Go Back   CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums > Cruise Lines (Mainstream) > Holland America
Register Forgot Password?

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old March 4th, 2007, 05:11 PM
Member
Passenger
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 56
Default Full Transit....Need to Know?!

So excited...We're doing a full transit of the Panama Canal on the Zuiderdam and would love any advice/input on what to see and do on or off the ship. Along with that, if there are things to avoid, please tell me that also. There are ports in Aruba, Costa Rica, and several in Mexico. Are there excursions that shouldn't be missed? Are the ports safe? Does the ship dock within walking distance of interesting things to see and do? I could go on with questions, but I'm hoping you'll anticipate some of them.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #2 (permalink)  
Old March 4th, 2007, 05:21 PM
jhannah's Avatar
Senior Member
Cruise Maniac
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 180
Send a message via AIM to jhannah
Default

I haven't been to Aruba, but have visited Costa Rica. We took the jungle river eco-cruise. It was very interesting, and we saw wildlife and small riverside settlements. Zip line adventures are highly spoken of there, too. I think we docked, but I can't remember for sure.

The Mexican Riviera ports are all docks, IIRC, except Cabo. Beach activities are prevalent there, but some interesting city tours are available. Most docks are located in the inidustrial harbor area, so walking isn't recommended.

That's not much info for you, but hopefully someone else will be along shortly to fill in some gaps for you.
__________________
'Vegas Jim
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old March 4th, 2007, 07:50 PM
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1,139
Default Re: Full Transit....Need to Know?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toley
So excited...We're doing a full transit of the Panama Canal on the Zuiderdam and would love any advice/input on what to see and do on or off the ship. Along with that, if there are things to avoid, please tell me that also. There are ports in Aruba, Costa Rica, and several in Mexico. Are there excursions that shouldn't be missed? Are the ports safe? Does the ship dock within walking distance of interesting things to see and do? I could go on with questions, but I'm hoping you'll anticipate some of them.
The nice thing about Caribbean and Mexico ports is that there is never any lack of beach activities. A beach is usually not far from wherever the cruise ship docks. If you are hesitant to spend money on HAL shore excursions, you can always plan a beach day at these ports. Bring along your own snorkling equipment and there will never be a lack of fun and interesting things to do at a great price.

Each of these ports also offer a wide variety of ship's shore excursions you can take, from city tours to organized snorkling and boating excursions.

I've heard a lot of people rave about ziplining in Costa Rica, though I've never tried it. Lots of eco tours are offered there as well.

Also, on the day of the actual Panama Canal transit, you'll want to be up early to get a good viewing spot ... either indoors or outdoors. Personally, my favorite is one of those nice loungers in front of the panoramic windows in the Crow's Nest. It's cool there. Being out on deck it could get awfully hot.

Enjoy your transit. Sounds like a neat cruise.

Blue skies ...

--rita
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old March 4th, 2007, 08:25 PM
Senior Member
Captain
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 913
Default

Hope you have a great cruise on Zuiderdam. Panama Canal cruise is always such a great experience.

The dock in Aruba is right in the heart of downtown Aruba. From the ship, you can see the infamous Carlos and Charlies. Just outside the security gates, is a row of stalls where you can buy every sort of souvenir, t-shirts, etc The beaches in Aruba are wonderful and well worth visiting if you enjoy day at the beach.
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old March 5th, 2007, 12:22 AM
aussiegal's Avatar
Member
Passenger
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 94
Default

We did a wonderful cruise on the Veendam in September/October that went down the coast of Mexico and called in at Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco and Huatalco.

In Cabo San Lucas it was so hot and humid. We did a cruise to see the rock formations which was most interesting. We booked this when we tendered at the dock. Afterwards we walked into the town and had a cool drink in one of the bars. We then walked back to the tender area, it was an easy walk.

In Acapulco we had booked a private tour and we were taken to the market, then to the lovely resort hotel, the Fairmont Pierre Marquis Hotel where we could have had a swim if we had wanted to, we then went to see Chapel of Peace and finally we went to watch the divers do their display. The ship docked quite close to some big shops but we didn't visit them as it was again just too hot.

In Huatulco we caught a taxi to the local shopping centre and had a look around before returning to near where the ship was docked. There was a swimming beach near by where people were swimming but we were content to sit and have a cool drink in a lovely bar/hotel. Another very hot day. We would have gone to a resort but we were only there half a day so couldn't risk it!

We went to Costa Rica, (the Pacific Ocean side) and had another private guide take us up into the hills to visit the Poas Volcano National Park. The area we docked in was miles from anywhere so you either had to do a ship's excursion or have organized one with a private guide as I didn't see any taxis around the dock area. It was really a port for Container ships.

We spent most of the day on deck or on our verandah when we went through the Panama Canal. It was also great viewing at the rear of the ship on the lower promenade deck. It was very exciting and we had a wonderful lecturer pointing out to us places of interest from 7am to 6pm. We were lucky in that we had cloud cover which made it not so hot. We were allowed to go right to the front of the ship and the crew erected shade there and chairs as that was such a great viewing area. The Veendam was wonderful in providing fresh fruit all around the ship and glasses of cold juice.

