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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Took Caribbean Princess on Jan 2, 2018 Panama Canal Cruise. 5th cruise on Princess, 9th overall. Everything as expected except condition of ship. Expected better as ship was 8 million revitalization in 2017. Excessive engine vibration ... Read More
Took Caribbean Princess on Jan 2, 2018 Panama Canal Cruise. 5th cruise on Princess, 9th overall. Everything as expected except condition of ship. Expected better as ship was 8 million revitalization in 2017. Excessive engine vibration noticeable throughout ship. Never felt a ship vibrate so much before. Very bad in Palm dining room.Was informed ship due for dry dock in April 2019 to fix. If they had a proper condition assessment program vibration problem might have been known at time of 2017 revitalization. WOULD NOT RECOMMEND SHIP TO ANYONE BEFORE VIBRATION PROBLEM FIXED. Also seems to impact power available for air conditioning at times. Guests who paid $4,000 for canine could not sleep because of vibration and lack of air conditioning in room. Were told that they should have spent more on a better cabin if they expected to be moved. Another cabin was flooded and were reimbursed for destroyed clothing and offered free cleaning. Hallway nearby (on port side of deck 8, wet for almost entire trip, squishy sound when you walked through. It smelled moldy for a couple of days There were faint sewerage smells in our cabin, hallway and in one of the elevators. Not all the time, but enough to notice, and we weren't the only ones with problem. Were told to call when it occurred and had to wait over half hour for someone to come. Elevator with smell was eventually shut down. Iced tea undrinkable and coffee dispensers and ice machines out of service. There was a band aid on smoke detector in room holding it together? Rug on steps to Princess Theater fairly new but not at right height, lower than rest of step (two height levels in each step, front part higher than carpet) seem easy to trip on if not careful. Should not have been allowed unsafe. Similar issue in other areas, rugs lower than surfaces they abut to. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Great trip to Panama Canal, but cabin location (see below) proved far too noisy. The embarkation was fantastic, less than 1/2 hour with Ocean Medallion. We pre-entered all our information which helped expedite the process. ... Read More
Great trip to Panama Canal, but cabin location (see below) proved far too noisy. The embarkation was fantastic, less than 1/2 hour with Ocean Medallion. We pre-entered all our information which helped expedite the process. Disembarkation was equally smooth and highly recommend the option to have your luggage checked through to your final destination, it worked great! Good balance of sea days and port days. Pleased with food options, both in the MDR and buffet. Entertainment in the Princess Theater was average, kind of cheesy. Several times the first performance was full half hour before the show time. Had to stand in line for the next show to ensure that we would get in. Enjoyed Trivia contests, and the Trivia hosts were a lot of fun. Service in the buffet was very good, lots of wait staff to bring drinks, clear plates, etc. Ship was in good condition and crew was seen doing ongoing maintenance. National Aviary in Cartagena and “Meet the Sloths” in Limon excursions were good, but sea turtle/stingray excursion in Grand Cayman was very disappointing, too rushed, crowded because there were 5+ cruise ships in port that day. I enjoy Princess because it is geared to a more mature demographic, is not a “party/booze” cruise line and there were not a lot of children on board. Read Less
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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the new locks at the Panama Canal and also some Caribbean ports. I traveled to Panama in 1985 and experienced the old locks at Miraflores and lived in Panama City for a week. Looked forward to ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the new locks at the Panama Canal and also some Caribbean ports. I traveled to Panama in 1985 and experienced the old locks at Miraflores and lived in Panama City for a week. Looked forward to seeing how things have changed in 35 years. We chose Princess because we had a great experience last summer on the Ruby Princess in Alaska and the CP is a similar ship in size and layout to the Ruby. We took a train from Ohio to Fort Lauderdale, stayed at the Hampton Inn North Airport overnight and then boarded the CP the next late morning. Hotel is showing some age but the staff was excellent, breakfast was filling and a shuttle took us to the port around 11:30am. Port was very crowded with several ships boarding that same day. Entrance was a bit chaotic with taxis, shuttles and private vehicles creating long lines to the embarkation area. We eventually made it to the offload point. Most of the passengers left their large bags with the porters who put the luggage on large carts to later be loaded on the ship. We walked up and through the entry building. Long lines but they moved quickly, through several checkpoints for passports, luggage screening and then to the desk to get our Medallion and other information. Some passengers had downloaded their Medallion info before boarding and they moved through without as many delays. We picked ours up at the desk, a small metallic pin worn around your neck which opens your doors and provides information when making purchases on board much like the old keycards. We moved to the elevators and found our room on Baja Deck 300 section to be a match to the same room we had on the Ruby. Adequate space, lots of storage in the area outside the bathroom. Twin beds with table in the middle, large TV, refrigerator, lots of drawers to store things, a safe for valuables and mirrors all around to enhance the size perspective of the room. Bathroom and room were very clean and our cabin steward Joseph, took care of us with a friendly and courteous manner throughout our trip. He welcomed us to the ship, asked if we had any questions and said he would bring up the water we had