Cartagena, Columbia



We have just booked an 11 Day on the Summit. One of our ports is Cartagena. We have noticed that alot of cruiselines have not been stopping at this port. Security problems, weather problems, ect. Should we really be all that disappointed if we do not get to go there? And if we do, what is it like? Are we able just to get off the ship & walk around & shop? Or should we book an excursion off the ship & stick with other tourists, to be safe?

Thanks, Cherylann


The following is an excerpt from my January 6, 2001 cruise aboard the Vision of the Seas regarding the port of Cartagena:

For safety reasons, I was concerned about going out on our own in
Cartagena, so we decided to book another shore excursion through the
cruise line. There were only three excursions offered, and all were
very similar except for the length of the tour and number of sites
visited. We chose the longest tour, "Deluxe Cartagena and Fortress"
that was 4 hours long and cost $37 per person.

The tour visited La Popa Monastery where we had a beautiful view of
the city. Unfortunately, as we were gazing at the beautiful vista,
children with cups on sticks are asking for money from below the wall
where we stood. We also visited the church of San Pedro Claver, the
Fortress of San Felipe de Barajas, and made two shopping stops.

Cartagena is a beautiful city. Much prettier than I had ever
imagined. It also has a rich history, which was very interesting to
learn. However, street vendors are everywhere and extremely pushy
and people are begging for money at most of the stops. If you choose
to buy from any of the street vendors, be sure to bargain and ask
you tour guide how much certain items should cost before you approach
the sellers. I did not enjoy the shopping stops very much because of
the aggressive shopkeepers, but I did purchase some coffee.

There was a strong police presence throughout the entire city and it
made me feel much safer. I'm glad we chose to take a tour of this
beautiful city.

The following is an excerpt from my 11-night January 14, 2002 sailing aboard the Summit regarding the port of Cartagena:

We did not get off the ship here because we were in Cartagena on our cruise last year and took a tour at that time. We enjoyed our tour last year, but didn’t feel any need to do it again. Besides, all this touring without a sea day to relax had us worn out! We were ready for a day to do nothing.

If it were me, I wouldn't be all that disappointed if Cartagena were dropped from the itinerary. The 11-night itinerary is a port intensive cruise and an extra sea day was very desirable to me. However, if you have the opportunity to stop there and have never been there before, by all means get off the ship and see the city. Everyone has a different comfort level, but for me, I would only feel comfortable around the city on a ship sponsored tour. Getting off the ship and staying very close to the pier to browse through shops should be perfectly safe.

To read my review of the 11-night cruise aboard the Summit, Click Here.