It had been raining for the last seven days in Costa Rica, fortunately it was partly cloudy when we arrived around 7 AM. We moored starboard side, with the aft part of the ship facing the town. Based on my experience on the 2016 world cruise, I found that more often than not we moored starboard side which proved to be more interesting as you can watch the comings and goings of passengers and cargo.
ZIP Lining Tour
We signed up for the HAL zip-lining tour which met in the Queens lounge at 9:15 AM. Arriving just after nine we learned that we were the only tour left, so the room was almost empty.
At 9:15 AM they called our tour. We collected our tour dots on the way out of the theatre, went down to A deck and walked out onto the pier.
Our bus was parked about one quarter mile away over a flat, paved surface. There were about 25 of us on the tour but since we had 40 passenger bus we had plenty of room to spread out.
It took about 45 minutes to get to the start of our tour. We first stopped at a place where we could use the bathroom and we learned later that this was the place where we would return via the zip lines. The way this works, is that the bus takes you to higher ground some distance away, then you ride zip lines in a zigzag pattern until you return to this starting point.
After we left the bathroom break stop we got back on the bus and went about 10 more minutes up the hill to our starting point. This is where we would be fitted with our harnesses and helmets.
They formed two lines and the guides fit each guest to their harness and helmet. The zipline operator has a photographer which takes pictures afterwards and will also shoot video of our first time down the zip line. The price for the photos is $25 for a single and $15 for each additional person in our group, which is quite reasonable compared to what can be charged in similar tourist venues.
Before heading off to the first zip line tower, they gathered the group and using a volunteer, demonstrated how we were connected to the zip line and what to do if we happened to stop before we reached the other tower.
The waiting for the first zip line is the longest as they only send one person at a time down the zip line and they don’t start the second person, until the first person is finished and completely disconnected from the zip line.
Riding the Lines
Once it is our turn and we were given the signal to go, we simply leaned back, stepped off the tower and held on to the handles of the pulley over our head. The acceleration is brisk, but you feel secure during the entire ride. I would guess we may have hit a top speed of 20 mph.
The harness supports our weight and we felt like we were laying in a hammock more than a parachute harness – there is very little pressure where the harness is fitted in the crotch area. Our hands on the cable pulley were more a way to keep them out of the way then to do anything else. While we come close to some branches as we zipped down the line, and it may be possible to brush against a branch I think the foliage may be further away than it looks because I don’t think anyone in our group reported touching at foliage.
We were instructed to not bring any cameras or other items that could become entangled or fall to the ground. As it turned out, if we had pockets or a vest with zippers, I would have felt comfortable keeping the camera or iPhone in a zippered pocket and bringing them along as there is some waiting on each platform with time to take a few pictures. We were wearing heavy gloves, but these are easily removed while we were waiting.
Each tower may be 50 feet or so off the ground, but I never felt nervous about the height since we were so securely strapped into our harness and the harness is always connected to a cable. When we were not attached to the zip line itself, our second, safety cable was always connected to the safety cable.
Since this was our first zip line experience, I can’t compare it to others, but several folks in our group remarked that this one was better than most in terms of the distance we zip lined and our speed while zipping. As we approached the end of our run, the operator on the receiving tower, pulled a line attached to the cable which slowed us down. Other zip line tours require you to slow yourself down by dragging a glove along one of the cables. On this tour, we literally had to do nothing except step off the first tower and then stand up on the receiving tower after our run.
While we were waiting on several of the towers, we spotted a few 3 toe sloths, including one mother with a baby clinging to her abdomen.
This tour consists of 12 separate zip lines, with the longest being around 900 meters. After the final run, we were now back at the original bathroom stop where we could buy our photos on the USB stick (Visa and Mastercard OK). The USB stick included some generic photos of local scenery and animals. It was a very nice addition to the photo package. Included in the tour is a small fruit plate and a chance to purchase beverages before heading back into town.
While chatting with some of the passengers in our tour, we learned that we had a friend in common. A pilot from my first Navy Squadron, who was a groomsman at our wedding, was house sitting for them.
Back at the Ship
The bus dropped us off where we were picked up, which is about equal distance from the ship’s gangway as it was to the Puerto Limon Cruise Terminal. We took a few pictures of the signs marking the port before we headed toward the Cruise Terminal and tourist market. The Cruise Terminal is one large room which is connected to the tourist market, and, of course, had free wi-fi. The market is a covered area and had about 3 rows of stalls where a variety of local vendors had set up their booths with T-shirts, carvings and most every type of souvenir item you would expect. We didn’t venture any further into the city as we were running short of time and on our previous visits there wasn’t much of interest to us regardless.
We sat out by the pool and had a wonderful Dive Inn Lunch!
All aboard was 3:30 PM which was the same time as the SailAway pool party held by the Sea View pool overlooking the stern. The daily “When and Where” said there would be hot appetizers and drink specials, but by the time I arrived, 15 minutes after the scheduled starting time, there weren’t any appetizers that I could find. Maybe they were all consumed by the time I arrived.
College Football Playoffs
The championship game was shown on the big screen in the Wajang Theatre in addition to the Sports Bar. I stopped by both venues and they were full, but not overflowing. The Wajang Theatre had a nice assortment of snacks – I tried the chicken wings which were amazing! Quite tasty!
When it was time for dinner, the score was tied at 0. Not being an SEC fan, I was hoping for a scoreless tie so for now things were going my way.
Panama Hat Night
When we entered the dining room tonight the waiters were all lined up along the railing wearing Panama Hats. We were wondering if we would find Panama Hats at our tables, but discovered later that they were being placed in our cabins as we enjoyed dinner.
Chicken, Chicken, everywhere!
Tonight, I went with the all chicken theme: Chicken, Ham, Parmesan Croquette for the starter followed by Chicken and Chorizo Soup and finally Southern Style Fried Chicken. I love fried chicken and order it whenever it is on the menu on any cruise ship. I have usually been disappointed by the style served on Holland America, but tonight I was pleasantly surprised. It was fabulous. I usually don’t spend much time reviewing food here because it is so subjective. Cruise ship food reviews not very helpful to me aside from the basic description. I am sure that if you interviewed everyone who had the fried chicken this evening, you would find people who enjoyed it as I did and those who found it dreadful because it was missing some characteristic they felt was essential.
College Football Playoffs – continued
On the way to the Queens Lounge we walked by the Sports Bar and learned that my dreams of a scoreless tie were gone with Georgia leading 20-7 on the way to a potential blowout.
The Holland America Singers and Dancers
We are big fans of Broadway musicals and usually see 7 touring shows every year in San Diego and one or two in NYC when we visit. The production numbers are something we enjoy very much.
Tonight’s performance was called “Dance” and it consisted of a medley of songs and dance numbers celebrating the various styles of dance found around the world. There was Jazz, Ballroom, Jive and Russian Folk dance just to name a few. This was the first time we saw this group of singers and dancers and they were spectacular. We are looking forward to seeing them again and again as the cruise progresses.
College Football Playoffs- Conclusion
After the show we walked by the Sports Bar once again, fully expecting a score of something line 38-14, but were surprised to find everything tied up, 20-20, with a few minutes to go. We watched the poor Alabama kicker miss the potential game winning kick and stayed to the end to watch the exciting overtime win by Alabama.This entry was posted in Uncategorized