For Anyone Who Has Been On This Cruise. What Is The Best Excursion In Puerto Limon, Colon, Oranjestad. ... Are There Any Alternatives To The Ship's Excursions? What Are The Prices? Please Give Any And All Advise. Thankyou In Advance.
Went on this one in November. First time cruising and filled with doubts as to whether it would be right for us, but all was well. The Summit was excellent in every respect, and have a very efficient crew, so that even though we ran into a tropical storm second night out the crew were able to cope with all the extra cleaning up necessary, without being too obvious. The shore excursions are pretty costly as compared with those offered ashore for the same trip. However we felt it better to be sure that we would be returned to the ship at the appropriate time, etc., and opoted for the additional expense. At Colon, must be the Panama Canal via the train journey, which utilised a restored carriage and had an excellent guide. This includes a video of the workings of the Canal locks and viewing of a ship going through (well we saw one at least). Choose the carriage and not the observation car carriage, as apparently this was not as good as it sounded for the extra cost, according to others who made that choice. Certainly with the carriage with open observation decks we were able to get as many shots as we wanted from all directions.
Cozumel Island, Mexico, we found very interesting, and did only shopping/gazing there. There is a great deal of soliciting by the shopkeepers to come in and buy, much more than we had seen anywhere else. Whe we were there there was a display of Mexican/Aztec dancing and a procession, but this may be only from time to time. Everyone very friendly and glad we did not opt for the excursions, which included the Cancun alternative, which meant crossing the sea again and those who did so were very very ill because of the state of the sea that day. Others joined the Jeep tour which sounded interesting but this and all-Island tours were offered by many vendors at considerably less cost.
Costa Rica I personally found to be very authentic, in that as we had arrived at a seedy area of the country the worst of the poverty was apparent and this gave a greater insight into the lives of the people than we saw in the more regulated ports. Many many other cruise tourists found this distasteful, and derogatory remarks were made as to the untidiness and refuse which lay around, but goodness if you want to see other plac es they shouldn't all be antiseptic, surely. We did the Tortoguero Canals ride, which was fairly interesting, but due to cloud cover it was very hard to distinguish the various animals and birds pointed out by the excellent naturalist guide. We did swerve around to get closer where possible, but its hard to spot a bird in thick trees. There was a fresh fruit buffet provided with calypso accompaniment, which was appreciated.
Oranjestaad, Aruba. Totally beautiful. Full of colour, excellent shopping, lively, marvellous malls, lovely friendly people. We decided to take the round Island coach ride, which was very bumpy, in a rather older coach, but with an Aruban guide, who was informative. Lots of chances to take pics and see the rest of the Island's best views, and the Aloe Vera production plant. Again there were choices including being taken to various beaches, but we come from a beautiful Island ourselves so beaches are not such an attraction on holiday. Loved the Island which is incredibly windy, but so good will definitely incoude it on future holidays.
In Grand Cayman, Georgetown, we chose the undersea view from the glass bottomed boat with optional snorkelling, which gave us an opportunity to see many fish, an old German wreck and with a good guide. The snorkelling feature was a bit of a problem if, like me, you had not done this before, as whereas I had imagined we would be "setting off" from shallow water, we did in fact jump straight into the deep sea, without a chance to practice breathing techniques. I was rescued! In hindsight we would have chosen Stingray City with a chance to shallow water snorkel and be surrounded by the Rays, as all who went enjoyed this. Other trips were available on shore again at less cost, and in fact some of the boatloads were composed of our cruise tourists and onshore bookings, at the different prices.
The bookings are available and described online, and due to certain problems with weather we had to cancel a fishing trip in Key West and this was done with no problems on board. The shore excursions staff are extremely helpful. Hope this helps you with your decisions. Gillian
I did this trip in Nov as well (probably the one before Gill as we had no tropical storm).
Good comments above. We did the trolley in Key West . You can do it on your own. Good to do if you have never been there. In Cozumel we did a snorkelling tour and then Gram shopped with our friend Donna while Tony and I went upstairs and drank
Mexican Beer. In Costa Rica we also did Tortuguero Canals. We found the trip to be absolutely facinating. Saw monkeys, sloths, all kinds of birds and flowers and the highlight, cocadiles in the wild.
In Panama we did the ALL DAY bus tour . It was very comprehensive and a must do if you are never going back to Panama. DO NOT EVEN GET OFF THE SHIP (except to go to the shopping pavilion accross from the pier) in Colon UNLESS YOU GO ON A SHIPS TOUR. Even one block from the pier is not safe. Even our tour was escorted by Panamanian police attached to the Dept of Tourism.
