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6 Princess Caribbean Princess Cruise Reviews for Cruises for the Disabled Cruises to Panama Canal & Central America from Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

Great Panama Canal experience! The Caribbean Princess is an older ship with great upgrades and a fantastic crew! The Cruise Director was unbelievable and was a huge asset to the fun on the cruise. The waitstaff in the dining rooms were ... Read More
Great Panama Canal experience! The Caribbean Princess is an older ship with great upgrades and a fantastic crew! The Cruise Director was unbelievable and was a huge asset to the fun on the cruise. The waitstaff in the dining rooms were great and worked together to make your ding experience a great one! The ships decor was terrific and the flow of the activity decks seemed you were on a much smaller ship. I loved the International Cafe for there fresh Lattes and service. A great friendly smile to start your day. The Guest Services Desk was always full of employees to help with you issues, not like other cruise lines that have a skeleton crew (NCL) to service your needs.Overall, the Princess cruise line is trying and staying way in front of their competition with there Medallian program which is helping non techy's like me to feel GOOD! I hope they continue to be way in front and accommodating! Thanks Princess Cruise Line! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I have never been on a cruise before and I came in with little to no expectations and a positive attitude. At first I was overwhelmed with amount of action going on and the small rooms, food etc. But after the initial first day, which was ... Read More
I have never been on a cruise before and I came in with little to no expectations and a positive attitude. At first I was overwhelmed with amount of action going on and the small rooms, food etc. But after the initial first day, which was stressful because of flying and nothing with the Princess cruise line, everything worked out. Sure, we did not go on one of our port stops due to weather, but safety was the priorty and I understood that. Also, the staff was INCREDIBLE!! Everyone was so personal, kind and nice! Spoiled me rotten from such great service. Entertainment was great and the whole time I was enjoying, having a blast and was always satisfied with everything. And if at any point I had any issues, they were quickly resolved. The game shows and entertainment was too notch, they have things for kids, teens and in betweens. And obviously adults and older adults as well. We watched a movie outside and ate ice cream, I mean what could be better? So all in all, the best vacation of my life. I would totally reccomend. For a lot of people who complain on these forums, these people are natural complainers so I would take it with a grain of salt. I had an awesome time and would 100000 percent reccommend. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Caribbean Princess 12/9 to 12/19 Panama Canal Cruise Pros: Embarkation was fairly smooth and quick with the new electronic Medallion system. Cruise terminal staff were friendly and helpful. Staterooms were ready for guests upon ... Read More
Caribbean Princess 12/9 to 12/19 Panama Canal Cruise Pros: Embarkation was fairly smooth and quick with the new electronic Medallion system. Cruise terminal staff were friendly and helpful. Staterooms were ready for guests upon boarding the ship. Our stateroom door usually “recognized” our electronic Medallions upon our approach and unlocked the door for us. The ship was decorated for Christmas. Staterooms have extra large closets. The stateroom was fairly clean and relatively quiet. Our stateroom steward was accommodating, providing lighter bedding, extra pillows, robes and ice. Getting off and back on the ship at ports of call was fairly quick with the Medallion system, greatly reducing lines. Most staff in all the dining venues were friendly and helpful. Afternoon tea was done nicely and not to excess. Ship personnel decorated stateroom doors with a sign and balloons for special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. Final disembarkation went fairly well. Cons: Elevators are small, fill quickly, and skip decks if any other elevator is stopping there, leading to long waits, particularly for the disabled who have mobility aids such as walkers, scooters, wheelchairs. Buffets in the “World Marketplace” casual dining area on the aft Lido deck have been renovated to be somewhat island style, but the islands are crammed into too small of an area and not well separated, causing long lines and difficulty getting through. There is no requirement on this ship for passengers to exercise proper hand sanitation prior to entering the restaurant venues. Thus most guests skipped this step completely. The simple precaution of washing hands and using hand sanitizers might have prevented devastating illnesses from being spread by thousands of guests handling the same serving tongs and spoons. Tables in the buffet areas of the Lido deck are in short supply at meal times, especially near a window where most four person tables were often occupied by just one person or by guests playing cards. Frustrating. Finding a staff member to clean a table was often difficult, too, as was obtaining beverage service. Not all staff carried through with fulfilling requests. Staff was not evenly distributed in the Lido dining areas. The ship is not easy to navigate due to a split center restaurant & galley section that cannot be accessed, so guests must get to the middle elevators (the most popular ones) from other decks and then go up or down to detour around the inaccessible areas. This was a much bigger problem for guests with mobility problems than for those who could use the stairs, especially since most non-disabled guests avoided using the stairs, creating an even larger demand for elevators. Service carts take up so much space in the very narrow stateroom hallways during the