1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Panama Canal & Central America Cruises
  4. Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

204 Panama Canal & Central America Luxury Cruise Reviews

We have always wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal. After looking at lots of options (and no longer paying college tuition for our youngest!) we decided to take a splurge trip and booked the Regent Mariner. We are 61 and 66 years ... Read More
We have always wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal. After looking at lots of options (and no longer paying college tuition for our youngest!) we decided to take a splurge trip and booked the Regent Mariner. We are 61 and 66 years old and have cruised on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Princess. This was our first luxury cruise line. We were told to be prepared to be spoiled. Perhaps we heard that too often and set our sights a bit too high. It was a very nice cruise, but I would not say we were spoiled. (For reference, our last cruise was with Princess, in a Club Class mini-suite. That suite was a bit larger, and we felt the Club Class dining service was equal to, and in some cases, better than our experience on Regent. However, the food on Regent was superior!) I will say we were very spoiled by only 615 guests on the ship! The 2nd day we were wandering around on decks 5 & 6 and saw no one! This was middle of the afternoon! We were in a concierge cabin, so the night before the cruise we were in the Regent hotel- the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills! The hotel was amazing. We enjoyed the breakfast buffet and met some folks that morning that we regularly saw throughout the cruise. It was a great start to the cruise! Buses were very timely- our gathering time was listed as 11:30, the folks giving us the slip said come between 11 and 11:15 - she was right - the bus was leaving the hotel at 11:30! Once we arrived at the port there were quite a few people ahead of us - we waited around 30-45 minutes for our group to be called to check in. There was a nice waiting area with comfortable chairs. (Would have been nice to have coffee / water service.) There is an Illy coffee maker in each room- only problem, we could not figure out how to turn it on! The on/off switch is in back, next to the cord - very difficult to find, a neighbor told us where it was! Our refrigerator was stocked with various sodas and 2 types of beer. There was also a bottle of champagne, on ice, waiting for us when we arrived. A small bowl was kept filled with various fruit. We popped the champagne on "Block Party" night and then another bottle showed up! I had the stewardess remove it as I knew we were not going to drink it. We had 15 minutes of ship to shore time included with our room. I had to ask as to how to use it. (dial 50, wait for the dial tone, then 1, and for US calls the area code and number) I checked our account on the tv the next day and saw that we were billed for the time (I think it is at $7 or so per minutes - and we had gone just over the 15 minutes- so it was a lot!) I asked at Reception, and they had it removed. Since this was an included perk, I felt that it should have been taken care of without me having to ask to have it fixed. Be prepared for hot and VERY humid if you decide to take this itinerary. We had heavy rain in one port, and rain a few other times, mainly at night. The lightening shows at night were fantastic! There were beginner Bridge lessons offered. We have zero experience and went to the classes. We definitely learned a lot and enjoyed the folks we met through the classes. There were just 4 of us for most of the classes! We went to only a couple of the shows. I would highly recommend the Krew Kapers - ours was at 5:30 the 2nd to last night. There was also a magician / comedian that did 2 shows, we enjoyed both! Ports were Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Acajutla (El Salvador), San Juan del Sur (Nicaragua), Puntarenas (Costa Rica), Cartagena (Columbia) and then disembark in Miami. We took all Regent excursions, booking 2 extra charge excursions. In Ensenada we took the "Taste of Mexico" excursion. We boarded a bus drove out of the port and around the nearby area, with the guide pointing out different buildings (including the new aquarium that has been under construction for 4 years - she said hopefully it will be open the next time you visit!), we also stopped at the large square where she pointed out different statues and told us a bit about the country's history. We then stopped at an Opal store. The owner talked a bit about Mexican Opals- 10% of Opals are from Mexico. We went through the store and into what is probably normally a bar. Tables were set up with 8 people per table. A chef was there to lead the class. He talked about a number of different chilis, their hotness and what they were used for. Also passed them around for everyone to smell. We then "made" our own guacamole, green chicken enchilada, and beef tostada. All of the ingredients were prepared for us, a little chopping for the guacamole, stirring and assembling was all that was needed. Margaritas were for sale - $4 each (large glass) or unlimited for $20. Sodas were included. After we were finished there, we boarded the bus and they took us to a shopping area where we had 20 minutes to shop. I would recommend this excursion - just a little amount of walking, some history, and tasty food. We were able to list our email addresses, and they sent us the recipes from the day. Next stop was Cabo San Lucas. We took the "Salsa and Salsa" excursion. The location was very close- but the bused us up the hill (very nice in the heat!). We made 6 different salsas, all the while free margaritas were being poured. Also made 1 margarita at our tables. Then had a short Salsa dance lesson. The salsa making went a little long - but the entire excursion was fun, and tasty! In Acapulco we did the "Nature encounter hike and swiim" - first stop was to see the cliff divers - very impressive. Then off to board a glass bottom boat to go over to a nearby island to hike to the top. Nothing to be seen under the boat- we spotted 2 fish. They offer hiking sticks when you get off the boat (our boat was called the Titanic!). The hike is a good one- well deserving of the "3 people" Regent gives it! Pretty steep in parts, a bit slick on some moss and leaves. We were sweating and out of breath in parts. The view from the top of Acapulco Bay is very nice. Break up top, then back down to our boat and then to a hotel for lunch and a swim in their pool. The water was VERY refreshing! El Salvador was the next port. Acajutla was extremely welcoming to us. They are just starting to see cruise ships, and this was Regent's first time in this port. The bus we were put on for our "Buggies and Thermal Waters" excursion (extra charge) was small. Two seats on one side, one seat on the other and a fold down jump seat. The drive was quite long. We went first to the thermal waters- saw them bubbling out of the ground, and then a few more minutes to the location for lunch and a swim. The "pools" were nothing like the pictures Regent was showing on the cabin tvs. These were actual swimming pools right next to where we ate lunch. The water was milky looking. Only a few people went in the water - one pool was very hot, the others were various temperatures. This "resort" I guess you would call it is nothing like any of us expected. They are just starting to build the area up for tourists. It started sprinkling and then raining, then REALLY raining. At that point my husband and I decided that we were going to skip the buggies- we knew that they were on dirt roads, and with that much rain, it was going to be a mess and dangerous. About this time, the guide announced that the buggies were being cancelled for safety reasons. The other bus had gone to the buggies first - they came back drenched. We were glad to get into our small bus and start the 1 1/2 hour ride back to the ship. I would not do this tour again, nor go to this port again. