Bad news from the cruise line impacting many passengers on our upcoming cruise....

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This tucked away restaurant in Atenas is reported to have good food.
"Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica"
It's no wonder these birds are called "Social Flycatchers."  They stop by each day to visit and sing.  As described here: In appearance, the social flycatcher resembles a smaller boat-billed flycatcher or great kiskadee. The adult is 16–18 cm (6.3–7.1 in) long and weighs 24–27 g (0.85–0.95 oz). The head is dark grey with a strong white eyestripe and a usually concealed orange to vermilion crown stripe. The upperparts are olive-brown, and the wings and tail are brown with only faint rufous fringes. The underparts are yellow and the throat is white. Young birds have a paler eye mask, reduced crown stripe, and have chestnut fringes to the wing and tail feathers. The call is a sharp peeurrr and the dawn song is a chips-k’-cheery.As the specific epithet similis (Latin for "the similar one") indicates, this species looks much like its closest living relative the rusty-margined flycatcher (Myiozetetes cayanensis), and also like the white-bearded flycatcher (Phelpsia inornatus), white-ringed flycatcher (Conopias albovittatus) and lesser kiskadee (Pitangus/Philohydor lictor). In fact, except at close range, these are all but indistinguishable from appearance alone. They and the two larger similar species mentioned above share much of their range. Though they all are apparently fairly close relatives, the group to which they seem to belong also includes species with rather different head-pattern, like the Grey-capped flycatcher which also belongs to Myiozetetes.
Yesterday, we received an email (as indicated below) from Celebrity Cruise line regarding our upcoming cruise sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 23rd.  As previously mentioned, we're leaving Costa Rica on November 22nd (two weeks from today) and flying to  Miami, spending one night in a hotel and then taking a taxi to the port. 

A few days ago, once again we walked through the Atenas Central Park searching for colorful birds which we'd heard often stop here.  After many such visits, we've yet to see any birds we hadn't viewed from the veranda.
It's a rarity that any cruise line has contacted us regarding any changes on an upcoming cruise that may impact the cruise in one way or another.  In most cases, it's been in regard to bad weather or political unrest at a particular upcoming port of call.

Tall palm trees line the walkways at the park.
Here's the message we received from Celebrity:
"Dear Valued Guest,

We look forward to welcoming you aboard your 15-Night Panama Canal and South America cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale on November 23, 2017, but first, we have some important information to share with you.

To ensure that you have the best experience on your vacation, we’ve changed your debarkation port from Valparaiso, Chile to the stunning seaside town of San Antonio, Chile. San Antonio has a dedicated cruise ship pier and guest terminal that will make getting off your ship as carefree as your vacation.

If you’ve booked transfers with us, there’s nothing you have to do. We’ll take you directly to the airport from San Antonio. If you’ve booked transfers independently, please contact the company you’ve arranged your transportation with and have them pick you up in San Antonio instead of Valparaiso. Also, if you’ve booked any debarkation day shore excursions with us, we’ll automatically adjust them to accommodate your new debarkation port.

For your convenience, we’ve included your current itinerary and your newly revised itinerary below.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-280-3423."
A government building in the center of town.
In a split second, Tom, the cruise expert between us, sighed with relief.  He said,"This has no effect on us other than missing Valparaiso as a port of call beginning on the second leg 
of our back-to-back cruise from December 8th, to December 23, 2017.

Immediately, we checked to see the itinerary change on our newly revised cruise confirmation document we received shortly thereafter from Vacations to Go
as indicated below:

Fri, Dec 8Santiago (San Antonio), Chile9:00pm
 Sat, Dec 9At Sea
 Sun, Dec 10Puerto Montt, Chile10:00am7:00pm
 Mon, Dec 11Chilean Fjords (Cruising)
 Tue, Dec 12Strait of Magellan (Cruising)
 Wed, Dec 13At Sea
 Thu, Dec 14Punta Arenas, Chile7:00am5:30pm
 Fri, Dec 15Ushuaia, Argentina10:00am7:00pm
 Sat, Dec 16Cape Horn (Cruising)
 Sun, Dec 17At Sea
 Mon, Dec 18Puerto Madryn, Argentina8:00am5:30pm
 Tue, Dec 19At Sea
 Wed, Dec 20Punta del Este, Uruguay9:00am7:00pm
 Thu, Dec 21Montevideo, Uruguay7:00am5:00pm
 Fri, Dec 22Buenos Aires, Argentina5:00am
 Sat, Dec 23Buenos Aires, ArgentinaDisembark

The change is only for December 8th from Valparaiso, Chile to Santiago (San

Antonio port of call), Chili.  The only way this change has an impact on us is the

fact that we were looking forward to the stop in Valparaiso, known as a fascinating

and steeped in history city.

The Atenas Central Park is a popular meeting spot for locals and tourists.

After Tom conducted considerable research he discovered that many cruise lines

may no longer use this city as a port of call due to port charges, labor issues and

preferences over cargo ship business as opposed to that of cruise ships. 

At this point there's no way we can definitely confirm these reasons or if the

changes will be permanent.  Valparaiso is listed as the port of embarkation on
a cruise we've booked for March 2019.  We'll see how that rolls out in due time.
A restaurant on a side street in Atenas.
After reviewing comments in (the online cruising forum for
passengers) he discovered numerous posts from angry passengers who'd

prepaid-in-full for hotels for several nights in advance of the December 8th
embarkation.  These non-refundable hotel fares and prepaid tours may be 
impossible to recover, even under these unforeseen circumstances.
In Spanish, "calle" means "street."  Thus the "calle" are numbered accordingly.

Here are a few comments from passengers booked on this cruise:

"We are in quite a fix because we have booked a night in Valparaiso hoping

to explore the city on our disembarking day.  Now we have a three-hour drive,

if we can find transportation and make it through traffic and religious celebration

to spend a short time in Valparaiso before heading back to ship."

"Bit disappointed with Celebrity at this point right now after receiving the email

about the change of disembarkation port.  I phoned the toll-free number - longer 
than expected delays on hold."

"We had booked a two-day non-refundable hotel in Valparaiso.  If you check out
San Antonio, it has one hotel with terrible reviews.  Its 55 miles from Valparaiso."
One must walk carefully on the uneven sidewalks in town.
For us, it's but a slight disappointment since we won't be losing money or having to change any of our plans.  We hadn't booked anything in Valparaiso
when we'd planned to hire a taxi and tour the city on our own.

Apparently, there's little to do in the new port of call of San Antonio, Chili as
indicated in this link at TripAdvisor.  One cruise passenger stated this port of call hadn't been used by cruise ships in over 50 years.  We aren't able to confirm
this either.
Christmas decorations in front of an upscale spa/salon in Atenas.
In any case, we're still excited about the cruise and grateful we hadn't made
special plans.
Happy day! 

Photo from one year ago today, November 8, 2016:

This is hallway is to the Shops of Centrum on Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas on our 33- night cruise one year ago.  Please click here for more photos.


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