Last week we came back from our family vacation trip where we took a Panama Canal cruise on the Norwegian Pearl. Below you will find a diary of our trip.
Our cruise started in Miami, so we flew to Fort Lauderdale one day before the cruise.
We stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites next to the Fort Lauderdale airport. It is a very good 3 star hotel for large families like ours, perfect to book before the cruise.
The following day our cruising adventured started...
Fun on board while the ship is sailing...
Our first stop was Cartagena, Columbia
We explored the Cartagena with the BEST tour guide the city has to offer, Duran Duran!
Yesterday when we asked our kids what they remembered the most from the whole cruise our kids answered: Duran and La Popa (one of of the major attractions in Cartagena) :)
From the very beginning of the tour, our kids hovered Duran while telling them stories about pirates, various battles, Columbian culture and tradition, all in a very entertaining manner.
We travel with and without our kids around the world and I can safely attest that Duran is one of the best tour guides we have ever encountered! I definitely recommend Duran to all people visiting Cartagena.
The next morning we woke up before 6 am to see the Panama Canal crossing. It is a very cool engineering project to watch in action.
I was very disappointed with the quality of the tour we received while touring the actual canal; tours are only available directly BY the ships vs. from land. Our tour provider, Monkey Island Tour, could make significant improvements.
In Puerto Limon, Costa Rica we hired the BEST driver for that area, Jorge, who not only provided us with the van, but most importantly told us about local culture, history, interesting places to go to, nature.
We visited an amazing animal sanctuary in Costa Rica, the Jaguar Rescue Center. It was one of many highlights of our trip.
In Roatan Island, Honduras we planned to visit French Little Key Island which is optimal for enjoying the beach, kayaking, and various sport activities. However when we arrived to Roatan we found out that they had pipes broken and French Little Key were not open.
They offered to bring us to another side of the island which we did not have time for. The beach was one of the best we have seen in the Caribbean- soft sand, no waves, and perfectly shallow for kids to swim.
In Belize we planned to go Cave Tubing and Zip lining. The weather did not cooperate and the caves were closed. So instead of exploring the caves, we went to the Baboon Sanctuary.
The last stop on the cruise was Costa Maya. We chose Casey from the Native Choice as our tour guide. She was amazing and I would definetly recommend her to families with and without kids who want to experience the Mayan history and culture.
We visited the Mayan ruins at Chacchoben and chilled at Laguna De Los 7 Colores. It was very cool not only to know the history and culture, but also to visit the archological site and find very small fragments of pottery and a piece of arrow. It is another highlight that kids would remember!
After the cruise we just relaxed at the Grand Beach, Miami Beach and were ready for our flight home.