Emerald Princess Review

Amazing Panama Canal Cruise!!!

Review for the Panama Canal & Central America Cruise on Emerald Princess
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Fun in the Florida Sun
10+ Cruises • Age 20s

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Sail Date: Dec 2022
Cabin: Interior
Emerald Princess Entering first lock in the new panama canal
Entering Gatun lake
Ship at night
Transiting the Panama Canal
Water Shuttle
Waiting for shore excursion to start

I choose this cruise as I had always wanted to see the Panama Canal, it was a great experience. The Emerald Princess is not a new ship but it is well maintained. The ship was recently in drydock and some cosmetic improvements were noticeable, particularly new carpets in the hallways and in some cabins. Work was on going during this cruise but did interfere with the cruise experience. The Emerald Princess is similar to other Princess ships and I have been on the Caribbean Princess twice but the Emerald seemed a little classier and slightly more elegant.

I have been on many cruises and I have sailed on many cruise lines but I have to say the cruise director on this ship was by far the BEST I have ever seen. JC (not sure, think his first name is James) is British and he obviously has a lot of experience. I found out he is actually in charge of some entertainment functions for the entire Princess fleet and he was only on this cruise as a substitute because the scheduled cruise director had an emergency. JC was very attuned to the demographic of passengers onboard. In addition, the Assistant Cruise Director Shell was fantastic as well, she was funny and made the passengers laugh as her delivery is so unique and clever.

The day-to-day activities onboard are traditional and include live music i.e., violinists, steel pan and singers. There are regular card games and trivia, been bag challenges and usually some enrichment talks. This is not a lively Carnival or Royal Caribbean cruise but a little more laid back which is what I wanted. It was football season so there were games and World Cup games broadcast on the big screen by the pool as well.

Cabin Review

Interior

Cabin A529 - this is a basic inside cabin located in the middle of the ship. Bed was comfortable, and cabin had adequate storage space. I liked the TV and overall this was a comfortable cabin.

Port Reviews

Cartagena (Colombia)

Did an excursion from Princess Cruise Lines, visited the fort, inquisition museum and a church. Unfortunately the guide was not very good. Street vendors everywhere trying to sell stuff.

Fuerte Amador (Balboa)

I did an excursion from Princess Cruise Lines, this was an enjoyable excursion and I loved the tour guide "Roxanna". She was very knowledgeable and willing to explain the sites in detail. This excursion visited both the old (Miraflores) locks in the old canal and the new visitor center on the Atlantic side. Unfortunately, the museum is closed and the gift shop has been moved to a tiny closet with no inventory. Finally, the "lunch" provided was a ham sandwich, I do not eat ham so I was starving all day.

Huatulco

I reserved an excursion from Princess Cruise lines. it was supposed to be a tequila tasting experience. It turned out toi be a shopping excursion with the guides shuffling us from one store to another like cattle. It was obvious the guides were getting some kind of monetary reward for bringing us there. One store was "cielito lindo" a jewlery store with over priced silver. The tequila tasting was actually fun, unfortunately it was the shortest part of the excursion.

This was my least favorite part of the entire cruise.

Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera)

I did an excursion from Princess Cruise Lines. This did not start out good. The gangway to get off the ship in this port is narrow and we were stuck in the Princess theatre for almost two hours before getting off the ship. Once we were onboard the bus it was a long ride to get to the Andalusian Horse show. The Horse show was very good, a small kid was the star. There is not a lot to do in this port so it is worth doing an excursion.

AMAZING, loved it, a great experience to see the locks and navigate through the Gatun lake.

Puerto Vallarta

I loved this port and I booked an excursion through Princess Cruise Lines. A boat ride to Yelapa, horseback riding, a hike to a water fall which many of the "old" people could not do which set us back time wise, a boat ride to a beach where we had a great lunch on the beach. I loved this excursion. A nice shopping area in the port where I bought some souvenirs, drank a beer and had a nice time. I would like to return to Puerto Vallarta!

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