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deefer

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  1. We also had a fantastic 2 day tour with SPB in 2016. Sounds like your guide may have been the problem. On a private tour you should have seen exactly what you wanted. I would encourage you let SPB know of your experience so they can address any issues. Doesn’t help you out but the next group who gets this guide may have a better experience. Glad you made the best of it.
  2. Sometimes there is a promotion where you get an EXTRA $50 shore excursion per cabin. This is what we had on our Panama Canal cruise and this is what the the OP can get in lieu of taking the “free air” perk. So her math is correct.
  3. On our Panama Canal cruise in March of this year we got the discount applied first, then the $100 credit was applied.
  4. We checked in with everyone else and were then escorted to the lounge area. By the time we got to the port all lines were quite short, I really don’t remember if we had a dedicated line for suites. Either way, check in was quick.....we arrived around 1p. Lines may have been longer earlier. We spent very little time in the lounge...arrived and were escorted almost immediately to the ship for lunch. I did not remember to snap a photo! I’m not a seasoned blogger! I do recall that the seats were the same as the seating in the general boarding area and they had coffee/tea/juice and some type of pastries/finger food out. It seemed quite large, but it was quite empty when we arrived.
  5. We did this sailing in March/April of this year on the Star, went through the old locks. I did a review ...trying for this first time to copy and paste a link on my iPad. Not sure if it will work..... On every sea day before we entered the locks there was a lecture in the theatre giving history etc about the Canal. Times and location was posted in the dailies. If for some reason you could not make the lecture, it was available that night on the tv. As lectures were given they were added to the tv and played in a loop continuously, even after you went through the Panama Canal if you wanted to, you could review them. During the transit through the Canal someone from the Panama Canal transit authority is on board on the PA system explaining what you are seeing, history etc. if you are in your room you just turn on your tv and put in on the channel that has the ncl announcements and you will hear her/him. If you are in the public common areas you will have no trouble hearing the person. A night (or 2-can’t recall) before entering the Canal a map and other information about the Crossing was left in our room. And after the transit we got a certificate with our names saying we went through the Panama Canal. Hopes this info is what you were looking for. Loved the whole day....it flew by. Have an amazing time!
  6. Ditto....would only frequent this establishment with either a platinum voucher or use one of your “free” spd’s. A few years ago the charge was $15 and at that price point I would say it was worth a visit.
  7. Thanks for this great review! It’s been several years since we have been on the dawn, quick question...can you use one of your “sdp meals” at Los lobos with an upcharge or did you just pay a la carte? I read your review in one sitting, if you already answered this question in an earlier post I obviously missed it....apologizing in advance!
  8. ....and exploring a different country every other day or so!
  9. If you go to Le Bistro a “must try” would be the mushroom soup.
  10. We were on the Star in April on a Panama Canal Cruise in cabin 9732. Here are the photos of the balcony In order to have breakfast on the balcony we had to bring the loungers into the room As you can see the balcony is quite small but we chose the wrap around feature as we also wanted a “side view” for the Panama Canal Crossing. I do not have any photos of the balconies on 10 but I am also under the impression that they are bigger. On the Jewel we were in an aft suite on the 10th deck and the balcony was HUGE. But I have no idea how it compares to the Star aft suites on 10. Here’s a photo of 10th on Jewel Not sure if this will help with your decision ...... but either way have an awesome cruise!
  11. Thanks for this great review. Just a quick question about your room - did you notice a lot of streaking on the windows? We have been on the Dawn before but in one of the family suites with balcony. Our next cruise is 22 days - to stretch our budget we booked a family suite without a balcony but I am a little concerned about the streaking problems reported on the windows by others on this board.
