We just returned from a 13 day Panama Canal cruise on the Star. The weather was great even though we had a force 9 gale for a while the ship rode well and no more than the bow section was closed off due to the wind. We only eat at a couple of the specialty restaurants as the food was (in our experiences) excellent in the main restaurants. There was quite a long line up on Thanks giving for the Versailles so we walked over to the Aqua and were seated immediately.
We booked 5 tours and were pleased with them all, we enjoyed the itinerary, especially Huatulco, very clean and few hawkers. As expected Cartagena was very hot and humid; we did have an armed guard accompany us on the bus and canoe trip, for our protection I assume.
The ship I think is in need of some TLC, carpets, the seats and armrest in the theatre and so on, we were aboard a year ago and we feel she has gone downhill more than a little since then. Unfortunately the hot tubs were out of service the whole cruise, that is a total of at least 7 tubs including the ones in the Spar, we were never told officially why only that they will be fixed soon as parts are on order!(?) In fact the information I gleaned from some crew members and a lady who took the ships tour was that the health department in LA had shut the tubs down seemingly because on the previous (2 day) cruise someone had got sick in one of the tubs and they were not able to sanitize the system satisfactorily enough for them to be cleared, and hopefully would be inspected and certified safe in Miami, as I say this was not an official statement. The Captain referred to the hot tub issue a week or so into the cruise and stated they would not be serviceable before the end of the cruise. He also announced at the same time there would be a “happy hour” the day after on the pool deck; fruit punch or rum punch would be available, I participated in the program. Some passengers took the closure of the hot tubs worse than others; I just wish we could have been better informed.
The staff and crew were very friendly and helpful nothing was ever too much trouble, the passengers on the whole were in the older category with only 30 children were on the ship. The crew we spoke to were very excited in the fact the ship is to be in Vancouver for the Olympics as a floating hotel, I would imagine the engineers will take advantage of this down time to repair one of the engines. The ship still made 21 knots on the 3 remaining engines on parts of our cruise.