We were on a group tour from our church. We like the itinerary as we wanted to see the new locks.
SHIP: Overall the ship was very nice. All the public areas were well maintained and the people flow was good. We chose to hang around the adults pool located at the back of the ship. Easy access to food and beverages, not as crowded and a little quieter. The Medallion experience was OUTSTANDING! With a disk the size of a quarter you can locate anything you need, all your traveling companions, activities, directions by checking in at the portals located throughout the ship. Even better is to download the app and have all of this at your fingertips. You get a free lanyard and there are accessories you can buy (a bracelet; a wristband) but I though the prices were too high.
SERVICE: Again shout out to Edel and Jonel our waitstaff and Basulto our cabin steward!! The cruise director (DuVual) and his staff were outstanding, funny, gracious and entertaining!!
ENTERTAINMENT: This was EXCELLENT!! We went to every show and none disappointed. Bravo (a medley of Broadway show tunes); Fantastic Journey (a type of Cirque d Soleil); a comedian; a magician.. The only issue was that both the comedian and magician played both in the main theater and in one of the lounges - the lounge was very tight for space.
ON BOARD ACTIVITIES: We enjoyed all the trivia games, a back stage tour, a galley tour. There were two violinists on board who were outstanding and played in the piazza. We did line dancing and a couple of "beat the crew" games; a photography class; and arts and craft classes.
DINING: We dined with our group in the Palm Island room. The menu selections were at times a bit strange - we are not foodies and just enjoy basic meals. But they had a base offering of the same menu items each night which appealed to us. Portions are not large but very sufficient. So if you want to indulge in more, you might have room. The buffet was good - excellent omelette station!
PORTS OF CALL:
Cartegna, Columbia: We generally do not due excursions mostly because they tend to spend too much time at a gift shop vs. the actual experience. However we did disembark to the pier and were told about an aviary within walking distance. We spent a great deal of time there and saw sloths, anteaters, parrots, peacocks, flamingoes and various fauna. Well worth the visit!
Partial transit/Canal New Lock (Aqua Clara): Unfortunately the day dawned overcast and a bit of rain early on. We went out on deck by 6A to fully watch the entry into each chamber leading up to Gatun Lake. Fascinating engineering. There was an on board lecture being piped throughout the ship which was sadly more annoying than informative. We had attended the prior lecture on the history of the canal offered the day before in the theater oddly given by the same person so it was a bit surprising that the day edition wasn't quite as good.
Limon, Costa Rica: Unfortunately due to rough waters at the pier, our ship could not safely dock. We got another sea day as we headed to our last port in Jamaica. I have to absolutely commend the cruise director (DuVual) and his staff for the efficient and quick way they put together yet another fun filled day of activities at such a short notice.
Falmouth, Jamaica: This was actually our second visit to Falmouth and again we chose not to do any excursions. we had intended to just freely walk about the exterior streets (outside the marketplace right at the pier). We lasted about three blocks. Once you leave the marketplace (which is fenced in and guarded), you are at the mercy of EVERY street vendor, taxi driver, tour guide, hawker imaginable and they are relentless. Once one leaves you, there are at least two or three waiting to walk at your side and talk you into whatever they are selling. It is also a bit unnerving to walk around, The smell of marijuana permeates, there are too may deep dark alleys, and it just didn't feel safe. Would NOT recommend leaving the pier marketplace. All excursion transportation enter the fenced in area to pick up passengers and return the same way.
Embarkation and disembarkation: Excellent!!! We arrived at the port with our group and were at our cabin within a hour (one suitcase was already there). Same for disembarkation. Our group was scheduled to leave the ship at 8:40A and the day was going so well, we actually were able to leave 30 minutes earlier (however, our return bus wasn't scheduled to pick us up until 9A). Our bags were at the terminal in their assignen/coded areas and we easily picked them up, breezed through customs and wento meet our bus. So both experiences were leisurely and stressless.
Our cabin closet was very spacious. We were pleasantly surprised. We were able to hang all the clothes we wanted to and store our luggage there as well. Drawer space is limited to the nightstand (two) and drawers in the desk. For a 10 day voyage we found the storage to be very good. Bathroom was of course small and the shower was tight (to be expected). We are both tall and not slim so it was tricky to move around. We did bring a shower puff and was delighted to find out that there was shower gel in the shower itself in a pump. The bed was quite comfortable. We did bring extra hangers with us (mostly for pants) but we did have enough hangers supplied.