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10 Night Panama Canal & Central America Cruise from Fort Lauderdale

10 Night Panama Canal & Central America Cruise from Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

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Itinerary

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  • Day 1
    Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    Grand Turk
  • Day 4
    Cruising
  • Day 5
    Cartagena (Colombia)
  • Day 6
    Gatun Lake
  • Day 6
    Colon (Cristobal)
  • Day 7
    Limon Bay
  • Day 8
    Cruising
  • Day 9
    Ocho Rios
  • Day 10
    Cruising
  • Day 11
    Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

Island Princess

Island Princess - Princess Cruises

Pros

Comfortable, mid-sized ship; peaceful adults-only sun deck; good variety of food.

Cons

Ship generally feels cramped; bathrooms and standard balconies are also small.

Bottom Line

Ideal for those looking for a traditional cruise ship experience with no surprises.


Cruise Reviews

We truly enjoyed our cruise. That being said, Island Princess is OLD and tired. We do enjoy the smaller ships, but in the future because how Princess manages these smaller ships and offers lesser quality food, music, activities and we ... Read More
We truly enjoyed our cruise. That being said, Island Princess is OLD and tired. We do enjoy the smaller ships, but in the future because how Princess manages these smaller ships and offers lesser quality food, music, activities and we feel lower quality staff, we will not be returning to the Island. My primary observations: No electrical by bed. Had to request extension cord and run across cabin. Trip hazard. Daily activity flyer, print too small. Cruise director & staff superficially friendly. If asked for a more in depth answer, they get surly. Beds are very nice. Towels are the quality of a cheap hotel. Toilet paper and facial tissues are bargain basement quality. Why did the balcony rail and deck need to be stained and sealed during my passage? Received notice after several days into cruise that our balcony would not be accessible during the canal crossing. Why did we pay the premium for a balcony or when booking New Princess Net is pretty good. But, expect to have spotty service during rain and/or fog. In cabin TV. The presentation of the channels and guide is very hard to figure out and know what is on and how to select. Bridge cam is out of focus and has been since we've been monitoring in preparation for our cruise. 3 months. Horizon buffet. Restaurant management not engaging with customers. At every meal on the horizon, 50% of tables had no salt shakers. Weird. Maritime crew not friendly. Large wall posters advertising light snacks at the Patisserie and coffee bar. Yet, no food available at the patisserie coffee bar. Apparently, a coffee bar has been added to the casino where the food has been moved to with no mention to the passengers. Just sweet buns. Front desk/passenger customer service – these ladies are life savers answering questions and solving problems that better management would have prevented from ever happening. Eve & Belen helped me many times and had a delightful attitude. Cruise director & staff – bubbly, but if asked for some help, or to resolve an issue, not so interested. When met outside of an activity, quite distant and unfriendly. Morning coffee and afternoon wine at La Patisserie – Fabian and Ana will always be remembered. Ship's climate control - The ship appears to be 5 separate compartments, connected into 1 master vessel. The temperature and humidity can vary quite noticeably between these sections of the ship. There are no clocks in the rooms. Things Princess does not mention, but passengers should know. The shops, casino, spa, etc. are not Princess operated. They are leased operations. Besides being considerably more expensive than similar State-side businesses, if you have any issues with products needing warranty service, you must go to the vendor, not Princess. $5 for a tube of Pringles? Insulting. Gambling. There is no gaming commission overseeing operations as you find on land casinos. Payouts for slot machines and table games are at the discretion of the casino and yes, not as favorable as popular casinos such as Las Vegas. Some have noticed that the slot payouts are favorable on day 1 or 2 on the cruise to excite the passengers and then lowered for the remainder of the cruise. ADA - The doors to many places on the Island Princess ship, unlike the newer Princess ships I've been on are not only not auto-open, and are very hard to open, even for non-wheelchair use passengers. One of the greatest benefits of Princess vs. other Lines are the self-service laundries. Unfortunately, there is a 3" transition into them so this service is totally inaccessible to a wheelchair. Food - I do not know if it is the age of the ship, the itinerary, the Chef or what, but as compared to the Regal & Emerald, the menu is far less exciting, the meat quality is lesser and the wait time for food delivery diminishes the dining experience. Wine – we expect to pay 2x retail as in most restaurants. 4 times retail is insulting. Princess tries to convince us that they are concerned about the environment by suggesting we should use our bath towels for many days, yet the amount of single use beverage containers and paper products at buffet wash stations is far more wasteful. Does Princess ever mention the $40 million dollar fine for Illegal Ocean dumping and 9 probation violations? Future Cruise Dept. - I do not understand the benefit to the passenger for this onboard department. I was interested in an Alaska cruise for 2021. Princess had not published the itineraries yet or which ships will be in use. The staff person could not or would not put me an email list to let me know when they were known. Her suggestion was to check with a travel agent. Pretty sad. We have found that the daily activities on the Island are sparse during the day as compared to our other Princess cruises. Activities such as trivia and marriage match game are not scheduled until later in the day. The live music in the various lounges and Plaza are noticeably poorer quality than previous cruises on other Princess ships. Shows - The band is pretty good. Princess advertises 'Las Vegas" style shows. Makes me think that they have never seen Vegas or NYC shows. They are nice, but more like high school talent show quality. There is nothing wrong with them, but be more honest as to the offerings. The musicians in different lounges and plaza were not the quality I’ve come to expect from Princess. Our other Princess ships had a dedicated pizza restaurant. Very nicely prepared. Santorini's offers pizza a few times per cruise. No better than the pizza on the pool deck and no servers with a 'tude' to deal with. The Ocean App. Why can't the lunch and dinner menus be post there? Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Panama Canal always piqued our interest. My husband and I were definitely in need of a vacation and were on the Princess website one day. This cruise 'jumped out' at us and so we booked it that day, without much thought. We had ... Read More
