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117 Panama Canal & Central America Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because we wanted to go through the Panama Canal and had been to most of the Mexican ports that would be covered by a cruise starting or ending in California. We were particularly interested in the Colombian ports, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to go through the Panama Canal and had been to most of the Mexican ports that would be covered by a cruise starting or ending in California. We were particularly interested in the Colombian ports, which were cancelled two weeks before our sailing date and NCL would refused to let us cancel and get our money refunded. Supposedly the ship had "mechanical issues" that required the change in itinerary, but as best we could tell, the ship was sailing at full speed. No one on the ship would tell us what was wrong until the last day when a "beverage manager" said they had engine issues. Our previous voyage with NCL was to the Canary Islands in January 2019. We liked that cruise and booked the Miami to Santiago cruise shortly after our return home. Our experiences with the most recent cruise were so bad, we do not intend to sail with NCL again. We booked our flights through NCL. Coming from California, we wanted to have one night in Miami prior to the cruise, but NCL insisted that we either stay 2 nights in the hotel they specified (which got poor reviews on Trip Advisor) or come in the day of the sailing on a red-eye flight. Our red-eye was scheduled to arrive at 7:00 AM, but got in at 6:30 AM. Our final cruise documents said the transfer desk would not open until 8:30 AM and the first transfer would be around 10:30 AM. We sat in a cafe and showed up at the transfer desk at 8:15 AM. There was a sign on the desk saying they opened at 8:30, but they had been open for some time and had filled all of the seats on the first two buses. There was no where to sit except on the baggage carousels, which at that point were not in operation. About a half hour later the baggage carousels started and we were left without seats. My husband uses a cane and cannot stand for extended periods of time, so it was a problem. We were told we had to stick around, because they didn't know when the buses would be loaded. We finally got on a bus around 10:30. When we got to the terminal, we were directed to the handicapped line, but we still ended up standing for about 40 minutes. Every so often a check-in staff person would rush by, look at the line and just say "Everyone fine?" and rush away before anyone could respond. The check-in process was terribly slow. We watched people being given the wrong ship card and then the come back to interrupt the line to get the correct one. This went on for a long time. When it was our turn, the check-in person walked away to get our cards and came back, looked at them, saw they were the wrong ones and immediately went back to get the right ones make the process take about an extra 5 minutes at least per person. Our balcony cabin was very nice. The cabin bathrooms are well designed and the beds comfortable. Our steward was attentive. If you want hand lotion, you have to ask your steward for it, but it can be provided. The buffet food was not nearly as good as the buffet food we had on NCL in January. Many passengers commented that the quality and variety of the buffet food was much worse than previously. One person said his last cruise was in October and the buffet was much worse this time. At lunch the best thing was the Asian noodle soup and although there was always a line for it (with many non-Asians including ourselves), they never created a second "station" for the Asian noodle soup. The other lunch highlight was the carmel sauce for the desserts, but unfortunately, except for the first day, there was never any vanilla ice cream. The ice cream at the station outside by the pool was usually overly soft and the time the buffet staff sent me out there, they didn't have vanilla ice cream either. At breakfast, the buffet ran out of both All Bran cereal and Bran Flakes early in the cruise. Also cottage cheese was not available except for a couple of days at the beginning. If you wanted prunes or prune juice for breakfast, you had to go the main dining room. We ate dinner in the main dining room every night and because of our ghastly boarding experience were given a dinner reservation for the same table for the duration of the cruise. Our waiter was excellent and provided good advice on what was good to eat. Unfortunately, the menu repeated much too often. There never was any kind of "gala night" so no lobster tail or real steak (just mediocre strip steaks). The excursion departure process has horrible, especially on the disembarkation day. We were always told to gather in the auditorium (which spans from deck 5 to deck 7 with narrowly-spaced seats in tiers. On disembarkation day, we were told to arrive 20 minutes before the time on our tickets for a tour and transfer to the airport. We arrived about 25 minutes ahead and were fortunate to secure seats in a handicapped area. However, the overall process was very nasty and in my opinion dangerous, with people moving rollaboard suitcases on stairs and lifting them over seated passengers. We sat and sat and sat. Our tour with transfer wasn't called until 45 minutes after the time on our tickets and we were on the bus until over an hour after the ticket time. We had to endure a similar, but not quite as lengthy process of sitting in the auditorium before every excursion. In hindsight at least on departure day, I would have booked an independent cruise transfer with an outside vendor, so we could just get off the ship and skip having to listen to the same messages in the auditorium for over an hour. There were supposed to be "port" lectures, but the lecturer was more interested in general trivial and sensationalism than informing people about ports. Only the first one or two of his talks concerned places we were able to visit on the cruise. Ship days got to be horribly boring, because we do not gamble, attend art auctions or do trivia. The library shelves were locked except for a few hours a day. The volume in the ship shows with the cast of singers and dancers was for us painfully loud. We had enjoyed the shows on prior NCL cruises, but this time the high volume was a major negative. We sailed with Holland American in August and with Hurtigruten in April and found them more to our liking. At this point, we have a couple of river cruises booked, and I keep my eyes open for ocean cruise itineraries of interest, but NCL is off my list of vendors. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
First off if you are handicapped this ship is impossible to get down the corridors with a scooter or wheelchair once the housekeeping puts their carts out in morning which lasts all day .My wife needs a scooter to get around which we had ... Read More
First off if you are handicapped this ship is impossible to get down the corridors with a scooter or wheelchair once the housekeeping puts their carts out in morning which lasts all day .My wife needs a scooter to get around which we had to leave by the elevators until late at night after housekeeping was done ,which meant she had to walk from elevator area to room . I have never been on a ship with no couch in the cabin (12 SHIPS) which also made it difficult for my wife .Must get a mini suite ,I had a balcony .Ship was clean except their were stains on floor and chairs on the balcony also out there the fire sprinklers were so rusty on my balcony and my adjacent ones ,I hope they functional. Food dinner menu was limited .and unless you are Andrew Zimmerman you might enjoy the choices offered .Breakfast in dining room or buffet not impressive. Buffet was limited also with the 2 end hot tables ,one having same thing every lunch and diner ,the other end was what I call off the wall food .Entertainment first 2 nights same entertainer who was horrible , one of the others I walked out on ,some were ok but were repeated (15 day cruise ).Ship on certain decks is weird cannot get across directly .Tours of the cities were not all that informative and made stops at one or two shops as part of tour that your could purchase things and not go out on your own .My waiter Rexy and his assistant were probably the highlight of my cruise ,they sang and told jokes every night .I have taken 12 previous cruises (RC ,Celebrity & Carnival ) ,this was my my most costly and unfortunately my worst .Never Princess again. . Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We choose this cruise for the experience of sailing through the Panama Canal. We actually had 2 days in the Canal with the first day experiencing going through the locks and the second day a nature sightseeing excursion that gave us the ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the experience of sailing through the Panama Canal. We actually had 2 days in the Canal with the first day experiencing going through the locks and the second day a nature sightseeing excursion that gave us the chance to see the canal on the water while also finding several varieties of monkeys, birds and a croc. Having white faced monkeys in the wild taking banana pieces from our hand while in the boat was a can't miss activity. Also seeing container ships at water level in the canal was amazing. This cruise also gave us a chance to explore San Francisco for 3 days at the end of the cruise which was very well time spent. The Coral Princess is an older ship which needs some TLC. It also has an older passenger list with an average age above 60. Our balcony cabin was very small and the shower was so small it was a challenge to use. We only got warm water from the faucet in the cabin and the sink did not drain well. Entertainment was a disappointment and did not happen often. Food was marginal at best with a limited selection in the main dining room. Service overall was good but 3 of the 5 ports were tender ports which created an extra layer of difficulty in leaving the ship especially if you did not have a ships excursion. We did take some good excursions, but a Cartagena city tour billed as "easy" was not with extensive walking through uneven city streets on a hot and humid afternoon. This was our first Princess cruise and honestly we were disappointed in the accommodations, food and entertainment. We were very surprised when the Casino did not have a bar as my wife likes to play slots and I will usually sit at the bar, have a drink and watch sports. This did not happen on this cruise. We are avid cruisers this being or 3rd cruise this year. There are too many cruise options and destinations to have only an average shipboard experience like this with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Embarked in Miami - was on board quickly and cabins opened by 1.15pm. We tried the assisted boarding as my dad has bad arthritis and struggles to walk far now. We waited in an area with an awful lot of others in the same position and after ... Read More
