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Fritz the Cat boat - Panama to Colombia

Taganga, Colombia
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7 posts
4 reviews
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Fritz the Cat boat - Panama to Colombia

When we landed, my girlfriend & I, in the hostel in panama city, we wanted to find out about boats to colombia. there was a few going but the one that suited us best, date wise, was Fritz the Cat. We googled it to see what reviews were like but there wasn´t alot of info on him. We met him in the hostel by chance 2 days before we left & he seemed nice so decided to book the trip with him. He was the most expensive but let me tell you, it was worth it. It was the best 5 days of our lives. We met at the pier in Portobello in Panama at 11 on the day of sailing. There was 13 passengers (5 Irish, 3 English, 2 Russian, 2 Swedish & one Argentinian, 4 crew (all who were really friendly), & 3 of the passengers even had their motorbikes with them. Even at that, there was loads of space. We had our own private cabin, as did 3 other couples, but most nights people slept outside to watch the stars. Fritz, the captian used to be a chef & has his deckhand trained brilliantly to cook. The food was amazing, fresh brown bread every morning. No two lunches or dinners were the same, the food was perfect every time. We had brough snacks with us, for a ¨"just incase", we brought them off the boat with us aswell. Loads of fresh fruit there for everyone. Because the boat is a catermaringue, it is really wide with 2 big trampolines out the front & one out the back, so there was oceans of space for everyone to lie around. Fritz himself, is an big, full of life austrian guy. He was the best craic ever & aswell as being friendly & helpfull with info. He brought us to the best places in the san blas islands, where the reefs are amazing. Unlike what some reviews had said that he was sexiest or made remarks towards women, they couldnt have being so wrong. All the women on the boat felt very comfortable around him & there was no sexist remarks at all.

The sailing was the smoothest ever, & there was never any trouble with the boat. There was also loads of gear for everyone for snorkling & you could go along with Fritz when he went spear fishing to help ctach dinner. There was never a problem drinking on board & we connected our ipods to speakers onboard so we could party when we wanted to.

There was always fresh juice made & loads of ice, until the last day when it was all gone. If people ever got hungry between meals, they were always welcome to help themselves to more bread & ham & cheeses & homemade marmalade from the fridge. He brought our passports to be stamped leaving Panama & then in Colombia, he did the same again, saving us so much hassle. We met him that night in a bar in Cartegena where he gave us back our passports with the stamps. (He pays the exit & entry fees for you, that is why he is a little more expensive, others just dump you off & you have to do it yourself). All 13 of us along with the crew partied the night away like we were the best of friends.

Basically, we had the best time ever & it has being the highlight of our trip. We couldnt recommend Fritz the Cat highly enough. & I think I can speak for all 13 of us who were on boat when I say that. I would defo go with Fritz the Cat again if I had the choice.

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
10 posts
1 review
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21. Re: Fritz the Cat boat - Panama to Colombia

I am the owner of Fritz the cat and have to ask where you got the information, that there was not enough space in the liferaft? there were 16 passangers and crew and we had a 25 persons Wiking brandnew liferaft on board, that worked fawllessly. Please inform yourself on www.fritz-the-cat.com

Cheers, Fritz

22. Re: Fritz the Cat boat - Panama to Colombia

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Removed on: 5:35 pm, July 19, 2013
Aspen
2 posts
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23. Re: Fritz the Cat boat - Panama to Colombia

I was on fritz when it sank! Overall pretty scary but great travel story in the end! Except for losing all my stuff (which fritz never paid for however can afford to buy a whole new catamaran Jacqueline!!)

cartagena colombia
4 posts
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24. Re: Fritz the Cat boat - Panama to Colombia

You aczepted clearly" everything on your own risk" bedvore getting on board. you were insured for bodily harm and I had a third party insurence, that refused to pay and I am sueing them now. You got your money back and I payed your stay at Mamallena Hostel wich I was not obliged to. I trained the useless Captain Duncan Thorwald van Donkelaar well, but he was a nut, I can't help it. I borrowed money to buy a new Catamaran to continue. Fritz the Cat was my home, that I lost unexpectedly with all my gear and everything I owned. Also for me it was a hard shock. If the insurence pays to me, they will have to pay to you as well, if you had no other Insurance, that alredy payed to you.

Aspen
2 posts
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25. Re: Fritz the Cat boat - Panama to Colombia

Fritz, before you post, please check your grammar and spelling.

