Once Bitten, Twice Shy!: Island Princess Cruise Review by urbanrv

Island Princess 3
Member Since 2010

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Once Bitten, Twice Shy!

Sail Date: October 2009
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
As is our usual custom we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale the day prior to sailing and stayed at the Comfort Inn, Airport. We chose this motel as the rates are reasonable and they offer pickup at the airport and delivery to the cruise terminal.

Embarkation was smooth, uneventful and timely - we were onboard in approximately 30 minutes. We began our cruise with lunch in the Horizon Court buffet to allow time for our luggage to arrive at our stateroom which did so promptly. Our stateroom appeared clean, tidy and ready for our arrival, although the comforter did show considerable wear. The bathroom was small, although not unduly so. Storage was more than adequate.

Overall the ship appeared clean and well appointed. Our experience in the main dining room was excellent, with well prepared,tasty food and prompt service. The Horizon Court buffet was generally good, but sometimes disappointing in the meat department (tough pork and beef dishes). The staff in the Horizon Court More unfortunately were not nearly as willing and helpful as we had previously enjoyed on the Star Princess. The on board activities were well organized, varied and plentiful. We enjoyed the evening entertainment for the most part (jugglers, comedians, revues). The costumes, sets and special effects were commendable. In general our experience on board was enjoyable, and as relaxing or energetic as we wished.

HOWEVER, what really marred our vacation was the presence of what we believe to be bed bugs in our stateroom!. The first bites were noticed upon awakening the first morning at sea, however we thought they might possibly have been insect bites acquired while in Ft. Lauderdale prior to boarding. More bites were noticed upon awakening on the second day at sea, and yet another bite along with a large red and itching patch appeared on the third morning. A visit to the doctor was made that afternoon and an anti-itching cream was prescribed. The doctor did mention that he had seen this problem before. The accommodation manager was notified, and we were told that our mattress and bedding would be changed immediately. The following morning a further SIX bites appeared! The accommodation manager was again notified, who stated that he was "monitoring the situation". The bites continued for another two days (the 7th day of our cruise). Although a request was made to speak to the purser, no phone call was received, only a short note left in the room stating that the results of their investigation had come back negative. you would think that they were looking for something very large and easily spotted. It was intimated that these bites were incurred in the various ports of call. As this has NEVER happened on any previous cruise, that idea seems a convenient excuse.

The cruise line has been politely contacted repeatedly, and of course they have assured us that "passenger comments are always welcome at Princess". BIG DEAL! We have contacted the Centre for Disease Control, with documentation and photographs for their reference. Hopefully by doing so, this situation will not arise for any other prospective passengers. Less

Published 02/17/10

Cabin review: E514

Reasonable size, small but comfortable. Lots of closet/storage. Bathroom was adequate - smallish but do-able. Quiet location.

Port and Shore Excursions

We decided to stroll through Aruba on our own to get a feel for the local sites, shops and people. Aruba is clean and colorful with the stores brightly painted in pastels. What amazed us was the vast number of jewellery stores on this tiny island.

Read 1286 Aruba Reviews

Again we chose to fore-go the tours offered by Princess and decided to hire a local taxi. After some heated haggling we procured a taxi at an agreed upon price, and then travelled to the Old Town. This is a very interesting fort with no end of colorful characters peddling everything from cigars to candies to pictures with costumed ladies carrying baskets on their heads. Our driver returned promptly to pick us up and transport us to the New Town - a modern and clean section of the city. The peddlers in this area offered some lovely linens, local crafts, watches of every description. We noticed numerous modern air conditioned shops advertising emeralds.

Panama Canal

This was the highlight of the cruise. It was amazing to see the engineering involved and the efficiency of the canal operation. The continuous dialogue by the extremely well informed ports lecturer was very interesting and helpful as we traversed the canal into Gatun Lake.

AFter sailing back through the Canal we stopped at Cristobel which was really nothing more than a cavernous hangar for more peddlers to sell yet more wares. Having said that however, we did enjoy a performance by a troop of lovely costume clad Panamania ladies and gentlemen. The ladies really were beautiful in their intricated headresses and billowing skirts.

We had been told to be careful in Jamaica because of the high incidence of drug related crime, however we did not feel overly fearful. In fact we did a little walking tour, visited a couple of local markets (a pleasant "no thank you" was readily accepted). We hired a very nice young man - tourist board approved - who took us on a taxi tour of the immediate area. He pointed out many of the fruits, trees and plants native to Jamaica and informed us about local customs. His English was excellent and his manner friendly and accommodating.

We have visited this port before and were familiar with the surroundings so chose to do our own walking tour. We visited a large local market as well as a number of more modern shops. To our amusement we again found a tiny beauty salon in the middle of which is growing a large tree (painted to match the interior color of the shop!) Most of the locals speak English so communication is not a problem. These folks are not pushy to sell you something and in fact are very accommodating.

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