We're sailing the Princess Sun on 1/8, would love to hear from anyone who has taken their shore excursions (good or bad). We're doing the 10 day Panama Canal cruise. Even if you didn't take a certain excursion - please advise what's available. Thanks a ton!
I'm single and usually cruise alone, so I tend to go with shore excursions rather than going ashore alone. My general experience is that Princess's "Adventures Ashore" program is a genuine class act. You get to see a lot, and you don't have to worry about anything. Also, published reviews consistently give top marks to Princess's shore excursions.
I'm leaving tomorrow morning for a Panama Canal cruise aboard MV Sun Princess, so I'll be able to report specifics for this itinerary in about two weeks.
>> Puntarenas, Costa Rica: Most of the excursions will take you up to Costa Rica's Central Valley by bus. Since Costa Rica's highways are two-lane roads in highly variable condition, there's a bus ride of 1-2 hours each way depending upon where you are going. Nonetheless, there are several unique attractions such as Sarchi, the coffee plantation, and the rain forests. If long bus rides bother you, just go ashore on your own in the quaint and largely unspoiled fishing village of Puntarenas.
>> Cartagena, Columbia: The tours are very similar, but interesting if you have not seen the attractions before. There's also a good selection of inexpensive souvenirs such as coffee, coffee-flavored candy, and hot sauces. The street vendors are pretty aggressive around (but not within) the attractions, too.
>> Aruba: Plenty of "fun in the sun" and tour options. I particularly enjoyed the catamaran sail and snorkel adventure.
>> Barbados: Orchid World is really fascinating. They have many varieties of orchids, some of which they grow on wire fences, their roots coiled and bound, without benefit of soil.
>> Dominica: Lots of unique attractions in the only tender port, including the rain forest and the only remaining tribe of Carib Indians. The "Grand Tour of Dominca" is a great way to see them all.
>> Saint Thomas: Lots of shore excursions once again, but I'll opt yet again for the "Champagne Catamaran Sailaway to St. John" yet again. The sailboat picks you up right at the pier and takes you to a pristine secluded beach with a reef for snorkeling nearby. You have a couple hours in the water with a buffet lunch served right aboard the catamaran. The champagne, beer, rum punch, and soft drinks don't run out as you sail back to the pier, either. I have done this twice (the crew of the catamaran recognized me when I went aboard for the second time) and would do it again next week if given the opportunity!