Live(ish) from the Norwegian Star - Panama Canal

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#1
Calgary, Canada
25 Posts
Joined May 2017
I can’t believe I’ve finally been able to start writing this! I’ve been waiting for this moment since I first discovered CC this past spring. Tomorrow my friend and I head down to Los Angeles to start our 15 day vacation. On Friday we begin our 14 Day Panama Canal cruise on the Norwegian Star.


About us - we both are from Canada. I am 26 and my friend is 23. I know, we seem really young to be going on a cruise this long. In January. Well, I lived in London for a few years and came back to Canada to renew my visa. I worked at a company here while I waited so I could save money to move back. Unfortunately that never happened and I was left with a big pile of savings, having declined holiday opportunities over the past year because I was trying to save. To cheer me up after, my friend and I discussed where we should go. He wanted to head to a beach somewhere but I wanted to go bigger. So we started talking cruises.


Both of us had cruised previously with our families. I have done two Disney cruises (Caribbean) and one Royal Caribbean (Mediterranean). He has done one Mediterranean Princess cruise. But we were kids and we don’t remember it and our parents were there! I can get really type A when I get in the mood so when he rocked up at my house to review our cruise options I had prepared an entire PowerPoint presentation. We’re talking itinerary slides, cruise ship features, example shore excursions...even the estimated cost.


We narrowed it down to three options, a 10 day Panama Canal with Princess, 12 day Caribbean with RCCL or the 14 Panama Canal with Norwegian. We really honed in on the Panama Canal and ultimately went with Norwegian for a few reasons
  • Longer cruise length. I could wrangle about 2 weeks off of work and my friend doesn’t work in January (he’s a construction PM and Canada gets pretty cold)
  • Full transit West to East. For whatever reason hitting ports on the western side of Latin America appealed to us a lot. Maybe because the eastern ones we could always do on a Caribbean cruise? I don’t know
  • 50% port days/50% at sea. We really wanted to experience EVERYTHING and to do that we felt we needed a bit of everything. I know some people would just stay on the boat during one port (we wanted to see everywhere) and others - like my friend’s parents who are avid cruisers - try to pick cruises with the least amount of at sea days (but we also wanted to experience boat activities)
  • Price. Pretty self explanatory.
  • The UBP. We are young and we are bar stars. I remember the NCL rep apologized that we would have to pay a $233 service charge each for the package and we just laughed because that would have been our bar tab after the second day.


And so, in late April, I booked our cruise! Another nine months to go...


We decided to buy the six dinner SDP. Since we had so many days on our cruise we thought it was worth it to try out the different restaurants. 6 dinners was enough to try each specialty restaurant once and then repeat. I was able to make reservations without issue except for Teppanyaki. We’re planning on making a break for it when we board Friday to try and get a reso there.


We also decided to use Norwegian for all our shore excursions. I know they are more expensive but as it is our first time cruising without our parents, we just felt by using the ship it would remove some of our stress. I don’t regret this at all so far. It turns out I can put a price on peace of mind.


We booked our flights in August. As anyone from Canada knows, flying isn’t cheap. Multi-city round trip we were expecting to be at least $1000. Much to my surprise my friend booked them using Westjet’s $99 companion fare. The flights ended up being about $370 each, return. Our flight to Los Angeles will be direct and the day before. It was really important for us that we fly out a day earlier. With Canadian winters you just never know what to expect. We would be landing at noon which meant we’d have half a day to explore Los Angeles. I love LA so there was no problem there!


We debated a bit about our hotel in Los Angeles. We knew we wanted to go out in Santa Monica and West Hollywood, so a hotel near the port would be a lot of Uber money and time spent in traffic. But we didn’t want to stay in WeHo either, because of the Uber and traffic getting to the port. We ultimately chose the Comfort Inn in Hawthorne. It was pretty much equal distance between where we wanted to be Thursday and where we needed to be Friday. It also came with a free shuttle from the airport. It came to $132 for the night.


Our flight home is actually booked through Fort Lauderdale, not Miami. It leaves at 2:30 and connects in Toronto. We will get home around 9pm, which sounds great except we have to go to a wedding out of town the next morning. No rest for us.


Anyways, l’ll try and make this as live as possible but will depend on my internet connection. Stay tuned...