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua had to be cancelled due to high winds and a large swell. This was a tender port and not safe for us to do so. Puntarenas, Costa Rica was our favorite port. We did the "Aerial tram and river cruise" excursion (extra charge). Great excursion! Our guide was very good, giving us lots of information about her country. We went on the river cruise first, seeing lots of crocodiles, many species of birds, and iguanas. Then we were off to the denser rain forest for our tram ride. We were split into groups of 8 plus a guide for the approximately 1 hour tram ride. We did not see much wildlife - but enjoyed the scenic rain forest and all our guide had to say. Lunch was next and then back to the ship. I would definitely recommend this excursion! Finally made it to the Panama Canal! WOW! We wandered all over the ship, front, back, down to deck 5 to watch through the windows as he ship rose up in the canal. Definitely the highlight of the trip! Cartagena, Columbia was the final stop. We did not get off the ship as I had a terrible sore throat. Pretty sure the difference between outside high heat and humidity and the inside a/c had something to do with it. We had brought cough / cold medications with us, they were put to use. At breakfast that morning, I asked the waiter if they might have any lemon / ginger tea - he said they might, but, he would make me some fresh lemon and ginger tea. This was one point where I felt spoiled by Regent! I was very grateful to this gentleman! Dinners - we had reservations in Chartreuse the first night and Prime 7 the second night. We were able to get one more reservation in Chartreuse later in the cruise, at a 4 top, sharing with a couple we had not met. Other dinners were spent in Compass Rose, Pool Grill and Setti Mari. I had scallops a number of times - all cooked perfectly; my favorite was in Chartreuse! The often talked about Carmel corn Sundae in Prime 7 is definitely an interesting looking dessert; I preferred the carmel corn and left most of the ice cream! (I asked the waiter if just the carmel corn could be ordered- he said sure!) Lunch - lots of options - pool grill and La Veranda were our regulars; we ate lunch once in Compass Rose. Breakfast - our go to was Compass Rose. We highly recommend the "Frozen Blueberry and Banana Bowl" - a scoop of frozen pureed blueberries sitting on top of small cubes of various fruit (including bananas) and sliced almonds on top. Also of note, we ordered eggs Benedict twice, even though they were not on the menu. We had room service twice for breakfast on early excursion mornings. There are 1/2 hour delivery windows- they delivered quite close to the start of the window. Another quick option in in the Coffee Connection - cereals, toaster with various breads, fruit, yogurts; easy way to grab something quick. All in all, this cruise was a bit long for our taste - we feel that a port or 2 could have been skipped, decrease the length of the cruise by 2 days (and decrease the price!). It was expensive, about $1,000 per day for both of us. We met some very nice people on this cruise. We also came upon some snobby people that wanted to make sure everyone knew they had 200+ nights on Regent. Overall the crew was a bit too formal for us (always being called "madam" was a bit too much for me). We did have some nice conversations with some of the crew. For some reason, we were invited to dine with ships' officers two different times; once with the General Manager and again with the Head Concierge! Will we travel on Regent again in the future, maybe. Will depend on the itinerary and if we feel it would be best with a smaller ship / less passengers. We definitely liked that part of this cruise a lot! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise for ports, suppose to be beautiful coming out of dry dock,service and dining great but not a five star cruise as usual..many problems, constantly construction..pounding, drilling closure of the decks, pool and ... Read More
We chose this cruise for ports, suppose to be beautiful coming out of dry dock,service and dining great but not a five star cruise as usual..many problems, constantly construction..pounding, drilling closure of the decks, pool and balconies ,paint and varnish smell everywhere-on Regatta, room seventh floor..you pay for five star and get a 2-3 star, not fair and so far they just say sorry..unacceptable ... We have sailed on Oceania 21 times, so extremely disappointing.. The staff are trying hard to please everyone but hard with all the noise and bad smell going on... The excursions have been great, as usual. And the guides have been very good as well, speaking good English.. We would hope that they compensate us at some point..hoping for return travelers.. They still start their entertainment to late 9:30..with not much to do after dinner..between 7:30 and 9 p.m.the cabin is beautiful but the balconies were absolutely not ready.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have cruised for a number of years with different cruise lines but promised ourselves that one day we would try one of the supposed most luxurious cruise ships. After much research and saving we decided to try Regent Seven Seas Explorer ... Read More
We have cruised for a number of years with different cruise lines but promised ourselves that one day we would try one of the supposed most luxurious cruise ships. After much research and saving we decided to try Regent Seven Seas Explorer and booked the Mexican Riviera to Panama Canal cruise.We flew to Los Angeles and were transferred to a 1st class hotel for the first night bit of a shock in the bar 2 beers $48.00. We were informed to be downstairs by 11am for coach transfer to ship but then waited 1 1/2 hours for collection which I considered very poor. On arrival at the port we had another wait of over 1 hour before we could book in, this was the worst book in of any cruise we have ever been on and was starting to wonder whether we had made the right decision to cruise with Regent, later on board we were told this was due to a customs inspection of the ship if we had been told the reason for delay a number of passengers would not have been so angry. We eventually got on board and went to our cabin 1409 which was a D grade Concierge. The cabin was presented immaculately with a wealth of cupboards and hanging space for clothing, the bathroom had a bath and large walk in shower. The balcony was large with very comfortable reclining chairs.Our cabin stewards were excellent even going to the trouble of decorating our cabin on my Birthday with balloons and happy birthday banner, a large cake and champagne was also supplied. We ate in all the restaurants while on board and the standard of food and waiting service was excellent as was the menu and the best of any ship we have ever sailed on. Due to the low number of passengers only 750 only one show at 9.30pm was performed but at no time was it necessary to get into theater early to get a seat, we walked in a 9.25 and could always find a good seat. The production shows were 1st class as was the guest entertainers. Most of the many and varied excursions ashore are included and of a good and interesting nature, a point to note that a few trips have a supplement to pay but check once on board and a very similar trip may have been added which is included but was not shown when booking. The bar staff again were excellent and no matter what drink or cocktail you wanted it was available.It would be nice if a day room at a hotel was included on disembarkation as you have to leave ship at 9am and in our case our flight was not till the evening a hop on hop off trip of Miami was included but was poor and once completed at 1pm waited a further hour for luggage which was stored by the bus company. One day I will hopefully cruise with Regent again as we will always compare other ships to this which will be a very hard act to follow. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Two years ago, my wife and I with three other couples enjoyed a GREAT cruise on this ship. Accordingly, another couple and ourselves chose to repeat our positive previous experience with this 16 day cruise. Spoiler Alert- Big big ... Read More
Two years ago, my wife and I with three other couples enjoyed a GREAT cruise on this ship. Accordingly, another couple and ourselves chose to repeat our positive previous experience with this 16 day cruise. Spoiler Alert- Big big MISTAKE! Very little worked on this so called "Luxury Experience" . It is quite obvious that the "bean counters" at Regent have decided to squeeze every single dollar out of every single cruise and then let the customer "suffer" their decisions. The problems began with the so called "Free" Airfare. This is nothing more then a marketing ploy as the cruise fare is increased by $ 300 per couple if you decide to take their "Free" airfare. Regent's response, when questioned, it that if you do not take the "Free" Airfare they will credit $ 150 pp. So much for the "Free" Airfare!. We decided to upgrade our flight to LAX via First Class @ an upcharge of $ 699 pp. When we finally received our flight information we found that Regent had booked 4 Senior Citizens to fly out of Miami on a 6:30AM flight to Chicago! Yes... fly to Chicago in mid-winter! We would have to get up at 3 AM in the morning to try and catch that flight. Really! When we objected, our travel agent finally had Regent offer us a 9:30 flight from Miami to Orlando and then to LAX. Somewhat better but that "new" flight was @ a $350 per couple upcharge! We declined and made our own First Class flight to LAX. Regent included a one night stay at the" Beverly Wilshire" Hotel which was fine. After checking in we were told that Regent had a "Hospitality Suite" available for all information about the next days travel to the ship. The so called "Hospitality Suite" offered NOTHING in the way of either Food or drink! Not even a bottle of water! The Regent "representative" could answer none of our questions except to say that our luggage should be ready to be picked up at 7:30 AM and we should meet in a Hotel Ballroom @ 11:15 AM. The "free" included breakfast was not offered in the Hotel's restaurant but instead was a buffet-style "Holiday-Inn Express" type of breakfast. Shame on "Regent" for that! The buses to the ship did not even arrive until 1:30 in