Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Our 2nd cruise, we weren't disappointed. After a long flight from London via JFK New York to Fort Lauderdale,( we'd fly direct next time) we arrived at the Hilton FLL Marina. Hotel did the job, nothing exceptional, transfer to ship the following morning was efficient.
Went to Equinox theatre every evening, standard generally good and varied. Gym well equipped, seminars informative - I went to all 3 but info given basically the same. My husband attended talks by a guest speaker which were good. Other on board entertainment was varied with plenty to suit everyone. However, I wouldn't recommend this cruise for older children as there didn't seem to be much for them to do and the guests were mainly 55+. Only negative to report was the slowness of the Internet on board and the price. One e-mail cost us $23, for 10 minutes. In Cozumel it was $1 for 30 minutes at an Internet cafe. Less
Embarkation was quick & efficient and we were soon enjoying our lunch in Oceanview cafe. Excellent choice of healthy and less healthy options. We ate here for breakfast and lunch every day. Lovely choice of fresh fruit, salads and hot choices such as curries, stir fry and Thai, pizzas and pasta.Omelettes very good at breakfast and an excellent range of ice creams and sorbets served either in a bowl or cone. We didn't take any of the drink packages as there was always tea, coffee and fruit juices in several varieties available 24/7. Ate in Silhouette Restaurant all but one night. Food excellent at beginning but dropped off v slightly towards end of cruise. Didn't eat in speciality restaurants. More
Brunch offered on one at sea day was out of this world. Service by the crew was excellent throughout -we enjoyed trying to spot the number of nationalities on board. We were told by Dru the cruise director there were 60. We got to over 30!
Elvis our stateroom attendant was very good, also his colleague whose name escapes me. Loved the dog made out of a towel and wearing my sunglasses!
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Port and Shore Excursions
Picked up a local taxi outside the pier area - shared with 2 others so $10 each. Too far to walk in 90 degrees heat/humidity. Return trip was quoted as $15 for 2 but we offered $20 and he took the $5 as a tip and refused to give change. Went to the old town which was worth seeing as we weren't interested in shopping. A few beggars but generally well maintained. Interesting buildings and churches although some charge for entry.Also a fort - entry charge.
Colon itself was very industrial. Picked up a bus for the excursion. Town of Colon very tatty and run down. Picked up the boat at the middle of the Panama Canal and travelled through 2 sets of locks to the Pacific end. Trip was interesting - guide on board very knowledgeable. Lunch on board a bit disappointing as there were 300 people and it was a bit chaotic. Free water and soft drinks all trip, alcoholic drinks extra. Overall worth the cost.
Very disappointed. Nothing of interest unless you book and excursion.
Market full of the usual tourist souvenirs. Walked into town which was pleasant. Scooters available to hire but we didn't have our driving licences.
Easy to walk around as not far from pier. We looked around but not much to buy unless you are looking for diamonds, emeralds or watches. Went on Atlantis submarine which went down to 117' . Coral and varieties of fish interesting. Guide provided to help guests identify them. Also spotted a turtle. May have been worth hiring a local taxi to the next beach.
Puerto Limon was quite easy to look around and not far to walk from pier. Stopped in a local bar for a beer. Market had a much wider variety of purchases and some were of better quality than in either of the Mexican resorts. I bought a mahogany salad bowl with lid and server for $18. Bus trip before tractor ride - all the local people both children and adults waved at us. Tractor ride through rain forest was excellent. Our driver stopped several times to show us the flora and fauna - banana flowers, cocoa pods, poison arrow frog, spider, termite mound, bullet ants. He also stopped and we got out to walk around a raised walkway where he pointed out a sloth high up in the tree. Free fresh fruit and coffee at the end.