We selected a 12 night cruise to see the Panama Canal. We got to visit some cool places in addition, and have lunches in local bistros. We're not into sailing or snorkeling, but would rather walk/tour around to get the individual flavor of each place. We kind of enjoyed the relaxation of two sea days both starting and ending the cruise.
There were the ABC's-Aruba, Bonair & Curacao. We chose the basic 'see the island' excursions to experience the particular flavor of each- aloe vera factory, salt harvesting, flora/fauna, climbing outcrops, caves, and ... seeing deserts for a large part of them! Because of scheduling changes, we only had time for a great lunch in only one, Curacao- an outdoor table in a charming bistro sheltered by trees. ..and riding the wild pontoon bridge as it opened!
We ventured into the 'Old City' of Cartagena, Columbia, a large cluster of shops, restaurants and chapels surrounded by a centuries-old stone wall. Great for shopping and photos, but lousy with street vendors who continually swarmed you like mosquitoes. One even sat down at our bistro table and tried to sell us dominos! There was a nature garden/zoo a short walk from our dock, to provide further photo ops.
Typical cabin with balcony. They all seem to be pretty much the same on these ships- a little cramped, but ultimately liveable. Our layout had a VERY inconvenient access to the sliding closet door, since it was blocked by the couch. poor ergonometrics. And I wish they'd provide real hangers, not those thread-into-slot hotel jobbers (what we're going to steal them?) There was only one set of 120V outlets, switched off when leaving room. But there was USB charging ports on the night lamps. TV had a decent array (by cruise standards) of movies and news...
Our room server was conscientious, keeping us clean and orderly.
only one major complaint; NO MORE FOLDED TOWEL ANIMALS ON OUR PILLOWS!
Found a room ON SUPER BOWL SATURDAY before cruise for $200! And it was quiet!
the Collins Hotel
Port was last minute removed from itinerary
annoying vendors aside, the Old City was gorgeous. Great 20 minute boat ride avoided city traffic, had on board native dances. Nice zoo near the ship, 10 minute walk to the nature area