Tuesday-San Francisco, USA
Wednesday-San Francisco, USA
Thursday
9th January 1997
-San Francisco, USA
Fly to UK overnight

Go direct to Page 2 of this Log for San Francisco 1997 >>

(above) View of San Francisco from Telegraph Hill

We had originally booked 2 weeks aboard Sagafjord in September, knowing that 1996 would probably be its last year in service but then Cunard announced a major restructuring and Sagafjord's premature retirement, effectively cancelling our holiday! They wanted us to travel on Vistafjord instead but when I reminded them that Mum had died following our last trip in 1990, they agreed to transfer us to Royal Viking Sun for 3 weeks over Christmas on the top ship in the World! Andrew & I booked a stop-over in San Francisco, while John & Dad flew straight home after a brief City tour.

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Wednesday 18th - Thursday 19th December
Flight to Miami & transfer to Fort Lauderdale
Even though we were back with British Airways, it was not a good flight; my headset didn't work and I ended up having to change seats, where I had a couple in front of me with a fidgety child who kept getting in the way of the movie-screen!
After a flight of more than 9 hours, we arrived early and were transferred (by bus - no limo this time!) to our hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Show Map

Show Picture Full Size Our hotel was the familiar Hyatt Regency Pier 66, where we had stayed at the end of our 1994 Sagafjord cruise. From the tower, there was a great view of Port Everglades & downtown Ft Lauderdale.
The Pier 66 Hotel and the view over Port Everglades to Ft Lauderdale
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Show Picture Full Size From the marina, I spotted a tired-looking Ukraina (16,331 grt) in Port Everglades. One of 5 sisters, she began life as the Russian ro-ro ferry Kazakhstan (13,251 grt) and was rebuilt as a cruise ship in 1984. Troubled current operator "Sea Escape" changed hands this year and has begun operating cheap casino cruises again.

Thursday 19th December
Embarkation in Port Everglades, Florida
After a leisurely morning, we were transferred the short distance to join the ship and were soon in our well-appointed cabins, complete with bath & walk-in closets!
Show Picture Full Size John & Dad had 2 F-grade Cabins as singles and the only difference was that, being forward, they had portholes instead of a window.
(left) John & Dad's F-grade Cabins and (right) Our Standard E-grade Cabin #314 (portside)
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Friday 20th December
A Day at Sea
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I was surprised that Lifeboat Drill was held this morning (rather than yesterday) because on our last 4 cruises, it had been held before departure and I assumed that the official practice had changed!

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Daily Program
Open Program
Officers on the Bridge
Captain Halle Thon Gundersen (left)
The ship "Dressed for Christmas"
Poinsettias & Christmas Trees everywhere! (Dad's photo right)

The last time we were aboard, the ship was still owned by Royal Viking Line but visually, little seemed to have changed, apart from the exterior colour-scheme and an interior decorated for Christmas with red Poinsettias everywhere and Christmas trees in every corner!

The weather was overcast and there was a cool breeze and a slight swell but that didn't put me off a Hot-Dog for lunch from the Poolside Grill! And with Royal Viking Sun's original Captain in charge, Captain Halle Thon Gundersen, tonight was his Welcome Cocktail Party and Welcome Dinner.

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Saturday 21st December
Cozumel, Mexico
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Cozumel is an island 30 miles (48km) long and 10 miles (16km) wide, about 6 miles (10km) off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Since the 1960's it has become popular for scuba-diving and snorkelling on its coral reefs.

However, this part of Mexico is also renowned for its Mayan ruins and today we chose a particularly adventurous excursion costing 139 to one of the most famous sites on the mainland, 90 miles (145km) inland and deep in the heart of the jungle! To get there, we were going to have to fly!

The Mayan City of Chichen-Itza (NB. Dad decided not to do this trip and stayed in Cozumel today)
After a perfunctory security check at Cozumel Airport, we then discovered that we were flying in a 44-seat plane with propellers! To add to the "Toytown" atmosphere of today's jaunt, we were given lollipops to suck during the 40-minute flight!
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Our 44-seat plane - A Fokker F-27 Friendship
of Aerocozumel Airways
"El Castillo" - The Pyramid of Kukulkan
91 steep steps to the top & view of the Ball Court & Jaguar Temple


Show Site Plan Full Size The Archeological Site of Chichen-Itza
Dating from c600 AD, Chichen Itza was a major centre of Mayan civilization. As the only rivers in the area run underground, its site was chosen for 2 sink-holes or "cenotes", providing fresh water. The city's buildings also show later Toltec influence up to c1250 AD. By the time the Spanish Conquistador, Francisco de Montejo Jnr arrived in 1532, the temples were largely ruined but the area was heavily populated and hostile to plans to develop a city here. However, by the late 16th century, the Spanish had established cattle ranching here.