the afternoon! Regent"representative offered little information except to wait. Arriving at the pier involved another l o n g wait. Once on the ship we again had to wait even though our quarters were supposed to be ready at 1:30 PM. No apologies were offered for the delay! We heard through the grapevine that the ship was inspected by the Coast Guard that day and experienced some "difficulties". In addition, many of the crew's contracts had expired and they were leaving and a new crew had come onboard. Many of the "new" crew were in-experienced and it showed. They just did not know what to do. Breakfast in "Compass Rose" took close to a hour and 45 minutes. Two years ago at breakfast, you were immediately served juice and coffee/tea and a server came right offer and offered Muffins/Pastries. Now, we waited and waited and waited. Finally, we were served Coffee/Tea and then waited some more to juice. The server offering pastries/muffins made only a single pass at the table and did not return. Each morning we had to ask our server what the Breakfast "special" was. They either did not know or were instructed not to offer that information. Orders are transcribed via Tablets and mistakes (missing orders) were common. Coffee refills had to be requested. An order of Smoked Salmon and a Bagel resulted in being presented with a single small scoop of cream cheese. You had to request more cream cheese or ask for a triple serving of it when ordering. Head Waiters tried very very hard but were totally overcome3 by problems/issues with the kitchen and the inexperienced staff! Breakfast service at "Compass Rose" was overall a failure! Our quarters were excellent as was our Butler and Steward! Kudo's to them! Dinner at "Compass Rose" matched that of Breakfast except the food quality overall was fair at best. We dined 5 nights at the "Pacific Rim" Restaurant and overall both the food and service was excellent. The steakhouse. "Prime" featured quality food and excellent service also. As to the French "Chartruese"... forgetabout it! Poor food and even worse execution. Service was even worse as demonstrated by our request for Onion Soup. Both "Chartruese" and "Prime" share a kitchen with two separate lines working. Onion Soup is offered at "Prime". Two of use requested Onion soup at "Chartruese" and were told NO!!!. No exceptions..!! Way to go Regent! We never went back to "Chartruese" with their poor food. As to the cutbacks- portion sizes have been cut back... obvious to us was the fact that previously when ice cream was ordered as a desert, you received 3 scoops plus a cigar shaped cookie (a "Pirouette"". Now, only 2 scoops and no cookie! Cost savings are now the norm and not the exception as to both the quality and quantity of the food. An example of the cost cutting is the fact that on one night dinner was ONLY served on the pool deck as a buffet. ALL other Restaurants were closed so either eat at the buffet or order room service. There is little question that this "move" by Regent saves them money overall. At dinner, I like to be served and help myself to a buffet. Overall, the crew is very very nice and helpful. However, here again, Regent drops the ball. One night a notice was placed on our bed that "Painting and Varnishing" of our deck were take place the next day. We returned to our room and noted one crewman was entering our cabin with a paint bucket/varnish materials. We followed him in and noted another crewman working on our deck and they finished shortly afterwards. However, they had left the doors leading to the deck open, so our quarters were both hot and humid as well as smelling from the paint/varnish. I called to complain and was told it would not happen again. Two days later, in the late afternoon, my wife was napping, and I was shaving. Our curtains were open and I then noted a crewman on our deck, varnishing. I chased him away and again complained that our privacy had been compromised. I received an apology again but clearly this is no way to treat a passenger. I do not expect perfection in an imperfect world. However, if I am paying top dollar for a cruise experience, ( over $ 30,000 in this case) , I do expect more then we received from "Regent" on this cruise. In speaking to other repeat "Regent" passengers on this cruise, I found my experiences not to be that unusual. The conclusion reached appeared to that "Regent" has changed... sadly, not for the better... Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
As experienced cruisers we were looking for something a little different and more energetic so we tried Silver Cloud Expedition. What we got was the same old, same old only on a smaller ship. Embarkation was so-so as we were ... Read More
As experienced cruisers we were looking for something a little different and more energetic so we tried Silver Cloud Expedition. What we got was the same old, same old only on a smaller ship. Embarkation was so-so as we were uncomfortable leaving our bags in the middle of the platform unattended. After a beautiful transit through the Canal we anticipated a variety of interesting expeditions. The first day our rain forest tour at Parida Island was a 40 minute walk of which 20 minutes was spent waiting for members to catch up. The highlights were the two termite nests we saw. If we had seen any termites they would have been the only wildlife encountered. We did have to step over two muddy little streams. When we got back to the beach we found out that we had the best excursion as those who wanted to snorkel met their boat only to find out the boat had no snorkel gear. That expedition became a whale and dolphin watching ride without the whales and dolphins. Because of bad weather our next two stops were changed and we spent two days at Puntarenas. While they handled the change of schedule well there was no effort to replace the expeditions with something similar. For each of the two days we spent over four hours on buses. The first destination was a horse demonstration which was mediocre. The next was "a walk in the clouds" which was a rain forest at 5000 feet. Very interesting, lots of birds and flora. Because there was construction en route and our bus broke down on the way up we were late getting back to the ship and in danger of not making it on time. Swiss Travel, the tour operator called the police. They closed an oncoming lane for over a mile and allowed us to pass stalled traffic and make the ship on time. Everyone on the bus cheered madly. Sadly this was one of the highlights of the cruise. Very surprised that Silversea was unable (or unwilling) to come up with expedition type of options while at Puntarenas. After a nice day at sea our next stop at Isla de la Plata was a true expedition experience with zodiacs to shore and then an extensive walk on the island seeing thousands of birds including the lovable blue footed boobies. What was totally surprising was that both the Silversea expedition person and the local guide totally ignored the rules and regulations they had laid out which were similar to those in the Galapagos: don't leave the paths, no interacting with the fauna, keep a good distance between groups etc. One woman in our group approached boobies three different times with the birds responding aggressively twice and squirting excrement the third time with nothing said by the guide or expedition member. Our group of 8 spread out and ultimately we ended up with several other groups totaling about 40 people. Machala was our next destination with one of the tours through a petrified forest with over a 130 different types of birds per the brochure. Again two hours in a bus each way. In our two hour walk we saw one bird eating a snail and one squirrel so high in a tree that the only way to verify he was there was to greatly enhance the resolution of the picture I took. We fully understand that fauna come and go but to only see two living things? Seems like either Silversea didn't do their homework or the Machala tourism bureau wrote the trip description. Very unsatisfying waste of a day. Isla Lobos was another highlight of the trip as the expedition team spotted numerous whales and the Captain did a great job of positioning the ship and literally turning it in circles so that we could fully enjoy a spectacular display of humpbacks frolicking and two blue whales with their magnificent flukes. Salaverry Peru was our last stop with a short bus ride to the temples of the Moon and Sun. The latter wasn't open but the former was fascinating and an enjoyable half day but not what I'd consider an expedition experience. This turned out to be a classic cruise on a small ship. Service was uniformly excellent throughout. However, on Regent, Seabourn and Oceania their service has also been excellent so it was not a differentiator. The cabin was very cluttered and would have been far more usable if one of the chairs was removed. Everything was in very good shape and kept immaculate by our service team. The wifi was better than on any other cruise we've been on. As you can tell this cruise wasn't what we thought we were getting. The crew and senior officers were all outstanding. Silversea should not have marketed this as an expedition cruise even though Silver Cloud is an expedition ship. There was a Finnish travel agent on board with 14 of his clients who said this was the worst Silversea cruise (out of 10) that he had been on. Numerous other passengers who were more experienced than we concurred. Another passenger said Silversea is really good at the Arctic and Antarctic expeditions but hasn't figured the rest out. We'd consider sailing on Silversea again with the right itinerary but not on an expedition ship. It will be interesting to see how Silversea handles our complaint. The expedition team acknowledged the shortcomings as did the senior officers with both saying they reported this to Silversea corporate.. When we went on Seabourn sponsored tours that were awful they promptly refunded the costs. All-inclusive doesn't remove the obligation to provide the service advertised. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I have been on 2 previous Oceania cruises and chose this one because it left from San Francisco to many ports I hadn't visited and through the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, we changed itinerary for 8 days due to a tropical storm and ... Read More