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~*~ Norwegian Star 14 Day Panama Canal (January 2018) ~*~
*** Boston/New York by Land (June 2018) ***
*** New Orleans by Land (October 2018) ***
~*~ Celebrity Equinox 7 Day Eastern Caribbean (January 2019) ~*~
#2
5,410 Posts
Joined May 2009
Sounds great. Hope you have a fantastic time. We've been through the PC twice, once in each direction. The PC is a fascinating and amazing accomplishment.
#3
Cochrane, Alberta, Canada
693 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
We, too, are from Canada...Cochrane which is near Calgary. We will be flying into LA tomorrow from Phoenix and joining you on the Star. We travel to the U.S. southwest in the cold winter months. We have sailed several times with NCL. You should have a great time.
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MATTIE00

Sun Princess, Australia March/April 2017
Dawn Princess, New Zealand February 2017
Norwegian Jade, Mediterranean March 2015
Norwegian Sun, Alaska July 2013
Norwegian Sun, Baltics June 2012
Norwegian Gem, Mediterranean June 2010
Norwegian Sun, South America April 2009
Amadeus Amalegro, Europe June 2007
Norwegian Star, Mexico February 2007
Norwegian Wind, Hawaii March 2005

#4
Seattle
132 Posts
Joined Jan 2015
Looking forward to hearing about your adventures on the Star.
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Future Cruises:
1.19 Western Caribbean - NCL Breakaway

Cruise history:
12.17 Caribbean - Celebrity Equinox
9.16 Pacific Northwest - Princess Crown
1.16 Eastern Caribbean - NCL Escape
9.15 West Coast - NCL Pearl
2.15 Eastern Caribbean - NCL Getaway

1.14 Mexican Riviera - Princess Sapphire
1.12 Eastern Caribbean - NCL Epic
1.11 Eastern Caribbean - NCL Epic
1.09 Mexican Riviera - NCL Star
8.07 Alaska - NCL Star
11.06 Hawaii - NCL Pride of Hawaii

2.06 Western Carribean - Princess Star
2.03 Mexican Riviera - Carnival
#5
Calgary, Canada
25 Posts
Joined May 2017
Originally posted by mattie00
We, too, are from Canada...Cochrane which is near Calgary. We will be flying into LA tomorrow from Phoenix and joining you on the Star. We travel to the U.S. southwest in the cold winter months. We have sailed several times with NCL. You should have a great time.
Hey! We are actually from Calgary! I’m legit a 10 minutes drive from Cochrane.
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~*~ Norwegian Star 14 Day Panama Canal (January 2018) ~*~
*** Boston/New York by Land (June 2018) ***
*** New Orleans by Land (October 2018) ***
~*~ Celebrity Equinox 7 Day Eastern Caribbean (January 2019) ~*~
#6
1,044 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by Drdarkknight
Hey! We are actually from Calgary! I’m legit a 10 minutes drive from Cochrane.
Small world! I lived in Cochrane and NW Calgary, now in BC! While I won’t be on this cruise with you, I will be on this exact itinerary LA to Miami on Feb 2nd! Looking forward to hearing about your experiences. Happy sailing! Looking forward to being on the Star in 30 days.
#9
Calgary, Canada
25 Posts
Joined May 2017
<p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69);"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">After hardly any sleep I woke up at 6am to head to the airport. Stupid rules on how early you need to leave to go to the airport.</span></p><p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69); min-height: 20.3px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;"></span><br></p><p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69);"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">We got to the airport and I’m pretty sure I’m cursed. First I couldn’t print a baggage tag through the kiosk so we had to go speak to a real person. Then I got randomly selected for a bag check before security. Which happens, but I have a Nexus card and get to go in a special line for security and customs so you’d think I’d be faster than my friend, who was in the normal line. Then my bag got pulled at security. TWO BAG CHECKS.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69); min-height: 20.3px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;"></span><br></p><p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69);"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Anyways now that we had 90 minutes to kill...we were starving. So we went to some beer garden in the terminal. I had a classic breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast with a mimosa; my friend had eggs benedict and a beer. Yes, it was 8am and we were already drinking but hey we’re on holiday!&nbsp;</span></p><p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69); min-height: 20.3px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;"></span><br></p><p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69);"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">The plane left about ten minutes late. I saw a lot of flights for the east coast were being cancelled so I for sure can’t complain. It was a quick three hour flight and then we arrived in Los Angeles. Our hotel provides a free shuttle and check in was quick and painless.</span></p><p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69); min-height: 20.3px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;"></span><br></p><p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69);"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Afterwards we were starving and decided to head to Santa Monica. I visit this part of Los Angeles every time I’m here but this was my friend’s second time in the city (essentially the first as he was a child last time). We were hoping to eat a Bubba Gino’s but there was a massive queue of people so we carried on down the pier to Mariasol, the restaurant at the very end of the pier. Given how busy the pier was we were surprised to be seated immediately, and overlooking the water. If it had been closer to sunset it would have been a dream.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69); min-height: 20.3px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;"></span><br></p><p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69);"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">The restaurant brought us some complimentary tortilla chips with salsa, which was AMAZING. I ordered a strawberry daiquiri to drink, which was also very good. Unfortunately the food wasn’t so much. I ordered tacos and they were so disappointing. No cheese, no salsa. They had something resembling this on the side but it was the bare minimum. My friend ordered enchiladas and loved them, so maybe I just got the wrong thing. One final thing - we felt incredibly rushed. We were in and out in 40 minutes. We didn’t even have a chance to think about another drink or dessert.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69); min-height: 20.3px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;"></span><br></p><p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69);"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">After lunch we went to walk the beach. It was about an hour or so until sunset, which is what I was waiting for. My legs got tired and I suggested we sit down. I thought we’d get bored but we ended up just chatting away which resulted in a very rewarding sunset.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69); min-height: 20.3px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;"></span><br></p><p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69);"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Once the sun went down we wandered the Third Street Promenade and drank a massive margarita at Cabo Cantina. It was DELICIOUS. Then we hopped in an Uber and headed to dinner in Marina Del Rey. The restaurant is called Chart House and from what I understand it is a franchise of sorts. The food was amazing. I ordered the oysters, lobster bisque and salmon. The salmon was the most disappointing but the other two were great. My friend also ordered the lobster bisque as well as Filet Mignon with lobster tail. We also split two bottles of wine. Whoops.&nbsp;</span></p><p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69); min-height: 20.3px;"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;"></span><br></p><p>















