Our last cruise was the Celebrity Reflection, we have not cruised Carnival in 10 years, so i was a little nervous to return to the line. The Panorama ended up being our favorite cruise! My husband and I are 55 and we took our 16 year old son.
We flew in from Detroit to LAX the day prior. We took an Uber to Best Western Long Beach. I would recommend this hotel. It's clean, they have a free shuttle to the cruise terminal, and have a great staff. We took a Lyft back to LAX on our last day.
We booked a Havana suite, which was way more than I wanted to spend, but it was worth it. I tried for months to get a Havana Cabana for 3, but there only a few cabins to accommodate more than (2) guests, so when our cabin popped up after months of searching, I grabbed it and didn't look back. The Havana area is fantastic, and I can't imagine going back to a non-Havana cruise! The pool, hot tubs, and bars are right outside of the cabanas and almost private. Embarkation and Debarkation were so smooth and easy with the suite perk.
The ship has a much more upscale decor than our past Carnival ships, we really liked it.
We ate all dinners/sea day brunches in the MDR with YTD and they were all fantastic with great service. All of the food we had at Guy's Burger, Guy's Pig and Anchor, Blue Iguana Cantina (breakfast burrito was fantastic!), Carnival Deli were also great. We only ate in the Lido for a snacks and gelato but people seemed to be enjoying the food there too. My son said the pizza was great. We loved all the food we had on the cruise, we only ate at included restaurants and we thought it was at the same caliber or better than our food on the Reflection.
We did not get a drink package this time. We knew we would be drinking in ports 3 days and my husband drinks beer on the ship. We brought our (2) bottles of wine-which was gone on day 2, and we each brought a 12 pack of soda/diet soda. We brought too much soda, we only needed (2) 12 packs. I bought bottle for the room to make drinks. Being in the Havana area on deck 5, this was really convenient because you are right by your pool, the MDR, Guy's BBQ, Ocean Plaza dining to quickly get a drink. If we were on a different floor, this would have been kind of an annoyance. This worked for us, and we saved a lot by not purchasing the package, but it really depends on what you drink and when you drink to determine if the package is for you. I also purchased a 12 pack of small water bottles to be delivered to our cabin pre-cruise for about $4.
The skyride, ropes course, sports deck, and water slides were really fun. We did them multiple times and just paid attention to times when lines were the shortest. My son made friends the first night at the O2 club and they enjoyed the outdoor theater a few times. I did not like the gym on the ship, it seemed very closed in to me, but my son enjoyed it. We took a tour of the spa, and it looked very nice, but we didn't get a package.
We did not buy internet, and did not miss having it for a week, even my 16 year old. We all checked email and texts while in ports. Get the HUB app before you leave, it is great for making your YTD reservations and seeing the Fun Times. I only bought the $5 chat option for my son and I would suggest this is if you have kids; when they meet other kids on the ship this is how they communicate/plan to meet. Have your kids go to the clubs the first night, that's how they meet their "group". The older kids rarely hang out at the club after that, but they do exchange names to chat/meet. My son met a nice group of kids and they hung out a lot together on the cruise. This made our vacation fun for all of us!
Our room steward, Mauricio, was outstanding. Every employee we came in contact with was so nice, friendly, and helpful.
We loved all the ports, we didn't book any Carnival excursions. This was our first time in this part of Mexico so we wanted to explore.
I pre-booked a glass bottom boat/water taxi with Blue Baja Los Cabos before we left. They are on Facebook and they were great: took us on an arch tour, which I would highly recommend, and then dropped us off at the Sandbar, and picked us up a few hours later to take us back to the ship. All for $11 pp. At the Sandbar we pre-booked massages and had lunch. It was a great day.
Mazatlan was very nice too, people really give this place a bad rap, it's a very quaint, pretty area and it was very safe. We walked following the blue line to the town and explored the Malecon, had lunch, and went to the beach. The open air cabs here looked very fun, but we ran out of time. Puerto Vallarta was beautiful. We took the bus from the marina to the Malecon, had lunch on the beach at Swell, swam in the ocean, explored the area, and took the bus back. The bus was very safe and easy and cost $4 round trip for 3 people.
We spent most of our time in the Havana area. It's very quiet, but people still save chairs like they do on the rest of the ship. However, you can always find a place. Laying out on your cabana is the most peaceful. Our cruise was full but I always saw open deck chairs by the main pools and on the other sun decks. We were cruising in February, we had great weather except for the last sea day, which was cloudy and 70, so there were a lot of open deck chairs through out the ship.
I was very worried about rough seas, but we had no rough seas at all there or back. I brought motion sickness medications, and never had to use them.
We did see a couple comedians which were not our style, same with the shows, and the casino. This is never why we book a cruise, the food, view, and the ports are the highlights for us.
We definitely recommend the Panorama, and would love to go again!
This was our first suite on a cruise, and it was the last Havana room available for 3 guests. Otherwise, I would have booked a 3 person Havana Cabana due to the price...but WOW this room really made our cruise. I know that same priced suites are much bigger on other lines/ships, but this room was fantastic! The bathroom was wonderful and room has a lot of extra storage drawers. The extra space for the 3 of us really made a difference, and the proximity to the Havana pool was great. Our Cabana neighbors were wonderful and our area of cabanas were very quiet. We felt the splurge was worth it.
Pre-booked Blue Baja Glass Bottom Boat tour with water taxi. I highly recommend booking this company using their Facebook page. They were fantastic.
We loved Mazatlan, and explored it on our own. It's easy to walk to town and explore the Malecon and the beach.
We loved Puerto Vallarta and explored it on our own. Bus transportation to and from the marina is cheap, safe, and easy. The Malecon and beach bars are fun!