We loved this small ship. It is an old world ship with old world tradition. It was too bad the fountain in the Atrium was dry.
Embarkation was a breeze. We had stayed at the Holiday Inn on the Bay and watched from the balcony for the best time to walk over. In no time we were boarding and able to go straight to our rooms.
We were upgraded to a window from a porthole cabin. The crew was outstanding; the friendliest and best trained we've seen. They were always ready with a smile and a helping hand. Our room stewards couldn't move fast enough when we asked for anything. The bed was even more comfortable than my own! There was certainly enough closet space for two weeks of clothes. The shower could have benefitted from a bit more water pressure, but we also had the bathtub.
I had sent an allergy alert before the cruise, and was very impressed with the care given by the chefs and dining room stewards. It was wonderful to be able to eat almost everything for a change. The food and the service were excellent. We chose traditional late dining at a large table where we met the most interesting people and were lucky enough to have Indra as our waiter, who entertained us with origami after dessert. I would definitely recommend fixed dining to anyone who enjoys meeting new people. We dined once in Canaletto, the Italian Restaurant inside the Lido, with wonderful rich Italian food. We also found the sommelier dinner in the Pinnacle Grill to be a true five star experience. All our breakfasts and lunches were in the Lido or by the Lido pool and all were uniformly good.
Although I heard the ship was full, it never really felt crowded and we didn't have to wait in line for more than a couple of minutes anywhere.
We participated in trivia contests both in Mix and the Crows Nest, and even won a couple! Joyce Ann in Mix is a treasure. The band on the Lido deck played the perfect mix of different types of music.
The Crows Nest has 2 for 1 (plus a dollar) specials at happy hour that come with appetizers. The bartender Antonio says he makes you happy two times a day. And he does.
The Bob Mackie on Broadway show with its wonderful costumes was a highlight for me, as were the two crew shows.
The best shore excursion was "Antigua on Your Own" out of Puerto Quetzal. I could easily have spent more days there. Definitely a must for architectural photography buffs. We spent time with a gardener we happened to run across, learning the Spanish names of plants and giving him the English names.
The Panama Canal did not disappoint. We were up early and enjoyed Panama buns and coffee on the bow. It was extremely hot and muggy. A light rain later in the day helped.
The internet service is slow and quite expensive. It took seven minutes to log off at one point. We were able to text in most ports and surprisingly most of the time at sea as well. A big plus is Captain Albert's blog. Our friends at home were able to follow what was happening as we cruised.
We needed expedited disembarkation which was quick and orderly, went through customs and were on our way to the airport within minutes.
Next I get to embarrass my teenage grandson on an Alaska cruise.