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Cruises Open Up The World Of Art

You don’t have to appreciate fine art to enjoy some of the works you encounter in traveling the world on cruise ships — and there is art of some sort virtually everywhere you go. This is a collection of artistic impressions that have caught our eyes, or at least the lens of our cameras…

LimaLove is grand, isn’t it?…even when it’s on display on the waterfront for South American-bound cruisers when they stop in the metropolis of Lima!

ChicagoThis was in Chicago, on the way to a cruise, and it’s not Mrs. O’Leary’s famous cow — it’s the one made famous by baseball broadcaster Harry Caray, whose pet expression was “Holy Cow!”

ValenciaNot quite sure what to make of this somewhat provocative work of art, in one of our favorite Spanish ports, so we simply gave her a name: Valentina of Valencia.

VigoYou’ll find this on the streets of Vigo, Spain — where we’d stopped while on the Celebrity Eclipse — and our impression was somewhere in there must be a cowboy.

MexicoThe beaches of Mexico, and throughout Central America and the Caribbean, are a great source of statues like this that mean more to the locals than the visitors.

KetchikanIt’s hard to imagine that there’s a larger carving of a bald eagle than this one where the Coral Princess — and all cruise ships — are docked in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Friday File: Statues Live For Eternity

The thing about statues, which anybody who cruises sees in any number of places, is that they’ll take you as far as you want to go. Just admiring the talent it took to make it can be enough. Go a little deeper and read the inscription, if there is one. Or go whole hog and find out why the person was famous enough to warrant a statue. We’ve done a little of all of that in showing you some people you may have heard of, and some you may not know at all…

1-Van GoghIf ever a famous man appears to have been captured just as he was, that man might be Vincent Van Gogh, whose statue is in the courtyard of the insane asylum where he was imprisoned for 10 months in Saint-Remy, France.

2-New Orleans

New Orleans is a popular departure port for Caribbean cruisers, and New Orleans means the French Quarter, where you’ll find memorialized this trio of jazz or blues legends — Fats Domino, Al Hirt and Pete Fountain.


In Barcelona, Christopher Columbus stands high above the street pointing to the sea, and what humored us is that because the city's on the east coast of Spain, so is the sea and Columbus is pointing AWAY from America.


She lived in the Casa de Aliaga in Lima, Peru and the city’s oldest mansion is featured on many cruise shore excursions…but we have no idea who she is or why she’s cast like this for eternity — can anybody out there help?

5-San Juan

Arturo Somohano (1910-1977) went from child prodigy to founder of the San Juan Symphony Orchestra after a composition he played for U.S. troops during World War II (“Songs of the Americas”) became a U.S. Army anthem.


Italians know Michelangelo wherever his work is found, and his most famous statue (David) is found in Florence, where on the street is this replica of the original marble statue that was started 40 years earlier by another artist!


In his time, the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Admiral Sir George Somers was known as a British naval hero from the Anglo-Spanish War but when a hurricane drove his sinking ship ashore, he became the founder of Bermuda.

In the news…

• Norwegian considering two options: a ship to Asia…and a ship for Asia
• Low water levels on European rivers forcing more itinerary changes
• Six millionth cruise ship passenger recognized in Victoria, B.C.

Today at portsandbows.com: The next two mega ships going to Costa

Celebrity Infinity
7 nights
October 29, 2015

Fort Lauderdale (return): CozumelRoatanBelizeCosta Maya
Inside: $609
Cost per day: $65

Friday File: Some sights of Lima, Peru

Today’s photo subject is Lima, the capital of Peru. It’s a place we visited while on a 19-day cruise from San Francisco to South America, on the Norwegian Sun. We booked a private, eight-hour tour to give us the best chance of seeing a place new to us but our tour guide had a specific (and rigid) agenda and when it ended, we’d missed out on something we enjoy most — meeting the locals…

Found city-1This “found city” is called Huaca Pucllana, 40 acres of adobe ruins abandoned in 700 AD and discovered by accident about 50 years ago. Until then, it was just “a hill in the city” and Peruvians have been meticulously uncovering it since 1981 and are nowhere near finished.

EdithThis is Edith (we only knew her first name), the daughter of a doctor in Pasco, and well-educated herself because her family could afford to send her to “American” school. She spoke excellent English and talked a lot, which was fine, and clearly knew her history.

CrossAt the San Francisco Monastery, there is a lot of interesting religious artifacts, including a large display of crosses, most with the symbolic aspects of the events of Good Friday. By day’s end, we’d had our fill of Peruvian religion and artifacts.

Make loveGoogle “statues in Lima” and you’ll find many different angles of this one, the most popular if not the most famous artistic attraction on the waterfront. You’ll find some of two tourists in the foreground, trying to mirror this pose. No, we didn’t try it. 

Poor PeruWhen we asked Edith about this hillside settlement, she didn’t want to talk about it and tried to move us along quickly to the next stop. You see, this is where the poor live in Lima, the colors are their badge of poverty. In most cities, this would be a million-dollar view.

Casa Solar-1Inside Casa Solar de Aliaga, a colonial mansion that has been in the Aliaga family since 1535, when it was given to Jeronimo de Aliaga by the founder of Peru, Francisco Pizarro. A few rooms are still occupied by family, mostly elderly aunts.

Today at portsandbows.com: Coming back to America…MSC Cruises

Ruby Princess
7 nights
April 19, 2015
Los Angeles (return): Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas
Oceanview: $514
Cost per day: $73

What do YOU Want in a Shore Excursion?

Before our first visit to Lima, Peru, we spent considerable time reviewing the ship’s shore excursions. We found most a little too specific, and we wanted more of an overview, so we decided to blow the budget and book a full-day, private tour.

In our naivete, we thought that meant our guide (and driver) would have some ideas, and that we would have some input into what to see on a day in Lima. Hmmmm…not so fast!

Turned out the guide we hired had her own agenda, to the point that we were quietly chastised for walking away from her to take pictures of a picturesque hillside neighborhood. It happened that the neighborhood off in the distance was one of poverty, but it had colorful homes and we thought it would make a nice picture. Besides, we didn’t know it was poor until she told us. She was a lovely and bright woman, but she didn’t quite “get” what we were looking for in a tour.

Since then, we’ve discovered that Royal Caribbean has a plan that’s perfect for folks like us.

They have “excursion specialists.” They’ve introduced customizable half- or full-day private shore excursions, and planning it seems like a fairly simple process…you can even initiate the plan on Royal Caribbean’s website.

These excursion specialists create custom arrangements to suit individual tastes, or they provide you with a private vehicle and driver, and let you collectively decide on an itinerary.

Funny, that’s what we thought we did!

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