You should really book excursions through the cruise line unless you are going to be local for shopping.
If your excursion runs late and you book excursions privately, the ship probably will not wait if they are scheduled to leave. We were late getting back from Tikal and the ship waited for us.
Don't bother getting off the boat unless you take an excursion, book them on your own, look for local liquor stores in ports of call and enjoy beverages in your room. Don't bring a bottle of your own to a dining room, they charge $25 corking fee. Yes, we were able to being liquor on borad.
We did not realize that you could pre-book reservations with the two high end restaurants on line, by the time we were on the cruise most of the reservations were taken for Toscona & Pollo Grill, we did get late reservation.
We really enjoyed the way dinner was handled. We could show up in the main dining room with another couple and be seated with them. We also booked the Polo restaurant for our anniversary with another couple and they made us two cakes. Very nice.
Check the ports ahead of time. The stops in the Caribbean are easily accessed on your own. No need to buy excursions. Depending on what you want to do that can be true of other stops as well. For example, in Parintins we took a pedi-cab for $20.00 and saw everything there was to see.
Relax and enjoy! Since this is a small ship you can get anywhere in 5 minutes or less. No lines to wait through minutes to get off and on ports. This is not a party ship! If you are looking for the party to start at midnight this is not the ship for you!
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