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ClevelandKid

Panama Canal and Central America

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Hi,

 

Looking for any reviews/feedback for anyone who has been on this cruise.  I understand there was a version of this a couple of years ago that included Cuba - looking for info on the non-Cuba part.  Costa Rica is the only stop I am familiar with as a tourist.  I have been to Honduras, but that was in the central part of the country, not up by Roatan.

Thanks for any info!

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On 4/14/2020 at 8:18 PM, ClevelandKid said:

Hi,

 

Looking for any reviews/feedback for anyone who has been on this cruise.  I understand there was a version of this a couple of years ago that included Cuba - looking for info on the non-Cuba part.  Costa Rica is the only stop I am familiar with as a tourist.  I have been to Honduras, but that was in the central part of the country, not up by Roatan.

Thanks for any info!

We have done this cruise on Princess 2 or three times. If you haven’t been through the Panama Canal, it is a thrill and fascinating. There is some great (and disturbing) history to learn. We are taking this cruise late December. It’s our first with Viking.

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Been through Panama Canal well over 20 times and I'm still one of the first out on deck and spend the entire day on deck. Never tire of the scenery or technology.

 

Only ever been through the old locks and if truth be known, no desire to see the new ones.

 

Other ports are fillers, as the Canal is the main attraction

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On 4/18/2020 at 9:59 PM, rbslos18 said:

We have done this cruise on Princess 2 or three times. If you haven’t been through the Panama Canal, it is a thrill and fascinating. There is some great (and disturbing) history to learn. We are taking this cruise late December. It’s our first with Viking.

Thank you - did you hit the same ports as Viking will?  Any tidbits on those?  Once again, thanks for sharing your experience!

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12 hours ago, ClevelandKid said:

Thank you - did you hit the same ports as Viking will?  Any tidbits on those?  Once again, thanks for sharing your experience!

Yes. We have been to all of the ports. They are nice to visit. The attraction of this cruise for us are the days at sea and it's  the exact days we have off!  It is also a chance for us to experience our first Viking Cruise. Did you go to High School in Cleveland. I'm a Heights High Grad.

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34 minutes ago, rbslos18 said:

Yes. We have been to all of the ports. They are nice to visit. The attraction of this cruise for us are the days at sea and it's  the exact days we have off!  It is also a chance for us to experience our first Viking Cruise. Did you go to High School in Cleveland. I'm a Heights High Grad.

Life long University Heights resident (so I would be in the Heights High district).  My wife and her siblings all graduated from Heights High (I think she was in the class of '77), I am a St. Iggy grad myself.  Except for the model of cars, the Heights would look very much the same as when you went to school here.  However, Heights High got a complete makeover so it looks very different.

 

The first cruise we did in 2018 had a couple of unplanned sea days because bad weather kept us from going into the port.  The second cruise we did in February we did a shore excursion every day, and while it was fun we realized we liked the days off, hence our interest in this cruise.  Prior to Covid, I am not sure if this was a cruise Viking would offer again, as shore excursions are a large part of both the attraction and revenue stream. They do not have it listed for 2022. Now with Covid, I suspect they will offer it again, and have other cruises with more sea days.

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2 hours ago, ClevelandKid said:

Life long University Heights resident (so I would be in the Heights High district).  My wife and her siblings all graduated from Heights High (I think she was in the class of '77), I am a St. Iggy grad myself.  Except for the model of cars, the Heights would look very much the same as when you went to school here.  However, Heights High got a complete makeover so it looks very different.

 

The first cruise we did in 2018 had a couple of unplanned sea days because bad weather kept us from going into the port.  The second cruise we did in February we did a shore excursion every day, and while it was fun we realized we liked the days off, hence our interest in this cruise.  Prior to Covid, I am not sure if this was a cruise Viking would offer again, as shore excursions are a large part of both the attraction and revenue stream. They do not have it listed for 2022. Now with Covid, I suspect they will offer it again, and have other cruises with more sea days.

 

Small world. I also grew up in University Heights on Channing Road. I went to Northwood Elementary and then Wiley Jr. High.

 

If you like sea days, this should be great. We are scheduled for the 12/20 sailing. We have done 30+ cruises but the trend toward mega ships and the growing absence of promenade decks isn’t for us. We love sea days. We have done all of these ports multiple times. We can’t wait to do transatlantic cruises with Viking once we retire.

