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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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Emerald 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
    San Juan del Sur
  • Day 9
    Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera)
  • Day 10
    Cruising
  • Day 11
    Fuerte Amador
  • Day 12
    Panama Canal
  • Day 13
    Cartagena (Colombia)
  • Day 14
    Cruising
  • Day 15
    Cruising
  • Day 16
    Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

Emerald Princess

Emerald Princess - Princess Cruises

Pros

Friendly crew, well-crafted shore tours, improved specialty dining

Cons

Long queues to enter main dining rooms and upselling in the spa

Bottom Line

Relaxed atmosphere with dining and entertainment options for all ages


Cruise Reviews

1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
As you will read from many other reviewers; this was "the worse" Princess cruise I have been on -- and I have been on many, many Princess cruises. Something was terribly wrong with 50% of the interactions on this cruise. To ... Read More
As you will read from many other reviewers; this was "the worse" Princess cruise I have been on -- and I have been on many, many Princess cruises. Something was terribly wrong with 50% of the interactions on this cruise. To be fair, I would like to give you a balanced overview. THE GOOD: Our room steward "Randy" was THE BEST we have ever had. He should be training for Princess on how to take care of Guests. The International Cafe people were very friendly and helpful - but they need more staff for the service - everyone goes there. Two casino people really stood out (Hans and Mario) - they were very professional and helpful to guests (more on the casino later) I liked the new market place for eating and for the layout, colors and seating - the food -- that will be later too. The Crown Grill - excellent Chilean Sea Bass and steak for others. Best food and service. The fitness center - the dry dock brought mostly new equipment. I'm always at the gym on shore and the cruises - they did an excellent job here. And, there were 45+ people in the gym at all time -- just goes to show - if you build it, they will come ;) Traditional dining - good fish, nice salmon, excellent asparagus. THE BAD Customer service desk - clueless people, no help or service. It seemed that half the crew must have been new to the cruise industry and all the guest were the guinea pigs. And they were just plain rude at times. You would be talking with them about a problem - the phone would ring and they would cut you off and spend 5-10 minutes on the phone before coming back to you. Casino manager ( I won't mention names - I do have them, but it's not worth mentioning) shut the casino craps table down around 11 or `11:30 and forced everyone to leave - over and over - who does that? (more on the craps table under horrible) Drinks - every night the same thing at the craps table - hour to an hour and a half before they would come to ask if you wanted a drink. If you wanted one before that, you had to stop gambling and go to the bar to buy one. Why would they do that? The food in the new market place - average - and that is being generous. I did like their sandwiches for lunch. Food over all here was far below what you would normally expect from Princess Cruises. I will say their salads were fresh ! Traditional dining - this is the sad part - 50% of the time the meal was good, the other 50% of the time - I couldn't eat the food. The beef stroganoff - couldn't cut the meat with a steak knife - much less chew it. Braised beef - let's just call it braised fat. Their steaks - I wanted medium rare - it took them four times - each one was rarer than the previous one. People at my table were "mooing" because it was such a joke. The 4th steak was perfect. Their lamb - one bite was all I could do - so bad. The excursion for snorkeling at our 2nd port was nice - but the boat was way too small for the number of people who went on the excursion. THE HORRIBLE: Two main things stand out that really ruined this cruise. As others have said, the excursions were ruined for people and Costa Rica was the worse. Hundreds of people missed their buses because Princess wouldn't let you off the ship - seriously - they kept people in the Princess Theatre with no stickers or organization - when they finally let people out - row by row, dozens of buses had already left. So yes, hundreds of people missed their excursions in Costa Rica !! They reimbursed everyone - but it was the one big excursion I wanted to go on. People were standing in the heat of the day on the dock while they waited. Most excursions were cut in half for their time. Someone mentioned that this happened near the beginning of the cruise and people talked about it for the next week and a half - that is an understatement - people were furious - including me. I will give credit to Gary McNeil - he owned up immediately for all the problems and took full responsibility. Princess should be happy to have people like him. Craps table in the casino - okey, something is up with this and Princess needs to look into the issue. The table was "re-done" in the dry dock and new dice were added. 