Go Back   CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums > Practical Advice > Travel Gripes!
Register Forgot Password?

Travel Gripes! Gripe about cruises or getting to one.(airlines, taxis)

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old April 9th, 2009, 04:03 PM
Senior Member
Cruise Maniac
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 212
Default Cartagena Columbia

Just got back from Panama canal cruise. Stop at Cartagena was the worst port I have been in. Paid for a tour and the whole time had to fight off vendors that would not take no for an answer. They followed people around like puppies and touched you, grabbed you, and got right in your face to sell crap. Our tour guide also contributed by stopping at his friends for cigars, tee shirts, paintings, cold drinks, emeralds, photos of fruit carrying locals and the finest silver plated steel jewelry.

I for one will never get off the ship at this port again.

On the other hand, Costa Rica has been cleaned up and the stop there was enjoyable this time. I did not see any military with auto weapons on every street corner and did not see all the trash we seen the last time we were there. I also did not see people getting fleeced looking for imaginary monkeys in the trees. Also the town was just cleaned up. I enjoyed walking around and looking around. Felt safe.

Panama was great except the land fill was on fire and the ship had to float through the smoke. Other than that we did the train to the Pacific and the bus ride back. Had a great guide and the trip was nice. I enjoyed this port and the trip through the locks.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #2 (permalink)  
Old April 9th, 2009, 06:12 PM
richstacy's Avatar
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Denver Colorado, USA
Posts: 1,413
Default

The vendors are obnoxious to be sure, but the Spanish Fort is truly one of the marvels of the Western Hemisphere. Not to be missed by any educated person.

Re Costa Rica, depends on where you go. Some of the monkeys and crocodiles etc. are definitely NOT imaginary.
__________________
RichStacy
Landlocked in Denver, but cruisin every chance we get.

Polynesia, Carib. '86
Cr. Odyssey, Scandinavia, '91, 30 Day S Pac. 2002
Crystal Harm, Aust., N.Z., '94
Royal Odyssey, AK,'96
Old Cr. Pr. Canal, '97
RCCL, Carib, 1998
Volendam, Car, 2000
Ryndam, 35 day S. Am., Antarctica, '03
Is. Pr., Canal, 2004
Statendam, 34 day China, Japan, AK '06
Cr.Pr., Carib. 08
Eurodam, Atlantic, Med. '10
Golden Princess
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old April 10th, 2009, 10:57 PM
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,260
Send a message via MSN to belgique
Default

Have been to both places several times. In 1998, on the Regal Princess, a warming was issued by the U.S. State Department and slipped under every cabin door saying that "conditions in Colombia indicate that foreign visitors are not always welcome and we urge extreme caution while traveling in Colombia", or words to that effect. This was a smart move by Princess to give people a choice whether to disembark or not. I did not go ashore that time.

I have gone ashore in Cartagena 3 other times and yes, it is a marvelous, gorgeous city. If you can steel yourself against the vendors and just block them out if they do not look like they will cause you physical harm, it is worth a ship-sponsored tour to see the magnificent walled city. I would not venture out on a tour unless it was through the cruiseline.

Costa Rica was wonderful when I first went there in 1994 and has only improved. The people of Costa Rica are some of the warmest, kindest, happiest people I've met anywhere in the world.
belgique
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old May 18th, 2009, 02:17 PM
Triton's Avatar
Senior Member
Captain
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: SFO - Bay Area
Posts: 586
Default

Will be sailing on my first Panama cruise in September, thanks for the information to the OP and the other posters.

The Spanish Fort sounds very intersting, we've enjoyed visiting many forts on our journeys (the last one in Morrocco!).

Would any of you be kind to recommend any other "must" sees? If it matters, I'll be on the =X=, Infinity late September.

Thank you!
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old May 18th, 2009, 09:06 PM
richstacy's Avatar
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Denver Colorado, USA
Posts: 1,413
Default

triton, there is one thing: The canal itself is a wonderful experience
__________________
RichStacy
Landlocked in Denver, but cruisin every chance we get.

