I had wanted to see Cartenaga in Columbia on the Summit (leaving November 18), but was told by a governmental official in Washington essentially what was said below: Cartenaga is no place for American tourists at the present and probably for the indefinite future. Too bad Celebrity did not schedule another stop somewhere.
I assume you mean Cartagena. We were there a few years ago, on a cruise from Jamaica going through the Panama Canal. We liked Cartagena a lot and had hoped to some day return. I suspect there is a high risk for terrorism there and that the cruise lines are every bit as much concerned about their financial investment as they are the safety of the passengers. It is too bad that many, if not all, cruiselines have dropped this port. The people of Colombia need the tourism.
I enjoy Cartagena a lot and am sorry to see it bypassed. But I can just imagine the posts here attacking the cruise line should they not opt for caution and should some misfortune befall a cruise guest. Colombia is a very dicey risk at the moment.
My wife and I had the opposite feelings about Cartagena. We will be taking another Panama Canal cruise in April and if we would have stopped there again, we'd have stayed on the ship. The poverty is evident and we did not feel comfortable. I'd rather spend a day at sea. JMNSHO.
Well... then you would not be comfortable in most of the Third World, including all of South America... which has extremes of poverty and wealth, side by side... but a remarkable culture to be enjoyed and, as in all the world, great people to meet and enjoy learning about. You miss a lot of life living in a walled off conclave... I think it is unfortunate, but it is clearly your right to do so.
It has been many months since most of the cruise lines quit going to Cartegena. However most still list it and no one on all the cruise boards I regularly check out over a week has ever mentioned a refund of the port charges for the port being "missed"! I guess no other port has been substituted in all this time because the cruise lines have found another revenue source.
> Well... then you would not be comfortable in most of the
> Third World, including all of South America... which has
> extremes of poverty and wealth, side by side... but a
> remarkable culture to be enjoyed and, as in all the world,
> great people to meet and enjoy learning about. You miss a lot
> of life living in a walled off conclave...
Mexico has similar poverty but I didn't feel as unsafe as in Columbia. Besides, they should have cancelled this port long ago as the State Department issued a warning about them in April, 2001 at: http://travel.state.gov/colombia.html
Celebrity"s 2002-2004 Caribean Catalog no longer mentions Cartegena. It has disappeared completely from all itineraries.
There have always been concerns about passenger safety because of the drug thing
and because of the concentration of abject poverty (on levels that cannot even be imagined here in the US) in areas quite near to the cruise ship terminals and major tourist attractions. With recent elections and inauguration of a new president the situation in Columbia is now quite bad. There have been political abductions and murders and several Mini revolutions that have involved response by the army. It is too bad, for this city contains over 500 years of history and there are forts, monestaries, cathedrals and parts of the city (old and new) that are must sees. The danger to the tourists however is quite real and chances are a" fun day at sea" is better than being shot fo your wallet.
I feel a sigh of relief that the ship will not be stopping there. I think that we have enough risk in our lives everyday without tempting fate. The crew of the ships would not only be in this port for one day occasionally.........but for every run ! Its not worth the safety risk no matter how well liked.