Panama Canal & Central America
First thanks to Cruise critic board mbrs who really helped us make this trip a great one! Lots of terrific info shared on the bd found us two terrific tours outside the ship in Nicaragua & C Rica where we knew nothing. The tours are All rushed as time is of the essence..esp when moving Lots of folks on/off the ship.
The ship was great. Room was perfect for two, w/o wasted space. The steward was perfect. Ate 1st seating & had a great table. Enabled us to have evenings free or to crash. Loved watching movies under the stars. The dining was great so we never went to the specialty restaurants. And, the "tea" was perfect but make certain you ask for scones! Wine tasting events were fun. Expect to pay for any booze, but quality good & servings as expected. Spanish lessons were beneficial &fun! Worth doing! Shows o/b are varied & everyone seemed to like them..we did a couple & were happy.
Tours are rushed no matter get off the ship! Macau tours online very good for Nic.. More
Nicaragua is very pooor..wish we had bought more there than C Rica but choices were few. CR is an amazing country & well worth seeing. Used 6 in 1 Odyssey tours online and loved it! Sail/scuba in Aruba was fun but that boat is FULL..might look for private tour there..if you shop then don't do tour..little time! Cartagena is a busy place, go on a tour as Spanish is needed and lots of rip off if you are unaware. Attend tour lectures as they help orient you before you go. Overall it ws a great trip we will long remember!!!Video of Canal trip worth getting.
Panama Not mentioned as a Port but it is a very impt day!! Try to see all and fix a poster so you can be seen in video..it helps. Look around as you lock thru as I saw a family of Lemurs in grass and noone else was looking. Use your binoculars! Less
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Cabin review: BAA211 Balcony
A211 was a great spot! Close to upper decks (FOOD,POOL, movies, view points) very convenient)and close to elevators for all else. Long walk if you wash your duds. Loved our balcony!!! Right up front. Balcony has 2 chairs and table. Extra hangers if you need them. Beds were fine. No tv to speak of for news other than CNN. Missed Wx channel. Loved ship channel for where we were. Internet is pricey and best done at Cafe..ok in room but slow. Shower is small. Take some clips (for chips etc) clip to bottom and curtain will stay put off the body. Set the temp for h2o before you enter cuz it gets warm! Ships water is fine. Buying water, drinks, soft drinks, special coffee etc, consider their "specials" cuz it gets pricey fast!Lovely helpful crew!
Port and Shore Excursions
The catamaran was full 72 people. The swim areas are also full of others. Yet we had a lot of fun. Saw the wreck, a reef, and lighthouse fm the water. Looks like a real fun island! Got back w less than 45 min to board ship so NO shopping. Shops are typical of Carribean but if you want to shop you better not go on long water tour. shorter choices will work but we had lots of rum punch! All 72 were singing on the way home. SUNBLOCK!
Tender takes time to get on/off ship so delays cut time severly. Cost was high(ship's tour) but they did the best they could w the time left (Pirate ship sail) ship tour. Lots of boats and people scuba in same spot so hazardous. Fish were pretty but stay away fm the coral rock..cuts. Sand is soft and the waves will knock you down so take time. Sunblock! Town was no draw...nor was shopping. Obviously lots of places for drinks. Look for whales on entry some folks got lucky but we were early for them. We had fun, and wx was great but Caba was just a stop in the road for us.
Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas
It is hot, water hat and camera! Tour was thorough but you move fast. Guide knew his city and was terrific. Lot of people everywhere so you do well w a guide! Watch your wallet the vendors are thick and push hard. Be firm. Take spanish class and learn how to say NO! Guide helped alot in the buying dept but think he knew everyone!! Lot to see in little time.
Shopping was good and we bought local crafts. Got coffee and vanilla. Also took us to a hotel former plantation....beautiful spot w lots of birds and flowers...many types of hummingbirds(51) if you are lucky you might see them.
Part of tour, some zip lined and we went on the tram. Amazing sites, saw four macaws, sloth, snakes(exhibit), lizards, birds, orchid, plants etal...amazing event and worth the extra cost. Gives you time to really see the rain forrest fm above. take binoculars with! Drink water!!! Guides were terrific!! Both groups very happy but Zip liners said once was enough in one lifetime. Would be best done in early am or late eve as animals on move but you do what you can.Camera a must.
We saw LOTS of crocks up close and personal! One was 18ft next to boat. Idiot pilot got out and fed four of them on the shore. Lots of great shore birds to see. NOT a place to swim! Bring water and binoculars hat sunscreen camera! Had bug spray and didn't need it..don't count on that! Guides were terrific! Do not try to touch crocs!!!(even when they are touching your boat!) Lunch was great! I think it was a family affair, as boat guide later helped his mom serve us at nearby resturant. People very nice! Went into mangroves.
San Juan del Sur Nicaragua. Small port! Expect to see real poverty. Took Private tour. RIVAS was a favorite place but all three cities interesting. The country is 19th century for most. We used Macau tours and they were terrific! A full day. Roads are fair but folks drive like crazy people. Some were bothered by begging children and old folk but we were not. We saw a lot in a day so it was go go, but gave a nice feel for area. Saw three volcano and remember one is one of five gateways to "hell". People are officially supersticious & it is great to hear legends and myths that rule. Interesting wildlife and terrain to see. Would have like to buy more there but not too much choice. They want to become like Costa Rica and are trying. The local market ws an event..mostly human and horse/ox conveyances. Funny thing tho, treatment was very good, but the country made us feel we had seen enough and it was time to leave...ok if we don't go back....and there was No overt reason for feeling that way. Anyway get off the ship and see this country!! Had bug spray didn't need it..take with..also sun block and hats, rain gear,camera,& binoculars. Fed us local lunch and it was tasty. All could be necessary!! lOts of history here!