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MV Explorer Cruise Review by dwolfe

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MV Explorer
MV Explorer
Member Name: dwolfe
Cruise Date: May 2008
Embarkation: Other
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Cabin Category: ocv
Cabin Number: 2010
Booking Method: Internet Agency
See More About: MV Explorer Cruise Reviews | Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews | Enrichment Voyages Cruise Deals
Member Rating   5.0 out of 5+
Dining 4.0
Public Rooms 3.0
Cabins 4.0
Entertainment 2.0
Spa & Fitness 3.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions 5.0
Embarkation 1.0
Service 4.0
Value-for-Money 5.0
Rates 5.0
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Ship Facts: MV Explorer Review (by Cruise Critic!)
back to school?
I took the enrichment voyage through the Mayalands to the Panama Canal in May. Nassau is a terrible port to get to and leave from: It is disorganized, staff are unhelpful and taxi's are very expensive. Once on board, though, the ship's crew were wonderful. Luggage was in the room almost before I was. The cabin was plenty big enough, with a porthole window on the second deck which was only steps away from from the gangway but the corridor was separated by a door so it was quiet.

The ship is a converted small cruise ship (the casino was removed to put in a computer lab and library--the best on any ship I have been on) which has blazing fast engines that can really motivate between ports. I was somewhat disappointed by the quality of lecturers on board (the Maya expert was ill and unable to make the voyage) the music and literature professors were off topic for the subject matter of the cruise. Both the marine biology and ecology and art professors were outstanding, however, and definitely made the trip worthwhile.

I especially appreciated the computer lab and the free internet access and the library - spent most of my time on board there. Our ports of call were different than the usual, the ship being smaller, was able to go to places that were off the beaten path. I especially enjoyed cave tubing in Belize, Gamboa Nature Preserve in Gatun Lake, Chanaknab park and Queen Elizabeth Botanic Gardens. I also enjoyed being able to just get off the ship in the working ports, as opposed to cruise ship ports, and see what the real country was about.

This is not a cruise for a person looking for the usual cruise ship experience, they actually expect you to think and keep yourself interested instead of being led around from event to event on the ship. The entertainment is semilame but heartfelt. I may have been permanently scarred by the barbershop quartet...I'm sure they meant well.

There is a small spa, pool, exercise room and weight machines on the pool deck. The food is quality dorm not expect gourmet extravaganzas. The buffet area could get crowded but you could always find a place on deck to eat. There was no policy against bringing your own liquor on board, which a lot of people did at many of the ports of call.

If you enjoy the ambiance of Elderhostel journeys and Sierra Club service trips you will very much enjoy the Enrichment Voyages on MV Explorer. If your idea of dressing up is a spiffy Hawaiian shirt and Chaco's this is the cruise for you.

Publication Date: 07/10/08
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