</p><p style="font-stretch: normal; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; font-family: &quot;.SF UI Text&quot;; color: rgb(69, 69, 69);"><span style="font-family: &quot;.SFUIText&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">The view from our seats was great - overlooking the marina, though unfortunately it was a bit too dark. We would love to come back in summer. After dinner we called another Uber and headed back to the hotel to go to bed. Early for us but well-deserved after our long day. Plus, our cruise starts tomorrow! Why be tired?!</span></p>
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~*~ Norwegian Star 14 Day Panama Canal (January 2018) ~*~
*** Boston/New York by Land (June 2018) ***
*** New Orleans by Land (October 2018) ***
~*~ Celebrity Equinox 7 Day Eastern Caribbean (January 2019) ~*~
#10
Calgary, Canada
25 Posts
Joined May 2017
Ahh it’s finally cruise day! We woke up at 9 so we could take advantage of the hotel’s continental breakfast since we didn’t know how long it would take to actually get on the boat. We had been asked to select our boarding time in advance and we said we’d be arriving at the pier at 11. We called an Uber and left our hotel at 10:30.


We arrived at the pier promptly at 11 and headed straight to passenger check-in. Hardly any line - great! Okay, to be fair, they literally decided to open up the second half of the terminal check-in booths as soon as we got there. We were sitting waiting to board by 11:20 thinking ‘this is just great’ when we realized something....we still had ALL our luggage. I guess we kept thinking someone would take them eventually. I still have no idea what we were supposed to do with them, but we ended up taking our bags all the way with us.


Then we noticed a lot of people in the seats near us starting to leave. We had boarding card 12 but the guy was letting everyone go. Works for us. We board the boat and much to our surprise they had a luggage drop off area - so us accidentally taking our bags with us wasn’t the end of the world.


After putting our bags in the holding area we went to Spinnaker Lounge to try to get the final dinner restaurant we wanted - Teppanyaki. We got it! From there we went to Versailles for lunch. In my pre-cruise research I’d heard it was better to go to a main dining room for lunch and I would have to agree. We were seated immediately at the back of the restaurant, where there was a great view of the port. The restaurant never got too busy. I ordered calamari, shrimp penne and peanut butter cup cheesecake - all of which were amazing.


