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Island Princess Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 25

Overall rating:

4.3 out of 5
Island Princess

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

Sail date: December 20, 2019

Ship: Island Princess

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: B424

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

We enjoyed the overall experience, loved the ports and felt the length was just the right amount of time to really relax and enjoy the experience.


5 out of 5

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
All of these areas were clean and well designed. We enjoyed the variety offerred on the buffet. In the main dining room, we were disappointed that there wasn't a special dinner on Christmas day and there was never a steak or high end protien offerred during the 10 days. We enjoyed the daily specials, specifically the appetizers and desserts. The main dishes were standard to what you'd get at IOlive Garden, Chili's or Applebees. I guess I was expecting the chef to do a higher level of food.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
I used the Spa for a massage and pedicure. Both were very nice but it got tiresome to have everyone I engaged with trying to upsale me on all sorts of treatments and products. I found the spa to be lacking in both variety and enough room to accomodate passengers. I used it once and never went back. I guess I expected the spa to be equivilant to spas in Vegas; the cost I paid was defintely not worth the value.


1 out of 5
Compared to when we sailed with Carnival, the shows and activities were more like high school productions than professional ones. Every one we went to was fair to midly enjoyable. For example, during the Christmas show a singer came out and was singing O Holy Night and dancers started dancing behind her. Really??? A sacred song and Princess chose to have interpretive dancers distract from the beautiful voice.....that was a huge miss for guests who were looking for a way to celebrate the meaning of Christmas, not be entertained or amused. Benny, cruise director, has such a big ego that every time he was involved he distracted from the production. We found Tom to be funny, engaging and he seemed to be everywhere there was fun. The comedian who opened the first night was not funny, he was whining the whole show about how we weren't laughing. Then he's on for the third night??? We decided not to go because he was so bad at his job. In contrast, we loved Tom, who seemed to be doing pretty much all the activities we found to be enjoyable. On another note, not one of the activities we attended started on time. The people running it would show up a few minutes late and then set up so we didn't get started until 10 past. That shows a lack of professionalism in the department as a whole.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
We had three awesome staff members who we interacted with every day of our cruise. First, our room steward, Rex, gave us superior service. He always knew what we needed before we did. For example, when we unpacked and left to get food, he noticed that we used all of our hangers and put more in the closet. Every day he ensured we had ice and even left us a couple of cute towel animals. Whenever we saw him he called us by name and seemed happy to see us. He always asked if we needed anything and when we asked for something he filled the request promptly. The second person, Gavrillo who was our waiter at the sit down dinner and we also saw him every morning in the buffet. Gavrillo gave us superior service. Gavrillo really stood out as he was also in the buffet every morning and would make a point to say hello to us by name and ensure we got drinks, refills and anything else we needed. I also went to Tea one day and Gavrillo was also a waiter in there and he was so happy to see me and made sure my experience in there was very nice and relaxing. In the main dining room, Gavrillo was a professional when it came to doing everything correctly, describing food choices, keeping our drinks refilled and being pleasant. As I watched him serve other passengers near us he was equally professional. We were impressed with Hem and his wine knowledge. He took time to teach us a few things we didn't know and seemed geuninely interested in the wine we had brought on ship from New Mexico. It was fun to see him take such enthusiasm in his work. Hem was also very good at knowing protocol and etiquette. He also shared with us that he got his somlier designation, which is no small achievement and I think that adds to the experience passengers have in the dining room.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
We enjoyed the smaller ship, it felt more comfortable than the huge one we were on a few years ago. We loved having the stairs available and the decks where there was room to roam with comfortable areas to sit and enjoy the view.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
We found our suite to be roomy and enjoyed our deck. Rex kept it clean and tidy for us.

Ports of call

Falmouth, Jamaica

5 out of 5

Cartagena, Colombia

4 out of 5

Panama Canal (Cruise Into Canal)

5 out of 5

Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

5 out of 5

George Town, Grand Cayman

5 out of 5


5 out of 5
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