Even if you know the history, have seen the documentaries and understand the engineering, a full passage of the Panama Canal is a MUST for any lover of history, science or travel. The senior crew members were very assessable and were quite willing to answer questions from the very basic to the very technical. The food set up at the buffet provided a good flow with multiple food islands. Lines were minimal, even during peak hours due to this setup. The ship was exceptionally clean and the staff, with few exceptions was very attentive to the passengers needs. Our cabin on the 8th deck was quiet and well laid out. The showers were better than other ships I have cruised on.
My only complaint with the Jewel was the fitness center. None of the upright exercise bikes worked properly. The seated bikes were Technogym brand, which, in my opinion are not nearly as good as Life-Fitness products. The gym was also to hot during most of the cruise. On the bright side, the weight equipment included dumbells up to 75 lbs., incline benches and older life fitness machines (better than the newer designs in my opinion), all of which was well maintained.
Very nice cabin. Quiet and well designed. On a transit of the Panama Canal, the views are forward and aft, not to the side. During the transit of the locks you are going to be topside, which is where the views are.
Shared a cab into the old city with a VERY nice Danish couple. Explored on foot. The old city gets VERY crowded once all the tours arrive. Cartagena is one of the most scenic, and historic ports I have visited.
Took the Valcano hike. Tour was good as was the guid. This tour is rated a 3. Unless you are fairly fit, you WILL NOT enjoy this tour. The views are very scenic.
Walked to the fort, the cliff divers and the beach. Safe, no problem walking. If you like history the Fort San Diego, adjacent to the port is a must. The cost is 55 Pesos ($3). The fort has VERY extensive displays on the history of pre-Colombian Acapulco to Mexican independence in English and Spanish.
If you are there long enough, get on a bus and go to the old quarter of San Jose del Cabo. More authenticity Mexican. Better art galleries selling high quality art. 33 KM costs about a dollar and the bus is air conditioned on a very good 4 lane road.
Went to the Everglades Natl. Park on my own. Well worth the visit to BOTH units.