10 day Thanksgiving cruise to the Panama Canal: Island Princess Cruise Review by Island Hippie
Overall Member Rating
10 day Thanksgiving cruise to the Panama Canal
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
I want to personally commend Suzan Kent at Princess for all her cheerful and informative help. Thank you Suzan. You are a jewel in the Princess lines crown.
Embarkation was far faster and easier than I had expected and we were aboard in matter of 20 minutes or so with the only real delay being that we showed up later than we had planned. (1pm) Our stuff got to our room without a hitch and in a reasonable time.
We had an inside cabin on Baja deck (11) and it was roomy and comfortable. Our Cabin steward was Luis and he was EXCELLENT and always cheerful and helpful. If you get him you will do well.
Muster drill was no big deal and over with quickly so that we could get on with the sailaway.
My wife and I stood on the Sun deck and watched us exit the port as we called our 3 grown sons to say we had arrived safely and would call them More when we got back. From then on the phone was nothing but an alarm clock, and good riddance.
We went to the Horizon Court for a late lunch and the Rockfish they served was delicious. I recommend that you go in and wander around the area before grabbing your plate so you have some clue where everything is as with 50 or 60 people all trying to get their food it can be a little confusing. Once that is done you should be able to navigate it without a problem.
There is nothing not good in there, though some things may not be something that appeals to you personally. Like your Mama told you as a kid, "Take a little of everything and try it and then go back for what you liked." I did and found favorites all over the place. BTW, for my fellow Southerners out there, they DO indeed have grits on the breakfast buffet. Look for 'em.
We discovered that we liked the tables right at the front of the ship, especially for breakfast which we made at sunrise every day of the cruise. WELL worth it! We were also able to sit there and watch (and photograph) a huge rainbow that the ship actually sailed through. That became a highlight for us.
Dinner we had anytime dining in the Bordeaux room and they were great. I HIGHLY recommend table 67 where the three guys there gave us the best and friendliest service I have ever had ANYWHERE. They are outstanding! Two of the guys are named Arnel and Pepe and I apologize for forgetting the third man's name because these fellows DESERVE to be commended by name. Be sure to tip them well. They will deserve it.
I did my part to decimate the lobster population on the nights it was offered and the baked Alaska on the last night was delicious. I also recommend the "Love Boat Dream" which is a "death by chocolate" treat. Steaks were excellent as was the seafood. Try the escargot too. I did, and it was very good. I'd eat it again anytime.
By all means take any of the dance classes offered while aboard. James and Natasha were a blast and they even helped an uncoordinated guy like me pick up the beginnings of the Cha Cha.
DEFINITELY go to the port shopping seminar and get that coupon book. It's worth it just to get the Del Sol bag that changes colors in the sun and all te freebies that Jay gives away.
The 2nd full day at sea we had some 5-7 ft seas and you could feel it a bit, but it was nothing serious. It rocked us to sleep every night and that was good. Unless you are someone who is ordinarily subject to motion sickness, (In other words...you can't even a read a book while riding in a car.) you should have no problems at all. We didn't.
Looking out at the Caribbean as we sailed along I was reminded of the classic last part of Stephen King's "The Shawshank Redemption" where Red speaks of the blue of the Pacific in his dreams. I can tell you that that beautiful blue Caribbean water will haunt my dreams for the rest of my life. As I sit here typing this I can still see it in my mind and wistfully wish I was there still.
The shows were good. We saw Adrian Zmed, Carl Strong, and the 60's dance party and enjoyed them all.
Oh! A very special note of excellence to the WONDERFUL classical trio that played in the atrium. The piano, flute and violin were amazing. Your rendition of the Ave Maria was so beautiful that I found myself hearing the Latin prayer as you played. I encourage everyone to take the time to just sit and enjoy these 3 lovely and talented ladies whenever you have a chance.
The various shows and displays in the atrium where very good. I recommend the one with all the bartenders. Be sure to volunteer to get those free drinks. The appletini I got was worth the silliness I had to perform.
I would highly recommend the Island Princess to anyone who has a chance to sail on her. Less
Cabin review: B329
No problems at all. B329 is nice. Luis is a great cabin steward and everything worked and we were comfortable and happy.
Port and Shore Excursions
We were among those off the ship first and wandered all over Oranjestad and the vendors were really nice and prices reasonable.
We haggled a taxi and got about 3 hours of tour and it was beautiful. I really like Aruba and wish we'd had more time there. We were off the ship about 7am and had to back aboard by 12:30. That was unfortunate.
Find someone to take you to hold a Sloth. Very cool. Sort of have a perpetual smile.
Didn't get to visit the Cathedral. Next time...
The passage to the lake and back was nice and worth seeing but the Canal history is kinda sad.
We hired a taxi and went all over the place. It's beautiful!
Most of the people were SUPER nice and we got a great deal on a white gold topaz ring for my wife at Mohan's. They even threw in a bottle of water for her and a Red Stripe Light for me.
Several places gave me free rum shots. Much more of that and they'd have had to carry me back to the ship. LOL.
There's a lot more to do there and I want to go back for that too.
Only draw back was that in some places we got offered pot about every 30 feet. We're not down with that...
Sloths all over the place here. Look up in the trees in the park near the port. We saw at least 4.
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