Just an OK cruise with a few disappointments . . . we have sailed on Oceania before, this cruise one of our least favorite. Panama Canal from Miami to San Francisco. We did get to Cuba which was fascinating to say the least. We arranged a private tour for the two of us all day . . . $65/pp. Museums, walks through town and ride in a 57 Chevy convertible. Great guide, provided lots of information. For reasons unknown, we did not stop in Cartagena, all sorts of excuses from the bridge which irritated the majority of passengers. Technical problems with the engines, paperwork, all sorts of reasons for arriving three hours late, dropping anchor for two hours, and then just leaving, which no one believed. Everyone had tours booked and were looking forward to Colombia. Add one sea day. Panama canal was interesting. Day long passage but the guide brought on board pointed out a lot of things along the way to include history of the canal. In Costa Rica we had another private tour to see crocs and monkeys. Excellent boat ride down a river. Like to mention that we had private guides for every port, all arranged from recommendations by Cruise critic members. Two people, private car, air-conditioned, anywhere we wanted to go for less. Nicaragua was skipped due to “civil unrest” so lost out on our second port. Guatamala was excellent . . . private tour took us to Antigua, ride on a chicken bus (highlight of our trip), chocolate factory, and macaws and toucans. Acapulco was a dive, the town and beaches are filthy, roads terrible, traffic and congestion. The cliff divers were fun, and did a little sight seeing to spots that big stars frequented. Private tour of Johnny Wieissmuller’s Casa Tarzan Room at the Los Flamingos Hotel. Cary Grant, Red Skelton, John Wayne, etc. Cabo was breathtaking but we were only there for 5 hours. Another big disappointment but the ship just had to sail to get to San Fran on time. A couple more hours in Cabo would have made a huge difference. Tenders totally disorganized and independent travelers had to fight for tender tickets, yet every tender with “priority” Oceania tours left with empty seats. Like to reiterate, tenders were a mess. Once we were finally on shore, we took a short boat ride, saw tons of pelicans, crabs, exotic fish, sea lions, and awesome scenery. One place we will have to go back to. Supposedly, a group of around 18-20 in Acapulco came down with some intestinal issues from a lunch on their Oceania tour so the whole ship was placed on strict sanitation precautions. Stories changed in talking with other passengers so not sure of the source of GI problems. Regardless, the ship responded as one would expect . . . just put a damper on the rest of the cruise. Couldn’t touch anything, some passengers quarantined in their rooms, all food cooked thoroughly and some public places even closed. So another thing to have to put up with. No compensation for inconvenience or lost ports, of course. Oh, well, checked Cuba and Canal off the bucket list. But crew was very nice. Restaurant staff very friendly. Officers kept a low profile. Room nice, mixed reviews on the food, menu for the most part hasn’t changed or been updated in years, it seemed. Wine selection not exceptional but adequate once we found something we liked. After 10 sea days, it was time to go home.
One night on Miami Beach. Eclectic. Lots of fun. Pelican Hotel excellent.