Wonderful 30th Anniversary Cruise: Island Princess Cruise Review by cormike1

Island Princess 5
Member Since 2008
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Wonderful 30th Anniversary Cruise

Sail Date: November 2012
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
We flew in a day earlier with Delta and were able to change our original fight from Syracuse to LaGuardia to Syracuse to Atlanta. Thank you Delta!

We stayed at the Days Inn, Hollywood South which offered airport and cruise port shuttle. We have stayed there before and it is clean and includes a nice buffet breakfast. There is a Sunoco gas station that sells beer and wine so we picked up a couple of bottles for our cabin. This time we had to pay for our shuttle to the cruise port but that was fine.

We went over at 12:00am and the line was quite long outside the building but was moving fast. Got into our cabin and started exploring this "well groomed " ship.

We had a Caribe deck cabin with the large balcony. We had the old chairs and table which we love. One of our chairs ripped down the side and our Room Steward Ferdinand (excellent by the way) replaced it the next day with a new one but still the old type chair....yahoo. I noticed on the deck below us, More Dolphin, it was the new chairs and small little table.

We were with another couple and we chose anytime dining in the Bordeaux Dining Room. On our first night we met our waiter Ramir and waitress AnaLynn. We liked them so much that we booked a table in their section for the whole week. If you can ask for table 52, 53 or 54 if they are still there. We really enjoyed the food and had no complaints. We also bought a wine package...the gold one which we could choose bottles up to $50 I believe. The only hitch was you could only buy the bottle in the dining rooms and had a huge hassle trying to get a bottle in Crooner's, Explorer's Lounge, etc. Our friend found a way to do this but we were not told this when we purchased the wine card.

My husband surprised me by setting up a "Renewal of Vows" and dealing with the Customer Relations Manager, Michael Acebes, was a pleasure. We asked to change it as it was set up for the 3rd and our anniversary is the 6th. No problem and it was a lovely ceremoney. Captain Nicolo Bommarco was a delight and really added to our day. We received lots of neat things including the vows themselves all typed up with our names on it. Very, very nice.

We had a wonderful Cruise Critic Meet & Greet in Crooner's. It was so neat to put faces to names. We did a gift exchange and that was a ball. It was amazing what people brought to represent their area of the world. I think everyone really enjoyed themselves. We did see some after that but I was surprised we didn't run into a lot more.

We saw Piano Man and enjoyed that. Only saw the last 5 minutes of Bayou unfortunately as it looked amazing.

We enjoyed listening to Arnie G in Crooner's...he is so versatile and a really nice entertainer. The Liar's Club was hilarious and wished it went on a bit longer.

We ate at Sabatini's and The Bayou Cafe and both were excellent. None of us could find fault with anything at either restaurant. I thought is was a nice touch that we received a thank you card from Antonio, the Bayou Manager saying they hoped we enjoyed our experience with them. I thought that was a nice touch.

We did EZ check for and our boarding passes were delivered to our rooms the night before and we didn't see our luggage until our final destination. Well worth the $20.

Disembarkation was a bit messy and took longer than usual. They were doing the eye and finger print scans for European passengers and even though we Canadians were in a separate line that the U.S. people, we were in the line with the people who needed to be scanned. That took a bit of time.

We took a Ft. Lauderdale canal tour which was really neat although it left about an hour late because of the holdup with customs. We didn't do any shopping stops which was fine. Then the bus took us to the airport long before our fight time which was great.

All in all it was a wonderful cruise and we loved the Island Princess and would definitely sail on her again! Less

Published 11/18/12

Cabin review: BAC510 Balcony

Large balcony. Lots of storage and lots of extra hangers. Did not like the "bump out" which blocked our view to the front of the ship.

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Port and Shore Excursions

We didn't do an excursion but wandered around the town and did a bit of shopping. Very pretty and lots of shops.
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City Tour

We did a tour of the old city and it was beautiful! Our guide was very knowledgeable and spoke English every well. Walked all over and stopped at important places such as the church, etc. It poured rain and our guide tried to keep us under porches or overhangs. It was a lovely walk. The only complaint I had was stopping at an Emerald store and 1 lade taking way too long to decide about what pair of earrings she would buy. Held up the tour....very inconsiderate! We did stop at the "old jail cells" which are now shops and had a bit of time there before boarding and heading back to the ship. A good tour though.

Panama Canal Tour

We took the tour on the small boat through the rest of the Panama Canal and really enjoyed seeing the locks from a "small boat" perspective after going through on the first couple on the big ship. It was a long day but was an excellent tour. We really enjoyed seeing how the canal worked and hearing all the history.

My rating is for the "Town of Hell" not really for Grand Cayman as a whole. We grabbed a cab at the port and asked to be taken to Hell and back. There were 4 of us and he charged $12 each return. We did not bargain....did not know if we could....did not bother. He was a neat driver and took us to Hell, took us to the coral and explained some of the history of the Island and how they live, etc. A very nice man. He gave us lots of time to shop at the "2 store" and mail our postcards at the post office. Yes folks that is all Hell is....2 shops and a post office lol. He then took us a different way back and even stopped at an observation tower in a mall which we went up to the top and could see a lot of the island all the way to the ocean. He was a really nice guide to have and it was worth the trip just to hear his knowledge of Grand Cayman.

We got off the ship and went into the Vendors stalls that are right at the port. There are quite a few of them and they have some nice crafts and jewelry for very nice prices. The vendors were friendly but not pushy and we really liked that. We spoke to one lady and told her how we do not like to be "jumped at" by vendors and how pleasant it was to shop there as they weren't pushy or aggressive. We ended up buying quite a bit there as it was an enjoyable experience.

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