1.10.2015

Ferry Xpress


When discussing a mini trip to take from Panama over winter break we decided Cartagena, Columbia would be the most interesting and affordable vacation. Flying, however, was not affordable. So, we decided to take the Ferry Xpress, a new boat that leaves from Colon and runs to Cartagena. People have been hoping for something like this for years. I came in optimistically expecting to enjoy the ride. While it did get us to the beautiful city of Cartagena, (more on that later) the actual ferry itself left more than a little to be desired. We left Colon on time, at seven in the evening on Monday. That night other than some rough waters and terrible food (apparently being vegetarian isn't really a thing in these parts) we felt pretty good about the trip. On Tuesday morning though, everything changed. At eleven we heard an announcement saying we would be docking not at one as planned, but instead at 6:30 in the evening. The news itself was distressing, but it was also quite bothersome that nowhere during that announcement was there a single apology. I'm used to airplanes where the crew apologizes for everything. The trip there was far less than enjoyable, but the trip back was even worse. When we arrived at the terminal at three, the time appointed for us to arrive, they informed us the boat would not be boarded until 9, two hours after the original sailing time. Since the boat gets so behind—due to weather—on each sailing to Cartagena with the quick schedule it can't catch up. Bags in hand and nowhere to go the majority of people, us included, waited at the cruise ship terminal for the boat to arrive. The only upside was that the cruise ship terminal had animals walking around. We ended up not boarding the boat until nearly one in the morning. At that time the mob of angry people waiting had begun to break into fights, one that brought the police in. The boat ended up leaving at four in the morning. Ultimately, our boat which was supposed to arrive in Colon at one didn't make it in until 8:30. All this was with no apology. I have made the Ferry Xpress ride a separate blog post from the rest of Cartagena because it was such a disaster. We loved Cartagena and our hotel. The city was wonderful and we would recommend it to anyone. The boat ride way of getting there, however, was not wonderful. We are recommending to all Gamboa people and anyone else to find another way. In theory it is a great idea, one we have all hoped for for years. However, in practice it leaves something to be desired.
 On the boat
Flamingos in the boat yard wildlife park

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