Ft. Lauderdale to Seattle, Great & Expectational Cruise
Panama Canal & Central America
Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
For those of you wanting something out of your next cruise, remember what you put into it is what you get from it. We booked this cruise the 1st week in February because of the itinerary thru the Panama Canal & our first time to the Pacific Ocean & Western US. We had used Cruise Critic (CC) Reviews from our Celebrity Millennium Southern Caribbean 11-day cruise in April of 2010 to plan our excursions on the 8 ports we stopped at. This time, we signed up for the Cruise Critic cruise boards to post on & review others comments & ideas. We were pleasantly surprised to have a few people that took the time to set up a web page just for our cruise & posts a ton of info on each port so as what to expect at each destination which proved valuable to us.
We were impressed from the time we boarded (Easiest ever to get on-board) to the morning we got off. What we expected was what we received & more.
1) Having a group of people thru CC web site knowing More
names,faces, where from, & cabin #'s & setting up excursions with them before the cruise & CC Connection meetings during the cruise made new friends.
2) A great group of new friends made from our 2nd seating Dinner time. Looked forward every night to dinner. An "Incredible Waiter staff to serve us (Thanks Ivan & Chong)
3) Having a great band in "Kathleen & The Saints" that found & played every dance tune we requested including the original "Paso Doble". It made every night fun to look forward to giving us a couple of hours every night to dance & again meet new dance friends. (As a side note we learned to dance at home 11 weeks before the cruise from DVD's bought from a dance studio website so we did not have to just sit & watch like most do on a cruise.)
4) Great food & entertainment most every night (nice variety)& great service throughout the cruise
5) Ease of getting on & off the ship at ports.
6) A very nice Gym to work out in every sea day.
7) A super room steward & assistant (Thanks Geme).
8) Great weather!!!!! Too bad can't give Celebrity credit for this. Less
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Cabin review: 102116
Great room #2116, Plenty of storage space & very comfortable for us. Love inside for no light to bother us & very quiet & peaceful. Greta room steward. Thanks, Geme, & even knew our names from the start. Always asking how our day was going. Very personable.
Port and Shore Excursions
Took a "tourbyvan.com" with Rudy (the owner). Did not have to pay until the end & had a great experience in what some said was unsafe to be there. We were very safe with Rudy & his assistant which took us first to the market where all the locals shop & walked for block after block to see how they have to food shop each day & to see all the mountains of food, vegetables, flowers much of it cooked in front of us (but not for us to eat). He the took us to the Cross Memorial where we had a fantastic view of the city. Then took us thru various neighborhoods of the city from poor to rich. then to the Cliff Divers for their show from the restaurant from above with a great view & with two drinks to go with the tour. after the tour went to a nice waterfront restaurant (La Cabana) where we enjoyed a nice lunch for reasonable price. Next to the Flamingo Hotel where many famous celebrities stayed & the to the old Casablanca hotel to look out over the city from the northwest side of the harbor. What a great tour for us in Acapulco which is like any other major city with its problem areas. A bad rap for this city that depends on tourism for its livelihood.
Took a walk first to the old church a few blocks into Cabo before our 11AM tour. We had a prearranged tour with "cabosanlucastours.net for a snorkel tour on the 100' tall ship "The Legend" for an hour ride to Chileno Bay for snorkel. There were 17 signed up to go but only 4 of us showed up for it & were treated to our own private ship with a crew of 6. Had the best lunch of the best guacamole dip, tuna spread, fruit & salad & all drinks. What an incredible experience for us. Went by Land's End, Lover's Beach, The Arch, & watched the Sea Lions catch the back of fishing boats for their meal as we headed back to Cabo.
Arrived in Cartagena & took a van tour to monastery above the city, fort,& to the walled old city & walk through to old church in the old city. Back to welcome center & parrots, Toucans & flamingos before boarding ship. Nice tour to do as we wanted for a low price each.
Took a tour with odysseytourscr.com to "Manuel Antonio Park & Beach Tour". Was a two hour drive by van with 8 us from our "Infinity". Found the 45 min walk thru the "rain forest"? (not!) on a stone drive with other cars driving thru to a beach that was without good changing rooms (at least an outside shower). My wife & I & one other decided to snorkel but was too rough & water very cloudy. The tour guide in charge did not even no which end of the beach to take us to to get a better snorkel site which was actually at the opposite end of the beach. Then a hot 45 minute walk back to the van where we stopped up the road to a very nice lunch at a cute thatched roof local restaurant with good mixed meat & rice dish. A couple of others had Sea Bass & Redfish for a few dollars extra which was great. After another 2 hour drive back to the ship was a long day. Did see from a distance monkeys, Toucans, & sloths but not what we expected in a rain forest tour. Pretty disappointed for the money.
What a beautiful city as our first time to visit. Enjoyed the double decker Pink Trolley Tour Bus around to Coronado Island & the famous hotel which is amazing. We then got back on the trolley, as 24 are in service to come every 30 minutes to all the stops, to go to Balboa Park. Again was amazing & need a couple of days to really see all. Went to Little Italy & Old Town before going back to the Cruise Terminal. Walked past the aircraft carrier "Midway" to see the "Kissing Statue" & was surprised by what was behind it with the tribute to Bob Hope & friends statues & soundtrack to the troops. What a nice experience.
Again found a bus tour to 6 stops around the city starting with a stop for us & walk to the Columbia Tower to view the Needle & surrounding city from the 73rd floor lookout. Pretty hazy so could not get any view of the mountain ranges. Then back on the bus to the base of the Space Needle, Pike's Market, & back to the Cruise Dock "Pier 66" to pick up our store luggage (only open to 3PM & $3 a bag to store). Took a Shuttle Express Van to the airport for an 11:50 PM red-eye flight home.