Overall we are very pleased with the way things went. We were apprehensive about what we'd face upon arriving in Lima. All went very well. The Delta flights from home and connection for ATL-LIM went well. We delighted in seeing the lights of the canal across the Panamanian isthmus. In Lima, as we exited the bureaucratic entry containment area into the public reception area, there at 1:15am was a man with a Princess Cruises sign; he worked for Lima Tours. He expected 2 other couples who were no-shows which kept us waiting for an hour before being driven in a comfortable car to the hotel. For the cost of the extra night at the Swissotel, it was an excellent value for the comfortable room with a comfortable sitting area and a bathroom with separate tub and walk-in shower. It's location in a neighborhood with embassies and international businesses gave us a sample of Lima's cosmopolitan atmosphere for the walks we took, once we woke up in the late morning.
Lima Tours had two agents stationed most of the day-before-departure in the hotel's lobby. They accompanied us throughout the excursion until we reached the cruise boarding terminal in Valparaiso, Chile. Our group of 72 divided into 4 once we arrived in Cuzco; each group had it's own local guide for the days in the mountains; ours had 16. We were in comfortable medium sized buses. The two Lima Tours guides from Lima continually handled logistics and problems (most folks had no idea of the extent of their work, especially that of Juan Carlos Nina, who when we left him in Valparaiso well disguised his exhaustion.) The mountain excursion had us bouncing Cusco's 11,150 ft., Chincheros 12,343ft and Aguas Calientes comfortable 6,693ft. Machu Picchu above Aguas Calientes is only 8,040 ft. I believe that the sites visited gave us an excellent sample of the Sacred Valley of the Inca. All accommodations and meals were excellent! Our local guide was good; I won't rate him excellent because of some language difficulties which I can understand. We were surprised at how easily we began speaking in Spanish comfortably. But, we would hit mental blocks for the right words in speaking and listening. We talked with folks on the ship, mostly Europeans and Australians/New Zealanders and Latin Americans who did other Machu Picchu excursions. None could praise their experience as we did. Another kudo to Juan Carlos Nina, every day he provided a an updated itinerary for the next day that included instructions for handling luggage and contact information.
Weeks before departure we asked Princess about what we would do in limbo-land between our early am flight from Cuzco to Lima and 5:50 pm departure for Santiago. I rate Princess response a "0" on a scale of "0 - 10". Fortunately Lima Tours had a most acceptable solution. They provided a tour of Lima's major sights followed by a meal before returning to the airport for the Santiago flight. Lima Tours had originally planned for us to have a 12:15pm flight to Santiago, not the 5:50pm flight.
Some issues were covered in the general cruise review. I didn't mention stains that we found on walls. The cabin was comfortable and well maintained by the steward. Heating and AC responded appropriately as needed. A sink drain problem was easily fixed. The balcony door lock slipped open at night several times, likely due to the roll of the sea. Maintenance fashioned a removable wedge that resolved the issue. The ship's decor is showing its age. Hopefully, whenever Princess refits the ship they will not only fix the section of ceiling lights in the piazza that was out, but also modernize the cabin decor.