Polynesia, Carib. '86
Cr. Odyssey, Scandinavia, '91, 30 Day S Pac. 2002
Crystal Harm, Aust., N.Z., '94
Royal Odyssey, AK,'96
Old Cr. Pr. Canal, '97
RCCL, Carib, 1998
Volendam, Car, 2000
Ryndam, 35 day S. Am., Antarctica, '03
Is. Pr., Canal, 2004
Statendam, 34 day China, Japan, AK '06
Cr.Pr., Carib. 08
Eurodam, Atlantic, Med. '10
Golden Princess
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old May 28th, 2009, 05:21 PM
Triton's Avatar
Senior Member
Captain
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: SFO - Bay Area
Posts: 586
Default

Thanks Richstacy. I was actually pondering whether to get off the ship to explore, than rejoin the passengers at Cristobal.

I have a nice veranda booked, on deck 9 with a larger bump-out balcony. I think we'll stay on board and watch the canal go by.
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old May 28th, 2009, 06:10 PM
richstacy's Avatar
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Denver Colorado, USA
Posts: 1,413
Default

If you've never done it, or if you have any interest in mechanical things or engineering, you will be totally fascinated
__________________
RichStacy
Landlocked in Denver, but cruisin every chance we get.

Polynesia, Carib. '86
Cr. Odyssey, Scandinavia, '91, 30 Day S Pac. 2002
Crystal Harm, Aust., N.Z., '94
Royal Odyssey, AK,'96
Old Cr. Pr. Canal, '97
RCCL, Carib, 1998
Volendam, Car, 2000
Ryndam, 35 day S. Am., Antarctica, '03
Is. Pr., Canal, 2004
Statendam, 34 day China, Japan, AK '06
Cr.Pr., Carib. 08
Eurodam, Atlantic, Med. '10
Golden Princess
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old May 30th, 2009, 10:32 PM
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: MA
Posts: 1,768
Default CARTEGENA

TRITON.... it is a wonderful port.. we spent a week there many years ago and I loved going back.. First before you leave the terminal check out the prices on the leather belts and silk hand crotched or macrame shawls..You can either get a guide/driver when you leave the terminal or check the postings for private guides.. The Old City is a miracle in itself. it was left to flounder and the owners rebuilt their homes and the area.. behind all those heavy wooden doors are/were lovely restaurants.. I could wander around there forever. You might want to see La Popa..and of couse the stupid fort.. Parrot Pop knows the exact name (Don Blas Lalazer), but there is a statue of a soldier who fought after they cut off a foot, then an arm...and so on. lol Our favorite place is The Dungeons.. now here you will get high pressure, but in between the high pressure and the junk are those shawls and I think they are made by women in prison.. the idea is that you want the silk or macrame..and bargain hard.. The vedors are outside and are very aggressive.. One day Ill tell you about an"antiquity" that Parrot Pop broke.. the driver begged us to go back to the cab.. but I insisted there was a primative mask I wanted. By the time I got the mask the cab was surrounded by soldiers and vendors.. An american speakig gentleman said we did not break an antiquity.. w paid the girl $50.00 and ran for our lives.. with our camers underneath us.. Oh yes..I love Cartegena..
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old May 31st, 2009, 11:14 PM
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,260
Send a message via MSN to belgique
Default

Parrott Mom has it right. One man's junk is another man's treasure and all the rest of those sayings.

Yes, the Walled City of Cartagena is wonderful, exotic, exciting and inticing. Getting there can be somewhat annoying, if not downright dangerous.

Point of this post is that shortly after 9/11/01, I was scheduled to fly from my home in northern Michigan, to Detroit, to New York, to Genoa to board a trans-Atlantic cruise westbound to Lauderdale. I phoned an old friend in Manhattan and said I was apprehensive about flying that "far from home", alone.

He said, "You are not safe anywhere, so you might as well go everywhere". Words I have taken to heart and told to dozens of people. No point in being careless, traveling or at home, but no point in missing this wonderful world and it's interesting people.

