Island Princess Cruise Review by stevea20: Panama Canal
Overall Member Rating
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Panama Canal was one of the destinations we very much wanted to do and we were not disappointed. We began in Ft. Lauderdale and were interested in how our new Preferred check-in status (we are Captain Circle Platinum members)would work. Getting through the security checkpoint was a nightmare. The line we hoped to avoid was worse than usual, but once we got through, the actual check-in and boarding took less than 10 minutes. The ship looked, on the outside, ready for a dry dock update, but the inside was high standard as usual.
Food was decent. We did Anytime Dining so we could sit with different people each night which, I think, gives a better variety of stories. I am a fussy eater so I was glad to see that Princess has added comfort food selections to the menu, such as an Angus burger. Simple but welcome.
Entertainment was plentiful but I've seen better acts. The comics weren't that funny and I didn't get to any of the production shows. The ships band (Sol Provider) More was excellent.
Cruise staff were great as usual. We saw the deputy Cruise Director more than the head guy but both were enthusiastic and fun. The assistants, especially the DJ were crazy (James' trivia questions were evil). Our room steward, Emmanuel, was very helpful with a problem we had with our balcony door.
Ports of call included Aruba, Cartagena, the canal itself, Limon Costa Rica and Grand Cayman. We found our walking tour of Cartagena's Old City tiring but fascinating although the street vendors are quite annoying. They are not shy and will not let up.
At the canal, after going through the Gatun Locks we tendered ashore to get on a smaller boat which took us through the Galliard Cut and the other locks out to the Pacific. I must say, you get a better feel for how the locks work this way. On the IP I never got the sensation of being raised even though I knew we were. On the small boat being lowered felt very dramatic.
Our best excursion was white water rafting in Costa Rica. Class II rapids, so not real wild but wet and exciting.
Disembarkation took way too long due to a shortage of Customs agents but I think that's par for the course.
I would definitely recommend this trip. Less
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