daytime that wheelchairs and other mobility devices cannot get around them. All of the passengers had to wait an extra hour at the required muster drill held in SRO (standing room only) lounges because of a group of latecomers instead of just having the late guests wait an extra 30 minutes to attend the already scheduled latecomer muster. The drill itself was a loud and lame video featuring old actors from the 1970’s Loveboat television series that caused guests to either cover their ears or otherwise tune out. Afterward, of course, there was the usual battle for elevator space. The latter ongoing issue is especially frustrating for disabled guests who cannot get on the elevators due to faster passengers rushing ahead of them to fill the space. The stateroom televisions will not allow access to any other programming until the same tedious safety briefing video that is shown at the muster drill has been viewed again. Stateroom televisions are not interactive and do not show restaurant menus, ship schedules or the status of stateroom accounts. The electronic Medallion system has some advantages, but is not without down sides. With the new system, casino kiosks have been installed in several places around the ship, enabling gamblers to play electronic bingo, slot machines and other betting games at any time the main casino is open. During our 11 day cruise these kiosks were not popular with cruisers and were very rarely approached. For one thing, they are in busy public areas where everything the guest does is in full public view but the guest is simultaneously isolated from the “gambling community” and social but anonymous atmosphere of the main casino. For some unknown reason, the Medallion system also automatically displays the photos of nearby guests on large brightly lit panels outside of some elevators, creating a loss of privacy. Guests can also be tracked by their Medallion signals, giving a feeling of being stalked by Big Brother. For those who take advantage of the full Medallion app, tracking may be handy for those searching the ship for family members or stateroom mates, but the loss of privacy can be a price some might not want to pay. Guests are repeatedly told to wear their Medallions at all times, leading to feelings of being shackled. Many staterooms have only one electrical outlet and that is located at the desk, making it difficult to recharge electronic devices, phone batteries, mobility scooters, etc. Surge protected power strips that would provide multiple outlets are not allowed on this ship. The long stateroom closet has its own hallway, which greatly reduces the size of the stateroom and bathroom. Because the ship has few handicapped accessible rooms, those using mobility devices (which cannot be stored in the narrow deck corridors) are forced to store the device in places inside the stateroom that create a trip hazard and also block features such as the desk and refrigerator. Changing the size and location of the closet would eliminate the extra unusable interior hallway and potentially alleviate some of these problems. The stateroom shower was the tiniest we have encountered in 12 years of frequent cruising (6 cruises in 2018 alone) on several cruise lines. A guest cannot even bend over in the shower to reach their feet in that shower. Even worse, the shower head is fixed with no capability of being hand held, making it very challenging to thoroughly wash and rinse every body part. And the single knob temperature control does not work when the water is running, forcing the user to turn off the water for temperature alteration. The provided shampoo and shower gel are dispensed literally one tiny droplet at a time, making the user really work to get enough. Talk about chintzy. There are no grab bars near the toilet, which would be helpful on such a rocking ship or in high seas conditions. Some parts of the stateroom are apparently rarely cleaned, leading to thick amounts of dust on shelving and under furniture as well as doors, walls and door handles that really should be wiped down and sanitized between guests. Unfortunately, we have encountered this problem (and worse) on other Princess ships, as well. Stateroom twin beds are small, not that much bigger than a baby’s crib mattress, leading to problems for tall passengers who end up with their their feet dangling off the end of the bed. Air circulation in the staterooms is poor, leading to high humidity and damp bedding that makes sleeping difficult. The Caribbean Princess is definitely feeling its age, especially in regard to the inefficient design of the staterooms and inner deck access. The open slatted metal gangways were also difficult to manage for those using walkers, wheelchairs and mobility scooters. The absolute worst aspect of this cruise was the food. We and many other guests studied the generally unappealing daily menus that were posted outside the main dining rooms. In our attempts to find good food, we tried every dining venue on the ship, including the main dining rooms, buffets, casual spots such as the pizzeria and burger/hot dog grill, as well as the specialty restaurants, and they all came up wanting. Mediocre meals and selections were the norm, with very few items one might call good. Dried out meats were covered with spicy sauces. Fruits and vegetables, in particular, were generally bad. Moldy fruits were sometimes found on the buffets and old sprouted potatoes with actual LEAVES emerging from them were baked as is and added to main dining room meals. Entrees and side dishes that had clearly been prepared several days before and then reheated were served in a couple of the very unpopular specialty for-fee restaurants. (“Planks” was especially bad.) Entertainment on the 11 day cruise had a few bright moments but they were greatly outweighed by mediocrity to non-existence. Most passengers resorted to playing private games of cards or reading because there was nothing better to do, although finding a lounge that wasn’t hosting an art auction, staff