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Caribbean Princess Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,698 Reviews

Panama Canal, partial transit

Caribbean Princess Cruise Review by cruisin63

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2020
  • Destination: the Panama Canal & Central America
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Balcony

We were excited to view the new locks, which were made for the larger ships. We first went to listen to the excellent lector in the Princess theater, who told us the history of the building of the canal. It was extremely informative and prepared us to better understand what we would be seeing. We had originally booked a mini-suite, and the perks included were additional credits to spend on the cruise, plus no gratuities (a terrific deal) but were pleasantly surprised to find out a few weeks before sailing that we had been upgraded to a mid-ship Club Class suite at no additional cost. As Club Class guests, we had our own entrance to the dining room every evening, plus an upgraded menu. No waiting with 100 other people to enter, we walked right in. And our position in the dining room was separate from all other passengers. By that I mean that it was in a different area with other club class members. We were really spoiled!

The new Medallion technology is wonderful, allowing us to speed through embarkation, which took a whole 10 min. for the 3 of us. Debarkation at the end of the cruise was equally satisfying. We had opted for a Princess shuttle to take us to the airport at the end of the cruise, and it was effortless!

About midway through the cruise, I came down with my yearly upper respiratory infection and confined myself to my cabin for a few days, but this was my bad, as I should have brought a prescription with me just in case! Oh well, live and learn. The only shore excursion we had to cancel (the girls wouldn't go without me) was our trek through the rain forest and boat ride through the small canals that run through Costa Rica. I have been there before, so no big deal for me, but I hated to see my companions miss out. They did, however, leave the ship to shop for souvenirs at the port, and upon their return said that they were glad we had cancelled, as it was so darn hot.

My only disappointment was in the food, the quality of which was not on a par with Carnival, but this is my opinion. Many things in the ships dining room were excellent, but others were not as good as I've had on other Princess ships. In particular the lobster, which was very chewy and not served with drawn butter! My sister opted for the steak (also extremely chewy) and had to politely bury the chewed pieces under whatever remained on her plate. But the service provided by our little Victoria (from the Ukraine) and her co-worker also from the Ukraine, known only as Bo or Baby was excellent! The food up on the Lido deck was hit or miss as well. Some times a terrific selection, and others just a bit below average. And in my opinion, their soups up on Lido were sub-par and watery. I wish Princess would adopt a real deli where fresh sandwiches could be made as ordered, like Carnival. Their sandwiches were pre-made and somewhat rolled up in butchers paper and standing upright in a large container, which made all of the juices run to the bottom and soak the bread. I was not impressed by the food at all.

We did the ship excursion in both Jamaica (Greenwood plantation) and city tour of Catahenia, and both were excellent. We got off the ship in Grand Cayman and took the 2 and 1/2 hour city tour offered at the port for just $25. (same tour offered by excursion desk for $49) and it was also excellent! They took us to 7 mile beach (gorgeous) and we also got to see the people swim with and kiss the dolphins at their center for free. We had a choice of seeing the dolphins, or crossing the street to the turtle center. The tour driver was a fountain of knowledge and we enjoyed the tour very much!

cruisin63's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
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Public Rooms
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony

The cabin was terrific. We had 3 glasses of champagne waiting for us, plus two 1/2 sized bottles of a red wine and a white wine as a complimentary addition to our cabin. We didn't like, nor did we open, the bottled wine, as both were dry and we prefer sweet or semi-sweet. But at the end of our cruise we gifted it to the crew for their parties, and they seemed extremely grateful! Canapes were available nightly, but we never ordered them. But the beds (OH THOSE BEDS) were heavenly, and the pillows, which I swear must have been down, were the most comfortable that I have ever experienced on any of my 10 other cruises. We were really spoiled for sure! And our attendant, Christina, was wonderful, seeing to our every wish, no matter how small. The room was excellent, with plenty of storage for all 3 of us. There were still only 2 balcony chairs, which necessitated us bringing a chair from our living area outside and then back inside during the evening, as it was not waterproof like a deck chair.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Beautiful old plantation home, actually never used much as a home, but strictly for entertaining. Their main home was nearby, but destroyed over generations.

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City Tour

Our tour guide was excellent, giving us descriptions of the changes in Cartagena over the years. Rising from their reputation as a haven for drugs, to the modern day Cartagena, who deports and furnishes 70% of the worlds flowers. It is a walled city protected by an ancient fort, and the tour was fascinating!

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It was a wonderful tour with a very knowledgeable driver. He took us everywhere we had intended on going. We learned a lot about the banks and passing of monies that the island is noted for. The dolphin center was awesome and delightful, as was the gorgeous 7 mile beach, where we spent about an hour just sitting in a cabana watching the tourists enjoy the water. We visited a rum cake center and spent at least a half hour there as well. Very enjoyable tour and half the price ($25) as the same excursion offered by the ship.

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