Embarked in Miami - was on board quickly and cabins opened by 1.15pm. We tried the assisted boarding as my dad has bad arthritis and struggles to walk far now. We waited in an area with an awful lot of others in the same position and after 15 minutes were taken up an escalator and basically it cut quite a bit of walking out. Deck 3 Oceanview 3096 and 3094 - nice big window with blackout blinds and net curtain. Cabins right by the lifts and stairs at the back of the ship. The bed in 3096 was so hard - my steward got me a soft top for the mattress but I still had a bad back most mornings. No coolers (fridges) in these rooms. We were advised we had to request them prior to the rise (nobody told us) or we needed them for medicines. Anyway by day 2 they did manage to find us some. Bathroom looks like it has been refurbished with new sink, cabinet and push button toilets. I did find the spy hole on the door annoying at night as it let a lot of light in so I used the do not disturb magnet to block this off at night. The door was also a poor fit and let a lot of light in at night to the left but this was not too noticeable as the bed was right by the window. The shower head would not stay still, it kept twisting to the left which was annoying. The sink smelt like it needed a good plunge and a clean of the overflow which was dirty. Unfortunately 3096 is right below a room on the floor above before you head into the dining room. Whilst this is not a cabin, it is used by the crew etc. For rehearsals late at night. It sounded like a heard of elephants above and one night I went upstairs and asked them what they were doing. I was told they were rehearsing and would be another 20 minutes - basically didn't care less attitude. This was my first cruise since obtaining diamond plus status and I was given an option to go on a bridge, galley, theatre tour or lunch with an officer. I ticked the bridge tour and took this to the loyalty ambassador who asked me to put it in the box. One day we had lunch in the main restaurant next to an Australian couple who were pinnacle status said they were going on the bridge tour in the afternoon. I just assumed there would be a few tours as numbers on the bridge would be limited. Anyway, on day 9, having tried to find the loyalty ambassador the day before (turns out she was sick) I went to the Diamond lounge to see Norma who advised someone else had also not had an invite and that she would investigate to see if there would be anymore tours. A few days later I did get an invite. Future cruise desk was not that busy as offers were poor - 30% off when normally 50-60% off. Prices was far cheaper in June when I sailed on Adventure. I got a few prices, most people were helpful (apart from one person). A few days before the end of the cruise there was a new offer on the website with 60% off the 2nd guest and OBC. when I enquired, I was given a much higher price. In fact, they always gave me a higher price than the website until I queried it. Not happy! Eventually we booked it as knew we could price match when it comes down. In fact, it is £84 cheaper a week later I notice already. Windjammer - a lot smaller than some ships but more of less the same selection of food. Different theme every night such as Caribbean and Spanish but you didn't really notice! They had a lot of trifles and mousses for desert so wasn't always great selections. I was in there on my own one evening so put 2 drinks down on the table whilst getting some food. When I came back a very rude couple had stolen my table. No apology! In fact this cruise was quite bad for poor manners. Whilst watching the Panama Canal crossing 3 people were sitting on deckchairs on deck 5 and each had another chair for their feet. They refused to give up one chair for my Dad who could barely walk. I was furious and reported them to Guest Relations who promptly made them move. Manners cost nothing! Day 3 - Cartagena, Colombia - we wanted to see the fort but all the ship tours included other sights and were round $55-70. We therefore booked a trolley tour of $20 outside the terminal. The trolley was air conditioned but only really near the front! It was so hot and humid. This was a 4 hour tour and stopped at the fort to take photographs and other areas and included a walking part near the end. We also visited an emerald shop and places to shop. There is a bus to take you from the ship to the terminal (5 minute walk if not) this takes you to a cafe and through a giant aviary. They have flamingos, peacocks, loads of birds and Macaws all very tame. You could spend an hour or 2 here. There were lots of people selling tours as you exit the terminal. Also, everywhere we went people were trying to sell you things, such as hats and jewellery. This was annoying. Also on day 3 the ships's wifi stopped working early in the morning and was off for 3 full days. They never announced this, instead left everyone to either go down to the wifi desk or guest relations and ask. They provided no updates which was very poor. I understand wifi can be dodgy especially at sea, but at least keep guests updated. Their wifi is very expensive so I did ask for a refund. They were crediting everyone individually so it took days to resolve. Why not just the full 3 days full price back, it would surely have been cheaper than the wifi lady having to go through everyone's account individually! I chased a few times and then was told as we were from the UK she wasn't sure how to refund it so had to ask! Eventually I saw a credit on the account. No Jonny Rockets on this ship so no BOGOF milkshake offers. However, we did discover they did milkshakes at Ben & Jerry's ($5.31 each). It would have been rude not to try one. Very nice! At this counter they also do special chargeable coffees but free cakes for all, no obligation to purchase. They had pastries for breakfast and sandwiches and cakes throughout the day. Park Cafe- deck 9 was handy as it was straight up from us at the back of the ship and as we don't eat a cooked breakfast, we didn't have to walk across to the windjammer. We could get juice, cereals, pastries, egg and bacon muffins etc. From here instead. At lunch, they have sandwiches, soup and the beef roll everyday. They do need to sort their dishwasher for their cereal bowls here though! Dirty! Main Dining room - slow! Couple next to us walked out on day 1. Our head waitress had a new assistant who had never been on a ship before. She was in trouble with her all night! Food wasn't great and we ended up in the Windjammer most nights. Shore excursions - very overpriced as usual. Tours far cheaper on the piers. I did think about the Aerial ride tour at a whopping $140 but there was no one on the desk when it should have been open that morning anyway. Colon, Panama - we wanted to do the rainforest aerial tram tour but it was very expensive at $140 each and as it started to rain we decided to explore the local shops instead. In hindsight we should have done the tour with a local company as the sun came out although it did rain at lunchtime. As you exit the ship you are met with ENDLESS people trying to sell you tours and taxi rides. It became very tiresome saying no thank you to everyone. Having said that we could probably have negotiated a tour to the same place we wanted to go for half the ship's price. Just ashore are free wifi areas but although I got connected I couldn't get any emails or iMessages to send, just the Facebook app worked. Nice cafe's just along here also. But again, endless people selling things, mainly taxis and tours. There really should be some better organisation of these sellers. They would sell more if they were not so in your face. Panama Canal - we went through the locks in the morning for about 2 hours from 7-9am and then again in the afternoon 2.30-4.30 in total. My tip unless you have a balcony, would be to get a deckchair on deck 5 at lunchtime as there were none spare at 2pm. We followed a large cargo ship through on the other side of us. Very interesting to see the locks and as we moved down. For some reason I thought there would be more locks to go through. Puntarenas, Costa Rica - very long walk from ship to shore. If you are on an excursion they reverse the buses up nearer the ship. Loads of men selling tours as you exit the checkpoint at the end if the pier, there is a tourist information building just there which had air conditioned room you can sit in. Most tours are 4-5 hours and $25. However, we got offered a tour for just $20 as they were ready to go an needed two more people. Initially we were a bit dubious as they were quite persistent but the information man said they were there every day so should be genuine. We drove a short distance and picked up a banana, then around the corner we stopped by the road and under the trees were monkeys that happily jumped on us for the bananas. We also went to a very large souvenir shop which had free drinks and fruit. I think they had gardens but it poured with rain as we got there. We stopped at a bridge and walked over to see the crocodiles and also went to the top of the hills in the rainforest abs stopped at a restaurant for drinks. They also serve lunch which looked good. Coke and Pepsi were $4 and beer was just $3. We just missed the native large birds as another tourist had just got a picture he sowed us. The guide tried to find them and the macaws in a wooded area but they were not out to play today. Restrooms at a couple of places which were clean also. Good tour in a small minibus 10 people and far cheaper than Royal c. Worth mentioning it's in the rainy season now and October has a lot more rain. It was also very humid. The guide said the rain stops in December. Note, they were also selling aerial tram rides through the rainforest at this port on the shore. Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala - couple of minute walk across a bridge from the ship to shore. You walk straight into a building selling tours. Didn't see the prices as looks like stopped selling them earlier in the day. But I imagine far cheaper than onboard. Also selling tours and taxis just outside. Loads and loads of market stall type shops selling same type of thing - bags, jewellery, rugs, belts etc. Didn't look like much in the port area, there was a harbour and garden to the left of the bridge. To the right is cargo. We got here at 6am and people left at 6.30am. There was a lot of noise from 4.30am onwards and a very loud noise at 5.30am so no lay in here. Huatulco, Mexixo - arrived at 11am - pulled straight in forward as the island is only really on one side. There is a walkway to the end of the pier - a good few minutes walk. I didn't actually leave the ship here, and from the ship there didn't look that much here. Those who went ashore may say otherwise of course. Nice beach but unfortunately I can't take much sun. Puerto Vallartos, Mexico - no long walkways, straight off the ship and they are selling tours and also there are a dozen or so stalls selling souvenirs. One stall is a pharmacy/drug store and even a massage stall. Just over the main road is a large shopping centre and just behind this large building is a Wall Mart store which the crew were using to stock up with things from here. It was a very hot day 85f but the forecast said felt like 94f which it did, the humidity was terrible. Taxis from here to town is a about 3 miles away $5-10 max - agree price first. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - tendered port here. need to get tickets for the tenders if you want to get ashore early. They used their own life boats and some boats from ashore. About a ten minute walk to the main town area. Los Angeles - cruise ended here but we booked the tour of LA and drop off at the airport as out flight was just after 5pm. However, due to the wildfires near LA, Malibu was under evacuation so they decided to take us to yet another beach. We didn't want to spend the day at beaches so we cancelled. However, the transfer only to the airport was all full up so we had to take a taxi which was $60. If you booked just the transfer to the airport from the ship it was $24.95. Entertainment - Horizon group were very good, very energetic got everyone up on their feet. Wasn't so impressed with any of the others to be honest. Departure - nightmare. They stopped people getting off on about ticket number 12. There was an announcement to say there were experiencing delays. An hour and a half later they let more off. We were due to get off at 10.40 and it was about 11.05 so they didn't lose that much time in the end. However, when we got off the Ship's walkway we literally queued for over half an hour to get into immigration. Someone eventually asked my Dad if he needed a wheelchair and we then bypassed the rest of the queue, otherwise it would have been a good hour wait. Guest relations advised this port always delays them. My advice would be to get off early. This is the worst port I have ever been to for getting people through Customs. Not much of a queue for taxi's at midday though! 5-10 minute wait. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Traversing the Panama Canal had always been a "bucket list" for my husband and me ages 67 and 72, respectively); being veteran HAL cruisers, we chose the NIEUW AMSTERDAM 21-day Panama Canal Cruise, 28 September to 19 October ... Read More