meeting, trivia contest or spa “seminar” was often a challenge. In addition, the few empty lounges usually blasted guests with perpetual loops of bad Christmas music or, in one case (the Skywalker Lounge,) shook so badly when the ship was moving that guests literally became nauseated. After not being able to shower adequately in their staterooms, most guests avoided getting into the pools and hot tubs with other semi-clean people. Outside of pricey options such as gambling, spa treatments, art auctions and shopping, the main daytime entertainment consisted of occasional trivia contests, art/craft or music “classes” limited to just a few participants, older movies shown outdoors in the hot sun for a few dozen loungers near the pool, and watching the news or a few old television programs in the stateroom. Evenings sometimes included an outdoor movie, a few musicians at various crowded bars and an occasional production show of singers and dancers at the inadequately sized main theater. (Most shows were SRO for those who didn’t arrive very early.) Independent entertainers got onboard the ship a couple of times, but their entertainment value was highly variable, with some audience members leaving after only a few minutes. And a few scheduled entertainment events were canceled due to the ship shaking too much. One event of interest (Voyage to the Stars Planetarium) could only be accessed by signing up during a single 15 minute window early in the morning several days beforehand. Why something so popular would only be offered once to a small percentage of guests was never explained. The Caribbean Princess has some major engine problems that even in calm seas caused a great deal of shaking and noise, reduced the ship’s speed, and created thick black smoke billowing from the stacks. Sleeping at night (under clammy sheets) through the noise and frequent jolts was very difficult and many guests complained about it. One port of call was cancelled when we arrived due to ocean swells we could not see and that clearly did not prevent other cruise ships nearby from tendering at that port. Another port of call was reduced to less than an hour’s stay and was restricted to visiting a vendor tent on the adjacent industrial pier. The cancellations of port calls and entertainment were disappointing, to say the least. Internet service onboard the ship was so bad that many people waited in line for half an hour or more to complain about it and get a refund. Connection with the “special features” of the Medallion app was especially confusing and never did work for us and others, so after a couple of days we simply gave up trying in order to save our sanity. At the Panama Canal, which was the main reason many guests had booked this cruise, instead of cruising Gatun Lake as is traditional, after exiting the initial locks the ship merely turned around and anchored in place next to the locks to await permission to go through the locks again in late afternoon, giving guests nothing new to see and wasting much of the day for those onboard. And after going through the locks again those same guests were not allowed to get off the ship as scheduled at the port of Cristobol (where the guests who had been on excursions all met up with the ship) until less than an hour remained before the ship’s scheduled departure time. The excuse given was that the captain was afraid the excursion guests would not board the ship in a timely manner to depart on time, which they actually did with about an hour to spare. We believe the captain eventually allowed the non-excursion guests to leave the ship for that short while because otherwise the cruise line would have been obligated to refund the Cristobol port fees for many of the guests. Regardless, by the time the initial decision was reversed, many guests had gotten ready for bed and didn’t want to bother to re-dress just to spend such a brief time in a vendor’s tent. Talk about frustrating. At most extremely hot ports of call the ship staff didn’t set up cold drink stations near the gangways for returning guests even though they were very much needed. On the deck of the ship an elderly woman even fainted from the heat but ship’s medics would not allow her to be carried or walk to an air conditioned indoor area less than 5 feet away, but instead brought her a chair to sit in on the hot deck and had her husband fan her with a paper. This made zero sense to us. Summary: For the record, we are very experienced cruisers who went on 6 cruises in 2018 alone. Over the past 12 years we have cruised many times on each of 4 different popular cruise lines but we have no financial or other connection with any of them. Our reviews are as objective and fair minded as we can make them. While there were several significant positive aspects of this particular cruise, the overall deficits were serious enough that, despite our high loyalty status level, we will never book another Princess cruise again. Instead of “coming back new,” we came back stressed, disappointed, and so ill that a week later we were forced to cancel our long awaited holiday travel plans to be with family. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We always have wanted to do this cruise...price and timing right. We had never sailed with Princess before and cannot tell you how pleased we were. Cruised with several lines over last 20 cruises, most recently with Cunard and Oceania. ... Read More
