Upscale Panama Canal transit

Viking Star Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America
Experience: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 2

Overall Rating:

4.9 out of 5
Viking Star

21 Night Cuba & Panama & The Pacific (Los Angeles To Miami)

Sail Date: December 13, 2018

Ship: Viking Star

Cabin Type: Balcony

Cabin Number: 5080

Traveled As: Couple

Reviewed: 9 months ago

Review Summary

One of the best cruises we have ever taken. This is right on a par with Regent Cruse Lines who held the title of best, in my book, until. Good enough to get us to book a cruise with Viking to the Amazon through the holidays of 2019.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
Quick, easy and uneventful.

Ship Experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
The main dining room, The Restaurant, had excellent international food offerings that were different for the entire 22 days. Decent wine and/or beer are offered with lunch and dinner. Specialty restaurants were as good as the dining room but with different themes. Service in either The Restaurant and the specialty restaurants was impeccable. We used room service when we had morning tours and every order arrived on time and, in the case of eggs, hot and cooked to order. Informal buffet was relatively small but each choice was better than we have had on numerous previous cruises. Specialty coffee was available all day and the quality was terrific. ~Drinks from the bar are very fairly priced e.g. a double Jameson - $12.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
Few of the big ship activities are available. Lectures on numerous subjects by erudite, well spoken speakers, lots of music in the Atrium by an excellent pianist, a classical duo of cello and violin and guartarists made down time a pleasure while sunning, swimming and a spa were available.

Entertainment

5 out of 5
No massive theatrical extravaganzas but well chosen top quality solo or quartet performances, and local entertainment. I generally avoid some of the shows on cruises much to my wife's displeasure. On this ship I gladly attended virtually every show and enjoyed them immensely.

Children's Programs

5 out of 5
Viking does not have children under 18 on their cruises.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
To a person, the staff was accommodating, pleasant, knowledgeable and personable without being annoyingly friendly. I was especially impressed by the hostess, Olivia. who assigned you to the type of table you chose (double in our case or a community table if you so desired). After the first night, she remembered our name and our preference. Newer again did we have to more than say "good evening" before we were escorted to a table.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Incredibly well kept vessel. Everything is spotless from the glass on your balcony to the washing machines in the self service laundromat. Absolutely imp[eccable.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
This is a typical balcony cabin. It is relatively small but efficiently with a very efficient layout. The bed is excellent as was the cleanliness. Bathroom was spacious with a well sized walk in shower. As has been my complaint for years with all cruise ship, a full wattage in the bathroom is a necessity with today's dental appliances and rechargeable personal appliances. We can use ground fault circuit interrupter outlets in wet areas at home, so why not on a ship?

Ship Tip

This is not a cruise for people expecting rock climbing, water rides, rap music, a casino or lots of clitz and bling. Also no annoying photographers or art auctions. Just like living at a fine hotel that moves from port to port.

Ports Of Call

Los Angeles, California

5 out of 5
We walked from the port. Pickup at the airport was efficient.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

3 out of 5
Did an included tour to San Jose de Cabo. Been there, done that lots of times before.

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

4 out of 5
Include tour of Antigua. An abundance of historic building and nice churches. Required about three miles of walking.

CORINTO (LEON), NICARAGUA

5 out of 5
Optional tour of a banana plantation and the home of an owner of a 2,000 acre banana plantation. Hokey as it might sound, it was fascinating. Local dancers and musicians put on a show for us. Loved it!

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

5 out of 5
Optional tour of a Sarch Oxcart artistry and a botanical garden. A little offbeat but the artisans who build and decorate these carts are something to behold. The botanical garden was okay but in these areas, there was mostly greenery as opposed to flowering plants.

Colon, Panama

5 out of 5
After transiting the Canal the previous day, while docked in Colon, we took a tour back to the Miraflores Locks And Panama Canal Expansion Observation Center. We got to see, up front and personal, a ship go through both through the original Miraflores Lock on the Pacific side and then a Panamax ship go through the new Canal on the Gulf of Mexico side. A tour well worth taking.

CIENFUEGOS, CUBA

5 out of 5
Two days in port allowed us to do an included tour of Cienfuegos on foot and an optional tour of the Local Culture of Cienfuegos. The first tour was good and people watching and interaction with the locals was enlightening. The second day was excellent. It included a stop at a working graphic arts studio and ended with a performance by one of the finest choirs it has been my pleasure to hear.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
With only 900 passengers, it went easy although delayed by the late arrival of porters to transport the luggage from the ship to debarkation area.
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