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Relaxing in a busy sort of way by LindafromOregon

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Coastal - West Coast

I always picture myself relaxing in a deck chair, reading something light, but that didn't happen this time!  Weather kept us out of Astoria, and it was too cold to enjoy the outside decks.  The rest was great.  The food was good, the dance floors were in good condition, and the bands provided plenty of dancing.  The production shows were good.  There were so many activities no one could do them all.  I learned some great stretches in the fitness center and I even soaked my feet in a hot tub for an hour.  We rode a trolley in San Francisco, visited a museum in Victoria, and came home refreshed.

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2 Day Panama Cruise by fsbsinc

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

My understanding is that this is one of the very few yearly cruises that spends 2 days in Panama, one full day for the crossing and one day for excursions.  Virtually ALL passengers were transfixed on the crossing from morning until night, both on their balconies or public viewing areas, which was enhanced by the broadcast commentaries, AND the on screen (TV) cameras into every room.  I was not overly excited by the ports visited, or perhaps my choice of excursions was not the best, having opted for many city tours.  I avoided more exotic, (jungle or out of the main stream) tours, which I normally would have preferred, as I had concerns about ZIKA.  NOTE that I saw NO mosquitoes in any of the locations that I visited!!!  

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Wonderful Panama Cruise by Cruiser95573466

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

Thoroughly enjoyed all of the cruise. All ports were good but best part for us was stop in Panama and taking Panama Railway and visiting Gatun Locks. 

 

Food on on ship excellent and don't think it needs the speciality restaurants where you have to pay a surcharge. We visited the two speciality restaurants and were disappointed with both the food and service.   

 

Would recommend cruise through Panama Canal - days at sea with ports of call interspersed throughout the journey. 

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Panama Canal Cruise by rkchipman434

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

Even though we missed the first three days due to flight delays we still had a wonderful time and are looking forward to the next cruise aboard Princess Cruise Lines.

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Great cruise, really emjoyed being waited on by ajpeck67sbcglobalnet

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

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.

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Fun in the Partial Sun by taf22

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

Food and entertainment were uneven but mostly good. Ship is good but worn down in places. Ship is clean and well kept up otherwise. Best Lido dining I have seen on a ship.

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Panama Canal Cruise checked off the bucket list by KatJennings

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

We really enjoyed this cruise. The ship was comfortable & easy to navigate, not too big.

The canal crossing was truly the highlight of the trip, amazing engineering on the locks & impressive seeing the other cargo ships going into locks with you.

The time in all ports was short, would have liked a bit more time on shore. Missed the port in Nicaragua due to wave action that prevented the use of tenders.

All of the employees of Princess that we came in contact with were very pleasant.

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Panama Canal Cruise Extravaganza by lghj06

Sail date: / Traveled as: Large Group
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

Great cruise.  Accommodations were clean, well serviced, and adequate for this trip.  Most of our time was spent on deck or in the common places.  No need for lavish sleeping quarters.  

 

Food was excellent.  All meals, both Horizon and Provance food was top notch and the fast food kiosks were very good.  Of course we ate too much, but we can't blame Princes for that!  

 

Entertainment was exceptional.  Guest entertainers were quit good and the ship dance/singer team was the best we have ever seen.  The string trio in  the Atrium was outstanding as was the entertainment in the night club areas.

 

The excursions were well organized, convenient, and while a little pricey, accommodated our needs.  We did miss the Nicaraguan port, but that was due to poor sea conditions.  Onboard extracurricular activities were good (dance lessons, exercise, specialty programs, etc.).  

 

The entire crew was outstanding.  Any need was addressed immediately and with much courtesy.  We want to offer a special appreciation to Bien and John Paul (our waiters in the Provance).  They took care of us well, were professional, yet were warm and encouraging.  Special appreciation goes to Shepard (Zimbabwe) who assisted us upstairs to the Splash pool and  had a wonderful ingratiating smile.  

 

One bit of feedback for improvement:  We are coffee drinkers as are many Americans.  The free coffee in the Horizon was of poor quality, weak, and inconveniently located.  Improvement might be more free coffee locations around the ship, especially close to the stateroom floors. Also, a better, stronger coffee would be appreciated.  We ended up buying coffee from the various kiosks.  Good free coffee, in our opinion, should be a standard offered by any cruise line.  

 

Overall, this was an excellent cruise and well worth the price and our time invested.  We enjoyed ourselves and will cruise Princess in the future. 