We always have wanted to do this cruise...price and timing right. We had never sailed with Princess before and cannot tell you how pleased we were. Cruised with several lines over last 20 cruises, most recently with Cunard and Oceania. We honest felt the level,of service on Princess exceeded that ofmthose two lines. Exceptional service at every level in every interaction was standard. Some food leaving a little to be desired, but overall very good. The Canal experience was wonderful, especially because we had been told to reserve space on deck 17 in the Sanctuary...$60 per person additional well worth it! We’ll be back to do,the entire Panama Canal transit because this was partial. Thank you Princess. Several,pluses...the wine bar was very special and Laurentia, the wine expert was indeed that! Being assigned tomAnyrime dining was perfect because we could make a reservation and the maitre d Giovanni and our waiter, Abel, were superb at their jobs Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We chose this cruise for the date and the itinerary...and we needed to take it this fall as my father's dementia was rapidly progressing. So, in terms of age and ability (and the kindness of other older passengers), it was perfect. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the date and the itinerary...and we needed to take it this fall as my father's dementia was rapidly progressing. So, in terms of age and ability (and the kindness of other older passengers), it was perfect. The re-furbished ship and wonderful new beds were amazing...and there are just no words to describe the excitement of going through the new locks! We had been to Alaska on Princess and loved it. Logistically, it was the perfect trip. This one was not. First problem, the ship docked late and 2,000 people were trying to get off and on at the same time. This caused confusion and we never saw any luggage porters So we lugged our big bags (and my parents'!) all the way to the check-in desk inside the terminal and they chastised us for not checking them in. Sigh--we stood in line for an hour, you'd think ONE staff person from Princess who passed us would have mentioned that we need to check our bags. Other passengers had the same problem. Our premium aft balconies (B748 and B754) on the Baja deck (11) were awesome, as was our room steward, William. However, there was crowding for meals and we had to go an hour early to see the Broadway-like shows in the Princess Theater. Really, they need to do is add a 6:15 show. The 8:15 show was tremendously crowded and I heard 10:15 was the same. The food just wasn't what we experienced on our Alaska cruise--too much repetition. Dinner the first night in Sabatini’s was amazing, but the Crown Grill the last night was not and the service was terribly slow. We had to "search and save" most mornings to get a breakfast table for four at the World Marketplace...However, let me be clear that the staff were wonderful, welcoming and excellent. And although the ports of call were great, the excursions really did NOT live up to their descriptions. A "submarine ride" in Grand Cayman was more like a glass-bottom boat with fifty people trying to see out the windows. I went to the excursions desk and complained about the "adventure park" my husband and I went to in Jamaica with three other guests. We were told when to do the offered activities instead of being given a choice and thus did not get to go tubing on the river because we waited for 30 minutes and gave up (we were told we could not go because we did not wait longer—it was 3:00 and we had not eaten lunch). A "snorkeling and scenic cruise" trip was great for snorkeling but the "cruise" was going about 100 yards offshore, which is where the reef was; but I was glad no one came along just for the ride! We also never received our room robes we requested (I never complained though) and we were also surprised because we did not understand that when we sent our bags all the way through to Dallas for our Southwest flight, which has no baggage fees, we were charged $25.00 a person for Princess to handle them. It was unpleasant that this fee was not clarified in the three-page "embarkation document" we were asked to read and complete. All in all, we loved the drinks (the bars were attractive almost always had room to sit and the bartenders were great), the Movies Under the Stars, the dancers/singers in the Princess Theater and the wonderful aft cabins. But would I go on the ship again...never! It just wasn’t’ the “wow” experience we had on Princess in Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Geriatric Cruise, Average age guessing 70. The Panama Canal crossing was great. Started before dawn though and made for a long day as we went on a excursion immediately after and were stuck in traffic and did not return to the ship until ... Read More
Geriatric Cruise, Average age guessing 70. The Panama Canal crossing was great. Started before dawn though and made for a long day as we went on a excursion immediately after and were stuck in traffic and did not return to the ship until 8:00 p.m. The excursions provided by the cruiseline were average. "Hurry up and look and move on." Panama City tour needs rearranged. You end up across town in rush hour traffic. Stop and go forever. Food selections at dinner included spaghetti, meatloaf and gnochi, Food was not always hot and steaks not cooked as ordered. Desserts were awesome as was the tour of the galley. Servers in dining room were great. We were celebrating my sisters birthday and she received lots of perks. Another woman at our table who was also celebrating received nothing She inquired and was told they have a drawing of 50 from all the birthdays and they are the only ones who get perks. Recommend scheduling your own tour in Costa Rica. Negotiated with the tour scheduler and took a tour of the island and a canal boat ride for $25 a person. Driver stopped at many places and showed us paprika, cocoa, bananas, starfruit, almonds all growing along the road. His name was Gary. This was my second Princess cruise. Love the movies under the stars and the ice-cream. If you are with your partner, the dancing is amazing. Shows not so exciting. The last show made great use of the new electronics on the stage...You were on Broadway when the curtain opened. Too bad they did not use it more. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Caribbean Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 3.5 3.3
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 3.0 4.2

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