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Unforgettable Caribbean and Panama Canal Crossing on Explora Journeys


John Upchurch, owner of Odyssey Travel, recently embarked on a mesmerizing journey aboard Explora Journeys through the Caribbean and the Panama Canal. This adventure melded diverse cultures, stunning landscapes, and the engineering marvel of the canal into a singular, unforgettable experience.

Join us as Upchurch shares his captivating tale, showcasing the transformative power and boundless wonders of travel.

Explora I Ship in port

" Our cruise started with us flying to Barbados where we enjoyed a fantastic sunset at a beach bar that was

more of a pop-up bar than anything formal, but the drinks were incredible, and the music was fantastic.  The next morning our transfer took us to the small port in Barbados where we met the onboarding team for Explora Journeys.  As you approach this amazing ship you feel like you are getting on your own personal yacht.  Walking aboard Explora Journeys is like walking into a 5-Star Resort similar to Four Seasons as the lobby is wide open with an incredible bar surrounded by luxury shopping experiences.  The cabins are well appointed with King Beds available that had extremely comfortable bedding and ladies, there is a Dyson hair dryer for you in the cabin!  The Sky Bar was one of my favorite locations to watch us sailing out of port or catching a sunset.  The food was amazing with specialty dining experiences, or a general area called the Emporium that had multiple good options, from sushi to pizza.


Our first stop on the Island of Dominica was truly a lesson in another country’s culture and natural beauty.  We had the opportunity to hike to a spot that had several beautiful waterfalls with lush vegetation all around.  We also had the chance to snorkel in the waters just offshore in an area by a volcano that made the ocean water warm and produced bubbles like you were swimming in champagne.


The next two stops in Aruba and Curacao I went scuba diving.  Being in the water seeing all the fish in their natural environment while floating underwater is very relaxing to me.  One of the dives was on a large sunken vessel and the schools of fish around it was very impressive. 


My favorite stop was the overnight and two full days in Cartagena, Colombia.  The old city is absolutely beautiful with over 11 kilometers of old wall surrounding the city.  The food was spectacular and so many different restaurants and bars had fantastic live music. 


Finally going through the Panama Canal was a highlight of the trip.  Seeing this modern marvel and having the opportunity to sail through it and move up and down in the lock system was just incredible.  It took us nine hours to go from the Caribbean/Atlantic through the canal to the Pacific.  Again, I was very impressed with Panama City, both the old town and the new skyscrapers. "


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