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-   -   No more Panama Canal cruises (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/royal-caribbean-international/371550-no-more-panama-canal-cruises.html)

addicted2 February 8th, 2010 05:41 PM

No more Panama Canal cruises
 
We just got off the Mariner (will post a full review later). We talked with the Loyalty Ambassader and was surprised to hear that there will be no more Panama canal cruises. There will also be no more Mexican Riviera cruises on the Radiance. The Radiance will be moving to Tampa, leaving the Mariner as the only cruise to Mexican Riviera. The last cruise through the Panama Canal will be moving the Radiance from LA to Tampa. Was told that the port fees charged per person to go through the canal have been increased dramatically (and they charge per employee too not just per passenger) she would not disclose the increased amount but said it used to be $300 per person and she implied it went up by a few hundred dollars each. Kind of disappointing news as the Panama Canal was on our wish list of cruises, but understand that RCCL is in business to make a profit and it would be hard to do with such outrageous fees imposed. Makes me wonder if other cruise lines will be doing the same.

felix_the_cat February 8th, 2010 05:49 PM

HAL and Princess are still doing it. We just did a half transit with HAL. Although we paid a bit more than a Caribbean 10 cruise (not much) we didn't find it outragous.

The had already stopped the 1/2 transits awhile ago. The Jewel now only goes as far as Cristobel Pier. We saw a Carnival ship there when were down a couple of weeks ago. A Princess ship went through and I have clients on a Princess transit in April. I don't think they have any intentions of stopping (but what do I know).

The cost of that particular 14 day full transit was only $1,500 and change Canadian so I don't think the fare is that outrageous.

Mike M February 8th, 2010 06:05 PM

The Radiance will be going to Tampa and then going to Australia in 2011. I don't know the route she'll take to get to Australia but perhaps they'll do a Panama Canal cruise when she repositions.

Take care,
Mike

Trip February 8th, 2010 07:38 PM

Maybe the new Canal expansion has something to do with the higher charges..look at the cost in the blurb below!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Slated for completion in 2014, one hundred after the opening of the existing canal in 1914, today’s expansion project will double the capacity of Panama’s Atlantic to Pacific short cut.
With a budget of $5.2 billion, the expansion of the canal is the largest public works project in Panama’s history. Zubieta was quick to deny rumors that the prject was falling behind, assuring all at the conference that the expansion would be completed on time.

Fieldmouse February 13th, 2010 04:45 PM

Oh no...just read your post and boy are we disappointed!

We just got off the Radiance in December and just love that ship...Booooo! Can't believe they're taking her away from the west coast. Then even worst news...no more Panama Canal. That cruise was on wish list too!

Mike M February 13th, 2010 05:10 PM

Yes Fieldmouse it's true. After the Alaska season the Radiance will go to Tampa.

She will be doing a canal cruise on 9/24/10 when she relocates to Tampa. You could book that one. She is a beautiful ship.

Take care,
Mike

Fieldmouse February 13th, 2010 06:37 PM

Thanks Mike...for SURE we'll be looking into that cruise...

BTW: Who is going to be left here on the West coast for the Mexican and Alaskan cruises? My understanding is even Celebrity isn't doing Mexico anymore...

addicted2 February 13th, 2010 08:08 PM

Not sure about Alaska cruises, but we saw two Princess ships and a NCL while on the Mariner in Mexico.

Mike M February 13th, 2010 11:35 PM

For next Spring (2011) there will be a number of ships sailing out of California.

From Los Angeles (San Pedro): Mariner of the Seas, Norwegian Star, Sapphire Princess and Disney Wonder will be doing seven day cruises.

From Long Beach: Carnival Splendor will do seven day cruises and Carnival Paradise will do 3 and 4 day cruises.

From San Diego: Carnival Spirit will do eight day cruises and HAL Oosterdam will do seven day cruises.

Holland America will also do some 10 day and Panama Canal cruises from San Diego.

So the west coast isn't completely cut off from cruising. ;):D


Take care,
Mike

Donna February 14th, 2010 11:24 AM

Wow, how unfortunate. I had also read that less ships will be going up to Alaska, because of the tax they charge up there as well. I know someday I'd love to do a canal cruise??

felix_the_cat February 14th, 2010 12:54 PM

There are lots of Canal cruises - just not RCL. Princess continues to do them, HAL does both half transit and full. RCL was actually charging too much compared with others so with the increase in transit charges they were pricing themsleves (as they seem to be doing a lot recently) out of the market.

