We just booked a 10 day Southern Caribbean on HAL's Zaandam.
Was wondering if anyone has taken this cruise before and if you have any insight or suggestions on the ports? Not sure what Panama has to offer besides going through the canal. Also, are any of these ports know for any special kind of shopping. Any and all information is appreciated.
This is our itinerary:
day 1 Fort Lauderdale, FL
day 2 Half Moon Cay, BAHAMAS
day 3 At Sea
day 4 Oranjestad, NETHERLANDS ANTILLES
day 5 Willemstad, NETHERLANDS ANTILLES
day 6 At Sea
day 7 Gatun Lake, PANAMA
day 7 LB1
day 7 Colon, , PANAMA
day 8 Puerto Limon, COSTA RICA
day 9 At Sea
day 10 At Sea
day 11 Fort Lauderdale, FL
Did this route on the Rotterdam VI a few years ago.
If you are looking for shopping bargains, then you won't find it at most of these ports, except maybe Curacao (Willemstad) and Aruba (Oranjestad). St. Thomas and St. Maarten are the shopping capitals of the Caribbean.
You will only go partway into the Canal (2 locks). You may want to take an excursion here. If you don't then you will not be allowed off the ship. Nothing in Colon - when we were first there in 1983 we were not even allowed off the ship as it was very dangerous - don't even know why they stop there.
Half Moon Cay is HAL's private island - it's paradise, which white sand and lovely cool green/blue water. Relax and have a lovely day. Sometimes due to weather/seas, the ship will not be able to tender into the port. You will then have a sea day.
Puerto Limon - take an excursion. We went to a Banana plantation which was very interesting, but there are lots of other tours here.
Please remember, the Canal and Puerto Limon are very, very hot, so make sure you wear a hat and have lots of sun tan lotion.