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5 minutes ago, rbslos18 said:

Small world. I also grew up in University Heights on Channing Road. I went to Northwood Elementary and then Wiley Jr. High.

 

If you like sea days, this should be great. We are scheduled for the 12/20 sailing. We have done 30+ cruises but the trend toward mega ships and the growing absence of promenade decks isn’t for us. We love sea days. We have done all of these ports multiple times. We can’t wait to do transatlantic cruises with Viking once we retire.

We too have a booking on the 12/20 sailing but are a bit apprehensive with regard to COVID being "over" by then. Also concerned with the possible lingering COVID situation in the ports of this itinerary. 100% sea days would be fine with me but probably not with the Mrs. Have you no concerns?

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23 minutes ago, lextrvlr said:

We too have a booking on the 12/20 sailing but are a bit apprehensive with regard to COVID being "over" by then. Also concerned with the possible lingering COVID situation in the ports of this itinerary. 100% sea days would be fine with me but probably not with the Mrs. Have you no concerns?

I’m not concerned at this time. Look where we were 8 months ago and where we are today. A lot can happen over the next 8 months. There may be widespread testing available. A vaccine albeit unlikely may be available this year. The best and brightest throughout the world are working on this. The entire world economy has shut down. Eventually someone somewhere will get this under control. When—no one knows!

The bottom line is we are in uncharted territory. It’s like predicting the direction of the stock market.

Given the images of cruise ships at sea unable to dock full of sick cruisers and staff and with morgues full, I trust Viking will be very prudent in deciding when to resume cruises.

 

We have plenty of time to see how this develops. Stay tuned!

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4 hours ago, rbslos18 said:

 

Small world. I also grew up in University Heights on Channing Road. I went to Northwood Elementary and then Wiley Jr. High.

 

If you like sea days, this should be great. We are scheduled for the 12/20 sailing. We have done 30+ cruises but the trend toward mega ships and the growing absence of promenade decks isn’t for us. We love sea days. We have done all of these ports multiple times. We can’t wait to do transatlantic cruises with Viking once we retire.

Went the parochial route - Gesu, St. Iggy, John Carroll.  Northwood is gone and is now a city park.

 

We haven't done a cruise on a different line, so I can't say you will like it more than...  But, we have been very happy with our cruises on Viking, they take very good care of you.  There is enough of a variety to make the meals interesting (check out the Chef's table).

In response to lextrvlr, I think what Viking will do, is first (obviously) lock down the ship, making sure everyone coming on is clean and clear.  How they do that I am not sure, but if I was an investing man, I would be on blood tests getting a lot better.  Next, they will have to lock down the shore excursions - shopping will be out, beach time (on appropriate cruises) will be on isolated beaches.  Tour guides will have to be clean and clear, and tour vehicles will have to be disinfected between uses.  And no mixing with the local populace, no matter what.  I suspect that will be the norm through at least the early part of 2021.  Hopefully by then a vaccine will either be ready or nearing the end of clinical trials.

Fingers crossed!!

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On 4/14/2020 at 7:18 PM, ClevelandKid said:

Hi,

 

Looking for any reviews/feedback for anyone who has been on this cruise.  I understand there was a version of this a couple of years ago that included Cuba - looking for info on the non-Cuba part.  Costa Rica is the only stop I am familiar with as a tourist.  I have been to Honduras, but that was in the central part of the country, not up by Roatan.

Thanks for any info!

Hi, ClevelandKid.  We did this cruise earlier this year (Jan/Feb).  I don't really have time to compose a review, but I'd be happy to try and answer any questions you may have.

Tim

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, PlanoTim said:

Hi, ClevelandKid.  We did this cruise earlier this year (Jan/Feb).  I don't really have time to compose a review, but I'd be happy to try and answer any questions you may have.

Tim

Thanks Tim,

I guess I have two main areas for questions - given the number of sea days (which for us is an attraction), I was wondering what Viking does for its passengers on those days?  I was also wondering, with all passengers on board and awake how crowded some parts of the ship got?  Especially the parts of the ship that are out in the sunshine.

