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Home > Member Reviews > irenechambers2012's Port Reviews of St. Lucia, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, Punta Arenas, Acapulco

irenechambers2012's Port Reviews of St. Lucia, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, Punta Arenas, Acapulco
Oceana cruise in January 2011
Member Name: irenechambers2012
Cruise Date: January 2011
Embarkation: Barbados
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Member Review: irenechambers2012's Oceana Review
St. Lucia
Port Rating: 2.0 out of 5+
This was our first port of call having arrived into Barbados for the cruise the evening before and set sail for St Lucia arriving in the morning. As still a bit tired from the flight we had already decided that we would just take a walk round Castries, which to be fair was not very exciting. Came back to the port area and had a drink in the bar in the shopping area which was cheap and met some others from the cruise for a chat.



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Grenada
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
We did not book a trip with the cruise ship and decided to do our own thing. On entering the "terminal" we were approached by one of the various taxi drivers and was offer a tour for US$20 each but would need to have a party of 8 to do this. The taxi driver found the remaining people very quickly and we soon set off with "Cutty" on a tour of Grenada. We saw the general sights and Cutty was very knowledgeable on plant life and would frequently stop to pick us some fruit or leaves and explain what they were used for. The trip took around 5 hours and we were back on ship for 2pm although we could have stayed in the port town if we had wished. The island was particularly crowded as there were 4 large cruise ships in port on the same day.


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Bonaire
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Very pleasant port area with a local craft market taking place which sold a number of interesting items. Took a walk round the port town after booking a tour of the North side of the Island for US$25 as there was a wait. Unfortunately there was still quite a wait once we returned and it was really hot so not so good. We finally got in the minibus with Hank and set off on the tour. Had a brief stop at "1,000 steps" and then on to the flamingos - however this did not happen as the flamingo lake was flooded and they were not there but had not been told beforehand. Went through the main town and didn't stop. Then carried on to a viewing point which was inland and although this was good not very much there, stopped for a comfort break and drink at a local cafe. Drove back and saw a few flamingos at a small piece of water not far from the main port but didn't stop.

Disappointed with the trip but you take your chances and I am not sure if other trips north fared any better.

The harbour water though has a lot of fish which you can see by just walking down the promenade so if you are not particularly interested in going snorkelling this might be a better option.



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Aruba
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Took a taxi to Palm Beach where we rented a couple of sunloungers and an umbrella, spent a good few hours sunbathing and people watching on the beach. The sea was blue and sand white as you would expect in the Caribbean. Although due to recent weather the sea was not as clear as it could be. Returned to the ship and just had a quick look round the local shops.



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Punta Arenas
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
We had organised one of the cruise ship excursions in Punta Arenas as we particularly wanted to go on the aerial skywalks. Firstly we went to the Pura Vida Gardens which is about an hour or more drive mainly up a winding road, which were lovely but a lot of steps if you have difficulty walking. Had a view of the local waterfall from a viewing point and saw a couple of macaws in flight. Lunch was at the restaurant in the grounds and this was very good, a good choice of both food and drinks. If you want to shop do so here as we spotted quite a few things much more expensive than the stuff in this shop.

Then we drove to the aerial skywalks and to be fair I was disappointed as expected to see much more wildlife, generally only saw very small birds and lots of leaf cutter ants. It is quite a walk along forest track and lots of steps downhill which is mentioned in the excursion information.

Stopped then at a cultural village for a drink and some fruit which was welcoming and had a look round the local shops.

On the way back we tried to spot some of the scarlet macaws in an area where they are known but only managed to find one. Then on a road bridge on the way back we crossed by foot and saw loads of crocodiles in the estuary area, fabulous.



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Acapulco
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
It would be fair to say that this is a dying cruise destination. There is a lot of gangland killings at the moment (3 the night before we arrived) and lots of police presence. Although this did not affect us it seems it has stopped a lot of tourists coming to Acapulco so there is a lot of rundown areas.

We had booked a tour with "tour by van" which we had arranged before we left on the cruise. The tour was excellent although the van could have been in better condition. Our guide Hector took us to the local market, very interesting and saw local life. Then visited Chapel of Peace & Love, excellent and fantastic views, then on to the Los Flamingos Hotel, pity we did not have more time here but lovely hotel with fantastic views.

The "cliff divers" were next and the tour included ordinary entry to the public viewing areas, we found an excellent viewpoint just on the right hand side as you walk down the steps just down from the divers changing room, there was even a bit of shade. The show lasts about 20/30 minutes but you have to be there approx 20 minutes beforehand so a lot of standing around if this is a problem. It was suggested we tip the divers about US$1 per person.

On our tour we also stopped at a number of "vista" points to see the view which were all excellent.

Was taken to a local restaurant on a beach for lunch - your choice of food and drink which you paid for individually. No rush over lunch just when we had finished. We then took in the local cathedral before returning to the ship.



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