Good Itinerary for Caribbean Trip

Coral Princess Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 42

Overall rating:

4.2 out of 5
Verified Review
Coral Princess

10 Night Panama Canal With Costa Rica & Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip)

Sail date: March 31, 2018

Ship: Coral Princess

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: B212

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

We always wanted to go to the Panama Canal and it was worth it. Princess had a good itinerary, and Cartagena and Costa Rica are definitely worth a visit. Princess service and ship layout/cleanliness are still of high quality, but their dining and entertainment/activity options seem to have declined. Hope they pick those things back up. Overall, a good and relaxing vacation that I would recommend.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
Quick and easy embarkation with Platinum Priority boarding

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
Main dining room and buffets have reduced their selection/options and now have a majority of "ethnic" type foods. Quality also seems to have declined from past cruises. The service at all restaurants was good. Sabatini's specialty restaurant was quite good with excellent service. Plenty of comfortable lounges for enjoying cocktails and wait staff was very attentive and courteous.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Limited amount of daytime activities, mostly centered around shopping on board and at ports. Trivia contests were fun. Many of the activities they did offer involved fees (wine tasting, bingo, "horse racing", spa treatments, etc).

Entertainment

3 out of 5
Typical cruise ship production shows. "Headline" performers (singers, comedian, magician) varied in quality. Lounge singers also varied in quality, but ship had same performers for all 10 days of cruise so got tired of listening to the same songs. Party/dance band was quite good.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
All the staff seemed very friendly and efficient. The ship seemed well run with trained, knowledgeable staff.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
The ship seemed very well maintained and because it was smaller than other cruise ships for access to Panama canal, it was very easy to get around.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Mini-Suite was good size with plenty of storage room. Bed was actually reasonable comfortable. Good size balcony with 3 chairs/footrests and a small round table. The room was always very clean - the room steward did a fine job!

Ship tip

Be prepared to relax and see some interesting ports.

Ports of call

Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida

5 out of 5
Easy access from airport to hotel/beach area to cruise terminal. Stayed overnight pre-cruise and easy to relax.

Oranjestad, Aruba

4 out of 5
Ship only was in this port 5 hours in the morning, so not much time. Aruba is a clean port with very good beaches.

Cartagena, Colombia

5 out of 5
Cartagena was much larger than I expected. Took the Old City, Fort and Museum tour which was very interesting. Old City had very interesting architecture. Museum info was all in Spanish and tour guide's English was sketchy, but it was still interesting. Only criticism is that there are an enormous amount of street vendors who swarm you as you get off the bus and walk around. Shake your head "no" and keep moving and they will generally leave you alone.

Panama Canal (Cruise Into Canal)

4 out of 5
Going through the locks is very interesting (but slow). This was the main reason we went on the cruise and it was worth it. Took a "New Locks"/Gatun Lake cruise/rain forest tour. It was not too good and not as advertised - "New Locks" visitor center just showed a film, an overlook of the locks, and a gift shop. No museum and no guided tour of locks as advertised. Gatun Lake cruise was too short and didn't see much. Rain forest "nature hike" was a 20 minute walk down a former US Army site gravel path. Not much to see.

Colon, Panama

3 out of 5
Did not do anything here and did not look too appealing. Basically just where the cruise ship docked to pick up passengers who took tours from Gatun Lake.

Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

5 out of 5
Costa Rica was gorgeous. Took the Veragua Rainforest/Tortuguero Canals tour. Veragua Rainforest is magnificent. Would highly recommend going there. The Tortuguero Canal tour was only about 45 minutes at the end of the day and we didn't see much. We could have skipped this part.

George Town, Grand Cayman

4 out of 5
Grand Cayman is a nice, clean port. We planned to do the Reef and Shipwreck Snorkel tour. We asked and were told it was from a catamaran with a walk out ramp to get in the water, but when we walked to the boat it as a flat "tour boat" with metal ladders you had to climb to get in. We were not able to do that so we cancelled our excursion and got a refund. Just walked around downtown. We were there on a Sunday, so many stores were closed. But it is a nice, clean, safe area.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
Easy disembarkation with self-walk off option. Very smooth getting through Customs and getting a taxi back to the airport.
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