My husband and I spent a very relaxing 14 day tour of the Panama Canal and ports on Coral Princess's sail of Central and South Americas. We chose a balcony stateroom, anytime dining and purchased excursions for stops at Cartagena, Columbia, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, and San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua. We used public transportation for our short visits to Cabo and Aruba.
Positives: Coral Princess pays heavy tolls to go through the Panama Canal. They also provided an excellent historian to explain everything as we sailed through the locks and lakes. We also followed up with the historian's lectures throughout the two weeks. Again, it was an excellent way to understand this part of the world.The people we met were mostly retired and well traveled. We did not hear, for the most part, complaints or negative comments even though the heat and poverty in some of the countries was overwhelming.
We have cruised with Princess three times before and found the food to be good and the crew helpful. The entertainment was fine with the exception of the illusionist and hypnotist. The cruise director and staff tried their best to give us a good time. Most importantly, we had good seas and wonderful weather!! I slept exceptionally well on this cruise.
Negatives: We would have liked to have stopped at more ports. There were too many sea days for us. We also felt that Princess hires too many attendants to hawk drinks in the pool area. The pool area could use more attention to cleanliness!! How about giving us a place to put dirty dishes? We also do not like the entire stern end of the ship used for a pay-to-use SANCTUARY!! Our stateroom shower was too small for the length of the trip(should have gone to a mini-suite). The $40 per couple to use the specialty dining did not impress us. Both seemed underused!
Summary: We traveled to the Mediterranean on Celebrity last fall. We do prefer Princess. The Panama Canal is indeed a wonder not to be missed!