Tuesday, 5 January 2016

A review of two weeks on the Swan Hellenic MV Minerva

Having spent nearly two weeks on the Swan Hellenic Minerva, we are able to give a Cygnet’s opinion (as first time Swan Hellenic travellers are known) of life on the Minerva.

Minerva in Bonnaire

Overall we were very impressed with nearly all aspects of the boat and its crew. We cannot think of any negative comment of significance which would be valid about any of them, their cheerfulness, their service and their obvious wish for us to have a good time. 


Booking direct was very easy and we were offered what seems to be the standard discount for doing so. It seems that discounts increase as the date of the cruise is imminent and those who booked at the last minute spoke of higher discounts being offered to them. Regulars spoke of being given upgrades after booking. That said, the cruise after ours was fully booked and therefore if you leave it too late, you might miss out. A 5% discount is offered to repeat clients, I do not know if this is offered in addition to other discounts. 

Booking the included tours was also very easy and this is covered in more detail below.

The Cabin

Our cabin A49 was on the Aegean Deck which was on Deck 5 (below was Baltic Deck 4). We chose this location because we had heard that those towards the stern were noisier and those towards the bow.

We can imagine that those towards the stern would be noisier because one is closer to the engines but we cannot confirm or deny this. It is also likely to the the case that the lower down you are, the noisier it gets but we wanted windows rather than portholes and therefore we were not on the lowest deck. 

We wanted windows because the portholes looked rather small (and indeed did seem small when we looked into a Baltic Cabin). That said, Portholes are cheaper than Windows, and Inside with Nothing is cheaper than Portholes.

When we were moored in port, there was some sort of pump running somewhere below us but we did not find this a problem at all. We had also heard that the stern suffered more in rough weather but we had no rough weather so we do not know if this was true.

Agean Corridor

The cabin was larger than we had imagined it to be. When we booked we were asked if we wanted


the beds together as one bed or separate as two beds and when we went opened the door, they were just as we wanted them - together. The TV was rather too small to be easily viewed and of a poor screen quality. The Cabin Windows did not open (obviously !). Air Conditioning control was rather crude - a handle in the ceiling which when turned, adjusted the amount of air coming into the cabin but it worked provided you were not too fussy. Temperatures throughout the ship were centrally controlled. The Wardrobe came with 34 coat hangers (most impressive), two very fluffy dressing gowns, disposable bedroom slippers and life jackets. The safe was very easy to use but too small for a laptop. There was more than enough storage space for clothes. Our suitcases easily went under the beds. The hairdryer was quite efficient.

The shower was very good and there was always hot water. The toilet was a vacuum type with severe warnings about the consequences of putting large items into the toilet basin. On the one occasion it went wrong (the flush broke), an engineer was there to stop it overflowing within minutes. There were more than sufficient soaps and potions in the bathroom and towels were replaced daily if you left them on the floor.

There was one UK style 3 pin socket (to the right of the safe) and for safety reasons, this was incapable of taking anything other than a light electrical load. We managed to keep our things recharged by constantly swapping plugs over although next time I might be tempted to bring an expansion block on a small lead.

The cabin was cleaned twice a day by our superb Stewardess and she always seemed to manage this when we were elsewhere. We heard no noise from other cabins although there was noise from the ship's generators when we were in port and obviously noise when we were at sea (we had no trouble sleeping though).

Bed Clothes

Our bed clothes were always laid out in the evening ! when the evening tidy was done.

Other than on the top decks where a kettle is provided, you are forbidden from bringing your own for use in your cabin. We found we could get tea / coffee ourselves 24 hours a day from the Veranda Restaurant two decks above us. Teas were Twinnings Herbal (practically all flavours) plus Yorkshire, Coffee came out of a machine and was occasionally a bit bitter. There was never any problem with bringing drinks / food etc down to the cabin and the crockery was cleared whenever our Stewardess appeared.

We once ordered Cabin Service food and this was delivered within about 15 minutes of our order. You can choose from a special Cabin Service Menu or ask for one of the dishes on that day’s Restaurant Menu. There was a “Door Hanger Breakfast Request Form” for breakfast in bed. As is always the case and is made very clear in all brochures, no tips are expected by the crew or offered by the majority of passengers.

Daily News Sheet

During the day a News Summary appeared on our bed and sometime in the early evening,

Daily Programme

the next day’s programme was slid under the door, thus enabling us to plan our next day without hurry.

