All in all, this was a great cruise. We drove from Wisconsin to spend Christmas with our son and grandkids. We arrived four days before the sailing and played tourist and spent some good family time.
Embarkation was a snap. Our son drove us over dropped us off. Traffic was really efficiently handled. They took our bags and from that point on we had minimal delays. They were measuring the time to get through the check in process so we were given a card with the start time (12:00 pm was penciled in—it was actually 11:55 am by my watch). We handed the card in when we were given out room keys/cards at 12:02 pm. It was handled quickly and I didn’t see the value in writting a wrong start time down to make it look better.
We were able to go directly to our room to drop off the carry on (C602). The room was comfortably large without a sofa. The closet area was also large. The only complaint was the truly tiny shower. I’m 6; 3” tall and about 250 lbs. There was not enough room in the shower for me to lift my legs up to wash my lower legs and feet. I dropped the wash cloth once and had to shut the shower off and step out to bend over to pick it up. The steward was friendly and did a fine job in keeping the cabin nice. The bed was very comfortable.
The Horizon Court was very nice. We never had trouble with seating or waiting in line. I believe the ship had some number of empty cabins but I don’t know how many. In any case, crowds were never an issue. Breakfast in HC had very little variety. I have complained in past reviews about the eggs. I originally thought they may have been powdered but this time I spotted a carton of frozen eggs. They are not inedible but they are certainly not very good—there is a marked graininess to them. There was a fair amount of variety to the other meals. They were all uniformly good—especially for buffet food.
The dinners in the main dining room were all good. I confess to being a bit put off by the descriptions in the menu. I felt they were stuffy—i.e. macerated strawberries, infused garlic, etc. A little simplicity would have been more appropriate. I found I had to study the menus for a bit to determine what would be the best selection. I always came up with something I liked though. I recommend the sorbets for desert—the apple cider sorbet is outstanding,
We ate at Sabatini’s one night. We ordered the Lobster Three Ways and were very disappointed. We were served a lobster tail (way one), a spoonful of Lobster bisque (way two) over the lobster and a pile of orzo with a ½” by 1” piece of lobster on top (way three). This was definitely not what I expected and had to ask them to point out the three ways. The lobster tail was appropriately cooked but was tasteless. There was none of the natural sweetness I expect with lobster. I gave half of mine to my wife who left it and most of if hers on the plate. I did complain and was asked if everything else was satisfactory—it was, in fact the service was excellent. I do advise others to stick with the main dining room.
The entertainment was all good to great. I really enjoyed the production shows, especially “On the Bayou”. The magician was good. The first show for the mind reader was great but the second was a bit of a letdown. I felt it was a bit obvious how the tricks were done on the second show. The comedian was very funny. He repeated a joke in the second show and it seemed to unsettle him. He walked back and forth, took a sip of water and finally got his mind back in order and continued on. I did enjoy his act.
Princess did a great job with filling our days with activities.
The tours we took were a disappointment in that the busses were severely uncomfortable. In Cartagena there was absolutely no legroom—even for the shorter people. The Panama tour had more legroom but the seats were extremely narrow. When a fellow sitting in the back got on there was no room for him to pass down the aisle as people were over hanging the aisle and had to put their feet in the aisle due to the lack of leg room.
Disembarkation was a mess to my way of thinking. Princess blamed it on a lack of customs people. The start was delayed by 45 minutes. By the time we got out, we had been delayed for nearly two hours. I found it very irritating to see the Princess people moving passengers to the line for those with disabilities. I am 100% in favor of giving disabled people a break. My daughter, who is in a wheel chair, often travels with us. Managing a wheelchair, luggage and paperwork through customs in a real strain—help is welcome. This time I saw people who hired baggage handlers bumped to the head of the line, I also saw small parties pulled out of line after talking to a Princess rep and moved to the front. Line jumpers should not be tolerated.