The second is, after 2 cruises, we have found that some shore excursions are hit/miss.  In the promo paragraph, they all sound great, but some work much better than others.  Did you  have a favorite?

Thanks,

Pat

 

Edited by ClevelandKid

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1 hour ago, ClevelandKid said:

Thanks Tim,

I guess I have two main areas for questions - given the number of sea days (which for us is an attraction), I was wondering what Viking does for its passengers on those days?  I was also wondering, with all passengers on board and awake how crowded some parts of the ship got?  Especially the parts of the ship that are out in the sunshine.

The second is, after 2 cruises, we have found that some shore excursions are hit/miss.  In the promo paragraph, they all sound great, but some work much better than others.  Did you  have a favorite?

Thanks,

Pat

 

Pat,

We enjoy sea days too.  I never felt that the ship was crowded on sea days.  I can tell you that we were able to find deck space every time we tried.  I like shade more and wish there was more space in shade on the upper decks, though.  The lounge beds in the Lanai were usually occupied on sea days, but I usually prefer spaces that are more out in the air.  I was able to spend some time in the Lanai during the Jamaica day when I chose to stay onboard.  We spent some time on the Aquavit terrace (mostly in the sun), which was nice.  There are also some loungers (mostly in the sun) and other comfy furniture on Deck 8 that we used.

 

We were never bored on sea days.  We were traveling with my three sisters and their spouses, so we had plenty of built-in entertainment.  I can tell you that we enjoyed the trivia and the Name That Tune in the Explorer’s lounge on sea days.  There were some wine/spirit tastings that were good.  We also had a blast at the Kitchen Table.  Check with the folks at guest services to arrange those.  We did the “Caribbean” Kitchen Table experience on a sea day and thought it was well worth the fee.  The Caribbean one isn’t done as much as the others (French, Italian?), so the chef had fun with it too.

 

As for excursions, we enjoyed each one.  We did the Trolley or Conch Train Tour in Key West.  We rode the Trolley for maybe ¾ of the way and then got off and did our own thing as we ate and drank our way back to the ship.  It was a fun day.

 

In Cozumel we did the Salsa & Salsa excursion and it was really fun.  We hung around the resort for a while after the Salsa & Salsa part was done and then they arranged for a cab to take us the short way back to the ship.

 

 Belize was lots of fun with the Sharks, Rays & Island Getaway excursion.  We all had a blast.  The tour operators were fun and we had good snorkeling with the rays and sharks.  We even came away with all our body parts.  The lunch on the island was nice, too.

 

We arranged our own excursion with Radical Catamaran Adventures on Roatán.  My review can be found here:

 

 

Costa Rica was our major disappointment.  We had planned the ATV Ride & Rain Forest Trek but the tour operator had equipment issues and had to cancel.  We did the included tour in its place which was okay.

 

In Panama the guys in our party did the Panama Canal by Ferry.  It allowed us to see most of the canal and we enjoyed it.  Our wives did the Emberá Indian Village visit.  They liked it and all came back with some souvenirs and nice stories.

 

The Jamaica excursion was the included Rose Hall Great House & Shopping.  I wasn’t feeling 100% so didn’t bother going.  I think it everyone else thought it was okay, but not great.  We had considered doing our own (non-Viking) excursion, but never found anything that looked great.  We’ve done resort day passes before but didn’t do one on this day.

 

Please let me know if you’d like me to expand on any of these.

 

I hope this helps some.
Tim

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22 hours ago, PlanoTim said:

Pat,

We enjoy sea days too.  I never felt that the ship was crowded on sea days.  I can tell you that we were able to find deck space every time we tried.  I like shade more and wish there was more space in shade on the upper decks, though.  The lounge beds in the Lanai were usually occupied on sea days, but I usually prefer spaces that are more out in the air.  I was able to spend some time in the Lanai during the Jamaica day when I chose to stay onboard.  We spent some time on the Aquavit terrace (mostly in the sun), which was nice.  There are also some loungers (mostly in the sun) and other comfy furniture on Deck 8 that we used.

