This year's group photo
The 2013 Spirit of the West group photo!
click to enlarge

2013 Spirit of the West Cruise Diary and Photos

Here's our cruise diary for 2013 - enjoy!

Below is some information on where the 2013 Spirit of the West Cruise is going. We hope you enjoy the following diary as we head to the Caribbean.

See the map below (or scroll down).
We will sail on the Emerald Princess - here's what she looks like on the outside.

Billie and Hugh in this year's tee-shirt
Billie and Hugh in this year's tee-shirt
click to enlarge

Emerald Princess Emerald Princess Emerald Princess

Below you'll find our basic itinerary and a map of where we are traveling. Go to the Itinerary below (or scroll down).

Diary, Spirit of the West Cruise, 2013

You can also see a diary on our support crew, Mark and Kathy McMillan's, web site at
The diary and photos on their web site will be different than the ones on this page.

The following photos will all enlarge if you click on them.

December 2012
We've started to count down ... less then a month to go! Here's a couple of photos leading up the cruise

Hugh at the Cowboy Christmas Concert in Kamloops December 13th (one month to go!)

That skidsteer looks pretty small in that big yard & on that big driveway & with all that snow!

The Grandkids play on their tobagan following Hugh and Cody to the house.

The snow piles higher and higher this year ... thats ok - two more sleeps!

Hugh trying to get the snow gone one last time (so he could go skiing the next day :-)

January 2013
Happy New Year eveyone! Well we have two more sleeps before to go! The next up date will be from some where else!

January 14th & 15th, 2013
We're on the road ... or in the air ... actually we've now arrived in Fort Lauderdale and sun!

Almost there ... heading for our last gate, in Houston, Texas.

In the 1st mile of the Everglades we saw a mom alligator & over 40 babies!

These turtles were enjoying our nice sunny weather in the Everglades

Tons of birds and animals everywhere ... like this fine looking Egret

This old boy had us side step a little - seemed he wanted his share of room

On the Anhinga Trail, west of Homestead, a wonderful nature filled walk.

Not including the babies we probably saw about 20 alligators

Lorne & Bev, Kathy & Mark, Billie & Hugh, Karen & Jim after the walk.

Our rental Yukon and all eight of us at "Robert Is Here" after a milkshake

Kathy, Betty & Don, Bev, Hugh & Billie, and Lorn at dinner in the Embassy.

January 16th
We're on the ship ... and sailing out towards Princess Cays, our first stop.

How do they get this many suitcases (& their owners) in the correct rooms

The first sighting of the Emerald Princess as we get to the dock.

All those on a second S of the W cruise get a denim shirt from Billie.

Kim Bamaber (Jim's spelling) and his wife Barb Bamber.

Jack Daines looking at the camera as Kathy snaps his photo

January 17th
Princess Cays, Bahamas, our first stop and a really nice day.

The Emerald Princess in the background and the lovely white beach in front.

Hugh said that the sand was like walking on silk, he was so right.

Jim and Karen walking along the paved walkway heading for the buffet.

Looking back on the beach as we tender back to the ship.

Pat and Adolph Koosey in the dining room on the ship.

January 17th
The first jam session took place in the Tradewinds Bar looking over the pool.

Just about everyone in our group turned out for this enjoyable evening.

Cheryl and Jim Maykut and Mark ordering drinks from the bar.

The cruise band - Hugh, Reg Evans, Ed Peak, Bill Lamport, & Don Howard.

Ed sets down the guitar, taking a break to dance with his wife Diane.

Hugh takes a break to spin Billie around the dance floor.

January 18th & 19th
The 18th was pool day and the first formal night at the dining rooms. The 19th we landed in St Thomas and then got a catamaran ride to Turtle Bay on Buck Island.

One of the tables in the dining room reserved for Spirit of the West.

Billie and Hugh in the dining room on the first formal night.

The crew saying happy birthday to Gaie Goin on formal night.

In St Thomas getting on the catamaran to head to Buck Island.

Everyone enjoying the ride as we cruise through the calm waters.

January 19th
Snorkelling was the highlight at Buck Island but those that didn't snorkel still enjoyed the great ride and the nice weather.

A big part of our group went snorkelling off the back of our boat.

It was great snorkelling with lots of turtles swimming around.

Looking back at the catamaran from the sea as we snorkelled.

One of the crew serving rum punch as we returned to St Thomas.

Unloading the herd on the dock at St Thomas after a great day.

January 20th
A full day in Dominica and a very fun and educational day.

A few of the group went river tubing and had a blast (Jim & Karen leading).

Dominica is very mountainous with many rivers and valleys.

This bull is as close as we saw to anything that resembled beef.

This is one of the Trafalgar Falls - two waterfalls side by side.

In 1979 Hurricane David landed this tree on this school bus.

January 20th
Taking in the sights, getting their hair done, and shopping were some of the attractions in Dominica.