The site is dominated by "El Castillo", a 98ft high step-pyramid temple dedicated to the feathered-serpent god, Kukulkan. With 91 steps on each side and one at the top, it's no coincidence there are 365 steps in all.

I had to climb those steps of course but so did John & Andrew this time! At an angle of 45 degrees, they are so steep that they recommend you descend backwards, holding the rope helpfully provided!


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The Ball Court
& Jaguar Temple
Close-up detail of
The Jaguar Temple
Temple of Warriors
& "Chac Mool"
View of the Warrior Temple from "El Castillo"

In the Ball Court, our guide demonstated the perfect acoustics and explained the game of skill the Mayans played but how it was the winner who earned the honour of being decapitated by the loser!

The Temple of Warriors is another step-pyramid, larger but lower than El Castillo and with carvings showing the later influence of the central Mexican Toltecs. At the top is a Chac Mool, one of many similar such offering-table statues in this region. Internet Picture of the Chac Mool

The Mayans are known to have studied the heavens and with doors & windows aligned to the transit of Venus, it has been postulated that El Caracol, so named for its spiral staircase within the dome structure, may have been some kind of Observatory, although there are no records to confirm this.


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The Tzompantli
The Wall of Skulls
The Sacred Cenote
Precious artifacts and human sacrifices
El Caracol
The Observatory
El Chichanchob
The Red House

However, approached by an 890ft long, 30ft wide processional route called the "White Road", the waters of the Sacred Cenote have produced precious artifacts and human remains, suggesting that all manner of offerings were thrown from its 90ft sheer sides, to the Mayan rain-god "Chaac".

Sunday 22nd - Monday 23rd December
2 Days at Sea
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Making 20knots crossing the Caribbean, the weather was deceptively clear and sunny but with Force-7 headwindwinds (ie 30knots), it was really blustery on deck and the sea was very choppy.

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Crossing the Caribbean
Sunny skies but strong winds and choppy seas
Ship Builders' Model
Forward Lift Lobby Sky Deck
Stella Polaris Room
Elegant Teatime to the music of harpist Toni Stern

Nevertheless, with some interesting historical talks given by ex-US Ambassador David Newsom, we weren't short of things to do and at 4pm every afternoon in the Stella Polaris Room, the ship's stunning observation lounge, there was Elegant Teatime to the gentle strains of harpist Toni Stern.

Tuesday 24th December
Orangestad, Aruba
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Just 20 miles long and 17 miles off the coast of Venezuela, Aruba is one of the "ABC Islands" of Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao, which form part of the Netherlands (or Dutch) Antilles in the Caribbean. Since the 1980's, Aruba has developed more autonomy and was expected to be independent by 1996 but in 1995, following a convention in The Hague in 1990, the process was officially suspended.

Arriving alongside, we were joined by another ship, NCL's Seaward. Built in 1988, the same year as Royal Viking Sun, she's not much bigger but she carries nearly twice as many passengers!

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Orangestad
& "Haystack Mountain"
NCL's Seaward (1988)
42,276grt - 1,534 passengers
Snorkelling at De Palm Island
Private Beach Resort

Having been here in 1994, Andrew & I took an excursion to De Palm Island, a small private resort on one of the barrier islands south-east of Orangestad. I snorkelled a bit but as a novice; and after Bermuda, the water was chilly, choppy and less fun. Show Picture Full Size


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Docked together
Royal Viking Sun & Seaward
NCL's Seaward (1988)
42,276grt - 1,534 passengers
Top Ship in the World - Royal Viking Sun (1988)
37,845grt - 740 passengers


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Dutch Architecture
in Orangestad
Royal Viking Sun
(& a Pelican in the boat!)
NCL's Seaward
departing after us and exchanging ship's whistles

Our ship left ahead of NCL's Seaward and as we turned west towards the Panama Canal, she turned east towards Curacao and the two ships exchanged the traditional signals of ship's whistles.

