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Charlotte girl

Anyone done the 14 day cruise that transits the Panama Canal?

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COnsidering this cruise but a bit put off by 5 days at sea. That can get pretty boring if you are not a sun worshiper! Can someone share their experiences. I am excited about the thought of Curacao and the Margarita Islands. Please chime in with your thoughts to help me out???:confused:

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I have done the Panama Canal trip on another sailing line and I loved it.

I also thouroughly enjoy the sea days. That is the time to chill and spend some time enjoying the ship.

 

The ABC's are great and Margaretia Ils. is a funky place as well.

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COnsidering this cruise but a bit put off by 5 days at sea. That can get pretty boring if you are not a sun worshiper! Can someone share their experiences. I am excited about the thought of Curacao and the Margarita Islands. Please chime in with your thoughts to help me out???:confused:

 

Hi 'Char'...If 5 sea days out of 14 sounds boring, then a sailing adventure in the open Southern Caribbean may not be for you...especially since many of the ports are far apart.

 

In 2007, we made this trip, on Star Flyer, from Barbados to Balboa in 17 days...and continued on to Moorea, then Tahiti for 30 more days. Curacao was wonderful...you dock inside the 'swing bridge'...Isla Margarhita not so much. We arrived in Cartegena on their Independence Day...parades, costumes, and Star Flyer on the front page of the newspaper. San Blas was another world...and we made the Canal transit at night, which was magical, with multicolored navigation lights; Locks lit up like daylight; and a running commentary on the Bridge. A 'once in a lifetime' experience. Be sure to read the McCullough book, and visit the Panama City Canal Museum, and the MiraFlores Locks museum, post transit.

 

We were definitely not 'bored'. We are not 'sun worshipers', but consider being at sea on a sailing ship an adventure to be savored.

 

In a few weeks we will be boarding Star Clipper, in Athens, for the 35 day voyage/crossing to St. Maarten...with stops in Sicily, Malta, Tunisia, Morocco, Spain and the Canaries.

 

Hope you make the trip, and have a wonderful time! There is a great, insightful, four-part series about the current Star Flyer cruise, from Southampton to Lisbon, currently running at http://maritimematters.com/

 

Cheers, :cool:

 

Bob & Beatrice

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Very kind of you to reply. Sounds as if you have a lot more time and money for travel than I do, which is why I have to choose pretty carefully. The five days at sea would not be a problem if the StarClipper ships had some more comfortable chairs! I have back issues and can't spend much time on those sun cots on deck. Since the only other alternative is standing, it becomes a real physical challenge. I'm trying to balance those problems with the appeal of the ports on this itinerary. Thanks again.:)

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Charlotte, my wife and I did a Panama to St Maarten 14 night cruise last January. Personally, I would not do this cruise if this is your first time with Star Clippers.

 

The five day crossing turned into six and a half days, it was pretty rough and although we did not get sea sick, many passengers did. Because of the wind direction we did very little real sailing and had to motor the whole way.

 

Although Cartagena and the Panama Canal were great, the other Islands such as the San Blas, Willemstad and Oranjestad were pretty boring and uninteresting.

 

We have been on Star Clippers many times and loved the voyage, but many people did not.

 

I would suggest a 10/11 night Caribbean cruise on either Royal or Star Clipper. I have done the Grenadines and the BVI's and they were fantastic, just what you would expect.

 

I hope this will be of assistance to you.

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It was good of you to respond. I have been on StarClippers three times which is why I know there is no really comfortable spot to relax and "enjoy the ship" if you can not be comfortable on a sun cot or the very unfriendly chairs in the lounge or library. I need some back support in order to really relax. I was surprised that you found Aruba and Curacao boring. Can you say more about that? Those are two ports that I was especially looking forward to experiencing. The extra crossing days and the inability to sail were put offs also. I experienced that on a Med cruise which was really spoiled by rough seas and lack of access to some of the scheduled ports. Perhaps it's just January? Or would Feb and March be susceptible to that kind of weather also?? Hope to hear more from you!:)

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Charlotte, due to the weather we arrived in Oranjestad, Aruba on a Sunday. The place was dead and seems to exist for the cruise ship business. We were the only ship in that day.

 

Willemstad, Curacao was quite interesting but not what I would call a major destination like Cartagena. After walking around the town and the local market there was little else to do although the old city was worth a visit.

 

Our biggest problem was with the weather. During the winter, you get the trade winds which are great if you are heading South but a real problem if you are going North.

 

I noticed that besides the re positioning cruises, Star Clippers have scrapped the Panama cruises from their winter programme.

 

Another problem we had on that cruise was the lack of sun shade when we were transiting the Panama Canal. For some strange reason, Star Clipper did not have any of the usual sun shades on the sun deck and none of the pools were filled. We literally fried.

 

Don't get me wrong, I am the worlds biggest Star Clipper fan and have just done the 7 night Rome to Rome, have booked up Rome to Venice next year and Cuba for March 2014.

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Thanks for your very helpful post. I had no idea StarClipper went to Cuba. Are you an American? Can Americans go on this cruise? Please tell me more about it!!:D

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Americans cannot book the Cuba sailings. I just returned from TA on Star Flyer and was told on board that they would find a way for Americans. When I called Star Clippers to inquire I was told Americans were NOT going to be booked on these sailings (as it is illegal).

 

Regarding the back problem, and the uncomfortable chairs on the Clippers--here's my free tip. I buy a child's size inflatable swim ring (inner tube) and use it as a back pillow. Fits in a beach bag, deflates for travel, and makes a lot of beach chairs (both on the Clippers and at various beaches) much more enjoyable.

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Thanks so much for that info about Cuba and especially for the tip about the inflatable swim ring. You are a genius!!! I would NEVER have thought of that. I'll be sure to get one if you can this time of year.:D

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Hi Charlotte,

We did the 14 day transit in January 2011--check out my review. We did the Barbados to Panama (Westbound) trip. A smooth trip! The Eastbound trip had weather/sea issues--not the best direction to go in a sailboat. If you do it--the go Westbound! :cool:

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We have just returned from a 14day cruise Panama to ST, Maarten and would not recommend this cruise to anyone. Instead of 5 days at sea we had 7 and missed Aruba, Sopers Hole and Jost Van Dyke We did get to Curacao but it was a Sunday and all the shops were closed apart from 1 and a McDonalds!!!( This was the due day to get there).

If you do want to do the Panama Canal then do it East to West in November when it is going with the winds & currents.

Please bear in mind that it is a repositioning cruise and a lot of work will be going on.

My advice would be not to go with Star Clippers and Star Flyer in particular as it needs a lot of attention to it.

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