Traversing the Panama Canal had always been a "bucket list" for my husband and me ages 67 and 72, respectively); being veteran HAL cruisers, we chose the NIEUW AMSTERDAM 21-day Panama Canal Cruise, 28 September to 19 October 2019, from Vancouver BC to Ft Lauderdale FL. We enjoyed a few days visiting Vancouver, BC before boarding the ship. Embarkation/disembarkation was fast and smooth. If there were children aboard, we never saw them (ok by us!)...what we DID see was more folks using power chairs and walkers than on any previous cruise! OVERALL RATING: 3.5 stars. As always, the HAL cusine and service staff were WONDERFUL, abosolutey 5 stars. What made this overall experience score a mere 3.5 for us? I've detailed a number of "hits" and "misses" below. ACTIVITES: Woefully inadequate, e.g., TOO FEW trivia offerings (and those offered frequently conflicted with mealtimes). Also, holding the trivia games in the Billboard Lounge--immediately across from the Casino--is HORRIBLE! Noise conflict/intrusion=totally unacceptable. All the fun we used to have singing karaoke and playing trivia in the Crow's Nest aboard other HAL ships: gone. And for goodness' sake, STOP the money-grubbing, pushy Spa/Shops "activities," e.g., the "Foot Analysis" (do you really think cruisers are too dumb to recognize that these offerings are merely poorly-disguised sales pitches?). Why charge $15 for riding a bicycle in the workout room? Please! Suggestions: offer stretching/yoga/etc., at later times in the morning (for those who don't rise at the crack of dawn every day). ADD more fun + games, especially in the morning...DON'T schedule pickleball during the hottest hours of the day...add INSTRUCTORS for bridge, mah jong, shuffleball, other games. And make sure everyone who wants to play card games are accommodated: every time we went, foursomes were already set, denying us a chance to play. ENTERTAINMENT: Comedian Jim Short was super, as always, but we didn't care for the younger comedian (the one whose first joke involved a fart. The dance act was OK. Lincoln Center players, as always, were absolutely FABULOUS...most of their classical music offerings were standing-room-only. B. B. King band was very good. We missed having the small jazz trio for listening/dancing we'd enjoyed on previous cruises. SUGGESTION: why not have one of the pianists lead a passenger "Glee Club"? Not everyone enjoys singing, but for those of us who do, it surely would be WONDERFUL to have had the opportunity (as we did aboard another cruise)...plus, it's a super, fun, healthful activity in which older, less physically active passengers can participate. AMERICA'S TEST KITCEN: Unlike the previous cruise when we enjoyed the same ATK instructor, this time, she always looked at the camera, vs. the audience members. As she was less engaged with the audience, it made the experience less fun. Also, there used to be an opportunity to TASTE the dish that had been prepared, which was fun: we missed being able to do that. LECTURER: merely OK. He needs to listen to a recording of himself talking...he has an irritating/distracting vocal tic (a tongue-smack, like a tsk-tsk sound). COMPUTER: The Microsoft Studio person was of great help: solved a Windows 10 issue we'd been having. EXCURSIONS: The Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive beach resort opportunity was lovely, but too short. We got there too late for breakfast, and left too soon for lunch. Having all-you-can-drink between 9 and 11 a.m. is great if you're an alcoholic. The best part of this excursion was the water aerobics in the pool with one of the hotel's staff (a very cute & vivacious senorita). Nobody cared that she didn't speak English!--the acitivity was fabulous, and made us wonder why a water aerobics workout isn't offered on the ship! The Aruba Public Beach Bus excursion was SORELY lacking. The beach was great, but HOW COME NOBODY TOLD US in advance that we would need TEN DOLLARS to rent a lawn chair? We ABSULOUTELY should have been told in advance, or better, include the lawn chair rental in the cost of the excursion (which, all tolled, was basically just the bus ride). Also, to use a bathroom/cold shower involved walking 100 yards and cost another dollar...give me a break! SHOPPING: why so little reasonably-priced/cute women's clothing? Why no sparkly "bling" lanyards this cruise? The orange cloth lanyards were totally blah...I definitely would have bought an orange BLING version! Forget the high-end jewelry boutique (never saw a soul in there). PHOTOGRAPHERS were more pushy/annoying on than on our previous HAL cruises. Plus, if their photos were more affordable (e.g., $5 instead of $50 each), they would sell a lot more, plus avoid being stuck with thousands of prints that end up as trash. PANAMA CANAL: Experiencing the Panama Canal--the whole reason we went on this cruise--was a real treat, although less joyful that I'd hoped. Because I use a walker and fellow passengers were insensitive, I could never get close enough to the ship's edge to see from that vantage point (husband shot the photos with this review). Also, in plain view of the passengers, the cruise director and other staff enjoyed the view from the deck immediately below us: very frustrating, since passengers were not allowed access to that deck. I finally gave up and watched most of the crossing on the TV in our stateroom (very fuzzy camera reception). Later, I realized: AH HA!--it's another chance for the photographers to make money! Their marvelously clear video souvenier was exhorbitantly-priced. DINING: As ever, HAL dining was overall marvelous. Lido is consistently GREAT. Noticing the lovely fresh flowers on our Pinnacle Grill table reminded us of when you used to have fresh flower vases on every table in the LIDO! Pinnacle Grill dining was lovely, but we weren't convinced it was worth the extra money, especially for the Rudy's Sel de Mer nights. New York pizzas could've been better: most were underdone. Burgers were great. BEVERAGES: The biggest hit: at-sea days Mixology classes--FABULOUS fun!! Bartenders Jonathan (Ocean Bar) and Michael (Pinnacle Bar) are amazing! Not so great: the Dale deGroff cocktail selections...many were very weird, and tooooo sweet (Mixology classmates /daily Happy Hour friends agreed): bring back the standard cocktail menu!! SERVERS/STAFF SUPERSTARS: Besides Bartenders Michael and Jonathan, waitress Catherine; Sommolier Alex; and our excellent cabin stewards, Bayu and Andreas. Cruise Director (forgot her name) was pleasant, but nowhere near as engaged and fun a Cruise Director as we've experienced on previous HAL cruises. Would we go again? Maybe for the cruise itinerary, but NOT aboard Nieuw Amsterdam. That's all! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I chose this cruise because I was helping my parents with their travels. Both are mobility challenged and I go along to assist them. A small, but great ship and the remodel was amazing. I'd like to see some highlighted maps ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I was helping my parents with their travels. Both are mobility challenged and I go along to assist them. A small, but great ship and the remodel was amazing. I'd like to see some highlighted maps that show how to get to the stern of the ship (Deck 8) and perhaps how to get out on the bow. (Deck 10 I believe, but I was not able to get there during the trip as it's closed during at sea days due to wind. I did purchase the internet package, spending about $150 for this benefit. I understand that it is slower than most internet we are used to these days, so I was expecting and not disappointed by the slowness of the connection, however this one cut out for minutes to hours at a time. Even later at night when you would expect fewer people to be using it, it was consistently down. I feel pretty taken with respect to the cost vs the perceived value of this package. I did partake of the unlimited soda package, and it was nice to be able to order it at will. The unfortunate thing is that I was not told that it was just for fountain drinks and there were several areas, including the fountain that was used for the dining room that lacked carbonation. Mostly flat soda was not a pleasant experience. When I mentioned this to our waiters on several occasions, I was advised that the equipment was functioning fine. I took in several of the shows and really enjoyed them. The sound system was great and the performances were awesome! The food was exquisite! A variety of food in the dining rooms was very good. The buffet was good as well, but while there was a lot of different foods provided, they did tend to be the same different foods after a while. The people were amazing. I submitted requests for several to be recognized at the end of the voyage and I really was pleased at all the happy faces and the people seemed to care if we were having a good time! The only port we missed was Nicaragua and I'd've liked to have seen that one, but weather will be weather. The people that Princess works with in the ports are excellent. Every excursion was entertaining, informative and fun. A lot of high end shopping available and most of the shops were great. Every time I when into Effy and came back out again, I felt like I had to shower. It was like going to a used car lot with a very pushy, forceful salesperson. They were nice about it, but sooo very pushy. It was a very well laid out ship and easy to get around in with my mom's wheelchair and my dad's walker. There was one door, leading into the Horizon Cafe that we had to open both doors in order to go into, but there was always someone, either a crew member or fellow cruiser who would assist. I like having a promenade deck that goes all the way around the ship, and this one doesn't have that, but you can easily simply turn around at the end or go through the interior of the ship to the other side to keep walking in the same direction. There were not a lot of single people that I observed on this ship, which I've come to expect. The fitness room was nice, cool and well stocked with machines. Over all it was an enjoyable trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We got disable-room , hard to get ,we like 14 days cruise. And was done over. Our balcony was not for wheelchair or scooters ,very narrow ,and doors were old ,we also got locked out .The room was very nice ,clean,great handicap-room . ... Read More
We got disable-room , hard to get ,we like 14 days cruise. And was done over. Our balcony was not for wheelchair or scooters ,very narrow ,and doors were old ,we also got locked out .The room was very nice ,clean,great handicap-room . Spa was disappointing ,thermal loungers were in a small room ,only 6 ,no other chairs. Would not give us a refund ,waste of our money. The Flying scotsman was the Best ,the shows were great ,food was good. Room service was good. Embarking was confusing ,the staff did not know how to help. We went to the Musterstaion and were told it was on 3 deck ,not there ,hard to get back on the elevators ,when we got there ,it was over. They were bringing luggage to the rooms ,so most of the elevators were closed. Disembarking was a nightmare , we waiting over 3 hours before we got somebody to take us out with the wheelchair. Was so disorganized ,they did not have the staff to help the handicap . Everybody was so upset. SO the cruise was disappointing ,because the staff was not trained to do their job. Not going back on the Carnival . Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise because hal hadn't disappointed on prior cruises, and because the ports were what we wanted to visit. unfortunately. Hal has changed their entertainment policy, eliminating the grand musicals of old, replacing ... Read More
We chose this cruise because hal hadn't disappointed on prior cruises, and because the ports were what we wanted to visit. unfortunately. Hal has changed their entertainment policy, eliminating the grand musicals of old, replacing them with, for example, a gymnast, a mini-harp player running around the audience, sitting in laps, an 8pm travel documentary, and a lame juggler. (the act was lame). worse than the entertainment, was listening to 20+ days of complaints from so many other guests. it was certainly n-o-t what we expected. The cabin was very nice, service was good, food was so-so. there were a few enrichment activities, especially cooking demos. I am mobility-challenged. i use a cane. we always choose "easy" shore excursions. their "easy" included many sets of stairs and a very rocky (boulders) beach climb. another tour was a 2 hour, in each direction, no-commentary, gas-fumed boat trip across a lake to have a terrible lunch at a hotel. what a waste of a day!! I've cruised hal 7 times and now, it's a disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
