Hubby & I chose the cruise because we wanted a short cruise that included a Panama Canal crossing. This cruise was an expedition cruise focusing on national parks in Costa Rica & Panama. Started in Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica and ended I. Panama City, including a Pacific to Atlantic crossing of the Panamá Canal. We’re not naturalists but thought it may be an interesting experience. This review is intended to give others an idea of what to expect. We were first time Ponant cruisers so really weren’t sure how they do things.
We arranged our own Pre cruise activities including a private transfer to Puerto Caldera. We showed up at the pier a couple of hours before the 4pm embarkation. Had to transfer from the car that brought us to a shuttle van that took us to the terminal. The driver assisted with loading and unloading luggage from the shuttle van but you have to bring your luggage into the terminal on your own. Nothing to do at the very small terminal other than sit and wait or walk around in circles. At embarkation time, a whole slew of ship crew & staff showed up and helped get luggage and passengers onboard. The Captain & Travel Manager were at the bottom of the ramp greeting all passengers. Nice touch! Once onboard we were directed to present ourselves to the reception staff who took our passports (they kept passports until the day before we disembarked) & pictures, and gave us room card keys. We also got champagne. We then followed the crew with our luggage to our suites. All in all, embarkation was smooth and orderly, no issues.
Ponant was offering ‘No Single Supplement’ so we booked a Grand Deluxe Suite on Deck 6 for my hubby & a Deluxe Suite down the hall for me. Our plan was for me to use my suite for showers and a dressing room. Worked out pretty well; nice to have my suite bathroom and walk-in closet all to myself. We spent most of the time onboard in my husband’s suite since it had a lot of space and a great balcony. We did sleep in my suite a couple of times when we were in rough seas since my suite was midship. Both suites were well laid out, clean and comfy. Room stewards kept the suites nice and clean. My suite was always promptly made up (thank you Rose); my husband’s was usually done late morning. AC worked well & was relatively quiet. Toiletries were plentiful. Beds were very comfy. There were on demand movies/docs but thought selections were limited. Some satellite TV channels (sorry, no ESPN or Golf). We watched FoxNews mostly.