I have been on 2 previous Oceania cruises and chose this one because it left from San Francisco to many ports I hadn't visited and through the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, we changed itinerary for 8 days due to a tropical storm and missed 5 excursions. Communication from Captain or cruise director was terrible. No explanation for any thing. Morale among the passengers was very poor. I'm sure they lost some loyal customers (including my husband and myself) The food in Grand Dining Room and The Terrace is still very good, but a step down from what we experienced on previous sailings. Toscana and Polo Grill are still wonderful. Service staff in general were lovely, but some were poorly trained with snafus on drink orders and restaurant reservations which seemed to disappear even though we had the print out summary of our reservations from the front desk. There was no explanation, no apology and we were supposed to feel grateful that they managed to "fit us in." There were power outages and some ship sections experienced non- flushing toilets at times. The ship is due for an overhaul and we got the impression it had many ongoing mechanical issues. But none of this was address by the staff. Our cabin was quite nice and kept very clean by housekeeping staff. There was good entertainment and plenty of activities like Trivia, golf putting, shuffleboard, ping pong, Bridge lessons and games, casino w slots and poker tournaments, karaoke. But we went for the port visits and excursions, not endless sea days. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We selected this cruise for it's itinerary - San Francisco to Miami with stops in Catallina, Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia and Havana. On day one an announcement was made that ... Read More
We selected this cruise for it's itinerary - San Francisco to Miami with stops in Catallina, Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia and Havana. On day one an announcement was made that because of Hurricane Sergio we could not stop at Cabo San Lucas, El Salvador, Nicaragua and we would get to Costa Rica very late in the day. Pretty quickly "Hurricane Sergio" fizzled out. With no further explanation the ports were not added back in. When questioned, the Executive Consigliere and others had no answer. The best we got was "we would arrive at the port at night". This explanation made no sense. While I am very in favor of safety, this seemed to be an opportunity for Oceania to save on port charges. Is the increase of spending on days at sea better for them? Some of the passengers had been on the Regatta prior to this cruise for an Alaska cruise (back to back cruises). The port in Juneau was deleted because of wind. These ports deletions gave us many more days at sea. On a small ship there is only so much bingo (45 minutes a day) and shuffleboard you can play. Another passenger told us that on a previous Oceania cruise that was to include Easter Island there were 11 straight days at sea also because of deleted ports. At the halfway point of the cruise we were given a survey to complete. We felt that the Main Dining Room food quality had really declined since our last cruise. We had several staff personally find us and discuss with us and try to rectify. Of course we mentioned the deletion of the ports on the survey - NO ONE addressed that with us. The excursions were not as good as we have experienced in the past. The last one - Highlights of Havana - was a waste of time and money. It was a bus tour. While the very high back seats were comfortable, they blocked vision. We could see very little from our seats. The tour guide was very hard to understand and he took us to a cemetery and told us we would have a special guide there who we should tip. The special guide spoke no English. Also the bathroom on the bus was out of order. Not good with the age of the group. Food in the specialty restaurants was excellent. Service there was excellent as well. Cruise Director did a good job. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise because of the great intinerary, half of which we never got to see. Before we even left San Francisco it was announced that we would be skipping three of the ports and we got to Costa Rica too late to do anything, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the great intinerary, half of which we never got to see. Before we even left San Francisco it was announced that we would be skipping three of the ports and we got to Costa Rica too late to do anything, basically missing four ports. There was no credible explanation given. Never an apology or offer off compensation. To top it off we had a horrific experience on the tour in Cartegena and asked for a refund. Hah! Of course not. This was our third and last Oceania cruise. Every one has had ports canceled with no offer of refunds or credits. We went on an Easter Island cruise two years ago and they cancelled Easter Island!! The food was mediocre. The entertainment was good, as were most of the crew members. Oceania customer service very poor. Every passenger we spoke to on the ship said this is their last trip with Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We had a great experience on an Atlantic crossing on the Riviera a few years ago so when we found a Panama Canal cruise with oceana with el Salvador, Nicaragua and Cuba on the itinerary, we signed up. During our safety drill, before even ... Read More
We had a great experience on an Atlantic crossing on the Riviera a few years ago so when we found a Panama Canal cruise with oceana with el Salvador, Nicaragua and Cuba on the itinerary, we signed up. During our safety drill, before even leaving port in San Francisco, we were told that because of hurricane, we will be skipping Cabo’s, El Salvador and Nicaragua, substituting instead San Diego, all for our safety. We can understand substituting San Diego for Cabo’s, but El Salvador and Nicaragua were 9 and 10 days later, with hurricane heading north while we are heading south. Deciding to chuck those ports at that time seemed premature. Sure enough, two days later, the coast was clear, but we were told it was too late to reinstate the original itinerary. Despite the fact that we still had a week to go before originally scheduled dates of arrival. And as though this was not enough, and despite the three extra sea days, we arrived five hours late in Costa Rica so any meaningful tours were cancelled. Instead, we took a tour called Scenis Costa Rica with half of the tour in the dark since the sun sets there at 5:30. Four excursion were included free on this cruise so Oceana saved a nice tidy sum with all these changes, just on abandoned shore excursions alone. It doesn’t matter how good the food or services were when ports of call get jettisoned so opportunistically! If we just wanted sea days, we would have taken a much less expensive repositioning cruise. Yesterday we learned that oceana was purchased by Norwegian since we last cruised on the Riviera. What a shame to purchase a line with impeccable reputation and then ruin it! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Primary reason for choosing this cruise was the ports of call. Unfortunately three of our ports of call were bypassed by Oceania; Carbo San Lucas Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Instead we spent 2 1/2-additional days at sea. It is like ... Read More