The Alaska cruises have a lot of problems. The $50 head tax is one, the cost of sailing out of Vancouver (our stupid Canadian government on that one) and the fact the majority of people only want to go to Alaska once are all having a big impact on the cruises there.

Air fare is terrible no matter which way you slice it and if you take a 7 day return from Seattle you just can't get far enough up north.

The costs overall of Alaskan cruises are very high compared to a lot of the European cruises. The season is so short. When given the choice between European with so much more choices and Alaska without big choices but bigger price tags a lot are opting for Europe.

Fieldmouse February 15th, 2010 02:31 AM

Wow...nothing is the same anymore...too sad.

momofmeg February 23rd, 2010 08:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by felix_the_cat (Post 1274093)
There are lots of Canal cruises - just not RCL. Princess continues to do them, HAL does both half transit and full. RCL was actually charging too much compared with others so with the increase in transit charges they were pricing themsleves (as they seem to be doing a lot recently) out of the market.

The Alaska cruises have a lot of problems. The $50 head tax is one, the cost of sailing out of Vancouver (our stupid Canadian government on that one) and the fact the majority of people only want to go to Alaska once are all having a big impact on the cruises there.

Air fare is terrible no matter which way you slice it and if you take a 7 day return from Seattle you just can't get far enough up north.

The costs overall of Alaskan cruises are very high compared to a lot of the European cruises. The season is so short. When given the choice between European with so much more choices and Alaska without big choices but bigger price tags a lot are opting for Europe.

Yes but we did pay a higher fare. About $450 of our fare was for taxes-now some of that was port taxes,etc.- not all for the canal-but I am guessing at least half was for the canal.

We enjoyed the HAL Zuiderdam cruise very much, and we did feel it was worth the extra $200-250 to go into the canal. I can't see why RCI can't charge this amount extra-unless there is just not enough booking.

felix_the_cat February 23rd, 2010 09:28 AM

We paid less than if we had taken RCL just to the port - not enter the canal. I suppose it was the category and date also that make the difference.

I'll have to take a look at the tax amount we paid. I didn't think it was that high but I honestly can't remember.

I felt the Zuiderdam was worth the amount we paid though. The food and service were so much better than RCL has been for quite some time now.

momofmeg February 23rd, 2010 09:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by felix_the_cat (Post 1276115)
We paid less than if we had taken RCL just to the port - not enter the canal. I suppose it was the category and date also that make the difference.

I'll have to take a look at the tax amount we paid. I didn't think it was that high but I honestly can't remember.

I felt the Zuiderdam was worth the amount we paid though. The food and service were so much better than RCL has been for quite some time now.

Felix, in our case we got the cruise for $1125 a person which included the port taxes-but there was an extra tax-and so in actuallity, we paid $2752 total.

Jewel of the Seas, one day less, was about a $100 cheaper at $1025 per person, including port taxes. I assume there would not been another $500 tacked on to it in price for taxes. (we booked the cheapest balcony guarantee-so that is the price I am quoting for the January 2nd cruises at the time we booked)

We chose the Zuiderdam because, not only did it go into the canal, but it also went to Aruba and Curacao, and we wanted to go to those ports also. My husband is big into scuba diving, and he wanted to dive at those islands. We could have done them on another cruise, as HAL offers a 7 day that goes there, but we decided why not go to all at once-since there was a cruise that did all.

felix_the_cat February 23rd, 2010 02:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by momofmeg (Post 1276118)
Felix, in our case we got the cruise for $1125 a person which included the port taxes-but there was an extra tax-and so in actuallity, we paid $2752 total.

Jewel of the Seas, one day less, was about a $100 cheaper at $1025 per person, including port taxes. I assume there would not been another $500 tacked on to it in price for taxes. (we booked the cheapest balcony guarantee-so that is the price I am quoting for the January 2nd cruises at the time we booked)

We chose the Zuiderdam because, not only did it go into the canal, but it also went to Aruba and Curacao, and we wanted to go to those ports also. My husband is big into scuba diving, and he wanted to dive at those islands. We could have done them on another cruise, as HAL offers a 7 day that goes there, but we decided why not go to all at once-since there was a cruise that did all.

