Getting on in Miami was quick-50 minutes from the time we were dropped off by friends until we were having lunch in the dining room!
We spent two days pre cruise with friends in Del Ray Beach and then they drove us to the port.
We brought 6 bottles of wine on ship with us and paid the $15 corkage fee right as we entered the port terminal. It was $20 wine plus corkage fee and it's still was better then what is offered on ship for even more money. We also brought an 8 pack of Coke and another 8 pack of diet coke. We ordered bar service of a bottle of rum. (still was a deal even tho the rum was very over priced) We also took advantage of the buckets of beer on those long HOT days on ship. They also offer nightly 2 for 1 Martini's. (no we aren't alcoholics)
We got off the ship in Columbia and used the inside-white shirt tour guides. For $20 each we went on a 24 person, air conditioned bus with a tour guide (Monica was excellent-she was the first female tour More
guide-over 30 years experience) The tour was over 4 hours and we were allowed to make suggestions to what we wanted to see. (I wanted to see La Poppa-highest point in the City-great view -$4 to get into the church area and the Hard Rock Cafe-I collect pins) We learned a lot about the city, had air conditioning, skipped the "shopping" stop for a beer across the street and saw a lot. Bought some coffee too!
The highlight of course is the Canal itself. We had a balcony and went from ours to our friends on the other side of the ship depending on which lock we were going through. Turn on the TV and listen to the information about the history as you sail along. "Your day in the Panama Canal" by Richard Detrich was great to have along! Make sure you get the correct book depending on which direction you are traveling. (Miami to LA is southbound)
In Costa Rica, I had arranged a tour with Greenway Tours, we did a 6 in 1 tour, which included a sky walk (others zipped lined) Again we had a modern van and personal guide for the dozen of us. (our group of 6 and others who had also booked on line) Stopped and bought some coffee again to take home.
In Huatulco we had again booked on line a private snorkel and scuba trip for 4 of us- 2 tank dive for $85 (guys had their own gear) and $35 for the ladies (we had our own gear also) Saw alot of fish and small sting rays while snorkeling in two different areas.
In Acapulco, we went right inside the port area where there are English speaking drivers, air condition vans and again we spent $20 per person, this time for just the 6 of us. Mike, showed us around for over 4 hours, again picking some regular stops and let us pick some (HRC again). The divers were earlier (9:30AM) and we watched them from the road-could see really well. (no cover charge that way)
Stopped and did some shopping also. Ending at Carlos and Charlies right in the dock area. Last port was Cabo San Lucas, we have been there many times. The boys went scuba diving again (on line reservations with Manta Dive Shop-right at the pier behind Senor Frogs) the ladies just walked around town. We had a beautiful sunrise and an unexpected treat was all the dolphins and whales as we were leaving that day. There were dozens of each right near the ship and we had binoculars to see the far off ones! We spent over an hour on the balcony watching all of them!
We had no problem finding good food! The Dining Room was always good and the buffet wasn't bad either (despite what others have said). We did eat at the Italian restaurant one night, it was OK. We stopped at Blue Lagoon one afternoon for a snack. We never used room service. The menus did change nightly on one side of the menu and had regular items on the other side to choose from.
Entertainment was enjoyable. We watch almost all of the shows (usually the 7 PM) and had dinner right afterwards. The skinny German juggler was really funny! The "Jersey Boys" act was also very good. The final variety show was only good at the very end.....you'll know why when you see it!
Because of our meet and greet cruise critic roll call, the Captain invited us all on a bridge tour-what a treat!
Not a lot of activities on the ship, a lot of sun on the pool deck was enjoyed and played a little trivial challenges. Watch the football play offs and some movies in our cabin.
Getting off the ship in LA was LONG because of the numerous walk offs....but then we were staying an extra day, so it was no problem. Less
Norwegian Star Cruises to the Panama Canal & Central America