From lunch we went to explore the ship. And by that I mean we ended up in the Beer Garden. Once we heard the announcement that our rooms were ready we went to collect our luggage. We went to our room which was not big but definitely bigger than we were anticipating. We actually unpacked! Our mothers would be so proud! Then we toured the ship, for real this time. We drank at the pool bar where we met a lovely couple from the same province in Canada as us. We chatted with them for awhile and then it was time for our muster drill in the Stardust Theatre.


Once that was complete we went back to our room to get dressed for dinner. I know Norwegian doesn’t make you dress up but I LOVE dressing up. So I got all fancy and then we went back to the pool for the sail away. We actually met another person from our province. So weird - everyone we’d met so far was literally within three minutes from where we live. It was a good sail away except too short and also...we didn’t sail away for another hour. So we were actually at dinner when we sailed away.


For dinner we went to Cagney’s. I had the lump crab salad, the grilled shrimp with Cagney’s fries and Oreo cheesecake. It was a very good meal. I wasn’t particularly fond of the fries but I’m not a fries person. I ordered them based on reputation. I wish I could have finished the cheesecake but unfortunately it was just tooooo much.


We had about twenty minutes to kill so we had a drink and it was chilly! I know, it’s so pathetic coming from people who live in Canada. At 8pm we went to the Spinnaker Lounge for Where in the World trivia. I thought I had a pretty good idea but I did...not good. Then we headed to the Stardust Theatre for the Welcome Variety Show. They gave a preview of some of the entertainment. There was the Norwegian entertainment staff, a magician/contortionist duo called White Magic, some Russian acrobats and a comedian. I would go see all the entertainment shows previewed.


Once that was done we headed back to Spinnaker for a game called Sing it If you Know It. It was different. It’s like Name That Tune except you have to book it to the stage and start singing and then try to get people up dancing with you. I felt bad for the entertainment staff - I think they were expecting more people. They even delayed the start of the game in the hope people were making their way there after the show, but I don’t think many did.



This trend stayed true for the next activity in Spinnaker, the Welcome Aboard party. I think there were maybe 50 of us there? A fair amount were dancing though and the DJ played good music. I had anticipated a very heavy selection of older music and was pleasantly surprised that he had a 50/50 split between the older stuff and newer. Around midnight people started to trickle out and last call ended up being early, 12:30. Somehow we managed to stay up until 1:30. I wouldn’t say we were drunk, but we were definitely not sober... it’s okay, it’s an at sea day up next
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~*~ Norwegian Star 14 Day Panama Canal (January 2018) ~*~
*** Boston/New York by Land (June 2018) ***
*** New Orleans by Land (October 2018) ***
~*~ Celebrity Equinox 7 Day Eastern Caribbean (January 2019) ~*~
#11
Central Illinois
137,341 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Looking forward to following this, thanks!
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Bob

Past Cruises

Celebrity: Mercury
RCCL: Adventure, Allure, Brilliance, Enchantment, Explorer, Freedom, Independence, Jewel, Legend, Liberty, Majesty, Mariner, Monarch, Navigator, Oasis, Radiance, Rhapsody, Serenade, Sovereign, Vision, Voyager
#12
West Haddon, UK
4,835 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
My brother and sister in law are on this cruise with you, so I'll be following along to see what you all get up to! Hope you go through the old locks on the canal, as the new ones look a bit too clinical...no soul!

Simon
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[email protected]


