This is just a mini review. We are working on a very extensive one on our site that we hope to have finished soon. We will tell the good and the bad.
First let me say the four of us had a wonderful time. I am not saying everything was perfect and nothing went wrong. I am just saying we made sure we were going to have fun. We did our homework before we booked this cruise so we pretty much knew what to expect. Actually it was better than we expected. We knew this was a value cruise. We paid a value price. I researched the ports and kind of knew what to expect. We chose this cruise because it would be a different experience. On the way to the ship we were talking to the other passengers going on the same cruise. We all said we didn't know what to expect and knew that it was going to be different. I guess that is why they enjoyed their cruise, too. Everyone in the van back to the hotel said they enjoyed it but one couple.
I guess first impressions are very important. The first impression of this ship is poor. I am not talking about the looks because this is truly a beautiful ship. I am talking about the welcome aboard snack they had in the buffet. It was probably the worst we have ever had. We were truly beginning to worry,and so was everyone else. At dinner that night wasn't a lot better, as things were hectic & rushed, so that made things even worse. I must say the next day things did improve. We had a wonderful waiter, Sebastiano. I can only say he got better every day. We felt like we were leaving a friend behind. We ate at second sitting so he had plenty time for us. A lot of times we didn't need to ask him for things he already knew what we liked and wanted . Best waiter we have ever had in our 19 cruises. We dined in the L'Ippocampo. I am sure he helped to make this a wonderful experience. We looked forward to having dinner with him every night. We enjoyed the food that most passengers complained about. I did eat a lot of pasta, risotto, and fish. Most of the beef wasn't that great but some was. There are separate kitchens for the restaurants . Maybe we were lucky to have the better one but I must say I likes most of what I got to the surprise of many other passengers. I do like to try different foods so that may help.
We had a wonderful time in all of the ports. We only took one tour from the ship . I think they did a poor job in presenting the tours so they didn't look appealing . We knew before we went that Cartagena was not visited by many ships and knew it was dangerous. Again we did our homework ahead before we booked. We had a wonderful time even though there was a little too much shopping for me.
We went to an all inclusive resort for the day so had a wonderful time . The ship was late getting in so that did cut us a little short. We were on the first tender, too, but didn't feel in danger at any time. The tender came in a little fast and made waves. It went back out and came in very slow and we made it fine. After the Carnival ship left our ship docked so we didn't need to tender back.
I thought San Blas was a wonderful stop. The island was very small and like a huge flea market, mostly hand made goods by the Kuna Indians. We took a separate trip to the island where they live. What a wonderful experience. I have never seen anything like it. They are very kind soft spoken tiny little people. We also spent time on the beach.
We did not take a tour in Panama. We had a wonderful time just enjoying the ship . I think we may have taken the trip to the country club had they made it sound more inviting. Everyone that went seem to enjoy it. I think every tour started and ended at the country club. They served food and drinks (open bar I think). They also had a show and the Kuna Indians were there to sell their molas .
We had a wonderful day in Puerto Limon. We took a tour from a taxi on the dock. We did just about everything. The river tour, banana plantation, in town to a grocery store to buy coffee, and then to a wonderful restaurant for the best red snapper I have ever had. What a view from the restaurant and to top it off wonderful music, and then to the beach. What a wonderful day.
Bad day for everyone . 6:45am is just a little too early for me when I am on vacation . This started out to be a bad day and didn't get much better since we didn't get to go ashore . We didn't let it spoil our day and just spent the day at the pool. That day MSC did a very poor job getting activities together and had very little to do. They did add a few more bingo sessions that day. What a joke. They need a back up system in place for days when they can't get into port. Bad planning. They could have at least given everyone a free drink, as other cruise lines do, to make everyone feel a little better. More on this in our other review.
We have so much more to say and I did say this was going to be a mini review but got a little carried away. Hope to have our extensive review up soon on our site.