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Panama Canal Cruisers?


bleebo

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My wife and I are booked for the March 4th sailing of the Mercury. The cruise lasts 14 days and starts in Ft. Lauderdale and ends in San Diego via the Panama canal. This will be our 5th Cruise but the first time on a Celebrity ship. The room is Penthouse Suite, #1044. I am looking to hear from others what excursions to look for or avoid. We both are advanced published photographers and a good excursion for us is one that is either senic and/or cultural.

 

Here are the excursions that I am looking at:

 

Half Day Jeep Safari

07-Mar-2007 at Oranjestad, Aruba

 

Pacific Train, Boat & Bus Adventure

11-Mar-2007 at Puntarenas, Costa Rica

 

Huatulco Towns & Traditions

13-Mar-2007 at Huatulco, Mexico

 

Acapulco Highlights & Fort San Diego

14-Mar-2007 at Acapulco, Mexico

 

Discover Todos Santos

16-Mar-2007 at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

 

Any comments?

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We just returned from the Summit Panama Canal voyage. We took the Huatulco Towns and Traditions tour you mentioned. It was very informative and you do interact with people in these villages.

The other tour we took was in Punteraneus, going on a 3 hour tour of the coastal region. It was just OK. The "market" consisted of a fruit stand with a shop, then to a little town square, another shop, and back to the ship.

I had the opportunity to view some of the pictures on a CD (from a travel agent/escort on board) and her pictures were fantastic..she took the Canopy excursion, riding the treetops in a little tram type car.

Of course, the canal itself was the highlight to us.

You will love this trip!

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Before you go - read "The Path Between the Seas" by David McCullough. It should be available at any library. It tells the story of the canal like nothing else, and should add greatly to your appreciation of the "Big Ditch."

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I just finished the book and highly recommend it even for those not planning to go to the canal. One fun fact: The amount of earth removed for the canal was equal to a trench across the United States fifty feet wide and 8 feet deep minus fifty miles. It also would have filled enough railroad cars to circle the earth four times at the equator. :)

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Just back from the Summit cruise throught the Panama canal. The only excursion we did, we booked online. It was with Charlie Soto, of Okey Dokey tours (www.okeydokeytours.com) He was excellent. He met us on the pier at 8:00 am and there was only one other couple with us. His van was airconditioned, and he had a cooler he stocked with water (not enough though, so take your own as well), beer, pop, pineapple and watermelon. He took us to a privately owned flower plantation, where a couple of the ladies who lived their came out with bags of bananas for us to feel the wild monkeys (Pacific monkeys I think they were). Afterwards, the other couple choose to do the "crocodile man tour", but we had elected to do the zip-lining. He took us to each of our departure points, we did our selected tour (zip-lining was $40. per person)..... and my husband and I were the only ones doing it, so we had 2 guides for this private tour ... amazing! Afterwards, we joined the other couple and Charlie took us to a beachfront "local" restaurant where we had the shrimp and rice special with a beer. ($27.00 per couple). Afterwards, he had the driver pull over the van when he spotted the Scarlett Macaws in the trees ---- little difficult to get good photos as they were quite high up in the trees, but amazing to see as they flew about. Stopped at a local grocery store for coffee and vanilla. We didn't purchase the coffee because it was ground and I wanted the beans (available at the pier by the ship), but the vanilla worked out to be .60 a bottle. We were back at the ship around 4:30, so had time to shop at the pier as well. Charlie's fee for this day...... $45/ per person (plus a tip of course). We were very pleased with his services. Very knowledgeable, very friendly and trustworthy.

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If you're interested in photography don't miss The La Paz Waterfall trip.You see a large part of the country but the photo ops at the waterfalls are awesome.Just make sure you're in good enough shape to climb several sets of up hill stairs.This tour actually supplied us with a paramedic with a defibrillator just in case.Fortunately he had a quiet day.We went last year except for the crazy Costa Rican drivers highly recommend it!

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We are doing this cruise on Infinity next month. I would love to see your photos after you get back. Do you use webshots are anything like that?

 

We are booked with Charlie Soto, as well. It will be our daughter's 11th birthday that day and he has made arrangements to make it a very special day for her!

 

Would love to read your review as well. Are you planning on writing one?

 

Donna

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We are doing this cruise in March. I am wondering how the excursions during the canal transit work. I think that you probably get off the ship in Gatun Lake and get back on the ship when it finishes the transit. Is that what happens? Thanks for any insight.

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We are doing this cruise in March. I am wondering how the excursions during the canal transit work. I think that you probably get off the ship in Gatun Lake and get back on the ship when it finishes the transit. Is that what happens? Thanks for any insight.

 

Usually, you are transported in the ship's lifeboats to a dock while in Gatun Lake. When your excursion is done, they either take you to the dock (if ship is docking) or lifeboats will get you aboard.

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