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Cruises to Cartagena (Colombia)

3 Awards
Cartagena (Colombia) (Photo:rocharibeiro/Shutterstock)

About Cartagena (Colombia)

You're in for a big treat if you've booked a Caribbean or Panama Canal cruise with Cartagena on the itinerary, as this lovely old town and resort on Colombia's Caribbean coast is quite deservedly the country's most popular tourist destination.

There, you'll find everything a cruise passenger's heart could desire: a fascinating -- and often dark and bloody -- history embedded in ancient forts, churches and palaces; a walled town filled with exquisite 16th- and 17th-century Spanish colonial architecture; soft beaches; world-class snorkeling and scuba diving reefs; delightful restaurants; and enough shops to capture your interest without the place feeling like one gigantic mall.

Your only regret, as your cruise ship steams away at the end of the day, will be that you didn't have longer to explore.

  • More about Cartagena (Colombia)

  • Why go to Cartagena (Colombia)?

  • Cartagena (Colombia) Cruise Port Facilities?

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Norwegian Joy
Norwegian Joy (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)

15 Night
Repo - Panama CanalDetails

344 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Nautica
Nautica

20 Night
World CruiseDetails

360 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Dec 3, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Bliss
Norwegian Bliss (Photo: Cruise Critic)

15 Night
Repo - Panama CanalDetails

1,270 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Jewel
Norwegian Jewel

10 Night
Panama Canal-panama CityDetails

2,300 Reviews
Leaving:Panama City
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Feb 22, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Royal Caribbean

Cruise Critic Favorite

9 Night
Panama Canal-panama CityDetails

2,300 Reviews
Leaving:Colon
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Feb 13, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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15 Night
Panama Canal - MiamiDetails

344 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Panama CanalDetails

533 Reviews
Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Ultimate Caribbean CruiseDetails

1,481 Reviews
Leaving:Barbados
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
Dec 4, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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15 Night
Repo - Panama CanalDetails

344 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Feb 24, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

11 Night
Colombian & Southern Caribbean Coastlines 11d Onx-...Details

102 Reviews
Leaving:Colon
Cruise Line:Windstar Cruises
Mar 10, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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21 Night
Repo - Panama CanalDetails

291 Reviews
Leaving:Seattle
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Oct 29, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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15 Night
Repo - Panama CanalDetails

1,270 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Jan 27, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

9 Night
Panama Canal-panama CityDetails

2,300 Reviews
Leaving:Colon
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Jan 26, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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15 Night
Panama Canal - MiamiDetails

1,270 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Feb 25, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Panama CanalDetails

533 Reviews
Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Apr 4, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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More about Cartagena (Colombia)

Why go to Cartagena (Colombia)?

Pros:

This beautiful, colorful old city boasts museums, shaded parks and a welcoming vibe

Cons:

You likely won't have enough time to explore everything, so choose carefully

Bottom Line:

Cartagena stands out from most other Spanish-speaking ports, which are quite commercial

Cartagena (Colombia) Cruise Port Facilities?

The visitors' area offers an indoor/outdoor cafe; restrooms; an ATM; a menagerie of wildlife, including flamingoes, peacocks, macaws and monkeys; places to sign up for private shore excursions; an Internet cafe; and a sizeable (and overpriced) gift shop, where you can buy everything from coffee, jewelry and clothing to candy, postcards and postage stamps. Tip: We recommend purchasing your souvenirs elsewhere if you're venturing out into Cartagena. You'll find much more reasonable prices.

Good to Know?

Cartagena is beautiful and clean, and most locals are friendly, but take usual caution. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry or flashing large amounts of cash. If you have a sensitive stomach, avoid any fruits or vegetables without peels, and stay away from fountain drinks or drinks with ice in them. (Sin hielo, por favor means "no ice, please.")

Getting Around?

By Taxi: This is really the only means of transportation for cruise passengers who haven't booked shore tours. From the visitors' area, make your way to the gates, where taxi drivers in blue shirts with "TAXI" imprinted all over them wait to take you where you want to go. On our visit, a driver took four of us on a four-hour tour of Cartagena's highlights for $20 per person.

Cabs aren't metered, but there will be tourism officers near the taxi area to help you negotiate a fair price ahead of time. If your driver is taking you somewhere and bringing you back, you won't have to pay until the conclusion of your return trip to ensure that you won't be ripped off. You can choose to have a driver drop you off and pay a one-way fare, but be aware that it can be difficult to find transportation back to the port. Also be aware of enterprising locals who offer rides to tourists on the backs of their motorbikes. It's unsafe, and it's unregulated.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The local currency in Cartagena is the peso, but U.S. dollars and credit cards are accepted everywhere. If you run short, an ATM is located at the port. You'll find currency conversion rates at www.oanda.com or www.xe.com.

Language?

Spanish is widely spoken in Cartagena, but most vendors, store operators and attraction employees will be able to speak enough English to communicate with you. If you catch a taxi in port, it's likely the driver will know a decent amount of English. That said, it's a good idea to download a translation app to your phone or bring an English-Spanish phrasebook with you.

Where You're Docked?

Your ship will dock in the port of Cartagena, where you can either walk five minutes or (for those with mobility issues) take a free shuttle to the visitors' area.


Cartagena (Colombia) Cruise Reviews
I liked having 2 days in Cartagena, since Grand Cayman had to be removed due to their strict Covid Restrictions. Colombia is not a place I plan to visit on a land vacation, so it was nice to have 2 days to see more oRead More
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mw2travel
This was our first trip to Colombia. Because we had met up with family members, we had a private tour of the city. If you aren't accustomed to hot, humid weather, beware. This country in on the equator and therefore Read More
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Soprano60
Enjoyed the walking tour of Cartagena. After visiting i am encouraged to come back to visit for a longer period. It was a shame the day at port there was only a couple of hours in the early morning when everything Read More
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hayfl62
Very good for sightseeing with a guide, forts and bay shows wonderful clean white buildings. The walled city is a bit scary, lots of arms police, and bought emeralds at Mr. Emeralds, and bringing to my jeweler to makRead More
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philbop

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