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Panama Canal - Full or Partial


toyotaford
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28 minutes ago, Turtles06 said:

 

I recall reading your excellent review at the time.... I have a quick question for you now about Santa Marta; you wrote that you struggled over finding something to do there.  I am having the same issue.   Do you recall whether there were taxis at the pier, and taxis in Santa Marta itself?  I've read that the port itself is a commercial dock, and am wondering whether we could get a taxi into town and one back.   Thanks for any help on that.  

 

We ended up having a good, memorable time in Santa Marta. We took a taxi to Rocadero (a local beach vacation type area), then a boat to the Playa Blanco beach, which was very popular with locals and had nice hiking possibilities. However, I don't think that it is for everyone. We also met a Canadian couple on the boat back to Rocadero who were from our cruise, and they had hired a private guide to do what we did.

If you just want to get into the centre of Santa Marta, you can very easily walk (unless mobility is an issue). There was a shuttle from the boat to the edge of the port area. the edge of the port area is a building called "Duty Free Terminal de Cruceros" on Google Maps. From there, it's less than 500 metres on foot to Parque Bolivar (big square), and then less than 500m more to the Cathedral. From the port, you can also take a walk along the coast (there's a sort of boulevard that goes up to the Marina). 
Santa Marta itself was fine, but I didn't find it to be a particularly special city. 

 

There were also plenty of taxis at the port. To get to Rocadero, we first walked to Parque Bolivar and got a taxi there, to avoid the cruise premium pricing somewhat. 

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20 minutes ago, pomegranate22 said:

If you just want to get into the centre of Santa Marta, you can very easily walk (unless mobility is an issue). There was a shuttle from the boat to the edge of the port area. the edge of the port area is a building called "Duty Free Terminal de Cruceros" on Google Maps. From there, it's less than 500 metres on foot to Parque Bolivar (big square), and then less than 500m more to the Cathedral. From the port, you can also take a walk along the coast (there's a sort of boulevard that goes up to the Marina). 
Santa Marta itself was fine, but I didn't find it to be a particularly special city. 

 

Thanks so much.  This is the most useful info I've found for getting around on our own if we decide to do that; much appreciated!!

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On 6/30/2019 at 9:56 PM, toyotaford said:

 We did a full transit of the Panama Canal with NCL a few years ago and loved it.  My parents had planned on going but my mother go sick and they couldn't travel.  My dad has always regretted not being able to have gone.  We want to take them in November but don't feel they are up to a 3 week trip.  Can someone who has done the shorter trip tell me what actually happens the day you are at the canal on the round trip out of Miami.  My dad will be 88 when we go and I wouldn't want to spend the money and him not get to have a good experience.  We have even considered booking the longer trip and flying home early which a couple with us on the last trip did but the dates don't work out for us.  Thank you for your help in advance.  I was wishing I could talk to my PCC tonight and then thought of all the awesome information I have gotten from CC over the years.

 

You go through the locks. The ship pthen lets off the tours, turns around and goes bcak through the locks to Colon where it docks and waits on the passengers from the tours. All tours that get off in Gutan Lake are ship tours. No private tours are allowed.

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We have done the full transit (Pearl, Bliss), and a partial transit (Pearl).  Enjoyed both, and would do both in a heartbeat.  But the ship you take will give you a different perspective (new vs old locks).   

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Thanks for all the words of advice.  We have booked the 12 day partial transit roundtrip from Miami in November.  There will be 4 generations of us traveling.  My dad didn't hesitate for a second when we ask him if he wanted to try it again.  I can't wait to share this with him.

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