Laundry, Gym, Salon and Shops


The Ship’s Laundry is on A Deck Starboard Rear and was open 8 am to 9 pm, four washers and four dryers, two ironing boards and two slightly worn irons. It was very busy on "days at sea” and sometimes there was a queue to use it. The laundry and its equipment were well maintained and cleaned. There were baskets to carry your clean clothes in and soap powder was provided. The instructions for use were written in a simple enough language for most husbands to understand.

There is a small Gym and a Beauty Salon - we did not use either and therefore cannot comment other than that the equipment in the underused gym looked ok and I was told that the prices we saw for the Beauty Salon looked towards the upper end.

There is a small shop selling toothpaste. sweets, headache tablets, general souvenirs and the like plus a slightly larger shop selling perfumes, clothes etc. They seem to have different sales daily, prices were either much higher than on land or much lower than you might have expected. Neither were open when the ship was in port.

Internet Access

There is Satellite Internet available at very reasonable cost (when compared to the larger cruise ships) and we purchased a 12 hour package for £21. There are wifi zones scattered around the ship and an internet room of six PCs. Compared to the few other ships we have been on which had satellite internet, we found the performance of the Minerva’s system very poor and very slow. Frequently it went off air, you could be waiting a very long time for basic emails to download, and you should forget uploading or downloading anything of size. To be fair to the crew, we were carefully and specifically warned that it was satellite and likely to be slow when we purchased our internet pass but we had not expected it to be that slow or poor. By the time we left, we had not been able to use all of our package time. A member of crew said that they usually waited until the ship was in port and then looked for free wifi in the port offices - this certainly worked well for us in two ports. Although our cabin came with an IDD phone, we did not use it for this.


There are three bars on the ship. We mainly used the smaller Wheeler Bar

Wheeler Bar

because we enjoyed its atmosphere.

Wheeler Seating

Usually there was quiet live music here for part of the evening. Bar prices were very reasonable (Lager £4, G&T around £3.75 depending on size, cocktails similar) and about the same as we pay in a pub in our town. There were always nibbles on the tables and orders were taken and drinks brought to you by one of the staff. The other two bars were very similar to the Wheeler but larger. Late on most evenings, dance music was played somewhere on board.


We found that the meals offered were always very good. Meal times were adjusted slightly on many days to fit in with tour times. Breakfast usually was on offer in the Veranda Restaurant (self service) and the Swan Restaurant (waiter service) from 7 a.m. You could also eat it out on the deck at the rear.

Breakfast Menu

Almost anything you might want (with the exception of Kippers was on offer). Egg dishes were freshly cooked to order and if you had a regular habit (for me a vegetarian omelette), they would start cooking it as soon as they saw you appear. Waiters were very keen to take your plate off you and show you to a table, perhaps a policy dictated by the elderly nature of some of the passengers and the dangers of carrying a plate when the ship is rocking a bit whilst at sea.

Biscuits usually appeared around 10 am in the Veranda to have with morning tea / coffee. Lunch started around 12 noon and again the offer was more than comprehensive and could be eaten inside or out.

Lunch Menu

Afternoon tea appeared about 3 pm with too many cakes for a reasonable diet.

Dinner Menu

Dinner started in both restaurants at 7 pm. We found it particularly nice to be seated at a different table each night, thus meeting and talking to new people. It is an accepted thing on the Minerva that not only can you turn up at any time the restaurant is open without reservation (there are none), you can also request to join a table with spare chairs. We met the most interesting people this way and always enjoyed the conversations. This also meant that single travellers never had to eat on their own.

I am a vegetarian (this counted as a special diet on the Minerva) and therefore every evening I was given the next day’s menu and asked to choose what I wanted to eat. They asked me to do this so that they could be sure it was available. They also were willing to adjust an item so that it became vegetarian (Chicken Caesar Salad with no chicken !). Other more specialist dietary needs were coped with the same way. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble for them. Very impressive.

Regulars said that in their opinion the quality of the food had deteriorated over the years and also was very dependent upon which chef was on-board. All we can say is that we were very satisfied with what was offered.

Originally two black-tie evenings were on the schedule but the second one was turned into a “Black Tie if you want to but Smart Casual will be perfectly ok” evening because we were heading into rather hot areas of the Caribbean and it was too hot and sticky for Black Tie and comfort. If you ate in the Swan Restaurant you were expected to make an effort with your dress style and those who dressed very casual looked out of place.

The Library


The library was just as comfortable and useful as it looks.

