Monday, January 13, 2020
It’s a sea day, with a morning lectures by Ian MacLachlan about Nicaraguan history. San Juan del Sur was once considered in the 1800s for the western end of a Nicaraguan canal, before the current site was chosen. The idea was proposed by Alexander von Humboldt. Cornelius Vanderbilt was a well known proponent of the Nicaragua option, and had negotiated exclusive rights to construct a waterway. Passengers would board a river boat on the Atlantic Ocean, sail through Lake Nicaragua, then a train the rest of the way. The US briefly considered this location before settling on Panama.
The idea of a canal at this location wasn’t completely abandoned, though. In 2013, Nicaragua’s National Assembly approved a bill to grant a 50 year concession to a Chinese Billionaire, Wang Jing, and his Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company (HKND). However, his fortunes took a hit during the Chinese Stock Market crash of 2015-2016, the company was liquidated in 2018, and the project is now considered defunct.
For Survivor fans, four seasons were filmed here in San Juan del Sur. The beaches are beautiful, and San Juan del Sur is a popular destination for surfers.
Later, Robert D’Alimonte gave the second half of his Brexit lecture. Brexit takes place at the end of this month, with many details agreed to, including customs arrangements for Northern Ireland. However, a trade deal has not yet been negotiated, and Scotland remains opposed. The whole issue is very complicated, but Professor D’Alimonte did a very good job of making it a little easier for the layperson to understand. I’m sure we haven’t heard the end of this story.
Tonight’s comedy show was delightful. Darrell Joyce is a standup comedian who had no difficulty connecting with this audience. He has appeared on BET, Comedy Central, and several TV shows. He also performs frequently in Las Vegas. We ended the evening laughing!
Tuesday, January 14
We were scheduled to stop at San Juan del Sur today, tendering to shore. This would have been the maiden stop for Crystal Serenity. However, the winds were very strong, unsafe for tendering, and projected to increase throughout the day. I did step out onto the back deck for a couple of minutes, but quickly left when I saw chairs begin blown across the deck. So, we have another sea day. Crystal wasted no time scheduling some additional lectures and activities for the day.
Although we’re a little disappointed at not being able to visit Nicaragua, I always welcome “free” time, with nothing scheduled. We took advantage of this by getting massages (so relaxing!) after breakfast, and just enjoying the beautiful day. In spite of the wind this morning, the water was calmer as we sailed north.
Tonight’s show was an Aretha Franklin tribute by Charity Lockhart, a versatile singer who can rock a room with pop, R&B, gospel or jazz. This was a family affair, with her daughter, Yasmine(?), singing backup, and her brother, Jermaine Lockhart, on saxophone. I do love sax! Charity had the entire audience on their feet by the end of the concert.
Charity said that their luggage didn’t make it, so Crystal dug into their costume supply to provide clothing changes for her as well as for her daughter and brother. They looked pretty good to us. This was yet another example of the quality of entertainment and service provided on a Crystal cruise.