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Home > Member Reviews > Crusin Kelly's Port Reviews of Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Half Moon Cay, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Colon (Cristobal)

Crusin Kelly's Port Reviews of Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Half Moon Cay, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Colon (Cristobal)
Zuiderdam cruise in April 2012
Member Name: Crusin Kelly
Cruise Date: April 2012
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Member Review: Crusin Kelly's Zuiderdam Review
Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Not an official stop on the cruise, but we went in a day early. We took the river taxi on Easter Sunday past the behemoth yachts and the humongous houses --who are these people? Ate lunch at Mangos on Las Olas Blvd then had a margarita on the beach followed by dinner at Shooters... a very nice way to spend an afternoon.

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Half Moon Cay
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
A very well done island owned by Holland America -- The horseback riding was really fun, SPASH into the ocean we went! The horses looked to be well taken care of and the trainers were very helpful in getting us on and off.

We also did the Stingray encounter... the water there was pretty cloudy, but a really neat experience to get to feed them.

There was some confusion around the lunch area, the iced tea machines were not working well, nor were the ice dispensers... probably a way to sell more soda and drinks. Food was good, not great... good -- about what I expected.

The beach was really clean, and with 2 ships, was not really crowded at all.

The tendering process was well coordinated -- missed the cool towel and drink of water that the Noordam crew setup for their passengers....

Do not miss the rum punch at the "I wish I Could Stay Here Forever" Bar -- make it a double -- you won't regret it.

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Semi Sub Tour Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
The semi-submersible boat was interesting -- but most of the viewing of the submerged shipwreck was on the starboard side -- I was sitting on the port side and without standing up and trying to share the window with my fellow passenger, I would not have seen much.

The land portion was interesting, the California lighthouse, the fallen natural bridge and the smaller baby bridge, and the Casibari rock formations were sights to see.

Try a Balashi beer at the refreshment stand at the lighthouse -- brewed locally there in Aruba.

There were many resort hotels on the island that would make for a nice week's vacation.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We went on a snorkeling trip booked off-ship with Woodwind tours... Dee and her crew were great. She even had several prescription masks available for folks that wore glasses. They brought along a photographer that went along on our "dives". Dee was quick to point out all the interesting underwater formations and creatures that we saw. Safety was covered very well, "drowning is against company policy". 2 "dives" of about an hour each with food at the end and snack/drinks in between. A really good outing!

We negotiated a taxi tour at the souvenir tents at the dock to take us out to see the flamingos. Went to the salt flats in the South and Lake Gotomeer in the North and Rincon in the middle... saw every bit of that small island...

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Trolley Tour Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Took the Willemstad Trolley sightseeing excursion from the shore excursions desk -- best advantage to this was getting a taxi ride from the dock to the Punda side. The train ride passed the floating market, several restored homes including the "wedding cake house" and then made a photo stop at a beautiful church, known as the "Cathedral of Pietermaai" or Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. End of the ride was at Fort Amsterdam location of the Governor's Palace. We did some shopping and walked back across the Queen Emma pontoon bridge back to the ship. A 15 -20 minute walk -- longer if you stop to shop!

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Colon (Cristobal)
Panama Canal Tour Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
This was the reason we took the trip - to see the Panama Canal.

Panama -- a really long day that started too early. The time changed on the ship overnight, they forgot to set the wake-up call computer back... we were awakened an hour earlier that we had scheduled. Do not miss the Panama rolls served on all of the outside areas. We started watching the transit from our 5th floor forward portside balcony, and I couldn't take it anymore, I had to go to the bow to see the gates open - A really cool experience in the heat of Panama.

Since we were scheduled on the Canal Experience excursion midway through the 2nd lock we had to go get breakfast -- after all, we had been up now for 5 hours. After scarfing that down, I was up on deck 10 by the time we entered Gatun Lake.

EVERYONE was on a tour...therefore EVERYONE was in the Vista Lounge for their turn at the tenders. The tenders got us off to the yacht club and awaiting busses quickly and efficiently. Upon arrival at the ferry boat dock about an hour's bus ride away, we were told that they had to add a 2nd boat to accommodate all the passengers... we were assigned to the smaller boat -- only had 84 passengers and had a really great lunch... glad not to have had to fight for space on the larger ferry with over 200 folks fighting for a space. Started at the bridge of Americas and ended at the Pacific ocean through the Pedro Miguel lock and the 2 Miraflores locks -- got to touch the sides of the 100 year old locks... pretty cool.

Panama City is quite the modern city compared to the other Panama, the 3rd world dirty trashy place I had expected.

Panama is checked off the list -- no need to go back there.

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Puerto Limon
Zipline & Canals Adventure Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Greenway Tours took us to the zip line at Cedar Valley Ranch, the Del Monte banana plantation and a Tortugero canal boat tour.

First time to zip line -- it certainly won't be our last! ! The crew there was very accommodating, one of the fellows even HELD a poisonous dart frog to show us. Seven lines - longest was 550 meters.

After a really quick informative stop at the banana processing plant we arrived at the small boat dock for our canal tour.... We saw howler monkeys, spider monkeys and a sloth along with a caiman, iguana, and several types of herons. I expected a bit more, but a very good tour.

We will go back to Costa Rica someday to see more of their jungle.

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