pre-ordered. Our large bags had not arrived yet so we decided to go up to the buffet and have lunch. The Fresh Market Buffet was a bit crowded but we found seats and proceeded to have some grilled fish, potatoes and vegetables. We shared a table with a couple from Alabama, one of the things we enjoy when riding Amtrak is to meet new people from all over the country. Our muster drill was in the Casino so at 3:15 we followed the crowds to that venue to get our safety information. One thing that was very evident was the large % of seniors on this trip. We are in our mid 60s but with all the motorized carts, walkers, etc, it sometimes seemed like a nursing home cruise. Only a few children on board, which made for a quiet voyage but reminded us that we should enjoy life while you can. After muster we went out on the Promenade deck, watched as our ship left the harbor at Fort Lauderdale under a nice sunset. Several other ships leaving as well. A large party up on the Lido Deck, dancing, celebrating, etc. but we prefer a quieter bon voyage. After watching a brilliant sunset, we went back for dinner and prepared for the evening show in the theatre. Gary Delena was a comedian and guitarist and his show was generally funny and entertaining. After experiencing the large crowds that attend these shows on the Ruby we were at the theatre for good seats by 7 pm. Many people waited until half hour before the show and had difficulty finding seats together. The show was over by 9 and we walked through the casino to watch people spend their money and then to the Explorers Lounge to see Symphone, an excellent couple with a backup band that was the best act we saw on the ship. Great voices, personality with the crowd. We stayed until 10:30 , stopped at the another bar to hear female singer and couple Ryan 7, good voice but not the same crowd rapport as Symphone. Back to the International Cafe for a sweet snack (great place open all night and free goodies). Back to room, the Medallion opens the door and a good nights sleep after a very long day.. Joseph had made beds, cleaned bathroom, left a nice chocolate on the pillow, and left our Patter newsletter on the bed with the next day's activities. An enjoyable first day on the CP. Second day was a sea day so we looked to find things to do on board. Breakfast was eggs, toast, fruit. Sat with two sisters from Florida and Virginia and an engaging conversation. We are 500 miles from our next stop in Jamaica and can barely see the Cuban coast off the starboard size of the ship. Sit on the Promenade Deck 7 and watch the ocean pass by, and enjoy the passengers jogging, walking and talking as they move along. Lunch today was the free fish & chips dinner at the Crown Grill. A nice addition that we also experienced on the Ruby. Sat with a couple from Texas who had traveled extensively on cruises in both US & Europe. After lunch was a film in the theatre on the Panama Canal that was very good. Spent some time at the excursion desk checking out a possible train trip in Panama. An excellent pair of young women named Duo Encanto were playing violins in the Piazza, Watched someone pay $35000 for a painting at the art auction. Symphone was playing on the Lido deck for a pool party so we enjoyed more of their music during the afternoon on a nice sunny day about 75 outside. Basketball shooting contest on the sports deck so watched a young woman sink some 15 footers against a middle aged guy who also could shoot. Before dinner we went to the Piazza to hear a steel drum entertainer. Dinner was fish, pasta, chicken and mango cheesecake with a couple from California. Back to our room to change and head to the theatre for the stageshow BRAVO. Ship dancers and singers put on a nice show of Broadway tunes. A special singer soprano from Chicago was a hit during the performance. This was the first Formal Night so many were decked out in their tuxes and evening gowns. Went to Wheelhouse Bar after the show to hear Ryan 7 again. Went out on the Prom Deck to see lights in the distance.. ?Cuba, stop for a late night snack at International Cafe and off to bed for a long day tomorrow in Jamaica. A nice sea day with plenty of activities. Next day we are up and ready for an afternoon in Jamaica. Breakfast with a couple from Kansas City. Omelet, toast, cheese danish, yogurt. Many many choices, food was prepared well, usually hot and areas kept clean. I find the criticisms of the buffet to be overblown. Not everything is perfect in life, but being on this ship is better than the snow and ice back home right now. Enjoy and be mellow. Back to the room to prepare for disembarkation at the Falmouth Jamaica port. We docked a little before noon, a little foggy but warm. This is an "artificial port" created by the cruise line to allow people to roam the area with shops, restaurants, etc but not really see Jamaica. We arranged for a private tour with Patrice Bailey Tours to take us to two of the Great Houses, a tour of Montego Bay and Falmouth. An excellent choice for those of us who do not want to climb up Dunn River Falls or swim with the dolphins. We walked outside the gated port area and found the white tent where private tours are located. We were taken to a meeting location where we met our guide for the day Maurice. We had a nice van to ourselves and Maurice related the history of Jamaica, a trip around Falmouth and then out on the modern highway west of Falmouth. We first stopped at Greenwood Greathouse, a huge estate once owned by the prominent English family named Barrett. A relative of famed poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Entry fee is $20 but an excellent tour of the large house and grounds. A great view of the sea and coast from the porch. Lots of original antique furniture and special apparatus used in the day. Our next stop was further up the highway to the Rose Hall Greathouse. This was the infamous home of Annie Palmer, the White Witch who murdered several lovers and is a ghost roaming the grounds. An excellent guide who led us throughout the house and told of the fantastic stories of its owners. Admission was $25 and well worth the fare. Our tour then took us to Montego Bay, a crowded port on a Friday afternoon. We were