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I was nervous about it all, having never cruised before, but within two hours we were completely comfortable and having a great time. Short excursions were messed up: scammed in Puerto Amador, foiled by demonstrations in Puntarenas, wholly disappointed in Aruba, double-crossed in Cartagena. Princess' Puerto Chiapas excursion, on the other hand, was five-star. Lots of colds and coughing on this cruise, one person medevac'd at Cabo (with pneumonia according to scuttlebutt). Entertainment would have been a five, except for singer Sophie Selbie, who was shrill and whose material (Andrew Lloyd Webber, the Carpenters) was not to our tastes. Production shows were excellent, especially "Motor City". Had anytime dining which was okay after the first few nights (45 minute waits). Took Ultimate Ship's Tour which was amazing and totally worth the money. Loved the minisuite. We came home on Friday and by the following Monday, I'd booked our next Princess cruise. I guess that says it all! Ship highlights: Lotus Pool area, although hot tubs there were not especially hot. Sun and Sports Decks at night make for great exploring. Lots of time in the Explorers Lounge for trivia and karaoke. Liked that the Fitness Room had views. Splurged on the Thermal Suite one sea day and thought it was marvelous. Really liked the wraparound Promenade Deck, especially in the tropics when the wind was warm and you could go walk out there any time, day or night. Cruise highlights: Panama Canal, despite boring, droning commentary (and I'd read the McCullough book). Just being in the isthmus was a thrill for me. Beautiful robins-egg blue water. Loved the narrow sections in particular. Otherwise, it was all good. Yes, a cruise is a floating assisted-living facility, but what's wrong with that for two weeks?

Newbs cruise Panama Canal, love it!

Island Princess Cruise Review by SeaMystique

Trip Details
I was nervous about it all, having never cruised before, but within two hours we were completely comfortable and having a great time. Short excursions were messed up: scammed in Puerto Amador, foiled by demonstrations in Puntarenas, wholly disappointed in Aruba, double-crossed in Cartagena. Princess' Puerto Chiapas excursion, on the other hand, was five-star. Lots of colds and coughing on this cruise, one person medevac'd at Cabo (with pneumonia according to scuttlebutt). Entertainment would have been a five, except for singer Sophie Selbie, who was shrill and whose material (Andrew Lloyd Webber, the Carpenters) was not to our tastes. Production shows were excellent, especially "Motor City". Had anytime dining which was okay after the first few nights (45 minute waits). Took Ultimate Ship's Tour which was amazing and totally worth the money. Loved the minisuite.
We came home on Friday and by the following Monday, I'd booked our next Princess cruise. I guess that says it all!
Ship highlights: Lotus Pool area, although hot tubs there were not especially hot. Sun and Sports Decks at night make for great exploring. Lots of time in the Explorers Lounge for trivia and karaoke. Liked that the Fitness Room had views. Splurged on the Thermal Suite one sea day and thought it was marvelous. Really liked the wraparound Promenade Deck, especially in the tropics when the wind was warm and you could go walk out there any time, day or night.
Cruise highlights: Panama Canal, despite boring, droning commentary (and I'd read the McCullough book). Just being in the isthmus was a thrill for me. Beautiful robins-egg blue water. Loved the narrow sections in particular. Otherwise, it was all good. Yes, a cruise is a floating assisted-living facility, but what's wrong with that for two weeks?
SeaMystique’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MB D611
Spacious, very comfortable. Excellent lighting, much better than average hotel room. Appreciated generous bathroom size. Balcony furniture comfortable. Dolphin deck had problems on this cruise (leakage, etc.), but we weren't affected and the Island is headed into dry dock anyway. Bigger fridge would be nice, but I was happy to have any. Zero maintenance issues in our cabin. Long walk to elevators, but we relished the exercise. Didn't need night lights -- needed sleep masks due to 24-hour glow from electronics. Overall, excellent
Aloha Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Beach
    DePalm Island.  Too early (7 AM), too cold, too bleak. Tried snorkeling but emerged freezing after only 5 minutes. Dead coral is depressing. Nothing to eat or drink for 2 1/2 hours. Nothing to do if you weren't in the water. Eventually a so-so buffet, but who wants to eat lunch at 10:30 in the morning? Had to be back on the boat by 12. In general, a waste of time.
    View All 107 Beach Reviews
  • City Tour
    Beautiful Old City. Terrific lunch at Donde Olano. Lovely, calm, low-profile environment. Street vendors hardly aggressive at all (but then, we've been in India, and after that nothing is aggressive). Got dragged through New City but didn't leave the van. Not much interesting there.Although we specifically stated we were not interested in shopping, in particular shopping for emeralds, we were hauled into a jewelry store nonetheless. Bad faith on the part of the tour operator.
    View All 317 City Tour Reviews
  • La Popa Monastery
    Beautiful to look at, painful to think about. Brutality, murder, religious insanity.
    View All 22 La Popa Monastery Reviews
  • Palacio de la Inquisicion
    Expedition was a double-cross -- didn't get actual tour operator, more like Miles hired some girl off the street to take us around. The history involved is awful, and no spin can blunt the horror of those times.
    View All 15 Palacio de la Inquisicion Reviews
  • River Cruise & Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary
    Horrible snafu involving demonstration at port forced us to cancel our prearranged tour and go with the cab driver. Turned out fine. Went on the "Crocodile Man" tour and enjoyed the half-corny, half-frightening spectacle of crocs being fed. Beautiful peaceful river. Saw one macaw, which was fine because I didn't think we'd see any at all.
    View All 19 River Cruise & Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary Reviews
  • Zip-Lining
    Went to the Vista Los Suenos zipline park (near resort of same name). Very professional, charming guides. Fourteen heart-pounding platforms. Not a good way to see the rain forest, of course, but fun in a stupid way. Why can't one just take a hike? Why is it necessary to turn this beautiful country into a low-rent amusement park?
    View All 33 Zip-Lining Reviews