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Island Princess Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,190 Reviews

Partial Canal transit on Island Princess was a fun cruise.

Island Princess Cruise Review by CruisePhotos

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2019
  • Destination: the Panama Canal & Central America
  • Cabin Type: Balcony

This cruise stopped at some ports we had not visited previously and also went into the Panama Canal and back out again. We also left winter behind for ten days and enjoyed the balmy Caribbean weather. Although Island Princess is fifteen years old now, it has been well maintained. Our Caribe deck balcony cabin was excellent and even a bit larger than we expected. Our needs were met perfectly by our steward. Island Princess does not have an International Cafe, Wines & Vines and the rear quarter of the Promenade deck has been closed off to make an additional twenty balcony cabins. So, when one walks the deck, one must cut through the ship to complete each lap. A little irritation not found on some ships. We were moved from anytime dining to a traditional table by the Matre'D the fourth night of the cruise (since some tables were open there) and that became a great experience. Jaco and Akshay proved to be fabulous waiters and made each meal fun and flavorful. The food was well prepared and presented and on a par with the other three Princess cruises we have taken. Some items were outstanding and Jaco's knowledge of the food and desert items was quite helpful. The show "The Secret Silk" was well performed and magician Gary Carson was very entertaining. Allan at the piano off the atrium and Danny the guitarist provided great listening. The vocalist in the Wheelhouse Bar, the violin & guitar classical duo and the group playing dance & pop tunes were all excellent and enthusiastic performers. The Cartagena Old City tour was fun and informative but a bit too short. The snorkel tour on Grand Cayman was not great due to choppy, windy conditions that day. Meeting the Sloths in Limon, Costa Rica, was an educational experience but a poor photographic one due to the sloths being in cages. Ocho Rios is a pretty little port. We took a walk downtown and purchased some handmade items from the makers at the craft market. It's safe to do this during the day with good police presence. It's only a 10 - 15 minute walk one way. Our time in the Panama Canal was interesting and very informative. The canal expert on board was excellent and had great knowledge of the canal from personal experience. He delivered a wonderful pre-transit presentation and a great running narration over the ship's speaker system during the transit. Service on the ship was good and we have learned the times to avoid the buffet to minimize waiting in lines. Food in the Horizon Court was good with lots of choices. Salad greens were very fresh and tasty. Sushi was put out one day only and the pieces of tuna were very small without a lot of taste. The hand-rolls were good though. Embarcation in Fort Lauderdale was a breeze since we arrived two hours after it had started so all lines were gone. Debarcation was slower but not excessive. Being Global Entry participants allowed us to use the short line through customs and we were whisked through quickly. I try not to look too gleeful every time this happens but it's impossible not to smile. I feel for the hundreds of people we bypass but they need to get with the program too if they want the benefits it offers. Getting onto the transfer bus took longer than it should and Princess could use more employees to properly direct guests to the buses and to keep the lines more orderly. FLL is an outdated airport and shows it. Princess EZ Air saved us lots of money on our flights and has been super to use for several cruises now. We always check to see what they can do for us when booking with Princess. All in all, this was a wonderful cruise with very calm seas the entire ten days. Now I'm looking out my window at a snow-covered landscape with 8 degree temps. We have another cruise booked next month and it can't come too soon.

CruisePhotos's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Cabin BA C233

Caribe 233 is an excellent balcony cabin. A bit forward but had little motion during the cruise. It was an extremely quiet cabin. It is also a bit larger than some other balcony cabins and had lots of drawers for storage. Great closet space for hanging clothes, shoes, backpacks, etc. Large bags can be stored under the bed. The balcony is the usual size that will fit two chaise loungers and a small, round table. The bathroom is the usual small size. It's a good vantage point for the canal. It's also a short trip up four flights of stair to the Horizon Court or you can take the elevator. It only has staterooms above and below, so no noise issue from public spaces at all. It was a good value and quite enjoyable.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


Snorkel reef and wreck was only average. Did not leave the harbor. Not a sheltered area in which to snorkel so was choppy. Tour only had water to drink and was lax on safety for guests.

View All 340 Snorkeling Reviews
Cartagena's Cathedral

Briefly saw on the walking tour of the Old City.

View All 18 Cartagena's Cathedral Reviews
City Tour

Bus & walking tour of the Old City was informative and fun but too short. Should be at least an hour longer to enjoy everything.

View All 367 City Tour Reviews
Las Bovedas

Now just a bunch of little stores. Not too interesting.

View All 6 Las Bovedas Reviews
Ocho Rios

Pretty little port as seen from the ship. We walked downtown & shopped the local crafts market. This is safe to do during the day. The town is nothing special. We did not do any of the excursions here so can't comment on them.

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