In Aruba if you are not going to the beach first take a walk downtown (2 blocks from the pier) and go shopping. Then take some kind of island tour that does the highlights (natural bridge, California lighthouse, natural pool, Mt. Hooeburg, Baby beach,etc.
The beaches are all public and the best are the ones by the "highrise" hotels, Palm Beach.. Any cab driver will take you for about $10.00 or you can take a bus. This is the safest, cleanest, friendliest island in the caribbean with what Gram and I feel is also the best shopping.
Grand Cayman, there is only two must do's . Snorkel( or dive) and sting ray city.
The rest, such as Hell, the turtle farm and the town of Georgetown are a waste of time. Seven Mile Beach is one of the best in the world, but, you are not interested.
Great Cruise , Fabulous Ship. Have Fun
Just to ad my $.5 to Gill and PapaBill.
Done the same last Oct 28. Wife in the Wheelchair. Found one area in Cozumel perfect for the handicapped. It is Chankanaab Nat'l Park. Taxi will take you there for about 8 bucks, then to enter- $10 pp. First they have a "hands-on" dolphin show. In addition there are accessible walkways to the park - a beautiful area. In Aruba we elected to go shopping, OK, but not too easy on a WC, and on the way back took a small AC bus for a tour around the island $12.00 pp, about two hrs with a very nice lady guide and driver.
Grand Cayman: there were five ships with some10K passengers in town...! We shopped there for a while then I took my wife back to ship for lunch and after went back by myself to swimm at seven-mile beach. A word of caution - if there is a tender to take you ashore, keep an eye on weather. It can turn nasty in a blink and using a tender in a storm back to the vessel can be a baaad experience!
RE other stops - "been there/done that" on Princess, so we enjoy the ship to our selves and this being our first on Summit, there was so much to do onboard.
Re: Re: Re: Summit Ultimate Western Carb.Cruise 11 Night
Just returned from the 11 night on the Summit and must say I am sad to be home. Loved the ship, the crew and the food. People that say the quality has gone down must be use to a lot better food than I am. Smiling...
For the excursions: Key West, we walked the town. It was nice but not sure I would go there for a vacation.
Cozumel, we went to the Tulum Mayan Ruins, booked through Celebrity. It was worth the money if one enjoys this type of excursion.
Puerto Colon, Costa Rica, I booked our tour on line with an independent and for the same money as the Celebrity charged, we spent 6 1/2 hours in the Canal, were the only two on the boat with 2 guides that showed us everything that they saw, pulled over to take pictures and stopped at a thatched hut for lunch, which was wonderful. We went to the entrance of the National Park before coming back. We were met at the pier, taken on a tour of the city by taxi, given the chance to take pictures where ever we wanted before going to meet the boat. I never felt unsafe. We were dropped off in the shopping center and walked back to the ship. If interested in this, email me for details.
Panama, we took the train ride to the Panama Canal plus a tour which included seeing the Bridge of the Americas. Our guide, Andy, was wonderful. Had a lunch on the train, which wasn't much but felt it was worth the money. Did not do the observation deck and I don't think it is worth the difference in the cost.
Aruba, we rented a car through the internet. It is right at the pier, they drive on the right like we do and we toured the whole island with a map we were given. Can't get lost as it is 6 miles wide and 19 miles long.
Grand Caymans, we booked a horse back ride with Honey Suckle, Penny and Sterling and they are great people. Again, we were the only two. They picked us up at the pier, did an hour and half ride on the beach and inland. On the drive back we wanted to stop at 7 mile beach (which is really 6 miles) so they let us off near a bus and taxi stop to make it easier to return to the ship. Loved the beach and did catch a bus back for 3 dollars each.
We liked that after the first 3 stops you have a day a part at sea. Nice to rest up. The Summit is a great ship and it not only met our expectations but exceeded them. We previously sailed on the Century and liked it also. This time we had a balcony, small but with room for 2 chairs and a small table. Spent many early mornings and late evenings there.
I would be glad to answer any questions you might have as I just got home Friday the 21st, so it is still fresh. Would go again in a heartbeat.
Forgot 2 important things, at least I think they are. If you do the Mayan Ruins, you will ferry over from the ship at Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen. Many people got sea sick on the way over. I honestly didn't think it was that rough but a lot of people did. Takes about 30 minutes one way.
Also, the train ride to the Panama Canal is very well air conditioned and thanks to someone else who mentioned this before I went, I knew to take a sweater to put for the ride and believe me, I used it. I had several people ask how I knew to bring one a long as they were cold. Hope this helps someone else.