Past Cruises
Nov 2003 Legend of the Seas [Panama Canal]
Jun 2005 Radiance of the Seas [Alaska]
Jan 2007 Freedom of the Seas [W. Carib.]
Apr/May 2007 Sapphire Princess [Sydney - LA]
May 2008 Navigator of the Seas [W. Med. 3 B2B's]
Nov/Dec 2009 Independence of the Seas [TA W'bnd]
Dec 2009/Jan 2010 Explorer of the Seas [E. Carib B2B]
Jul 2010 Celebrity Eclipse [ Baltic ports ]
Feb/Mar 2012 Celebrity Infinity [S. America & Panama Canal B2B]
Jul 2013 Celebrity Eclipse [Iceland & Norwegian Fjords]
Apr/May 2015 Oasis of the Seas [West & East Caribbean B2B]
Dec 2015 P&O Ventura [Xmas to the Canaries]
Sep 2016 Independence of the Sea [Iberia]
Sep 2017 Anthem of the Seas [New England, Canada & Bermuda B2B]
#14
Calgary, Canada
25 Posts
Joined May 2017
I woke up around 9:45 on our first at sea day. I couldn’t believe how comfy the bed was! I dragged my butt to the Market Cafe for breakfast before it closed and it was crazy busy. Afterwards I met up with my friend and we froze our butt off by the pool until 11. That’s right, it was soooo cold. It was really windy. I’ve been fighting a cold since before New Year’s and this cold was not helping. I felt pretty drained.


We headed to La Cucina at 11 for the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet. It was cool to be able to put faces to the people who run the ship. I had dragged my friend to the meeting (I forgot to mention it) but he ended up signing up for the slot pull.


Once that was finished we went back to the pool, eventually heading back to the Market Cafe for lunch. I had the most amazing turkey chilli! It was so spicy I loved it. By this point I was feeling a bit more alive but ultimately decided to head back to the room for a shower and a lie down before the afternoon activities I wanted to attend got started. I also decided to get the internet 250 minute package because I am an addict. My friend and I had bought the texting package on the iconcierge app after we realized he was going to spend the day drinking by the pool whereas I would be jumping all over the boat. So far the texting has worked great, though admittedly we’ve only used it to discuss the bucket of beer my friend ordered.


I went down to Gatsby’s for 2pm to attend an art history lecture because I am a nerd. Turns out there’s a lot of other nerdy people too because that place ended up completely PACKED. And I just have to say the lecture was bloody fantastic. The speaker (can’t remember his name but he does the art auctions too) went through the 20 most influential painters over the last 500 years of art history. He was a very good speaker. I took several art history classes in university but I learned lots of things I’d never heard before. This lecture has definitely been the highlight of my trip this far.


From there I headed to Spinnaker. I had a solid 45 minutes until Bingo would start but that didn’t seem like enough time to bother going back to the room. So I headed there and sat around for 45 minutes. I managed to not have to fight for a table at least. Holy crap bingo is expensive. I got the cheapest option which was still $39 for three cards per round. Closer to start time a lady asked if she could sit with me so I chatted with her for a bit. Bingo lasted about 45 minutes and was fun. I never win. I don’t just lose, I lose spectacularly. I think I’ve elevated it to an art form. Like, we’re talking going an entire round with no numbers called. So it didn’t surprise me that I didn’t win this time either.


It was Norwegian’s Night Out tonight so I went back to the room after bingo to get dressed. I always dress fancy in the evenings but it was nice to see some other people get all gussied up. We went to La Cucina for dinner and were sat right by the window. I really enjoyed this restaurant, which is Italian. I ate the beef carpaccio, shrimp risotto, seared salmon and tiramisu. The food was delicious.


Following dinner we went to the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar for what was advertised as the 18-25 Meet Up but was very much not. We stayed there for a drink anyways before my friend wanted to go to the casino. Of course. I chatted with one of the dealers about life on a cruise ship and soon it was time to head to Spinnaker for a game show called The Perfect Couple. The place was packed full of people and it was hard to find a seat. That didn’t end up mattering though, because we ended up competing.


We thought it was going to just be a trivia contest but it for sure was not. First I had to slide a lemon up, over and down his pant leg. Then I had to use a long stick between my legs and poke a hole in some toilet paper between his legs, blindfolded. Finally, I had to run with a balloon between my legs and pop it on his crotch and bum. Somehow we won! And it was a good prize, too - a bottle of champagne, a t-shirt, a coaster, a champagne glass, a beer cozy, a deck of cards and a flashlight keychain. All I had to trade was my dignity.



We had intended to go to the show from there, which was the music of Burt Bacharach, but we were laughing so hard over the contest we missed it. We went back to the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar before heading to the casino once again. We crawled into bed around midnight, which is early for us. But we wanted to be well-rested for our first port tomorrow - Cabo!
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~*~ Norwegian Star 14 Day Panama Canal (January 2018) ~*~
*** Boston/New York by Land (June 2018) ***
*** New Orleans by Land (October 2018) ***
~*~ Celebrity Equinox 7 Day Eastern Caribbean (January 2019) ~*~
#15
United States
99 Posts
Joined Aug 2015
Congrats on winning the contest!! Ha!!!! That's great.