Primary reason for choosing this cruise was the ports of call. Unfortunately three of our ports of call were bypassed by Oceania; Carbo San Lucas Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Instead we spent 2 1/2-additional days at sea. It is like a cruise to no where. We have no idea why the ship was unable to arrive at Costa Rica on time. We arrived five hours late causing us to miss the eco excursion, which was most important for my wife and I. Since we had two and have extra days at sea, you would think we would have arrived on time in Costa Rica. We arranged a meeting with the ships general manager. We received little sympathy. As a matter of fact we were threatened by the general manager not to have conversation with other passengers relative to our disappointment.We are in the process of filing a formal complaint with Oceania's senior management and parent company(Norwegian). All in all the cruise was a big disappointment. The hostile atmosphere made us very anxious and apprehensive for 18 days. The cruise was my wife and my seventh cruise with Oceania. The Staff in the Terrace Café had a major communication problem. Most of them were(I believe) from India or the Philippines. You had to explain to them exactly what you wanted and half the time it was received incorrectly. Big disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This is my 4th Crystal cruise, my 3rd on the Symphony, and it was wonderful in so many ways. I love the Symphony, because it is luxurious but casual (I feel like I can take my shoes off and put my feet up on the couch to read), and ... Read More
This is my 4th Crystal cruise, my 3rd on the Symphony, and it was wonderful in so many ways. I love the Symphony, because it is luxurious but casual (I feel like I can take my shoes off and put my feet up on the couch to read), and carries a nice amount of passengers (about 750-ish) - not too few that I see the same people everywhere, but not too many that I feel crowded or anonymous. I was traveling solo on this cruise, but knew a few people on board from previous cruises and met several more mutual friends while on board. As I said in the title, there's been a little slippage in the food and service on the ship since its drydock, but in other ways there's been a lot of improvements since the drydock. There are 2 additional dinner restaurants on board, both of which outshine the main dining room ("Waterside") in service and food quality. Both of the new restaurants do not count towards your allotted number of included visits to specialty restaurants -- those (Umi Uma and Prego) still remain the premiere dinner spots on the ship, in my opinion. Crystal put a limit on the number of included visits to those spots several years ago (generally 2 per week) in an effort to keep people from monopolizing them, but now that there are more dining options, I wonder if they will continue to do so (extra visits beyond your allotted amount are $30 each, which is still an incredible bargain for that quality and ambience). Of the new restaurants, I particularly recommend Churrascarria, which is Lido deck aft, in the same location where the breakfast and lunch buffets are......you get views of the sunset, and excellent food. Salads, veggies, and side dishes are available as a buffet, and 6 varieties of grilled meat are brought to your table on skewers (chicken, shrimp, pork, lamb, beef). Be sure and stay for some grilled pineapple for dessert. My friends on board very much enjoyed the evening shows, but I never attended (I don't, on any cruise), but I did enjoy the musicians who played in the lounges throughout the ship. Afternoon tea is served every afternoon (even port days), and it was a good time and place for our friends to meet up to chat before dinner. Going through the Panama Canal was interesting, but I don't feel the need to do it again. As this was an August cruise, in general the ports were all hot and humid, and I stayed on board for most of them. A warning should you take a Crystal cruise that stops in Bimini: The tender to port is at least 30 minutes, so you should take that into consideration before deciding if you want to go ashore. I did not, as there wasn't much on shore I was interested in seeing, especially if it meant an hour (round trip) in a crowded tender. Service is known to be wonderful on Crystal, but this trip I found it to be lacking in several places. Some was still wonderful (restaurants other than Waterside, cabin attendant, library and computer room), but some had slipped from terrific to merely good (Lido deck) or from terrific to pretty bad (Waterside). I submitted my concerns to Crystal in their post-voyage survey, so I hope these are just growing pains that will be worked out now that there have been some significant changes since the dry dock. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose Crystal Cruises because of the Panama Canal itinerary (so we can tick it off the bucket list) and the Luxury Cruise Experience. Crystal was recommended to us by a friend (who is a travel agent) we met on a non-luxury cruise in ... Read More
We chose Crystal Cruises because of the Panama Canal itinerary (so we can tick it off the bucket list) and the Luxury Cruise Experience. Crystal was recommended to us by a friend (who is a travel agent) we met on a non-luxury cruise in 2012 and she said Crystal is one of the best. So we checked off a few ticks on the bucket list. The ship Symphony was beautiful. The accommodations were very well layed out with a lot of storage. No need to use the suitcases for extra storage as we had empty drawers and the clothes in the wardrobe were spaced out not squashed up. Of everything there was only one this that irritated me that I have never come across on other ships we have cruise is the cigar room. Horrible horrible horrible. To get to The Avenue, Umi Uma restaurant and Prego restaurant you had to walk past it and the door was always open, therefore the smoke flooded into the hallway. The door should always be shut and there should be sufficient ventilation in the smoking room so if the door is left open the smoke doesn't affect other passengers. That is my only issue and I am hoping that when we are on Serenity in 2021 Crystal will have rectified this problem by having either an automatic door or a gas closing door. The rest of Crystal Symphony was fantastic. For a ship smaller than we are used to (3000-3500) this ship has a lot of quiet places to sit and relax. There are never any crowds, no children running rampant and what children were on the ship were extremely well behaved. We dined at every location and the food was divine. My favourites were Waterside (the main dining room), Prego, Silk, Palm Court for amazing afternoon tea and views. However, I still enjoyed the food and atmosphere at Umi Uma, Churriscaria, Trident Grill and the Marketplace only for an early breakfast. The staff go above and beyond and are always very polite and friendly. They always have smiles on their faces and no request is too hard. They take the time to get to know their customers. The shows were good not spectacular like on the bigger ships which is understandable since on the bigger ships the ceiling over the stage is 3 decks high making it very open and airy and great for doing acrobatic shows. The dance moves seem to be similar in every show so I put that down to the Choreographer. The special guests were fabulous especially loved John Joseph who had us in stitches. We didn't like some of the ports and thought there could have been better places to stop but we made the most of those. Some we could have had more time in. Overall we loved the cruise. We don't normally like a lot of sea days but on Crystal Symphony we really loved the sea days. We enjoyed the shore excursions that we booked. Crystal's luxury has ruined for us cruising anything less than luxury. We enjoyed it so much we have booked another Crystal cruise in 2021 South Pacific Wanderlust Los Angeles/San Pedro, US to Brisbane, AU on Serenity. So looking forward to 20 days on Serenity. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our fourth cruise on Oceania, and second on the Insignia. Check-in in Los Angeles was a breeze, and I had no trouble bringing on board 6 bottles of good quality wine, for which I payed the high corkage fee of $25 per bottle; yet ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise on Oceania, and second on the Insignia. Check-in in Los Angeles was a breeze, and I had no trouble bringing on board 6 bottles of good quality wine, for which I payed the high corkage fee of $25 per bottle; yet I would do this again considering the very high prices they charge for wine. Food in all the restaurants and buffet was outstanding, and service was excellent, except for my cabin attendant who had to be reminded to do things. I really like the size of the old 'R ships', but the cabins, although in good repair, are way too small. While the ship had no dance or zumba lessons, the five piece band was outstanding, and there were usually five or six couples dancing each evening. Another high point was the wonderful bridge lessons taught by Harold; a very gifted teacher, and there was almost bridge play at several levels each afternoon. The internet was far-faster than any other ship we were on. There were never any lines for the restaurants or the tendering. There were some negatives besides the tiny concierge cabin. This was the last stage of the around the world cruise; avoid booking any segment of an around-the world- cruise; you'll be a second class citizen. Some of the staff seemed 'burned out' and exhausted. While the Panama Canal is excellent, the other ports are quite bad. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I have taken 2 other Regent cruises they were perfect Regent has to take a serious look at their WiFi offered for free. Most times it was either so slow or not available definitely not a good experience The crew excellent the food ... Read More
