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Old February 5th, 2005, 06:02 PM
DebG
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Default Panama - Read w/o ship excursion you won't be allowed off sh

This is something that someone posted to one of the message boards.
Has anyone heard about not being permitted off the ship if you don't have a ship excursion booked? My friend called the Panama Tourism Office and the only thing they kept saying is that you must book tours thru the ship but would not agree or disagree about not being able to get off the ship if you don't book.
Have been on many cruise and have never heard of this happening in any ports visited.
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Old February 5th, 2005, 08:02 PM
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Admiral
 
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Default Re: Panama - Read w/o ship excursion you won't be allowed of

Getting off the ship is one thing. Going somewhere without a booked tour is yet another, Panama is not a safe place . Outside the immediate port area whether in Colon or Panama City the typical tourist is not safe. Major excursions off the ship are escorted by police provided by the Panamanian tourist office. It's not that you won't be allowed offthe ship, you will be. It is more a matter of wanting to go offthe ship unescorted. Unfortunately it is probably not a great idea to leave the immediate port area. unescorted.
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Old February 6th, 2005, 12:29 PM
SpTrout
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Default Re: Panama - Read w/o ship excursion you won't be allowed of

DebG - - What you may have read refers to ships that pass through Gatun Locks and then anchor in Gatun Lake. After anchoring, passengers that are booked on tours are tendered to shore to meet their tour buses and guides. Passengers that are not on tours are not allowed off at this time.

Later in the day, the ship passes back through Gatun Locks and then docks in Colon. After docking, anybody can leave the ship if desired. There are several stores in the port to visit without leaving the dock area.

My wife and I were on the Galaxy last week and that was the way things were handled. We had a tour (Grand Tour of Panama) and we took the tender ashore to meet our bus. Our tour was not escorted by any police. I did not see any police except for security police at Gatun Locks. We had an excellent tour.

We visited Panama two years ago, and took the Two Ocean Train Tour and had a great tour and there were not any police escorts.
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Old February 9th, 2005, 10:30 PM
LaurieB
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Default Re: Panama - Read w/o ship excursion you won't be allowed of

Our tour last April didn't have police escort, but like the other poster said you DO NOT want to leave the fenced port area and just start walking around. It looks like Beirut, very very scary right outside the gates. We felt safe on the organized tour, and the locks were safe so I suppose you could take a cab to see them if you can find one right off the ship.
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Old February 12th, 2005, 12:58 AM
pambam
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Default Re: Panama - Read w/o ship excursion you won't be allowed of

You do not want to wander on your own in Panama or Costa Rica if that is also on your itenerary. These are NOT safe ports to wander in. I had never booked a ships tour in 6 cruises untill I went to these two countries and I had heard that 70% of tourists who go on there own get mugged or robbed.

Oddly enough these were two of my favorite countrys to tour. I fell in love with both and they are not to be missed however the cities of Colon and Limon are very new Ports and these are impoverished cities with high crime.....very high.

We had two big burly guys from our ship who decided to go it on there own and had many problems and endless hookers following them around. They said it was very scary and high tailed it back to the ship.

Don't let this affect your cruise. Splurge on the ships tours cuz you will have a wonderful time in these beautiful countries and best of all you will feel safe doing it.
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Old February 13th, 2005, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: Panama - Read w/o ship excursion you won't be allowed of

I agree that there are a few ports that are not really all that safe to do on your own. I place Santo Domingo, and Colon in that catagory. I didn't see a problem in Limopn so can't speak for that city but if the percentage of cruisers being robbed etc were even 1% the ship would not come there. This is one of the reasons ships stopped going to Santo Domingo and St Croix. It was becomeing typical that every time there at least one passenger and as many as a half dozen might have serious problems. That is enough for them to pull out. I have been through Colon a number of times and in certain areas you should have no problem but many areas are not safe for Americans. I can read Spanish and the graffitti will tell you that we are not welcome in some areas at all!
IN Colon take a tour of the locks or the Indian Village. In Costa the tour I highly recommend is White Water Rafting. The best tour I have ever done. My wife and sister did the horsebackriding tour and enjoyed themselves very much. The people of Costa Rica seemed very friendly out in the country.
Jim

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