Great cruise, really emjoyed being waited on

Island Princess Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 48

Overall rating:

4 out of 5
Verified Review
Island Princess

15 Night Panama Canal Eastbound (San Francisco To Ft. Lauderdale)

Sail date: March 15, 2017

Ship: Island Princess

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: C202

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 4 years ago

Review summary

The best part was feeling pampered and waited on.  Out steward Norman was fantastic - he worked overtime from early morning till late at night, keeping all the staterooms in order whenever we left.  

Most all of the dishes in the Bordeaux dining room were delicious, particularly the filet, lamb chops, & lobster - better than I remember cruise fair being. The deserts were delightful. The Princess burger was large but mediocre. The wait staff was as good as any good restaurant, competent, friendly, and helpful. We were not impressed at all with the Bayou Café. Coffee and tea room service very morning was fantastic perk. The Horizon Court buffet provided a fantastic and changing variety of dishes. I actually lost weight (purposely) by skipping pastries, desserts, and carbs eating omelets and fruit for brunch and other protein for dinner.

The shows were a very pleasant surprise - great singing, dancing, guest performers! Also really enjoyed the historic presentations about ports of call and the canal. The activities were too many to keep up with - truly something for everyone, but I mostly wanted to RELAX, so I did.  I would recommend this Princess cruise very highly for first time cruisers as well as the very experienced. 

We only availed ourselves of two excursions, Nicaragua and Cartagena.  The bus trip to a Nicaragua farm should be eliminated - it was a waste of time and money. I would recommend eliminating the stop in Nicaragua altogether if it would be possible to enjoy Cartagena and Aruba longer. Our tour in Cartagena was very informative but the stay in port was much too short. Our tour guide in Cartagena was one of the best I have ever had.  We could hear him clearly and he spoke good English. I would have liked to have spent much more time in Aruba and do not understand why we had to leave so early when the ship cruised at reduced speed from there to Fla.  The BIGGEST ISSUE -  MORE EXITS/BOATS ARE NEEDED TO MOVE PEOPLE OFF THE SHIP WHEN TENDERS ARE NEEDED TO GET TO SHORE, only two portals were used.  It took WAY too long to get people ashore on life boats and tenders, especially when the stay in port was short.  It also took way too long to get off the ship at the end of the cruise. The next biggest issue is the BOTTLED WATER POLICY.  The tap water is heavily chlorinated (yuck) and all bottled water was expensive.  If I pay 8k for a cruise and $7 /day for soft drinks, having to pay more for a couple of bottles of water a day just REALLY TICKS ME OFF!!!!!!  What the frick are you Princess people thinking????  It can't be that much of a money-maker and wouldn't cost you that much to include it with soft drinks!! It is a pain to have to go to a bar for a glass of good water all the time.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5


5 out of 5

Service and Staff

5 out of 5

Ship Quality

5 out of 5

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Wish I would have reserved a balcony. Only issue being at the very front near the bow, we had a lot of very loud noise very early in the morning from the thrusters when docking and/or anchors when stopping offshore, so I would recommend amid-ships cabins for more quiet.

Ship tip

Choose early shared dining to get to know your table mates and see the early shows. We started with anytime dining which turned out to be wait-in-line dining, not good.

Ports of call

San Francisco, California

3 out of 5

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

2 out of 5

San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

1 out of 5
don't take the excursion to the farm.

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

2 out of 5
Free wifi and decent food at the first restaurant on the beach

Panama Canal Transit

3 out of 5
great views from the bow deck level 10

Cartagena, Colombia

2 out of 5

Oranjestad, Aruba

3 out of 5
try to get off as early as possible if not using excursions

Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida

2 out of 5

Traveler Photos

Comfortable, roomy, great bed
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