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Age: 20

Occupation:University Student

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Sun Cruises

Ship: Sunbird

Sailing Date: January 26th, 2003

Itinerary: Panama Pleasures

We got a last minute deal a week before the sail date, so we managed to get a very good price. I went with my boyfriend and this was our first cruise, which meant we were excited and a little nervous about what to expect.

The flight had a little delay but that wasn’t really a problem. We were on the ship in no time once we reached Jamaica. Luckily we were upgraded one deck for free which we were pleased about.

The cabin was small but livable, comfortable bed, nice dressing area, plenty of wardrobe space and mirrors everywhere. There is a television, which plays quite new films for free, and shows the various excursions and facilities available on the boat, which is good when you are getting ready in the evening.

The bathroom has a sink area with a couple of small shelves, toilet and shower. An excellent service was provided by our cabin steward, who cleans your cabin twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. He did everything to our personal preference, changed towels and toiletries and left our room spotless each time, an excellent service.

The only fault I could mention about our cabin was the voltage allowed and plug hole position. It only powers anything that’s 110 volts, and every one of my appliances was at least 220 volts so everything didn’t work properly which got very annoying at times. Also the plug hole was positioned high up the wall and there was no ledge, so unless the cord on the appliance was long it was very difficult to use anything electrical.

The boat was amazing, so much better then we expected. The whole ship was spotlessly clean from top to bottom which was excellent; there were two swimming pools, plenty of bars. A Seven Seas restaurant and a less formal dining area at the lido café which was good for lunch as you can where just swimwear, so it’s more convenient, then getting properly attired for the restaurant.

There was a sports deck, nightclub, chart room, which were all very nice and a pleasure to visit and spend your evening in. The only downside for me was the entertainment, there wasn’t really anything of interest for us, and it was definitely influenced towards the older audience, which was expected. However it gave us a chance to completely relax, walk around the ship and best of all visit the casino, which is a great place to visit. I had my nails manicured at the beauty salon, which was a bit pricey but worth it if you fancy a bit of pampering and break from the sunshine!

The food was 5 star quality, it was available all day, from buffets, to waiter service, bar snacks and midnight buffets. We never went hungry, and there was such a large variety, with a different menu every night for the 5 course meal. I loved the food available and have no complaints there. Our waiters were excellent and our table was a joy to sit at, as we met some great people and were laughing all the time, in fact we have stayed in touch with most of them.

The places visited were also very good. We set sail from Jamaica, spent the 2nd day at sea and then arrived in Costa Rica on the third day, it was a very unusual place with an amazing culture which we enjoyed visiting the town. Next we went to Panama, where decided to go on an excursion. We went to the Gamboa Rainforest on an aerial tram, it was wonderful honestly, so calming with beautiful views of the rainforest and the panama canal as well as a range of wildlife. The excursions available were quite expensive, but it was well worth the visit.

Next we went to the San Blas Islands, which were definitely my favorite place to visit. It was such a different environment. You could walk to each end of the island in a few minutes. We got a canoe over to another island with a beautiful beach, which I must admit I was terrified, in the rough sea with no life jacket, but it was well worth it when I got there. It was like a paradise island, with coconuts dropping from palm trees, clear sea and white sands. The only downside was seeing the native children begging for money and even offering you pictures they had drawn and having animals literally strapped to their head, so you would pay them to take a photo. Definitely an amazing visit though, I loved every minute.

Next we went to Columbia which was a beautiful place; we paid a taxi to take us to the various places which we shared with a lovely couple. There I brought an emerald ring which Columbia is well known for. Very good value for money and I managed to barter down to a third of the asking price. The next day we spent at sea just relaxing and then finally back to Jamaica. We really wanted to go on the excursion to Dunns River falls but due to our flight times, we didn’t have time which my only regret. The flight time should have been later in my opinion.

Overall for our first cruise, I couldn’t have asked for anything better, it was so much better then we expected, and excellent in everyway. To be honest I couldn’t fault it and will definitely be going again, we were worried that we would feel out of place because of our young age, but it wasn’t like that at all, everyone was so friendly and made us feel very comfortable and able to relax.

For the price we paid, we had an amazing holiday which will be unforgettable. We have been back in England a week now from the cruise, and I would love to be back on that boat cruising away from Montego Bay. Anyone who is thinking of going, definitely go for it, and make sure you enjoy every minute you will have a wonderful time. Make sure you have plenty of film in your camera because the places and views you will see are amazing especially the sunsets.

My final rating is 10 out of 10 and will definitely return!! Please feel free to e mail me if you want to know anything about this cruise and I will be happy to reply.

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