14 days of playing and every player lost every night. The dice would land and bounce at 90 degree angles. The dice would stop rolling and then "suddenly" flip over one more time. Many players there were commenting on what was up with the dice and table. We've played craps for years in Vegas and on cruise ships. NEVER have I seen the dice act so weird AND have 100% of the people loose at the table for 14 days straight. I'm not accusing them of anything - BUT - they need to look into this. We will not be playing craps on our next cruise with Princess. This is serious folks. FINAL WRAP UP: We did not come back "RENEWED" you will find from other reviewers, this cruise really hurt Princess's reputation in so many ways. Which is sad for me, I really liked them a lot until this cruise :( Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise for the full Panama Canal transit. We were on board for the first 15 days from LA to Ft. Lauderdale. The ports visited were Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco Mexico, San Juan Del Sir Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, full transit ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the full Panama Canal transit. We were on board for the first 15 days from LA to Ft. Lauderdale. The ports visited were Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco Mexico, San Juan Del Sir Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, full transit of Canal, Cartegena. This was our 12th Princess cruise and as usual embarkation was smooth and efficient. We enjoyed all the ports and took several excursions - more on that later.The ship had just come out of dry dock. Our balcony cabin was fine except that the balcony had numerous paint chips/rubber pieces all over. In order to get the door to lock we had to slam it. Numerous problems with elevators, laundry facilities didn't work, problem with toilet that was resolved fairly quickly. The food was just ok except for the Crown Grill which was excellent both times we went. Buffet was lacking in selections the few times we ate there, dining room ok, enjoyed the triple smoked burger at the Salty Dog Grill, wanted to go to Planks for the BBQ but was closed the several night we wanted to go. The service in dining room was wonderful, our sever was organized, efficient and very funny. We ate about 1/2 our dinner meals there. Bar service in Crooners was excellent as well. Entertainment was not bad, the production shows ok, comedian was fine, several guest entertainers were fantastic and a few others I could have skipped. Crooners pianist fine, the party band was ok but the other 2 entertainers were ones we checked out once and that was it as didn't enjoy. The destination speaker was outstanding, the other speaker Leo Rossi who talked about his time in rock/roll was interesting. The really ugly part of the cruise were the shore excursions and the staff there. Our Puerto Vallarta excursion was a big disappointment as we only did 1/2 the tour and spent the last 15 min listening to our guide give a sales pitch for his products. We complained to desk and asked for a 50% refund. It took 4 days to hear back and after several lies they refunded us 25%. That was bad enough but the whole fiasco that occurred with the Costa Rica excursions is unforgivable. Except for tender ports we have never met on board somewhere before getting off for an excursion. For some reason this cruise we had to meet in the Princess Theater each day BUT there was no organization, no stickers or tours sitting together. For Costa Rica they had 1 gangway open and lost control as we were all leaving for excursions in long lines, people merging in from all over. We were in the 4th row of Princess Theater - made it to our bus but had to wait over 90 min for everyone to get there due to fiasco. Many people stood out in heat for over an hour, tours were cut short because they started too late - just a general incompetence. People complained to the desk but nothing happened - no apology letter, nothing - no acknowledgement of mistakes or loss of control. Just ridiculous. So bad that for last week of cruise it was a continuing topic of discussion everywhere. I filed a complaint with Princess upon returning home, they responded but all I heard during phone call was excuses - not a real understanding or comprehension of what had transpired. Disembarkation was fairly seamless despite a bit of confusion with the transfer buses. Overall despite everything we enjoyed the cruise but don't think we will be sailing Princess anytime soon as this definitely didn't live up to expectations based on our past experiences. There are other cruise lines such as Celebrity that have better customer service in my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
E733 Suite: Great view back of the ship. Suite class has free unlimited laundry service, exclusive great breakfast daily at Crown Grill, one time bar set up, large balcony/room Crown Grill and Share: food and service excellent Salty ... Read More
E733 Suite: Great view back of the ship. Suite class has free unlimited laundry service, exclusive great breakfast daily at Crown Grill, one time bar set up, large balcony/room Crown Grill and Share: food and service excellent Salty Dog: dissapointing Club class dining: excellent service, food menu is the same as regular dining room but it has additional one dish they cook in the dining room/not by table side, generally food is awful! Lido deck food: poor selection, poor set up, not a pleasant experience up there. Suite in room dining: still limited choices like sandwiches and burgers etc, better than regular cabin room service menu. Laundry service: slow, usually take about 36 hours Ship itself: average.... Entertainment: very limited, usually evening entertainment compose of solo entertainer in the Princess theater, lots of comedians and magicians! 15 nights cruise, had 3 production shows. Staff: good cabin steward, work hard...but there are little more than few that not working, like seeing one by our cabin sitting on the floor everyday..hiding away! Internet: very slow Spa: very high pressure selling, after my massage I was pressured to tip more on top of mandatory 15% included. Share and Crown Grill...Excellent food and service. Read Less
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