It was on our bucket list to do the whole of the Panama Canal, Fort Lauderdale:- Embarkation, arrived the day before, and thankful we did, the flight from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale, which should take 5 hours inc., airport time, ... Read More
It was on our bucket list to do the whole of the Panama Canal, Fort Lauderdale:- Embarkation, arrived the day before, and thankful we did, the flight from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale, which should take 5 hours inc., airport time, took 15 hours, due to malfunction of a A/C button, Embarkation was a breeze, best ever from 17 cruises with 6 different cruise lines. Arrived at 11am, checked in, on board and lunch with-in 1/2 hour. Cabin, A627, balcony, (we usually have inside, but choose the balcony to celebrate our anniversary). Very nice, large and spacious, lots of closet space and hangers. Bathroom the usual ship board bathroom, shower small, we’re 135 and 150 pounds, and we had problems, The cabin steward very nice, can’t remember his name and I’ve lost the paper with it on. We found the comforter too hot for us, he found a light blanket for us to use instead. Dining:- We had “any time dining “ as we east early at home, the MDR opened at 5.15pm every evening, we chose not to eat every evening meal in the MDR, we alternated with the buffet. We also had two B/F’s in the MDR. Lunch and the rest of the breakfast were in the buffet. The food in both areas were excellent and hot, and very tasty. I have a “blue cheese” allergy and the chef at the buffet come and talked with me to assure if there was any blue cheese in anything, it would be noted. Entertainment and Activities :- The evening theatre was excellent, by far the best we’ve seen on a cruise line. The singers and dancers out did them selves, as did the ships orchestra. Through out the ship, there were other performers who were just as good too. During the day I attended all the trivia, and as many games as I could. The cruise director and his 5 crew staff were just a riot, lots of fun. Service:- Service from all the crew, whether the desk, dining, bar, photography etc., were great, always smiling. Ports and excursions:- Ports from F. L to the Panama Canal, we have done them all before, so unless I was looking to send off emails, didn’t get off the ship, used it as another Sea Day. Panama Canal:- didn’t take any tours, relaxed on the balcony and watched the world go by, Puerto Amador, Puntarenas and San Juan Del Sur, just walked around the port. Huatulco Sur:- just walked around town. Puerto Vallarta:- Took a taxi to the “New Beach”, don’t now how new, but it is a quaint beach area, has some interesting statues along the boardwalk. Los Angeles:- Took a four hour ship tour “ Easy City Tour” not what we expected, we thought we would see some “ stars homes”. but no. It was a waste of time and money. Santa Barbara:- A very nice town, just took the shuttle up the Main Street, and saw the Mission museum, San Francisco:- I booked a Alcatraz tour on line, for the first ferry 8.45, you have to book at least a month in advance. It’s an easy 5 minute walk from the cruise port. A very interesting place, and well worth a visit. We took a “bicycle tutu”, along the boardwalk to catch the “ cable car” there was at least an hour wait, and after an hour in the cold wind, we gave up. Took a taxi back to the ship with a small detour to see some sights. Astoria:- a quaint sea side town, there’s a shuttled around town, you pick up at the dock. We visited the “Marina Museum “ Victoria:- Had a taxi tour around town, have visited Victoria before. Vancouver:- Disembarkation time. Very easy, One thing that did puzzle us we didn’t go through any customs either in Victoria or Vancouver, not even at the airport. We did see 12 police embark at Victoria, so may be they check our customs cards there, as we had to fill them out two days before hand. We didn’t travel with children and there was only a hand full on board, Would I travel with Princess again, yes, it was our first time with them, (have sailed 17 times all told) and really enjoyed the ship and line. I liked the way all the entertainment, from trivia, games and musicians and theatre were on two decks, 6 and 7, making it very easy to get from one to another. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First let me say we had an AMAZING 14 day cruise through the Panama Canal. Everyone from the baggage handlers to the Captain were warm, inviting and went over and above to ensure our bucket-list cruise was all we imagined it would be and ... Read More
First let me say we had an AMAZING 14 day cruise through the Panama Canal. Everyone from the baggage handlers to the Captain were warm, inviting and went over and above to ensure our bucket-list cruise was all we imagined it would be and more. NCL corporate on the other hand were HORRIBLE and need additional training and a means to correct actions, which are truly of their making, which affect their employees. I planned for close to a year to ensure my near 80 year old father’s bucket-list cruise through the Panama Canal was everything and more he could have imagined- and it was. I watched countless hours of YT videos on what to pack, what to expect and any precautions which would help us avoid any hiccups during our trip. I called and emailed our personal cruise consultant and Concierge MANY times before our cruise to ask questions and request any items due to my father’s health and to confirm all was done and nothing would missed off or forgotten to avoid any troubles later. I even went to far as to create a daily guide to help us remember what day it was and what the daily activities were to help us commeroate our time together and scoured over our paperwork before and to comply with all NCL required per our cruise documents to ensure our check-in process and our cruise went as smoothly as possible. My parents even paid for the extra travel insurance just to make sure if anything happened prior to or during our trip medically, we would have some peace of mind knowing we had options available to us for added peace of mind. For our cruise we opted for the prepaid gratuities so we made certain EVERYONE who was due money was paid their dues as they are the hardest working people on the seas. You see them in the sunrise breakfasts and the midnight buffets- they must be vampires cause they never seem to sleep from the baggage handlers and dishwashers to the Captain. Lol. My husband and I traveled with my soon to be 80 year old parents to help with baggage and flew literally across the country from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angels in one day. Every step along with way we were there to help with bags from the vehicle to the airport, gate to gate, airport to hotel and hotel to ship. If we were not there this trip of a lifetime would not have been possible. Everyone we met along the way was awesome- a little hectic but what vacations don’t have great stories to tell from memories made after right?? We purchased a two bedroom- two bath suite for our extended cruise and truly had a great vacation. Everyone from the wait staff who waited on us daily, Susi our Concierge and JonJon our butler were exemplary in helping make sure this was the time of our lives and we cannot say enough great things about them- KUDOS to them all. Our issue arose when representatives from each suite were called together to discuss how disembarkation would go and where to meet. It was at this meeting- during the last two sea days of our trip north of Cuba- that Susi let us know our butler was not covered under the gratuities paid which got an audible gasp in the room. Mind you, HOURS of research, emails & phone calls to NCL were made and videos were watched to avoid circumstances such as this from happening. During my research and even during their Shore Excurision presentation they mention at certain ports, “do NOT display obvious signs of wealth.” Which, to be honest, can apply to any street in any town in the US as well so no shade. Our issue is knowing we were told ALL our gratuities were prepaid under our cruise fare by NCL beforehand we all carried cash to tip our baggage handlers, tour guides, bus drivers and a little more if anyone went over and above and deserved a little more appreication than the standard allowed- not extra money which is truly rightly due those who were not covered as we were told by NCL ALL gratuities were already paid. We were absolutely aghast. We went to our room and quickly pooled all our remaining money we had left to give to him. We purposefully didn’t travel with a lot of extra cash as, who carries cash anymore let alone buckets full when everyone cautions you against doing so and being told they were already paid? When we got into the port of Miami, (Saturday) I emailed our personal cruise consultant immediately about what had happened. I was able to speak with her on Monday as she was out of the country as well and she assured me that as we elected to prepay our gratuities our butler, along with everyone else, was covered but to contact Guest Services and let her know of what they said. I just got off the phone with GS, Anthony (i), I believe was his name and he said Butlers were NOT covered by the gratuities we paid and there was nothing that could be done to rectify the matter and it stated in the seven pages of cruise documents he wasn’t covered. I didn’t have the cruise documents in front of me at the time but when I got home later that evening i went straight to them and in fact the butler was NOT mentioned in my cruise documents as I was told it was. This completely taints our entire wonderful vacation because we actually stiffed someone who absolutely positively deserved it the most and earned every last penny of the money during our cruise as we couldn’t be happier. We’re so upset and disappointed with NCL over this, we cannot even begin to properly express them. SHAME ON YOU NCL for doing this to us and well as to your employees. Shame. On. You. You have absolutely taken a wonderful trip of a lifetime and tainted it with a policy that even your own employees do not fully grasp and in turn cheating hard working employees out of hard their earned money without a means to rectify it?? SHAME ON YOU!! We have been looking for our butler on social media to figure out a means to wire them money via PayPal, Venmo etc they are truly due without success. We are just sick over this whole debacle and pray a solution can be found as this has caused us all unnecessary stress as a result. WONDERFUL cruise and staff - - HORRIBLE Corporate office policy!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Experiencing the Panama Canal was on my "Bucket List" especially since my Grandfather was one of the many electricians that helped build the original one. The partial-transit worked well for my time restraints. I will say my ... Read More