  12. Day 12 - Cartagena, Columbia Full cost of this excursion with NCL was $65pp. With our platinum discount and the $100 shore excursion credit our final cost was $8.50pp. Had a leisurely morning on the ship and were escorted of the ship for our 945am meeting time. Got on the bus and started our tour. Our first stop was the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas Fort. We got the history of the fort on the bus and then were given 10 minutes or so to take photos. We did not actually go into the fort. We then drive to what used to be an army barrack and is now a market We had about 25minutes to browse - they had the usual souvenir stuff but some of the shops were also unique local artist hand made products. Then we drive to Old Cartagena where we start our walking tour We go into the Spanish Inquistion Building Here we hear about some of the horrible things done in the name of religion. At one point on the walking tour we stop to watch a local artist paint on mirrors He’s very fast - it only takes him 2-3 minutes from start to finish. At the time I felt like this was “shopping stop” and didn’t appreciate it - now looking back I look at it as highlighting one of the local street artists. We then get some history on the local church We then stop to see a 10 minute show of local dancers. We really appreciated the air conditioning. I don’t think I mentioned yet that it was VERY HOT out. The show was okay. It only was about 10 minutes or so. As you are leaving there is a basket out for tips if so desired. We then had about 30 minutes of free time to wander around. Then it was back to the ship. There were beggars that were quite aggressive at both the fort and old Cartagena. Despite saying no they persisted for a bit. You would also be approached by people selling goods but one polite no thank you was all it took with the vendors. Although you are picked up right at the ship - you are dropped off at a very nice market/garden area. This is a map of this area where you can get snacks/souvenirs etc. Free WiFi was available. This is a very nice area - birds and monkeys walk around freely. The souvenirs/coffee available for sale in this area is the same as in town but more expensive. To save some dollars if you plan to shop do it in town. A complimentary shuttle bus is available from this area back to the ship I walked - its a good 10 minute brisk walk And that was our day in Cartagena.
  13. Day 11 - The Panama Canal! As the NCL Star is a smaller ship - we were able to go through the original locks. The night before in our cabin is our daily which gives you the approximate schedule for the day and a map that shows our route for the crossing At 630 am announcements start - we put on channel 13 on the TV so we can hear them in our room - this also gives you the front view of the journey. There are already a lot of people on deck 8 forward (which has been opened for viewing during the transit). We start the transit with breakfast on the balcony We order it for 8am and it arrives just as we are entering the Miraflores Locks. The view during breakfast We then wander to the front of the ship on deck 8 If you are not on the rail you really can’t see much. I had to ask someone if I could just squeeze in to take this photo. We did not stay here long. We thought we would wander around the ship - but because we had an aft and side view from our balcony & the front view from the TV - we stayed in our room/balcony for most of the transit. This a photo of the TV in our room showing us entering the Pedro Miguel Locks (2nd set of locks) Then this ship enters the Culebra Cut In the cut 2 ships our size can pass - but the Mega Ships (like the Bliss) will have no oncoming traffic. We then arrive in Gatun Lake - portions of it seem quite wide yet when ships pass each other they seem awfully close! We anchor in the Lake for about 45 minutes waiting our turn to enter the next sets of locks. This was a good time to grab lunch. Then we go through the Gatun Locks Leaving Gatun Locks It’s crazy how close the ship is to the lock walls! I was a little worried that the day may feel a bit repetitive towards the end. It was not! Absolutely loved the whole transit - time flew by! The narrative by the Panama Canal Port Authority person over the PA system was very good. But I would still recommend doing either some research ahead of time or going to those lectures offered on board to get more detail. So if you are considering a Panama Canal cruise you have some decisions. Full vs partial transit. Old locks (which means smaller ship) vs New locks. We wanted to see the old locks - but honestly any cruise through the Panama Canal I think would be amazing. The next day in our room we found this little memento Please feel free to ask questions!
  14. We did not pay extra for this package- it just happened to be a promotion that was offered in addition to the usual “free perks” at the time we booked. I’m not sure if it was offered for all categories but I do recall it was offered for at least the balcony level and higher ( it may have been available for all cabins - I’m sorry just can’t recall). And I do recall it was offered on many different sailings, not just our panama cruise.
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