unable to stop at some of the sites there since parking was non existent but we did travel throughout the city, saw the historic square and thousands of people on the streets and byways. We then traveled to a third mansion home at Bellefield for a great view of the bay and city. It was getting dark so Maurice took us back to Falmouth, dropped us right inside the gate and we strolled back to the ship after a great day of history and sites in Jamaica. Dinner was pasta, beef stew, scalloped potatoes, some jerk chicken (a bit too spicy for my stomach) and a wonderful chocolate dessert. We got out on Promenade deck to watch the running passengers barely making back to the ship after their tour to Ocho Rios was delayed in returning. Show in the theatre was Yaniv Zarit, who spoke 32 different languages, sang and told stories. He was talented but not as entertaining as other programs. Back to room for some TV news, a movie (of which there were several good choices) and bed. Another sea day tomorrow as we head for Cartegena. Saturday we lounge around as the seas are a bit high today closing the Promenade deck and the pools due to shifting waves. Ship is moving some but since we are used to riding trains, it is really nothing for us to experience shifting floors. Did some shopping in the stores, Had lunch with a nice couple from Washington state. A special program on the Panama Canal in the theatre in the afternoon. Dinner with family from Idaho and California. Lots of good stories. Watch some NFL football on the big screen and then down to the theatre for the show "Born to Be Wild". Ship dancers and singers put on a nice show 60s and 70s rock. Watch some more football and off to bed for a long day tomorrow in Cartegena. Up early as our ship has docked around 6:30. Breakfast with two ladies from Florida. I am off alone for the tour as wife is staying aboard today with a cold. Embarkation is in Casino this morning and then to Deck 4, Our bus is waiting at the pier with our guide Dailys, who is an enthusiastic promoter of her city. We drive through a residential area near the pier and then to the old Fort Castillo de San Felipe for a brief photo stop. Not time to tour the fort, many steps and large facility. Lots of venders who are interesting to me but do hassle some people. Man with donkey to solicit photos was a hoot. Back on the tour bus across the inlet and out to the former residence of Colombia President Rafael Nunez. A nice folkloric dance show there and a tour of the house and the great historic events of the 19th century. Well worth the visit. Then we traveled along the coast wall to the old city. We walked inside the walls and to the square of San Pedro Claver Church where we toured the building, saw many historic items in the museum and experience a service since it was Sunday morning. Walked up another street to the Naval Museum, which had great displays of Columbian maritime history. All exhibits are in Spanish so brush up on your language skills. Very interesting. Walk back through the streets to our bus which then took us on a tour of the beaches and the modern city skyscrapers. Back to the ship via the Boca Grande and Manga residential areas. We were back to the ship by 11:45 for a 12:30 departure. A nice three and half hour tour but could have spent the whole day here. Wish the cruise would schedule more time at this port. Lunch at the buffet and watch some more football on the wide screen. A nice day as we leave port. Sit on Promenade deck and watch the city fade into the distance. Dinner was pulled pork, chicken, squash & peppers, potatoes and some nice mango desserts. Theatre entertainment was Michael Barron, an excellent magician. Some entertainment in the Piazza afterward. International cafe for a treat and then back to room for some football, a movie and then to bed. Early arrival tomorrow at 5:30am for Panama Canal. We are up early, buffet for omelets, and then out on Lido deck to see the lights of the Panama Canal come into view. It is still dark as we enter the bay area waiting to proceed to the Aqua Clara Locks, the new lock system that now allows huge ships to use the canal. As the dawn arises, we enter the first lock and large gates close behind allowing water from storage areas to enter and raise us to the next level. Nearly everyone on the ship is on the deck watching and we found better viewing from the rear of the ship. Another larger freighter is waiting behind us and it is fascinating to watch the process as we proceed from one lock to another. It took about two hours to move to Gatun Lake where our CP dropped anchor. My excursion today would involve a boat transit to shore, where we boarded a bus for a trip along the old Gatun Locks and across a bridge to the new locks visitor center high on a hill overlooking the Aqua Clara Locks. Wife decided to stay on the ship which would eventually return through the locks and dock back in Cristobal where it would await the tour groups to return later in the day. Our tour spent an hour at the visitor center where we could observe our ship in the lake and others as they passed through the locks. A film was shown in the theatre and a small cafe served sandwiches, drinks, etc. There was also a nature trail which I walked approx a mile through some interesting flora. Heard some scattered animal sounds, saw a sloth and then walked back to the awaiting bus. As we left the site the driver stopped along the road as a family of monkeys was passing by. Photo shoot was just in time. We then traveled into Colon and then down a modern highway that crossed through some rainforest areas, the Chagras River, and then into the modern Panama City. An hour long ride but interesting scenery along the way. We eventually passed through the area near Balboa and the old Fort Clayton, where American forces were stationed during the Panama Canal Zone days. Nice memories of my trip here in 1985 but many changes since then. The bus stopped while Subway sandwiches were delivered for our lunch meal. We passed Miraflores Locks and out onto the Amador peninsula where we stopped for a shopping event. Not much there and really was a waste of time except for the good ice cream shop. Would rather have spent some