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Going on the Coral on 19th November for Panama Canal - we are researching like mad for trips to go on. Have had a look at the Personaliser and have pencilled in one for Ochos Rios - slightly different itinerary to yours I think. Have been looking at other cruise forum for recommendation of trips etc but nothing too inspiring at the moment. One thing to add though - we are flying American Airlines through Princess and was astounded to see we have a baggage allowance of 2 x 23kg each! Here was I trying to limit what evening dresses I was going to take and husband was going to hire a tux - now he will take his own with us - more luggage for us to lose though!!
We did this cruise this Easter and had a great timeon the Island Princess. Firstly, we had an overnight stay in LA and was at the Hilton Hotel (Next to airport).We did not have any offers of a trip from Princess and found later that some people had booked a taxi trip with the desk that took them to places of their interest the next morning whilst waiting to be picked up. We wished we had done this as we were hanging around the hotel. Within walking distance of the hotel is a 'Denny's' to eat, much cheaper than the hotel by far! As for the trips, we went on the ship's excursions. The excursions really depend on your choice of what you like to do so and also the cost. If you dont have a balcony which we didn't, and you want a spot at the front of the ship you have to get up very early to secure it for the Panama transit. The only excursion which was abit boring was in Nicaragua with the bubbling mud pots! In Aruba we chose to do our own thing and went outside where there is board giving prices to local beaches, then came back and went around the shops and found a bar serving food where you could sit and look at the boat. As it was our first cruise we took all the excursions, however, another time would certainly do our own thing for flexibilty and cost. Loved climbing the Dunns River Falls in Jamaica if you stop there! Hope you enjoy your cruise.
We did the 21 day Pacific Panama Canal cruise on Island Princess in April. Looking at your itinerary, it appears that you will be calling at five of the ports we visited and, whilst I would be loath to recommend any shore excursions because of differing tastes, here goes!!
LA - we had a two day stop-over at the end of the cruise. On one of the days we picked up a locally based tour of LA (arranged via our hotel). It is well worth doing to give a taster of the place on such a short visit. I am not sure whether these tour companies do pick-ups at the port, but if you google LA city tours you could always email and check with them.
Huatulco : Pleasant resort - did our own thing.
Puerto Quetzal : Did the Lake Atitlan and Mayan Highlands. Beautiful scenery but long coach journey for a trip across the lake, lunch, then back across the lake. Had a lot of fun with the Mayan Indians selling their trinkets - they will not leave you alone!!!
Puerto Corinto : Did Colonial Leon and Bubbling Mud Pots. Just saw the Cathedral in Leon. At the mud pots, surrounded by children, obviously very poor and very upsetting, but lovely people. Not a lot to do in Puerto Corinto itself.
Puntarenas : Tropical Train Ride & Mangrove Nature Cruise OK but nothing to write home about.
For the Caribbean, I would just pick up a tour locally - lot cheaper than the ship's excursions.
Just be prepared for the poverty in Central America - particularly in Nicaragua.
We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise - hope you do too. Regards, Jean Whittle
Thanks for all the feedback - it's much appreciated. However, I've just realised I didn't really make myself very clear about Los Angeles in my original question so here goes with a bit more info - we fly to Vancouver via Heathrow and have 1 night in a hotel there before joining the ship the following day. We then have 2 days at sea before reaching Los Angeles followed by a further 3 days at sea before Huatulco. However, there only appears to be 1 trip on offer for Los Angeles which we didn't really fancy but as we've heard that the port for Los Angeles is really out on a limb and miles away from anything, we are wondering if we should perhaps book the trip as the alternative seems to be to spend 6 continuous days at sea. Anyone got any thoughts on this please?
Incidently pilgrim, we went to Ochos Rios a few years ago on a P&O cruise - did our own thing in the morning by hiring a local taxi and then went on an organised trip to Dunns River Falls in the afternoon. We climbed the Falls which was absolutely brilliant - you're given special shoes to wear so you don't slip and the guides are on hand to help on the difficult bits. The guides also sling all your cameras round their necks so they don't get wet and actually manage to take a photo of you with your own camera! Hope you enjoy yourselves.