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Holland America Panama Canal Cruise in February

Tennessee
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Holland America Panama Canal Cruise in February

We are taking a Holland American 11 day Panama Canal Cruise in February. This cruise will not go all the way thru the Canal but will enter one set of locks and then turn around and head back to orgin port. We will be stopping in Oranjestad,Aruba; Bonaire, Antilles; Colon, Panama and Limon, Costa Rica ports. What are the must do tours for these ports. Also, any knowledge of the ms Zuiderdam ship.

ON, Canada
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1. Re: Holland America Panama Canal Cruise in February

There are a few regular posters here who have done Panama Canal cruises, and Fannish, a DE for this forum will be able to fill you in on Zuiderdam details ... but in the meantime, thought I would direct you to a recent review from someone who just did this cruise:

cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/…

You might also find this forum interesting: boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=89

And if you join the roll call on cruise critic for your sailing, you can meet others who will be cruising with you and share ideas, info, etc. boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php…

Cruise critic is a sister site of TA ... registration there is free, and in order to post on any forum, or read the roll call forums, you'll need to register.

One other area I like for getting general port info, plus some ideas on what to do in them: www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=2

Also, you'll likely find some info on the destination forums here on Tripadvisor for each port.

Enjoy your cruise!

Susan

Ontario, Canada
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2. Re: Holland America Panama Canal Cruise in February

I agree with Susan do check the ports of call forum on CC & the roll call

We did a private tour in Limon CR with Okey Dokey tours went to the tortugua canal (sp?) & the banana plantation lunch on the beach & to the supermarket for coffee to bring home

Colon I would do a ship's tour through the locks if you have not done this before ...there is not much around the dock area there

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3. Re: Holland America Panama Canal Cruise in February

My daughter and I just did this cruise in 12/10/12 and I would never cruise with this company and its ship Ms Zuiderdam. For starter we had to wait over two hrs to check in for the ship. Keep in mind that this cruise attracts many seniors who have difficulty standing and no one offer to assist them. Waiting on line and not being told what's the hold up is frustrating. Finally we're on the ship but had to wait another hr or so for the room to be ready. Finally we were allowed to go to the room and to our shock the balcony of the room was filthy. The room itself was clean and quite comfortable. The food on the ship was not attractive or much tasty. During the "day at sea" we experienced not one blackout but three in 24 hrs. The next time at sea we also experienced an alarm of smoke detected in the incinerator. Mind you it was around 9:30 PM and quite scary. The places we visited from Aruba to Panama Canal was interesting. The tour guides for Cartagena , Panama City , and Costa Rica were quite entertaining. They made feel at ease and quite informative with good management of the English language.

If you're interested in doing the Panama Canal cruise , don't do via Holland America especially Ms Zuiderdam ship. The captain was informative at times and at times to brief. I must say our steward housekeeper was excellent, kudos to Arial!!!!

Phoenix, Arizona
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4. Re: Holland America Panama Canal Cruise in February

Hi, I believe we may be on the same cruise, if you leave Feb 4th, otherwise, I have given you the contact info if you want to book other dates.We have been researching private shore excursion companies both on cruise critic and on Trip advisor. I have worked out the following schedule. If you are on the same cruise, you are welcome to join us for the tours. My email is azscubagal@hotmail.com, if you are interested.

2/5- Half Moon Bay- We just rented a clamshell, since there are only two of us, but may be open to other ideas...

2/7- Aruba- Sonny Binns Tours- NEED AT LEAST FOUR MORE TO JOIN US, but can take many more- for $30pp Sonny will take us to: the Lighthouse, Alto Vista Chapel, Natural Bridge and the Rock Formations. There will be other photo stops along the way, including the beautiful coastline. The tour is 3 hours long. I have no doubt we can costomize it, if you have other things you would like to see. You can contact Sonny directly at binntours@yahoo.com, but please let him know you are part of the 'Rudy & Silvia' group and let me know you joined, so I can keep a head-count. His bus holds 28, but he will take as few as six

2/8- Caracao- Caspers Tours- NEED AT LEAST TWO MORE TO JOIN US -for $25pp, we will receive a complete island tour. The island tour is about 4 hrs it covers part of Willemstad the curacao liquier factory /Spanish water/hato caves, entrance 3us not incl./beach on the western side.. From past guests, I am told he provides a tour which takes us to all of the regular highlights other tours do, but quite a few new places, others had never seen. He had the highest overall reviews. Please let me know if you are interested in joining us.