This evening was Christmas Eve and there were carols sung in the Lounge, led by members of the ship's company - but with no Cathedral organ and no choir, somehow it lacked a certain something!

Wednesday 25th December - Egg Nog, Kris Kringle and Frosty the Snowman
Christmas Day at Sea - American style
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It was all rather strange, really. Luggage weight limitations meant that we had all agreed to bring just one small gift for each person and we exchanged these before going to breakfast. But apart from extra religious services in the daily program, the day seemed much like any other day at sea.

The main concessions marking Christmas were free Eggnog in the morning (popular with Americans and a bit like alcoholic, cold runny custard in a glass!) followed by a Gala Buffet Lunch; but they always do a Gala Buffet on one day, so what was the difference today? Why, Poinsettias, of course!

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Christams Day at Sea
in the Caribbean
The Gala Buffet
with Poinsettias!
The Midnight Sun Lounge
Decoraed for Christmas
Kris Kringle
arrives - for the kids?

At 4pm, there was a visit by Kris Kringle (a rather dour Santa Claus) in the Midnight Sun Lounge. There were only about 12 kids on board and they were far outnumbered by their photo-snapping parents and bystanders! The kids all got gifts of identical cuddly toys that I think were supposed to be reindeer but they looked more like cows to me and none of the kids seemed overly excited!

What, no Turkey for Christmas?
That evening, there was an even smaller choir singing Christmas Carols again (this time including "Frosty The Snowman", which even I wouldn't have classified as a "Carol" - still....) This was followed by Formal Dinner. Being something of a traditionalist, I expected Turkey to be on the menu but it wasn't; of course, Americans don't associate Turkey with Christmas the way we do in the UK. So while Dinner was very enjoyable, I was strangely disappointed. I never was much of a one for Christmas!

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Thursday 26th December
The Panama Canal
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Boxing Day or not, today I was up at 6.00am for early breakfast, because by 7.00am we were approaching the Gatun Locks at the entrance to the Canal.
(left) Approaching the Canal entrance from the Caribbean

Two years ago aboard Sagafjord, we had passed through the Canal but in the opposite direction. This time at Gatun Locks, our ship was raised 85ft in 3 stages, the entire process taking nearly 3 hours. Each lock chamber is 1,050ft long by 110ft wide (320m by 33.5m) and merchant ships built to the maximum size capable of passing through the canal are called "Panamax Ships".


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7.00am
Gatun Locks
Gatun Locks
Tanker "Mercury Star"
Canal Cross-Section
Caribbean/Atlantic to Pacific
Royal Princess (1984)
44,348grt - in Gatun Lake


The American Solution to the Panama Canal Problem see map >> Show Map
Gatun Lake is a 164 sq mile (425sq km) artificial reservoir, formed by the damming of the Chagres River. With its own strategic interests in mind, it was this fundamental American idea that in 1904 turned the concept of a canal from a disaster into reality.

Prior to this, the French had laboured 20 years to build a sea-level waterway through the jungle under the plans of Ferdinand de Lesseps, the designer of the hugely successful Suez Canal. They were ultimately defeated by financial problems and the terrible loss of life, largely from yellow fever and malaria, tropical diseases unknown at the time to be communicated by the mosquito.

At the time it was completed, Gatun Dam was the largest in the world, creating the largest man-made lake in the world. The dam would generate enough power to operate the canal, indeed for the entire Canal Zone, while the lake would provide water to operate the locks. In turn, the high tropical rainfall would maintain the level of the lake. It was an almost ecological solution.

Crossing Gatun Lake, 85 feet (26m) above sea-level, ships then pass through the mountainous region known as the Continental Divide in a section called the Culebra Cut, which had to be dug and blasted through the mountains in a major feat of engineering taking 7 years to complete. It was renamed the Gaillard Cut in 1915 in honor of the US Army engineer in charge of the works.


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Gaillard Cut
The Continental Divide
Linblad Expeditions'
"Polaris" (built in 1960)
Miraflores Locks
Panamax Vessel "Ever Repute"
entering the other lock
4.00pm
Bridge of the Americas
& the Pacific beyond

At the Pedro Miguel Locks, the ship was lowered 31ft (9.5m) in a single lock, before progressing towards the Miraflores Locks, where the ship was lowered another 54ft (16.5m) in 2 stages, finally emerging within sight of the 1,128ft (344m) steel arch of the Bridge of the Americas, opened in 1962 and carrying the Pan-American highway between North & South America.

