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15 Night Panama Canal & Central America Cruise from Los Angeles

15 Night Panama Canal & Central America Cruise from Los Angeles

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Pacific Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)
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Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Los Angeles
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    Cruising
  • Day 4
    Puerto Vallarta
  • Day 5
    Cruising
  • Day 6
    Huatulco
  • Day 7
    Cruising
  • Day 8
    Cruising
  • Day 9
    Puerto Quepos
  • Day 10
    Cruising
  • Day 11
    Panama Canal
  • Day 12
    Cruising
  • Day 13
    Aruba
  • Day 14
    Cruising
  • Day 15
    Cruising
  • Day 16
    Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

Pacific Princess

Pacific Princess - Princess Cruises


Cruise Reviews

1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Background information My husband and I are in our 80s, and I use a small mobility scooter to help me get around. This was his first cruise on Princess and 16th cruise on commercial cruise ships (he was in the Navy for 20 years so he ... Read More
Background information My husband and I are in our 80s, and I use a small mobility scooter to help me get around. This was his first cruise on Princess and 16th cruise on commercial cruise ships (he was in the Navy for 20 years so he has been on other cruises) and my third Princess cruise and my 29th cruise overall. I booked this cruise primarily to visit four ports that we had not been to before. Since there were nine ports in a row with no sea days, this was a very strenuous cruise Because we have both had melanomas, we do not visit the beaches. What we generally do in port is our hobby of cemetery documentation (taking photos of gravestones and adding them to a database). Embarkation - We drove down from Maryland to the Florida and stayed with our daughter in Miami before and after the cruise. Embarkation was very quick and we could get to our cabin right away. Our suitcases arrived before the drill (which was held in the dining room.) Ship: The ship was a lovely small ship. We did not miss the climbing wall/water slides or the International cafe or the large casino, or any of the extras that larger ships have and we also did not miss the crowds or waiting for the elevator. There was a lovely quiet library. The internet was quite good for a ship. The bow camera was excellent. The captain gave a briefing each noon and each night but his accent was such that Bob couldn't understand (or even hear) him at all. There were some minor deficiencies - the Princess Patter was not proofread well so it was not always accurate. In particular the first day, there was a list of formal nights, and they left one out. The thresholds, both inside the ship and to the deck were raised enough that it made a wheelchair or scooter ride over them uncomfortable. I would have liked to be able to go completely around the promenade deck, but it was only a short section on each side and much of it was blocked off when we were at a tender port. Neither of the ATMs worked. There is a laundry but it needs tokens and the token machine will take your money and not give you the tokens so you have to come down to the desk to get tokens. Activities: We did trivia and had a good time with that. It was nice that the people running the trivia were also performers at night. They do a scrumptious afternoon tea in the main dining room. New Years Day they had a big brunch buffet in the main dining room. I got to swim in the pool once before they drained it. They announced the draining in the Patter, but not that they had refilled it. The port lecturer was an old man with a heavy accent. He was not only hard to understand but he was confused - he mixed up the port excursions and had them at the wrong ports. We went to the first lecture and never went again. Service was very good everywhere. Our cabin steward did a good job and was able to find me a smaller pillow. The man in the internet cafe was very helpful. There were four tender ports and the personnel helping us were quite experienced and did a very good job. But no one ever offered to help me get my food in the Panorama Buffet. My husband had to help me get something to eat (I can't easily run the scooter and hold a plate) Dining: The Panorama buffet was too small for there to be a good selection of food. We ate there when we were in port, but if you lingered too long, the ice cream section was packed up and disappeared. Sometimes the labels on the food were wrong. My husband went up once at dinner and said the selections were lame, and there wasn't a lot at breakfast either. In the main dining room, we had a nice table at dinner but we were always the last to leave because the service was a bit slow. The food was good as a rule. There were some dishes that I actively disliked (the way Princess does Brunswick stew for instance). But there were some that I really liked - I had the Chicken and leek pot pie a la Curtis Stone twice. We had two huge lobster tails at the second formal night but the next night the lobster tails were tiny. Bob had what was called chilled pea soup, and it was not chilled, it was hot (which he preferred). The clear soups tended to be a bit too salty for me. The cream soups were served in a glass, but now they no longer give you straws to drink them with. The eggs at breakfast were variable - sometimes a poached egg would be almost hard boiled and sometimes they were almost not cooked. Port & shore excursions: I did not take any Princess excursions because they were either too strenuous or they were canceled (in St Barts) or they were full (Virgin Gorda) St Barts: We had been to St Barts before and rented a car, but the roads are so narrow and twisty that we had a hard time actually getting to the places we wanted to see. The excursions in St Barts were all cancelled because it was Christmas day. I thought (correctly) that I might have trouble getting a taxi. So I booked a taxi driver through the internet and we had a very nice tour for 150 euros. Antigua: We had been to Antigua twice and had done the usual tours, so we just went down to the dispatcher and asked to hire a cab for a couple of hours - this cost $200.00 Terre-de-Haut: This was tender port which we had not visited before. Terre de Haut is a very tiny island. It is less than two and a half square miles. It has most of the population of the archipelago, but this population is less than 2000 souls. We took the tender in and spent some time watching the activity here. The place is a magnet for French tourists who want to spend time at the beach. Martinique: None of the excursions would take my scooter, so I booked an excursion for the two of us through Expedia. Very expensive, but very satisfactory. Tobago: