2023 Panama Canal group teeshirt
2023 Panama Canal group teeshirt
click to enlarge

A Diary & Photos for our 2023 Cruise - Panama Canal!

Below is some information on where the 2023 Spirit of the West Cruise is going. We hope you enjoy the diary as we head to the Panama Canal. See the map below (or scroll down). We will sail on Princess Cruise's "Emerald Princess" - below is a photo showing what she looks like.

See the map below (or scroll down).
Go to the Itinerary below (or scroll down).

2023 Panama Canal group teeshirt
2023 Panama Canal group teeshirt
click to enlarge

Princess Cruise's Emerald Princess We will sail on Princess Cruise's Emerald Princess

Princess Cruise's "Emerald Princess"

Diary for January 16th to February 1st, 2023

All photos will enlarge if you click on them

January 16th

A great start at JW Steakhouse in LA
Kathy, Bill, Eileen, Mike, Janet, Chris, Karen, Jim, Kathy and Mark

Sitting; Linda and Allan Sharp
Standing; Carolyn and Bill Leask

58 of us taking in the slideshow ...

... at the Spirit of the West Welcome Reception

Allan and Linda Sharp

Brad and Kelly Deschamp

Jeff, Lana, Egan, Gail, Eileen, Mike, Kathy (hidden), Earl

Sharon & Paddy Mullaney, Kathy & Bill Reimer

We have announced the 2024 cruise destination! We'll be doing the bucket list trip in and around
South America next February on the Sapphire Princess! See the 2024 cruise page! here.

Brad & Kelly Deschamp at an interview for the S of the W radio

Kathy & Mark behind Jim, Karen, Kathy & Bill

Diane and Ed Peake at formal night

Bill and Carolyn Leask

Earl and Kathy Zinger

Larry and Therese Driver

Lana Smith and Jeff Campbell

Lillian Fry and Bunny Bell-Reid

Eileen and Mike Currier

Max and Dale Kinsella

George and Gail Slusarczyk

Dan and Ann Stocking

Les and Diane Antoniuk

Bruce and Kerrie Kusler

Allan and Linda Sharp

Tried to get an interview here ...

Some of the group did a tequila tasting in Puerto Vallarta

They then got to visit with the horses behind the distillery

Next was lunch with Kasia Bodurka from Global News weather

Jim giving announcements at our first real sing-along

Kathy Zinger and Jo-Ann & Dennis Statham

Jim looking after folks, like Bunny Bell-Reid

Jim arranged for a guitar for Ed Peake. Wayne (not part of our group) helped out

Ann Stocking sharing a couple of her poems

Les Antoniuk telling a couple of humourous stories

Flossie Bodell reading a piece of poetry

Pulling along-side at Huatulco, Mexico

The support crew heading into the Rio Copalita

Mark in the Pacific Ocean

Kathy riding out of the jungle

Click photo to see the video

Jim (left) & Kathy Reimer and Karen decided that they should go for a horse ride too! Click photo to see video

A small number of our group got together with Charlotte and Richard Preston on Caesar Night
to share some stories in memory of their daughter, Charlene Preston (1976 - 2022).

Our group gathering for a private group galley tour. (we had the very first galley tour since Covid)

The head chef explaining to everyone how the kitchen works

Our group walking through a maze of stainless steel

We were not allowed to touch anything, not even the deserts!

Allan Sharp leading the way for the second half of the group

Everyone absorbing the staggering facts and numbers

The head chef said he had 187 cooks in his remuda

All of us left happy after a little humour at the end

All aboard the bus and heading to Nosavar Ranch in Costa Rica

45 minutes later we arrive at Nosavar Ranch

Larry Driver riding point on the second of three wagons

The first two wagons head out while the third is being loaded

A Crocodile sunning in the sand on the beach of the Rio Tarcoles

Leona Petherbridge in front of her husband Richard

The 400 mother cows are a Charolais Brahma cross

Some of this year's calf crop ... all in great shape

Our group where the Rio Tarcoles meets the Pacific Ocean

Mario telling us about the ranch and the cattle (Mark recording for Hugh)

A "live fence" around one of the many lush green pastures

Note the size and length of the rope on this caballo

Their vaquero showing off one of the ranch bulls

Mario explaining the cattle breeding program

A few of the 95 horses just going into training (for the dude string)

Mario talking with a vaquero that has been here about 40 years

The brand is V for Vargas (owners) in a royal chair

Looks like Kelly Deschamp found herself a new vaquero :-)

Now the vaqueros have to take the cattle back out to their pasture

Some of the many iguanas that were roaming around the ranch

Charlotte and Richard Preston show off their beer in the buffet line

Our whole group enjoying a great ranch made lunch

Kathy doing the count as everyone boards the bus

Linda Sharp taking her husband Allan back to the bus

Charlotte and Richard leave a memorial for Charlene in the sand

The dining room waiters sang Happy Birthday to Gail Slusarczyk

Hugh joined us on the big screen at an evening get-together

Ann Stocking reads a story to the group at the get-together

Sure glad Jim got a ship guitar for Ed Peake to play!