time in the old city but that was not on our agenda. We then moved to the train station where we boarded the Panama Railroad train. A very modern station with some souvenirs. Railroad is operated by Kansas City Southern RR and their locomotives reflect the orange and yellow paint scheme of that line. Coaches were nicely decorated and seating was nice. I sat with a friend Rita who I had met on the ship and a couple from Michigan as we moved along slowly by the canal and industrial areas. Saw lots of birds, a family of iguanas and some monkeys as our train moved toward Colon. The cost of the entire tour was $200 and although a bit expensive, it was worth it for the views of the canal and the train ride. There is a dome car for $40 more on the train but I found the seating in the nice coaches and the opportunity to stand in the vestibule area to see the sites and take photos to be adequate for my needs. We were able to see some parts of the canal and ships moving across the lake. We arrived back in Colon before dark. We received a nice box with the railroad logo and full of snacks which I think were supposed to be handed out at the beginning of the train ride but we got as we left the train. Oh well, a nice souvenir of the train.. Colon is not a town you want to roam around in and the dock area was a pleasant site as we said goodbye to our guides and boarded the ship. Met my wife and we had dinner of pork roast, potatoes, veggies and dessert. Too tired for the show this evening so just watched National Championship game as Clemson beat the Crimson Tide. Rest for another long day tomorrow in Costa Rica. Tuesday morning we arose and prepared to take our excursion at Limon Costa Rica. A large German ship is docked next to us as we walk up the dock area to our bus. Our guide is Porfirio, a nice gentleman who had a sense of humor and spoke excellent English. He told us about his family and life in Costa Rica. We first drove around Limon to see some of the historic buildings and then up a rather narrow and bumpy road to the canal where we boarded a boat to cruise the canal. Lots of birds, iguanas, monkeys in the trees, sloths everywhere, no crocodiles today. A nice tour and our guide moved the boat so that all sides could get photos. A little shower ensued but did not last long and it was a good day in the rainforest. After we left the boat we were treated to lots of fruit, bananas, pineapple, juices and a nice display of native arts and crafts. Good restroom break as well. Back on the bus as we traveled to a siding where we boarded an old train for a short trip back to Limon. I enjoyed speaking with the engineer and conductor at the front of the train as my Spanish was good enough for a lively conversation. The train was pulled by an old switcher engine and two coaches full passengers hoping to see some exotic scenery. But most of the rails pass through an industrial area and except for a few monkeys and a sloth, there was little to view. If you like train rides, it was a nice ride but not overly exciting. We left the train and reboarded the bus for a nice trip in the countryside around rural provinces. Banana plantations and a stop to see more sloths. Our guide Porfirio was excellent and he related Costa Rica history, government and economics as we traveled back to Limon. We arrived back to the port around 12:30 and did some shopping at the large craft market nearby before heading back to the ship for a late lunch. After lunch we went down to the laundry room on the 10th Floor and did a few loads of clothes. A bit of a waiting line but was nice to have some washers close to our room. Met some gents from Alaska, a young man from Toronto and an Englishman from near London as we dried and folded... We decided to hit the pizza place for dinner and then have a dessert in the buffet. Back to the room for the evening show at the theatre. Cheaza, a Whitney Houston reflections singer from Las Vegas was the musical program and was excellent. She went out into the theatre to sing and perform a greatest hits melody. Another great day on our cruise. The following day was another sea day. There was a talk in the theatre on the Cayman Islands that we attended. Both of us are suffering from head colds so we just hung around the room, watched some movies, had lunch in the buffet and then sat out on Deck 7, did some reading, saw some rainbows in the distance as a storm headed away from us. Another formal night on the ship with a program in the theatre but we decided to rest this evening and prepare for a full day in Cayman Islands tomorrow. Sometimes its nice to just enjoy a day of rest and relaxation on a sea day. Thursday morning we are up and feeling better. Breakfast for omelets and fresh fruit. We met in the Island Dining Room for disembarking for our shuttle boat to the shore. All ships must use tenders and there are now six ships in port so it will be a busy day in Georgetown. Our tender is one from the shore and not one of the ship boats so there is more room and not quite as crowded. We land about 8am and talk to a policeman who directs us to the bus terminal about two blocks from the port area. We stop at Fort to read some Cayman history and then arrive at the bus terminal where a group of small van type vehicles are lined up. We decided to take Bus 7B Green bus our own excursion which charged only $10 for a trip around the entire island. Our bus driver Tonyito actually acted like a guide and with one other man on the bus, (who reminded me of the late Anthony Bourdain), we enjoyed a private tour complete with history and scenic views. Stopped in Bodden Town, Wreck of the 10 Sails park and discussion of blue iguanas. Picked up some interesting passengers on the return trip as Tonyito welcomed them on board. An enjoyable ride and much cheaper than the ship excursions. A couple hours later we were back downtown and took another bus that went to Seven Mile Beach, Hell and other quaint places for another $5 each. We returned to downtown, stopped for lunch and then walked to the port for some clean restrooms and treats before walking down to the Cayman National Museum. Nice displays, a good film on history, hands on displays for kids. Back to port and decided