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My travel bucket list had long included the Panama Canal, both for its continuing commercial importance but also because of its historic engineering importance. It was the chance to see the canal that directed me to this trip. We traversed the Canal at night, a pattern that I thought might be a disappointment; it was quite the opposite as the canal is well lighted and one can see the operations of the locks even in the middle of the night. A return trip by bus from the Caribbean side to the Pacific and Panama City gave us a view of the canal in daylight. Costa Rica was an added and special bonus and seeing the flora and fauna of the Pacific rain forests was everything that I could have anticipated. Particularly interesting were the special excursions to a gold mining operation, a sugar processing farm, and a marvelous botanical garden. For the "active" traveler, there were many options including kayaking, snorkeling and more. Taking the trip on a ship (National Geographic Quest) that provided the best small ship accommodations that I have experienced and reasonable accommodations for the solo traveler made this even more special. The meals on board had a variety of selections and even though the chef needs to do a better job of cooking the meats, the food was generally quite good and nutritious. While not, perhaps, my most memorable cruise, this will be high on the list of fond memories for this retiree.

The Panama Canal and More

National Geographic Quest Cruise Review by tarmstrong79

Trip Details
My travel bucket list had long included the Panama Canal, both for its continuing commercial importance but also because of its historic engineering importance. It was the chance to see the canal that directed me to this trip. We traversed the Canal at night, a pattern that I thought might be a disappointment; it was quite the opposite as the canal is well lighted and one can see the operations of the locks even in the middle of the night.

A return trip by bus from the Caribbean side to the Pacific and Panama City gave us a view of the canal in daylight. Costa Rica was an added and special bonus and seeing the flora and fauna of the Pacific rain forests was everything that I could have anticipated. Particularly interesting were the special excursions to a gold mining operation, a sugar processing farm, and a marvelous botanical garden. For the "active" traveler, there were many options including kayaking, snorkeling and more. Taking the trip on a ship (National Geographic Quest) that provided the best small ship accommodations that I have experienced and reasonable accommodations for the solo traveler made this even more special. The meals on board had a variety of selections and even though the chef needs to do a better job of cooking the meats, the food was generally quite good and nutritious. While not, perhaps, my most memorable cruise, this will be high on the list of fond memories for this retiree.
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Cabin Review

Cabin
Cabin was one of the best that I have had since beginning solo travelling. The location was, however, less than desirable in that it was on the corridor leading to the "mud room," the point of disembarkation for all landings. Further, while it was appreciated that the twin beds were pushed together to form a single bed, the linkage between the beds was such that one could have "fallen through." Even so with a shower big enough to actually take a shower without bumping my head and with ample space for storage (save for the absence of a room safe), it was a good cabin.