Experiencing the Panama Canal was on my "Bucket List" especially since my Grandfather was one of the many electricians that helped build the original one. The partial-transit worked well for my time restraints. I will say my friend and myself were some of the youngest cruisers at 61! The majority of the fellow passengers seemed to be well over that and limited mobility abound by many - scooters and walkers! Some younger families with only a handful of kids onboard. Don't know if was off-season or just before spring break. Boarding was a breeze and the cabins were ready before 2 p.m. Our mini-suite was standard but a bit smaller than some of the larger ships I've ben on The beds were comfy and the room décor is basic and the colors are dull. Our Cabin Steward/Housekeeper was outstanding. Liezal was always friendly and warm. She did a great job on keeping our room clean and comfortable. She always inquired how our day was and how we were doing. We had the "anytime" dining which was o.k. My recommendation is to arrive before any of the evening production shows get out or you will wait for 45 minutes in a very long line to be seated. I found the service to be professional but slow at times. The food was good. We mainly ate at the buffet. The selection changed every night and enjoyed the specialties. Indian dishes seemed to be offered as a regularly featured evening optional fare Lemonade is on the drink menu but you have to ask for it. Sabatint's Italian Restaurant was good and the service was excellent. The selections were somewhat limited but the meal was tasty. Reservations were readily available and we had no problem getting in I thought the ship's entertainment productions were just o.k. The song and dance routines were boring along with the magic show. They did have a pianist that was exceptional. We didn't get the opportunity to go to Grand Caymans since the seas were too rough and tenders could not operate safely. It was a disappointment for many of my fellow travelers. The ship went ahead to Cartegena early. This particular port was my least favorite due to the pushy street vendors who will follow you and knock on the tour bus window! I will say once we were on the actual horse carriage tour ti was a beautiful ride through the old city. Going through the Panama Canal was fascinating. You can watch it from your room balcony and live stream on your cabin t.v. You don't have go to the bow of the ship. Limon, Costa Rica is beautiful. We took a tour of La Hacienda. The bus ride was 2 hours each way! It is long and windy, so take care if you get motion sickness. The Hacienda was interesting but felt the drive was too long for the short time we were in port. Jamaica is always one of my favorites. Took the tour of the Raft Ride on the Martha Brea. Again the bus ride was over an hour each way. The gentle bamboo raft ride was relaxing with view of the lush vegetation. The "captain" will try and sell you some carvings that he did and there are vendors along the river that will try an sell you trinkets. My complaint is on the way back te bus stopped at a funky trinket mall for a half hour. There are several sea days during this cruise which were enjoyable. Time to catch up on much needed rest and relaxation. I took line dancing lessons that were fun, and watched several of the "Movies Under the Stars". If you want to do a Arts & Crafts project plan on showing up at least a half hour early because the class filled up fast and people were turned away, Finally, disembarkation was a breeze since we took a excursion at the Everglades Airboat and Airport Transfer. I think we were some of the first people off the ship. The tour was short but fun and got us to the airport by noon or so. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The cruise on the Coral Princess from March 17- April 5 2019 was fabulous from the time we started the cruise! The crew, staff, and all aboard made you feel like part of their family! By the second day I think most of the crew knew me by ... Read More
The cruise on the Coral Princess from March 17- April 5 2019 was fabulous from the time we started the cruise! The crew, staff, and all aboard made you feel like part of their family! By the second day I think most of the crew knew me by name and called my parents mom and dad! We were greeted by name each nite going into the dining room by name and they arranged it so we didn’t have to call for reservations each morning! They knew we liked a certain waiter and table. My dad is the adventuresome person so he did all the different land tours and came back with many adventures, ( I am disabled and make the choice not to do them, even though a lot of people still do). Fuad Amal’s the people were so extremely friendly and the local market literally right off the ship is so very nice and clean! The local people welcome you by introducing themselves and welcoming you to their little shopping area! It was so pleasant! The Panama Canal, this was my 4th time through, is even more exciting, I really took the time to watch the mules, (five million dollars a piece) as they GUIDE NOT PULL the ship into the locks. Then watch as the ships go up up up!!! It’s really exciting to know you are expierencing a part of history! After the locks we anchored in Gatun Lake where the Coral Princess spent the night and around 11 am the next day we headed back out the canal to the Pacific side again! It was just as thrilling! Each stop we made was wonderful, three stops in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala and we weren’t able to stop in Nicaugua due to high winds and seas, but that just gave us an extra sea day!! The sea days you can be busy with activities 24/7 or do nothing 24/7 and just relax and unwind! That is what makes cruising so wonderful, once you are onboard, it is up to you on how you want your vacation to be! Some people need the constant activity, others like me, love to relax, face a chair towards the ocean and be lucky enough to see the pod of over 15 whales, many turtles, flying fish, and many schools of dolphins! The ocean is filled with many wonders! The Coral Princess has a beautiful library and game room, cigar room, internet rooms, casino, laundry facilities, Movies under the Stars, and movies during the day while you tan, there are areas for children, and playrooms for kids and teens! You can eat eat and eat some more, the old cruise joke is you go on board as a passenger and leave as cargo, I sometimes believe it after the incedible pastries and desserts they have on board. They have a very nice menu in the dining room and they also offer you a choice to pay to have a better cut of a steak, lobster if that is what is sounding good to your appetite that night! Whatever your request I know from expience a Princess staff member will either take care of it or find someone who can do it for you. Visit Maria in Calypso store, she has a heart of gold! If you should run into Rafeal, Thomas ( both from Poland ) and Edwin from Bulgaria )some of the Head waiters from the dining rooms, they are the best!!!!!! Just their smiles and laughter will make you smile!!!!! Happy Cruising!! I was traveling with my parents and yes we will be cruising MANY more times with Princess!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Outstanding value for the cuisine that is included and onboard entertainment. I would not recommend the premium restaurants as many have complained about the food quality for the extra price. Long wait times for Anytime Dining. You need to ... Read More
Outstanding value for the cuisine that is included and onboard entertainment. I would not recommend the premium restaurants as many have complained about the food quality for the extra price. Long wait times for Anytime Dining. You need to reserve your dining times to avoid. Ports of call on this itinerary are below average and the excursions are not worth the money. This cruise is clearly targeted for senior citizens. It is not recommended for ages 55 and below. Very laid back vibe. The staff on this ship are very well trained and accommodating. Countries represented are mainly from the Philippines, India and China. They have the most pleasant demeanor and disposition unlike some cruise lines that represent Eastern European cultures. Princess has an amazing reputation for providing excellent quality food and highly skilled chefs that prepare a variety of international dishes. Our new preference for cruise companies is clearly Princess. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Unwelcoming excursions for wheelchairs and unsafe, uncomfortable handicap washroom. The excursions was unadaptable, unwelcoming for wheelchairs and all our water excursions was cancel out, without letting you see fit to make your own ... Read More
Unwelcoming excursions for wheelchairs and unsafe, uncomfortable handicap washroom. The excursions was unadaptable, unwelcoming for wheelchairs and all our water excursions was cancel out, without letting you see fit to make your own decisions. It was disappointing because we were so excited for the island princess to enjoy some water and the island feeling. We did not get to do any snorkeling or any water activities and been deprive from it because of wheelchair unfriendlyness and discrimination. However, the diamond princess excursions allow you to have freedom in choosing your excursions and you can decide if the excursions is right for you in real time or can choose to sit out if you feel uncomfortable. Whereas, Island princess excursion will just cancel you out without gaving you the freedom to choose. Handicap washroom was unergonomic, uncomfortable, unsafe because the handrails was design horizontal poking at your back. On comparison, the diamond princess to Japan with handicap washroom was design much better and the excursions was helpful than “ Island princess cruise for being wheelchair unfriendly.” Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I am confined to a wheelchair and cannot stand. I was unable to find any wheelchair accessible excursions provided by the Island Princess at any port of call during the whole of this cruise. A few of the excursions were labelled as ... Read More
I am confined to a wheelchair and cannot stand. I was unable to find any wheelchair accessible excursions provided by the Island Princess at any port of call during the whole of this cruise. A few of the excursions were labelled as wheelchair accessible on the website and I had booked these prior to the cruise. Unfortunately, when on board, I was informed that while the location was wheelchair accessible, the transportation was not. Only two of the ship’s doors opened automatically. The others could only be opened with considerable effort and had a ledge that made it difficult for a wheelchair to roll over. Unlike other cruise ships such as Celebrity there were no hoists to lift me into the pool. The noise levels in the Horizon restaurant are extremely high. At one lunchtime I measured sound levels over 90 dB over a sustained period of time. This level of noise can produce permanent damage to hearing. It is especially dangerous when someone is exposed to this for a sustained period, such as your staff. We were constantly bombarded by sale offers. On exiting from dinner, we were confronted by half a dozen "paparazzi". A man dressed as a giant bear blocked our paths on the deck. Our television always started with the Princess channel offering more sales opportunities, not the channel we had just watched. Over the trip at least three dozen sheets of paper with advertising offers were left on our bed. Travelling with Princess cruises would be considered again if these problems could be corrected. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
14 Day Panama Canal Cruise – LA to Miami Coming from Georgia, we decided to take the Norwegian Star out of Los Angeles so we could acclimate back to Eastern time along the way. We went a couple of days early and experienced a few ... Read More
