I’ve just returned from a cruise of the Panama Canal. The ship was beautiful, the food fabulous and never-ending, and the ports fascinating. Well, truthfully, I never left my den or laptop. But I took a lovely vicarious trip while reading Cruising Panama’s Canal – Savoring 5000 Nautical Miles and 500,000 Decadent Calories, by husband and wife writing team Al and Sunny Lockwood, seniors and proud of it.
The book begins with an inviting cover and a Spanish proverb: How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward. Who knew a couple’s trip diary could be so entertaining for anyone besides relatives or close friends?
The idea for the cruise and henceforth the book came about when the Lockwoods were involved in a rather serious auto accident. They’d wanted to visit the Panama Canal “someday” and decided that the fragility of life was a wake-up call to move someday to NOW.
Health-conscious Sunny and dessert-loving Al embark on the 17-day adventure aboard Holland America’s Zuiderdam and bring readers along for the journey, with down-to-Earth observations and practical advice. Reasons to cruise, what’s included in a trip’s cost, dining arrangements – this and much more practical advice is offered.
Each author takes a turn presenting their take on the adventure and Al in particular has a delightful sense of humor when discussing his many forays into the “sweet” side of shipboard dining (emphasis on brownies, chocolate and other calorie-laden treats). He even becomes “Father Al”, presiding over daily Catholic Mass since the priest who’d been scheduled to officiate passed away before boarding the ship. No other passengers stepped up to offer the daily homily, and Al did.
There is plenty of information on the Panama Canal and the experience of the transit, and some lovely photos of the entire cruise experience highlight each chapter.
To those who’ve never cruised, read this book before you go, or if you need help deciding whether to take a cruise at all. If, like myself, you’re a longtime fan of cruising, you’ll love the fond memories brought forth while reading, and may decide it’s time for another voyage. The book is definitely a “love story” to the Holland America Line, but doesn’t seem overly commercial and was an actual voyage the couple made, not a paid venture. A couple of very honest and not always flattering comments come forth, as well.
A couple of grammatical errors or typos can be found in the book but it almost gives it a more “human” touch. Sit back and enjoy the lighthearted experience. Bon Voyage!