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Home > Member Reviews > KittyMeowit's Port Reviews of Half Moon Cay, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Colon (Cristobal), Puerto Limon

KittyMeowit's Port Reviews of Half Moon Cay, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Colon (Cristobal), Puerto Limon
Zuiderdam cruise in April 2012
Member Name: KittyMeowit
Cruise Date: April 2012
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Member Review: KittyMeowit's Zuiderdam Review
Half Moon Cay
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
We used this first port on H.A.'s private island in the Bahamas as a relaxing beach day. It is an absolutely beautiful island with white sand a clear blue water (although a little cold) and with it being a privately owned island there is no local vendors asking you to purchase their things. There was another ship using the island the same day which made it slightly more crowded than we would like: we could not find an empty beach chair the first half of the day. We did enjoy the island barbecue hosted by H.A..

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Sunset Cruise Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We booked a tour independently through Blue Melody on the Black Pearl. We took a taxi to the Marriott Surf Club and hung out on the beach and had a drink at the local restaurant until it was time for our sunset sail. The beach was beautiful and the water was warm. The cost of our tour through Blue Melody was $50 a person and could be paid with cash or credit card. There were only about 12-16 people on our tour which was nice and it lasted about three hours. We stopped at two places to snorkel and there were big tropical fish to be seen. My husband even filmed some squid swimming around! The crew from Blue Melody were very nice and provided both beverages as well as delicious sandwiches. We had rum punch and each ate three sandwiches (two tomato, cheese and italian spice sandwiches and one grilled cheese that was made with Gouda and garlic bread) soooooo good! We also got the beautiful Aruba sunset that we were hoping for. After the cruise ended we were emailed a link to a free video they had taken during our tour. Altogether a very good value and highly recommended.

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Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
There were, in our opinion, not a ton of exciting tour options available through the ship so we decided to go to the Bonaire Donkey Sanctuary I had read about on the CC boards. When we got off the ship we stopped by the information desk and asked how to get there and he directed us to a nearby stand where the woman who founded the sanctuary was sitting at. She informed us that unfortunately, without our own car it was difficult to get there since most taxi drivers would not take passengers out there since they do not like the donkeys (of course this seems strange to us because we figure the taxi drivers should only care about the fare we would pay them and not the destination). Eventually she did point out a newer taxi driver on the island that would likely drive us. We asked and he said for $12 he would drive us there. When we arrived we purchased a bag of carrots to feed the donkeys and paid for admission as well as giving a little extra as a donation. We learned quite a lot: About 430 donkeys live in the sanctuary, most of which were mistreated, neglected or abused. They had recently acquired a mother and baby donkey that were abused after fighting for a long time for them. Approximately 130 donkeys remain on the island outside of the sanctuary and they are always trying to get each one. They do spay or neither each donkey that they have to ensure the population does not continue expanding. The staff of this place have huge hearts and genuinely love these animals. One employee stated that Marena's heart was "in the shape of a donkey" (the founder). They are constantly fighting opposition to their live saving work from the government and citizens of Bonaire because they see the donkeys as a nuisance and not worth saving. We enjoyed petting and feeding these sweet animals and many ran up to us like we would expect from dogs. Others were obviously a bit more scared of humans because what they had gone though. After the tour we needed to get back to the port and unfortunately the only way was for an employee to drive us back.

The port area did have a lot of craft stands for shopping and we stopped at a local cafe for gelato and lattes which was delicious.

If you are an animal lover I would highly suggest going out to the Donkey Sanctuary and supporting their worthwhile cause!

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Aquarium Rating: 2.0 out of 5+
Booked the Sea Aquarium through the cruise line. We took a pre paid taxi that dropped us off at the aquarium. The description when we booked did not seem to match what we got. There was no formal, informative tour. Instead there were a couple dozen aquariums with different fish in them, one with sea turtles and a pen with flamingos in it. We enjoyed the dolphin and sea lion show but in between them we were actually really bored. Our aquarium in Minnesota was actually quite a bit more impressive so we felt like our money was wasted here. There were quite a few cute shops back by the port to shop for souvenirs.

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Colon (Cristobal)
Port Rating: 2.0 out of 5+
We did not book an excursion for Panama since they were all well over $100 a person and did not seem all that interesting to us so we stayed on the ship and watched it going through the locks which was neat. We stopped in Colon for only a few hours and it appeared that there were only a couple of small dirty shops in the port. Fellow passengers on the ship confirmed this but did state that they really enjoyed visiting the Indian Village.

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Puerto Limon
The Tortuguero Canals Rating: 5+ out of 5+
Booked independently with Your Lucky Tours. Eduardo from the tour company was waiting for us outside of the cruise terminal as promised. Our tour was $45 a person which was very reasonable and there were only six of us on the tour. We had stopped at a local fruit stand where we got to try fingerling bananas which are smaller than average and sweeter than normal. Our next stop was at the Del Monte banana plantation which was really fascinating. We got to learn the process of harvesting bananas and were amazed with the enormous amount of manual labor involved. We then stopped for a boat tour at the Tortuguero Canals where we got to see quite a few animal varieties: sloths, iguanas and birds. Finally we stopped at Playa Bonita for pictures on the beach as well as an overlook of the city. The wonderful thing about booking through an independent company, besides the small tour sizes, was the fact that we made a couple of impromptu stops when they noticed howler monkeys in the trees or when we passed ylang ylang trees to smell the blossoms. In addition, Eduardo took us to a grocery store in the city where we stopped for coffee, candy and salsa shopping. He advised us of all of the best brands to purchase before bringing us back to the ship. Absolutely great value and highly recommended!

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