I have taken 2 other Regent cruises they were perfect Regent has to take a serious look at their WiFi offered for free. Most times it was either so slow or not available definitely not a good experience The crew excellent the food especially the new Compass Rose menu was perfect The complimentary laundry was another disappointment why not extend the hours? The big negative was our disembarking in New York The process was smooth until you left the terminal # 88 not a Regent representative in sight Carnival reps directed us to our bus area Then the fun began I was group grey 3 The buses for grey 1 & 2 were there (for 40 minuets) finally our bus to JFK arrived loaded and left my flight was departing at 1: 00 pm the driver enters the airport at 11:35 am dros off some at Delta then drives out of the airport and come back in. He stopped the bus at a traffic signal leaves to get directions! 4 of us got out opened the luggage compartment retrieved our 8 bags and walked to our terminal we got there at 12:16 I think Regent should look at Academy Bus Co and maybe don’t use a low bidder shameful for my wife and I to unload our bags and run to the terminal I did write a note to Regent with no response I guess now that Norwegian owns them it will go down hill from here! The 4 of us will look at Crystal or Seaborne next trip Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
t: Left Miami with huge expectations. Boring tour of Havana. After leaving Havana we were soon informed about engine problems that would cancel our Cartagena shore excursion. The one excursion I was truly looking forward to. Went thru the ... Read More
t: Left Miami with huge expectations. Boring tour of Havana. After leaving Havana we were soon informed about engine problems that would cancel our Cartagena shore excursion. The one excursion I was truly looking forward to. Went thru the canal and on to Costa Rica. Did a walk in a cloud forest where we saw one bird and one poison is frog. Had two folks who never should have been on the exclusion because of inability to walk the trail and suspended bridges. After Costa Rica was informed that our Nicaragua port would also be cancelled. My second most looked forward excursion. On to Acapulco and Cabo (shore excursion shortened to 3+ hours). We also had a gastrointestinal issue that quarantined anyone effected for the remainder of the voyage. We were not affected with intestinal issues but unfortunately the crew was so overwhelmed that the service onboard was unsatisfactory to say the least.No one onboard was compensated until the last night of the voyage which was a 2 hour open bar and tell me how that benefits those of us who don't drink? We also were given credit for our additional shore excursion but ironically they credited us for a shore excursion that we actually took in Cuba. So what about Cartagena and Nicaragua that was part of our OLife package. We were supposed to disembark in San Francisco at 9:00am. We wound up clearing customs at 4:30pm which left us 19 minutes to get to SFO for our 4:49 pm flight home (United #1723) the last flight home. So we had to take a taxi ($62), rent a hotel room for the night ($158.35) and buy dinner($35.) when I asked one of the oceania agents at customs about taxi,hotel, and food he pretty much shrugged his shoulders and walked away. Very professional! For the price we paid (2-3 times what other cruise lines charge) we expected so much more than what we received. Did I mention the $500. tip charge that was tacked on to our final bill. A hefty tip for such poor service. We will enjoy Celebrity from now on. Most disappointing! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We wanted to go through the Panama Canal. We chose this itinerary because we LOVE Regent - all inclusive, never have to swipe your card or take care of anything. Air arrangements included and taken care of. First class all the way, in ... Read More
We wanted to go through the Panama Canal. We chose this itinerary because we LOVE Regent - all inclusive, never have to swipe your card or take care of anything. Air arrangements included and taken care of. First class all the way, in shore excursions and transfer arrangements, included a pre-cruise stay at the Kimpton Epic hotel in downtown Miami. Mariner just got out of dry dock in early April, all the public areas were completely redone, and cabins received a minor face lift. It’s a beautiful ship - we were in a Concierge E level cabin, large enough to be comfortable for our 18-day leg of this cruise. Embarkation in Miami was frustrating - computers were down and they could not register us. We sat in the cruise terminal (over lunchtime, so everyone was hungry and Impatient), with little information and only cookies to eat. They finally started to bring out a few trays of sandwiches which were snapped up by the first people they passed - none for the rest of us. We were finally called up by cabin category to have them register us by hand. Not a good way to start our vacation... Our cabin was very nice, although we sailed on the new Explorer last year and this is not quite that nice. This cabin’s bathroom had only one sink, but the shower was large enough and the bathroom worked just fine for us. Ship activities were low-key as the average passenger on this line is retired and does not need on-board climbing walls and surf pools. The pool area has cushioned lounges, a warm salt pool, a couple of spa tubs, and best of all - waiter service from the bar, and an attendant who comes around to clean your sunglasses. I used the spa twice for massages - pricey but very good therapists. Food on this cruise has to be experienced to be believed. It is like dining in a fine restaurant every day. There is a buffet for breakfast and lunch, but also a white tablecloth, fine dining alternative as well. For dinner, there is the Compass Rose main dining room, complete with sommelier, wine stewards, and impeccably uniformed waiters. While there seemed to be more new staff on this sailing (perhaps because the ship just got out of dry dock) who were less experienced, I am sure that will be addressed in the days to come. We did have issues with getting water and coffee refilled, and the wait staff was evidently learning to use a new ipad type ordering system that made ordering slow and occasionally incorrect. Food was fresh, cooked to order, and we typically spent 2 1/2 to 3 hours at dinner every night - we traveled with friends and made new friends as well, so dinner conversation was interesting and lively. Disembarkation was organized and smooth, with plenty of porter help for luggage. We have signed up for a cruise on the new RSSC Splendor in 2020, and look forward to another wonderful vacation with Regent. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Alumni group, canal transit, fairly good destinations. However, we purposefully left behind our personal computers and electrical outlet adaptors because the ADVERTISEMENT said 120 outlets and a personal computer would be provided, along ... Read More
Alumni group, canal transit, fairly good destinations. However, we purposefully left behind our personal computers and electrical outlet adaptors because the ADVERTISEMENT said 120 outlets and a personal computer would be provided, along with FREE internet. The actuality of the situation was that this boat was built in ITALY, and half the outlets were the standard Italian recessed oval double plug outlets!! The "free" internet service was the ABSOLUTE WORST I've ever had on a cruise, but, of course, there was an 'upgrade' provided for a cost, of course, of course, of course!! The 'provided' laptop was an old one with the speed of a 2088 operating system, and even the internet guy on board said he never advises anyone to use the provided computers!!! Although the suite was very nice, It was small compared to others I've had at the same level of service and price. Most of the staff were friendly, but some were very rude, especially those at the Waves grill taking orders!!! An occasional guest was rude, and when I reported one or two, I got nowhere with the staff. Most of the staff spoke good English, but there was the occasional staff who could basically understand nothing I asked. Overall, an OK cruise, but overstated or frankly false claims about the quality of service provided!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We choose this cruise as the ship was supposed to have been refurbished in 2016 and we thought it would be like a new ship. After we boarded we found a letter from Norwegian Cruise Line that there were going to be a few inhancements being ... Read More