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Wonderful Partial Canal Tansit by jh17bw17

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

We had a wonderful time aboard the Island Princess during our partial canal transit, The ship is very nicely appointed, We particularly enjoyed the Lotus Pool area which is enclosed and peaceful.The Atrium was very pleasing with a wide variety of entertainment. The decor of the ship was very pleasing with very tasteful appointments,

The food was excellent. We prefer eating in the dining room, we were certainly not dissapointed. We found the buffet to be smaller with nice variety of offerings. The Horizon court dining room has a glass forward facing orientation with a beautiful view,

Our room was very new. We selected a balcony room, aft. Very nice views and very private.

Our favorite part of the trip was a trip we took to Veraaqua Rainforest. We were so taken by the beauty and serenity of the forest. Our guide was amazing; leading, teaching, and guiding us into the rain forest.

We chose to take the full transit excursion of the canal. It was a very long day, 11 hours. It was impressive and interesting, I am glad I took the excursion, most likely will not do it again.

We found our fellow passengers to be a very friendly and outgoing group. It was on of the nicest groups of people we have cruised with to date. 

The staff was courteous and engaging throughout the ship. Their hard work was so evident in the spotless condition of the ship, impeccable service, and their attention to detail. My many thanks to the entire staff.

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review of Island princess cruise panama canal partial transit by earrings3

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

being in warm weather and relaxing were highlights.  We enjoyed the shows and programs about the various ports.

 

We had too many challenges, starting upon arrival. 

* We were sent to the wrong port

* We had signed up for 5:45 dining, and it was changed to 5:15 - not ok with us

* Had a lot of problems getting the dinner situation resolved, which included some food issued one of has and needed to discuss

* Weren't seated at the same table each night, so we didn't have a server who got to know us.

* The stateroom shower had a lot of rust that we asked to be cleaned.

* The balcony chairs and floor looked to have bird poo - we asked for follow up

* We had requested extra pillows and towels - they were not there.  Nor was the sharps container we requested.

* The food was very disappointing - it was nicely presented but lacked nice flavor

* The location of our stateroom was great.

* One of us is diabetic, even tho' great care was taken with all equipment, somehow a piece of needle got loose and the steward was pricked (no blood). We were called by the ship doctor to get blood tested for communicable diseases - this was optional.  Following thru with the blood work was done very willingly and voluntarily.  However, the next day we received a hefty bill.  It took numerous visits and calls to passenger services to get it removed.  We were told it was taken care of and then received a notice of dispute and we would have to submit information to an office in California and still might get charged.  We went to the doctor's office to discuss the situation and hopefully it's been resolved.  However, we lost the better part of a day that could have been fun dealing with this situation.

* The door of our stateroom broke, and we called for repair.  Someone came quickly, but had to call a different person to fix it.

* The power went out in our bathroom, but because it was into the evening, we had to wait for repair the next day.  However, 20 minutes after we called that evening, someone came to our door to fix the toilet - we did not have a problem with our toilet.

* In the Friday Patter the Friday Sabbath evening service was left out so people did not know to come.

 

We are not sure if we would travel Princess again.

 

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3rd time was the best. by Cruiser16790023

Sail date: / Traveled as: Family (older children)
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

Going through the  the panama canal. Also all the stops the ship made were in historical cities. We wanted to take our family(10members)on an educational cruise, and the sure got it.

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New and Old Panama Canal Adventure by Cruiser428

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

Going through the old locks was a great experience. It is amazing how back in 1913 that they were able to build such a detailed and proficient canal with the materials and know how of that period of time. The new locks are totally different and operate in a much different manner. We took the tour to the new locks and it was amazing the difference. In Aruba we did the Atlantis Submarine and totally enjoyed it. Not to compare with the glass bottom boats we have been on in the past. We actually went down 135 feet on the sub and saw old wrecks and a lot of unusual fish. We visited Columbia, Grand Cayman and Costa Rico also which were amazing. We did the trolley city tours to become more familiar so our next trips there we can plan more excursions. I would highly recommend this cruise that was truly a history lesson and great adventure.

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In general everything was very good. by cruisingsoeasy

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

The full transit of the canal, is a great experience by itself just by the fact it was built by  hand with all its history.  Just great.

The itinerary of the cruise is good, we regret only the fact that our stop in Aruba was really too short.  We have been already to the countries where we stoppped, and for us, Huatulco is one of the most beautiful little ports we have ever seen.  It is a must.The shore excursions were very well organized.

Dining was very good, services on the ship was excellent. I have issues with food intolerances and all was taken into consideration and I was treated like a princess....Even the weather was great.

We have already recommended this cruise to many people around us. We would love do to it again.

We got on a second ship right after this cruise, the Star Princess, to Hawaii, and we were very disappointed.  Hawaii is gorgeous, but the Star was really below our expectations and the Island Princess had something special to it.

