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Sunday, September 3, 2023

Cartagena, Columbia

Aloha Everyone,

Aside from crossing the Panama Canal, I was looking forward to today’s visit to Cartagena. Breezy weather, J.J. and I contemplated on walking the 800 feet distance between Emerald Princess and the tropical sanctuary for avian species, mammals and turtles. 

Seeing a Veteran Navy man being wheeled out to a waiting ambulance dampened our spirits. We rode a small, antiquated but air-conditioned shuttle bus. Self-appointed tour guides were physically grabbing potential passengers promising them that they will give a tour of the old city. Our instinct told us that something wasn’t right. J.J. and I discarded our original plan of hiring a taxi and do our own tour and returned to the ship.

Our table mates were not as fortunate. They joined Hop-on Hop-off ship organized tour. They were promised to go around the new city then into the walled areas of the Old City to leisurely walk among the colonial buildings.

Their 4 hours tour became a nightmare. Two of their busses broke down. The third bus finally came but passengers were told that streets of Old City are being torn down and inaccessible with Hop-on Hop-off.

For their waiting time on non-air-conditioned buses, all they were given was a free bottle of water.

I heard from experienced cruisers that ours is the first cruise ship to arrive and the local businesses weren’t ready.  Streets inside the Old City were under repair. Really? Princess Cruise should’ve known what’s going on at our destinations where they paint attractive pictures. I wonder how many people will demand refunds.

Aloha -- Cathi