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

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 robust white eyestripe and a usually concealed orange to vermilion crown stripe. The upper parts 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 relatively close relatives, the group they seem to belong to also includes species with a somewhat different head pattern, like the Grey-capped flycatcher, which also belongs to Myiozetetes.

Yesterday, we received an email (as indicated below) from the 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 regarding lousy weather or political unrest at a particular forthcoming 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. Still, first, we have some vital 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 get in touch with 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 does not affect 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 after that from Vacations to Go
as indicated below:
Fri, Dec 8 Santiago (San Antonio), Chile 9:00pm
 Sat, Dec 9 At Sea
 Sun, Dec 10 Puerto Montt, Chile 10:00am 7:00pm
 Mon, Dec 11 Chilean Fjords (Cruising)
 Tue, Dec 12 Strait of Magellan (Cruising)
 Wed, Dec 13 At Sea
 Thu, Dec 14 Punta Arenas, Chile 7:00am 5:30pm
 Fri, Dec 15 Ushuaia, Argentina 10:00am 7:00pm
 Sat, Dec 16 Cape Horn (Cruising)
 Sun, Dec 17 At Sea
 Mon, Dec 18 Puerto Madryn, Argentina 8:00am 5:30pm
 Tue, Dec 19 At Sea
 Wed, Dec 20 Punta del Este, Uruguay 9:00am 7:00pm
 Thu, Dec 21 Montevideo, Uruguay 7:00am 5:00pm
 Fri, Dec 22 Buenos Aires, Argentina 5:00am
 Sat, Dec 23 Buenos Aires, Argentina Disembark
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
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 might no longer use this city as a port of call due to port charges, labor issues, and
preferences over cargo ship business instead of that of cruise ships. At this point, there’s no way we can 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. It’s 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.
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 unique plans.
Happy day! 

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

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