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6 Port Canaveral (Orlando) to Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

This was the first time I have sailed with DCL. The Wonder looked beautiful coming off its 2017 refurbishment. 14 nights was a gamble for a cruise line I have never sailed before but Disney lived up to it's reputation for excellence. ... Read More
This was the first time I have sailed with DCL. The Wonder looked beautiful coming off its 2017 refurbishment. 14 nights was a gamble for a cruise line I have never sailed before but Disney lived up to it's reputation for excellence. Of note, this particular cruise had only 300 children aboard. It was a running joke among the crew. It made for what was probably a much quieter cruise experience than typical. Embarkation was simple and for the most part, everyone arrived at their assigned time so it was not insanely crowded. Debarkation was equally as simple and we put our luggage out the night before to have it taken off the ship. It was just myself and my husband on this trip. Food: highlights were the incredible service in the rotational dining and the high quality of the food both in the dining rooms and in the buffet and quick service stops. Was every meal and every menu item amazing? No, but most of them were between “outstanding” to “very good.” You can preview the dinner menus on the DCL onboard app or by stopping outside your dinner location - there's a menu posted. Our servers were so accommodating and friendly and worked extremely hard to deliver a four star experience. The buffet was strongest at lunch. Beautiful options every day and a different variety every day which is hard to do on a 14 night sailing. Breakfast was plentiful and had an omelette station where they would make your order and give you a number, then deliver it to your table. Nice to not stand in line. Cabanas staff was on top of clearing and cleaning. There were always tables available. The quick service and room service were abundant with options - Pete's boiler bites was excellent for shawarma and standard fried fare/burgers and served a specialty every day that was not on the regular menu (chili dogs, Philly cheesesteak, spicy chicken sandwiches), Pinocchios for pizza (it was average), Daisy's Delights for soups, fresh made sandwiches/wraps/paninis, salads and tons of fresh fruit. Truly amazing. Even the self service ice cream was really good - standard chocolate and vanilla and then new flavors rotate into the mix each day. Self-serve ice cream sometimes is icy or has a funny taste, but DCL’s was great. Room service was PLENTIFUL and included in your cruise, and it didn't take more than 20 minutes (although they quote up to 45 minutes.) The best items we had were the buffalo-style chicken wings, BLT, French fries, Mickey ice cream bars and he famous “All Hands On Deck” cheese plate. It was SO easy to pile on the pounds! Pools: the adults-only pool was very crowded on most sea days because there were so few children on board. Their pools and hot tubs have fresh water. I tried the waterslide and it was cute and fun. Cove Cafe is in the adults area and was always populated. They have complimentary pastries throughout the day including rice Krispy treats which I did not see anywhere else onboard. Can’t really comment on the kids areas because we did not have kids with us. Spa: the gym was not crowded - ever. It was well equipped and had all the expected equipment. Entertainment: there’s something for everyone. On this long cruise, there was multiple speciality acts plus their regular nightly shows like Frozen and Disney Dreams. The on board movie theater showed about 7 rotating movies that were all recent releases, some in 3D. There’s also the “Funnel Vision” which is the giant pool-side screen showing movies all day long. And of course, character meets every day. Unlike in the parks, the characters actually take time to meet with you! Can't comment on the kids clubs experience but we did tour them during open houses and they looked incredible. Accommodations: we were in a deluxe Oceanview stateroom on deck 2 aft. The mattress was very, very comfortable. I am a fussy sleeper and I slept so well on this cruise! The split bath is as awesome as everyone says. The room was spotless. Even the bunk bed was comfortable. We did not schedule any port excursions. They just weren't up our alley. We did go to Castaway Cay and it was as beautiful as expected. What really made it all worth it was the outstanding service, from our stateroom hosts to the staff at the pool. There’s literally nothing I had to suggest to make it a better experience (except that the Wonder, unlike all the other Disney ships, does not have the free in-room on demand movies.) We will definitely be back. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Wanted to see Panama Canal and this cruise was just perfect. The Panama canal was just awesome. Swimming with the dolphins was just the best time. Overall this was the best cruise I have taken. The crew were very helpful. The cabin was ... Read More