We went on a tour of the island booked through another Cruise Critics member. This was a six or seven tour of the island in a small bus, lunch and ice cream for $80 each. It was a nice tour and we got a lot of good information about the island and saw quite a few things, but I booked it without realizing how long it was - we really do not have the energy to do more than about a five hour tour. Bob was in the back of the bus and there were so many hairpin turns that he said he was about to get car sick. Barbados: We spent a week in Barbados in 1996 and also been there four times on a cruise ship. The one thing I really wanted to see there was St. Nicholas Abbey which we visited in 1996 but has been closed on subsequent visits. I wanted to go back there because they showed old home movies taken in the 1930s and I wanted to see them again. The film is listed by the Barbados Tourism Authority as one of the "Seven Wonders of Barbados". St. Nicholas Abbey is not a religious institution. It has always been a sugarcane plantation house. The great house, built in 1658, is one of just three Jacobean style mansions remaining in the Western Hemisphere. (The others are Bacon's Castle in Virginia and Drax Hall Great House in Barbados.) So I went out to the dispatcher and asked her if I could go there and to a church for $100. We got a taxi and not only saw St. Nicholas Abbey and went to St Philip-the-Less Church, but we also got to see the Morgan Mill and some chattel houses. Bequia: This was another new port for us. Bequia is the largest island of the Grenadines (part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) at 7 square miles. Another tender port. After the first fiasco, I had stopped listing to the port talks. But I did go to the official Bequia website and I had seen the maps. So I knew that things were compact in Port Elizabeth and I just scootered down the main street to St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church where we got to listen to a man singing and look at the church and cemetery. Then we took the tender back to the ship. Dominica: We have been here twice before so all I had in mind to do was to visit the Catholic cemetery and take some photos. It was close enough to the ship that Bob could walk and I could go by scooter. Virgin Gorda: In 1997, we visited the Bath's in Virgin Gorda, and I would have liked to go again but even in 1997 I had trouble with the steps and could not do the Devil's Bay trail. I really would have liked to go back to the Baths and get some better photos. But since the excursion was full, that was not a possibility. So we took a tender in and got a taxi. The scooter had a problem yesterday and Bob wanted to get some stuff to fix it so we visited three hardware stores and a couple of cemeteries and had a nice morning for $70.00 Disembarkation: The information on disembarkation was a little misleading (the information given us said that it might take four hours. It took 10 minutes. Summary: A strenuous trip on a nice small ship. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I chose this particular cruise because of the ports and because I chose to spend the holidays differently this year. That being said, I was looking forward to some good meals, relaxing in the spa and a beautifully decorated ship. What I ... Read More
I chose this particular cruise because of the ports and because I chose to spend the holidays differently this year. That being said, I was looking forward to some good meals, relaxing in the spa and a beautifully decorated ship. What I experienced was the total opposite. The decor looked like it was 30 plus years old, maybe even the original. The spa lacked any amenities (except a sauna) and the manager was unpleasant. I usually shower in the spa after my services and one day there wasn’t even hot water. No hair dryer, toiletries, etc. As a vegetarian, I struggled with all the dining options. I was hungry one night and tried to order a grilled cheese sandwich from room service and they had no idea what I was talking about! The veggie burger was the worst I’ve ever tried and there was never a veggie pasta option in the buffet. All sauces were pre made with meat/seafood. And no one was making any exceptions. I would rate the food overall a 4/10 stars. And I’m basing that on the few average meals I had. The ship is dated with obvious wear and tear. I didn’t feel like our cabin was my standard of clean and sanatized it myself upon arrival. The room also smelled terrible every night after turn down service—not sure why. Very disappointed with my first Princess experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We did not choose this cruise for ourselves. Our cruise-loving family chose it for us, then they cancelled at the last minute. We are so glad to have gone anyway! We were probably the youngest people on the boat who weren't there ... Read More
We did not choose this cruise for ourselves. Our cruise-loving family chose it for us, then they cancelled at the last minute. We are so glad to have gone anyway! We were probably the youngest people on the boat who weren't there with their parents or grandparents, and given that DH is a happy introvert, it was for the best. I was able to be my social butterfly self with all the other passengers and he was perfectly happy to sit off on his own. At the same time he got a chance to actually engage with our tablemates and other passengers in a meaningful way if he chose. LOVE this ship! We were on a port-intensive, 14-day Cruise through the Southern Caribbean. Four of our ports were accessed by tender, and one of them was just too choppy for me to head out on. My knee failed me on the third island, and the response was absolutely fantastic. I've never had to use ships medical before, but the team on our ship was attentive, and thorough. Thanks to the ease of navigating around the ship, and the next few ports, I was able to do everything I originally planned on doing while on crutches. It was amazing!!!! The entertainment staff on this ship does dual duty as both the Cruise Director's staff and the singers and dancers, and they are fun! They put on a good show and then turn around and do some mean trivia. If you're into all of the wild bells and whistles found on so many other ships, this one doesn't have them. They have uncrowded spaces, elevators without lines, lots and lots of lounge chairs on the deck, the love boat vibe, and plenty of down time to relax. There were two children on our cruise. They were sweet, and one was too young to notice that there was no entertainment for her. The other was well-entertained by his parents. We said it many times on our cruise, and we'll say it here too: We're deathly afraid we've spoiled ourselves for the future cruises because we really enjoyed the small ship so much. Read Less
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