RSSC Diamond Cruising Review

RSSC - Regent Seven Seas, Formally Radisson Seven Seas Cruises

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Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica

Embarkation Ship 3:30pm 1/2 Sunday, February 03, 2002
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San Jose
Puerto Caldera
Along the coast
Canal
San Blas
Cartagena
At Sea
Curacao
Aruba

Embarkation at Puerto Caldera

Finally we arrived at the Radisson Diamond which was docked at the port of Caldera. Typical of a central American port, there was one huge container ship, and several tuna boats, one unloading its cargo. The tuna are frozen immediately after they are caught, and these babies were 300-400 lb. tuna which required a huge crane to offload several at a time.

Radisson Diamond

The Radisson Diamond is an incredible ship. It is 420 feet in length and 103 feet in width. It's SWATH twin hulls distinguish her from other cruise ships. Typically there are 360 passengers and 206 crew-- but this cruise was under booked, and there only 143 passengers, which makes the boat feel like a private yacht. Fortunately, I got upgraded to a veranda suite upon arrival, which was quite impressive.

The entire first day was amazing, even at dinner there was excitement when one of the voltage regulators failed which tripped everything else, including the engines, and that tripped all the generators The entire ship came to a complete halt, and we ate dinner via candlelight. Soon power was back on, and after dinner we all went into the Windows Lounge for some live music and Cosmopolitans.

European Crew

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The ship is so empty that the crew outnumber the passengers at almost two to one. Most of the crew are what Radisson call "Stewardesses" which means a mainly female twenty- year-old Europeans, with a mix of other people from the Philippines, and Indonesia.

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Lightning Illuminated the Distant Horizon

Before heading back to the cabin I strolled up to the "monkeys island" (the space above the bridge) which affords some commanding views of the sea ahead. The sea was calm, and a haze covered the horizon. The Moon had not yet risen, and the Milky Way galaxy was as clear and bright as ever. In the far distance, a lone thunderhead reached upwards towards the stars as flashes of lightening illuminated the building billowing clouds. Then something caught my attention below-- it was the sound of something "hissing"... after some carefully searching, I saw streams of green trails shooting across the bow. It was dolphins, playing in the bow-wave, forming a trail of bioluminescence. It was incredible. Just as I turned to go back to my cabin, a huge falling star, broke through the atmosphere, like somebody had shot a firework to cap the evening.

Breakfast on the verandah, as the coast passes by

Today I had breakfast on the verandah, then went to sunbathe on the upper decks. There were no more than 30 people out any any one time. The Central American coastline was in the distance. So far this morning, I've seen more dolphin, and two huge sea turtles. All this is possible because the Radisson Diamond has a cruise speed of 13 knots...quite slow compared to most cruise ships at 23 knots. A visit to the bridge capped the morning.

Canal Pilot to be picked up early in the morning

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we'll be picking up the canal pilot at 5am, so I assume the transit through MiraFlores locks will be anywhere from 7:30 to 9:30 central time. I'll be out on the decks to you will be able to see me if you view the MiraFlores Web Cam (http://www.pancanal.com ). You won't be able to see me at 10am, since I have scheduled a pedicure and a foot massage.

Additional Photographs: Embarkation Ship 3:30pm 1/2

(click on photos to enlarge)
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Regent Seven Seas, Formally Radisson Seven Seas

600 Corporate Drive, Suite 410, Fort Lauderdale Florida, 33334

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