I'm curious how your TA presented you amount. We paid $1,399 each plus tax of $251.99 for a total of $1,650.99US each. Now that is more than you paid obviously but there are variable to that. We were in a VA which I do not recommend and would never take again (too close to the front). However I am a TA and booked my own. My figures directly from Polar were the above with only the non-commissionables stated but included in the $1,399. You said you paid an extra tax? How did they bill you for that?

momofmeg February 23rd, 2010 04:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by felix_the_cat (Post 1276177)
I'm curious how your TA presented you amount. We paid $1,399 each plus tax of $251.99 for a total of $1,650.99US each. Now that is more than you paid obviously but there are variable to that. We were in a VA which I do not recommend and would never take again (too close to the front). However I am a TA and booked my own. My figures directly from Polar were the above with only the non-commissionables stated but included in the $1,399. You said you paid an extra tax? How did they bill you for that?

I don't have the bill anymore. I just know it was over $400 a person for tax. you paid it too. We booked a VF guarantee but were upgraded to a VA. We were in 8066. We could see the glass elevator from our balcony-no noise-but I figured that was why no one booked that room- people would be afraid of noise from the elevator.

As I said, the cruise along with port taxes was $1125 a person for a VF guarantee. It was my husband and I. Our total for the 2 of us was $2725. (looked it up on the VISA we paid with, to be sure I remembered correctly) we booked our own insurance, as our Travelguard policy was $50 less for the 2 of us, than what the agency offered.

Let's see-$1125 times 2 is $2250. So there was another $502 in taxes we paid. Now I know there is another tax you pay beside port taxes on all cruises, so I guess it was not all of the $251 a person was for going into the canal. But I do know that the cost of the canal was given to the PAX to pay in the form of an extra tax.

felix_the_cat February 23rd, 2010 06:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by momofmeg (Post 1276202)
I don't have the bill anymore. I just know it was over $400 a person for tax. you paid it too. We booked a VF guarantee but were upgraded to a VA. We were in 8066. We could see the glass elevator from our balcony-no noise-but I figured that was why no one booked that room- people would be afraid of noise from the elevator.

As I said, the cruise along with port taxes was $1125 a person for a VF guarantee. It was my husband and I. Our total for the 2 of us was $2725. (looked it up on the VISA we paid with, to be sure I remembered correctly) we booked our own insurance, as our Travelguard policy was $50 less for the 2 of us, than what the agency offered.

Let's see-$1125 times 2 is $2250. So there was another $502 in taxes we paid. Now I know there is another tax you pay beside port taxes on all cruises, so I guess it was not all of the $251 a person was for going into the canal. But I do know that the cost of the canal was given to the PAX to pay in the form of an extra tax.


Weird - it must have already been rolled into ours then. I'm not disputed it, just the way it is presented to different people I guess. We have the non-commissionables of course which is a seperate amount but was already rolled into the base cost. Strange the way Polar does it and the way it was presented to you. I guess it doesn't matter - it all comes out in the wash at the end of the day.

momofmeg February 23rd, 2010 06:29 PM

Oops Felix-it was $2752-I reverted the last 2 numbers-sorry.

CM March 2nd, 2010 08:32 PM

Does this mean the Jewel will no longer be doing the 10/11 day routes out of Miami?

felix_the_cat March 2nd, 2010 10:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CM (Post 1277805)
Does this mean the Jewel will no longer be doing the 10/11 day routes out of Miami?


The Jewel goes up to the canal but not into the canal. It ports in Cristobel and then heads back.

CM March 2nd, 2010 10:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by felix_the_cat (Post 1277855)
The Jewel goes up to the canal but not into the canal. It ports in Cristobel and then heads back.

I know that is what happens now, but does anyone know if that same cruise will be offered for the 2011-12 sailings?

When I look at the deployment schedule Panama is not listed. They mention 7 day Caribbean and short Caribbean. There is no mention of longer cruises doing the Caribbean.

felix_the_cat March 3rd, 2010 08:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CM (Post 1277861)
I know that is what happens now, but does anyone know if that same cruise will be offered for the 2011-12 sailings?

When I look at the deployment schedule Panama is not listed. They mention 7 day Caribbean and short Caribbean. There is no mention of longer cruises doing the Caribbean.