Loving your TR so far! Thanks for sharing!
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Norwegian Bliss - November 2018 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean
Norwegian Star - March 2018 - 7 Night Mexican Riviera - CANCELED; Heartbreaking flight delay
Norwegian Epic - March 2016 - 12 Night Mediterranean
Carnival Sensation - April 2005 - 5 Night Western Caribbean
Carnival Victory - September 2003 - 5 Night Canada
#16
1,107 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
We just completed our PC cruise a few weeks ago and I’m ready to read of your adventures. I laughed out loud about trading your dignity for the prize in The Perfect Couple show. Keep it coming I can’t wait to read more.
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2018 Norwegian Jade 4 day Cozumel https://boards.cruisecritic.com/show....php?t=2592418
2017 Norwegian Star Panama Canal full transit https://boards.cruisecritic.com/show....php?t=2577896
2016 Norwegian Epic E. Caribbean http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...highlight=epic
2016 Norwegian Jade W. Caribbean http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...highlight=jade
2015 Norwegian Dawn W. Caribbean
2014 Norwegian Star Panama Canal full transit http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2130707
2011 Carnival Valor W. Caribbean
2009 MS Giselle Nile River Cruise
2005 RCI Rhapsody of the Seas W. Caribbean

Future cruises:
2018 NCL Jade British Isles
2019 Holland Alaskan Cruise/Tour
2020 NCL Epic ABC cruise
#17
7 Posts
Joined Dec 2017
Originally posted by cpcanuck
Small world! I lived in Cochrane and NW Calgary, now in BC! While I won’t be on this cruise with you, I will be on this exact itinerary LA to Miami on Feb 2nd! Looking forward to hearing about your experiences. Happy sailing! Looking forward to being on the Star in 30 days.
we are also on the 2rd feb PC cruise, my first cruise
#19
Halifax, Nova Scotia
1,102 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Following along.

I so debated doing Panama on the Star February 2019 but I keep thinking I will not like the ship as it's older so talked myself out of it. That and the cost would be so high as I would want to have a balcony for that long a trip, I would miss having a balcony as I spend mornings and nights out there just enjoying the calm and the sound of the ocean. I have been on somewhat smaller ships (NCL Pearl) and like them but an even older NCL ship I'm not so sure about. I was on Celebrity Summit which was older and small and I was fine with it but it had a port everyday so that changes things a lot.

Soooooo I changed to another 11 day instead on a newer Celebrity ship. Then I see another review like this and I wait to hear if it's gonna be good or not and whether I made the right choice. Panama would be so nice but they are so pricey and for us Canadians we have to add additional exchange to it all ...

Hope you have a great trip.
#20
Calgary, Canada
25 Posts
Joined May 2017
My alarm went off at 9 signalling it was time to get up and ready for Cabo. After breakfast at the Market Cafe we headed down to the Stardust Theatre to wait for our excursion to start.


We booked the Baja Highlights Tour. Shortly after our meet up time of 10:20 we were unleashed onto the lower deck to catch our tender to Cabo. From there we were ushered into our bus with our tour guide, Daniel. Our tour ran from 11 to 3:30. We were first taken to a scenic overlook where we could see Land’s End and El Arco. We were also given a complimentary drink - pop, water or beer. Obviously we picked the beer. The overlook was actually a restaurant but I can’t recall the name. Something Mona Lisa. It’s an Italian joint. If I ever come to Cabo I’ll for sure go have dinner there for the view alone.


After that we headed through the hotel zone to a town called San Jose. I didn’t expect this as part of the excursion and was initially a bit put off, especially when I found out we would be stopping there for an hour. Even more so when certain shops and restaurants were ‘recommended’ to us. Boy, was I wrong. It was the highlight of the whole excursion. We spent the first 35 minutes walking the streets which were so quaint and colourful. Once street had all these colourful doily flags hanging between the buildings. There was a lady standing outside a bar who told us to come visit when we were done. We actually did head back there because we appreciated the fact that, unlike many people outside their shops/bars, she invited us back when we were done, instead of right then, right now. I made two purchases while we were wandering the streets. I bought my mother a mosaic candle holder from one shop and further down the town I purchased a good friend of mine a Day of the Dead bride. She loves that sort of thing and won’t be expecting a gift, so it felt really good picking this up for her. Then we returned to the bar where the lady had spoken with us earlier. I believe it was called the Just One More Restobar and it was amazing! Very cute and eclectic and the staff were lovely. They have a rooftop patio with a view of the street with all the fancy flags and the mountains in the background. Also, we each got a beer and it only came to $4.


