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Old 01-05-2010, 06:51 AM   #1
tdew
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Default Panama Canal Cruise on Celebrity

So far, so good!
Good morning,
This is a short report from on board the Celebrity Constellation.
Boarding the ship in Miami on Sunday was a horror, probably the worst I?ve ever encountered on a cruise ship. We stood on many, many longer lines before finally getting on board. We have heard since sailing that the delay was not the fault of Celebrity, bur rather US Customs that held everything up. It had something to do with the last port of call having been Colombia ?.
One of the best things I?ve found since my last cruise is that you are no longer to wear or even carry your life preserver to the life boat drill! You still have to see a demonstration of how to wear the life jacket and go to your assigned station, but you don?t have to stand around in the heat wearing a life preserver. In Sunday?s case though, it would have been standing around and freezing. Miami?s weather was not as expected.
The journey so far has been very pleasant. The food is good, company is too. We may be a little too young for the crowd on board. It is hard to tell for sure, but I think the ages are mostly 70 and over.
I?ve seen about 5 children and maybe 10 people under 60.
We arrive in Cartegena tomorrow morning and have an excursion planned. That will really be the start of the trip for me. I did sign up for the Cruise Critic meet and greet, but when I looked into the room, it was a mob scene and I skipped it.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:24 AM   #2
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Getting off the ship was probably just as bad as getting on was, but again it was not the fault of Celebrity. In this case, all non US citizens had to clear immigration onboard the ship before anyone could depart. The announcements kept coming asking different people to report to Guest relations, but though the number got smaller and smaller, "Heidi" certainly took her own sweet time. The announcement was made in both English, German and Spanish and you'd think that someone would have gotten the message to her. It was about an hour later than had been estimated for everyone to get off.
We planned a couple of days in San Diego, but could have skipped them. We're in the middle of a series of rain storms and are hoping that we take off tonight for home.

This link goes to pictures of the day we traveled through the canal. It was an amazing journey and I'm glad I got to see it. I'm not sure I'd want to do 14 days on a ship again too soon, but time will tell.


http://tdew.smugmug.com/Travel/Tropi...60956966_EXfAZ
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:45 AM   #3
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Thumbs up

Thanks so much for taking the time during your trip to make these posts for us Terry, and giving us so many details which can help us in our future travels.

Hopefully you'll be home safely tomorrow.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:54 AM   #4
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I managed to make my $99 internet access last up until the very end!
There was a 10% bonus if you signed up right away and another 10% for Captain's club, so I had a whopping 243 minutes to browse the internet.
It reminded me of the old days on dial up before unlimited time came into play. I'd go on, get my mail then log off and take my time to compose answers.
There was one snag that happened because of the Google tool bar. Evidently sometimes it messes up the count, so sometimes (4x) I was getting billed for wireless internet in spite of the package deal. It was cleared up as soon as I brought it to their attention, but I was glad I checked my bill.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:07 AM   #5
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Thumbs up

That's a tip which will help many, including me. I wouldn't be surprised that the same is true for Azamara (a Celebrity company) and of course, RCCL who owns Celebrity.

Thanks very much. (I sent you well deserved rep for your tip and your wonderful reports)

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdew View Post
I managed to make my $99 internet access last up until the very end!
There was a 10% bonus if you signed up right away and another 10% for Captain's club, so I had a whopping 243 minutes to browse the internet.
It reminded me of the old days on dial up before unlimited time came into play. I'd go on, get my mail then log off and take my time to compose answers.
There was one snag that happened because of the Google tool bar. Evidently sometimes it messes up the count, so sometimes (4x) I was getting billed for wireless internet in spite of the package deal. It was cleared up as soon as I brought it to their attention, but I was glad I checked my bill.
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Old 01-19-2010, 01:12 PM   #6
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Thanks for the pics, BTW, so looking forward to our run in 2011..
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:57 AM   #7
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Ned, Azamara had the same sort of internet packages when we sailed to Bermuda in 2007. The difference was that on the Journey we had wireless access in the cabins. On the Constellation you had to be in the vicinity of the internet cafe for the wireless to be available.

I am sure they (Celebrity) made out quite well on the deal on our cruise, as you are required to log off the system in order to stop the count down of minutes. In more than one instance, I overheard people complaining to the service guy that all their minutes had disappeared even though they had turned off their computers. When you add that to the ones who showed up with brand new blackberries wanting to know how to access their email on the device - and those who had difficulty figuring out how to set up a user name and password...

As I said in my post from the ship, this cruise was made up of mostly 65 Plus age group, with a heavy leaning toward the PLUS side. It makes sense when you think about it, the sailing was right after the holidays and was for 14 days - it's unlikely many not retired would be in the group. If I saw 6 kids on board, that would be a lot. I'd be hard pressed to tell you how many canes, walkers and wheelchairs I saw though.

It was also heavily coupled - very few friend groups. My friend and I lucked out in our dinner companions. We were teamed up with two couples, one from Ossning, NY and another from Toronto. Everyone got along very well and we moved our seats around each night, as we were assigned a table for 12 and it was fully booked at the early seating. Our converstaion at dinner was so enjoyable that we closed the dining room most nights.

Cartagena was interesting, but spoiled by the street peddlers who were in your face as soon as you exited from the tour bus.

Puntarenas, Costa Rica was a complete turnaround. Everyone was extremely nice. There was no hard sell, even from the craft market stands alongside the pier. I'd like to see more of Costa Rica another time.

Hutulco, Mexico was interesting, but not quite ready for a flock of tourists yet. We visited a town way up in the mountains. Our ship sponsored tour was divided into 4 vans. Two of the vans broke down along the way, as we passed over roads that had parts washed away. In one case, a whole lane was missing.
The town of 800 people at the top of the mountain was there because of the coffee crop. They pick the coffee, dry it and roast it. There are cafe's all around the square. It was extremely poor but they did have an internet cafe.

We saw Acapulco's past glammour from the water and it is still lovely. We'd read that it was nasty on the streets today, and were happy that we saw the good parts.

Cabo San Lucas was just okay. It didn't impress or depress me. I think I was "done" by the time we got there.
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