There is something to be said about sailing, when you can watch a sunrise at 06:01 and smooth, calm waves greet you as you arrive in Cartagena, Colombia. This bustling, skyscraper skyline city is named after Spain’s Murcia region. Although it’s one of the oldest cities of the New World, it is a modern metropolis.

The old city is a ring of massive fortress walls, built in 1586 by the Spanish, using mud, animal guts, blood and stone. Nowhere have these walls crumbled in all this time. Picturesque wooden balconies hang over narrow streets.

A complimentary enrichment evening was offered for 600 guests. Ivann, the country’s magnificent pianist, a young Spaniard, only 29 years old, played at a gold-encrusted Teatro, formerly a monastery. This piano and fusion dance spectacle offered famous concerto music and pounding psychedelic light shows! Rhythms of pop, classical and salsa music were the highlights. Fifteen buses filled with the ship’s guests delivered us to the old quarter of the city and the Teatro Adolfo Mejia.

When we left the theatre at 22:00, it seemed like all 7 million Cartagenans were in the cafes and bars. What eclectic energy!

Stay tuned for New Year’s Eve in the Panama Canal.

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