14 Night Panama Canal Eastbound (San Diego To Ft. Lauderdale) Sail Date: March 30, 2009 Ship: Celebrity Mercury Cabin Type: Balcony Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 7 years ago
This was my second cruise on the Celebrity Mercury. Much better than the first which was in the late 90's.The food was excellent everywhere on the ship. I fell in love with the stir fry and sushi station! The crew was fabulous from top to bottom. The captain was approachable and there was several ways to obtain a pass to the bridge. We had one very rough night and the captain preferred to say so and not whitewash it. He explained and everyone appreciated being informed. We always arrived in port on time and most ports were excellent.
We did the city walk tour but the town was a mile and a half away with really nothing to see in between. I think it would be better to drive to the city and get to see the town of La Cruscita in more detail. The port was cute but as soon as we got off the ship they were all hounding us for drinks! They seem to be new to the tourist business. More needs to be developed for the traveler or upgrade the beach.
Our original tour was cancelled due to lack of participation so we chose the one closest to it- a coffee tour. The ride from the port to near San Jose was 2-21/2 hours long each way and we spent @45 minutes at the two stops. The coffee tour was good but nothing was actually being porcessed so we watched a video showing us what happens during harvest. The gift shop did a very brisk business of coffee and chocolate covered coffee beans. The lunch that was provided was delicious and although the artisans weren't there a silversmith/jewelery maker was and was very reasonable with his jewelery.
Don't Miss: the drives were very long to see anything.
We went zip lining which was a blast so we didn't see much of the port or city. It was a long drive but worth it. Only 9 people from the ship went. I will say that since camera weren't allowed on the lines the zipline company had a photographer that took pictures. He did an excellent job but since we didn't know that we would be able to purchase pictures he would be taking we missed getting some great shots of ourselves climmbing and Zipping!! Better communication on that would have made them a bit of money and giving us more pictures.
Don't Miss: I think the Whale watching event was most talked about. There were mamas and babies everywhere. Lots of breaching , etc.
All tours got off before the Gatun Locks and we went on the river cruise to see birds and monkeys. That part was great' we also went to the Gatun Locks for 1/2 hour to see ships passing thru, very interesting. We left for Colon and traveled thru the worst part of the city. Upon arrival at the docks we were turned away as the ship hadn't arrived so they drove us to the port that had shops and wanted us to stay there. There seemed to be no communication with the ship as each guide gave different explainings to the issue. One couple went into the casino as their guide said that when the Lyrica left our ship would dock and they could board. They left their group and almost missed the cruise as the ship never docked there! We were finally sent over to the empty cruise terminal and had to wait inside until the ship had been cleared. A prison riot had happened after we had passed by and 9 people had been killed. The later arriving buses had police escort theu the city to the port!
Don't Miss: Staying on the ship
I must admit I was leary about going ashore because it was Colombia so stayed onboard. I am very sorry now as everyone reported how great it was. The architecture was beautiful and the people friendly.
Don't Miss: just go to town and don't stay on the boat
Pros: We had been upgraded from outside to veranda!
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