Panama Canal always piqued our interest. My husband and I were definitely in need of a vacation and were on the Princess website one day. This cruise 'jumped out' at us and so we booked it that day, without much thought. We had planned to go alone as we were trying to catch up on celebrating our 25th anniversary from last year [we had to cancel our vacation in 2018 because we live in Leilani Estates where the lava erupted in May]. We flew the night before disembarkation from Hawaii Island to board the ship. Airport transfer from LAX was a little glitchy as the Princess folks did not put us on the airport transfer check-list for some reason after we checked in with them, so we had a bit of a wait. Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth. They are definitely very well-organized on handling these two events. We did not spend any time in our departure city, really had no desire to explore LA. We had cruised to Alaska with Princess in 2017 on the Coral Princess so we were familiar with the ship layout already as the Island Princess is basically the same ship. The cabin was small, but cozy and very neat and tidy. We knew what to expect so no surprises here. We utilized Anytime dining so that we were not locked in to any sort of schedule every day. We ate most of our meals in the Horizon Court, due to the availability of choices to eat different foods each day. Breakfast, however, felt very monotonous as it was the same offerings every single day. We had a few meals in the Bordeaux dining room, all of which were great dining experiences. We took advantage of both specialty dining restaurants [The Bayou Steakhouse and Sabatini's] and neither one disappointed. We took advantage of the variety shows most every night. Some were better than others, but all were entertaining in their own way. The production show on the final evening was amazing. The game shows held in the Explorer's Lounge were definitely entertaining. We spent a lot of time on the Lido deck at the pool. Some of the movies they played were too loud and hard to comprehend because they sounded distorted. There was one day when the speakers malfunctioned and it was static as loud as you could imagine that literally cleared out the pool area. It was painful to your ears even if you put your hands over your ears. I'm not sure how long it took them to correct it, but we left after 5-10 minutes. The Voice of the Ocean talent was really lacking and the karaoke was pretty bad. The service staff on the ship were amazing. Our room steward was so very attentive and the bar / wait staff are extremely good at what they do and were all very friendly. We visited 5 ports while on this cruise and went on 4 excursions. We were unable to port at one of the tender stops due to inclement weather, but did not have any excursions booked anyhow. The Copalita Archaeological excursion in Huatulco, Mexico was very interesting and the grounds were well-kept and very beautiful. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. We visited the animal rescue 'sloth sanctuary' while in Puntarenas, Costa Rica and this was amazing. They are doing good work here. While in Panama we went on an excursion to the new locks, which was interesting as well. The time spent was a little short, but our guide was very knowledgeable and the bus ride to and from was interesting and filled with facts. The wait to get back onto the tender at this port was RIDICULOUS. We literally stood in line for well over an hour in the blistering heat. It was not pleasant. Transiting the Canal was AMAZING! To watch the process is enlightening and to think about the work that went in to making that possible is incredible. While in Cartagena, Colombia, our last port stop, we chose to simply do the 'Hop on, Hop off' bus tour of the city. We chose to get off at the Walled City and do the walking / audio tour. The street vendors were absolutely relentless. They made it very difficult to actually enjoy the tour. They were literally in your face the entire time trying to get you to buy whatever it is they were selling. I would not recommend this tour to anyone. The website does provide a warning about this excursion city / port, but the warning needs to be a little stronger. The only other true disappointment was that this ship evidently was experiencing some sort of sewage venting issue as there were certain areas of the ship that literally smelled of raw sewage every time you passed those areas. It was not pleasant. If given the chance I would most definitely make the Panama Canal Transit a future cruise on my list! I would choose different port of call, so that I could see more areas, but it was definitely an incredible experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My now 90 year old mother and I took this same ship to the Panamal Canal in 2012 and we were now celebrating her 90th birthday and looking forward to the renovations that were made in 2017 to the ship. Imagine our surprise when we find ... Read More
My now 90 year old mother and I took this same ship to the Panamal Canal in 2012 and we were now celebrating her 90th birthday and looking forward to the renovations that were made in 2017 to the ship. Imagine our surprise when we find that our balcony grade room was now 1/3 smaller and the shower so small that I could not even turn around without bumping my head (I'm almost 6 feet tall but no giant and my wife could not even shave her legs in the shower because there was no room. Also, the casino was cut in half and I was specifically told by the casino manager that Carnival had done this to create space for more rooms. So our comfort is sacrificed so Carnival/Princess can make a buck. Typical corporate mentality. Forget about quality just mo money mo money mo money!! Our room had no air conditioning for one night until I threatened to sue everybody and then it miraculously came back on. The food was mediocre at best. The shows were average (when you could get in since the cattle call of over 75+ seniors got to each show about 45 minutes before to take all the seats). I guess when there is nothing else to do you have no choice. The Huatulco shore excursion was a total joke. The guide spoke no English, was 45 minutes late and showed us the fronts of 4 hotels saying that these were the cultural highlights of the City! If I have to hear about one more bs EFFY jewelry promotion I am going to throw up. What a ripoff! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
View All Island Princess Reviews
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