Cruise to remember: Island Princess Cruise Review by Ontario Cruisers

Island Princess 5
Ontario Cruisers
Member Since 2009
13 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Cruise to remember

Sail Date: September 2009
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: San Francisco
Got into San Fran from Detroit (Frontier Air $135) a day early and booked the San Remo hotel which is walking distance from the pier. Embarkation was a breeze at about 1:30 p.m. We did notice right away that this was an older crowd then the many Carnival cruises we have taken. Wasn't going to let that get us down and it really never became an issue. Being a fifty year old young man isn't all bad. Room was typical for an inside cabin. Enough space for my Wife and I but would be crowded if we needed those drop down beds for two more. Picked the late seating and a table of eight. Great companions to share the days activities with. Food was at par with other cruises; no complaints and wait staff was top notch. The Lido deck for lunch and breakfast was an improvement over other cruises. Food service areas were divided into about six areas preventing lineups. No waiting to get to your desired dish. I think with an older crowd and a lot of balcony rooms, the full ship did not More seem crowded. No waits for machines in the gym and always a deck chair. Advice to others. Your allowed to bring beer and wine on board (not liquor) and there is a small fridge in your room. Join the cruise critic group for your cruise. It adds to your group of friends on board and it got us to the front of the line when boarding tenders in Panama. Pick a larger table for your dinner seating and join tables on the Lido deck. We had a blast.

Actually the stop is Hualtuco, Mexico (wasn't on the list) A small port town which looks like it was built for the cruise ships. Janet and I walked to the nearest town Crucieta (about 45 minute walk through safe streets) Bus to town from the ship is $45 and a cab is only about $5/person but if it's a nice day, it's a nice walk. Nice town. Walked past 3 hospitals on our way to the town square. Nice church to visit and a good town to walk around to shop. Picked up a panama hat for $5 and a six pack of Caronna for $6. Was going to take a taxi back but needed to burn off some calories, so we walked back. There was roadwork going on which looked like it could cut the time down to about half an hour. Shopped at the port shops for a while. The better deals were in Crucieta.

PUNTARENAS, Costa Rica (not on the drop down list) Pre booked a tour with charlie Soto of OkeyDokey Tours. Only the four of us this day plus Charlie and his driver Ricardo. Our first stop was the monkey lady's house. It's down a road where no tour bus could get. This lady brings out a bucket of cut up bananas and starts clapping her hands. At least a dozen Capuchin monkeys come down from the tops of the trees so you can feed them. You put a piece of banana in your fist and they will peel your fingers back to take it. Fed them for a good 20 minutes. She expects at least $2 per person and well worth it. Stopped at a wilderness hotel where you could go zip lining but we chose the next stop. The Crocodile Man tour on the Tarcoles river. One and a half hours on this tour boat travelling the river (we counted at least 35 crocs) at one point the driver gets out on the muddy shore and feeds a croc some turkey legs. Lots of wildlife with a well narrated tour by local Costa Ricans. The Scarlett Macaws are something to see if you get lucky. Next we stopped at an outdoor buffet by Jaco beach for a Costa Rican Lunch (included). Went to a Marriott resort and fed the iguanas at the shore. The driver stopped at a local grocery store where I bought local beer and some premium coffee. (4 bags $13.38). Went to a local wood shop and then got dropped at the pier. Lots of good market stalls there to shop. Probably the best prices of the tour and locally made products. Not the usual stuff you see in most ports. Coffee was $7 a bag.

FORT AMADOR - PANAMA CITY Booked VistaMar Panama Tours. (eco-rainforst tour) A driver with a van met the nine of us in the port area and we drove for 45 minutes to a dock where we got on a hard canopied boat with our tour guide Carl. Headed out into the canal and Gatun lake. Lots of info. Got up close to the drilling rigs working on deepening the canal and the pipelines carrying the dirt and rocks away. Pulled up on a jungle island and capuchin monkeys came on the boat to be fed peanuts and dried fruit. Another island produced Tamarind monkeys that we fed grapes. We could hear howler monkeys as we cruised down a smaller river. We arrived at Carl's place. looked like 2 big houseboats attached with an upper and lower deck. It had washrooms, a diving platform,gift shop, kitchen and a large eating area. a hot lunch was ready for us with unlimited refreshments. He had on board a night monkey (very cuddly)a couple of large iguanas, toucans, a couple of small caymans and a boa (if you wanted a picture with one around your neck). After lunch we got into a motorized canoe and a couple of kayaks and headed further into the rain forest to a waterfall where we went swimming. Back to the houseboat and then the 30 minute trip back to the dock for the waiting taxi and the ride back to the port. Less

Published 12/05/09

Cabin review: OWe611 Oceanview (obstructed view)

Cabin was very nice. Good location. Headed back to the first stairway and right up to the back pool or right down to the theater. Could walk the other way right to the library and the center atrium. No problems here. It was actually an obstructed view cabin.

