We had not sailed with Princess for many years, but this itinerary was just perfect for us so we booked it even with mediocre reviews.
The ship was great, even perfect for a Panama canal experience as she has a lot of open decks and you could really experience the canal and the locks to the fullest with great, open views available everywhere:
Great forward observation, open deck on deck 15, forward with panoramic views; great promenade deck going all around the ship with great views and comfortable chairs on deck 7 and 8. Perfect for a good walk. All this was very nice as it allowed all the guests to spread nicely all around the ship and you did not feel enclosed.
The Stateroom was nice, traditional in style, and we greatly appreciated the walk in closet layout with plenty of space for your clothes and empty suitcases. Nice balcony. Feather pillows were available, but the duvet was too heavy so you were always too hot. No alternative blanket was available. Bathrobes only on demand but comfortable and of good quality. But bring your own slippers if you do not want to walk around barefoot.
The bathroom was shower only, with a minuscule shower with a little curtain. Really small, but the problem was that no bar soap was available, even on demand, and none was available for sale on board anywhere. I had to buy one at the first port of call. This is silly.
Shampoo, conditioner and liquid soap were available but of mediocre quality.
The room steward was nice, always available and always helpful (but he could not get us a bar soap!) and did his best to make us comfortable.
The Medallion technology was great and worked well.
WiFi worked very well in the cabin at any time, even at sea. Much better than on any other cruise line.
Cartagena is a great port, even if the ship does not dock within walking distance of the old city. A shuttle was provided. The Old City is wonderful but is visited on foot. Architecture is outstanding, and it felt very safe at all times. Some interesting shops: Buy a hat. The shops selling emeralds were a bit disappointing though.
Many experiences are available, and for a first time I would recommend to book a shore excursion taking you to the new area and the citadel. Well worth it.
The Panama canal is a great experience even if you do not do a cruise which sails the full length of the canal. We did the partial cruise, going twice through the new locks. (Agua Clara locks 2016) and anchoring in Gatun lake from where all the shore excursions started. We stayed on board, and enjoyed the experience tremendously thanks for being on a ship offering a lot of open decks.
Make sure that your ship offers open observation decks, especially forward as it is from there that the experience of the canal really develops.