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poss

going crazy trying to choose ship's excursion from Colon

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I suspect that few if any readers will feel like doing what I'm about to suggest, but I thought I'd throw it out there anyway.  

I really have done lots of homework.   Have read the David McCullough book, have read a number of guide books, have looked at various websites.   But when I look at our ship's offerings (included in price of cruise for the most part), I find myself scratching my head.    Details kind of run together.    I wonder if any kind soul out there, someone who knows the Canal opportunities well, feels like looking at the excursions and perhaps mentioning the one or two that seem to stand out.   We're not real interested in the Indian village, and we're not great fans of railroads, so probably not the train.   I'm wondering, e.g., whether the Gatun excursions (there are several) or the excursion that includes Miraflores would be a better choice.   Or something else?    We're in our 80's, and can't do real, real active tours.

 

The cruise is on Regent Mariner, leaving May 17, 2020, from Miami to San Francisco.   If that cruise is called up, there's a list of the various ports with their excursions.   Thanks a whole bunch to anyone who feels like taking this on!

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I wouldn't take one to Miraflores, because you are going to go through the Miraflores lacks the next day on your ship.  Since I can't see what options are offered, if there was one that takes you to the visitors center for the new locks, I would take that.  But, you are not obligated to take an excursion if nothing interests you.  The biggest excursion will be the transit the next day.  EM

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5 hours ago, poss said:

I suspect that few if any readers will feel like doing what I'm about to suggest, but I thought I'd throw it out there anyway.  

I really have done lots of homework.   Have read the David McCullough book, have read a number of guide books, have looked at various websites.   But when I look at our ship's offerings (included in price of cruise for the most part), I find myself scratching my head.    Details kind of run together.    I wonder if any kind soul out there, someone who knows the Canal opportunities well, feels like looking at the excursions and perhaps mentioning the one or two that seem to stand out.   We're not real interested in the Indian village, and we're not great fans of railroads, so probably not the train.   I'm wondering, e.g., whether the Gatun excursions (there are several) or the excursion that includes Miraflores would be a better choice.   Or something else?    We're in our 80's, and can't do real, real active tours.

 

The cruise is on Regent Mariner, leaving May 17, 2020, from Miami to San Francisco.   If that cruise is called up, there's a list of the various ports with their excursions.   Thanks a whole bunch to anyone who feels like taking this on!

 

Just replied to you briefly on the roll call site and then saw this entry.  We have done Canal transits six or seven times now (mainly because the transit doesn't ever seem to get old).  We are in our earlier 70's and like what is usually a quieter cruise such as this.  You may think us odd, but we prefer to stay on the ship during the entire transit.  You can listen to the running commentary over the p.a. system if you want to learn more about everything.  We just find it more appealing not to leave our air-conditioned, clean, bug-free ship to do something ashore.  Strictly our opinion though.

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If you opted for the IMAX Experience, that will take you to a brand new purpose built theater at Miraflores Locks.  Excellent documentary narrated by Morgan Freeman.  It appears you will also have time to view the lock operations at Miraflores Locks as well.  Even though you will transit the locks the following day I think there is value added to seeing things from the shore side perspective.  There are a lot of exhibits and displays at the visitor's center as well.  The bus ride back and forth to Colon will give you an opportunity so some of the country side.

 

The Panama City tour will give you a great look at modern Panama City.  That tour says it indicates a stop at the ruins of Old Panama and then on to the Casco Antiguo which was founded after Morgan made an unwelcome visit to Old Panama.

 

The aerial tram at Gamboa will also give a chance to have a look at some of the country as well.  In looking at the tours available I did not see any that would take you to the new expansion locks, all tours on the Atlantic side mentioned Gatun Locks.  I am not sure Gatun Locks has a visitor's center presently, perhaps that will be clarified later.

 

 

 

 

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I very much appreciate the feedback.

Essiesmom:   The problem is not that the excursions don't interest us — it's that there are so many interesting-sounding possibilities.   I go round in circles about which one to choose.

Silver Sweethearts:  Not at all odd that someone would choose to stay aboard ship.  But in fact we will be onboard for the entire transit — the day following the Colon stop.    Or what am I not understanding?    Thanks for responding to my other post as well.

