Our 20th cruise with Princess, 20 days on the Crown in January/Feburary 2019, was one of the three best we’ve taken with this line, thanks to the creative activity and entertainment options on board. (You can read my review here on CC). Our 21st Princess cruise, through the Panama Canal December 3-18, was, on board at least, pretty much the worst. We felt like second-class citizens because of the way we were coerced and manipulated by the cruise line and its employees.
The problem: we chose late-sitting dinner at 7:30 p.m., which meant if we wanted to see the main Theatre show, we had to do so at 6:45, which meant getting ready for the evening earlier, which meant eliminating the advantage of eating later. To add insult to injury, the post-theatre amusements we so enjoyed on our winter Crown Princess cruise – when they showed up at all – were scheduled before nine p.m., meaning we could stop eating and go, or just not see these shows at all.
The solution: “eat in the buffet or go to Anytime Dining;” in other words, change my evening arrangements to suit Princess and, I’m thinking, save the company money.
Comfortable beds, adequate storage, wonky shower, only one chair. Request to clean grime off outside of window was ignored.
After an efficient transfer almost 3,000 passengers were piled up in the terminal, waiting to board. US Customs had slowed to a snail's pace for disembarking pax, so getting onboard was seriously delayed.
Access to the street (and Walmart) is blocked by a new shopping area, reached by a severely uncomfortable trolley. The onboard port lecturer never mentioned this change.
We did a strenuous eco tour to a swamp; nothing wrong with the tour itself, but Princess failed badly in providing relevant information about it, particularly with such a high proprtion of seniors on the cruise.
Tour to Granada, which is not of great interest, but does the best it can with what it has. The bus was super-cooled, the outdoors very hot and humid.
Took the Princess tour to Frank Gehry's BioMuseo, a remarkable natural history museum which tells the story of Panama from the dawn of time. An excellent tour experience in every respect, but for the long, unruly lineup to get a tender back to the ship.