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Cool My Panama Canal Cruise Trip is set
Old 02-02-2011, 10:27 PM   #1
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Cool My Panama Canal Cruise Trip is set

I went to Panama CZ years ago for a short time with the army and have promised DW that we would do it in style again. So March it is...

I have never been to any of these ports (other than PC) so if any of you guys have and can share your experience, please do so.

ms STATENDAM SCHEDULE

San Diego, California (18 Mar d1700);
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (21 Mar 0800-1700);
Huatulco, Mexico (23 Mar 1000-1700);
Puerto Chiapas, Mexico (24 Mar 0800-1700);
Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala (25 Mar 0600-1600);
Fuerte Amador, Panama (27 Mar 1800(+1)0400);
Panama Canal (Cruising Canal) (28 Mar 0500-1900);
Cartagena, Colombia (29 Mar 1100-1700);
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (01 Apr a0700)
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:53 PM   #2
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We did the cruise in 12/09. It was a lot of fun. Huatulco was a small little town, went there for the crafts. For Cartagena, there is a gift store right at the port. We went there and stocked up on coffee.

We were on NCL so I can't speak about HAL but you could check out Cruise Critics. Also, you will be able to say you crossed the continental divide by boat.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:40 AM   #3
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Sounds great. DW and I have done several cruises, but the Panama Canal is definitely on our to do list
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:32 AM   #4
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Never done the cruise, but I have visited a friend who lives in Panama & loved it. In fact, I'd probably retire there except my wife's not really into the idea. People were friendly, fantastic scenery, & the government seems to appreciate retirees living there. Super fishing in Gatun Lake & the canal. Real estate prices were really good then, but from what I'm seeing on TV & reading, it's getting pricier. Just like anyplace else, though I imagine it depends on where you are looking. It was really interesting hanging out at the Miraflores locks, just watching all the activities associated with ships/boats locking through. There used to be a camera set up at the locks that you could access on-line, don't know if it's still up or not. If wifey ever dumps me, I'm moving to Panama. Possibly Nuevo Emperador...
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:36 AM   #5
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We are doing the Ft. Lauderdale half way through the canal and back to Ft. Lauderdale in March.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:06 AM   #6
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Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Even though your DW wants to do it with style, that probably doesn't include a visit to that legendary Navy hangout "The Pink Pussycat"...

... and yes, that's the nicest thing I can remember about Fort Liquordale. However that was nearly 25 years ago and perhaps things have improved.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyd View Post
I went to Panama CZ years ago for a short time with the army and have promised DW that we would do it in style again. So March it is...

I have never been to any of these ports (other than PC) so if any of you guys have and can share your experience, please do so.

ms STATENDAM SCHEDULE

San Diego, California (18 Mar d1700);
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (21 Mar 0800-1700);
Huatulco, Mexico (23 Mar 1000-1700);
Puerto Chiapas, Mexico (24 Mar 0800-1700);
Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala (25 Mar 0600-1600);
Fuerte Amador, Panama (27 Mar 1800(+1)0400);
Panama Canal (Cruising Canal) (28 Mar 0500-1900);
Cartagena, Colombia (29 Mar 1100-1700);
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (01 Apr a0700)
We have been down the Pacific side of the Mexican coast a number of times. I'm surprised that they didn't stop in Cabo San Lucas as that's a wonderful spot.

The only stop on your trip that I have been to a number of times is Puerta Vallarta. That old movie (The night of the Iguna) with Liz and Richrd was filmed near there. We usually catch a cab into town and walk around the malecon and have lunch there. Or go a little further to old town and get a cheap (but excellant) massage for maybe $20. People also do the parasailing and other water sport things there. There also is some zip-line tours you can do there if that's your thing.

The ship will dock within walking distance of an upscale mall as well as WalMart in case you can't keep from shopping. Many people also like to walk down (take a right when you get off the ship - maybe 10 minute walk) to the (older but still really nice) Krystal (with a K) resort to have lunch or to spend the day on the beach using their pools and loungers. There is a moderate fee to use the facilities. Skip the cheesy and much lessor versions of resorts between the cruise dock and the Krystal resort. The Krystal is head and shoulders better than the ones in between.