Wanted to see Panama Canal and this cruise was just perfect. The Panama canal was just awesome. Swimming with the dolphins was just the best time. Overall this was the best cruise I have taken. The crew were very helpful. The cabin was kept clean and inviting. Food was fabulous. Loved the Bistro. Friendly people. Would chose NCL for all my cruising vacation. I traveled with many friends and never had a problem being seated in restaurants. The food served was hot and delicious. Only went to one show and it was great. Very talented staff. You can sense how the staff likes there jobs as they were happy and helpful Will only cruise Norwegian in the future. I've been to Bermuda and Hawaii a number of times and will always use Norwegian. Always have great excursions. Overall I loved this cruise. I got to see may great places, one of which was the Panama Canal in a ferry. What a wonderful way to see the workings of the canal close up. Very happy camper here! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise because we went on a Mediterranean cruise September 2016 and had a great time, but loved the Disney Magic so much that we wished we had more time on the ship. The experience started out rough...we went on a Disney ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we went on a Mediterranean cruise September 2016 and had a great time, but loved the Disney Magic so much that we wished we had more time on the ship. The experience started out rough...we went on a Disney Cruise for a top dollar FAMILY friendly experience and because of the "Disney Vacation Club" membership it was 90% Senior citizen and with only about 150 kids on board. I actually heard seniors complaining about there being any kids on board. The staff actually geared 90% of the entertainment (Day and evening) toward the Seniors and my family was bored silly....Millennials and kids are your target market Disney....SAD. Out of the 14 night cruise there were 3 WONDERFUL Disney Broadway style shows...but the other 11 nights were completely senior adult oriented. The Spa and the Excursions were very mediocre compared to other ships and they were much more expensive. The excursion descriptions were way off and even though I heard at least 10 people complain to the Guest's services desk regarding the matters they seems very unconcerned by the guest's dissatisfaction. Food- just ok..Triton's restaurante had the best food..but honestly if you ordered anything other than what your server recommended it was very "right out of a freezer box" quality. Tiana's place just had really low quality food...like they were just using up the leftovers from the buffet. The pools- too small and only 1 waterslide. You lost us Disney...going to try out NCL next time where it looks like they are at least trying to entertain both kids and the parents that would bring small children...millennials. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We sailed on the Wonder last year for a 5 day before dry dock. The work that they did was fantastic. Cabanas (the buffet) is much more functional and much roomier than it used to be, never really had any trouble finding a table ... Read More
We sailed on the Wonder last year for a 5 day before dry dock. The work that they did was fantastic. Cabanas (the buffet) is much more functional and much roomier than it used to be, never really had any trouble finding a table inside. The kids areas - the Oceaneer Lab and Club were both much better than last year. We had difficulty getting our son to go last year, this year he didn't want to leave. The staff in the Nursery and activities for the under 2 year olds there were great, but activities for the young ones outside of the paid nursery service are a bit lacking - there is a toddler area but not much in it when there is not defined toddler time, and the Dory's Reef splashground also could have used a bit more flair. The redesigned slide, and AquaLab were much nicer, as well as the quick service restaurants. We liked Tiana's, and thought it was a nice step up from Parrot Cay which was our least favorite last time. Food was good, I felt desserts a little lacking inspiration most nights. The upgrades to Animator's Palate were also very nice. Entertainment was great, and refreshed several times throughout the cruise so there was no duplication of the main shows for the night. Cartegena was a disappointment - safety was a concern on our beach shore excursion, and it really wasn't worth the money. All other ports were nice. Loved the Panama Canal, and even with a 4 year old and 2 year old did not feel like we were on the ship for 14 nights. Our only (minor) disappointment on board was that after the canal we had 4 sea days, and entertainment during the day was a little bit lacking. The entertainment cast was finishing their contract on this cruise, with the new cast already on board practicing, so I'm sure that was a part of it too, but they could have used some more activities during the day with 5 straight days on the ship (including canal day.) Would gladly recommend this ship and this particular cruise if you can fit it into your schedule! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Cruised on CP to Alaska last year on a wonderful trip with a group of friends and a smaller group sailed with us on this occasion. The ship and staff brought us back for a wonderful sail to PC and the Carribean. 11 day sailing from Port ... Read More