to return to ship as it looked like a storm was heading toward the island. Long line for the tender but moved quickly and we sailed past the mass of ships and tenders in the bay. Got back just as the rain came so timing was perfect. Back to the ship by 2 pm as our ship was scheduled to leave at 3:30. Go to Deck 7 to watch tenders returning with passengers. Late comers but we leave by 4pm. Dinner was a cod dinner with a couple from Nebraska. Down to the theatre for the show with Duncan Tuck, classical guitar and humorist. Was o.k. Sailing around Cuba overnight as we rest from another long day of exploring. Friday was another sea day. Pancakes and eggs for breakfast. Ate with a couple from Michigan who have cruised many times. He is from the island of Malta and they have done many Mediterranean cruises. We are now sailing along the Cuban coastline and we sit on Lido deck enjoying the view. Cheeseburgers from Salty Dog Grill and some Pizza from Slice for lunch. Enjoy sitting around the pool and enjoying the warm weather. Do some packing in the afternoon and preparing for disembarkation in FTL tomorrow morning. Staff at customer service very friendly and answered several questions we had about the process. We talked with Joseph about his future plans. He had one more cruise on CP and then he would return home to India for three months. He was an excellent cabin steward and we tipped accordingly. We found all the staff in the dining and buffet to be efficient and friendly. The ship is showing some age and there was a lot of painting and polishing going on while we were sailing. We did not feel any engine vibration in our room and our neighbors were pretty quiet so no problem with noise. Like the new Medallion system even though we did not use it for phone or location purposes. Like that there is still a paper Patter that provides information about ship events. On Saturday morning we ate a quick breakfast in the buffet and then moved our luggage to the Coral Dining Room where our disembarkation meeting was to take place. We chose the self checkout and thus did not put any luggage out the night before. We moved quickly through the port area and only took 10-15 minutes to go through customs and we were on our way. We walked to the taxi loading area and were in a cab in a few minutes to the Hilton Marina Hotel where we got our Enterprise Rental Car for the remainder of our Florida vacation. Enjoyed the cruise and highly recommend this ship, crew, and itinerary if you have never been to the Panama Canal. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Overall, the vacation was as close to perfect as could be. Even having cruised a few times recently, including one on Princess last year, we were still impressed by the service - we were treated like royalty at every step. Other than one ... Read More
Overall, the vacation was as close to perfect as could be. Even having cruised a few times recently, including one on Princess last year, we were still impressed by the service - we were treated like royalty at every step. Other than one VERY minor negative, absolutely everything was top notch. Details: - SHIP: The ship was clean, well run, and not very crowded even though it was full. Of course, central walkways, pool decks and (very rarely) elevators reflect the amount of crowd, but Princess does a great job of having enough to do around the ship that rarely are spaces crowded. Almost always, we could get a seat at all bars/lounges, shows, and deck chairs (except, of course, those right next to the pool on sea days). We didn't enjoy the late muster drill start, which was delayed by 20 minutes waiting for people to arrive, especially since they offered a second muster drill for folks boarding later. But there was plenty to do, inside and out, and some fun games hosted by the cruise staff. It was easy to maintain cleanliness since there were sinks with soap at the entrance to the buffet and all public restrooms suggested opening the door with a paper towel, and had a receptacle by the door. There were also hand sanitizers around the ship, and there was a discussion on personal cleanliness at the muster drill. Still, you'd occasionally see someone sneezing into their hand or whatever, but you can't control every single person's every move. We didn't get sick, didn't see anyone sick, and didn't hear of anyone getting sick. - ENTERTAINMENT: The production shows were good and the performers extremely talented, but there were no "big name" shows such as on other ships. The one show that seemed to be great was "sold out" for both performances, as early as 45 minutes before showtime, so we missed that. That was the only small disappointment in entertainment. We thoroughly enjoyed the bar/lounge entertainment everywhere - a violin duo that played contemporary songs, a guitar player/singer, an amazing piano player, and a classic/soft rock/country duo. We wished we could have gotten to more of them more often! - DINING: We splurged on Club Class and LOVED the dining portion of that benefit. Our dining room staff was top notch and we enjoyed being able to eat at any time with no waiting, while being treated like royalty. There are other perks to Club Class that may or may not appeal to many people, but this by far makes it worthwhile to us. We enjoyed the Crown Grill and Sabatini's and they were both excellent, including service. We availed ourselves of the embarkation day special (BOGO) at Crown Grill; it wasn't full which is why they are promoting it. We tried room service the first day but it wasn't a good choice for us, so we stuck with the MDR on most days. - PORT STOPS: We aren't much into the excursions, but did do a Segway tour of Grand Cayman. That was cool, but mostly because of the Segways. Honestly, we didn't see or learn all that much about Grand Cayman. We stepped off the ship at Falmouth, Jamaica without a planned tour, but it was just a new port district full of jewelry stores and souvenir stops. It's great - clean and safe - if that's the type of stores you're looking for. We didn't get off the ship at Cartegena, Columbia or Limon, Costa Rica. Our view from the ship wasn't very picturesque. - PANAMA CANAL: This is the biggest reason we went, and