We choose this cruise as the ship was supposed to have been refurbished in 2016 and we thought it would be like a new ship. After we boarded we found a letter from Norwegian Cruise Line that there were going to be a few inhancements being done during our cruise. Unfortunately that was a huge understatement as they were doing major construction with hazardous materials and chemicals that made many of us ill. We would never have put ourselves at this kind of health risk. The construction should have been preformed at dry dock where the chemicals and materials could be controlled. There was no regard to the health risks for passengers or crew members. The food was average and there seemed to be many waiters that were in training and not getting our orders correct. The service was very slow. There was a real language barrier that caused many of the service errors. The sports bar served very greasy food. I put 2 paper napkins under the fish I was served and it saturated both of them. We had a drink package and had many comments about how much we ordered. Pretty rude of the bar servers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We have just returned from the "Cruise from HELL" aboard NCL Sun. During our 15 night cruise, there was construction going on. There was insulation blowing around, paint dust blowing everywhere, the muster station doors were ... Read More
We have just returned from the "Cruise from HELL" aboard NCL Sun. During our 15 night cruise, there was construction going on. There was insulation blowing around, paint dust blowing everywhere, the muster station doors were closed off during DAYS of our cruise, the pool area was closed for a few days, sanding the decks, drilling, jack hammering etc from sun up until around midnight EVERY NIGHT. Our cruise was a complete DISASTER!! There was between 15% - 30% of the ship CLOSED on all days! A few of the specialty restaurants NEVER opened during the entire vacation. Many people have been sick with respiratory issues due to the nauseous fumes of the products they have been using while passengers are on board this cruise ship. The Sun is scheduled to be on dry dock for more renovations, but yet NCL chose to also inconvenience its passengers and put us all in danger as many of the Emergency meeting stations were not accessible while they were refinishing the deck floors on deck 6, the meeting deck. STAY AWAY from NCL! They don't care about their passengers...only saving money! This ship was quite old and dated. Many times, there was industrial fans running down the hallways as there were plumbing leaks. The crew did do the best they could during this situation. I particularly enjoyed Victor at the bar deck 11 aft. He was always smiling and trying his best. Room was OK. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was our second Windstar cruise, a back-to-back Costa Rica and the Panama Canal, followed by a Southern Caribbean Sweep itinerary from Colon, Panama to Cartegena, Colombia; Aruba, and Bequia in the Grenadines, with disembarkation in ... Read More
This was our second Windstar cruise, a back-to-back Costa Rica and the Panama Canal, followed by a Southern Caribbean Sweep itinerary from Colon, Panama to Cartegena, Colombia; Aruba, and Bequia in the Grenadines, with disembarkation in Barbados. We enjoyed our first Windstar cruise through the ABC Island and the Grenadines on the Star Pride so much that we wanted to sail through the Canal with this excellent upper premium level line. We are a retired couple, mid-60s, from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. Embarkation - Having flown in to San Jose, Costa Rica the day prior to boarding and joining some of the passengers at the Marriott hotel for the transfer to Puerto Caldera, we enjoyed the almost 2 hour bus ride as Windstar provided a Costa Rican guide who talked for about an hour about his country and how the cruise line conducts embarkation. The embarkation process in the lounge where you receive your cruise card, sign up for packages and excursions not booked online, enjoy a glass of champagne and meet some of the staff. Light lunch was also available until 3:30. Since we had boarded at 3:15, our cabin was available immediately. There was the obligatory safety drill with life jackets and a welcome aboard presentation and port talk about Quepos, tomorrow's port, before dinner at 7:00. Public Rooms - We found public rooms were well maintained and included two lounges, two bars, a complete spa and gym, counter-current swimming pool, two hot tubs (one near pool & one at bow on deck 5), the Yacht Club (for views, books, early morning continental breakfast or lunch sandwiches), library next to casino with a few one-arm bandits and a blackjack table, and Signature Shop. Specialty coffee is complimentary at any venue. See Cabin review below for details of our stateroom. The ship also has a Sports Marina aft with non-motorized equipment for use when anchored. Dining -- The main dining room AmphorA restaurant was open seating from 7-9 p.m. daily for dinner only. You can ask for whatever size table you desired and change the option nightly. Verandah which was aft on pool deck was used for Breakfast (7-9:30 am) and Lunch buffet daily (usually 12:30-2). There was indoor seating, but most guests ate on deck. There were always 4-5 options for special orders or you could help yourself at the buffet -- I never found any type of food to be missing, though the hot lunch buffet variety was lacking. Many ate fresh fruits and salads, and there were always several desserts of the cake/pastry variety and two frozen options (ice cream and sorbet) with toppings of all kinds available. Verandah is transformed into Candles at night for an upscale (think Specialty dining) experience out on deck which all guests are complimented once during the sailing; however, reservations are required due to limited space (book at embarkation). Service was always excellent at all dining venues. Activities -- There were several events that were part of the planned activities which included a deck BBQ dinner in Balboa before transiting the Panama Canal and the second week after sailing from Bequia the last night. Another event was the Beach BBQ lunch on Isla Parida where a full lunch is prepared behind the beach, Table and chairs are provided, as well as use of the marina's water toys and a couple of spa tables for massages. Some local entertainment was provided while in Costa Rica which were cultural dancing shows (one with school children); in addition, there was a naturalist who gave presentations and was available for questions on board for the entire first cruise. On the sea days (one the first week and three the second), there were several tours and demonstrations one could attend such as towel animal folding demonstration, cooking demonstration with the head Chef, galley tour, cocktail demonstration, and a photography seminar. A movie and cards, Wii, & Board games were also available. One port night in Cartegena, we sailed at 8 p.m. and had arrived at 7 a.m., allowing ample time in port; however, our time in Bequia was limited to about 4-5 hours due to late arrival and early departure at 5 pm. as well as several other ships in port. Shipboard Entertainment -- There were two duos, D'Harmony from South Africa who also performed on our Star Pride cruise and Nightlights (Elena and Julian) playing every night at the two venues of the Star Bar and Compass Rose. They also were featured during other events such as the Captain's party. There was also a Crew talent show at the end of each of the cruises, Staff/Crew/Service - With such a small ship with few guests, it was very easy to get to know everyone. The crew learns your name within 24 hours and there is great camaraderie among everyone. Some of the guest services staff, the photographer and occasionally an officer participated on shore excursions. The Captain was from Croatia, and there is an open bridge policy for guests when not sailing from or into port. There is a deck area in front of the bridge and guests did participate in viewing and photographing arrivals and departures from ports as well as the transit of the Panama Canal, while simultaneously seeing what the Captain and officers were viewing. Disembarkation - Quick and easy - We had completed customs forms several days prior which enabled Windstar to complete customs for all guests, so we merely retrieved our luggage and went on our way, with a ship's transfer to the airport. Ship's Excursions Quepos - We took the Mangrove tour to the mouth of the Quebrada River and back, seeing capuchin monkeys, iguana, numerous birds such as herons, egrets, vultures, and warblers, and an anteater. Good tour. I also took an afternoon ziplining tour through the canopy on 10 different cable runs and this was great. Balboa - Since we had been to the Canal 15 years ago, but not through it, we had seen the Gatun Locks Visitor's Center on the Atlantic side. We chose to take the Miraflores Locks tour with a stop at the visitor's center, combined with a 1-1/2 hour walking tour of the Old Town (Casco Viejo) Colonial Quarter of Panama City. Good tour. Cartegena - Our tour included a stop at San Felipe Fort for fabulous views of the city and talk about the city's history, followed by a walking tour through the Old City touring the Church/Monastery as well. At the port, passengers can view an animal park with flamingeos, square monkeys, iguanas, and peacocks; large shopping area as well. Aruba - Took private snorkeling tour. Bequia - Since this was our third visit to this port, we wanted to take a tour of the highlights which included several stops; one with an excellent view of the harbor, one with a view from the other side, of the islands of St. Vincent, Mustique, Isle a Quatre, and others; and the third at the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary, founded and run by one man. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Chose this because we wanted a 7-day canal transit on a small ship. First time on Windstar. Overall very good -- excellent service, food was quite satisfactory, ship was in good but not outstanding condition. The cabin space was ... Read More