A view of the harbour and our ship from Morne Bruce Lookout.

Jean Hogbin stopped to get her hair done - or rather re-done.

Barb and Deryk Ziegler at dinner as we left Dominica.

Charlotte and Richard Preston at dinner in Michelangelo's.

Three sisters in our group Marjorie, Maggie, and Mabel.

January 21st
A half day stop at the beautiful Island of Grenada. Quite a few of our group did a tour here that took in a spice processing station, a historic plantation, and lots of scenery including a waterfall.

A view of St George and the Emerald Princess from Fort Frederick.

A talk on some of the different spices including cocoa (in her hand).

Here is cocoa growing - many are yellow but some red & orange.

This is taken on the tour of the Gouyave Nutmeg Station.

The work here is mostly hand labour - very little machinery is used.

January 21st
It was very interesting driving around on Grenada - like many of the Caribbean Islands they drive on the left side of the road and the roads aren't exactly freeways.

Here are the drying racks - the nutmeg is raked by hand often to dry.

A typicle house on Grenada - they are often very colourful.

I think these guys were trying out for a job with the S of the W band.

Many switchbacks on the narrow mountain roads that our bus navigated.

In the top left you can see a guy jumping into the pool at Annandale Falls.

January 21st & 22nd
Jim treated the 5 times or more crusiers (with the Spirit of the West) to a specialty restaurant - the Crown Grill Steakhouse on the 21st and on the 22nd we were on Bonaire. Here Hugh lets this group know where the next cruise is going.

The five times or more cruisers at the Crown Grill Steakhouse.

Hugh looked at the 22 ounce Porter House but jammed out in the end.

Typical of the landscape on the Island of Bonaire ... tons of cactus!

But there's lots else to see too, including these beautiful Flamingos.

A Columbian Paso Fino, not a Peruvian Paso Fino - she looked great.

January 22nd and 23rd
Another jam session with the Spirit of the West cruise band on the evening of the 22nd. Hugh let everyone know where the next cruise is going (see below). On the 23rd we headed for the beach on Aruba.

Hugh puts down the guitar and takes time out to dance with Billie.

Helen and Doug Drever one of the many couples on the dance floor.

The band (at the time of this photo) - Ed, Hugh, Bill, and Reg.

Hugh making the announcement about the next cruise.

Hugh, Kathy, Billie, Lorne & Bev on the dock on Aruba.

The next cruise ... sorry you'll have to check back here ... it's more than 10 days and less than 20. something they have never done before but figured it was on everyone's bucket list of places to go. We'll let you know soon.

January 23rd
A relaxing day with a taxi ride to Palm Beach on the Island of Aruba - our last stop until we get back to Fort Lauderdale.

Billie and Hugh enjoying beautiful weather on a beautiful beach.

Hugh out for a good long jog down Palm Beach on Aruba.

The support crew, Kathy and Mark, getting some local beer at the bar.

When we took this photo we didn't know we'd end up behind this hotel.

We were joined on dock by the Caribbean Princess and later Maasdam.

January 24th
The day of the group photo with everyone wearing their new tee-shirt. Also some photos with Billie and Hugh and another meeting with some more cruise plans for next year - exciting stuff - stay tuned.

Everyone's in place and we're almost ready for 58 smiles.

With Billie and Hugh are Cheryl and Jim Maykut.

With Billie and Hugh are Marion and Ed Baxandall.

With Billie and Hugh are Deana and Russ Schultz.

The Cruise Directors, the support crew, and their bosses.

January 24th
After the group photo it was formal night and then another jam overlooking the pool.

Barb and Deryk Ziegler pose with Billie and Hugh.

A quick meeting about next year's cruise - wonderful ideas!

A dining room formal night Happy Birthday to Betty Peterson!

The band with Bill Lamport heading up this song with Reg Evans on lead fiddle.

Betty's birthday dance - and when was your last dance Betty?

January 24th
After the meeting today, and during the jam session tonight, Hugh made the final announcement on next year's cruise! Are you ready? Ok ... back by popular demand the 2014 cruise will be a 16 day cruise on the Island Princess from January 30th to February 15th. It will be a full transit cruise through the Panama Canal with an extra day in Panama to allow for excursions at the canal itself. It will sail from Fort Lauderdale through the canal to end up in LA and will take in six different countries. For details check our cruise page in the near future or just phone 1-800-530-0131. 30% of the folks on this cruise have already booked for 2014 making it 25% full already - don't wait too long ...

January 25th
The last sea day, the last jam session, and the farewell reception. Prizes were given out to those that were lucky enough to have their names drawn from the bucket by Billie ... two gift certificates were for two weekend passes for the Kamloops Cowboy Festival, there were three gift certificates for a year subscription to Saddle Up magazine, and Jim and Karen gave three vouchures of $100 each towards next years Spirit of the West cruise!

