Panama Canal Cruise.
Panama Travel Blog› entry 12 of 12 › view all entries
Joined the Celebrity Constellation at San Diego for a 14-night cruise through the Panama Canal to Miami. Stayed one night at the Howard Johnson Hotel before boarding. Disappointed that the promised complimentary shuttle from the airport to the hotel finished at 8 p.m. on a Saturday - we arrived at 8.30 p.m. Hotel good otherwise, complimentary breakfast and shuttle to the port very welcome. Not much time for sight-seeing in San Diego. Boarding the ship was well-organised. The first port of call was Cabo San Lucas (Mexico). As we normally do, we negotiated with a local taxi-driver to take us to the places of interest. This was excellent and certainly a lot cheaper than those organised by the ship. Then we had a day at sea before arriving at Acapulco. The cliff divers are a "must-see". We walked along the prom. to the local park - very interesting and worth a visit. In retrospect, we would have liked to have seen the botanic garden, but this is a wee bit out of town. Next port of call was Huatulco. Again, recommend getting a local taxi. We hired one to take us to a snorkelling beach - he returned 1.5 hours later and took us to La Crucecita (largest ceiling mural of the Madonna) and a typical Mexican town. Another day at sea, and arrived Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Negociated a trip to a Mangrove Cruise and tour of the local town. Both very interesting As it was Sunday all the locals were out on the promenade enjoying themselves. Another day at sea before cruising through the Canal. The ship organised shore trips but had read on TravBuddy to stay on board, which we would also recommend. Surprising to see how little room there is for error when travellling through the locks. Very interesting day - our only disappointment was on the ship we were unable to hear the very good commentary due to a poor PA system. On arrival at Cristobel Pier the local Panamanian dance groups gave a free demonstration of ethnic dancing. Another lazy day at sea, arriving in Cartagen, Colombia. Were not sure what this was going to be like as we had heard some adverse comments. However, it turned out to be one of our favourite ports. On a self-arranged tour we visited the Convent La Popa (ship's excursion do not go) - fantastic views, then on to the Castillo San Felipe where the film "Romancing the Stone" was filmed, ending up in the Old Town. Superb. Finally, two days at sea to relax, before arriving in Miami. We had arranged an over-night stay in Miami at the Casablanca Hotel on the South Beach - this is rather far from the port and from the airport. Took bus to the Art-Deco district - very interesting, with lots of character and "characters". Hotel was adequate with a large room and complimentary breakfast. Took the local bus to the airport - very economical.
The Celebrity Constellation was excellent in all respectsl Lovely dining, friendly staff, good stateroom. Very disappointed in the entertainment - not one show suited our taste. Poolside music was also too loud for us. All-in-all an excellent cruise we would recommend. For information regarding ports of call and places of interest it is worth while asking the Ship's Concierge -Vagner Domingos, most helpful. Organisation excellent for disembarking the ship - no time wasted.