14 Day Panama Canal Cruise – LA to Miami Coming from Georgia, we decided to take the Norwegian Star out of Los Angeles so we could acclimate back to Eastern time along the way. We went a couple of days early and experienced a few touristy things there and then went to board the ship around 11:00 am since we had a suite. We were in room 10228. We are not normally there that early but thought it was worth seeing when we could get on the ship. We were placed in a room with other suite guests and had some beverages and sweets. Unlike when we boarded the Dawn, we all herded in together at the same time after we received our room keys. We were told none of our rooms were ready and we were sent to Cagney’s/Moderno for lunch. After lunch we were left on our own to wonder if our suite was ready. We finally found someone who was able to tell us we could go on back but were not escorted as before so we felt a little strange going into the closed door with a sign saying the rooms were not ready. When we did we were greeted by all the stewards so felt better. The room is the same layout as the last one we stayed in on the Dawn 10728 but opposite. It seemed a lot more worn than the Dawn’s suite. It was still nice, don’t get me wrong. The balcony is large enough for two sit-up type chairs, two lounge chairs and two small round tables. The bed is big and the closet is nice with access from both sides. We really like the layout of the room. For meals, we had a specialty meal package for four meals and added three meals on our own. We do not enjoy the main dining rooms. They are very loud and feel rushed. We did try both of them but always end up wishing we were eating elsewhere. We had the beverage package too and my only advice is to beware of the port taxes. Another cruise we were on we made a mistake of buying some special they had while in port and paid a large amount of tax. The daily paper tells you if there will be port taxes. Stops: Cabo San Lucas – Mexico We opted for the All Inclusive – Adult’s only excursion. This was a tender stop which is not our favorite but the resort was nice. The only problem was it was Superbowl day and they had very limited space for our cruise group. We ended up just staying in the pool most of the time so ended up fine. Hector was an awesome server there and brought us lunch and kept our drinks full. Acapulco – Mexico – Tour selected: Acapulco City with Cliff Divers – City tour was okay but great seeing the cliff divers had always heard about or read about. I would not care to go back to Acapulco. Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala – Tour selected: Antigua on Your Own which I was partly dreading because I read about the drive but it was really nice and our tour guide Julio did a great job. It was interesting see the volcano damage and smoking volcano and then getting into the small town of Antiqua was like going back in time. We spent quite a bit of time at Santa Domingo but ended up eating lunch at a restaurant close to the tour meeting location – Arrin Cuan. We tried some local food and fajitas and really enjoyed it along with a local beer. We walked a lot and saw some neat architecture but you need to wear comfortable shoes. San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua – got off for souvenir – tender and right back on (lots and lots of vendors) Puntarenas, Costa Rica – We decided to try something different and went on an Artesian Craft Beer tour with lunch. Allen was our tour guide and he made it a very good tour because the ride was pretty long getting there. We had a brewery tour, local lunch (buffet) and tried several beers. I would probably not have recommended again except Allen taught us so much along the way. Very educated tour guide and probably the best tour guide we have had in all these years. Panama Canal – Since we had an Aft Balcony suite, we mainly stayed on the back Deck and watched the bow camera and listened to the narrator on TV. The TVs are great quality so we could see the front very well and the back in person. It was quite an experience. We had room service for breakfast and lunch and were through the canal by about 4:30 pm so ended up having time to have dinner out. I wasn’t sure when making reservations if we would be able to go out so hopefully this information will help someone. Cartagena – Final tour - Columbia Chiva Party Bus! What a great way to end our excursions! We could see three party buses pull up from our balcony and I had the purple one in mind. It was a converted colorful bus that looked like a semi-truck front. When we went down to meet them we were directed towards another bus but asked if we could stay for it and were told we could. What a crazy time! From the time you got on the bus until you arrived back to port it was music, rum and coke and later beer with some sites to see along the way. We got off the bus a few times for souvenirs and photos. At the fort we went to a certain area and danced. We had a band of three locals on the bus for some of the entertainment. It was a great way to entertain us because the traffic was crazy slow! One hint, do not sit on the outside unless you don’t want to dance. That seat is the only place you could not stand up and dance. It was seven rows of people and we sat closer to the front which was perfect. Restaurants: Cagney’s twice – Always a good place for steak. We learned to order the steak less well done than we usually like it. Medium rare was more like medium each time. Teppanyaki – Always fun - great service at the 5:15 seating and not as loud Moderno – Better than we thought it would be just don’t get too much salad bar before so you can enjoy all the variety of items brought around Le Bistro 3 times – Love the French onion soup and they had some crazy desserts! La Cucina 1 time there and delivery one time – Didn’t love our visit to La Cucina but saw someone ordering a pizza so one night we had our butler bring us a pizza from there instead of the room service menu and it was much better. We had to pay ala cart but it was worth it. We did purchase the Thermal Suite pass for the trip and had one couple’s massage. We enjoyed our time in the spa and they did not over sell it which was nice. We saw all but one show and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of entertainment compared to years ago. I believe we saw 4-5 kids total on the entire cruise so it is definitely an older crowd which was fine with us. We were actually some of the younger ones. There were more walkers, canes and wheelchairs than we have seen on any trip so it seemed friendly for those slower getting around or disabled. My husband did three spinning classes but had wished they offered more since it was 14 days. Our room steward was awesome. Our butler was okay but was always in a hurry when he saw us and explaining how he had six other cabins so we always felt he was trying to help everyone else. We did not need to know about other people's needs who he was rushing off to help. Made us feel a bit insignificant. Overall it was a great trip and my husband and I are still talking after our 20th anniversary trip of approximately 18 days together! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was the first cruise of the Coral Princess after a rehab in dry dock. Carpets have been replaced, flat screens added to all rooms with satellite reception, new paint and improved internet access are among the changes. The ship is ... Read More
This was the first cruise of the Coral Princess after a rehab in dry dock. Carpets have been replaced, flat screens added to all rooms with satellite reception, new paint and improved internet access are among the changes. The ship is small and was built for the Panama Canal. Overall the cruise gets high marks. My husband and I are in our early 60's and were among the youngest people on the ship. Lots of folks with walkers, wheelchairs, scooters and canes. Excellent weather, no rain and not too hot. We did the Princess excursion "Aromas and Flavors of Cartagena" which was excellent. Demonstration and coffee tasting, local cooking class and tour of the Old City. Very well done. We were a group of 28, split into two class groups. The small size allowed for a high level of interaction with the guides and young people who were teaching the classes. Humberto is the ship's guide to the Canal. He did a fabulous job of narrating the passage through the Canal all day. We made our way around the ship throughout the day. The emergency doors on level 11 was opened so we could view the locks from the front of the ship. This is not advertised. So check "non-traditional" access points. Princess is one of the few ships that stops at Puerto Amador. We did the train trip and the new locks. We did the dome car which wasn't worth the extra expense. There wasn't much to see that you would miss if you were below. Save your money. The new locks are very interesting especially when compared to the old locks and well worth the time to visit. Our tour also took us through the city and past the old town. No stops just the bus ride. Costa Rica was our least favorite stop. All excursions are very long as they take you a good distance from the port of Puntarenas. We did the tour of the Botanical Gardens, Coffee Plantation and some old church. The Botanical Gardens left much to be desired. Birds in very small cages and green houses of orchids that need more TLC. The Doka Coffee Plantation was excellent. We could have spent another hour there, but the guide hustled us on the a public park and church. This stop could have been eliminated and we would have been able to see all that the coffee plantation had to offer. Way too long on the bus. In Nicaragua, we did the Hacienda on Lake Nicaragua. Very relaxing. It's a working hacienda. The family was our host. Local dancers performed traditional dancers and local crafts were demonstrated. Lunch was delicious. This is not an exciting adventure. I sat with the lake in hammock and renewed my soul. My husband watched the performances of the horses and interacted with the local folks. Our last stop was in Cabo. We did the half day sailing adventure. It was fabulous. Wonderful guide. Plenty of food and drink. We saw about whales, sea turtles, marlins and a variety of birds. We had a wonderful room steward and great waiters for dinner. We chose the Anytime Dining but had the same table every night. Food was better than average. Food that we did not like was relaced quickly. Activites on sea days left much to be desired. Mostly trivia, and craft kits during the day. Each night was a different performer. Three nights were productions. All others were one-person shows. Comics with jokes that addressed the age of the majority of the guests. The "enrichment speaker" was terrible. Very dated presentations with extremely poor visuals (think powerpoint with old B/W videos embedded). The wine tasting was excellent as was the cooking demonstration by the Chef and the Head of the Hotel and the tour of the galley. All in all, it was a very relaxing expereince. No drama. Just a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We used Princess to go to Asia . It was good but had faults so we used Norwegian . Decided to give them another try . We did this Panama and other stops cruise . Ship was old but ok , Decore was good oldie woldie . In places a bit ... Read More
We used Princess to go to Asia . It was good but had faults so we used Norwegian . Decided to give them another try . We did this Panama and other stops cruise . Ship was old but ok , Decore was good oldie woldie . In places a bit worn . We had a disabled cabin . Good room , good cabin , good space . Small tv where as non disabled get a large tv . I thought this unfair and voiced my concern . A drawer was broken and took 3 days to repair . Beds very good . Cabin cleaner steward very poor little attention . Did not get tipped . Tv channels pretty good bbc cnn fox other . Drinks are expensive and Princess still dont offer inclusive drinks . We decided sos not to have any bother wed take the drinks package 689 usa dollars per person . After thought and discussion . Very expensive and poor . You can have 15 alcoholic drinks per day . Wine by the glass if you have a bottle they take 25 % off bottle price . Daylight robbery . you can have cocktails up to 12 dollars . Or Coffee liquers . All count towards your 15 . You can still only use 1 dining room unless you want to pay 29 dollars to visit other s , per visit . It boring food is poor very bland , little choice or change . Because people dont want to pay 29 dollars , they all want to use the cheaper normal restaurants , 2 of them . Both have long lines waiting and it took us 2 hours on one dinner . Awful . Entertainment wasnt to bad . Very good pianist , metal drums player , couple of groups . Shows , but hard to get there when you wait 1 hour plus for dinner . Staff are very good , friendly and helpful in bars and restaurants . There are 2 pools , nice sizes , Sun lounge areas . Bars are good . There is a grill , Pizza bar , Ice cream bar , And a buffett section . That is good but gets packed . And carrying food is like a ski slalom . Tipping is done at the end 13 dollars a day per person officially . We signed out of it and tipped those who helped us and were good at their jobs . Many became our friends . Cant get my head around why Princess dont do inclusive drinks , other than they are greedy and get every penny out of you . On the tv show you can see how they set up to get maximum sales . Shore excursions are very quick and expensive you get rushed about . In Jamaica you are treated badly they just bombard you for money where ever you go . It poored with rain and the excursion staff non princess hid under building s and let us get soaked . Gave us no care at all . Dodge that stop . Princess dont send anyone on the excursions ,so they are not watched , checked , remarked on . All staff at Locations know this . Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was my ultimate cruise. I got to spend time in the Caribbean, South America, go through the Panama Canal, stops on Central America and Mexico..80 degree weather in January, very little train or bad weather... What's not to love? ... Read More