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Old 02-03-2011, 05:23 PM   #8
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I have been through the Canal twice, courtesy of the USN. It is a magnificent piece of engineering. For any of you who are going, I recommend reading this book before you go. Amazon.com: The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914 (9780671244095): David McCullough: Books
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:47 PM   #9
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I have been through the Canal twice, courtesy of the USN. It is a magnificent piece of engineering. For any of you who are going, I recommend reading this book before you go. Amazon.com: The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914 (9780671244095): David McCullough: Books
I have read that wonderful book (probably recommended here, maybe by you Gumby) a while ago and it got me thinking about the PC and taking a cruise there. Think I'll check it out again @ the library and have DW read it. Thanks for reminding me.
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:51 PM   #10
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We did the west - east cruise in the fall of 2006. We enjoyed it so much we are discussing doing it again.

Only port we shared with your cruise was Huatulco. We did a sail and snorkel trip which was truly wonderful (Pepe was his name). He took us around to all the different secluded bays that were being transformed into protected land, gave us some history of the area and how they were trying to prevent if from building up like Alcapulco. We really enjoyed the town, although we didnt have much time to spend there. It is one port I would love to return to. Very pretty.

The one interesting thing was we were docked next to an old American PT boat that the Mexican army/navy had. We were told their base was nearby and they were there for training that day. But, coincidentally, they boarded their boat at the same time we boarded ours....and left right behind us. I never felt uncomfortable there, but there were many parts of town we did not get to. Still, I am pretty sure that PT boat was there to ensure there were no problems in town on cruise ship day.

Going through the canal itself is sort of like an all day excursion. Find a cool place to sit and enjoy the show.

Enjoy!
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Old 02-03-2011, 07:16 PM   #11
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We did a PC cruise for our 30th a few years ago. The only port in common with yours is Cartagena. From doing research, we were a little worried about safety, etc on that port. Not to worry! It turned out to be our favorite. We took a tour of the city that we thoroughly enjoyed (let me know if you want me to dig out the specifics). The city was beautiful and we felt completely safe. I would go back there in a heartbeat!
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:42 PM   #12
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We took a tour of the city that we thoroughly enjoyed (let me know if you want me to dig out the specifics). The city was beautiful and we felt completely safe. I would go back there in a heartbeat!

If it's not too much trouble, I would value your abvice and details on Cartagena, esp. since it was your favorite stop.
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Old 02-04-2011, 04:39 PM   #13
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I second Mickeyd,
our itinerary is:
1\
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Aruba
Cartagena, Colombia
Panama Canal, Panama
Colon, Panama
Limon, Costa Rica
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

All ports on this one are new to us.
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:30 PM   #14
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Whew, I managed to find it! Here's the link to the tour guide I went with: Cartagena Tour . There are two main tour guides in Cartagena - Lee Miles and Dora. We went with Dora, and we were very happy. Here's my quote from Cruisecritic:

I would just like to put in a plug for Dora's tour - we just took it last week and had a wonderful tour. We almost missed it - we didn't realize that they were going to be right at the gangway, and we walked all the way to the cruise terminal where you get the taxis, etc. Wandered around there for awhile and we were about to give up when we saw someone with a sign with the name of the person who organized our tour. We ran up to her, and she said that the tour had already left, but she found a taxi to take us to them (which was a challenge in itself, because none of them wanted to go that short of a distance). She stayed with us in the taxi and got us reunited with our group. We went to La Popa, the Fortress (awesome views at both) the Dungeons and the old city. They then took us (at our request) to a restaurant for a late lunch, which was very tasty, although slow service. We then had time for a very quick bit of emerald shopping, and then back to the boat. Our tour guide was excellent, and Dora called several times when we were on the tour to make sure that all was going well. I was very impressed with the day and the tour!

Here's the link to the thread on CruiseCritic - Cartagena - Lee Miles tours vs Dora's tours - Cruise Critic Message Boards

It was not our choice to go to the restaurant - the other people on the tour wanted to do it. It was somewhat forgettable, really. We were not that interested in the emerald shopping - I'm not one to rush into a purchase like that! I gather that Lee Miles is more about the jewelry shopping, so if that's important to you, then his tours might be better.

Hope that this helps!
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Old 02-06-2011, 05:38 PM   #15
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Hope that this helps!
It does. Thanks a ton.

Was this a tour that was arranged thru your cruise ship or was it entirely outside of that structure?
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