I have wanted to sail the full Panama Canal cruise for years. Now that we are retired, my husband and I could do it! We flew to Miami two days before departure, so we could have some fun in Miami. We cruised the Bay of Biscayne-a great time-and got to see all of the boats and yachts in the harbor for the Presidents' Day holiday weekend.
We got to the port early for embarkation, but were held up because the ship was not ready on time. The wait was about 1.5 hours-not what I expected. The ship, the Jewel, is an older ship that has been refurbished. We happen to like the mid-range size of the Jewel. Cruise companies are going to the large-size ships, with which we are not enthralled. Our cabin was on deck 10, midship, a perfect place to be, especially with a balcony. The cabin and bathroom are tight, but are adequate for sleeping and showering. We had a coffee maker and refrigerator in our cabin. These were nice features: we could get up and have our morning coffee on the balcony, watching sea turtles, dolphins, and whales! Yes, we did see them.
The dining options are good. There are two dining rooms that serve the populace, as well as the buffet in the Garden Café and O'Sheehan's. We do not use the for-a-fee restaurants because we always get good meals in the 'free' restaurants.
Small and tight, but clean and comfortable. In a great location, midship.
Saw the fort and local vendors
Saw a monkey in the wild
Very industrial and not well-developed
We saw the cliff divers from a boat.
I loved watching the glass blowers do their art.