Re: hotels in Ft Lauderdale; I have stayed twice at the Embassy Suites. Convenient to the port, with free hotel shuttle. Nice hotel, though best for 2 people in a suite due to echoes in the atrium being heard in the living areas of suites (not in the bedrooms though). Dinner restaurant (good) in the hotel, or some decent ones in walking distance. Free full breakfast in the morning too. I'd stay there again.
We are going on the Coral March 24. Did you go on any of the tours? We are considering a couple and want to know if there are any worth seeing. We are thinking about the train tour in Panama, a boat tour in Costa Rica. We had been scheduled for the train tour in Costa Rica but it has been cancelled. any suggestions?
We did tours in most ports. Jamacia, we hired a taxi bus from the pier and had them drive us around to the falls, the fauna park and a general tour around the place. It was worth it. I wish I went horse riding though as they say it was fabulous.
Costa Rica - we did the river cruise and areial tram. - Very good, full day and very interesting. Spotting animals on the river cruise caused a lot of rubbernecking.
Panana - the train had great reports, all who did it said it was fun. We did the walking tour of the canal, and the historic walking tour. We enjoyed the canal very much, but could've done without the historic part - boring.
Grand Cayman - swimming with the stingrays. A hoot. As we are both sailers, we could not miss this trip. We went on the catamaran and had a great time, even with the tour being cut short.
Swimming with these creatures was magnificent. Dont listen to reports of the sandbar being crowded. There is plenty of room and you are so into what is going on under the water that you do not even notice all the others, besides its fun doing this sort of stuff with lots of people.
Cozumel - we went shopping, but the dolphins were very popular. Shopping was high on my list as I can swim with dolphins in the bay in front of my house. We were in Macchu Pichu last year so we skipped the Mayan ruins, but spoke with some who did and good reports all round.
All in all the tours are well organised from what we saw. We especially wanted to walk around the canal as this was a big highlight of our trip.
The only port I think you really need to think about is Jamacia. It is small and all the tours really go to the same place, if you are not sailing or riding. This is why we hired a taxi to drive us at our leisure. We are a party of 6 and he charged us $20.00 per person for 1/2 day trip in a full minibus.
Hope this helps and if you decide to do the train, book early as with the dolphins in Cozumel. They sell out fast, in fact, they were sold our before we even boarded the ship.
We were in Caribe 403, with family members in Caribe 404, and the suite - 214.
We had an outside double with balcony, which was fine. The decks are tiered, so you can see the balconies below - this did not cause a problem, in fact it turned out to be the 5.00pm cocktails on the balcoy parties. We had our own little gathering with the immediate surrounding cabins. A lot of fun. I met psgrs from all over the US, just by chatting on the balcony. We still had ample cover from the deck above for privacy and plenty of space on the balcony for lounging and eating. I could still stand around in the nuddie and not be seen. All the views are fine. Did not hear of any complaints, but as they say, head towards the centre, but this is truely a big and stable ship so I don't think it matters really.
Just found something interesting and you should know. On another chat room a psgr is complaining about banging pipes - her cabin was Baja 551 - perhaps you should move into the 400 and up range. I do remember walking the halls and hearing noise and discussing it, but I thought it was lower than Baja deck. Our cabin was as quiet as can be. We did not hear anything.