BillB:  You really are a gem for replying in such thoughtful detail.   Thank you, thank you.   I've decided not to do the Panama City tour, just think we'd probably be more interested in some of the other possibilities.   Do you think that the IMAX experience would still be interesting for someone who has digested that marvelous McCullough book?    (Silver Sweethearts — I assume you've read that book?)   I think that the aerial tram sounds good, though one of us (that would be me) is somewhat fearful of heights.   But I've done hanging bridges in Costa Rica in the past and was ok.

Speaking of Costa Rica:  Bill, if you know that country, and since you actually have the energy to pull up the Regent website, how about chiming in on the Costa Rica excursions?   Heck, why not suggest what to do in Guatemala and Nicaragua as well while you're at it?   Kidding, of course — you've done a great deal already.

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IMO the IMAX presentation and the Path Between are two different presentations, they really cover the Canal in two different points of view.  The good thing is the IMAX presentation isn't nearly the commitment the Path is! LOL.

 Well, I don't know the other countries as well as Panama and the Canal, but in Costa Rica the nearest I could find in the tours that are offered for your cruise is  the one on the Tarcoles River.  Interesting with some really industrial sized crocodiles on a very comfortable boat.  Have done the Tarcoles in conjunction with other tours and recently they have tamed it down a bit.  Previously the guides would leave the boat and interact with the crocs by feeding them.  On my last visit they said that was no longer permitted.  Oh well, progress.

 

Did the Antigua thing in PQ, my daughter loved it while I was perhaps a little "meh".  Probably the only place that the street vendors can go toe to toe with the ones in Cartagena!  Then on another trip we did the coffee plantation tour.  They both were fine because I enjoy just seeing the country more than anything else.  By myself I did the Pacaya Volcano and came to understand that the people who write the tour descriptions have never been out of their office!!

 

Can't help you with Nicaragua, my dance card is empty on that one even though my wife was born there and she would like a return visit. 

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22 hours ago, BillB48 said:

[...]

Did the Antigua thing in PQ, my daughter loved it while I was perhaps a little "meh".  Probably the only place that the street vendors can go toe to toe with the ones in Cartagena!  Then on another trip we did the coffee plantation tour.  They both were fine because I enjoy just seeing the country more than anything else.  By myself I did the Pacaya Volcano and came to understand that the people who write the tour descriptions have never been out of their office!! [...]

Hi BillB48!

I am looking at something to do in Guatemala -Puerto-Quazal / was your coffee plantation tour from this port? or from Cartagena?

Either way; would you remember which tour company would dealt with? how long was the excursion and if you stopped anywhere else along the way? 

Many thanks!

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1 hour ago, Tweety_abc3 said:

Hi BillB48!

I am looking at something to do in Guatemala -Puerto-Quazal / was your coffee plantation tour from this port? or from Cartagena?

Either way; would you remember which tour company would dealt with? how long was the excursion and if you stopped anywhere else along the way? 

Many thanks!

 

 

We did this tour in Puerto Quetzal and it was a ship's tour from Royal Caribbean, the coffee plantation was the only stop.  The tour lasted about 5 hours and it included a nice drive by the volcanoes.

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Thank you so much. I was wondering if I could push my luck (ie: speaking with someone of experience with the area! )... and ask if you'd know the difference (coffee plantation) between these 2 Royal Caribbean tours: 

**********************

#1) COFFEE CLOSE TO NATURE (4:30min): - which they describe with the volcano's amazing views etc. (likely the one you did)

  • Scenic Drive: Ride through pastures of sugar-cane plantations.The volcanoes and unique landscapes provide impressive views. Participate in an educational and ecological adventure on a mountain range close to the active Pacaya volcano.
  • Coffee: Learn how high-quality Guatemalan coffee is cultivated, harvested and processed for export and local consumption. A taste of local produced coffee is included.

