Day 9 - On BoardJanuary 7 in Chile ⋅ 🌙 12 °C
The day dawned brightly for leaving Valparaiso. We had breakfast and left the hotel. A wrong turn led us up into the hills trying to find the road to Santiago but cranking up the GPS got us on track. We drove up through the Casablanca valley and into Santiago to drop off the rental car and meet our driver for the hour an a half trip to San Antonio. That drive took us through a very productive region with vegetable and fruit farms interspersed with cattle ranches. The port of San Antonio is relatively small but busy and crowded. Checkin for the cruise is much like checking in to a flight - just a lot more people (think checking in 3,000 passengers). Still, we completed the process in little over an hour and we in our stateroom by about 3:30. We unpacked then attended the mandatory evacuation drill.
The Celebrity Eclipse is a huge boat. At almost 1,100 feet, it's three football fields (including end zones) long and 120 feet wide. It has 15 decks and holds 2,850 passengers. Walking around you can hear many languages but most programs and announcements are in English. Some announcements are also in Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
The ship sailed at 6:00 and we watched from our stateroom veranda. The San Antonio port is narrow and the ship had a pilot boat and a tugboat to help it clear the quays. As we pulled our, several small tourist boats filled with people came our to watch.
Once underway, we attended a comedy show by an American, black comic, Daran Howard. He was ok but some of the references to black culture went over the heads of the international audience. We cruised south staying about a mile off the coast. We had a late (8:30) seating for dinner and waited to be seated with 1,000 other people. Our table mates (for the entire trip) were a couple from Germany and a couple from Lodi, CA. Hans, the German man, had been in the merchant marine and remarked on how skillfully the captain had handled the exit from the narrow harbor. Fred, the California man, turned out to be a civil engineer, like me, and Hans was a mechanical engineer. Fred's wife, Silvia, was originally from Peru but had been a teacher in the states, as had been Gail. Didn't learn what Hotie, Hans' wife, did.
Dinner and our conversations lasted until 10:30 so we so called it a day.Read more