Cruised on CP to Alaska last year on a wonderful trip with a group of friends and a smaller group sailed with us on this occasion. The ship and staff brought us back for a wonderful sail to PC and the Carribean. 11 day sailing from Port Everglades. No need for Princess transfers from airport as cabs are plentiful (except for large groups) and inexpensive. Princess is trying/tried staggered boarding times but they are not mandatory. Embarkation went smoothly. Waited some time in the "lounge area" until the ship was ready for boarding. Activities are typical for a ship of this size. We enjoy the moderate size of the ship. The service was just outstanding save for one episode when a crew member working the ice cream bar must have been having a bad day. The first two days were spent at sea. We had a rough ride the first day. It seemed that Cpt. Austin was trying to outrun some foul weather and get to calmer water. Which he did. Day 2 was okay. Day 4 in Aruba marked our second visit to that country and Oranjestad, its capital. The latter has nothing particular to offer us. We walked through town to a small and relatively secluded beach area and ate at The West Deck which was a great spot with wonderful service and basically light fare. We spent time lounging there and there is a gazebo for shade. The water and bottom are nice as well. A nice way to spend a relatively short shore time. Day 5 was at sea. Sunny and pleasant. 82 degrees Day 6 in Cartegna. Terrible traffic there. Bus drivers have nerves of steel. Took the Highlights of Cartegna tour. A little problem with language - one had to listen closely to our guide who was a school teacher. But all in all a very good tour, albeit with a little too much emphasis on cheap shopping. Day 7 is the Canal. Get up early and get to the bow of the ship for a good spot on the highest deck. We were up at 5 or so. The light was just breaking with mist hanging over the rain forest. There are two approaches. Our cabin was on the starboard side and the ship took the port side cut. That meant we could run down to our balcony and really get a close look at the operation. Once through the Canal we were on Gatun Lake and were tendered to the Embrera Indian Village. Much has been said about the authenticity of the EIV. However, we enjoyed the visit for what it was on its face - informative and fun, even if recreated. (Our guide insisted the villagers do live there and the children must attend school off the island). We then were bused to an observation deck and saw the ship passing back through the Canal to Colon. We then left to return to the ship which was delayed by a faulty anchor. The waiting area in Colon is awful so if the ship is late, as it was, there is little to do or see and the facilities are terrible (both bathroom and seating in the terminal). Day 8 in Limon we drove about an hour or so to Braulio Carrillo National Park for Rainforest Aerial Tram and Tortuguero Canals and Lunch. This was a great excursion. Be sure to take rain gear. It's the Rain Forest and it lives up to its name. Ponchos were handy. The tram ride was awesome and the lunch was delicious and plentiful. But the highlight was the Canals trip at the end. We saw many forms of wildlife and even the guides remarked that it was a banner day for animal and bird spotting. Afterward we were served a light snack of fresh fruit. Day 9 we spent at sea. It was sunny, then rainy and windy. Again, temps in the 80s but the wind made it feel much cooler. Day 10 we docked at Ocho Rios in Jamaica. We took a great excursion to Green Grotto Caves and Dunn's Falls. The Caves are in a National Park and are quite a nice tour. The Falls can be climbed fairly easily and during the climb a staffer is filming the trip. Although they push everyone buying one of the DVDs, you can get one for your group and reproduce it. It's a fun item but not all that great. Day 11 we were at sea again and making headway for Port Everglades and we docked the morning of December 12. Disembarkation went very smoothly. We boarded a cab at the pier and were back at the airport within 20 minutes. We love CP. We were on Emerald Deck (Deck 8) with a balcony. The nicest thing about this is that if you are with friends in adjoining cabins the cabin steward will open the dividers on the balcony on request and you can join together on the balcony and move back and forth freely without having to go into the corridors. Take some rope (a small diameter) to tie back the dividers. The dining was wonderful. The food delicious. Our wait staff, Minino and Brad, at table 97 in the Bordeaux dining room was excellent and we had a good time with them. The Maitre'D, Marius, who we met on our earlier cruise to Alaska, was very accommodating. We had anytime dining but made a reservation with him. Unfortunately, it marked his last cruise on the ship. The entertainment was the best we have ever encountered: Vocalist Jamila was excellent as a Motown style singer. Illusionist Alexander Great (Really?) was excellent on first show, not quite as good the second time. Instrumentalist Craig Richard on sax could rival Kenny G. Comedy and guitar music of Gary Delena was funny and wonderful. We had never gone to shows on a ship before and loved all of them. This was a wonderful cruise and fulfilled a lifelong dream. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We booked a 14 day cruise through the Panama Canal for October 12-26 on a Perx Interline vacation site. The ship was HAL Stadandam. First thing we noticed was how high the tub side was and when we tried to call down to ask about it--our ... Read More