#2) COFFEE ESTATE AND ANTIGUA (8hrs):

"travel to an internationally recognized coffee plantation. Absorb the aroma of freshly brewed coffee while learning about the intricate process that creates this precious brew. You'll tour the coffee mill, drying patios and plantation area, and get a tasty sample. Then take a walking tour of Antigua, from Central Park to a jade museum and factory, before enjoying lunch in a local venue."     [...] Coffee Plantation: Taste freshly brewed world-class award-winning coffee and learn about the complex brewing process.

*********************

Tour#1 is interesting as the road to get there looks very interesting (but won't involved much walking.. mainly sitting).

Tour#2: doesn't mention a scenic drive to get to the coffee plantation... Would you think the "scenic" drive would be comparable? (would it be the same coffee plantation)?

I like tour #2 because it allows us to walk in Antigua.. exercise will be welcome! 

 

Thanks so much for your thoughts/feedback.

Ann

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12 hours ago, Tweety_abc3 said:

Thank you so much. I was wondering if I could push my luck (ie: speaking with someone of experience with the area! )... and ask if you'd know the difference (coffee plantation) between these 2 Royal Caribbean tours: 

**********************

#1) COFFEE CLOSE TO NATURE (4:30min): - which they describe with the volcano's amazing views etc. (likely the one you did)

  • Scenic Drive: Ride through pastures of sugar-cane plantations.The volcanoes and unique landscapes provide impressive views. Participate in an educational and ecological adventure on a mountain range close to the active Pacaya volcano.
  • Coffee: Learn how high-quality Guatemalan coffee is cultivated, harvested and processed for export and local consumption. A taste of local produced coffee is included.

#2) COFFEE ESTATE AND ANTIGUA (8hrs):

"travel to an internationally recognized coffee plantation. Absorb the aroma of freshly brewed coffee while learning about the intricate process that creates this precious brew. You'll tour the coffee mill, drying patios and plantation area, and get a tasty sample. Then take a walking tour of Antigua, from Central Park to a jade museum and factory, before enjoying lunch in a local venue."     [...] Coffee Plantation: Taste freshly brewed world-class award-winning coffee and learn about the complex brewing process.

*********************

Tour#1 is interesting as the road to get there looks very interesting (but won't involved much walking.. mainly sitting).

Tour#2: doesn't mention a scenic drive to get to the coffee plantation... Would you think the "scenic" drive would be comparable? (would it be the same coffee plantation)?

I like tour #2 because it allows us to walk in Antigua.. exercise will be welcome! 

 

Thanks so much for your thoughts/feedback.

Ann

 

I have done the coffee plantation tour and the "on your own" to Antigua... just not on the same trip!  I would think that either tour uses the same coffee plantation.  On both trips we traveled the same road/s going to the coffee plantation and to Antigua.  On another trip where I did the Pacaya Volcano climb, it was the same road for most of the way.  The Jade Museum and Factory are pretty much the hub for tours going to Antigua.

 

Below is a shot of the Fuego Volcano providing a little show as we drove by last November.

 

image.thumb.jpeg.7207102da9f3f0461d95a8c647fb989f.jpeg

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8 hours ago, BillB48 said:

 

I have done the coffee plantation tour and the "on your own" to Antigua... just not on the same trip!  I would think that either tour uses the same coffee plantation.  On both trips we traveled the same road/s going to the coffee plantation and to Antigua.  On another trip where I did the Pacaya Volcano climb, it was the same road for most of the way.  The Jade Museum and Factory are pretty much the hub for tours going to Antigua.

 

Below is a shot of the Fuego Volcano providing a little show as we drove by last November.

 

image.thumb.jpeg.7207102da9f3f0461d95a8c647fb989f.jpeg

Amazing. Thanks for sharing!

Would you recall it your drive to Antigua was also going through Volcano's scenery?

I'll be reaching out RC to confirm if the Coffee+Antigua trip takes us through something scenic as well... crossing my fingers.. just not sure if they can provide this type of information.

Thanks again for the pic! 

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Yes, to get to Antigua you will go by the volcanoes... how active it will be, don't know.  The one that has been on the active side is Fuego, Pacaya is also "active" but there haven't been any eruptive displays that I am aware of.  The third volcano is Agua and it is not active.  If you go to Antigua you will pass close to the volcano in the picture, the others are less prominent but are visible.

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