My wife and I had a very good relaxed vacation. The highlight of this cruise is able to witness the Panama Canal pass through and to see how it operates. It is a once in a lifetime experience. As for Emerald Princess Cruise it is a mixed review. Our stateroom, overall service and food are great. The embarkation and disembarkation are terrible. The entertainment is either a hit or a miss. As for ports, we enjoy Cartagena Old city, Puntarenas Costa Rica, Puerto Vallarta Malecon broadwalk. Below is our trip review details. I rated each category from 1 to 5 (1 worst to 5 best).
We arrived at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood airport (FLL) on port day. From FLL to port Everglades, we used Lyft. It is very easy to use Lyft/Uber at FLL. FLL has a designated share riding pick up area. The cost of our ride is $10.
We stayed at room R225 deck 14 forward interior cabin. Our room is close to gym deck 16 and marketplace buffet deck 15. During the last 2 days of the cruise I do feel shaky in the room or anywhere in the ship due to the high wind. Overall, I do not feel motion sickness or noisy being in this stateroom. Our stateroom steward Vichan is excellent. He always greets us with a smile when we see him on the hallway. We bring a shower sponge so it is helpful for dispensing soap into sponge for showering. I also bring in Magnetic hooks that are helpful to hang papers and clothes on wall. We are very happy with our room. We found a great deal this cruise so it is very good value for the money.
From FLL to port Everglades, we used Lyft. It is very easy to use Lyft/Uber at FLL. FLL has a designated share riding pick up area. The cost of our ride is $10.
We visited old city. This is a must see. We joined the Emerald princess shopping shuttle bus organized by the Effy store. You need to sign on their tour bus in the shopping talk. They charge $15 r/t per person paid at the end of the tour. We arrived at old city at around 9:15 and came back at 12:30. Once you are at old town you can join their shopping tour or do your own sightseeing and meet at a designated spot (church) at 12:30pm. We did our own sightseeing and we did not take their shuttle back to port. We took a taxi back to pier and it cost us $10. Old city is nice to walk around. Make sure do your research before you come so you know where to visit. I saw merchants came to me asked me to buy stuffs. We just said no thank you and they did not bother us.
We visited Casco Viego. This place Is very similar to Cartagena old town. We took princess complimentary shuttle bus to Albrook mall then from there I called Uber to Casco Viego $3.6 to explore on our own. Do your research know the area before you come. On the way back to Fuerte Amador port I ordered Uber to port cost $5.3. My phone is T mobile with simple choice plan and I have free international data. Data speed is 2G not fast but enough to check email WhatsApp message or use Uber ... Uber works out well and cheap in Panama City. It use the same Uber apps like in US. You will able to see the ride cost, driver name, make of car and license plate #.
We try to walk from port to the Jesus statue. We walked the wrong way. When you walk along side the beach walkway to the end you see a crazy crab I walked to the right I should walk to the left to the beach. So I ended up taking a taxi $5 to the statue. There are approximately 100 steps to walk up. There is a guy at the entrance to collect $2 each entrance fees. The view up there is amazing. Must visit. We walked back to the pier. There are many shops, bars and restaurants near the port.
We took a taxi to the town La Crucecita. We visited the white washed church then walked round down town and took a taxi back to cruise port. We then went to a bar at the San Jose beach for drinks and use their WiFi. San Jose beach is next to pier and it is occupied mostly by bars and restaurants. This is my least favorite port of this cruise. Taxi from port to town is $3 each way.
We had a great time at Malecon. I highly recommend to come here. We took a local bus to Malecon. The bus stop is on your left side after you leave the main terminal gate. Bus fare is $10 peso each. I gave bus driver US $2 for 2 of us. Bus driver told us where to get off. We walked from Hotel Rosita all the way south to Romantic zone Los Muertos beach. At Los Muertos, there are many water taxis vendors if you like to visit the island. It was a easy pleasant walk along Malecon. I suggest come here after 10am when store open. Most people here are able to speak English well. There are many benches to sit down. There are many trees on the side so you can walk under shade. We visited the our lady of Guadalupe church, seahorse and many other statues. There are many shops and bars on the broadwalk. I bought a T shirt from senor frogs store. On the way back to cruise port, we took local bus with sign Wal-Mart and Sam Club in front. The cruise port stop is one stop before Wal-Mart. We stopped by Walmart to buy some stuffs before we head back to ship. Highly recommend to come visit Malecon by bus. Note Uber is available in Puerto Vallarta.