Panama Canal & Central America
We just went on the Panama Canal Cruise which began in Miami and ended in Los Angelos. We always wanted to go through the Panama Canal and it was well worth it. NCL was a great ship. Everything was immaculate and we liked the "freestyle cruising". We ate when we wanted to. The food was good. The dessert were okay, but could have been better. I enjoyed Costa Rica the best. It also seemed safer than the other ports in Mexico as they didn't have guards with guns all over the port. In Cabo San Luca , we went whale watching with one of the locals offering trips and it was very nice. I would go again. I highly recommend NCL.
The only two things that disappointed me was that my postcards, mailed in Huataluco never got to anyone and I have been home a few weeks already! The other problem was the photo shop set up in Cabo San Luco with the lion cubs where you have your picture taken with them. We gave them money and had out picture taken . Later we found out that this is a scam. They More
tell you the baby lions come from a reserve and this is to raise money for the reserve. It isn't true and there is no reserve. Please don't give your money to these people who exploit the baby animals and then get rid of them when they're too big. If I knew this beforehand, I never would have had the picture taken. The whole operation should be shut down. This is no reflection on NCL at all. The cruise ship is great!
We did do a Shore Excursion in Costa Rica to the Poas Volcano. It was very cloudy and misty and we couldn't see the volcano but they did say this may happen. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
I gave Acapulco a rating of 3 as it has some beautiful sites and shopping but is also overdeveloped and somewhat rundown. We went to see the famous cliff divers and it was well worth it. I got it all on video and I highly recommend that cruisers go there but take a taxi as the hills are very steep.
Cabo San Lucas was the most beautiful port we have been to. I highly recommend the whale watching trip which will take you out to the famous arch and there are sea lions on the rocks. We went with a local group and had a lot of fun. We also did shopping and walked around the old part of town. It is more American there as there is a McDonalds and some other Americain type stores. We did the whale watching first thing after getting to the port and had the rest of the day for shopping. As I said in my introduction, please don't go to the photo shops set up for picture taking with baby lion or tiger cubs. I found out later it is a scam and the cubs are not from a reserve at all . They are exploiting the poor animals and when they are too big, they get rid of them. And the rumor is that they are drugged to keep them docile for the pictures. It is a terrible scam and they should be shut down! Otherwise, everything else in the port was great. There are many water activities to do there but there is only so much time.
Cartegena was our first port after leaving Miami. We took a taxi to the old historical area and walked through the town. It was very interesting. I recommend the old Catholic Church as it is beautiful on the inside. I can't remember the name. We ran out of time but I wished we went to the monastery on top of the hill . Everyone said it was beautiful with a great view. It was very hot! Take a taxi to the fort and monastery as the walk is long and too difficult to get to the monastery
Punta Arenas in Costa Rica was our second stop. We got on a tour bus and didn't tour the town as we went to the Poas Volcano which takes about 2 hours to get there. It is an all day trip- about 7 hours. The countryside by bus is beautiful with mountains and farms all over. I wish we could have actually seen the volcano but it was completely shrouded in mist so that was a little dissappointing. Someone did inform us that many times you can't see it due to mist. Costa Rica does seem a lot safer than some of the other countries we visited. There were no guards with guns at the port. I would love to go back one day and spend more time there.