Just do it!
belgique
Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old June 1st, 2009, 10:56 AM
Triton's Avatar
Senior Member
Captain
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: SFO - Bay Area
Posts: 586
Default

Thanks Parrot Mom and Belgique I've learned quite a bit from all of you on this post, and from the original OP.

We'll have to do the fort. I'm sure this is nothing like Acapulco, but man alive, when we were there a few years back, we spent so much energy fighting them off! Honestly, it was a wall of locals, pulling and pleading...so I'll combine my memory of that with caution for potential danger. Thanks for the head's up. I am looking forward to seeing it and will certainly do a ship-sponsored tour.

Belgique, I like your motto and if you don't mind, would like adapt that. It's very positive-thinking and so true
Reply With Quote
  #11 (permalink)  
Old June 1st, 2009, 11:37 PM
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,260
Send a message via MSN to belgique
Default

Triton: You are most welcome to use the "motto". I makes a lot of sense. And I'm happy you are going to experience Cartagena - you will not regret it.

Happy to be of help and welcome to this wonderful group!

belgique
Reply With Quote
  #12 (permalink)  
Old October 22nd, 2009, 12:15 AM
Senior Member
First Mate
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 407
Default

I recently did the Panama Canal Cruise on the NCL Pearl. When we docked in Colombia, the captain warned us to use extreme caution in this port.

We chose a ships tour of this city, which included a horse & carriage tour of the old city. The guide was very informative. I noticed that we had a police escort while we were in the carriages.

The peddlars were in our faces. We could not wait to get back to the ship.
Reply With Quote
  #13 (permalink)  
Old October 22nd, 2009, 12:55 AM
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: MA
Posts: 1,768
Default CARTEGENA

Many years ago we spent a week in Cartegena and we fell in love with it even going with friends out to the countryside. .A few years back six of us were on the NCL Sky and took a private tour with a cabbie and had a ball.. Maybe it's because I seem to thrive in that atmosphere, maybe because Parrot Pop speaks a bit of spanish (tourista) But I never felt unsafe there.. as for the soldiers..they were there to protect us...and I love now the Old City that has been resurrected by owners of the homes there.. Did you know behind many of those big gates are wonderful restaurants.. Surprisingly the vendors didn't bother me.. I just told them."tarde".. but it was one of the shop girls that gave us grief. I will always consider any cruise that goes to Cartegena.. but that's what makes us all different..
Reply With Quote
  #14 (permalink)  
Old October 23rd, 2009, 09:42 PM
nlb1050's Avatar
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Fort Pierce, FL
Posts: 1,655
Default

First, Triton what ddi you you in Cartegena?

Second we were there in April and we took a tour from the dock and loved it. Our guide told us before we got to the fort that the best way to avoid the vendors there and elsewher was not to look them in the face and it worked. WE loved the walking tour thru the old city, absolutely beautiful.

In Pananma our ship did not enter the canal but they offered a tour that took us by bus to a ferry and then rode the ferry thru the canal to the Pacific. Becaude the ferries have to wit for any large ships before the locks can be closed and emptied it took much longer than the planned time and we ended up leaving 3 hours later than planned.
__________________
Nancy



Guadeloupe Accommodations



Star Princess 2005, Sun Princess 2005
Caribbean Princess 2006, MSC Lirica 2006 , NCL Pearl 2007, Majesty of the Seas 2008, Carnival Destiny 2008, MSC Lirica 2009, Carnival Valor 2009,Carnival Legend 2010, Carnival Liberty 2010,Carnival Fantsay 2011,Carnival Valor Feb 2012, MSC Poesia Dec 2012, MSC Poesia April 2013, Carnival Legend Nov 2013, MSC DIVINA Jan 2014
Reply With Quote
  #15 (permalink)  
Old November 6th, 2009, 05:26 PM
Triton's Avatar
Senior Member
Captain
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: SFO - Bay Area
Posts: 586
Default

Hi Nancy, sorry for the late reply. For some reason I wasn't notified after your post.

We absolutely loved the Panama Canal cruise on =X=. Have to tell you we were a bit apprehensive getting off in Cartegena, but we did and had a great excursion. We did what was called, "Deluxe Cartegena". No, it wasn't a European tour traipsing through castles, but we did see the Spanish Fort and thought it was so amazing! Our small coach took us through town as well, and we also stopped at the Inquisition Palace, the tour there was a couple of hours.

