14 Day Panama Canal Cruise November 2013 (Miami-LA
This was a great cruise! We thoroughly enjoyed all. The service was wonderful! Our cabin was perfect. We had a king bed with a chaise lounge and two comfy chairs and a small table on our balcony. Also, a large bathroom with tub & shower. The sitting area inside was perfect. We were able to sit four around our table for cards. The cabin was spotless and very well maintained by our very attentive steward. All the food was wonderful. We ate at all the free dining venues and were never disappointed! Because the food was so good, we never went to any of the specialty dining venues. We loved the Versailles main dining room and had many pleasant meals there. We ended up with five couples in our group and all had a lot of fun together. We did 3 NCL sponsored shore excursions and 3 on our own. We used NCL in ports where we didn't feel comfortable making our own arrangements (Cartagena, Punta Arenas, Huatulco) and did our own thing in Puerto Chiapas Puerto Vallerta and Cabo San Lucas. The NCL tours were excellent. The tours we arranged on our own were much cheaper and just as good. The entire crew on the ship was absolutely superb! They all really went the extra mile to ensure that everyone was pleased...always smiling and asking how they might help. There was always live music in the bars and at poolside on the pool deck...very relaxing. The night shows in the Stardust Theatre (main theatre) were generally very entertaining and professional with the exception of the two nights with 'stand-up' comedians. Most of the comedy was totally inappropriate for children and 'decent-minded' people. I let the Cruise Director know this. We ended up walking out on both of those shows. Otherwise the cruise was perfect. The weather couldn't have been better. Truly, I would encourage anyone who has the time to take this cruise! It was sooooo relaxing. The sea days were really fun. I got in a nap every afternoon, walked the many decks and visited lots of fun activities. There were almost no children on this cruise...mostly seniors, a few newly weds, very few smokers. Everyone seemed to be really enjoying themselves. By current standards the STAR is a smaller ship with a passenger capacity of 2000, which made the port stops and tours less congested. This is a wonderful itinerary! None of the other cruise lines have this itinerary (on their Panama Canal cruises). They focus on the Caribbean side, making only one or two stops on the Pacific. The ship, although older is very well maintained. The crew is terrific. The itinerary perfect! I strongly suggest a balcony cabin or a mini-suite. While relaxing on our balcony (at sea day) we saw a large pod of whales; one breached about 30 feet into the air about 100 yards away! what a sight! Also saw dolphins right alongside trying to keep up with the ship.