Sail Date: December 01, 2007
Reviewed: 6 years ago
Room Type: Suite
Cabin stewardess was from Nicaragua and by far the best part of the experience. Room was tidied up 3 times a day and was always put shipshape, always fresh towels, etc. Most of the rest of the crew was from E. Europe, Bulgaria, Romania, Byeloruss, etc. They are very hard working, polite and everywhere. I think I heard 1500 crew with 2000 passengers. The Captain and Officers were all Italian and I caught them going the wrong way several times. When I told them they said they were killing time so as to not arrive in port early-=-=a likely story.
Food was everywhere and in great abundance and all free of course. All this rich and extra plentiful food turned me off after while and I reverted to my usual subsistence plus diet, cutting back to 2 deserts and an appetizer.
Entertainment was better than I expected with a very HIGH energy set of dancers and guest appearances. Beatles tribute was really good and warmly welcomed by all. A pair of jugglers billed as the Village Idiots ended the week with a funny act. So, on to the ports of call-my main and almost only interest in cruising.
Panama was first and for me the best - Vicki and I took the Panama City tour which entailed a bus ride across the ithmus (about 30 or 40 miles ?) with a stop at Gatun Locks for an hour to see the operations. We were lucky and there was a huge cargo container vessel passing through with inches to spare. They design these container ships just for the canal both as to width and length. The canal is being enlarged in the coming years so the ships will be even bigger. 67% of the traffic is to and from the U.S. Chinese operate and own the ports on each end of the canal. The canal is not just one long ditch, it' is made up of 3 locks, raising ships 85 feet from Pacific to Carribean with lakes (man made) between the locks. Google it for more info, and probably more accurate. We had a great tour guide (Mandy) who kept us in info all the way to the capital. It is a very large, 1 million pop. fully modern skyscraper city and traffic galore. Everything appears to be prospering and we had a nice typical meal of chicken, rice and something else (where did the memory go). Outside the city things are very rural with the typical tropical shacks, tin roofs, garbage and potholed roads of all tropical and asian third world countries. It's all about the rich and poor with no middle class.
Costa Rica was a disappointment, only because the Bus, Boat and Train Tour stayed in Limon province, the poorest in all the country. We could see the mountains in the distance and I have heard of the beauty, but we saw only dirt garbage and degradation and traffic (no lites and stop signs ignored).
Belize was last and I took the Baboon sanctuary trip while Vicki took the day off. Turns out they aren't baboons, but Howler monkeys and they were interesting. A whole group of farmers got together to create this sanctuary and the monkeys are protected there. They form up in groups of 7 and when births bring the population to over that, they will have some break off to form another family. Each family has about 4 acres of forest =-they eat leaves but came to us when the guide called KOM, KOM in a loud voice because they had bananas to hand
Pros: Cabin stewardess
Cons: Table partners