Here's the group photo that was taken by the ship's photographer on the 24th.

One of the daytime jam sessions - here Dave Rogers joins in with a Johnny Cash tune.

Mark presents Don Peterson with two weekend passes for the Kamloops Cowboy Festival.

Jim Maykut won the other two Kamloops Cowboy Festival weekend passes.

Carmen Howard won a year's subscription for Saddle Up magazine.

January 25th continued

Jack Daines donated the Saddle Up subscription back as he already gets it.

Lynn Craig also won a year's subscription for Saddle Up magazine.

Alice Turlock won the final year's subscription for Saddle Up magazine.

Jim presents Adolph Koosey with $100 vouchure from Cruise Vacations.

Doug Hogbin (in the photo) and Mabel Truckey (not pictured) also received $100 vouchures.

January 25th continued
Billie and Hugh donated a 4 CD set of "The Best of the Last 20 Years of the Spirit of the West" and Jack Daines from the Innisfail Auction sold them with the money being donated to the Curtis Anderson fund for brain injury!

Billie with the 4 CD package of the best of the last 20 years that they donated.

Thanks to Jack Daines for auctioning them off for Curtis Anderson!

Kim Bamber ran the bids up and in the end donated an extra chunk of cash.

Dave Rogers beat out Kim in the bidding and took home the CDs - thanks Dave!

A big thanks to Karen and Jim for putting together this reception and this cruise!

January 26th
The trip home ... Hugh got a few interviews for the Spirit of the West radio show while we were waiting in the airport. You can tell by the photos that there will be some pretty good, funny stories coming up on some of the next shows!

Gaie Siler-Goin joins Hugh and it looks like something funny came out here.

The same with this interview with John Romaniuk ... keep listening to the show!

Here Russ Schultz also shares some stories with Hugh ... should be good.

A birds eye view of our ship with at least 6 others as we fly out of Fort Lauderdale.

In the airport in Denver B & H and K & M are joined by Jean & Doug Hogbin.

Our Itinerary!         Top of Page

3 prior

  • January 13th - Happy New Year everyone!
    We drive to Kelowna for a quick visit with the kids and fly to Calgary at 3:00 pm. Overnight in the Calgary Airport Delta

2 prior

  • January 14th - 8:00 am flight to Ft Lauderdale. Spend the night in the Embassy Suites.

1 prior

  • January 15th - We get an extra day in Ft Lauderdale ... laze around the Embassy Suites and start holiday mode!
    Hope to get in an Everglades Tour!

Day 1

  • January 16th - Spend the morning in Ft Lauderdale and board the Emerald Princess early afternoon.
    We set sail at 4:00 pm. At 4:30 - 5:30 we'll be at the Spirit of the West Welcome Reception in the Wheel House Bar.

Day 2

  • January 17th - 9:00 am to 4:00 pm - Princess Cays, Bahamas.
    9:00 to 10:00 pm there'll be a concert and sing-a-long under the stars beside the Outrigger Bar.

Day 3

  • January 18th - A day at sea.

Day 4

  • January 19th - 8:00 am to 5:00 pm - St Thomas, US Virgin Islands.
    This is the day of our group tour and we'll be heading to Buck Island and the National Wildlife Refuge - should be a fun day!

Day 5

  • January 20th - 9:00 am to 6:00 pm - Dominica

Day 6

  • January 21st - 7:00am to 2:00 pm - Grenada.
    9:00 to 10:00 pm there'll be a concert and sing-a-long under the stars beside the Outrigger Bar.

Day 7

  • January 22nd - 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm - Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

Day 8

  • January 23rd - 7:00 am to 5:00 pm - Aruba

Day 9

  • January 24th - At sea.
    9:00 to 10:00 pm there'll be a concert and sing-a-long under the stars beside the Outrigger Bar.

Day 10

  • January 25th - At sea.
    3:30 to 4:30 - "Please don't make me go home" cocktail reception in the Skywalkers Nightclub.
    Prizes will be handed out to those lucky enough to have their name drawn.

Day 11

  • January 26th - Arrive Ft Lauderdale 7:00 am.
    11:40 am fly to Calgary. Overnight in the Calgary Airport Delta.

Day 12

  • January 27th - 11:00 am fly to Kamloops. Return to the McLennan Ranch and the snow.

Top of Page

Here's a route map showing all six of our stops.
The numbers on the big map refer to the day in the itinerary. Click to enlarge.

10 days in the Caribbean!
Route Map for the 2013 Caribbean Cruise
click to enlarge

2013 Spirit of the West Tee-shirt
The 2013 Spirit of the West T-shirt for Hawaii!
click to enlarge

You can also see a diary on our support crew, Mark and Kathy McMillan's, web site
at The diary and photos on their web site will be different than the ones on this page.

Top of Page

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