Some Panama Canal Facts & Statistics (as at 1994)
1. The Canal was built by the USA & opened on 15th August 1914.
2. It is 48 miles long (77.1km) and takes 9 hrs (approx) to transit.
3. The Canal is administered by the Panama Canal Commission,
within the Canal Zone, over which the USA still exercises control.
4. Under the Canal Treaty of 1979, the USA will finally hand-over
control of the Canal to Panama on 31st December 1999.
5. 35-40 ships pass through the Canal each day and for each one,
roughly 52 million gals of water flow out of Gatun Lake into the sea.
6. The 80 electric "Mules" cost $1.2m each when replaced in 1990
(the previous steam-locomotives cost $115,000 each in 1964)
7. The Toll for passage is currently $2.21 per gross registered ton
(so the bill today was about $83,6000 or $120 per passenger)

(right) Royal Viking Sun in the Canal (A Previous Ship photo)
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Read more about the Panama Canal >>


Friday 27th December
A Day at Sea
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Now in the Pacific heading north-west and with only 480 miles to cover, the Captain decided to make a detour to see a pod of whales in the afternoon. We kept a respectable distance (so no photos I'm afraid!) but were close enough to see their tails.

Aquavit - "Water of Life?"
In the evening, we had the Skald Club Party (for 447 repeat cruisers), at which Andrew received his Cunard 100-day pin. For the Captain's Toast, we were introduced to Aquavit, a traditional Scandanavian spirit distilled from potatoes and flavoured with herbs & spices, such as caraway and dill. At 40% alcohol, it's very strong and tastes like petrol! Perhaps that's why, after the traditional "Skol, skol, skol, skol!" drinking-salute, the traditional way of drinking it is to knock it back in one go! It's just as well we had won a bottle of wine in the ship's radio-station Quiz earlier; at least we had something to wash-away the taste at Dinner!

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Saturday 28th December
Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica
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Located a few miles south-east across the bay from the much larger port of Puntarenas, we came here before in 1994 aboard Sagafjord but whereas last time we took a long and rather hair-raising road journey to visit a Cloud Forest, this time we chose an excursion to another of Costa Rica's many National Parks & Reserves but one a little more local.

Carara Nature Reserve
Costa Rica is one of the World's oldest democracies and having abolished its army in 1949, is also one of the most ecologically responsible. For a small country, its terrain and climate support a wide range of bio-diverse eco-systems and some 5,000 sq miles (25% of the country) are designated National Park Reserves.

Sadly, on this occasion, we were disappointed; with too much standing around, we saw plenty of lush vegetation but very little wildlife - apart from Leafcutter Ants!
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For me though, the afternoon proved more interesting when I learned that our Captain had agreed to swap places with Cunard's Crown Dynasty, which had been at at anchor all morning in the bay.


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Cunard's Crown Dynasty (19,089grt)
at anchor and seen from Royal Viking Sun in the morning
Clipper Cruise Line's
Yorktown Clipper
(2,354grt - 140 passengers)
Royal Viking Sun
(37,845grt - 740 passengers)

It was a little strange, standing on the dock in a foreign port, watching my own ship pull away without me! Indeed, when I had gone ashore after lunch, the ship was still alongside and the crew had been most anxious that I should understand that I should not come back the same way, lest I find myself aboard the wrong ship by mistake - as if I would!


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Royal Viking Sun
& Crown Dynasty
Cunard's Crown Dynasty (19,089grt) comes alongside the berth.
Also berthed (far right) is Yorktown Clipper (2,354grt)

In the midst of the operation, the two ships exchanged whistle signals, before Crown Dynasty came alongside. I will admit however, that I nursed just the slightest anxiety, "abandoned" as it were on the dockside, although later of course, and as I knew she would, Royal Viking Sun established her own tender service and after my little adventure, I was able to return to the ship by tender.


Crown Dynasty, a little ship of so many names!
Built for Crown Cruise Line in 1993, Crown Dynasty spent her initial years under charter to Cunard, first as "Cunard Crown Dynasty" and then as "Cunard Dynasty" until 1997, when she was taken up by Majesty Cruise Line as "Crown Majesty", only for Majesty Cruises themselves to be taken over by Norwegian Cruise Lines, whereupon she assumed the name "Norwegian Dynasty" until the expiry of her charter in 1998. She then reverted to her original name of "Crown Dynasty" and was operated by her owners until Crown Cruise Lines ran into difficulties in 2001 and she again changed hands - and name!