In Aruba we looked at the shops and then we caught a taxi to one of the resorts on the beach and spent the day there. It was a beautiful sunny day and the sea was sparkling. We spent most of the time in the water.
The dock in Aruba is very modern and so is the town which is so easy to walk around. The port is very close to the shops.

Hope this helps a little.

Jennie
__________________
.
Until we sail on the Tahitan Princess - Tahiti to Hawaii

.
Until we sail on the Nautica - HongKong to Athens
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old March 6th, 2007, 04:05 PM
Member
Passenger
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 56
Default

Thank you all for the help. We are really looking forward to this cruise.
Can I expect it to be brutally hot at the end of April? Should we bring insect repellant as well as sunscreen? Does it tend to be rainy at that time of year? Told you I had lots of questions....
Thanks again.
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old March 6th, 2007, 06:17 PM
crusin' fool's Avatar
Senior Member
Cruise Maniac
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Posts: 154
Default

If your ship stops in Panama City or Cartagena we got off in both places and do not consider it safe unless you are on a ships tour.

The other posters are right about Mexico, but be warned, you will be mobbed in Acapulco when leaving the ship. The vendors and drivers are rude and extremely persistant.
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old March 7th, 2007, 08:41 AM
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1,139
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by crusin' fool
If your ship stops in Panama City or Cartagena we got off in both places and do not consider it safe unless you are on a ships tour.

The other posters are right about Mexico, but be warned, you will be mobbed in Acapulco when leaving the ship. The vendors and drivers are rude and extremely persistant.
Never been to Mexico, but you're right about Panama. There was a time ... my first HAL cruise back in 2004 ... that you weren't allowed to get off the ship in Panama unless you were doing a ship's excursion. The reason, according to HAL staff, was that the area was not safe and they didn't want passengers wandering around by themselves.

My last cruise, though, we were allowed off, but most people not on excursions just went to this little indoor market directly off the pier.

Blue skies ...

--rita
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old March 11th, 2007, 04:54 PM
Member
Passenger
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 56
Default

crusin' fool,
Fortunately, this cruise doesn't stop in Panama City, Cartagena, or Acapulco. The Mexican ports are Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Huatulco, and Puerto Chiapas. We'll also be in Puntarenas, Costa Rica and Oranjestad, Aruba. Do you know anything about those ports?
Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old March 11th, 2007, 05:12 PM
aussiegal's Avatar
Member
Passenger
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 94
Default

We called into a few of your ports last year on our way to the Amazon on the Veendam.

We visited Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco, Puntarenas Costa Rica, and Aruba.

We had a private tour guide in Costa Rica and we chose to go to a National Park and see a Volcano and Lake. It was a long day and we were away for 8 hours but we did see a lot of the interior of Costa Rica.

In Aruba we looked at the shops first of all. They are very close to where you dock and then we caught a taxi to one of the resorts and spent the rest of the day there. The water is so clear and warm and Aruba is very hot so it was lovely to spend time in the sea. If you have any other questions I am only too happy to answer them.

Jennie
__________________
.
Until we sail on the Tahitan Princess - Tahiti to Hawaii

.
Until we sail on the Nautica - HongKong to Athens
Reply With Quote
  #11 (permalink)  
Old March 11th, 2007, 05:43 PM
Member
Passenger
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 56
Default

Jennie,
I hadn't thought about spending some of the time at a resort. Do you recall which one you went to in Aruba? Was it a good area for snorkeling?
Thanks for your help.[/quote]
Reply With Quote
  #12 (permalink)  
Old March 11th, 2007, 11:06 PM
aussiegal's Avatar
Member
Passenger
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 94
Default

We went to the Holiday Inn Sunspree which is on Palm/Eagle Beach. There are loads of resorts along that area and you could really pick anyone.

We chose the Holiday Inn because I am a member of the Intercontinental Ambassador Club and the Holiday Inn is part of that group. I did email them to ask if it were possible to spend the day at their resort and they emailed back that it was fine. We just had to check in at the desk when we arrived and they put on all of us a plastic wrist band which entitled us to use all their facilities. Originally I was told it would cost us so much for the day for the four of us (I think around $65,) but we were lucky and we weren't charged anything. We did buy lunch and drinks whilst there.

Jennie
__________________
.
Until we sail on the Tahitan Princess - Tahiti to Hawaii

.
Until we sail on the Nautica - HongKong to Athens
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Princess 2-Day vs. Full-Transit? firehoss Princess Cruise Lines 5 July 10th, 2010 09:11 AM
PANAMA CANAL - FULL TRANSIT lormarscribs Shore Excursions 0 January 2nd, 2008 02:11 PM
PANAMA CANAL - FULL TRANSIT lormarscribs Princess Cruise Lines 2 July 30th, 2007 03:09 PM
full transit-Infinity-formal nights ?? sealegs Celebrity 3 November 8th, 2005 12:58 AM
INFINITY- Westbound full Panama transit sealegs Ask CruiseMates Staff 4 November 7th, 2005 01:30 PM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


 

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:37 AM.
design by: Themes by Design

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1