26. Re: Fritz the Cat boat - Panama to Colombia

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Removed on: 5:05 pm, June 24, 2014
27. Re: Fritz the Cat boat - Panama to Colombia

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Removed on: 11:26 am, September 07, 2013
Bogota, Colombia
2 posts
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28. Re: Fritz the Cat boat - Panama to Colombia

read other reviews about the same owner

different boats

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g297476-i4451-k5…

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g294073-i1708-k5…

london
Level Contributor
5 posts
2 reviews
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29. Re: Fritz the Cat boat - Panama to Colombia

I sailed on Fritz the Cat in January 2011 with 3 friends. Not everyone had somewhere to sleep. The first day Fritz hit a channel bouy an hour out of Cartagena, it ripped open the hull and started taking on water. The boat turned around and we spent the first night in a shipyard in Cartagena whilst the hull was repaired. We should have known there were problems here and got off... Unfortunately not!

The next day we were back in the water, as the evening broke and waves were getting bigger chaos broke out in the boat with fritz and the crew screaming at each other in German. My wife could speak German so understood what was going on. Anyway one of the crew had got fishing line tangled around one of the motors and the keel broke so we couldn't steer and it was night time and waves too big to fix.

So we had to drift throughout the entire night. Fritz didn't seem to care slobbering his obese body all over the main kitchen area and sleeping whilst all of his paying guests were terrified as we drifted through a main shipping channel. We woke Fritz a couple of times when we started drifting near huge ships and he yelled at us for waking him.

The next day the crew made a pulley system attaching the steering wheel to the broken rudder and we used a hand held GPS system in conjunction with two guys manning the pulley system in turns for an hour every four hours for the next 48 hours whilst we negotiated the crossing. Fritz did nothing in this time.

I can safely say it was the worst experience of my life.

To make matters worse, because the boat was too broken once we arrived at the San Blas Islands Fritz couldn't drop us in Panama so we had to charter a plane from one of the islands into Panama City. Of course we didn't get any money back and we had to scrounge around for enough cash between the passengers to pay for the charter. Fritz didn't even seem to care that we only just had enough USD to charter the plane and was going to leave us on the island.

To hear his boat sunk a year later is no surprise - I wouldn't go near anything this man did if you paid me a million dollars. My only regret is that Fritz was not on board when his boat sunk and that he didn't drown, although good to hear he lost everything from an earlier post. The world would be a better place without arrogant, rude and downright negligent people like him taking other peoples lives into their hands.

All I can say is beware all of you.

Level Contributor
2 posts
45 reviews
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30. Re: Fritz the Cat boat - Panama to Colombia

I couldn't agree more with some of last few comments regarding the Jacqueline and Fritz himself. Of everything Fritz promised, almost nothing was delivered.

We were told we had to leave from Portobelo as the immigration in Carti 'didn't work'. A lie, as friends of friends we met in Cartagena had done the reverse crossing the same time and arrived in Carti and had their immigration done just fine. Either way, the crew that did the journey with us, told us that we only left from Portobelo as Fritz wanted to do work on the boat!

Now, in regards to the work to the boat. My girlfriend and I had paid the extra $100 each for a private room. When we asked which we should take, Fritz told us, it doesn't matter as they are all the same. He failed to mention that works had been done at 3am the morning of our departure in the room we were given. The crew told us that the unbearable smell in our room was from a polyester silicone and that the recommend 'airing' time was 1 week for the room. The smell was that strong and sickening that my girlfriend failed to spend 1 of the 4 nights in the room.

Because the boat left from Portobelo, our first entire 24 hours was spend sailing to the San Blas islands. So we effectively lost a whole day and a half and night in the San Blas islands. The Captain did offer to have us stay one more night in the islands, but unfortunately some passengers had commitments that could not be missed. A predictament we should never have been in in the first place.

Lastly, when you book the boat you are promised no more than 16 passengers plus 3 crew. Unfortunately we had 21 passengers and 3 crew, and when a wave crashed over the right side of the boat and went through the faulty latches soaking nearly all the beds on that side. Nearly 15 passengers were forced to find any bit of floor that they could sleep on.

When I contacted Fritz about what had happened , I at least expected a dignified response from what I thought would be a professional business man. All I got from Fritz was immature, dim witted responses. This man is a money hungry and sexist pig (which remarkably he evens hands out printed copies when you do the briefing with these sexists remarks). He does not care about his patrons, all he cares about his counting cash. If he had any decency, he would have righted his wrongs and refund a portion of the trip for some of the things which were promised but not delivered.

I honestly wouldn't send my worst enemy on this boat. Fritz is a terrible human being and should be allowed to run a service business. Funnily enough I met a girl in Central America who did the trip from Colombia to Panama and said on that trip, Fritz bought along a Colombian prostitute.

One final thing, I have found it increasingly hard to find a place to leave a legitimate negative review for this (if you look at my profile, I mostly only leave positive reviews, but I found this too hard to ignore). It is quite obvious also that hostels around panama and Cartagena receive kickbacks from booking these trips and that is why they don't post all the negative reviews they receive. If anyone could point me in the direction of a website where I could leave more of my experiences with Fritz that would be greatly appreciated