2/10- Cartegena- Dora's Tour- City tour

2/11- Panama- Embera Indian Village- This was everyones top suggestion for what to do in Panama, as you can ONLY book your tour through the ship.

2/12- Puerta Limon- Oscar Brown Tours, #4-Tortuguero Canal & Jaguar Rescue Center. The tour is $85pp. 6 or more, the price goes down to $80pp

Chatham, Ontario
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5. Re: Holland America Panama Canal Cruise in February

On Half Moon Cay, the clamshell is an excellent value. A very expensive cabana is divine, but for just a few dollars, the clamshell is a "next best thing". On very sunny days they can get blazing hot. Propping up the back bottom edge can help. The beach is very well groomed, so you may not find any rocks, etc with which to do so. Bring a spare book for this. If you don't have any, you can pick up one free in the library "leave a book/take a book" shelf. Ask.

I suggest you get the clamshell positioned a good ways down the beach, beyond the Captain Morgan's (noisy) Pirate Ship bar. Near the eggshell cabana is ideal. Fairly close to the food, very close to a set of public washrooms.

Also, pick up a couple extra towels on the gangway as you leave the ship. These can be used for lots of things other than drying yourself off, even propping up that clamshell edge.

HAL is a Coca-Cola company. You can bring unlimited pop/soda aboard (also unlimited wine, but no beer or liquor). I always take cold Pepsi to HMC. It is worth it to me - you may want to simply buy drinks in the beach bars.

I know Sonny Binns. Good choice.

Make sure your Curacao tour leaves you a chance to poke around on your own in Willemstad. I love the pontoon bridge, the quaint cafes of the Punda, the synagogue, the floating market.

Don't know Dora in Cartegena, but a city tour is a smart choice.

Embera village will give you an unforgettable experience. There is little to no shade, no air conditioning, and it can be hard on some knees to get in and out of the canoes/boats. If none of those are down checks, go for it. Pack chilled washcloths for the back of your neck.

The other alternative - not as good - is the Canal Experience, which takes you on a pretty scummy ferry all the way through the locks. The attraction is the canal, not the ferry. Tour is for people who want to see the entire length of the canal. Ferry is purportedly air conditioned, but at least provides shade and ice.

I know Oscar Brown. Good choice.

BTW, I always have the stewards remove EVERYTHING from the in room cooler as soon as I embark. I suggest you do the same. It is amazing how often I was otherwise charged for things I did not use. Besides, I needed the space for Pepsi, wine, and chilled washcloths. <g>

If you need any HAL tips, please feel free to post questions.

Summerfield nc
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6. Re: Holland America Panama Canal Cruise in February

Hi, we are taking the 11 day Panama Canal cruise nov 18....soon! Any updates to tour info written above? Thanks so much.... Cheryl

Chatham, Ontario
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7. Re: Holland America Panama Canal Cruise in February

David, if you want specific help, what questions can I answer?

Meadow Lake, Canada
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8. Re: Holland America Panama Canal Cruise in February

What shots do you recommend for this cruise

Chatham, Ontario
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9. Re: Holland America Panama Canal Cruise in February

I didn't get any. I considered the tourist areas passengers are exposed to "safe enough".

YMMV.

Yellow fever from mosquitoes is a risk.

phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/…

…cdc.gov/travel/…panama

London, England
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10. Re: Holland America Panama Canal Cruise in February

In all those ports of call it is easy to arrange tours at the port. Otherwise check out the information on cruise Critic.