Library 001

It runs on a trust system and the coverage of the non-fiction books was excellent and there was a reasonable range of fiction available, many left / swapped by previous passengers.

Library Jigsaws

The library is also the home of the Jigsaw. A couple were always out for any passerby


to attack and they certainly were very hard. Not only was there a lot of detail,

Completed Jigsaw

the box image usually was in reverse.


Tour Tickets

We went on 11 tours chosen by us from the tour package document sent to us about three months before we left. Our tickets were waiting for us on our bed when we arrived. There were a team of Swan staff on-board involved in the management of the tours and they tried to arrange tour swaps, additional bookings, changes etc whenever they could. Those who wanted to change their tours or had made mistakes when booking them were sometimes left disappointed and certainly the late bookers had a more restricted range of tours available to them. That said, you could put your name onto a wait list and they then counted those who actually went left the ship on a tour and filled any un-notified vacancies from the wait list. 

The tours booklet describes the physical difficulty of each tour and we found this to be more than accurate in all cases bar one when it had been underestimated. In general, the tours followed the published itinerary but not in the given order - useful because it meant we did not all arrive at the same spot at the same time. Boarding the buses for tours was done by deck, a message went out over the ship’s tannoy but the deck order varied for each tour so every deck got a fair share of first, middle or last buses during the course of the cruise. A number of tours took place at a different time to that originally advertised because of difficulties in obtaining buses, when a number of cruise ships are in a port at the same time, there is bound to be a resource issue.

All tours used local guides and they were well used to giving the standard cruise passenger talk which on occasion we felt was not sufficiently detailed for Minerva passengers. Usually we had attended a talk before hand on a destination and therefore already knew much of the general information already and were interested in more of the detail than perhaps the average cruise passenger. On a few occasions, the tour guides were poor. Swan staff were on many of the buses used but their role was usually that of an additional shepherd or they were there for their own enjoyment / education.

A Bridge Tour was offered three times by the Captain and he was at the bottom of the gangway to welcome us when we arrived and when we finally left. He certainly promoted the good image of the Minerva.

Whenever the Minerva arrived at a port, basic maps always seemed to be available from Reception for use if you had decided not to go on an organised tour but to do your own in the city. Sometimes a courtesy bus was provided to take you either into town or to the port gates.


In the opinion of those who had been on a number of Minerva cruises before, the much vaunted lectures and lecturers on this trip were not as good as they previously had been. They said that it may have been more difficult to get Lecturers over Christmas than at other periods. We do not know if this is true but if we compare the Lecturers to the average NADFAS Lecturer, some of them were not as good. 


Lectures were given in the Darwin Lounge (we counted nine screens so no matter where you sat you could see a screen) and were also relayed to other lounges, shown live on cabin TVs and later shown as recordings on a continuous loop system.

A number of managed activities (Water Colours, Photography, Keep Fit etc) were offered during the cruise. We went to some of these and they were good. The on-board Opera Group (who performed a number of times) also formed a choir from willing passengers and included them in one of the late night concerts. The crew did their own Dance / Singing review for passengers one evening and this was entertaining.


Swan Invite

As first timers, we were invited to a reception where they thanked us and reiterated the Swan Hellenic philosophy. About 25% of the 292 passengers on our cruise were first timers - a 75% repeat rate must indicate something. It was very common to meet people who had already booked their next cruise or were doing this one as part of a back-to-back set of cruises.

Also offered was a reception for single travellers to enable them to meet each other. It seemed that there were a lot of singles on the ship, not uncommon we were to learn. 

The ship is a cashless ship, you get an account when you board and once you have activated it with your credit card details, all purchases are charged to your account in UK pounds. Halfway through and at the end of our trip, a detailed listing appeared under the door and the total bill appeared on my credit card about one week after I got back.

One small but really useful service is that they will post your postcards for you. You simply hand them in, £1 is charged to your account for each postcard and within a few weeks (in our case), the postcard arrives at its destination. For us this meant that we could send postcards from anywhere without worrying about having to buy stamps.

We were unfortunate enough to have to visit the Ship’s Doctor. The service was efficient and achieved its objective and the cost to us was similar to that which I have read as being the norm at sea.

We are in our mid-60s and were probably at the lower end of the age profile on-board. It is definitely not a ship for children, there are no facilities at all for them and none of the activities offered would be suitable.

Travel to and from the Minerva

The organisation and quality of travel from Gatwick to Barbados was appalling and that back from Cartagena was only a little better. We have never encountered such a dreadful travel experience in all of our many years of travel and this view was held by everyone else who experienced it  and it became a common talking point between passengers.

