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I guess I have been back long enough to do a review of the Panama canal trip on the Serenade. I am sorry to disappoint the whiners, but I have NOTHING to complain about except whiners and things caused by others, not the cruiseline! Like the HEAT! I know I will get blasted, but since I can not stand whiners and nit pickers, I will ignore them anyhow.
We already been on The radiance so was well versed on this type of ship, which we love.The ship was perfect and the food was great, we also ate at Chops and Portofino's and the service and food was outstanding. But the dining room and our servers were also. It amazed me that they kept the menu fresh and interesting for 2 weeks. We had a balcony cabin on the hump, and it was plenty roomy and comfortable.
St Thomas was nice as usual, Aruba, not a favorite of mine. I will never go back for a week.. too boring and the island too hot and dusty for me, I am not the lazy type who gets thrilled by sleeping on a beach inviting skin cancer ( if I wanted to do that beaches on LI are just as nice). I do like going in the water so we did a catamaran tour and in the evening met friends (who were staying on the island) for dinner at the Paddock, the food was good there also.
The trip thru the canal was awesome, something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. We had a bump cabin so we had the same view as the lookout on the bridge, that was amazing. So part of the time we stayed there and the rest of the time we spent in the aft cabin of one of our travel mates. It was a bit hotter there because not as much overhang as our balcony, but the view was fun! That day was just wonderful!
That nite we stopped at a small port outside of Panama city. We just had a short stay there but it was cute. I am sorry I did not get the panama hats which were $15. the crafts were also very unique.
The next stop was Costa Rica which was quite amazing to me. I had no idea they had such a high literacy rate, 2-3 in the world! We took the off road tour in a converted Russian missile launcher, what a blast, the country is very lush. There was AC on the bus but the sun was intense and it was HOT, so it helped some, but not alot. But we did not mind as much when we were brought to a picnic by the river ( and crossed in this huge truck). When we got back to the ship we then went to the flea market on the beach. What polite and friendly people, it was a very enjoyable port and not overpriced.
The next stop was Huatulco Mexico. This was a nice laid back port. We did shopping mostly and I got some nice pieces of jewelry. There was a church on the beach that was engineered so that it had natural air conditioning.
Acapulco was next and this was the least favorite port of mine. The beggars when you got outside of the dock compound were beyond annoying. he port had it's heyday way back when , but now parts of it look like sleazy downtown Disney. The views were nice though and we saw the black lagoon and where the stars live. The "diamond" area which is newer is much nicer. The high point was the cliff divers, but when you got on and off the bus the vendors selling things did not want to take no for an answer. The tour guide said not to buy from them, but he should have chased them away. But then again he does have to live there after we leave.
Cabo San Lucas was a more pleasant and cleaner port, but some of the sellers right at the dock were also annoying, but not as bad as the last port. The stores and beaches were very pretty and the regular merchants were also pleasant.
We had lots of sea days They ( alternated between ports) which gave us a rest from some of the more robust excursions. Most of the shows were great. If there were ones that were not to my liking, I just did not go. But there was plenty of things to keep us busy. We also had 3 formal night which were very formal, thankfully. I had a wonderful time and although there were things that annoyed me like people who complained here and there, they were few and far between, so in general I do not pay attention to them. One man complained that there were more than 2 people on the omelet line... even though it moved very quickly. Some people are NEVER happy! And I was sad because we did not get to go to the Quest because one of the couple we traveled with booked Portofino's that night. Dinner was wonderful and the service was over the top, but dinner does not take a short time. So by the time we finished dessert ( which were to die for) it was over. Because they were only a handful of children we did get to use the water slide, that was cool! The main pool was a bit crowded, but the solarium pool was perfect. The midnight buffets were also wonderful. I thought that 14 days would make me crazy, but after awhile you juts got into the routine and it began to feel like home.the seas were so smooth the whole 2 weeks that I was sort of missing the rocking, maybe the midship cabin was the reason. But I slept like a baby the whole cruise. As usual we received wonderful service from the entire staff. Also as members of CC we were given a tour of the bridge which was quite nice. And the CC party was well attended and we had a great time meeting everyone. I had such a wonderful time I wish I were back on that ship again!