 

 

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Living the Dream by profluigi

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

This is what I posted on cruisecritic.com.

 

Notes on Island Princess, 1/19/17 - 2/3/17 Panama Canal Full Transit  I wanted to transit the Canal since I was 12 years old. My mother had done it in the 1930s, and gave me Frederic Haskin's 1913 book about the Canal as a present.  Cabin PR716 Promenade Deck (7)  Embarkation, Ft Lauderdale. We arrived, and our luggage arrived (belatedly). But the embarkers got mixed with the disembarkers, and a fine muddle ensued. Very badly handled.  Cabin. Queen bed very spacious, mattress firm, plenty of fluffy pillows. Very good storage space: use of packing cubes (Eagle Creek, Rick Steves) highly recommended. Plenty of hangers and large open closet space. Desk small but drawers useful. In-room refrigerator serviceable. Bathroom tiny but not cramped; we’re not small people, but we fit. Only bathroom downside is location of toilet roll; one has to flail around blindly to find it when most wanted. Plenty of towels and good hot water. Big downside: the 2015 refit in Trieste, which created our cabin, robbed us of the use of our balcony for the Canal transit, as the cables to the mules run through it. We were comped the Sanctuary stern hangout on Deck 15; plenty of water, and some snacks if you could snare the service team, who seemed to think they were playing a track team in a remake of Chariots of Fire. Bring sunscreen; it was brutal on deck out of the shade.  I recommend Deck 7. Some nice bars and fancy restaurants are there, so less elevators and stairs.  Aft cabins have lots of engine and propwash vibration and noise. Not a problem for city dwellers like us, but noise-sensitives should avoid after cabins.  Gulf of Tehuantepec on the San Juan del Sur to Huatulco leg has ferocious nor’easters. We had winds of 87 knots (Beaufort 12, hurricane) and seas 12 feet and up during the night 1/28 - 1/29. Not for the faint-hearted.  Shopping on board. Generally disappointing, although some nice Tommy Bahama wear. One fellow hadn’t packed a sport jacket, so I suggested he try the shop; they hadn’t any. Duty-free liquor selection inferior to Royal Caribbean. Is anyone really going to haul a bottle of Bailey’s in one’s checked bag to save five bucks? A lot of not-really-cheap goods, and some very expensive trophy whiskeys and cognacs, for a middle-market ship. Gems sold by New York firm at New York prices. Overpriced artwork. No real bargains.  Restaurants. Horizon Court is buffet, much of a muchness. Attentive service of orange juice and coffee at breakfast. Included coffee is dreadful, probably to encourage purchase of higher grade at the patisserie. Usual coffee is like what Captain Hornblower got in 1810 a year out of England, in these same waters: “a decoction of burnt bread with the merest flavour of coffee.” Swirls soft-serve is a treat. Sabatini’s had marvelous manicotti fiorentino and the best tiramisù I ever had. Too bad the lobster three ways was a failure, the barley in thin lobster sauce hard and chewy, sort of Scotch Broth all’ Italiana. But Herself’s veal chop was a winner. Bayou Café did better with the frozen lobster, and the oysters Sieur de Bienville were excellent. Bordeaux dining room was good of its kind, good tilapia one night; duck à l’orange a failure, but arroz con pollo and (frozen) lobster tail Caribbean style were winners; commercial winelist, mark-up less than 250%, some good ones. But “anytime dining” is no-time dining. The lines at 5 p.m. reminded me of Army messhalls. Eat late, if you can, or make reservations by phone before 5 p.m.  Bars. Variable, Crooners the most active and noisy. Bartending talents vary widely. 

 

