Destination Itinerary: Island Princess Cruise Review by Idylwilde

Island Princess 5
Member Since 2010

Overall Member Rating

Destination Itinerary

Sail Date: January 2012
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Overall this was a great cruise. This was our first time on the Island Princess and found it was very easy to get orientated. It's a nice size. I love the design of the cabins on Princess. I like the open closets with plenty of storage space all at eye level. There are no doors blocking entry into the bathroom or to get to the outside door. We had a balcony cabin and really did enjoy it during the Panama Canal transit.
I would say this cruise is definitely a destination itinerary. It's a great way to see some unusual places with ease and comfort. The two days at sea at the start are quite nice; it's a good time to explore the ship and not feel rushed.
We chose the "anytime" dining. We've done this twice now and I'm not sure I would do it again on a 10 day cruise. On the plus side of "anytime dining" we were on board the night of the Super Bowl so there was no need to eat a meal that night as there were snacks galore during the game viewed under the stars. They also More had an Oktoberfest evening in the buffet that was very good - lots of German food and desserts. It sounded good so we went to that and I'm glad I did. The last evening lobster was served. My husband ordered two lobsters and was told that he could order the second when he had finished the first. So - we sat there eating the last of our meal alone as he asked for another lobster. The others left without dessert because dessert wasn't served until all of us were finished eating. They had places to go and events to attend.
We did a Princess excursion at every port. The one tour that we felt was not up to par was the Cruise on Gatun Lake and the Gatun Locks at the Panama Canal. The bus was in very poor condition; we had to sit at the back and the engine roared so loudly that we couldn't hear the tour guide - having the speaker ripped out right above us didn't help at all either. There was an entire seat missing and the vent on the ceiling rattled during the ride. Kudos to our guide; he came back and repeated everything for us. The lake cruise was pleasant but there was not a lot of wildlife and bird sightings. All the rest of the excursions were very pleasant.
Our cabin attendant was German and he was excellent. He anticipated our needs and was very easy to find when we needed something.
My biggest complaint on this ship would be the hard mattresses. I don't understand why they are hard like that. I never had an evening when I looked forward to crawling into bed. The sheets were quite ordinary compared to other cruise lines bed linens.
To me the food was very good in the buffet and the dining rooms; the quality remained consistent throughout the entire voyage. We had a breakfast and a lunch in the Bordeaux Dining Room. We didn't try either of the two specialty dining rooms.
The big event is the passage through the canal of course. We got up at 5 AM to snag a table near the front windows in the Horizon Court. Just about the time it was starting to get light we entered the locks. One thing we discovered was that the ship anchors in the Gatun Lake and then we are tendered ashore for excursions. The end of the tour excursion is at Colon, because the ship has left Lake Gatun and docked in Colon for the rest of the day. Dr. Thomas Ryan is an on board narrator during this event. He also had daily talks in the Theater about the places we were visiting. He had contests to keep our attention and prizes of money, books, shirts, etc. There were very few children on this Panama Canal cruise in January. Many of the guests were definitely 55+. I think this was a bucket list journey for many also. Embarkation was perfect. A big plus and a terrific way to end the cruise. Less

Published 02/15/12

Cabin review: BFE306 Balcony

We booked our balcony cabin E306 which is Emerald Deck on Port side. It was right by the elevators and stairways, so we just stepped out our door into the elevator and we were whisked to Lido Deck 14 for the buffets and pools, etc. It came right out at the entrance to both. One stairway down and we were right at the door to the promenade deck for our walks. When we wished to go to the Atrium for the Dining Rooms, etc. we turned right out of our cabin and walked down a short hallway and we were at the elevator or the stairs for a short descent to Deck 5 or 6 for dining. The room was incredibly quiet. We heard other folks out in the hallway only a few times, but never a bother. Above us we only had more cabins - never book a cabin below Lido. We absolutely loved the location for our cabin.

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