We had a very nice cruise which was both exciting seeing all the new ports and experiencing the Latin American culture and also relaxing as for us there wasn't a lot to do on the ship so there was no guilt in going to bed early!
We stayed the night before the cruise in the Country Inn and Suites Panama Canal and then hired Rudy's Private tours to show us the sites of Panama (both pre and post cruise). We toured Panama City, Fort of Portobello, Gatun Locks, an Embera Indian Village, and Gatun Lake. Stayed the night before departure (Tocumen Airport) at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. Both hotels were very good and the views from our balconies of first the Panama Canal and then the rainforest/Lake were spectacular.
This was our first RCL cruise and we knew it was going to be Spanish first/English second but our high school daughter is learning Spanish and wanted the cultural immersion and we love experiencing new things. There was no problem with ship communication and the staff all spoke English. The only time I felt "left out" was during the entertainment and playing Bingo. We went to see the Argentinian Gaucho (cowboy) and he was great except most of his stories were in Spanish and the crowd including my daughter were laughing there heads off but sadly no translation but my daughter said he was very funny. Obviously! There wasn't a lot to do at night compared to other cruises I have been on but we decided that that wasn't a bad thing as after long port days, dinner and we went to three of the shows it was good to just go to bed.
Our Junior Suite was terrific. Very nice with a large aft balcony. First time and I loved it! Ship was clean, newly renovated just smaller than ships I had been on in the past. Easy to get around and staff was very friendly, food was good. We liked the variety in the Windjammer. The negatives came from the Spa. the first sea day both my daughter and I had treatments and they were fine, however we each did another treatment and they were both awful. My massage was terrible and then she tried to overcharge me and my daughter was supposed to have a 75 minute hot stones and she arrived back in the room only one hour later so obviously they cut her visit short but still charged 75 minutes. She said she didn't talk much at the end to the spa lady as she was trying to sell her massage oils and she told them she had to talk to me. So I'm assuming that even though you pay for 75 minute massage 15 minutes of that is their sells pitch.
Ports were great: Cartagena we did a private tour with Dora De Zubiria. Beautiful city and Dora really worked with my daughter on her Spanish. Bonaire my daughter and husband went scuba diving and I went on Woodwind snorkeling cruise. Aruba we took a taxi and went to Eagle Beach (MVC resort) and renting chairs along with jet sking and then tubing. For the tubing they picked us up and took us up to Palm Beach. I enjoyed the boat ride just going up the coast. In Curacao we went to the Dive Bus so they could again scuba and I snorkeled off the shore. Very nice people and water clarity was great.
It was a very good cruise and loved all our sights, the ship was nice and we came home rested.
We just took a taxi from the port to Eagle beach (MVC Resort) and rented chairs for the day. We also rented jet skis there on the beach. The vendor also then shuttle(boat ride) to Palm Beach so that we could do a tubing experience. That was a lot of fun. We then took the bus (minivan) back to port and shopped for a little bit before getting on the boat.
My daughter and husband went shore diving from Divi Flamingo Resort as they could walk to it from the ship. Although the staff was very nice the diving wasn't great which was unexpected. Next time they will get a taxi to go further away. I took a snorkeling excursion on Woodwind and the water clarity was fantastic.
Took a fantastic tour with Dora de Zubria. She picked us up at port and her drivier took us around to the sites. The city is beautiful.
Didn't do anything in Colon itself due to security reasons but we had hired Rudy Private Day Tours for our pre and post cruise days He arranged for airport pickup and drop off along with storage our luggage as we toured the countryside. We visited Panama City, Fort of Portobello, Gatun Locks, Toured an Embera Indian Village and took a Gatun Lake boat ride to see the wildlife. The country is very beautiful. As mentioned before get to the airport relatively early. We thought we had a lot of time but turns out you have to go through two security lines. One to get back to the gate and then one go to your specific gate
Took a taxi to the Dive Bus where my daughter and husband went shore diving and I snorkeled. Water clarity was very good and the staff was laid back and very nice. We went back to port to do a liitle shopping but didn't have much time. Looked like a nice area.