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Heppalou

Deckhand
Hi. My DH and I live in Minnesota, so naturally we are looking forward to some nice warm weather.
We are doing the 10 day Panama Canal cruise from FLL and I was wondering if anyone has, or knows of someone who has, taken Coral Princess excursions? I would like to find some reviews to see if we should book through them or find other tours. When we did NCL they had reviews posted so it made choosing easier!
 

Rex

Captain
Staff member
Welcome to CT. I've never been on that cruise but I would love to go through the Panama Canal!
 

PEB

Captain
Staff member
Welcome to the board. I am also from Minnesota and I have taken a cruise on the Coral Princess through the Panama Canal. The ship was designed specifically for the Canal. It is a beautiful ship and one of my favorites of the Princess ships. For me and the locations the ship goes to I would use the Princess tours at least for anything on the Caribbean ports, Mexican ports or for that matter any of the foreign ports you will be stopping at. Are you doing a partial or full transit of the canal? I did the full transit of the canal on the ship. The tours we took from the ship were good. The only tour we did not care for was a night time tour in Panama City. The ship arrived there late and it was just to dark to really see things. The tour was supposed to start in the light and head to the dark but it was dark the whole tour so we could not see the things that would have shown up better in the light. Also the mosquitos were bad.

Be aware the canal is extremely hot and humid. If you plan on taking pictures or video take your camera outside in a baggy or something an hour before use to acclimate it.
 

Pam in CA

Captain
Welcome! I've been on the Coral Princess and her sister ship, the Island Princess, several times. In fact, I was on the Island last October on her re-positioning cruise from Vancouver to Ft. Lauderdale so I went to most of the ports on your itinerary.

In Aruba, we disembarked the ship after the initial rush. After walking through the terminal building, cars and vans are lined up on the left to take you anywhere you want or on tour. The standard rate is $45/hour. The four of us booked a van for two hours. He took us all over the island, including the "Natural Bridge" and the California Lighthouse. We then drove along the hotel area where our driver dropped us off at a restaurant where we had lunch and enjoyed the beach and views. He returned for us two hours later and took us back to the dock. Total cost was $90 for the four of us. :)

I've been to Cartagena several times. The first time, I took a Princess cruise which was good. In October, I took a tour with Lee Miles, "Mr. Emerald." MUCH better than the Princess tour and a lot less expensive. He naturally takes you to his emerald store which IMHO had far superior emeralds, jewelry designs and pricing than the place Princess takes you. He's an American so communication is easy. http://www.destinationcartagena.com/privatetours/

I've transited the Panama Canal several times and taken a ship's tour each time. Last October, I took the small boat full transit through the Canal and it was the best tour I've taken in this area. You'll see more of the construction of the 3rd Canal and learn more about how it's being done. A previous time I took the ship's tour of the Canal by train and felt it wasn't worth the money. The Canal has trees and shrubbery along the edge between the tracks and the Canal so you get only glimpses and other than a very few photo ops, you won't be able to take many pictures. Plus, if you're on the side of the train away from the Canal, you'll be looking through the heads of the people along the Canal side.

Hope this info helps.
 

Heppalou

Deckhand
Thank you for all the helpful advice. We are doing the partial transit.
We have been to Aruba so are not too concerned about tours there. The ship tour to Old Panama City and the Miraflores Locks (during daylight, we hope!) looks interesting and we do like to see other countries life styles, so hope we made a good choice there. We are also doing the ship Cartegna excursion as they seem to go inside more of the sights than some of the others. I did look at Lee Miles web page as several people recommended him, but I didn't see a big difference in the price of the tour. Perhaps I was not looking at the correct tour.
At Grand Cayman we want to do it all! Stingrays, turtles, Hell and snorkeling, the ship was the only place that seemed to have it all!!
One of the concerns that I have is the size, if there are so many people on each tour.
If any one has better, or less expensive, options we are more than open to change.
Thanks again, appreciate all the advice. Alison
 
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