This was the repositioning cruise from Colon to Ft. Lauderdale. Flew to Miami, overnight, then on to Panama City the next morning. After going through customs in Panama, there was a lot of Chaos and confusion in trying to get onto the RCCL transportation to the ship. Since they don't send luggage tags ahead of time if you do electronic documents (I won't do that again) there were about 300 people trying to get luggage tags from 3 RCCL staff/crew members - it took longer to get luggage tags than it did for the luggage to come out in baggage!However, once luggage tags were located and put on luggage, jumped on board the bus to Colon- it's about a 2 hour drive on sometimes questionable "roads", but the scenery was interesting to look at, not all of it pretty.Arriving in Colon, I'd say the boarding process was pretty ok. Got through check in without much trouble, but for some reason they stopped people from going onto the gangway for quite a while - probably letting traffic move on so it wasn't overcrowded. Found my room with no problem, then headed up to the Windjammer for some Lunch, though it was already after 4 pm, and hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast at the airport - UH OH - Buffet closed at 3 pm and no food available until 6:30 when the Windjammer opened for dinner - Not used to that - Princess does have a 24 hour buffet - and it's 24 hours!My balcony room on deck 7 was huge! Great Balcony, lots of closet and storage space, even in the bathroom!TV programs repeated a little too often, a few more programming choices or different programs would be better. At one time they were showing Benjamin Button, in about 6 different languages, and not one of them was English!Walked along the pool deck to check things out - it was a little overcast and cool, and surprisingly not many people out on deck yet. We were scheduled to leave at 7 pm, then 8 pm, and we did leave at 7 pm. About 120 people did not make the ship in time to get on board for the first night. There were some weather problems in Houston, and that flight was delayed enough so they missed the ship. Those with insurance were taken to Puerto Limon/San Jose Costa Rica and joined the ship the next day. Those without insurance, I'm not sure what happened to them!The staff was more than friendly and made the trip a delight. The ports were very good too, though I did not get off in Santa Marta - none of the ship excursions looked too interesting, and being by myself, I just wasn't comfortable taking a taxi anywhere. Cartegena Colombia was the surprise of the trip for me - it's a beautiful old city, well kept up, but hot, hot, hot on the day we were there. I was never so happy to get back on the ship and into my air conditioned cabin.The food in the dining room was pretty good to excellent. Sometimes the beef dishes were just dry. Any fish dish however, was always excellent. Food in the Windjammer, was pretty good, but the variety never seemed to change. Every day at 4 pm you knew it was going to be nachos! Oh, the soft serve Ice cream machine on the pool deck was a huge hit!The ship itself is really great - well kept up, lots of windows and chairs inside on several decks, and usually not too much trouble finding a lounge chair by the pool - even though the ship was full.This trip was probably 1/2 Americans and 1/2 Latin America - I came to the conclusion that Latin AMericans congregate more than Americans do! They were always everywhere in large groups - but still only had trouble finding someplace to sit right before dinner (second seating for me).I enjoyed this so much, I think I'm going to take the same cruise (backwards - from Ft. Lauderdale to Colon) in November!Past Cruises1977 - Caribbean - Nordic Prince1982 - Caribbean - Song of Norway1985 - Some NCL ship1994 - RCCL - Mexico2006 - Dawn Princess - Mexico2008 - Sea Princess - Alaska2009 - Enchantment of the Seas - So. CaribbeanNext ?
Huge Balcony room - lots of storage space, easy access to stairs and elevators. Great
Very hot this day - did take the ships cruise tour through old Cartegena, and shopping. Palace of Inquisition wasn't necessarily enjoyable, that would be a personal thing - but the area it is in, Historic Old Town, or HIstoric Downtown was beautiful.Inside the fortress wall, there is an area of about 15 handicraft shops - most of them carry the same things though - some people had luck bargaining for prices, others didn't.Then to a "shopping Mall" a 2 story fairly air conditioned building with a lot of street vendors with Tshirts, some jewelry, odds and ends, but most of the stores in the mall were Jewelry stores - Emeralds are big in Colombia. Prices seemed a little high and I didn't hear about much negotation on the prices.
I took the ships excursion to San Jose. Yes, it's a long trip - about 9 hours - but for me it was worth it. It's about 2 1/2 hours each way by bus, but a very comfortable bus and great guides. Oh, they also take a paramedic along, and one of the members of our group actually put him to use. He wasn't feeling well, the Paramedic took his blood pressure and it was high. He made him stay on the bus and keep cool at one of the stops. He checked him a little later and his blood pressure was going down, so he was free to roam again.We saw the National Theater which is nice, but didn't necessarily add to my enjoyment of the trip, and we saw another Gold and Indian Museum - the Ore Museo - again, nice, but we spent too much time there. They allocated 45 minutes, and 30 was more than enough for this place. Then we drove through the city of San Jose to our lunch restaurant -The Chandelier - it was a very good buffet lunch - all you could eat, and the food was delicious.After lunch we went to a "shopping area" - an area about 2 blocks long with a lot of tourist and souvenier shops - just the right place to get a few trinkets - mostly key chains, coffee, Tshirts, magnets. post cards, etc.If I'd never been to Costa Rica, San Jose, I'd do this trip - however, now that I've done it, it's not necessary to do it a 2nd time!