Since I got some good info from the people on this chatline to help me on my cruise, I thought I'd return the favor.
My husband and I sailed on the Summit through the Panamal Canal on the Feb. 16th sailing. We had a great time and would recommend this cruise.
We were in cabin 8080--midship on consierge class. We liked the location and the amenieties that came with consierge class. We had breakfast on our veranda several times and often ordered items that weren't on the menu but the staff was almost always able to accommodate our wishes. (We love fresh berries and got them without fail.) We liked the fresh fruit, flowers and evening appetizers that come automatically with this class. The fruit is changed daily and the flowers weekly. The room had binoculars which were helpful on several occasions. We also received a great travel bag that folds into a small pack which we will use on future trips. Overall, I think consierge is worth it. (The class also provides for priority on some activities and disembarkment, great robs and other things.) The room had lots of storage space--and you can fit your suitcases under the bed (a tip from a chatline member!).
We are a healthy duo and loved the spa facilities. The AquaSpa cafe often had better desserts than elsewhere! The gym had lots of equipment and the massages were some of the best we have had.
The food was basically very good. I am a gourmet cook of sorts so some of it was more bland, but realize that the ship must cater to a wide variety of tastes. Somebody raved about the desserts, but except for the homemade ice cream, I thought the desserts were hit or miss. (That was okay; it kept me from eating too much!) We also ate in the Normandie Restaurant which had even better food than the general dining room and its service that was outstanding. We had gone to France about 8 months ago and eaten at several noted restaurants; the service at the Normandie was probably superior. Please make sure you have the goat cheese souffle appetizer if you go. It is fabulous!
As for tours, we were satisfied with all that we took using the cruise line. We especially liked the Eco Tropical Mango Tour in Costa Rica. We wanted to see the tropical animals and vegetation of the area. This country is great and has a lot to see. We chose the Eco Tropical Mango Tour since it was shorter and offered a better chance to actually see (not just hear) the animals--something you need to consider if you are thinking of ziplining or doing the skywalk. We may have been very lucky but saw scarlet macaws (there are only about 300 pairs in the world), white faced monkeys, crocodiles, several type of herons, multiple other tropical birds, lizards and other animals. The tour guide was super. On the bus trip to and from the river, she gave a great talk on Costa Rica's flora/fauna, history, industry, culture, and other issues. The one reason we chose this tour was because everyone on other tours said they didn't see wildlife. If you want wildlife--pick this tour. By the way, this river is probably the same one used by Charlie Soto who is recommended by others on the chatline. We might have used him, but my husband was so worried about missing the ship that he only wanted to use a cruise line sponsored tour. Charlie does some nice things that are in addition to the river trip, but I don't know if he gives the quality narrative we had on the bus. I met someone on the ship who used Charlie and loved him and several people on the chatline have used him and recommended him so you may want to consider him if you don't share my husband's concern. (I haven't heard of anyone miss the ship with Charlie.) One thing I don't like about Charlie that you may want to consider is his approach with crocodiles. He (or the boat driver)use a chicken leg to attract the crocodiles. That is great for getting views of crocodiles; however, that isn't a good ecological thing to do! We shouldn't feed wild animals or they lose their hunting abilities and could also start going after humans in search of food. So much for my view on that.
A tour that has gotten bad reviews from the chat line that our dinner mates liked is the Cosa Rica Highlights that goes to San Jose, its Opera House, a restaurant and the Sarchi village. Again, the tour guide gave a great narrative on the bus which I think made the difference. They also liked the opera house and said the restaurant used was actually a private home used for large events (there was a wedding there later in the day and was decorated beautifully). At any rate, they loved the tour and recommended it highly.
The other tour that I would recommend for active adults who are in good shape is the kayaking in Cabo San Lucas. We kayaked to the arch and had about 45 minutes to be on Lover's Beach and snorkel off the beach area if we wanted. This was great, but you need to know that we crossed a lot of boat traffic to get there. That can be scarey for some, but we had no problem. (They do have a boat that follows the kayaking group and can pick up any one who has trouble.) Lover's beach is beautiful and only reached by boat. If you don't want to kayak there, there are water taxis that go there. Lover's Beach faces both the Sea of Cortez and, on the other side, the Pacific Ocean.
At any rate, hope you find my info helpful. Thanks to all who provided good information on the chatline that helped make our trip so great.
In my original information, I forgot to mention that our room (Room 8080)was on the perfect side to take advantage of the view. This may be different if you take the Panama Cruise west to east. However, we faced the shoreline on the Costa Rico/Mexico portion of the trip and even had a great view of the arch in Cabo while we were in the harbor! We also seemed to avoid too much sun so that we could easily sit on the veranda in the middle of the day.
We were on that sailing too - we had 8181 corner aft.
Josie and Mike. Did we bump into you at all?
It was a wonderful cruise and we met some great people.
We didn't do anything trips in Arubs, just wandered around the shops.
Costa Rica we went with Charlie Soto of OakeyDokey Tours although our driver was called Roger. There were two mini buses and so I dont know if Charlie gave a commentary on his. He took us to a place where we could feed the cappucin monkeys by hand, although they were very timid. ALso the tour broke into two so some of us went on the river seeing the crocs. Charlie does not take the tour down the river but someone else does and he was very good although yes he did feed the crocodile one small dead fish.
Did you hear about the largest croc in the river which disappeared. Apparently this croc was taking one cow per month and rumour has it that the local farmer shot it.
We had a lovely day with Charlie.
We also did tours with Rosie in Acapulco, very good, also Jesus in Huatalco, and Eduardo whale watching. All very good.
We wont cruise now for a few years. I feel it takes the edge off the specialness of it all when you cruise too often.