Cartagena is a beautiful port city that’s situated off the coast of South America. History lovers will be excited to learn that its Old Town is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and is still protected by its large stone walls to this day. Cartagena offers its guests the opportunity to indulge in its captivating art, history, and theater scene. You will discover colorful neighborhoods, colonial-style architecture, local street vendors, and mouthwatering food and drinks. For those who prefer the “typical” Caribbean vacation experience, there are many beaches for those who are looking to experience some fun in the sun. You will discover a perfect blend of old and new, as once you’ve visited Cartagena’s historic city center, you can easily step forward in time to a modern skyline in nearby Bocagrande (a waterfront neighborhood that is about a 45-minute drive from Cartagena). A great time to visit Cartagena is between January and March, when the weather averages in the mid-80s.
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The following cruise destinations can be visited on a cruise that includes Cartagena. Select a destination to view the upcoming cruises that are available:
The following cruise lines offer cruises sailing to Cartagena. Select a cruise line to view the upcoming cruises that visit Cartagena:
When the finest cruise vacation is your top priority, this is the place to start.
On a luxury cruise line, guests experience highly personalized service, a more intimate (and usually formal) onboard experience, gourmet cuisine, well-appointed accommodations, and fantastic amenities. Many of these brands have smaller ships, allowing them to reach ports of call that the larger ships can't, which results in unique itineraries.
All of these brands feature a version of all-inclusive pricing, and some of them have ships with all-suite accommodations. Although these cruise lines are usually more expensive than the rest, they also provide their guests with so much more, resulting in a fantastic value when considering all that's included.
These cruise lines offer a truly unique vacation experience, with a wide range of possible amenities and itineraries. Some are expedition cruise lines, others have sailing yachts or are coastal ships.
On these types of cruise lines, there's usually a focus on a specific destination or theme. Itineraries are usually very destination intensive, aided by the fact that they're able to reach many ports of call that larger ships can't.
Expedition cruise lines are a great fit for adventure-seeking travelers, featuring exciting destinations like the Galapagos Islands, Antarctica, and the Norwegian coast. During the cruise, there will usually be plenty of interesting lectures given by experts on the destination being visited. Often, shore excursions are included in the cost of the cruise. In fact, some of these cruise lines have all-inclusive pricing. There's a definite focus on the ship's surrounding scenery, as well as opportunities to view wildlife in their natural habitat. Small, but comfortable, ships are commonplace here, with anywhere from basic to very luxurious public spaces, cuisine, and accommodations (depending on the cruise line and ship).
Sailing Yachts, sail-assisted motor ships, offer a really unique vacation experience. Accommodations and cuisine on these intimate vessels can be anywhere from good to fantastic, depending on the cruise line. Destinations offered by these cruise lines may include the Caribbean, Europe, Panama Canal, Tahiti, and Costa Rica.
These cruise lines fit (quality and, usually, price-wise) somewhere in between Premium and Luxury cruise lines.
A country club casual atmosphere can be expected on these lines, as can be elegant accommodations and gourmet cuisine. These cruise lines are a great option for adults looking for a upscale, yet laid back, vacation.
Unique itineraries are often available on these cruise lines, as their small-to-mid-sized ships can visit ports of call that large ones can't get to.
The pricing on Azamara Club Cruises includes select beverages and pre-paid gratuities, while the pricing of Viking Ocean Cruises includes shore excursions and select beverages.
Value is a key feature of these popular cruise lines, as they offer lots of activities, entertainment and dining options, along with a variety of stateroom types. Some of the cruise lines in this category have ships with unique innovations like water slides, rock-climbing walls, ice-skating rinks, surfing simulators, bowling alleys, and boardwalks.
Their ships are usually anywhere from mid-sized to very large "mega" ships, accommodating thousands of guests. These ships give the feel of being in a large resort.
Mainstream cruise lines are a great option for just about everyone (including multi-generation families, and first-time cruisers), and typically have great youth programs.
During the cruise, entertainment may include Broadway productions, Vegas-style shows, comedians, and music. Some of these lines have select formal nights during the cruise. Specialty restaurants are becoming more and more common (some which have a cover charge for this type enhanced dining experience). Buffets are usually available throughout the day, besides room service, and the main dining room(s).
These cruise lines enhance what mainstream cruise lines typically offer, by providing their guests with higher quality service and cuisine, along with more spacious public spaces and accommodations.
Depending on the cruise line, the ships in this class range in size from small to very large.
These cruise lines appeal to a more discerning traveler, and are typically more expensive than mainstream cruise lines, but more affordable than the luxury lines.
Becoming more and more popular, a river cruise is an immerse and destination-focused vacation experience, on a small and luxurious vessel.
River cruises sail through the inland waterways of some of the world's most interesting vacation destinations (i.e. Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America), and provide their guests with a greater opportunity to spend time visiting more unique ports of call than a traditional cruise typically would.
Because the destination is the star of a river cruise, (typically guided) shore excursions are included at no additional charge by many River cruise lines. There are usually many interesting lectures given during the cruise, by experts on the history and culture of the region being visited.
Among the famous rivers that one may take a river cruise on are the Rhine, Mississippi, Seine, Danube, Mekong, Nile, Yangtze, Amazon and Douro.
These are just a few of the more popular tourist attractions in Cartagena, along with a brief description:
♦ Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas
One of Cartagena’s most noteworthy attractions is Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a 17th century fortress, which once served to protect the city from enemy raids. Now a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, you can now explore its maze of tunnels on an audio tour, which will inform you about the military engineer who designed the castle. A climb to the top of San Lazaro hill (where the fortress is situated) will reward you with breathtaking views of Cartagena and the surrounding area. Plus, between the horizon and the fortress, you will also discover plenty of exciting photo opportunities here!
♦ Palace of Inquisition
Another interesting historical site in Cartagena is the Palace of Inquisition. Today, this structure remains one of the most breathtaking pieces of Baroque architecture, despite its gruesome past of being a torture house for the Spanish Inquisition. Now a museum, you can view artifacts from the palace’s heyday, including torture instruments (including a model guillotine and gallows) and exhibits following the Inquisition process, plus pre-Columbian pottery, artwork, furniture, and more items that will provide you with more insight into the history of Cartagena. If you’re fascinated by history, then you are certain to be fascinated by the Palace of Inquisition!
♦ Plaza Santo Domingo
For a true cultural experience in Cartagena, plan on spending some time in Plaza Santo Domingo. This lively plaza is home to many colorful buildings, a beautiful church, and a number of shops and restaurants, including street vendors. You will also discover a few interesting sculptures and monuments that provide you with an insight into the city’s art scene. Occasionally, live music is available, which you can enjoy when dining on an al fresco meal. Whether you’re looking for a great people-watching opportunity, an interesting souvenir, or enjoy the experience of local dining, Plaza Santo Domingo is a great place to go!
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