it did not disappoint. The ship had a destination specialist who gave a talk beforehand that was available on stateroom TVs. The specialist also narrated the entrance to the first lock, which was broadcast outside the ship and on the "ship camera" channel on the TV. There was plenty of time throughout the day to get views from everywhere on the ship, since the transit takes 2.5 hours each way, plus there were a few hours at anchor in Gatun Lake. Besides our balcony, the best spot on the ship to view the passage was the Skywalkers Bar on Deck 18, aft. It was practically empty but had windows all the way around. - FITNESS: The fitness center is small but not too bad. Only one day it was crowded, but of course we avoided it on sea days. I took one exercise class and didn't like it at all - I won't clog up this space explaining why, but if anyone is interested, contact me for details. I didn't like that the walking deck does not go around the entire ship; you have to climb to the next deck. I swam mostly every day, but you can only swim laps in the 2 main pools - the 2 adult pools aren't big enough. However, as soon as you get a few people in the pool, or a couple of kids, swimming laps is tough. - CHILDREN: Please don't skewer me, but we are in the group of people who don't enjoy small kids on cruise ships. There weren't that many kids on this sailing, but to be honest, I wouldn't want to take kids on a Princess ship. It didn't look like there was a lot to do other than go in pools, etc., but I did hear later from someone else that there is a kids' program. Every now and then they got in the way or made noise at the restaurants, but it was way better than the other lines that cater to families. - CLIENTELE: We enjoyed everyone we met; there were LOTS of friendly people. In our 50's, I'd estimate that we are at the young end of the age range, but we enjoyed the group very much. Our favorite thing was to just chat with folks at a bar or restaurant, and we invited another couple to join us for dinner one night later in the trip. Definitely crossed this one off the bucket list. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in seeing the Panama Canal but who doesn't want to spend 2 weeks transiting the entire canal. This trip was a 10-day round trip from Ft. Lauderdale. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because we want to see the new locks, and also for the sail date. This was our ninth cruise with Princess. Princess has always delivered first rate service. This was our first cruise using Princess new Ocean ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we want to see the new locks, and also for the sail date. This was our ninth cruise with Princess. Princess has always delivered first rate service. This was our first cruise using Princess new Ocean Medallion service. The Medallion really enhanced our cruise experience started with check-in. We were on board the ship with in five minuets of arriving at the port. The new internet service was supper fast and a pleasure to use. The staff in the dinning ventures and on board shops were helpful and went out of their way to provide excellent customer service. We did feel the Dome car railroad car excursion in Panama was was a big disappointment and very over priced for what we got. The long bus ride to get to the train was terrible and the Dome car it's self cramped and uncomfortable. The box snack was offered at the end of the tour when we are on our way back to the ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Chose the cruise for the destinations. Ended up with some nice bonus experiences, and some underwhelming ones that didn't meet expectations. The Good Soymilk & milk readily available from buffet area all day, washing ... Read More
Chose the cruise for the destinations. Ended up with some nice bonus experiences, and some underwhelming ones that didn't meet expectations. The Good Soymilk & milk readily available from buffet area all day, washing stations at buffet area, medallion class ship features, what appeared to be free Budweiser beer at Crooner's Bar. Sabatini's wait staff waived the additional entree item charge for the additional item I ordered, and good food from Sabatini's. That was a nice guesture of the wait staff. The medallion class ship features were a bonus I did not come to expect. I also didn't expect the washing stations assuming we had to use hand sanitizer. Nor did I expect ready access to milk all day. The Bad Some shore excursion descriptions were not very clear, and we were a bit disappointed as result. For example, the Discover Jamaica tour, we didn't actually get to see the ferns described on the ride to the tropical forest park because the ferns that were there don't really exist anymore. And shopping in downtown on that same tour that was not as expected, it was actually just to shop inside a single shop with a bathroom. I feel the tour descriptions should be updated to be more accurate and realistic about the actual tour experience. The OceanNow app indicated free Budweiser beer at Crooner's Bar. However, we were actually billed for the beer. Fortunately, we were able to get that resolved and removed from our bill at customer service counter before departing the ship. This seems to be a mismatch in the system. Either there's a bug in the billing system for improperly charging for free beer ordered through the OceanNow app, or the OceanNow app has a bug that mistakenly offers Budweiser beer as free in Crooner's Bar. It's interesting that the free beer listing is only at Crooner's Bar, and it appears so before placing order, and after placing order (in the view that lists past orders). If it is a bug, maybe worth taking note, and making it free as a compliment for usage of the OceanNow app/system. Don't like how Planks BBQ (the real BBQ) is only available at night and with a cover charge. Liked how it was on our previous Mexico cruise where it was available on the deck outside where we got burgers w/o charge. Don't like how the chili available for fries and hot dog is not the same chili offered at the buffet for nachos. I like the nacho style chili for use with fries and hot dogs. The design of the ship's local wifi based concierge portal access wasn't very clear whether I would be charged to use the concierge portal, which web address that was, and especially to view my stateroom account which required creating an account that needed to accept terms which seem like I might be charged. Better to provide different terms of service agreement UI indicators for the paid services vs the complimentary services to not confuse your customers. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I chose this cruise because I wanted to do the partial transit of the Panama Canal and the only other cruise line was Holland America and I didn't like their itinerary. I travel solo and I prefer to eat in the buffet. I was very ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to do the partial transit of the Panama Canal and the only other cruise line was Holland America and I didn't like their itinerary. I travel solo and I prefer to eat in the buffet. I was very disappointed compared to other cruise lines I have been on. The buffet was small, the evening food selection was mediocre. The buffet floor in the dining area looked dirty and that's because the servers wipe the crumbs off the table onto the floor. At breakfast the omelet was thin, brown and crunchy, not soft and fluffy. They did have very good oatmeal, there were pre-fried eggs and the bacon, on most days, was just right. If you get the Unlimited Soda and More Package note that at least on the Caribbean Princess, it does not include any caffeine free diet soda. Those will cost you $2.50 a can. There were too many "specialize speakers" who were nothing more than a sales pitch. Walking in Comfort with Good Feet, A Life Changing Introduction to Acupuncture, How to Increase Your Metabolism, How to Look 10 Years Younger, Arthritis and Back Pain Solutions with Acupuncture, Detox for Health & Weight Loss, Free Footprint and Posture Analysis, Relieving Back Pain & Walking in Comfort, Sunglow Mineral Make-up, Burn Fat Faster, Pain Management, Learn How To Prevent Hair Loss, Secrets to a Flatter Stomach, Ladies Pamper Party (Get Educated on the latest skincare and weight loss therapies). Getting on and off the ship was uneventful. The entertainment was good. I always enjoy trivia. I primarily went on this itinerary to go to Cartagena and the partial transit of the Panama Canal. We could have used more time in Caragena. The ship arrived at 6:30AM and all aboard was 12:00. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Recently completed 10 day partial transit of Panama canal on the Caribbean Princess. Embarkation and disembarkation were both excellent, literally just walked through. Very mature crowd with lots of cruisers with mobility issues and very ... Read More
Recently completed 10 day partial transit of Panama canal on the Caribbean Princess. Embarkation and disembarkation were both excellent, literally just walked through. Very mature crowd with lots of cruisers with mobility issues and very few children. The ship was in good condition and our mini suite was very comfortable. We had good weather but two days of rough seas(7-12ft) but the ship handled them well. Our favourite thing on the cruise were, the Sanctuary($20/4hrs, books up fast), Sabatini's($25 charge), Steamers($12), afternoon tea, front view from the Lido deck(great place during canal crossing),the rear area around terrace pool(breakfast, lunch, or suntanning), Meals in the dining rooms were excellent, meals in the World Fresh Marketplace were hit and miss.Entertainment was varied, I preferred the musicians and comedians to the production shows. Excursion varied in quality, Falmouth Good Hope Express(unorganised, didn't have time to see anything but the plantation house), Catagena Old .City and Historical Museum(excellent, very interesting city, good guide named Gerson, beware persistent street vendors in Old City), Panama Canal and Transit by Boat(interesting tour to see canals from large and small boat perspective but on ferry boat ride through to the Pacific the boat is packed with 400 people and only about 250 seats have shade, the rest have to ride inside or stand, still the tour is worth it), Limon Train Ride, Tortuguero Canal and Countryside(not much countryside as most of tour is in town of Limon, on train ride you can see industrial area most of the way, and on canal lots of dilapidated houses and junk, best part was when guide Julio picked up some banana's as we drove by plantation. Excursion was kind of lame but Julio was excellent), Grand Cayman Turtle Centre, Hell, Tortuga Rum Cake (turtle centre excellent, Hell and Tortuga a little touristy, but guide Kent was very good) Overall it was a great cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We selected this cruise based on the dates more than anything else. We wanted to be away for Christmas and New Years and we had to work with the school schedule since we were traveling with a kid. We flew in the night before to Fort ... Read More
We selected this cruise based on the dates more than anything else. We wanted to be away for Christmas and New Years and we had to work with the school schedule since we were traveling with a kid. We flew in the night before to Fort Lauderdale and stayed at the Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Beach. For a hotel to spend a night at before the cruise, it was fine. We took their cruise shuttle to the ship. Embarkation was fine. We got there around 1:30 to avoid the rush. We had done all of the "Ocean Ready" stuff and had all of the pre-registration done that we could do ahead of time. We are also Platinum. But for some reason they made us get into the general boarding line. Since the line was so short, it didn't matter. We got through quickly. The ship is almost done with the Ocean Medallion roll-out but we still got the Medallion and a cruise card. Please note that the cruise card came in a plastic sleeve attached to a lanyard with the medallion. The card was very loose in the sleeve and on several occasions it slipped out. Be warned! The CB has had a lot of upgrades on it. The new buffet was great and we enjoyed it. They also converted the old Cafe Caribe into a BBQ place, Planks, and a crab shack, Steamers. Note that you CAN sit and