We loved going through the Panama Canal.
Unfortunately, our cruise got off to a bad start by not getting a cabin assignment until two days before departure, so we were already stressed about whether we would even have a cabin as we left home (we booked the cruise three months before and had to accept a GTY booking). Our cabin was in a bad location - not one we would have chosen, with someone else's name on the door, and no recognition of the fact that the cruise was a birthday cruise for us.
The ship is old, with a lot a rust showing. Although we saw crew painting over rust spots, there were many more less-accessible spots that highlight the ship's age. Probably because of its age, the ship probably doesn't have the stabilization of newer ships. We definitely had a bumpier ride than we are used to.
Our cabin was small, with no sofa, unlike other ships' "small" cabins. Our balcony door was badly corroded with holes in the frame and with weather seal missing. On our first night, cruising into strong headwinds, there was such a loud whistle coming from the door that we couldn't sleep. We reported it the following day and a mechanic stuck some plastic seal around the frame, which looked very temporary (he said he had done the same to 6 other cabins that day!). The shower was the smallest we have had on any of our 15 cruises. In hindsight, I think we should have booked a premium balcony cabin, which is bigger.
Although the main dining food was better than most ships, service was the worst we have ever experienced. Our waitress rushed the food service. On the first night we didn't get our wine until after the main course had been delivered (with excuses that the barman was backed up because he was on his own). On the second night I refused to order the food until I had ordered wine, and still received the appetizer before our wine. I complained to the Maitre D and, although we received our wine before our meal for the rest of thre cruise (by mostly ordering wine each evening for the following day, without knowing what would be on the menu), the waitress' attitude was unfriendly. The process of ordering wine a day early led to a mistake where we were charged one day for a bottle that was covered by our wine package, and it took 3 visits to passenger services to get the $42 charge removed.
In general, we found the crew less respectful to passengers than other cruiselines. For instance, buffet waiters would stand around chatting at the coffee station obstructing passenger access. Also, several times two crew members would be walking side-by-side and expect us to step aside for them. I believe this lack of customer consideration starts at the top. Our Captain was pretty much MIA for the entire two weeks. We saw him once, but he didn't show up for the Captain's reception, and we never heard any announcements from him - they always came from the First Officer or the Cruise Director. Likewise, our cabin steward was the unfriendliest we have ever had. I think Princess needs to do some passenger sensitivity training on this ship.
Ship excursions were in line with other cruise ships. We especially like Nigaragua, but stops in Aruba, Colombia and Cabo San Lucas were far too short (you spend all that money for visits to countries you haven't been to before and you get 5 hours!!) Another example of the ship showing its age was the fact that two of the four ship's tenders (lifeboats) used in Nigaragua broke down towards the end of the day as passengers were returning to the ship. When our tour bus returned from our excursion, we had to sit on the bus for 45 minutes because there were too many passengers already standing on the pier waiting for tenders.
Entertainment was on par with other ships. We liked the singers and dancers, but they only performed three times during the 15 day cruise.
I would recommend avoiding this cabin. Being one of the front cabins, it seemed that the breeze/wind on the balcony was more intense than further back. As previously mentioned, the balcony door wasn't sealed well and was very noisy in windy conditions. Additionally, I think there was more up-down and sideways motion.
Not much on the island to see. Stop at a beach was the highlight, but were only given a hour. Overall, the problem was our Aruba stop was too short.View All 248 Island Tour Reviews
Time was too short in Cartegena, and we wasted too much at the fort and at the souvenir shop. Would have like more time on the walking tour - there was plenty to see but we didn't have time.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Spent 5 hours in a bus to see nothing! There was none of the rain forest wildlife we were promised.View All 28 Rainforest Tour Reviews
We did a trip to Granada with a lake cruise - excellent. Included a really good lunch in Granada.
Good port to leave from, although hotels are expensive.
Always lots to do