19 Day Panama Canal Cruise (Island Princess)

Island Princess Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 6
Helpful Votes: 110

Overall rating:

3.9 out of 5
Island Princess

19 Panama Canal Pacific Adventure (Los Angeles Roundtrip)

Sail date: April 09, 2018

Ship: Island Princess

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: C410

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 3 years ago

Review summary

19 days cruising and seeing the workings of the original Panama Canal was great. Had a great time overall and would recommend this cruise to anyone who likes to have a lot of sea days and visit a few unusual ports.


5 out of 5
No issues as San Pedro pier is very efficient.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
We were assigned a table for 8 in late (7:30PM) traditional dining. Only had six the first night then four thereafter. We we placed in a corner table with poor AC in the area and slow service. After a few nights we requested another table with better AC and service. We were placed in a table for four and had great service the rest of the trip. The food in the MDR was good most nights and average the rest. No complaints in general. One meal in Sabatini's was excellent as was the Alfredo's pizza. Horizon buffet was as expected not real good but not bad. Service and seating was good and like the location of the Horizon in the front of the ship.

Crooners Martini Bar

5 out of 5

Best drinks and bartenders on the ship. Nice place for conversation and meet other people.

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
Indoor pool is very nice and has great lounge chairs. We did the cruise long golf putting contest and it was fun. Did a few other activities and they were fun such as carpet bowling, martini demonstration, etc.


3 out of 5

The casino is small as compared to other ships. Machines need to be updated with some current models. Not much activity in the casino most of the time.


5 out of 5
Went to all three of the production shows and they were very good. Singers and dancers were excellent and the stage was transformed rather nicely to fit the theme of the show. AJ Jamal a comedian was very funny. Did not attend all shows as show times did not coordinate well with our late dinner schedule.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Overall the staff was accommodating, friendly, and cheerful. Our room Steward Norman did an excellent job with keeping our room clean and fresh without intruding. He always worked around our schedule. Our main dining room waiters Delfino and John Paul were also very good.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
The ship was clean but lacks areas that we enjoy on other ships such as the International cafe, Vines, Alfredo's (Sabatini's substituted on a few sea days), and a continuous Promenade deck. The Island added cabins at the aft of the ship which prevents walking around to the rear of the ship. Deck 8 has a way to view the wake and take pictures in the aft. Decks 10 and 11 have a viewing area in the bow. Liked the four story atrium and the shop layouts are good. The indoor pool is nicer than on most Princess ships.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
The size was as expected for a Caribe cabin. Small shower but had great water pressure and instant hot. The premium balcony is good size with some shade. Spent a lot of time on the balcony during the Panama Canal crossing. Cleanliness was good, bed and bedding was great, large TV but one chair had worn out fabric. Overall cabin was nice.

Ship tip

Overall we liked the ship and the staff. The Horizon uses washing stations that are monitored for use by a staff member (hurrah). No wash no enter! Plates are handed to you as you enter the Horizon buffet area (hurrah). I hope Princess does this on all their ships as it was not being done on the Caribbean Princess when we were on it in October 2017. The ship has about 2300 passengers but we did not experience any issues of crowding in the common areas, pools, etc. No International cafe is a big negative as the Coral (sister ship) has it. No plans to add an International cafe per Maitre D. We did the Chef's Table dining ($95) it was outstanding and well worth the money.

Ports of call

San Pedro (Los Angeles), California

5 out of 5
No problems with embarkation or debarkation. Excellent port and staff.

Huatulco, Mexico

4 out of 5
Overall nice port. We did tequila tasting and tour at Huatulco. Would recommend this tour as is was exactly as expected and a fun tour.

Puerto Chiapas (Tapachula), Mexico

3 out of 5
Overall port is OK. Not much there. We did the Izapa ruins and chocolate demonstration. The ruins were not as expected as there was not too much to see there. Would not recommend this tour for ruins as they are minimal. The chocolate demonstration was OK and included native dancing and a show. Long bus ride on sometimes poor roads. Hot and humid.

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

3 out of 5
The port area is OK. Not much there. We did Colonial Antiqua, Countryside and lunch. Overall the tour was good as Antiqua is a nice place to visit. Unfortunately we were inundated by local vendors trying to sale there stuff as soon as we stepped off the bus and it continued non stop throughout the tour of Antiqua. We visited the Jade factory and store which was interesting. Our lunch at a five star hotel was a disorganized buffet. Charged $3 for a can of Pepsi which was supposed to be included with the lunch, etc. Food was OK and the tour of the hotel and museum was OK. There is a long bus ride going and coming to Antiqua. We were in a 18 person mini van which was very uncomfortable with poor AC. The drive was a bit scary at times with passing on curves and narrow roads. .

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

2 out of 5
Port are is OK with some shopping at the end of the pier. We did the jungle crocodile safari as had been to Puntarenas before and wanted a shorted excursion. It is very hot and humid in Costa Rico so be aware. We saw a total of 4 crocodiles and a few birds. The river was a low tide and is very muddy looking. Overall this tour was not very good. Could not understand the tour guide most of the time, it was hot and humid, and the tour was not as advertised.

San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua Did not visit port

Due to political unrest in Nicaraqua we skipped this port.

Manzanillo, Mexico

2 out of 5
We just walked around the town area. It is not very nice ie. dirty. Ate lunch at a local hotel. Open air and hot. The waitress was a bit snarky (not friendly) and the food was not very good. Overall would not leave the ship. Due to the problems in Nicaragua our schedule was changed so we did not arrive in Manzanillo until 1:30PM so we cancelled the excursion we had planned to go on.


5 out of 5
Off the ship by 7:30am. Great!
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