Fantastic Experience

Island Princess Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 9
Helpful Votes: 144

Overall rating:

4.7 out of 5
Island Princess

15 Night Panama Canal - Ocean To Ocean (Los Angeles To Ft. Lauderdale)

Sail date: January 09, 2018

Ship: Island Princess

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: D738

Traveled as: Singles/Friends

Reviewed: 4 years ago

Review summary

We had a great time on this cruise. Always something to do on the ship and was never board. One thing. The Panama Canal cruises are usually full of older people. Not like the Caribbean cruises. I am 62 years old and was in the younger 10 percent onboard.


5 out of 5
My husband and I usually fly to the port the day before and stay overnight with air travel being what it is these days. However, this time I was going on a ‘sisters’ cruise and traveling alone. I tried Princess’ Easy Air because they got me a rate several hundred dollars cheaper than I could do on my own—it was on the same day as sailing, but I knew that if they made the arrangements, they had to get me to the ship. So, I flew out of Cleveland On January 9th non-stop to LA. Got there, only waited 20 minutes after getting my suitcases and was whisked off to the cruise port. Got right inside and there was no line in the priority boarding (this was my last cruise as a platinum, I turned elite upon completion). We sat about half an hour before getting on ship

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
My sisters and I are celiacs and need to be Gluten Free. Although we didn’t have everything we wanted, every effort was made to accommodate us. The food on Princess is excellent and we fully enjoyed our meals

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
Our waiter, jr waIter, and head waiter (Rey, Julie and Manuel) we wonderful. They worked especially hard after the Noro virus outbreak (first in 15 cruises)


5 out of 5

I utilized the gym most days—and also always take the stairs—The equipment was brand new and easy to use.


3 out of 5
I had a wonderful message, and so did my sister with hers. The quality was great. However, we were both charged the incorrect (larger) amount. They did correct this when we brought it to their attention the next day, but we did not go back for an additional message as we had both planned on. We had our messages at different times, too

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Our room steward, Marlon, was excellent. He knew when we would be out of the room and always went the extra mile when we needed things. Our Capt, Michele “Capt Bye-Bye” was the best captain that I have ever encountered on a Princess ship. I am not a novice, having earned my elite status with this cruise—Ive completed 15 cruises. He was all over the ship, and interacted with the passengers. Usually I only see the captain at the captain’s circle party. Not this one. He would talk to as many people as he could and was a presence on the ship. When noro hit, his serious side came out and stopped it in its tracks. I would love to sail with this capt again.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
This is one of the smaller ships and it has been refitted. It is upgraded with the key by the door design for the lights and everything has been made new. However, they do not have the international cafe—even though its sister ship the Coral does. It also has added more state rooms on deck 7, the promenade deck, taking away the back of the deck on 7. To walk around the deck, you have to go inside of the ship and cross over by the steps to the other side.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
We were on the rear of the ship by the wake. Deck 11. It was so nice not to fight the crowds when we went thru the Panama Canal. We got to stay in the privacy of our own balcony and saw everything

Ship tip

It will take some getting used to if you are used to the larger ships. This one is specifically made to go thru the canal and is longer and skinnier than the others. There are 4 floors in the piazza which relocates things. Also all food is located in the front of the ship.

Ports of call

San Pedro (Los Angeles), California Did not visit port

I love LA and southern CA, but just went straight to the boat for the cruise

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

5 out of 5
Beautiful place. Make sure to do the whale watching on the zodiac rafts

Huatulco, Mexico

5 out of 5
Very pretty and very concerned about the safety of guests and residents alike. Unfortunately our excursion was cancelled because of extreme currents in the ocean. The harbor master would not let any boats leave the harbor for pleasure of excursions the day we were in port. It was for our safety

San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

3 out of 5
This is a very financially poor port. all the excursions were all day excursions. There is a mile Long Beach in San Juan Del Sur and we thought we would hang on the beach—didn’t want to go 4 hours into Nicaragua. The beach is so-so. We walked along it, but did not swim

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

5 out of 5
Great train ride excursion

Panama Canal Transit

5 out of 5
Great experience. If you want to get off and do an excursion, do the partial transit that starts in FL. My husband and I did that one last year and he really enjoyed getting off the ship and doing the museum and train ride. He learned a lot more than just staying on ship and going thru the lochs

Cartagena, Colombia

5 out of 5
Beautiful city.

Oranjestad, Aruba

5 out of 5
Aruba is Awesome. My glasses like it so much that they decided to stay. Do the snorkeling adventure

Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida

5 out of 5
Love the Fort Lauderdale area so much we purchased a condo just north of it a few months ago


5 out of 5
Was in the early walk off group. Very easy.

Traveler Photos

From balcony From balcony Ship interior with sisters View from ship View from our cabin pulling out My new elite pin Whale watching Whale watching Snorkel Starfish
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