We wrote to the Group Chief Executive of Swan Hellenic with detailed comments and just over a week later we received a reasonable response from him which indicated amongst other things that they would not be using the outbound airline again. His view was that our experience was not of the standard we should expect and was unlikely to happen again.

Would we go again?

A common theme in the Minerva reviews which you can find on the web seems to be that “it is not as good now as it was xxx years ago”. Obviously we have no experience to bring to this statement other than to say that were very pleased with and enjoyed practically everything on the Minerva. If you have done your research and understand that this is a small ship catering to a particular type of traveller then we feel that you are likely to have a very good time. Surely the large number of repeat clients is evidence that the Minerva is still better than the average cruise ship?

In summary, we thought our first Minerva experience was Five-Star, travel "to and from" was Zero Star. We will go again and will believe the Group Chief Executive that our travel experience was a one-off (it had better be!)

Monday, 4 January 2016

Day 15 Home again

Our trip back the following day was not as bad as the trip out but for unknown reasons, Swan Hellenic decided we had to be at the airport five hours before the plane was scheduled to take off. It took off nearly two hours late so you can imagine that by the time we actually left, we were rather tired of the airport.

Return Route

The flight was relatively fast for the distance (and took only slightly longer than the time we had been waiting at the airport) although the plane was grubby, the in-flight entertainment useless and the food poor.

Our summary of this cruise (our first on a proper cruise ship) was that we could find little fault with the Minerva and its crew and would happily travel with them again. Swan Hellenic do however need to reconsider how they manage their travel arrangements for getting to and from the ship, these were of a very poor standard.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Day 14 Cartagena Columbia


Cartagena (or Cartagena de Indias to give it its Sunday name) is home to one of the most extensive fortifications in South America. The city is divided into 3 areas - San Pedro with its cathedral and Andalucian-style palaces, San Diedo where the merchants lived and Gethsemane. The wikipedia entry on Cartagena is very good and can be read here.

Cartagena mapa

Arriving in Cartagena

To understand the process of arriving here, first consider this map.

Cartegena Large Map

Cartagena City is at the top of this map on the edge of a large bay. There is an island in the centre of the bay and therefore entrances on both sides of the island. Historically, this makes Cartagena one of the best shipping ports on the northern (Caribbean) side of South America.

We approached our final port of Cartagena coming in past the bottom of the island in the centre of the bay. As we did so, we passed Forte San Fernando which was built to manage entry to the bay from that side.

Cartagena Harbour Entrance

There are a number of smaller islands across the bay entrance

Cartagena Harbour Entrance 002

Cartagena Harbour Entrance Islands

and these would have forced ships to sail within cannon shot of the fort thus making it a very defendable place.

The old maps of Cartagena Port did not have the cartographic accuracy of today

Cartagena Old Map 001

but they show the same principal of defence

Cartagena OldMap

as is stated by this map dated 22nd May 1741.

Then the high-rises of Cartagena come into view

Cartagena Second View

Cartagena Highrises

which are built along the promontory at the bottom left of this harbour map.

Harbour Map

The three distinct sections of Cartagena were now visible

Cartagena Three sections

High Rises on the left, Old Town in the middle, Port on the right. 

Cartagena Heading into berth

The Port is already home to one large cruise ship and there will be more before the day is out.

Cartagena Harbour nearly moored

Arrival is graceful and slow

Cartagena Throwing Line

with a light line being thrown onto the quayside

Cartagena Harbour Mooring Line

to which is attached the mooring line. Soon we are moored and as far as we are concerned, it is “Finished with Engines” some 1600 miles (1389 Nautical Miles) from where we started.

City Tour and Walk

Discover historic Cartagena de Indias – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and architectural jewel! Previously known as the ‘stern of a galleon’, La Popa Monastery stands at the top of a hill and can be seen from any point in Cartagena. Used several times as a military fortress, the 17th century monastery, still inhabited by monks is the perfect vantage point from which to understand Cartagena before starting your exploration. A chapel dedicated to the Virgen de la Candelaria – Cartagena’s patron saint is also visited. San Felipe de Barajas stands outside the walled city. The monumental fort is considered to be the most outstanding feat of Spanish military engineering in the New World with its construction beginning in 1656 and lasting for 121 years. A labyrinth of tunnels exists under the sun-soaked fortification, which seeps tales of old for every traveller. Its tunnels and ramparts are a living breathing history book. Your guide will unlock intriguing tales of failed invasions by the British and other enemies held by the fortress. It took 194 years to complete the ramparts that enabled Cartagena to defend herself from the attacks of marauding English pirates. Inside the walled city the Spanish colonial architecture is some of the most impressive and best preserved in South America. A guided walk through the narrow streets takes you past imposing merchant’s houses, flower bedecked balconies, stunning civic buildings and beautiful churches. Dungeons within the walled city ramparts were originally built to store provisions for troops. Today they are home to a high quality handicrafts market selling brightly decorated cloth, woodwork and woven bags made by Colombia’s indigenous peoples.