Read All Oceanview (obstructed view) (OW) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Hot! Walked past the port to the taxis outside the port area and with another couple got a taxi for the day for $12.50 each. Went to the cliff divers (something you should see once). Took us through old and new Alcapulco. Up to the Chapel of Peace which is the big cross on the hill you can see from anywhere. Beautiful rich area. Stopped at a jewellery store (free cold drinks) and a market area. Not too impressive. I believe the taxi driver gets a cut for bringing people here. Silver seems to be the big item in Mexico. I bought a silver money clip for $50 that was marked at $95. I didn't want to bring my wallet on all these day trips but needed some cash for shopping and tours. All and all a pretty good day trip through a city which is overcrowded and tired looking, waiting for spring break.
Read 204 Acapulco Reviews

CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA Booked a bus tour with Lee Miles ($35). Went to La Popa Monastery at the top of a mountain (large hill) The trip up was through extreme poverty. All the land here is owned by the monastery and is given to house the poor. Vendors are thick at the gate. Once inside your fine. One vendor caught my eye and I couldn't shake him. He started out with a $15 maraca and he was down to 3 for $5 when I got on the bus. Headed to the old fort (a long walk up) Interesting architecture and history. Off to the "Old City" Reminded me of old San Juan (same builders). Very good living statues and vendors were looking to deal. Bought salad serving fork and spoon made from coconut shells. He wanted $25 and got them for $8. Headed for a shopping mall surrounded by vendors. 20 minutes to walk the circumference. Had a good cuddle with a three toed sloth inside. bought some beer across the street at a local grocery store. (six pack Aguila light $7) and back to the ship. Probably would have had more fun with a smaller group but was a well run tour

Port 7 ARUBA Tomcar Tour Rating 4

Took the Lorrie Shuttle service from the airport ($15 each) to the San Remo hotel( which is walking distance from the cruise port, Fisherman's Wharf, the Alcatraz ferry and Lombardo street. It's an older clean walkup hotel. Got there at noon and walked to the Alcatraz ferry for our 1pm trip which we booked online. Highly recommend the audio tour at the prison. It's narrated by former guards and prisoners and takes you through the prison at your own pace with your own player and earpiece. It's free with the tour. got back around 4p.m. and walked to fishermans wharf (pier 39) Walk to the end to see the seals on wooden decks out in the harbour. Couldn't count them all. Walked up Hyde Street (and I do mean up) to the top of Lombardo street. A beautiful area of high end real estate. Walked down the crookedest street and stopped at a cafe for some great food and beer. Headed to Powell street to try and catch a cable car but at this time the line is too long at this time. Went back to our hotel for a good sleep. Walked to a little restaurant for breakfast recommended by the desk clerk at the San Remo and got back in time to catch our pickup for a tour of Muir Woods and Sausalito. Great tour bus driver (Jay) Very informative and talked all the way. It's a different world among the Sequoia trees at Muir Woods and Sausilito is a beautiful port town. Back over the golden Gate bridge to the tour office (which we found out was 3 blocks from our hotel. Picked up our suitcases and walked to Pier 35 to catch our ship.

Compare Prices on Island Princess Panama Canal & Central America Cruises

Read more Island Princess cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic’s Island Princess Review >>

Compare Prices on Island Princess Panama Canal & Central America Cruises

Ontario Cruisers
Member Since 2009
13 Forum Posts
Enrichment Activities
Family & Children
Fitness & Recreation
Onboard Experience
Public Rooms
Shore Excursions
Value for Money
Share feedback
Thank you!  Cruise Critic values your feedback.
How can we improve this page?
Skip X

See Island Princess deals up to 82% off:

September Deals
Island Princess 78% Loved It

3 Night Pacific Coastal
See all Island Princess Deals >>