We did as a couple the same cruise 3 years ago with Pullman`s Zenith and even if we would not expect luxury from this company overall the trip was nice.
Being in Panama again and counting this is the only option to take a cruise in Colon we decided to show the same itinerary to our kids but what a let down this time..
Starting with the basics - the cabin. Booking rather late the best we could find was a family outside room on an upper floor. Before we had a balcony room and we were ok now as soon as we entered the room we simply wanted to get out of ship and leave. The cabin is tiny even for 2 people and is set up that way you cant simply move not even considering where you would put your luggage as a big suitcase would not fit under bed.
Family outside the worst cabin even have seen, impossible space even for 2 people how they could consider adding upper beds in such space. No place for luggage - you would have to block your dressing with the suitcases.
Very old room I would not even call it not dated but eaten by age.
The wc seat was really deep eaten by age - suppose is not even any longer in hygiene standard for a cruise.
We had to switch for a cabin that was bigger at least - not any better in terms of being old but at least we could stand all 4 of us in same time in the cabin
If you don`t take an excursion out of Colon than just stay on boat as there is nothing you can do here - if you just embark in Colon than head back to Panama city directly or to your next destination.
It`s a top destination - this time we just took a taxi to the old town - they will ask for 20$ we gave 15 we could do 10 probably - back the taxi from center just asked for 10 $ to the cruise dock.
Easy to visit by your own the old city. If you want to do the hop on hop off bus take in advance the tickets on line as the price is far too cheaper.
For kids stay at cruise terminal in the Port Oasis where they can enjoy the litlle zoo with tens of birds free on the ground.
In old Cartagena you just enjoy the streets, cafes, restaurants - it`s a city for those who love to take colorful pictures.
Count is really getting hot after 11 am already you will want to hide in shadow. If it rains you would have a trouble with their sewer system that seems to fail even in sunny days so either closed shoes or try to avoid flooded streets.
First of all the taxis are really a rip off - they will ask you 35 dollars even to go somewhere close at the edge of the city.
We rented a car that was the dirtiest ever and far to reach in rental location.
The beaches are too crowded and not the cleanest especially those you`ll target in a cruise day.
Still the main city is very nice and easily accessible from the cruise so makes it a nice stop and if you make it to the beach the water is just beautiful for swim and snorkel.
Best place ever for snorkel ... if its not raining. Not much to do in the main city so we rented a golf car and headed south for snorkel and sight seeing.
In Bonaire you get get in the water and it`s sure you will have a good snorkel but we preferred a piece of shore with sand so we stopped on one of the sand beaches not too many here but still was ok no crowds.
Than head south for spectacular views of the Salt exploitation and their pink ponds so well in contrast with the blue sea water. Even further the lagoon with some flamingos, the slave huts and the lighthouse.
Spectacular views all in one so if you rent a car plenty of time to leave morning and cover beach and sight seeing. Most of traffic to south is just tourists. We haven't done this time the north but is also very nice I would just avoid the eastern part as there is nothing much to see and is very windy. In general it`s high wind over the island.
Now I think there are 2 myths when it comes to Bonaire - rain and flamingos.
They say there are 360 days of sun so seems we caught all the other of rain when we were there as every time a part of the day was crazy pouring for hours. If you rent a scooter or golf cart that will be trouble...
The other myth flamingos - we checked north we checked south seen maybe tens never a hundred so probably wrong season every time ;) .
Still this place is very nice and you will not regret exploring.
Just walked to the beach you can also take a taxi or a bus there. There is not much to do on this island so take the best of it - the beach itself. It`s also very hot over day and no shadow so you might consider for a longer stay renting a chair and umbrella. If it`s raining there will be just boat time as the city itself has nothing much to offer - even the tax free shopping is just another tax free location.