March 2016 - Island Princess to Panama Canal, Central America
My wife and I just completed a 15 day Panama Canal cruise, so here are my impressions:
The ship's crew worked extremely hard to keep all areas spotless. I was amazed how clean everything was during the entire trip. There was hardly a wait for anything, including dinner, shows, disembarking, etc. There's a lot of high tech features on the ship such as the beautiful theater which had a huge LED video screen and a drop-down stage area. Their sound and lighting system was best I've seen anywhere. The on-board wi-fi that allows you to see upcoming events as well as your invoice, all up-to-the-minute was very well done. The cruise director and his staff I give high marks to. They were allows pleasant and offer a wealth of info every morning on the "Wake Show" on the TV in each room. The entertainment on-board was top-notch. I would have liked to see some interesting meetings/seminars such as life-time learning talks. Trivia seemed to be the most prevalent afternoon activity as well as an almost daily art auction. The two main pool areas (one indoor, one outdoor), were well populated by guests. They offered a Pizza, ice cream and hamburger grill that were nice options for a quick meal that ran all day long till around 9 or 10pm. The outdoor pool area had a super large LED video screen with amazing sound. Cabin room size was adequate, but showers are a little tight if you're over 200 lbs (fortunately, not my problem). I'd rate the food about average. Nothing exceptional in the main dining room or buffet area, just a lot of it. However, we enjoyed the Bayou Restaurant which had a top-of-the-line steak selection. We had a table of 8 at the Bayou and everyone raved about their meal. Sabitini's Restaurant was a different story. There the same eight diners gave it mixed reviews. These specialty restaurants charge $25/person and is not a bad price to pay giving us an alternative to the regular dining room menu that started getting a bit boring. My wife (63 years old) and I (65) met up with some very nice fellow travelers on the ship that were in our age group, but there were a large number of older people, many using wheelchairs, walkers and oxygen, that kind of made me feel like this ship was more geared for an older crowd (a lot older than me). Next time, I think I'd rather look for a ship where the average age was a bit lower. All-in-all a fun time with good memories.