La Popa Monastery is the highest point in the area and it is also the coolest. The temperature today is 33C and it is humid so we are grateful for the cooling breeze on top of the hill.

Monastery on Hill

Here it is seen on the top of the hill from a viewpoint in the City Fort (more about this in due course).

Monastery View of three ships

Lined up in the harbour now are three cruise liners looking a bit like the three bears. Obviously we are the Little Bear on the left.

City Panorama

In this picture, the fort of San Felipe de Barajas (our next stop) is on the far left middle of the photograph

Old City Panorama

and here it is in the middle right of the photograph with the old city across the river and to the left of it.

View city suburbs

In the other direction, the city suburbs continue past the airport and along the coast. This is a typical city of nearly 1 million people although with slightly worse traffic jams than you might encounter elsewhere.

The La Papa Monastery is a 400 year old monastery dedicated to Nuestra SeƱora de la Candelaria, one of the city's patron saints. Its Ccurtyard is absolutely delightful

Monestary CourtyardMonestary Courtyard 001

being full of flowers, shade and quite cool.

Monestary Courtyard 002Monastery Courtyard Pillar

Monestary Courtyard 003

Monestary Altar

In the Chapel, the Altar is covered with gold leaf and was moved here from a convent in the old city.

Whilst we were looking over the city out of one of the windows, a plastic bottle on a pole appeared and there was a faint shout of “dollars”.

View money bottle

Looking through another window we could see an enterprising boy


had cut a hole through an awning below

View retrieving money

and was begging for and retrieving any coins or notes put into his bottle.

The view from the hill is well worth the effort although you are recommended not to walk up because the road passes through “an area where the poor people live” (as our guide put it).

Outside of the monastery are the usual tacky Tourist Stalls including:

Monastery tacky

Why you might want to have your photograph taken behind this outside of a monastery is a bit of a puzzle to me.

San Felipe de Barajas Fort


Tourists tend to follow a well worn trail when visiting Cartagena and the next stop was the Fort.

Fort Tickets

Tickets are obtained from a rather chaotic booth at the entrance and then you start walking up a long slope. If you had forgotten to purchase a hat on this very sunny and very hot day, then plenty were available about half-way up the slope.

Fort Hats

all for prices which required a determined haggle.

Building work started in 1536 and continues for over a hundred years with a major extension in 1657.

Fort Construction Sign

Since then, it is been captured, liberated, and recaptured many times by most of the big players in the history of South America. Its design meant that it was reasonably impregnable and it was a "capture it all or capture none of it” fort because the design enabled its defenders to easily attack anyone who had taken part of the lower levels.

Limestone Brick and Coral 

The walls are built out of Red Brick (originally used as ballast on the ships which sailed from Europe to here), limestone from the local hills and coral from the reefs in the area.

Fort Battlements

The Battlements are quite impressive and there are numerous tunnels under the fort (here the entrance to one of them).

Fort Cannons

Also there are lots of cannons around the fort.

Canon View

This is the view which a cannoneer would have had overlooking the river and the city walls.

Visiting the fort is well worth the effort although the insides are rather sterile.

We were then taken to the Dungeons to buy Tourist Souvenirs. We did not feel that either the Dungeons or the Souvenirs were worth reporting and would advise other visitors to try to avoid this stop. They are designed specifically to liberate money from tourists!

The Old City of Cartagena

Beautiful !

City Wall

The old city is surrounded by “Las Murallas” which are thick walls built to protect the city within. Work on the walls started around the late 1500s after Francis Drake attacked the city and finished in 1796 - almost two hundred years from start to end. They are almost complete with only one gap. We were wandered around the city behind our guide who seemed to have his own agenda which did not match with ours.

