We chose this cruise specifically for the Panama Canal crossing, but thoroughly enjoyed the ports we visited. Cartegena, Costa Rica, Acupulco, Cabo and Ensenada were pretty touresty. Nicaragua and Guatemala were very interesting and well worth the time and expense. The cruise ship, on the other hand, was disappointing.
Extensive maintenance and repairs on board were very disruptive. We could not to use our stateroom because of overpowering fumes from solvents or paints after a shore excursion. We really needed a shower and nap. Guest services staff sent us to use a couch in the bar for our nap! Pallets for paint and other supplies were stored all over the decks. Sections of the ship were blocked off and the Tapas Bar was completely closed for the duration (this was one I looked forward to, and was not notified in advance that it would be closed). Noise from sanding/grinding decks and fumes from paints and solvents in the public areas were very disruptive throughout the cruise. It really spoiled our 1st experience on a cruise ship.
Music at the pool, in the Dazzle lounge and Windjammer bar was so loud we couldn't enjoy it. The smell of chlorine in the Dazzle was overpowering, so we didn't participate in the events held there.
I was quite surprised at the comfort in the cabin. Initially it was set up with a double bed centered under the window. We asked the room steward to split into 2 singles and the room was much more comfortable. With a larger space in the middle, you could walk up and look out the window easily, and it seemed more roomy overall. Shelving, hanging space and drawers provided enough storage for our clothes. There was plenty of room under the beds for storage of suitcases and shoes. We brought heavy-duty magnetic hooks for hanging items. Also, the magnetic hooks were great for hanging laundry on hangers from the ceiling. Bathroom was small but efficient. Body wash and shampoo dispensers in shower and hand soap dispenser at sink. Next time I'll bring my own shampoo. Plenty of space to store pills/toothpaste/toothbrush and misc. Big minus for this room category is NO COFFEE MAKER! But we could get free "Continental Breakfast" and coffee room service after 6:30 AM. If you are an early riser like we are, be sure to bring a big mug and plan to walk to the other end of the ship to get coffee. But only after 5:30 AM.
NCL booked us at the Pullman Hotel. It was outstanding. Room was great, awesome view, nice decor. We ordered room service for dinner because we were tired after a long day in transit. Absolutely delicious!
Colonial Leon, Folklore Show & Lunch - For me, this was the best shore excursion on this cruise. Very interesting, delightful people and amazing landscape. We visited the Ortiz-Gurdian Foundation art gallery, which had some outstanding pieces for such a small gallery. Lunch and enterainment at the Hotel El Convento were very good.
Casa Santo Domingo & Antigua tour. This was my 2nd favorite tour. They are making good efforts to preserve and maintain colonial art and various archaeological sites.