This was my ultimate cruise. I got to spend time in the Caribbean, South America, go through the Panama Canal, stops on Central America and Mexico..80 degree weather in January, very little train or bad weather... What's not to love? There are always a few bumps in the road but generally it was terrific. I'm disabled, traveled solo and use an electric wheelchair and had to cancel my whale watching tour in Cabo because they have to tender there and can't take the electric wheelchair but apparently no one realized that when I bought the excursion. Overall, NCL was very helpful finding me shore excursions that were accessible. I especially enjoyed the Tarcoles River excursion in Costa Rica. Food was good, buffet was a little cold from time to time but I always found something to satisfy my taste. I noticed the last day on the breakfast buffet the "Mountain of Bacon" dwindled to a small pile.. Guess that was their way of saying "We're done feeding you folks" lol. Magenta was very good, Cagney's and Moderno was excellent. The staff was always friendly and helpful. I especially enjoyed the very helpful bar staff at the Java Cafe. My cabin steward Andrean was always very helpful and smiled all the time. He would brighten every day. Entertainment was ok. I enjoyed the performance of "Swing" the most. There is a little monotony that sets in during an 18 day cruise but I always found something to do. I wish they could find a way to do a better variety of TV shows. It's very limited. I downloaded a bunch of movies and shows from Netflix and Amazon on my tablet. Be aware they are time limited so pay attention to how long you have to each them. We saw lots of whales and porpoises after we left Cabo from the ship so that was fun. There was a nice mix of people on board, quite an international group. I heard one lady complain the people Spanish too much. Apparently the fact we were in Latin America escaped her. Generally friendly, I meet some very interesting people on board. We had some nice conversations. Folks were always helpful with wheelchair of I needed a hand. In Puerto Vallarta, we did a walking tour and the sidewalks had ramps but some were step and not flat, kinda scary. They had to help me walk down one that was too steep, but the tour operator and fold on the tour were helpful. The tour operator's and bus drivers were all excellent. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Our booking agent Janet at NCL was also fantastic and always answered our questions promptly. Overall, the ship staff, amenities, and dining were great. Being new to having limited mobility I found that the ship and the staff - aside from ... Read More
Our booking agent Janet at NCL was also fantastic and always answered our questions promptly. Overall, the ship staff, amenities, and dining were great. Being new to having limited mobility I found that the ship and the staff - aside from the shore excursion team - were fantastic at managing mobility issues. Lots of disabled restrooms, staff was always eager to assist. The room was clean, and had enough room for a family of four, and our balcony was fantastic. Our steward Biency was always available, always called us by our names, consistently asked us if we needed anything and was generally accommodating. We always had what we needed in our room and it was made-up/turned-down at good times. He was a true highlight. The restaurants and bars were always well stocked and had a good selection. I would like to see the service at O'Sheehan's improve and some additional things added to the menu (a BLT or club sandwich, onion rings, guac & salsa for the nachos etc). Also the quality of the food at O'Sheehans varied dramatically every time we went in. The shore excursions and the shore excursion team were below what I would expect for the price point. I feel like that NCL should have staff that is knowledgable about the excursions because someone on the team has taken it and has done a write-up for the other members of staff & made notes that cruisers would find helpful. They were clueless with answering questions and just kept repeating what I could already read on the app. We also waiting in the theatre one day when the SE staff walked way without calling our tour. When a man asked about it they waved their hand as they walked away and said, "oh yeah, that one is ready, you can go." Also, the activity levels were useless and not at all indicative of the actual difficulty. I ended up injured on a shore excursion due to their ignorance and their attitude was "oh well." NCL needs to ramp up the ports of call for this cruise and have better timing at ports. Having to drive an hour or more at most ports just to see places of interest is a hassle. A Panama City stop would have also been a good choice for this itinerary. There were 20 kids on this cruise and I felt the Splash Academy struggled to manage this small amount even with all their staff. I don't know how they do with a boat full of kids! We kept repeating instructions to keep a certain chid away from our child but we constantly got feedback that they kept letting them interact and therefore had continued negative occurrences despite our instructions. To be quite honest, our child was harassed by this other child and the staff only reacted when my child retaliated. The staff didn't really feel like they knew much about children or how to redirect their behaviour. I would like them to get more training on conflict resolution because their solution seemed to be to throw their hands in the air. Having said all that, the ship was a great size, the Panama canal portion of the itinerary was worth it for the narration and information alone, the dining and bar staff was consistently fantastic, and some of the excursions were well worth the time and money. This was our first time on NCL (we've done two other companies in the past) and I feel that it was good enough to give it another go, should my complaint about the excursions get resolved. There were a lot of long time cruisers complaining on this cruise but we didn't feel that our experience was negative overall, just some training for Shore Excursions and the Splash Academy. Everything else was great. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Ship was up to standards. Staff was friendly and very responsive to needs/requests. Entertainment was top notch. We were in L706 which was directly across from the teen center. We only heard activity briefly on New Years Eve when the ... Read More
Ship was up to standards. Staff was friendly and very responsive to needs/requests. Entertainment was top notch. We were in L706 which was directly across from the teen center. We only heard activity briefly on New Years Eve when the staff gave them noise makers (why?). Bathroom , although small, accommodated my large spouse. We chose the anytime dining option and were relegated to only the Bordeaux dining room Would have liked to try the other dining room.Mostly, the food was good, although we were slightly disappointed that the choices were limited. We were surprised that the Horizon Buffet was a good as it was. We usually avoid buffets but this one had a great variety and food was fresh. The only real disappointment was the excursions. We opted for the Princess excursions as we were traveling with an individual with limited mobility, we were on foreign territory, and did not want to be left behind as port calls were short in duration. On the tour of Cartagena we were led mostly through a gauntlet of street vendors that were very aggressive and the tour guide did little more than text on her phone the entire time. The tour through the locks on the Panama canal took over 12 hours most of which was spent on a bus. Princess needs to be more realistic with their descriptions of their excursion. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Cruise was OK for a holiday getaway. Ship (Coral Princess) is showing her age. We are unhappy with the daily "gratuity" charged to each person. The cruise itself wasn't cheap; however, the "gratuity" charges ... Read More
Cruise was OK for a holiday getaway. Ship (Coral Princess) is showing her age. We are unhappy with the daily "gratuity" charged to each person. The cruise itself wasn't cheap; however, the "gratuity" charges added $400+to our charges. I would pay an additional amount to be included in the overall cruise charge, rather than pay an exorbitant tariff at the end of the cruise. I don't feel I'm responsible for the extra supplement for the crew's pitiful salaries. 2. The onboard facilities for mobility challenged patrons who use mobility devices are adequate. The shore excursion choices are dismal for us. Besides not being able to disembark at tender ports, the excursion experiences are few to none. Also, the gangways at some ports are made up with steps that are too steep to be able to accommodate the scooter/chairs/walkers needed on shore. We only took one excursion, and that was mediocre at best. Unable to debark at Huatulco and Puerto Vallerta because of the gangway situation. Crew told me I'd have to WALK up and down the gangways! ThAT'S NOT POSSIBLE FOR ME. Put some of your NEWER ships on some of these runs. 3. Mediocre entertainment and very little enrichment lectures/activities. Not all of us cruisers are into all the fluff and games. Difficult to watch movies "Under the Stars) both day and night. Too much noise during the day and hard to see screen. Too cold and uncomfortable seating at night. Food was very good and of great variety, so we didn't go to the specialty restaurants. Ate in the Bordeaux dining room. Waiters very good. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The cruise started with the worst embarkation situatin. We need wheelchair assistance to embark because of the long walks. Holland America's Ft. Lauderdale operation to have two wheelchairs used for a significant number of people. who ... Read More
The cruise started with the worst embarkation situatin. We need wheelchair assistance to embark because of the long walks. Holland America's Ft. Lauderdale operation to have two wheelchairs used for a significant number of people. who would be taken to a table top counter, processed and assigned to a holding area to await wheelchairs to board the ship. Never, in our 50 some cruise experiences, have we had to wait 2 1/2 hours to board a ship, NOT EVEN ON A MEGA SHIP! . If anyone thought this was an anomoly, debarkation was no better -- two wheechairs. It was quite apparent, from embarkation, no handicap assistance on the ship in the buffet or other area, and debarkation, the mobility challenged were treated as 2nd Class Citizens and Holland America was doing you a favor rather than providing service. It took three days for maintenance to fix the HVAC in our cabin as it went from FREEZING when we boarded ship to a SAUNA a day later back to Freezing. We asked at one point for Holland America to send us home from the first port stop in Curacao. New Years Night found the ship in a FREEZING mode with passengers wearing parkas and shipboard staff wearing sweatshirts and hoodies. And then, at midnight, the freezing became unbearably hot. Only one more day left -- thank goodness!!! Excursion vendors were not asked to accommodate the mobility challenged or handicapped. They were not asked to provide even step stools on high access vehicles. When I asked Sydney in Excursions about this she became belligerent and offensive. I discussed this with her supervisor, Abigail, who agree that vendors should be asked to provide easier access. I suggested Sydney would make great excursion director on a container ship. We were most surprised by the lack of service and accommodaion. Holland America has historically, and still does, market to more mature audiences. They were quality conscious and most considerate of the mobility challenged. We sailed with them on a number of occasions. Not anymore! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Caribbean Princess 12/9 to 12/19 Panama Canal Cruise Pros: Embarkation was fairly smooth and quick with the new electronic Medallion system. Cruise terminal staff were friendly and helpful. Staterooms were ready for guests upon ... Read More
