Has anybody sailed Jewel of the Seas to the Panama Canal?
Was wondering if anybody had any useful tips on excursions in Columbia, Panama and Costa Rica and any general advice on what the Jewel is like.
CELEBRITY REFLECTION 2012
CARIBBEAN PRINCESS 2012
P & O AZURA 2011
NCL EPIC 2011
P & O AZURA 2010
CELEBRITY ECLIPSE 2010
JEWEL OF THE SEAS PANAMA CANAL 2009,
NCL STAR 2008 MEXICAN RIVERIA
NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS 2008 EUROPE
P & O VENTURA 2008 EUROPE
CARNIVAL GLORY 2007
STAR PRINCESS 2006
SEA PRINCESS 2005 NORTHERN EUROPE
GOLDEN PRINCESS 2004 EASTERN CARIBBEAN
My husband and I went on Jewel of the Seas to the Panama Canal and had a great time. The only port we did not go to at that time was Columbia; this was before RCCL changed the itinerary.
However, we did go on a couple of cruise excursions - in Panama we went to see the Embara Indians which was very different. We had an excellent guide who interpreted for us while the chief Tulio Rosales spoke Spanish. The tribe men, women and children each did a separate dance for us. Be aware that they usually wear "traditional" (very brief) attire.
We also did a tour of the actual locks where we were able to view all the ships coming into the locks and the long lines of the ships yet to go thru the locks. The guide explained the history, the rising and falling of the water and the cost per ship.
In Costa Rica, we went on a tour of a banana factory, where the guide explained all about the procedures and we watched while the workers were washing and sorting the bananas on a conveyer belt and then packing and shipping them. Then we visited the canals which is a great place to see the local wildlife.
If you want a good view of the Panama Canal, you might want to consider getting up early. The locks are open 24 hours a day but our ship did not arrive until daybreak.
Jewel of the Seas is a beautiful ship and there is plenty to do...
We were on Radiance back in October for our Panama Canal cruise and it was great. Jewel is the sister ship and should be just as nice. Going through the Canal was amazing. We had a Grand Suite on the hump (#1554) so not only did we get to see out, we got to watch along the line of the ship as we cruised the canal. The Loyalty Ambassador who recommended this cabin was right...it really made going through the Canal extra special.
We stopped in Cartagena and had a really nice day. After reading all the talk about safety of being on your own in that port, we did book an excursion through the ship.
We took a tour - both bus and walking - through the old city. We had a couple of stops and then also did a little walking through the old city. It was beautiful and our guide was great.
The only bothersome thing about the day was the number of vendors who try to see you things. Some of them have their stands but many of them will just walk up to you and keep showing you their goods for you to buy.
Sometimes a simple "no thank you" works...with others we needed to be a little more stern.
At no time did we feel threatened by them (as I've read on other messages)....they're just trying to make a buck. If you say no and turn away...they'll move on to the next person. Don't let this stop you from enjoying the city.
It was beautiful....and HOT!!! It was about 95*F back in early November at 9:30am! Drink lots of bottled water and enjoy!!