After meeting up with our tour we headed back to Cabo where we visited a glass blowing factory. I also wasn’t expecting this and was again a bit unimpressed because I’ve been to glass blowing factories a million times. This was really enjoyable though. The demonstration lasted about 7 minutes and in that time they made both a turtle wearing a sombrero drinking a tequila bottle as well as a vase. They would throw paper in the seemingly-finished products that would immediately light on fire to prove how hot they were. Thankfully the shopping time didn’t last long and we were back at the pier for 3:30.


We hopped on a tender back to the boat and I was taking photographs of the marina when everyone spotted a seal. Myself and a lot of passengers took some photos when all of a sudden a boat came along that looked like it was going to hit the seal! But nope, not only did the seal dodge the boat there was another one that had flopped back onto it’s...trunk? Back seat? And was hitching a ride! It was hilarious.


We got back to the boat and went for a drink at the pool. Keep in mind we hadn’t eaten ALL DAY. It’s fine, we survived. I went back to the room to get ready for dinner. Tonight we went to Versailles. I reserved the main dining rooms for our port days. For tonight’s menu I ordered the salmon tartare, Cajun shrimp and the chocolate lava cake which were all good. The service was faster at the main dining rooms than the specialty.


After dinner we went and had a drink at the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar before heading to the Stardust Theatre. For tonight they had a mentalist. So he basically was a magician who used some mind skills to make people do his bidding. So basically me at my most passive aggressive. My friend left after the first trick because it ‘wasn’t his scene’ which henceforth will mean he wanted to go to the casino. But it was a good show regardless.


Shortly before 8:30 we met up in the casino and I dragged him to Spinnaker for the Who Wants to Bazillionaire game show. Weirdly/ironically the first contestant was one of the ladies we went up against in the Perfect Couples contest. Even weirder was my friend ended up being the next contestant. He won a fair amount of prizes though it was largely items we won the night before.


From there we went back to the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar for karaoke. This was our first time. We LOVE karaoke but we’re hesitant to do any because everyone was so good. This is a common trend I’ve found on the cruise ships I’ve been on. Karaoke is made up of amazingly talented people, whereas back home everyone is pretty average or worse. Not to impune everyone else’s talent (my sister is a professional musical theatre singer) but it makes it very intimidating.


We had a lovely couple next to us who knew all the songs. After enough drinks I decided to register for it and after looking for many, many songs that they didn’t have available I eventually found Sugar, We’re Going Down by Fall Out Boy. The lady who had been sitting next to me all night definitely helped - she was so e enthusiastic. A short while later one man had the wrong song playing which we didn’t realize (we being the two of us and the couple next to us) and we got so into it before they stopped. When they ran out of singers I asked the girl next to me if she’d like the sing the aforementioned song and she said yes. The four of us got up and sang One More Night by Maroon 5. It was such a great experience to have with relative strangers. Before they left the lady and I made plans to do another song later in the cruise.


Following karaoke we planned on heading straight to the club but we headed outside first where we ended up meeting a guy also from Canada. The three of us chat for a bit before we went our separate ways. My friend and I headed to Spinnaker for their club night and they were playing some pretty good music. There were a fair amount of younger people on the dance floor which was nice. We actually requested a few rap songs by Kendrick Lamar and Jay Z. We were pretty much the only people dancing but I enjoyed myself because I love rap music. I went and spoke with DJ Trapp afterwards to thank him for playing our requests and he said he was happy to do it, and he didn’t expect anyone to request rap songs.



They did last call so we grabbed another drink and headed outside. I started to feel pretty done shortly after that, mostly because I was tired but also because I hardly ate today, which meant I was a bit drunk. So staying outside didn’t last long and we were in bed by 1:30 (2:30 with the time change). Tomorrow is another sea day.
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