Posted March 6th, 2012, 11:23 PM
I would suggest reading Port of Calls AND roll calls. Just returned from a Northbound Coral Princess transit.
Puntarenas: Princess canceled our skywalk tour because the venues did not meet their sanitation requirements. Glad they did this, but most of the other good tours were sold out by then. Some folks went on the zip line tours. It required more than just sitting and gliding from post to post.
Will continue later - I had to pack up the iPad until later...
Puntarenas is a docked pier with small local stands at the end. I did walk around the town looking for an internet cafe a few blocks away. I did not feel threatened as I walked the streets. Someone said that there was WiFi at the visitor's center and/or a nearby coffee shop. It is well worth stopping in for some maps. There are many offers for tours once you leave the ship. I did hear from one of my CC posted that they had a nice tour with a taxi driver. Just be sure the driver speaks English. There is absolutely nothing near by. If you want to experience Costa Rica, you have to travel at least a hour into the country. Antonio Manuel Reserve is closed on Mondays. I heard that was the best rainforest.
Fuerta Amador: I hired My Friend Mario for a delightful tour. We did the rainforest, fort, and Gatun Locks Observation deck. Our driver found us 2 sloths but no monkeys. It was a great experience to be in a small mini-van taking in the sites at our leisure. I was very concerned about not making it back to the ship, but we arrived about 30 minutes before the deadline. They were packing up and getting ready to close up shop. This is a tendered port.
Cartegena: No one bothered to tell us that there were great animal experiences at the little shopping area inside the port. I saw all of the animals I missed on each tour: Macaws, Toucans, Monkeys...It is not a long port and if you want to see anything, you should take a tour. I did hear CC members say that they caught taxi's and got around just fine. I did tour here on my first cruise and didn't see a reason for doing it again. Vendors are very aggressive.
Aruba: (has changed a lot)...lots and lots and lots of jewelry stores. Be sure to take advantage of the ship talks and VIP cards if you are at all interested in shopping. Aruba has beautiful waters. This is the place to go to the beach if you are interested. I just walked around the strip. Lots of Starbucks to pick up email. I heard good things about the different tours here. I didn't take one so can't offer you my recommendations. I am not a beach person.
Displaced Local Girl
Norwegian Cruise Caribbean 1990
Carnival Jubilee Mexican Riviera 1995
Carnival Celebration Western Caribbean 1998
Sun Princess Alaska 1999
Sun Princess Panama Canal 2001
Regal Princess Baltic 2003
Norwegian Pride of America Hawaiian Islands 2006
Celebrity Infinity Alaska 2010
Carnival Paradise Ensenada: November 2011
Coral Princess Panama Canal: February 14, 2012
Golden Princess: May 20, 2012
Holland America Zaandam October 23, 2012
Golden Princess Hawaiian Islands: February 13, 2013
Sapphire Princess Pacific Coastal: April 13, 2013
Star Princess: 1 day (September 21, 2013)
Golden Princess: 3 Day (September 23, 2013)
Golden Princess: 3 Day (October 21, 2013)
Golden Princess: 3 Day (November 1, 2013/How could I not?)
Golden Princess: 3 Day (November 4, 2013/How could I not, again?)
Star Princess Hawaiian Islands (November 20, 2013)
Sapphire Princess (January, 2014)
Coral Princess (Alaska B2B2B 2014)
Golden Princess: October, 2014
Grand Princess Mexico: November, 2014
Golden Princess: November, 2014
Grand Princess Hawaiian Islands: February, 2015
Crown Princess California Coastal: October, 2015