We booked a 14 day cruise through the Panama Canal for October 12-26 on a Perx Interline vacation site. The ship was HAL Stadandam. First thing we noticed was how high the tub side was and when we tried to call down to ask about it--our phone didn't work. 3 days later they finally fixed the phone (software issue)..Our room was very warm and when that was investigated they cleaned the filter and it didn't get better, so we couldn't sleep. Finally, got a fan which helped but just circulated hot air..I have back issues and the bed was very uncomfortable so housekeeping put an "eggcrate" on it which helped some. Tub issue was dangerous and since all rooms had the same thing--nothing could be done. We were deluged with flyers for jewelry every single day-- Also, the incredible noises above our heads starting at 4 am up till midnight. We never had peace and quiet...the kitchen was above our heads...we heard trays, rolling wheels and on one afternoon 4 hours of them replacing a dishwasher and made so much noise even our neighbors came out and complained to the stewards. First formal night in the dining room, we were seated at 7pm gave our orders and waited 37 minutes for our drinks, salads, soup...finally got our dinners at 830 and they were cold...I sent mine back but the rest of our table (7 others) were so hungry they ate them cold. I was offered a drink to comp my inconvenience..TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE...after complaining to front desk, we were assigned a specific table with a waiter just for us and we were in and out every night within 1 hour. On the 4th night, when I laid down on the bed my pillow was wet and I heard leaking....the ceiling was dripping all along the whole head of our bed and when we called down, maintenance came up and started unscrewing the slats in the ceiling and noticed more water coming down. This all happened at 10:30pm so we were offered a temporary move to another room for the night. I asked why we couldn't just move..period and they said they couldn't allow it. So we stayed in our room, slept at the foot of the bed and they fixed the leak the next day while we were on an excursion. We got a bottle of wine for our "inconvenience". The first formal night we had pictures taken and intended on buying some but the portrait costs were ridiculous....$39.95 per sheet....we thought on the last day when so many pictures were not being purchased by LOTS OF CRUISERS, they would offer a better deal (RCCL and CARNIVAL DID), but no they didn't so many, many pics where left behind to be destroyed. The excursions were short and expensive and sometimes, dangerous even though because of my back pain, we booked trips billed as easy, relaxing..We had the worst one in Puerta Vallerta where all 16 of us complained and only got a $10 credit for a terrible guide. We did find out from the tour desk that the girl got fired. We should have all gotten refunds for the rip off. It was called City, Shopping and Beach and we stayed on 3 streets only and they were all jewelry stores we were taken to.. This trip was 99 % elderly and disabled people...we were extremely bored since there were really no "young" activities...things like, bingo, photoshop classes, trivia, JEWELRY education classes, golf chipping into water, and tai chi was all that was offered. A few of the shows in the evening were ok but most were boring...presentations about the excursions were also lackluster and monotonal...not excitement.... The food was mediocre at best...breakfasts were the same thing everyday...and dinners were better but not enough variety.....very bland.. The hot tubs were not hot until halfway through the cruise when someone must have complained louder than I did, since I told the front desk about it on the second day. Tables not cleaned in many areas and I noticed by the pool that by one of our favorite sitting spots that a napkin that was on the floor next to the window was there for the next two days... Too many shops selling liquor, jewelry and clothing and only a small amount of snacks, meds, etc...and absolutely no selection for eating other than dining room, buffet, or Pinnacle Grill....just a small burger stand by pool.... We were comped for only $50 for all the inconveniences we endured which was ridiculous since from day one, things were going terribly wrong, We talked to many of our neighbors and there were many other problems that they had endured different from ours, for instance, one cabin's toilet overflowed every day. When the couple complained they were told they could move but since they had their disabled parents next door they would have had to be separated from them. They decided to stay in the room instead of being away from them. This ship is a disaster and needed to be taken out of commission and refurbished long ago; many crew members apologizing for all the problems or delivering bottles of wine to comp people is not the answer. I understand it is in drydock starting in Jan2013 till June2013 for repairs...it's about time. But it does not change the fact that our money was wasted on a terrible experience with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012

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