So this record is around a number of themes, firstly Street Signs:

Street Sign

I have always found street signs of interest, simply because of the beauty inherent in their design and manufacture. Here we have many signs which are not the 21st century machine jobs we see today, these were made individually and show great care in their manufacture.

Street Sign 1

When the Dominicans finished building the Church of Santo Domingo in 1559, they found that the church foundations were sinking so they built buttresses to hold it up and the street


running alongside the church was renamed, Estribos meaning “Buttress” or “Support”. One of the buttresses can just be seen in the centre of this photograph (which was taken because of the flowers rather than the church).

Street Sign 001

The Inquisition came to Cartagena in 1610. Their office “The Palace of the Inquisition” was in the Plaza de Bolivar / Calle de la Inquisicion.

Inquisition Window

In this latter street was the mailbox (a small window with a cross above it) into which whistleblowers anonymously left their information. Witchcraft was the accusation most commonly pursued. This picture is taken from Google Earth and shows what we would have seen had this window been pointed out to us by our Guide.

Street Sign Plaza de Bolivar

Every city of any size has a Plaza de Bolivar. As well as the Palace of the Inquisition, in the square there is also the Cathedral, Town Hall, Gold Museum and more.

Street Sign 002

In the early 1900s, Carlos Velez Danies was one of the largest livestock traders and involved in the creation of a number of city banks.

Street Sign 003

All I know about this street is that it was close to the city walls. Perhaps the reason for its naming has been lost in time.

Secondly, Balconies


Cartagena is a city of flowers and balconies

Balcony 001

and as you walk about the old city, there are balconies everywhere.

Balcony 002

Some are simple, some made from cast iron

Balcony 003

and many covered with flowers

Balcony 004

which make them almost gardens in the sky. 

Balcony 005

The combination of flowers and architecture is most attractive.

Thirdly: Door Knockers and Doors

One street seemed to specialise in artistic door knockers and interesting doors.

Iguana Door Knocker

An Iguana on this door

Iguana Door

Lion Door

a door with a lion knocker

Door unknown knocker

a rather nice door with flowers above but an unknown shape of knocker

Fish Knocker

a fish knocker

Door Metal

and a rather nice set of metal gates.

Door museum inquisition

These are / were the doors to the Offices of the Inquisition, now the doors to a museum about the Inquistion.

Plaza de Bolivar

On either side of the doors are matching balconies which overlook the Plaza De Bolivar. 

Church Door

This is the door to Santo Domingo Church referred to earlier in the Street Signs section. It is said to be the oldest church in the city and was originally built in 1539 in Plaza de los Coches, but the original building was burnt down (possibly by Sir Francis Drake) and this is the 1552 rebuilt version. It was built with a wide central nave but because of the weight of the heavy roof, cracks started to appear. Buttresses had to be added to the walls to support the structure and prevent it from collapsing.

Elegant Building

This is a “Republican Style” building but it still has balconies, this time of stone,

Elegant Building 001

as has this one

Republican Style

and this one. 


This was a close as we were allowed to get to the Cathedral, perhaps we will go back one day and see the city properly. 


In the Plaza de Santo Domingo is the sculpture of Gertrude Gorda (the fat woman) - a reclining nude in bronze by the contemporary Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero (born 1932). The sculpture has two well-worn parts due to the story that anyone who touches the sculpture’s buttocks will get lucky and that if you touch the sculpture's breasts, you ensure a long romance with your partner. It is also believed that also ensures your return to the city of Cartagena. There are lots of statues / sculptures scattered around the city.

San Pedro Claver

This is the church of San Pedro Claver. Pedro Claver was a Jesuit who devoted his life to ministering to the thousands of slaves who came through Cartagena  in the early to mid 1600s.

Statue San Pedro Claver

This statue of Pedro Claver talking to an Angolan Slave is outside San Pedro Claver Church was created by the Colombian sculptor Enrique Grau and was unveiled in front of the church in September 2001.

Tourist Souvenirs

And just to ensure you take a memory home with you, Tourist Souvenirs are on sale by one of the City Gates.

We enjoyed what we saw on this tour of the city but were annoyed that we were forced to spend time in the Dungeons where the rubbishy tourist souvenirs were and were not allowed to go to the Cathedral. Also during our post cruise research, we have discovered many things about the city which we were not told about or shown, the most astonishing of which is the Mailbox in the wall of the Offices of the Inquisition. We would strongly advise other visitors not to go on an organised tour but to do their own thing.

We would love to come back here one day and spend more time in the City. We suspect it is even better in the evening after most of the tourists have departed.