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janice2348

Cartegena questions

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Posted (edited)

My husband and I both have mobility issues.  We are looking at visiting the old city next February when we sail on Norwegian Joy. 

After reading posts on this thread, we don’t feel comfortable taking a taxi.  The NCL catamaran transfer option seems like the best way for us to get there.  I’m looking into private tours, but I think they might be out of our budget. Group tours won’t allow us to sit down or go slow. 

I have some questions that I know all of you CCers can answer: ( my apologies in advance if these have already been answered, but I did search)

 

Where can I find a copy of the map that is handed out when you arrive at port?  Does NCL provide a map in or with the daily?  I can’t seem to find one online

 

Do we need to get pesos?

 

Should we learn some basic Spanish?  I don’t expect the locals to be fluent in English!

 

What is the restroom situation like?  I have IBS so this is important!

 

What attractions shouldn’t be missed?  I realize this is subjective, but we will probably have a 2 hour limit.

 

Any other tips?

 

Thank you in advance!  This site has been invaluable for each cruise we have taken. 

 

 

 

Edited by janice2348

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Posted (edited)

NCL's maps are rather useless. As is typical on mass market cruise lines the "map" they distribute is geared to steer you to the "approved" shopping retailers rather than being an actual map of the port.

 

I don't get local currency if I'm just going to be in a port for a couple of hours as most places cruisers will end up going to will accept US currency. Just familiarize yourself with the exchange rate so you don't get ripped off .

 

It helps to know a few words of Spanish. "Bano" ... the word for bathroom is always useful ( I also have IBS) . Other than that a few words that you probably already know can help..."hola", "por favor", "gracias" . In a big city like Cartagena that has a steady tourist business from North America you're going to find many people who speak at least a little English and quite a few who are very fluent in English. If you're unsure, start a conversation with "Habla Ingles?".

 

Now for the hard part. First I can't imagine a first time visitor to Cartagena making a useful visit without a guide, all the more so if you have limited mobility and don't don't speak the language. You say that private tours may be out of your budget, but have you gone to your cruise's roll call to see if anyone is organizing tours? You may find a small group tour that suits you for a price that is less than you would pay for an NCL-organized tour.

Edited by njhorseman

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Thanks so much for your reply.  I will check the roll call for tours.  

You are right about the cruise ship maps.  I forgot they are geared towards shopping. 

You are probably right as far as a guide goes.  

Mom exploring all options. 

Thank you again for the great tips. 

 

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No need to skip the port, there is a very nice wildlife garden (with lots of birds, animals and even a sloth), shops and a restaurant right at the harbor entrance. When you get off the ship there will be a free shuttle bus right there that will take you the few hundred (~200) yards to the cruise terminal. I think there were toilets as well, but then it is only a 3 minute ride back to the ship anyway as this is entirely inside the port. 

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The first photo shows the distance from our ship's berthing to the park - the green treed area behind the tug boat. The shuttle takes you the whole way along that pier, and does a U-turn right there at the entrance to the park.DSC01465.thumb.JPG.99c9e5c9dee4f2f6e91031448c61c7e4.JPG

 

The bus turns right there by the building with the blue canopies. The lady in front of us had a wheelchair and they helped her with getting on/off. Inside the park it is very flat, and there are ramps for entering the shops.

DSC01467.thumb.JPG.aecfd8c71912d260d2639184d9f17b87.JPG

 

Entrance to the park

DSC01327.thumb.JPG.2b13f36eee64864cd9a5fe37f0db839a.JPG

 

DSC01407.thumb.JPG.cc17debb8e955761703f09ce08f70353.JPG

 

IMG_20190115_112609.thumb.jpg.87d3943567a9f718f47b1af64d418c49.jpg

 

DSC01341.thumb.JPG.f613bfb9393cd10ad6171f3fbe55718f.JPG

 

DSC01373.thumb.JPG.a5cf73c793e1cf504e2316819422dbb1.JPG

 

DSC01449.thumb.JPG.8af49caa1415eca809700707178f21e3.JPG

 

 

 

 

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On 3/23/2019 at 1:19 AM, Starlight Durban Cruising said:

The first photo shows the distance from our ship's berthing to the park - the green treed area behind the tug boat. The shuttle takes you the whole way along that pier, and does a U-turn right there at the entrance to the park.DSC01465.thumb.JPG.99c9e5c9dee4f2f6e91031448c61c7e4.JPG

 

The bus turns right there by the building with the blue canopies. The lady in front of us had a wheelchair and they helped her with getting on/off. Inside the park it is very flat, and there are ramps for entering the shops.

DSC01467.thumb.JPG.aecfd8c71912d260d2639184d9f17b87.JPG

 

Entrance to the park

DSC01327.thumb.JPG.2b13f36eee64864cd9a5fe37f0db839a.JPG

 

DSC01407.thumb.JPG.cc17debb8e955761703f09ce08f70353.JPG

 

IMG_20190115_112609.thumb.jpg.87d3943567a9f718f47b1af64d418c49.jpg

 

DSC01341.thumb.JPG.f613bfb9393cd10ad6171f3fbe55718f.JPG

 

DSC01373.thumb.JPG.a5cf73c793e1cf504e2316819422dbb1.JPG

 

DSC01449.thumb.JPG.8af49caa1415eca809700707178f21e3.JPG

 

 

 

 

Thanks so much for posting this!  We were planning to go into port to see the animals, but probably won’t go into the walled city. 

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On 3/23/2019 at 1:39 AM, Starlight Durban Cruising said:

No need to skip the port, there is a very nice wildlife garden (with lots of birds, animals and even a sloth), shops and a restaurant right at the harbor entrance. When you get off the ship there will be a free shuttle bus right there that will take you the few hundred (~200) yards to the cruise terminal. I think there were toilets as well, but then it is only a 3 minute ride back to the ship anyway as this is entirely inside the port. 

 

What was the entrance fee for this wildlife garden area?

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1 hour ago, Country_Cruiser67 said:

 

What was the entrance fee for this wildlife garden area?

Absolutely FREE. There is a small fee to hold the sloth when it is out and about with its handler. Recommended to support the gift shop and the restaurant ( a limited local menu which has tasty items and sodas/drinks too). We really enjoyed the time here and would recommend it to visitors. 

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