Chose this because we wanted a 7-day canal transit on a small ship. First time on Windstar. Overall very good -- excellent service, food was quite satisfactory, ship was in good but not outstanding condition. The cabin space was excellent -- was skeptical of the french balcony, but liked it a great deal. Since you have a whole suite, no need for a separate balcony, and opening the sliders brought the outdoors inside. The canal transit was excellent, super informative, just what we wanted. The excursions at the Panama and Costa Rica stops were good. Time on board was generally very relaxing and pampered (see smoking exception below!). We are not foodies, but we found the food very good in selection and quality -- and again the service overall was really excellent, from top to bottom. As noted above, the ship's smoking policy was ridiculous. We enjoyed hanging out at the outdoor bar, called the Star Bar, and there is a designated smoking area right next to the bar (like maybe 10 feet away). Come on, this is the year 2018! We had perhaps 6 or 7 smokers (out of about 170 passengers), why should they smog up the place for the all the others? Of course the breeze was always blowing straight from them towards the rest of us. Worse, two people were cigar smokers, and they also puffed away. Windstar should move the smoking area away from the bar! There is plenty of space on the top deck (where the Star Bar is), and the smoking area should be moved AWAY. Before booking another Windstar I would need to investigate the details of the individual ship's policy -- I would be very cautious about booking another cruise on this ship if the policy is not changed. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Just recently sailed on the Azamara Quest from San Diego to Miami through the Panama Canal. We have previously cruised on Oceania and Princess several times, Viking once and we are elite level on Celebrity. The pros for Azamara Quest were ... Read More
Just recently sailed on the Azamara Quest from San Diego to Miami through the Panama Canal. We have previously cruised on Oceania and Princess several times, Viking once and we are elite level on Celebrity. The pros for Azamara Quest were the White Night and Azamazing Evening in Cabo San Lucas. The wait staff in the restaurants and bars were excellent. The crew was very friendly and approachable. The food in the specialty restaurants was very good. The buffet had various ethic food nights. I thought that for a ship this size that the entertainment was very good. The cons, we had a verandah cabin on deck 8 and in the middle of the ship, lots of vibration especially at night. My wife got seasick one day and this was the first time this happened after 18 cruises. The bathroom. Is very small and the shower is too small for most humans. Disembarkation was at least 2 hours late getting off the ship due to congestion in the Miami harbor according to the captain. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Great experiences with Azamara. Azamazing evening in Cabo was truly fantastic. The whole idea of no extra charges multiplies the value. An all inclusive at sea. When the captain knows your name by the 5th day, you KNOW you’re on a small ... Read More
Great experiences with Azamara. Azamazing evening in Cabo was truly fantastic. The whole idea of no extra charges multiplies the value. An all inclusive at sea. When the captain knows your name by the 5th day, you KNOW you’re on a small ship journey. Our 5th voyage in a row out of 20+ total. Before we found Azamara, HAL had been line of choice. Now, we have done a transAtlantic, SE Asia, South America, and some random Caribbean Cruises with Azamara and are satisfied. There are leaks and tweaks on any cruise line and this is no different—just minimized because of the small ship and great service. The entertainment is not as strong as a big ship, but you don’t have to fight the crowds or sit in the third balcony. The time in port puts these cruises in a world of their own. Last year we did a week long cruise with another line and spent 18 hours total in ports. Our Azamara cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore spent 2 to 3 days in different ports allowing side trips to Angor Watt, Mekong Delta, Hanoi, etc. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We'd done many Uniworld riverboat cruises and wanted to do the Panama Canal, so Azamara seemed to be a good choice. The staff on the boat was excellent, very friendly and accommodating. The food was quite good too, however the ... Read More
We'd done many Uniworld riverboat cruises and wanted to do the Panama Canal, so Azamara seemed to be a good choice. The staff on the boat was excellent, very friendly and accommodating. The food was quite good too, however the buffet dinner in Windows was marginal and the service was worse. Breakfast and lunch there were fine. The specialty dining venues were very good but I question the value of the "upcharge" and then their asking for a tip on top of that.... The ship itself was in good condition, but you could tell that they were in need of some major TLC in certain areas; our stateroom was clean and comfortable albeit a typical cramped room. The shore excursions thru Central America were interesting however there was too too much time spent on the bus, and too little time on the ground. Given the geography of CA, this is understandable and unfortunate. Azamara's website is pathetic and its interface to the shipboard system was lacking, according the Azamara folks we talked with. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We planned this trip for 2 years as it has always been a bucket list cruise for us. We booked a guaranteed balcony room in order to save on costs. Around 4 months out, we got our room assignment to a balcony on deck 10 forward. We were ... Read More
We planned this trip for 2 years as it has always been a bucket list cruise for us. We booked a guaranteed balcony room in order to save on costs. Around 4 months out, we got our room assignment to a balcony on deck 10 forward. We were thrilled with our luck, but it was nothing compared with bidding on day 80 on a penthouse suite aft. We found out we won 30 days out. This penthouse 8672, came with a butler and conceige. What a dream! Unfortunately our dream suite was located directly over the Spinnaker Lounge! We read a lot of bad reviews on this room but decided that the benefits were well worth the bad. We came equipped with earplugs and white noise on our lap tops. We were able to sleep most of the time, but when the bass got to thumping 4 out of 14 nights and it shook the floor and walls, it was almost impossible to ignore. We usually go to bed around 11 and thankfully, the music was usually over by 12:30. I would recommend cruisers watch tv late or join in downstairs and go to bed later. The butler and room steward were awesome! They went out of their way to make this cruise special. The conceirge was great and always smiled and called us by name, even gave us special seating reserved for suite owners when it was available. The food was great. We bought an extra meal package, so we were able to eat at the specialty restaurants 7 out of 14 days. Our favorites: Teppanyaki, Le Bistro and Carney’s. We were also spoiled by the special breakfast and lunch reserved for the Haven guests...awesome service. The entertainment was great! We especially enjoyed the comedians and These Guys, world wide. The dancers put on a some nice shows as well. All in all, I was not disappointed. The excursions were ok but a bit expensive sometimes for what they were. I wish we had more education seminars about each country by the staff. Also, what happened to a the shopping tips NCL does for other ports? We got nothing about what each port had to offer. But My biggest disappointment was with the tours that took you into the cities in Nicaragua and Guatemala. Depending on what tour we took, the excursions left you to wonder for 8 hours on your own. It would have been nice to either have a choice of a shorter trip of 5 hours or be able to get transportation back to the ship earlier. All in all, It was a very enlightening experience to see this part of the world. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Everyone on the staff was exceptional, except for the events coordinator. We were in charge of the cruise critic meet and greet and had contact him about an additional room to play sea days LCR games. He let us down, shifting us around from room to room and then not informing us of changes. He promised to call us but never did so we had to track him down to get location changes....very frustrating. We loved and were spoiled by our luck in first winning a penthouse suite and its accommodations and service. Thank you NCL! It will always be a wonderful memory. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click