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Home > Member Reviews > clmom's Port Reviews of Aruba, Cartagena (Colombia), Colon (Cristobal), Puerto Limon, Grand Cayman

clmom's Port Reviews of Aruba, Cartagena (Colombia), Colon (Cristobal), Puerto Limon, Grand Cayman
Island Princess cruise in December 2011
Member Name: clmom
Cruise Date: December 2011
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Member Review: clmom's Island Princess Review
Aruba
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
New Year's Day. Very few shops open. A very short stop so we just walked around a bit.

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Cartagena (Colombia)
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We took a Princess tour of the old town and fortress. We had a wonderful guide who spoke very good English so it was interesting and informative. This was a tour with a lot of walking, some of it with quite a strenuous uphill slope. The tour ticket says as much in great, big, capital letters. Why then would an elderly couple with obvious mobility issues choose this tour?? You can guess what happened. 30 feet up the first incline they announced they could travel no further. The guide handled it quite well, finding a place where they could sit and wait for the rest of us so we would could all continue on. We have learned you only go as fast as the slowest person in the group so we generally try to organize private tours. We didn't feel quite as brave in Cartegena as we have never been there before and it has such a reputation for drug cartels and the like. In the end it worked out just fine. The buses used were small (22 passenger) and we all got earphones that allowed us to hear everything our guide said.
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Colon (Cristobal)
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
I couldn't find a port listing for Panama Canal so I will use Colon since that is where we met the ship after our Princess tour took us through the Pacific locks on a ferry.

You can't get off the ship if you are not on a Princess sponsored tour so we had no other choice here. Princess did a good job with this one so we were happy. After going through the Gatun locks, we tendered off the ship to meet our bus. We drove through the Panama countryside for about an hour before meeting our ferry. Princess had taken over the ferry boat and it was full but ample room to move around. We served a very nice lunch, buffet style and there were huge tubs of water bottles and soda. Beer was available for purchase. We had a port guide who kept up a lively and informative narrative the entire transit.

We were so close to the walls of the locks we could reach out and touch them...quite a different view and experience than from the deck of a large cruise ship. Very cool.

Bus back to Colon to meet the ship allowed us to have a little nap.

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Puerto Limon
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
We did a private tour, organized by one of our Roll Call members, with Okie Dokey Tours. Our tour included zip lining, banana plantation, canal trip, lunch at a beach and a wonderful impromptu roadside stop (probably friends or family of our guide) to sample and learn about the variety of fruits in Costa Rica. There were 8 of us at a cost of $76 pp. We had a clean, air conditioned van and a friendly, knowledgeable guide who provided us with bottled water all day. Do the comparison with a Princess organized tour and you will understand why we try to do private tours! It was a very fun day and I can now check off zip lining on my bucket list! Did I mention that it rains in the RAIN FOREST??? Ha!

We are not big shoppers but felt the best shopping for souvenir type gifts was at this port. There is a huge tent-like structure just beyond the dock with tons of vendors.

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Grand Cayman
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We decided to do this port on our own and go to the beach. One reason is that there were 5 large cruise ships in port and we thought the usual tour venues would be mobbed. After leaving the ship and walking down the dock, we encountered several independent tour operators, taxis and van drivers offering everything from guided tours of the island to point to point taxi fares. We opted for a van that offered a set price ($4 pp) to take us to the 7 Mile Beach area. There were several hotel drop off options, with farther away hotels costing a bit more. We decided to be let off at a beach "resort" (The Royal??) mid way down the beach which charged a $2 pp entrance fee to enjoy the pool facilities and beach. This proved to be a great deal as the pool, bar, grill, and beach were great and we had a wonderful day just relaxing. We also introduced our friends to delicious Conch fritters prepared at the grill there. Later in the day we stopped by Margaritaville in town (what a huge place that is!!) and ordered Conch fritters again and were very disappointed.

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