In 2001, Crown Dynasty would join the Fred Olsen fleet as Braemar and in 2002, Dad & I would sail on her. See Braemar 2002 >>


Somewhat predictably, given that were here only 2 years ago in 1994, we were entertained in the early evening with some Folkloric Music & Dancing by the local troupe - probably the same one we saw last time!

At 7pm, the ship raised the anchor and set course for Acapulco.
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Sunday 29th - Monday 30th December
2 Days Day at Sea - and the Gulf of Tehuantepec
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Continuing north-westwards, we were now passing across the Gulf of Tehuantepec, an area off the coast of Central America notorious for sudden squalls and rough seas, caused by northerly winds from the Caribbean funnelling through a gap in the central mountain chain at this point see map >>. However, aside from a slight swell and being hot and humid, it would not be now but some days later that the Captain's weather warning would be justified!

To take our minds off the bad weather to come, there was the added distraction of a Galley Tour. But it was a little unexciting; there was no food in sight - just acres of spotless stainless-steel!


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Tuesday 31st December
Acapulco, Mexico
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After 2 sultry days at sea, during which we won our 2nd bottle of wine in the radio-station Quiz, we arrived in Acapulco, together with Cunard's Crown Dynasty which had followed us all the way from Puerto Caldera; and it felt like we were retracing the steps of our 1994 cruise aboard Sagafjord, because yet again we did a city tour and went to see the famous Cliff Divers of La Quebrada.

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Royal Viking Sun & Crown Dynasty
docked stern-to-stern in Acapulco Bay
The Cliff Divers
of la Quebrada
Acapulco Bay
from exclusive Las Brisas

Show Picture Full Size The Cliff Divers of La Quebrada
Tourists watch from the terraces of the El Mirador Hotel as divers regularly plunge into the dangerous, swirling waters below. The highest dive of 125ft (38m) is performed as part of a show given by a troupe of professional divers, who each then runs all the way back up the steps to meet their audience in the lobby of the hotel - to collect tips of course!
(left) A diver prepares for the highest 125ft dive, as another diver takes the easier option!

The itinerary of our tour was almost the same as in 1994 but whereas last time we ended up at the Acapulco Princess Hotel on the Pacific Coast, this time we were taken to the Mayan Palace Hotel next door. This luxurious hotel boasts a pool that is 1km in length (and no, I didn't measure it!).

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The Mayan Palace Hotel
and part of its pool, allegedly 1km in length!
El Zócalo & the Cathedral
of Our Lady of Solitude (1930)
R.V.Sun & Crown Dynasty
& Playa Tlacopanocha

After lunch back at the ship, we strolled ashore again in temperatures of 84 deg C and Andrew phoned his family back home, where it was was -4 deg! Having learned from our 1994 mistake of walking along the noisy (and smelly) La Costera, we went the other way, to Playa Tlacopanocha, with its street market, the main square of El Zócalo and a bizarre Byzantine-style Cathedral, built in 1930 as a studio set and later adopted by the locals as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Solitude.

Show Menu Full Size This evening's Formal Dinner was the Gala New Year's Dinner, which included such favourites as: Snails in Garlic, French Onion Soup and Roast Rack of Lamb. What better to follow than Grand Marnier Soufflé! See the Gala Dessert Menu >>

Happy New Year 1997!
Departing the dock at 11pm, the ship anchored in the bay, promising a view of fireworks ashore at midnight but what there was to see proved slightly disappointing. But in the lounge, the obligatory Mexican Folkloric Show was followed by the traditional celebrations with plenty of free Champagne!
Dad - Happy New Year! Andrew - with a hat (rare!)


Wednesday 1st January 1997
New Year's Day at Sea
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After a late party the night before, it was very quiet around the ship on this, the first day of 1997!

Out of The Sun - or Into The Blue?
It was at this point that we were each of us doing our morning walk around the deck when Andrew came speeding past John, (like the "SS United States" overtaking the "RMS Queen Mary"!). With arms characteristically swinging to and fro, Andrew inadvertantly hit John's hand, sending his copy of "Out of The Sun" (signed by Robert Goddard no less!) flying over deck rail and into the sea!