RCL has not released it's 2011 schedule yet. That should be started this week. So far I haven't seen anything but they don't call it Panama cruises anymore anyway.

momofmeg March 3rd, 2010 12:21 PM

I noticed that Celebrity does a few of these-Solstice? or is it Equinox? I forget the ship, but it goes to Colon and Costa Rica on a few of it's 10 day cruises.

I would not mind doing one of these cruises. Even though we did a partial Panama canal,we stayed on ship to see the locks both ways. I would like to go back and take either the train across Panama or else the ferry through all of the locks, unless I am fortunate enough to do a full tranist sometime. I figure this, though, would be more affordable, and so more likely that I will get to do sometime. :)

felix_the_cat March 3rd, 2010 02:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by momofmeg (Post 1277952)
I noticed that Celebrity does a few of these-Solstice? or is it Equinox? I forget the ship, but it goes to Colon and Costa Rica on a few of it's 10 day cruises.

I would not mind doing one of these cruises. Even though we did a partial Panama canal,we stayed on ship to see the locks both ways. I would like to go back and take either the train across Panama or else the ferry through all of the locks, unless I am fortunate enough to do a full tranist sometime. I figure this, though, would be more affordable, and so more likely that I will get to do sometime. :)

The Solstice does it. The Equinox is going to be doing "up to" the canal next winter.

We've taken the train across from Panama and enjoyed it but wouldn't be interested in doing it again. We didn't get off a Cristobel because, first, it was a container dock and extremely unappealing - we've been to Cristibal before and didn't care for it and 2) I spent half the day on the internet with a client who didn't seem to care I was on vacation. :(

We are doing the Equinox in December as it's doing a bit different (even though at this moment I can't remember exactly which port it is I wanted to see :rolleyes:). I also have meetings onboard her for that cruise. All in all - I have no problem heading back in that direction.

momofmeg March 3rd, 2010 05:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by felix_the_cat (Post 1277991)
The Solstice does it. The Equinox is going to be doing "up to" the canal next winter.

We've taken the train across from Panama and enjoyed it but wouldn't be interested in doing it again. We didn't get off a Cristobel because, first, it was a container dock and extremely unappealing - we've been to Cristibal before and didn't care for it and 2) I spent half the day on the internet with a client who didn't seem to care I was on vacation. :(

We are doing the Equinox in December as it's doing a bit different (even though at this moment I can't remember exactly which port it is I wanted to see :rolleyes:). I also have meetings on board her for that cruise. All in all - I have no problem heading back in that direction.

The ones I saw were very similar to the Jewel of the Seas ports. I would go on any of those ships.

seadog2 March 4th, 2010 12:30 AM

Wow, that's too bad about the Radiance she is my favorite ship. I don't think I'll be able to sail her before she leaves. How sad.

momofmeg March 4th, 2010 08:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by seadog2 (Post 1278091)
Wow, that's too bad about the Radiance she is my favorite ship. I don't think I'll be able to sail her before she leaves. How sad.

She will only be going out of Tampa for one season. That is why we went ahead and booked her.

felix_the_cat March 4th, 2010 10:45 AM

I guess Tampa is a stopover on the way to Australia (If I remember correctly) I should look her up.

momofmeg March 5th, 2010 04:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by felix_the_cat (Post 1278143)
I guess Tampa is a stopover on the way to Australia (If I remember correctly) I should look her up.

I think you are right. I don't think she will go back to Alaska after this summer.

This will be the first time I have been on a radiance class ship. We were supposed to do a transatlantic on Jewel of the seas in 2007, but several of the ship's cruises were rescheduled, (including the transatlantic) in order to do a dry dock in Europe. Instead of leaving form Harwich, England and going to la Havre, and Ireland, (in September 2007) before crossing to Canada, it would leave from Barcelona (October 2007) with only a stop in Fungal before crossing the Atlantic and ending in Miami. So, we switched to Celebrity Constellation, which was doing similar ports, as we wanted to go to Ireland and Canada.

If Jewel of the Seas had gone into the Panama canal this season, we probably would have booked her in January instead of the Zuiderdam, as we still wanted to do a cruise on her. We would have just booked the Westerdam some other time for Aruba and Curacao.

Anyway, now, we will get to go on her sister ship.


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