Cruising is one of our favorite vacations. I was able to find a great deal on a two-week Panama Canal cruise on the Coral
Princess. We will start in Fort Lauderdale FL and stop in Aruba; Cartagena, Columbia; Fuerte Amador, Panama; and the Pacific side of Costa Rica before ending in Los Angeles CA.
My brother and his wife and two-year-old son live in Ft Lauderdale so we came out a couple of days early to spend some time with them. We don’t get to see them often and had a very nice
time. Our nephew, Tyler, is an amazing child. He is very bright and ahead for his age. He’s funny, inquisitive and knows no fear. He has a typical two-year-old attention span and temperament.
Cruise lines often discount their staterooms two to three weeks before departure so if you can be flexible as far as when you leave – and where you want to go or on which cruise line – you can take a great cruise for a very reasonable price. Sometimes, to get the best deal on a cruise, you have to be
Our first night moonlight on the water
flexible and able to go with just a few weeks notice. And, at least in my experience, airfare does not rise appreciably if you can book it at least two weeks in advance. It’s that last minute, have-to-fly-tomorrow, type of trip that becomes so expensive.
With only four ports of call, eight of our 14 days will be spent at sea. It’s important to match your vacation to your needs, and right now we need to relax, rest and de-stress.
Tom in our stateroom
This small itinerary might sound boring, but it isn’t. You’d have to work at being bored on a cruise ship – there are things to do from the 7 a.m. “Long Lean and Stretch” aerobics class on Deck 14, Aft, to the midnight “Late Night Party Hits” with a DJ playing requests in the Explorer’s Lounge, Deck 6, Aft.
Tom on our balcony
We will be stopping in Aruba for four hours. I’m not sure why it’s such a short time, but we’ve booked a tour so we can see all the important sights in the time we have. Then we have six hours in Cartagena Columbia where we will be going on another tour.
The next day will be spent going through the Panama Canal locks. Then we will have ten hours to explore Fuerte Amador, Panama and, finally, 12 hours in Puntarenas, Costa Rica (the Pacific side of Costa Rica). The only thing I want to do in Costa Rica (I think) is lay on the beach. It’s our last chance to do that and since we have tours taking up our time on the other days, it will be good to be on our own.
Here are some things I have noticed:
- This Princess ship has less “glitz” and more “glamour.” It’s a bit plainer with very little gold leaf or gold paint. It has a more “stately home” feeling than downtown Las Vegas.
- The staff is friendly and helpful.
- The ship is laid out in a manner similar to Norwegian so we are able to get around.
The passengers are a lot older. I mean a lot. I’m in my late 50s and Tom’s in his early 60s and I think we are the youngest people on the ship. I have never seen so many canes in one place – and walkers and wheelchairs. This
Coral Princess Atrium Steps
is way beyond any normal percentage of elderly in a population. Someone said it was because most working people or people with children can’t get away for two weeks so there are more retired people on a long cruise like this.
So far – just 24 hours into it – the food hasn’t been all that great. This could be more of a selection issue than quality. We will give it some time and see if it improves.
That’s it for now. I’ll post again after we have seen Aruba.
Until next time,
Susan L Stewart