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The Aft Lap Pool and Gym/Fitness Center
overlooked by the Garden Café
The Garden Café (Deck 11)
overlooking the Lap Pool
The new colour-scheme
Cunard Red + the Sea-Eagle
of Royal Viking Line


That evening, we dined in the à la carte Venezia Restaurant for a change. Booking was "first come, first served" but unlike in years to come on other ships, there was no extra cover charge. Spacious and with even more attentive service than in the main Dining Room, the meal proved better than expected from the unassuming menu (sorry, I never kept a copy!). Show Picture Full Size

Thursday 2nd January 1997
Mazatlan, Mexico
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With another relaxing morning at sea, we were not due to arrive in Mazatlan until 1.00pm and it seemed that this thriving port, founded in 1531 by the Spanish, had little going for it because it was only as an afterthought that any tours were offered for what was to be a visit of barely 5 hours.

In the event, we took a City Sightseeing Tour that proved rather boring, although to be fair, the city's historic El Centro might have been more interesting if our guide had been more engaging!


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Carnival Cruise Line's Jubilee
(1986 - 47,262grt, 1486 passengers)
The Papantla Flyers
(Flying Totonaca Indians)
El Centro - Plazuela Machado
& Basilica de la Concepcion (1899)

However, the highlight of our visit was to be yet another folkloric show; this time a display by the Papantla Flyers or (Flying Totonaca Indians) involving 5 guys climbing an 80ft pole and then 4 of them spinning-around, head-first, descending to "traditional" Indian music. Everyone clapped at the end, of course, but although I'm sure it required considerable skill, it wasn't very exciting to watch!

Friday 3rd - Sunday 5th January 1997
3 Days at Sea en-route to San Francisco
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At this point, our itinerary provided for 3 full days' passage up the Pacific coast to San Francisco. However, the Captain informed us that there was a weather system ahead that could make things unpleasant, so he had decided to "kill some time" by doing some cruising off Cabo San Lucas.

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Cruising off Cabo San Lucas
& Carnival Cruises' Jubilee at anchor
Andrew
& the rocks of "Los Arcos"
The Sun Deck
Royal Viking Sun

We arrived about 9.00am and Carnival's Jubilee was already at anchor in the bay, where we had dropped anchor in 1994 aboard Sagafjord. On this occasion though, for us there were no tenders ashore, as we just "pootled" around "killing time", as the Captain had put it. It was beautifully calm.

Departing the protection of the bay of Cabo San Lucas a few hours later, we put out into the Pacific and into 20-knot headwinds and more choppy waters.
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Me, Andrew & John
Departing Cabo San Lucas
(Dad's photo)
Guadalupe Island
another detour but no sealions!
20-knot Headwinds
& a choppy last day at sea

By the second day though, the Captain was still trying to hold back from the weather, making another of his detours around Guadalupe Island off the coast of Baja California, Mexico. Not to be confused with Guadeloupe, the French island in the Caribbean, Isla Guadalupe is a barren volcanic haven for sea-life, especially sea-lions. However, true to form, we didn't see any of them!

By the third day, there was no more holding back from the weather and the Captain apologised that we now had to press on into strong winds and choppy seas. Unfortunately, Royal Viking Sun was not the best ship for these conditions and in the heavy swells, the waves banged noisily against the bows, sending shudders through the ship as we bounced our way towards San Francisco.

Having to do our packing was more of a burden than usual with the ship pitching so unpleasantly and John fell prey to seasickness so badly that he had to miss Dinner on our last night aboard.


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Monday 6th January 1997
San Francisco, California, USA - Disembarkation
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Thankfully, the weather calmed as we progressed through the night and it was still dark at 6.30am, when we passed under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and entered the bay, docking at Pier 35 in front of the famous Coit Tower around sunrise.

After 18 nights aboard (one of our longest cruises) it was finally time to disembark.
(left) Arriving at the Pier 35 Cruise Terminal & a first view of the Coit Tower & the Transamerica Pyramid.

This was where Andrew & I had to say goodbye to Dad & John, because after a short sightseeing tour, they were flying home this evening, while Andrew & I had booked a 3-night stop-over at the Crowne Plaza Parc 55 Hotel.

So for the rest of our amazing 3-day sightseeing in San Francisco, see Page 2 - San Francisco 1997 >>


See Detailed Mileage Log for this cruise >>

Cruise Mileage: 5,787 nautical miles
Total Mileage to date: 58,385 n miles

Return to top of page Visit the Royal Viking Sun Ship Gallery >> Next Cruise >>