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gusmom

Cartanga exurstions - Island Princess

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Trying to narrow down Cartanga excursions. Like history but I have bad feet so by that point on the trip, I am nervous about committing to walking all day. 

Family (son 12 & husband) wants to do the city tour with boat in the harbor. I'm debating whether to join them or do something else.  

Looking for reviews/recommendations from others who have done this cruise (or other Princess). There is one with cultral dancers, which I'd love but my family won't LOL.

 

Also:
* Safety if I chose to go on a different excursion by myself? (woman in 40s)

* and about this incline at the Fort? Does anyone have a picture of this? 

Edited by gusmom

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We did the (bus) city/oldtown tour about two weeks ago and found it disappointing.  One factor in our case was that it was very hot and humid, so that may skew our opinion to some extent, but overall I'd have rather sat on the bus for the all-day tour rather than what we did.

The fort was reasonably interesting and had some nice views of the city, but in areas where there was no breeze it was almost to where I felt like I couldn't breathe.  Cooler weather most certainly would have helped, instead of the ~92/feels like 103 we had.  The slope is somewhat steep but if you take it slowly, not so bad.  My wife has knee issues to where much walking is a problem, and she made it up and down OK.  Expect a lot of vendors pushing cheap junk in your face for much of the way.

The rest of the tour was pretty useless, other than a visit to an old Catholic Church.  Dropped us off at tourist junk shops for a few minutes, and a short walking tour, followed by the church (where the guide (Jenny) failed to announce she was leaving and we nearly lost the tour, had not someone noticed we weren't there).  Next a stop for a local folk dance group dancing for tips where we finally were offered a small bottle of water.  Then a way-too-long stop at a jewelry shop where they offered day-old coffee,  wifi, and air conditioning, while we waited way too long for the few interested members to look at jewelry.  Then to top it off, the guide had never really completed a count, and we left for the boat without 2 of the group (they had found someone on a similar tour who radioed the driver and we returned to get them).

 

Basically, after we left the fort, I'd have much preferred to sit on the air conditioned bus or go back to the ship, rather than the rest of the tour.

 

Another cruiser said they went on the Mangrove tour where a small paddle boat takes you through the mangroves, along with a short city tour, and he said they enjoyed that, so you might consider that one.  This tour was so bad that we cancelled a city tour in Panama for a couple of days later...no more "city tours" for a while...  We did the hop-on, hop-off bus there which was fine and enjoyable.  But as for Cartagena, the town itself is interesting and historical, but bad weather and a bad tour plan, along with way too many aggressive vendors and tourist junk shops spoiled it.

P19-1105-073719-6926.jpg

P19-1105-091636-1140877.jpg

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On 11/21/2019 at 8:49 AM, Flyinby said:

We did the (bus) city/oldtown tour about two weeks ago and found it disappointing.  One factor in our case was that it was very hot and humid, so that may skew our opinion to some extent, but overall I'd have rather sat on the bus for the all-day tour rather than what we did.

The fort was reasonably interesting and had some nice views of the city, but in areas where there was no breeze it was almost to where I felt like I couldn't breathe.  Cooler weather most certainly would have helped, instead of the ~92/feels like 103 we had.  The slope is somewhat steep but if you take it slowly, not so bad.  My wife has knee issues to where much walking is a problem, and she made it up and down OK.  Expect a lot of vendors pushing cheap junk in your face for much of the way.

The rest of the tour was pretty useless, other than a visit to an old Catholic Church.  Dropped us off at tourist junk shops for a few minutes, and a short walking tour, followed by the church (where the guide (Jenny) failed to announce she was leaving and we nearly lost the tour, had not someone noticed we weren't there).  Next a stop for a local folk dance group dancing for tips where we finally were offered a small bottle of water.  Then a way-too-long stop at a jewelry shop where they offered day-old coffee,  wifi, and air conditioning, while we waited way too long for the few interested members to look at jewelry.  Then to top it off, the guide had never really completed a count, and we left for the boat without 2 of the group (they had found someone on a similar tour who radioed the driver and we returned to get them).

 

Basically, after we left the fort, I'd have much preferred to sit on the air conditioned bus or go back to the ship, rather than the rest of the tour.

 

Another cruiser said they went on the Mangrove tour where a small paddle boat takes you through the mangroves, along with a short city tour, and he said they enjoyed that, so you might consider that one.  This tour was so bad that we cancelled a city tour in Panama for a couple of days later...no more "city tours" for a while...  We did the hop-on, hop-off bus there which was fine and enjoyable.  But as for Cartagena, the town itself is interesting and historical, but bad weather and a bad tour plan, along with way too many aggressive vendors and tourist junk shops spoiled it.

P19-1105-073719-6926.jpg

P19-1105-091636-1140877.jpg

We've done this tour, and the last thing i want is those damn vendors in my face again. We will be in Cartagena twice on our b2b in March. The port zoo, or the hoho bus might be our go to. You mentioned the hoho bus in Fuerto Amador. It's not listed on our Princess itinerary. Did you just get it at the tender port. That interests us. 

  Mahalo

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The night before Fuerte Amador we got a notice from Princess saying it was available, but not a "Princess-sponsored" tour.  They did include a form to give the bus that allowed them to collect the fee from Princess (charged to our room).  If that doesn't happen when you're there, you can probably just catch it at the tender port when you come in.  It runs every 30 minutes, and is a two hour round trip if you don't get off.  I think it was $39, and you got a wrist bracelet for all day.

 

They do a great job of describing the stops, providing a map and guide information, and also give you new earbuds to listen to the recorded description as you're passing points of interest.  The top is open (but roofed) and the bottom is closed and air conditioned.  We only got off once in old town for a couple of hours, but it was thoroughly enjoyable, and with buses coming every half hour, no long waits.  They go through the new city (Panama City) also, so you get to see how different it is...looks like it could be LA or any other large city downtown.

P19-1107-112702-1150418.jpg

Edited by Flyinby
spelling

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Mahalo. I looked again and we are only there from 0630 to 1300. Not very long.

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9 hours ago, Yehootu said:

Mahalo. I looked again and we are only there from 0630 to 1300. Not very long.

 

Aloha, Yehootu, that's a pretty short visit for a tender port, but if you have the urge to get off the ship and go in early, it's still feasible, you could just stay on the bus for the two-hour roundtrip.  Or get off for a half or one hour at a couple of the stops.  It's a decent all-around tour of the city without getting off at all.

 

Off the subject, on the last trip we were on deck 12, which was the "Aloha" deck, so every time we arrived in the elevator, the elevator voice greeted us with an "Aloha", which we thought was nice...

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I do like hearing that everytime it stops on the "Aloha" deck. Thanks for the info, the deciding factor will be getting my wife and moving.

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