eat in there for breakfast and lunch without paying a cover charge. The charges only apply for dinner. Let's talk a minute about the Ocean Medallion. There are some features to talk about. First, it opens the door. Now the exact same functionality was served by the cruise card. My medallion didn't work as I approached, I had to take it out of my pocket and hold it up to the screen and then my door would open. So I found it exactly the same as a cruise card and it didn't save me any time. So no difference there. The other feature that we used was that we could go up to any of the large monitors in the hallways and track our shipmates. I found this very useful because we were traveling with our son and every now and then we needed to track him down and this worked great. This was the only feature of the Medallion that I found to be of benefit. The other feature that the "Ocean Navigators" (Princess Staff lurking around the halls who would show you how to use the Medallions) were excited to talk about was the Tagalong. So you can use the phone app or one of the large monitors on the ship to create a custom avatar and then it would appear on monitors around the ship as you walked by. Sometimes your name and face would appear. I found this creepy and weird and I couldn't figure out what the point was. A Navigator did tell me that there are times on the Lido Deck when they have games on the MUTS screen with the Tagalongs like video games. (They called it Games Under the Stars, GUTS, not the most elegant acronym.) So I guess you can have that if you like it. One of the things that Princess was advertising was being able to order bar service and such from your phone app. I didn't find this feature available and when you did order anything, they wanted your Cruise Card and not the Medallion. The only exception was at a few locations they had Medallion readers at the desk or at some of the bars so you could scan it yourself. But if you were ordering from your seat, they still needed the card. Overall, I didn't find much to enjoy or appreciate about the Medallion except the tracking feature when it came to my kid. I suspect that it's not fully developed yet though. So more to come I guess. Not to be confused with the Ocean Medallion is the new Internet product, Medallion.Net, which was EXCELLENT. Best internet access at sea right now. Stable and high-speed. Not much to say about the islands on this trip that hasn't already been said. But one point is that the CB has an engineering limitation right now that prevents her from going full speed. This will be fixed in a future drydock overhaul. There is nothing unsafe about this, but it did mean that one island was dropped from the itinerary because the ship couldn't go fast enough to get there. So Princess gave everyone $50 OBC as recompense, which was fine. Entertainment was a delight. The CD mas Micca Reitano, and the ACDs were Ana, and Dan. All three were just wonderful. However, it did appear that there were a few nights where the entertainment program was lacking. No game show in Explorers, and no production show or performer in the Theater. (Maybe just a movie or a football game... boring! We can watch movies in the cabins.) Our son really enjoyed the kid's club and they were just great with so many kids on board for the holiday cruise. They had a full slate of programming and it was thumbs up all around. One note about the cabins. They put in large flat screen TVs on an articulated wall arm. This is great. What's not so great is that the TV is above the mini-fridge and right be the slider to balcony. Because it gets hidden behind the curtains, on several occasions my spouse and I had hit our heads on the corner of the TV, since it wasn't pushed "all-the-way" back into the corner. Be warned! Overall, a great and relaxing cruise. We enjoyed it a lot. The Ocean Medallion stuff was mostly irrelevant. We would gladly do this cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary and for it's length of time, number of ports and locations visited. We stayed at a small and very nice {clean} hotel/Inn, The Drift, which is about 1 1/2 blocks from the beach in ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary and for it's length of time, number of ports and locations visited. We stayed at a small and very nice {clean} hotel/Inn, The Drift, which is about 1 1/2 blocks from the beach in Fort Lauderdale Fla. The strip along the beach is very clean and close to airport and cruise terminal. Getting on and off the ship was surprising easy and smooth going, this was our first trip with Princess so no "special" treatment was involved at that level.The ship was decked out for the Christmas Holidays and was very well done and festive. Our room was an Oceanview, clean with plenty of room and comfortable, except for the fold up bunk beds on either side of our bed which made the isles on either side of the bed a bit difficult to get down for a few days, by then you'd learned to lean over the bed as you made your way to the bathroom at night. Food was excellent as to be expected, with a good variety. We ate several times at the Crown Grill {specialty dining} and the steaks were outstanding, as well as the service and over all ambiance. The activities and entertainment on board the ship were... what you'd expect on board; hard to get into, lacking appeal, or evolved around selling their wares and goods. The service on board was also what you'd hope for and expect from a cruise... OUTSTANDING!!! {except for how a problem was handled by the service desk folks, you'd get friendlier service returning an item during the holidays at Walmart}. Except for our stop in Trinadad, our ports of call were friendly, interesting and mostly clean and enjoyable {St. Thomas and Antigua having been through 2 category 5 hurricanes recently were battered and in a rough condition, however, the folks were friendly and the island still enjoyable... our hearts go out to these people and what they endured!} Read Less
Caribbean Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 3.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.5 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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