Entertainment. Liked the string quartet; though not great musicians, they played a good selection, and come from a city fifteen kilometers from where my father was born in Belarus. Piano bar performers were poor.  Ports.  Aruba on a Sunday morning is funereal. I didn’t think much of the excursions, so wandered the town. It’s well-marked, good street maps on convenient lampposts, legible street signs, but it was dead. Fort Zoutman is a must, but it was shut up. So was the Protestant Church. As the time in port was barely four hours, not worth it.  Cartagena. The pier is miles from nowhere, excursions a must as taxis are inaccessible without a battle th as taxis are inaccessible without a battle through a mob of importuning drivers.  Canal transit. Worth the price of admission. Stilted narration, but useful. Would have done better to point out entrance to Galliard Cut (sorry, I’m a traditionalist and an ex-US Army engineer) before we were halfway through. Bring camera and binoculars; the binoculars in the shop are less good than what one can buy at home. High point of the cruise for me.  Puntarenas. Interesting country. The Walk in the Clouds tour is only for those sound in limb and wind, with a fascination for moss, lichens, vines and forestry. I had real problems with the climbs. Only hummingbirds and butterflies to be seen. A very long (90 minute) drive to and from San Luis reserve, up and down some fearsome roads. Exhausting and disappointing. Much better was the river cruise, said Herself; better guide, great information, gigantic crocodile and plethora of birds.  San Juan del Sur. The volcano, Catherine lagoon and Grenada tour was interesting, Granada least of all, a reconstruction of the burned-down Spanish colonial ex-capital. Catherine lagoon was worth some photographs, but overrun with tourists. The crater at Masaya volcano was well worth the trip, a look into a crater of an active volcano; watch it from the vantage point before it collapses. Lunch at Hotel Granada was excellent, a sampling of Central American food. A peek at Lake Nicaragua was so short there was only time for snapshots. A lot of bus travel. Note that SJdS is accessible by tender only. It can be a bumpy ride, jammed like a NYC subway.  We skipped Huatulco. We saw nothing in the brochures that needed long detain the tourist, so I just wandered into the port area. Nothing much there. 

 

Puerta Vallarta. Elizabeth Taylor doesn’t live here any more. No romance, just condominiums and lots of tequila and horrendous traffic.  Disembarkation. Smooth and seamless. We skipped the Long Beach excursion, and did well, as it was raining. 

 

 

 

 

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Island Princess Cruise from ft lauderdale to San Pedro California by allenj366011

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

Pros:  Panama Canal was terrific!  wait staff in Bordeaux dining room was excellent as was cabin steward!

Cartagena, Aruba, Puerto Vallarta and Huatulco Mexico were great; Nicaragua was least interesting; Costa Rica was good also!

Cons:  shower was way too small--horrible!; ship needs refurbishing!

had to search for dining table in café no matter what time went to breakfast or lunch; it was as if there were too few tables for the amount of people on the ship; food was all right, not great--emphasis was on southeast Asian food.

 

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Almost Perfect by Cruiser30985434

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

We all enjoyed our cruise immensely.   We appreciated the care Princess took to keep us safe and as germ-free as possible.  Our steward was excellent and provided everything we needed.  Our agent ("Specialist") is awesome, there for every possible question.  The food was delicious, with endless options.  Service was good, too.  The only problem we had was the cost of the wine for the selection available.  We feel they should either lower their prices (we know what those wines cost in the stores), or raise the quality of offerings.  Aside from that, we would heartily recommend and Princess! 

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Pacific to Atlantic via Panama Canal by sheatsley280

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

This trip was a special event that had been planned for a year. Transiting through the Panama Canal was the highlight of the cruise and was well worth it. The ship was sold out and had a very mature crowd aboard of mostly senior citizens. There are no more midnite buffets but there are still formal nights (3) which are nothing more than an attempt for the cruise line to earn money by selling pictures taken by their staff. On board entertainment was better than our last cruise and there was a nice variety of shows. The lecture series was something new but well received. Be sure to take copies of all paper work along because the cruise line does not recognize any document that is not theirs. Internet service is still not good and very expensive. 

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Loved Our Cruise by Cruiser91306262

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

**Ship's hospital should have more varied hours of service.  The cost of having vitals checked for my husband, a congestive heart failure patient, was excessive. Customer service attendant is not qualified to determine if my husband truly needed to be seen...thus I did not owe her a lengthy explanation before I was allowed to contact the clinic from her desk.

**Price of cocktails WAY TO HIGH!!

** All services other than the ones mentioned above were perfect and met/exceeded expectations.

**Hard sale for spa products after receiving services NOT APPRECIATED. We went for relaxation not purchasing products we did not need since we have all necessary products at home.

 

 

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Panama Canal Cruise by nancyh2014

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

overall the cruise was fantastic but did have a few comments.

1.Was suppose to get a dinner at the specialty restaurant and never got it.

2.  Only 2 smoking areas for smokers and one was enclosed and smelled like a huge ashtray so really only one available.

3. The bathrooms on each deck were very hard to find and very few and small. Also no toilet seat covers available,

4. All crew members from the Cruise Director right down to the room steward wore much too much perfume.

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Nice and warm! by richmond575

Sail date: / Traveled as: Large Group
Ship: Island Princess / Destination: Panama Canal, Central America

Loved most of the tours and ports. Could have done San Juan Del Sur port and tour. Anytime dining was very inconvenient and unorganized. Was very unhappy with baggage not being found when I was disembarking! Suzanne the head of the process of customer service in Ft Lauderdale wasrude, uninformed about information given her by her under personal. I did not feel like it was handled professionally. I am extremely upset with that situation.  Never could believe this in a million years!

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