We chose this cruise for 2 reasons: Embark from SF and the Panama Canal passage.
Embarkation with Princess in SF is consistently one of the best experiences we have ever had. We showed up at the port when we were instructed to and were on the ship in all of 7 minutes after leaving the car. There was no lines anywhere, we walked through security, got our ship cards, and walked on the boat. Amazing.
The ship itself is in fine shape. Yes, it’s older and yes, you can find evidence of it’s age and imperfections of you want to be nitpicky, but at no point did any deficiency of the ships condition hamper the enjoyment of our vacation. Everything was clean and well maintained.
Cabin E735 is second from stern on starboard side. The balcony has a bulkhead wall to forward and standard partition to aft. It’s a fully covered balcony which was great when the weather was inclement and was always pretty sheltered from the wind. It’s a long walk to the bow of the ship and several flights to the Lido deck, but all in all we liked the location. The room was quiet and private with a couple of notable exceptions: there is a public deck at the stern of the ship and the door is maybe 20’ from the cabin, so you hear it every time it slam shut; the Universe lounge is directly below and you can, on occasion, hear noise from its goings on. Fortunately the rear deck is seldom used and we can count on one hand the number of times we heard the door slam. The universe lounge noise was noticeable at times, but not to the point of being distracting or preventing us from sleep.
The room itself was your standard balcony room. Definitely more spacious than interior rooms. The shower stall is quite small as other have noted, but unless you’re a particularly large person, you’ll be fine. (I’m 6’2/200lbs and had no problems) They have changed from the little 20” LCD monitors on the shelf above the fridge to 46” flat screens mounted at the foot of the bed, which was definitely a nice change. Plenty of storage and the room was in good shape overall.
We probably should have booked a tour to get out of town, but the choices all required long bus rides and the activities didn’t really suit our styles.
Great tour, very in depth and hands on.
Long drive to and fro though.
The old city is cool, but you could probably do with a can ride into town and avoid paying for a tour. The port itself has a really cool animal exhibit with monkeys, birds, anteaters, and other wildlife which is free to roam around.
The ship is far away from everything, but there are lots of things to do if you can find transport.
Do it. Great dives by a very professional company.