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Old May 21st, 2007, 11:20 PM
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Default Panama Canal Excursions

My husband and I will be going on the Island Princess, Jan. 26, 2008 to the Panama Canal. Looking for input on shore excursions from cruisers who have been there. ie: Puerto Corinto and Cartagena. Are there any excursions for Cartagena? Don't see any listed on Princess. Lastly, has anyone done the Rain Forest Aerial Tram and any suggestion for Panama Canal excursion. Thanks
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 11:48 PM
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Cartegena hasn't been on Princess's itinerary for a few years cuz of the drug wars so you may not get up-to-date info on that port.

As to the Panama Canal, I can't say enough about the ferry boat trip from Gatun Lake through the other 2 locks - really outstanding and gives you a whole new perspective of the locks from a small boat. Having said that I don't know what your whole itinerary is. I took the Island Princess when it first started out and they did the FLL round trip (as the Coral Princess does). If you're coming from the west coast, then forget that particular one.

Which ever way you're coming DO NOT take the train ride - complete waste of money ... most of the time on buses and speeds through Panama so fast that you can't take pix.

Have heard raves from the people who have taken the aerial tram but have not experienced first hand.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 05:45 PM
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Loved the Island Princess!! We did the round-trip from Miami like the Coral does routinely. Be sure and do that Tram with the river eco tour - river in the morning to see more wildlife. That was a great day!! Loved sailing above the trees and seeing all the butterflies and birds. We heard monkeys, but didn't see any.

This was the best lunch day we had. Costa Rica has a wonderful sauce to put on your rice and beans - Lizano's. I buy it online now!

Stop in the library on this ship. Wonderful atmoshere and reclining couchs to read and listen to music. You look out over the ocean.

Hope you have a great trip!!
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Old May 25th, 2007, 02:05 AM
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Default Panama Excursions

Hello,
I went on Coral Princess, 10 day partial transit Panama Canal, December 2006.
Took the Gatun Locks/Portobelo Excursion. Was a big disappointment. We were told that only those passengers who booked an excursion could get off the ship. This excursion took us by air conditioned mini-bus to the Locks, where we only spent 30 minutes. I would of liked to stay there longer. Then a loooong bus ride to Portobelo. No place to stop for a bathroom or snacks, and the boring tour guide put me to sleep. Portobelo is just an old, run down building housing some Fort artifacts. The single bathroom was flooded, and we had to stand in 1 inch of water to use the toilets. We were greeted and continually harrassed by small, soiled children trying to sell us beaded bracelets. The area was slum like, without a shop for snacks for those passengers who were diabetic (and the ship continually warned us NOT to take food off the ship....that the Panamanian Gov't. would search us.....which they never did). Then a loooong drive to Cristobal where the ship met us.

I would suggest staying on the ship as it turns in Lake Gatun, then getting off in Cristobal to check out the shops in the terminal. Be warned, there are native indians there who are topless/barely dressed. This is normal for them and the people of Panama, but shocked some passengers. Make sure to buy a handmade basket by one of these Embera Indians.

I also went on the aerial tram in Costa Rica. It was really nice, but quite a long adventure. The lunch was a delicious buffet, the guides were very informative, and the rainforest was very beautiful. Do not expect to see wildlife, as they are nocturnal.

Hope this helps.
Have a great cruise!
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Old May 25th, 2007, 02:05 AM
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Join Date: May 2007
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Default Panama Excursions

Hello,
I went on Coral Princess, 10 day partial transit Panama Canal, December 2006.
Took the Gatun Locks/Portobelo Excursion. Was a big disappointment. We were told that only those passengers who booked an excursion could get off the ship. This excursion took us by air conditioned mini-bus to the Locks, where we only spent 30 minutes. I would of liked to stay there longer. Then a loooong bus ride to Portobelo. No place to stop for a bathroom or snacks, and the boring tour guide put me to sleep. Portobelo is just an old, run down building housing some Fort artifacts. The single bathroom was flooded, and we had to stand in 1 inch of water to use the toilets. We were greeted and continually harrassed by small, soiled children trying to sell us beaded bracelets. The area was slum like, without a shop for snacks for those passengers who were diabetic (and the ship continually warned us NOT to take food off the ship....that the Panamanian Gov't. would search us.....which they never did). Then a loooong drive to Cristobal where the ship met us.

I would suggest staying on the ship as it turns in Lake Gatun, then getting off in Cristobal to check out the shops in the terminal. Be warned, there are native indians there who are topless/barely dressed. This is normal for them and the people of Panama, but shocked some passengers. Make sure to buy a handmade basket by one of these Embera Indians.

I also went on the aerial tram in Costa Rica. It was really nice, but quite a long adventure. The lunch was a delicious buffet, the guides were very informative, and the rainforest was very beautiful. Do not expect to see wildlife, as they are nocturnal.

Hope this helps.
Have a great cruise!
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