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Day #5, Curaçao

We arrived early in Curaçao having docked sometime before 7am. First impression: as Caribbean islands go, Curaçao appeared well developed with a high standard of infrastructure. Our berth was at the “mega pier,” which is located just outside of downtown and connected by a pleasant stroll through the redeveloped Rif Fort (which is now a mall and hotel complex operated under Marriott’s Renaissance brand).

View of Willemstad…

Given that this was a long day in port and that we didn’t have any particular plans, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before disembarking the ship. We then spent the morning hours wandering around Willemstad. Being a Sunday, many of the shops, restaurants, and museums were closed and the town generally felt sleepy, but it was nonetheless charming with its brightly-colored, Dutch-Caribbean architecture.

Iconic view of Willemstad…

Highlights included the Queen Emma pontoon bridge (jokingly referred to as the “Swinging Old Lady”), the floating market (which has been somewhat curtailed due to the troubles in nearby Venezuela of late), and the Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue (which is the oldest continuously operating temple in the Western Hemisphere).

We returned to the ship for lunch, and I took Emerson for a swim in the ship’s pool. In the early afternoon, Libby and I walked a little over 3 miles around the deck while Emerson went to Club HAL.

Dinner was in the main dining room. Once again, Emerson especially enjoyed her meal — Caribbean jerk chicken and a white chocolate and lime pop (which was a firm lime mouse coated in a thin layer of white chocolate shaped to look like a popsicle, complete with a wooden stick). After dinner, we attended another performance by the quintet at Lincoln Center Stage and had a lengthier conversation with the viola player’s mother.

Just before bed, I noticed a large ship coming into port behind us, which I thought odd for a passenger ship at that time of day. It turned out to be the Norwegian Sun returning to port, as it had departed from Curaçao about 5 hours prior. From what I could see, they were met by an ambulance. It seemed clear that they disembarked a passenger who had taken ill, as well as their family (based on the amount of wheeled luggage that accompanied them off of the ship). The ship actually released its lines and sailed back to sea before the ambulance or police vehicle left the pier. Based on what I could see of the pace of the emergency personnel’s movement, my **guess** is that the passenger needed urgent care in the relatively near-term. It just didn’t look like a “critical, fighting desperately to save them” kind of situation. But, I could be wrong — I’m hopeful someone will be mentioned on one the cruising message boards.

Obviously, I’m hopeful for the best for the passenger and their family. My thoughts are clearly with them. At best, I’m sure this has proven to be a scary and stressful circumstance. It also reminds me of why we travel now when we can, as you never know when fortune may preclude future plans.

Today’s box score: +1 country (Curaçao)

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