Our final stop in Cartegena was a small shopping center, where emeralds, coffee and other artisan crafts were sold.

Celebrity and our tour operator made it very clear to NOT look at or engage in any conversation at all, with the street vendors. We didn't, but there were a couple who did and they were sorry, ! Our tour operator stopped by one of his "friends" or family member's kiosk and he sold coffee, etc., but it wasn't a hard sell.

Personally, I found the street "merchants" in Acapuulco to be far more pushy and insistent.

The Panama Canal was awesome! So very glad we stayed on the ship for our first transit through!

Thanks for asking, Nancy! 8)

PS- I posted a review on Cruisemates.
Reply With Quote
  #16 (permalink)  
Old November 6th, 2009, 05:50 PM
nlb1050's Avatar
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Fort Pierce, FL
Posts: 1,655
Default

Triton, thanks for the reply. I will have to check out your review.
__________________
Nancy



Guadeloupe Accommodations



Star Princess 2005, Sun Princess 2005
Caribbean Princess 2006, MSC Lirica 2006 , NCL Pearl 2007, Majesty of the Seas 2008, Carnival Destiny 2008, MSC Lirica 2009, Carnival Valor 2009,Carnival Legend 2010, Carnival Liberty 2010,Carnival Fantsay 2011,Carnival Valor Feb 2012, MSC Poesia Dec 2012, MSC Poesia April 2013, Carnival Legend Nov 2013, MSC DIVINA Jan 2014
Reply With Quote
  #17 (permalink)  
Old November 16th, 2009, 09:33 PM
Senior Member
Admiral
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,404
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by pipefit View Post
Just got back from Panama canal cruise. Stop at Cartagena was the worst port I have been in. Paid for a tour and the whole time had to fight off vendors that would not take no for an answer. They followed people around like puppies and touched you, grabbed you, and got right in your face to sell crap. Our tour guide also contributed by stopping at his friends for cigars, tee shirts, paintings, cold drinks, emeralds, photos of fruit carrying locals and the finest silver plated steel jewelry.

I for one will never get off the ship at this port again.

On the other hand, Costa Rica has been cleaned up and the stop there was enjoyable this time. I did not see any military with auto weapons on every street corner and did not see all the trash we seen the last time we were there. I also did not see people getting fleeced looking for imaginary monkeys in the trees. Also the town was just cleaned up. I enjoyed walking around and looking around. Felt safe.

Panama was great except the land fill was on fire and the ship had to float through the smoke. Other than that we did the train to the Pacific and the bus ride back. Had a great guide and the trip was nice. I enjoyed this port and the trip through the locks.
Same thing happened to us a couple years ago. Beach Break Tour Cartagena . We were swarmed the whole time there. When we returned to Ship, we complained and received a refund for the tour. Worst port ever!!!!!

This year we are doing a land vacation in Aruba.
__________________
Rick












Reply With Quote
  #18 (permalink)  
Old November 27th, 2009, 09:49 PM
Member
Passenger
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 34
Default

What I found most interesting in Cartegena was that the police seemed to be carrying simple revolvers and the private security guards at almost every store had 14 round semi's
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
area, cartagela, cartagena, cartenga, columbia, cruise, cruses, exotic, forum, leather, photos, port, safe, ship, shop, tours, walking

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cartagena, Columbia cruisequeen Caribbean & Panama Canal 11 March 15th, 2008 11:08 AM
WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE IN CARTAGENA, COLUMBIA? Boiler Cuiser Caribbean & Panama Canal 7 January 21st, 2008 05:22 PM
Cartagena, Columbia JGF Ask CruiseMates Staff 5 July 9th, 2005 12:07 AM
cartagena, columbia noslen3333 Caribbean & Panama Canal 1 September 26th, 2003 05:31 AM
Cartagena, Columbia So.Am. Vicki C South America 1 March 26th, 2001 08:16 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 12:54 PM.
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