Richard Preston reads a poem to the group at the get-together

Tenders leave the ship to take folks in to Fuerte Amador

The massive Panama City with it's maze of highrises

The Bridge of the Americas which we will go under tomorrow

Chris and Janet Currier walked to the Bio Museo from the port

Some of our group taking in some information in the museum

The Bio Museo was a great stop ... super interesting!

A lot of our group toured to the square in Old Town, Panama City

In the square was the Museo Canal, also super interesting!

About 5:15 AM as we approach the Bridge of the Americas

We pass under the bridge with only 3 meters clearance!

The ship cam on the Emerald Princess as we enter the first lock

A look back at Bridge of the Americas from the first lock

Note the angle of the rope and the size of the crew

Now the size of the crew as we are raised 28 feet in the lock

Now the rope is up level with the top of the lock walls

This shows the massive water holding tanks of the new locks

Two parallel gates are open as we pass into the 2nd lock

At the stern two cross tied ropes keep the ship straight

Holding still in the next lock as the gate shuts behind us

"G" the photographer starts to place us for the group photo

Jim straightens name tags as everyone in the group gets ready

58 of us moved from the 1st photo location to the 2nd

A great group photo with the Panama Canal in the background

The Queen Victoria passes us in Gatun Lake half way through

One of the massive tankers passing us in the lake

This huge container ship hitting the throttle as it enters the Atlantic

Here the tug at the bow keeps us straight as we enter the last lock

Kathy, Karen, Jim, Richard, Charlotte, Bill, Kathy, Eileen, Mike

Dan and Ann, George and Gail, Egan and Gail

Pat and Larry Selin

Kathy and Earl Zinger

Laurie and Bob Eliuk

Sharon and Paddy Mullaney

Richard and Leona Petherbridge

Gail and Egan Bodell

The battle of the cameras with Bill Leask and Mark

Therese and Larry Driver

Ken and Inga Lueck

Jo-Ann and Dennis Statham

Therese, Gail, Ann, and Flossy (Les missing) with Ed behind

And the same five as part of a 60 piece choir in the Piazza

Raphael was one of the best sound guys we've ever had (with his eyes open)

Jim Bell and desert in the speciality Italian Restaurant ... so good

The Princess Culinary Show was super fun, really good

Some of the many ship staff at the close of the show

Romeo and Joseph were two amazing guys in the wine bar

In the center is the Emerald Princess as we fly home from Ft Lauderdale

We have announced the 2024 cruise destination! We'll be doing the bucket list trip in and around
South America next February on the Sapphire Princess! See the 2024 cruise page! here.

For more photos see the Support Crew website diary page at: www.SitkaFarm.com.

Our Itinerary!         Top of Page

The 2023 Spirit of the West Cruise.




Itinerary (times are tentative)

Day 1

January 16th

Fly to Los Angeles

Transfer to LA Airport Hilton Hotel

Day 2

January 17th

San Pedro Cruise Center LA

3:00 PM Departure

Day 3

January 18th

at sea


Day 4

January 19th

at sea


Day 5

January 20th

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Day 6

January 21st

at sea


Day 7

January 22nd

Huatulco, Mexico

8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Day 8

January 23rd

at sea


Day 9

January 24th

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

7:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Day 10

January 25th

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

7:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Day 11

January 26th

at sea


Day 12

January 27th

Fuerte Amador, Panama (Panama City)

6:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Day 13

January 28th

Panama Canal full transit new locks

6:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Day 14

January 29th

Cartagena, Columbia

10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Day 15

January 30th

at sea


Day 16

January 31st

at sea


Day 17

February 1st

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

7:00 AM

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Here is a map - showing the Panama Canal cruise stops. Click to enlarge.

2023 hosts, Mark and Kathy McMillan
2023 hosts, Mark and Kathy McMillan
click to enlarge

2023 Panama Canal
2022 Cruise - Alaska!
click to enlarge

2022 Alaska group photo
The Spirti of the West Cruise 2022 Alaska group photo
click to enlarge

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