 

We were never bored on sea days.  We were traveling with my three sisters and their spouses, so we had plenty of built-in entertainment.  I can tell you that we enjoyed the trivia and the Name That Tune in the Explorer’s lounge on sea days.  There were some wine/spirit tastings that were good.  We also had a blast at the Kitchen Table.  Check with the folks at guest services to arrange those.  We did the “Caribbean” Kitchen Table experience on a sea day and thought it was well worth the fee.  The Caribbean one isn’t done as much as the others (French, Italian?), so the chef had fun with it too.

 

As for excursions, we enjoyed each one.  We did the Trolley or Conch Train Tour in Key West.  We rode the Trolley for maybe ¾ of the way and then got off and did our own thing as we ate and drank our way back to the ship.  It was a fun day.

 

In Cozumel we did the Salsa & Salsa excursion and it was really fun.  We hung around the resort for a while after the Salsa & Salsa part was done and then they arranged for a cab to take us the short way back to the ship.

 

 Belize was lots of fun with the Sharks, Rays & Island Getaway excursion.  We all had a blast.  The tour operators were fun and we had good snorkeling with the rays and sharks.  We even came away with all our body parts.  The lunch on the island was nice, too.

 

We arranged our own excursion with Radical Catamaran Adventures on Roatán.  My review can be found here:

 

 

Costa Rica was our major disappointment.  We had planned the ATV Ride & Rain Forest Trek but the tour operator had equipment issues and had to cancel.  We did the included tour in its place which was okay.

 

In Panama the guys in our party did the Panama Canal by Ferry.  It allowed us to see most of the canal and we enjoyed it.  Our wives did the Emberá Indian Village visit.  They liked it and all came back with some souvenirs and nice stories.

 

The Jamaica excursion was the included Rose Hall Great House & Shopping.  I wasn’t feeling 100% so didn’t bother going.  I think it everyone else thought it was okay, but not great.  We had considered doing our own (non-Viking) excursion, but never found anything that looked great.  We’ve done resort day passes before but didn’t do one on this day.

 

Please let me know if you’d like me to expand on any of these.

 

I hope this helps some.
Tim

Thanks Tim,

 

I am going to print out your reply and store it (because by the time Viking posts 2022 sailings, this post will be at the very back of the boards).  It is excellent to have the input, but I am not sure what shore excursions are going to survive in a post covid world.

I am heartened by your description of life on board on during sea days, especially that there was space on the sunnier decks during the day.  January and February in Cleveland tend to be very dark and gloomy, and I really like getting out in the sun.  As a thought, you could always move your veranda table and chairs into the room, take a towel and just lie on the veranda.

Once Viking posts the 2022 schedules and assuming we can get a spot (I am sure priority will be given to those who were on cancelled cruises), I might contact you and get more info.

Thanks,

Pat

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37 minutes ago, ClevelandKid said:

Thanks Tim,

 

I am going to print out your reply and store it (because by the time Viking posts 2022 sailings, this post will be at the very back of the boards).  It is excellent to have the input, but I am not sure what shore excursions are going to survive in a post covid world.

I am heartened by your description of life on board on during sea days, especially that there was space on the sunnier decks during the day.  January and February in Cleveland tend to be very dark and gloomy, and I really like getting out in the sun.  As a thought, you could always move your veranda table and chairs into the room, take a towel and just lie on the veranda.

Once Viking posts the 2022 schedules and assuming we can get a spot (I am sure priority will be given to those who were on cancelled cruises), I might contact you and get more info.

Thanks,

Pat

I agree, Pat.  Who knows how things will be in 2022.  I'm not sure the veranda furniture would fit through the door (it may), but the chairs probably stack.  You'll probably be happy with the sunshine you will find on deck.  I was more of a shade seeker and frustrated at times.

Feel free to reply if you have any other questions.

Tim

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Glad I checked out this post!  We are booked on the 12/20 cruise as well and are keeping our fingers crossed that we can go as scheduled.  We have had to cancel one trip already and anticipating having to do the same with our July river cruise, so hope that by December we can go.  We too enjoy sea days and frankly at that point we will be perfectly happy if we never had to leave the ship!!  

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Last Wednesday, Viking opened an 18 day Panama Canal Cruise from Fort Lauderdale to LA—ֿPanama Canal and Coastal Holiday. It leaves December 24, 2021. When we saw it has ten days at sea, we jumped on it. The website says it is sold out but on Friday there were a few “Guarantee” cabins left.

RB

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