RCCL Update From A Fellow David Blogger

I received the following email related to the RCCL Cruise I took back in 2009. I thought the updated information might be of interest to others. Thanks to Larry for sharing.

Don:
I share your enthusiasm about the Royal Caribben cruises out of Colon. Thought I would share with you my experiences with RCCL.

At the end of RCCL’s first season out of Colon they took the ship (Enchantment of the Seas) back up to Fort Lauderdale in April 2009 where it operated for the next six months for what they refer to as the ‘Florida season’. The repositioning cruise was an 8 day blast! It followed the same itinerary – Colon; Limon, C.R.; Cartegena and Santa Marta, Colombia; and Aruba. But, when it left Aruba, instead of returning to Colon, we sailed for two days to Fort Lauderdale.

The repositioning cruise came to my attention via a travel website I monitor. RCCL was having a ‘fire-sale’ on the cruise – the price was so low it jumped off the page at you. Experts tell me that repositioning cruises are normally cheap because many travelers have a problem with ‘arriving’ somewhere other than where they depart from. In addition, appealing to the local market, RCCL had advertised all season that a passport/visa was not required. Of course, terminating in Florida changed that requirement. A couple of weeks before the sailing, the price for the 8 day cruise, which started out low, had dropped to $197 for an inside cabin!

That cruise was such a blast that I started monitoring the RCCL website with an eye on the repositioning cruise when they brought the ship back to Colon in October 2009. Sure enough, along about August, RCCL started cutting the price. The price never reached the depths that it had gotten before, but it was well worth it to me to fly up to Ft. Lauderdale and cruise back down to Colon.

I did the same thing again in 2010. Since I go back to North Carolina to visit family and friends in the Spring when the weather warms up, and again in the Fall before it turns cold, the repositioning cruises were great for me. Two cruises and only one round-trip airfare per year. I was in hog heaven.

But, all good things……. When RCCL repositioned back to Colon this November they changed ships – it is now Grandeur of the Seas. That is not too big a change – It is the same class of ship as the Enchantment, but it does not have the specialty restaurant, the Chop House. They also changed the itinerary to 7 days with two stops in Mexico, and then Limon prior to Colon.

This season RCCL is operating the Grandeur on two different itineraries, departing on alternate weeks. That should be appealing to folks like us who have taken the cruise on the earlier itinerary. They also changed the April 2011 repositioning. It is a 14 day trans-Atlantic cruise to Spain. They are already fire sale-ing that trip, but I am not interested in going to Spain. In addition that cruise includes a stretch of 7 consecutive days at sea. Ugh!

Larry Matthews
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5 thoughts on “RCCL Update From A Fellow David Blogger

  1. Larry,

    This is a good lesson in how very different people are. I have always wanted to go on a transatlantic cruise and was overjoyed at seeing the repositioning cruise from Colon to Mallorca. Some friends and I from Boquete are taking it and spending a bit of extra time in Mallorca and Barcelona before flying back.

    There are port calls in Curacao, Barbados, and Tenerife, but I’m most looking forward to the days transiting the ocean. I intend to eat, read, gather my thoughts. After making the move to Panama and all the attendant aggravations of building, adapting to a new culture,learning a new language, etc., that time absolutely alone, without obligations, will be a godsend. But, then, I’ve always enjoyed my own company.

    Bonnie

  2. Bonnie,
    The building process and property ownership process has been known to kill older folks in Chiriqui. The constant stress will definetely do you in. Take a cruise and try to relax

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