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We're booked for March on the Sea Lion. Although we're not hard core adventure types, we like the small ship experience and have been on Cruise West before. Looking for reviews of the days in Costa Rica.
Hi Bluescruiser: My family just returned from the Panama Canal/Costa Rica trip on the Sea Lion (including a three-day extension to the Monteverde Cloud Forest). It was one of the best trips we've ever taken. My wife and I took our two adult sons (ages 26 and 21).
This was our first Lindblad/Nat'l Geo trip and it won't be our last. I've cruised once before on the Queen Mary 2, and frankly found that ship's glitz and glamor to be downright boring.
The Sea Lion has little glitz (although it is comfortable) but the trip sure isn't boring. Wake-up calls were typically at 6:30 a.m. every day, and we were finished with breakfast and ready for the first excursion by 8 or 8:30 a.m.
Of course, you'll get to see close-up the fascinating workings of the Panama Canal. But for us, the real attractions were the excursions to such places as the Barro Colorado Island, a research center for naturalists, and several isolated islands and national parks that you'll have almost to yourself, where you can snorkel, hike, kayak, or just sunbathe.
The on-board naturalists are fantastic guides to the Central American rain forests. I learned all the biology and ecology I slept through or missed in school. They keep you on the go, although activities always include less strenuous options and you can always stay on the boat if you don't feel like going out.
Cabins are roomy enough and there's storage space for suitcases under the beds (although my 6-foot frame barely fit). There are only about 60 guests on board, so you get to know everyone pretty quickly.
The on-board dining was typically quite good, and always included a fish dish along with other options.
I know this review has been all over the map, but if you have any specific questions I'll try to help. After this experience, we can't wait to do another trip with the Lindblad/National Geographic folks.
We also did this cruise with Lindblad, plus the extension, a few years ago during Christmas. It was an incredible trip; the highlight for us being the trip through the Canal. We began the crossing just as dinner was beginning, so 4 of us took our dinner up to the deck and sat on the deck in front of the Bridge for the next 6 hours! We ate our dinner, dessert, coffee and then had something to drink as the ship made its journey through the Canal. An unforgetable experience. We have also traveled to the Galapagos (and Machu Pichu) with Lindblad, and will experience Alaska with them Summer 2011. They are a class organization.
We had to cancel our trip on the Sea Lion last year, but are gettinbg ready to try it again. Are there any stops at ports...small villages...with shops on this itinerary? Will we be able to survive 14 days with just beaches.....I know heaven, right?
We just booked the Costa Rica/Panama Canal Trip with the Monteverde Cloud Forest pre trip. This starts in Costa Rica and ends at Panama City.
Seeing that Lindblad doesn't have separate Roll Calls, we were wondering if there are any others out there that will be on this trip with us.
Date and cabin for Seal Lion to Panama and Costa Rica
We are about to book this trip.
1) Are the cabins all about the same? Is there a noise problem with the category 1 cabins? Any other differences, preferences, cautions?
2) The cruise runs from Nov thru March. Any differences with temperature, rain, wildlife availability? Local holidays?
3) I am a very amateur photographer. Is a photo cruise really different from a non photo cruise?
Any other advice?
Thanks for your help.