Caribbean Princess 12/9 to 12/19 Panama Canal Cruise Pros: Embarkation was fairly smooth and quick with the new electronic Medallion system. Cruise terminal staff were friendly and helpful. Staterooms were ready for guests upon boarding the ship. Our stateroom door usually “recognized” our electronic Medallions upon our approach and unlocked the door for us. The ship was decorated for Christmas. Staterooms have extra large closets. The stateroom was fairly clean and relatively quiet. Our stateroom steward was accommodating, providing lighter bedding, extra pillows, robes and ice. Getting off and back on the ship at ports of call was fairly quick with the Medallion system, greatly reducing lines. Most staff in all the dining venues were friendly and helpful. Afternoon tea was done nicely and not to excess. Ship personnel decorated stateroom doors with a sign and balloons for special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. Final disembarkation went fairly well. Cons: Elevators are small, fill quickly, and skip decks if any other elevator is stopping there, leading to long waits, particularly for the disabled who have mobility aids such as walkers, scooters, wheelchairs. Buffets in the “World Marketplace” casual dining area on the aft Lido deck have been renovated to be somewhat island style, but the islands are crammed into too small of an area and not well separated, causing long lines and difficulty getting through. There is no requirement on this ship for passengers to exercise proper hand sanitation prior to entering the restaurant venues. Thus most guests skipped this step completely. The simple precaution of washing hands and using hand sanitizers might have prevented devastating illnesses from being spread by thousands of guests handling the same serving tongs and spoons. Tables in the buffet areas of the Lido deck are in short supply at meal times, especially near a window where most four person tables were often occupied by just one person or by guests playing cards. Frustrating. Finding a staff member to clean a table was often difficult, too, as was obtaining beverage service. Not all staff carried through with fulfilling requests. Staff was not evenly distributed in the Lido dining areas. The ship is not easy to navigate due to a split center restaurant & galley section that cannot be accessed, so guests must get to the middle elevators (the most popular ones) from other decks and then go up or down to detour around the inaccessible areas. This was a much bigger problem for guests with mobility problems than for those who could use the stairs, especially since most non-disabled guests avoided using the stairs, creating an even larger demand for elevators. Service carts take up so much space in the very narrow stateroom hallways during the daytime that wheelchairs and other mobility devices cannot get around them. All of the passengers had to wait an extra hour at the required muster drill held in SRO (standing room only) lounges because of a group of latecomers instead of just having the late guests wait an extra 30 minutes to attend the already scheduled latecomer muster. The drill itself was a loud and lame video featuring old actors from the 1970’s Loveboat television series that caused guests to either cover their ears or otherwise tune out. Afterward, of course, there was the usual battle for elevator space. The latter ongoing issue is especially frustrating for disabled guests who cannot get on the elevators due to faster passengers rushing ahead of them to fill the space. The stateroom televisions will not allow access to any other programming until the same tedious safety briefing video that is shown at the muster drill has been viewed again. Stateroom televisions are not interactive and do not show restaurant menus, ship schedules or the status of stateroom accounts. The electronic Medallion system has some advantages, but is not without down sides. With the new system, casino kiosks have been installed in several places around the ship, enabling gamblers to play electronic bingo, slot machines and other betting games at any time the main casino is open. During our 11 day cruise these kiosks were not popular with cruisers and were very rarely approached. For one thing, they are in busy public areas where everything the guest does is in full public view but the guest is simultaneously isolated from the “gambling community” and social but anonymous atmosphere of the main casino. For some unknown reason, the Medallion system also automatically displays the photos of nearby guests on large brightly lit panels outside of some elevators, creating a loss of privacy. Guests can also be tracked by their Medallion signals, giving a feeling of being stalked by Big Brother. For those who take advantage of the full Medallion app, tracking may be handy for those searching the ship for family members or stateroom mates, but the loss of privacy can be a price some might not want to pay. Guests are repeatedly told to wear their Medallions at all times, leading to feelings of being shackled. Many staterooms have only one electrical outlet and that is located at the desk, making it difficult to recharge electronic devices, phone batteries, mobility scooters, etc. Surge protected power strips that would provide multiple outlets are not allowed on this ship. The long stateroom closet has its own hallway, which greatly reduces the size of the stateroom and bathroom. Because the ship has few handicapped accessible rooms, those using mobility devices (which cannot be stored in the narrow deck corridors) are forced to store the device in places inside the stateroom that create a trip hazard and also block features such as the desk and refrigerator. Changing the size and location of the closet would eliminate the extra unusable interior hallway and potentially alleviate some of these problems. The stateroom shower was the tiniest we have encountered in 12 years of frequent cruising (6 cruises in 2018 alone) on several cruise lines. A guest cannot even bend over in the shower to reach their feet in that shower. Even worse, the shower head is fixed with no capability of being hand held, making it very challenging to thoroughly wash and rinse every body part. And the single knob temperature control does not work when the water is running, forcing the user to turn off the water for temperature alteration. The provided shampoo and shower gel are dispensed literally one tiny droplet at a time, making the user really work to get enough. Talk about chintzy. There are no grab bars near the toilet, which would be helpful on such a rocking ship or in high seas conditions. Some parts of the stateroom are apparently rarely cleaned, leading to thick amounts of dust on shelving and under furniture as well as doors, walls and door handles that really should be wiped down and sanitized between guests. Unfortunately, we have encountered this problem (and worse) on other Princess ships, as well. Stateroom twin beds are small, not that much bigger than a baby’s crib mattress, leading to problems for tall passengers who end up with their their feet dangling off the end of the bed. Air circulation in the staterooms is poor, leading to high humidity and damp bedding that makes sleeping difficult. The Caribbean Princess is definitely feeling its age, especially in regard to the inefficient design of the staterooms and inner deck access. The open slatted metal gangways were also difficult to manage for those using walkers, wheelchairs and mobility scooters. The absolute worst aspect of this cruise was the food. We and many other guests studied the generally unappealing daily menus that were posted outside the main dining rooms. In our attempts to find good food, we tried every dining venue on the ship, including the main dining rooms, buffets, casual spots such as the pizzeria and burger/hot dog grill, as well as the specialty restaurants, and they all came up wanting. Mediocre meals and selections were the norm, with very few items one might call good. Dried out meats were covered with spicy sauces. Fruits and vegetables, in particular, were generally bad. Moldy fruits were sometimes found on the buffets and old sprouted potatoes with actual LEAVES emerging from them were baked as is and added to main dining room meals. Entrees and side dishes that had clearly been prepared several days before and then reheated were served in a couple of the very unpopular specialty for-fee restaurants. (“Planks” was especially bad.) Entertainment on the 11 day cruise had a few bright moments but they were greatly outweighed by mediocrity to non-existence. Most passengers resorted to playing private games of cards or reading because there was nothing better to do, although finding a lounge that wasn’t hosting an art auction, staff meeting, trivia contest or spa “seminar” was often a challenge. In addition, the few empty lounges usually blasted guests with perpetual loops of bad Christmas music or, in one case (the Skywalker Lounge,) shook so badly when the ship was moving that guests literally became nauseated. After not being able to shower adequately in their staterooms, most guests avoided getting into the pools and hot tubs with other semi-clean people. Outside of pricey options such as gambling, spa treatments, art auctions and shopping, the main daytime entertainment consisted of occasional trivia contests, art/craft or music “classes” limited to just a few participants, older movies shown outdoors in the hot sun for a few dozen loungers near the pool, and watching the news or a few old television programs in the stateroom. Evenings sometimes included an outdoor movie, a few musicians at various crowded bars and an occasional production show of singers and dancers at the inadequately sized main theater. (Most shows were SRO for those who didn’t arrive very early.) Independent entertainers got onboard the ship a couple of times, but their entertainment value was highly variable, with some audience members leaving after only a few minutes. And a few scheduled entertainment events were canceled due to the ship shaking too much. One event of interest (Voyage to the Stars Planetarium) could only be accessed by signing up during a single 15 minute window early in the morning several days beforehand. Why something so popular would only be offered once to a small percentage of guests was never explained. The Caribbean Princess has some major engine problems that even in calm seas caused a great deal of shaking and noise, reduced the ship’s speed, and created thick black smoke billowing from the stacks. Sleeping at night (under clammy sheets) through the noise and frequent jolts was very difficult and many guests complained about it. One port of call was cancelled when we arrived due to ocean swells we could not see and that clearly did not prevent other cruise ships nearby from tendering at that port. Another port of call was reduced to less than an hour’s stay and was restricted to visiting a vendor tent on the adjacent industrial pier. The cancellations of port calls and entertainment were disappointing, to say the least. Internet service onboard the ship was so bad that many people waited in line for half an hour or more to complain about it and get a refund. Connection with the “special features” of the Medallion app was especially confusing and never did work for us and others, so after a couple of days we simply gave up trying in order to save our sanity. At the Panama Canal, which was the main reason many guests had booked this cruise, instead of cruising Gatun Lake as is traditional, after exiting the initial locks the ship merely turned around and anchored in place next to the locks to await permission to go through the locks again in late afternoon, giving guests nothing new to see and wasting much of the day for those onboard. And after going through the locks again those same guests were not allowed to get off the ship as scheduled at the port of Cristobol (where the guests who had been on excursions all met up with the ship) until less than an hour remained before the ship’s scheduled departure time. The excuse given was that the captain was afraid the excursion guests would not board the ship in a timely manner to depart on time, which they actually did with about an hour to spare. We believe the captain eventually allowed the non-excursion guests to leave the ship for that short while because otherwise the cruise line would have been obligated to refund the Cristobol port fees for many of the guests. Regardless, by the time the initial decision was reversed, many guests had gotten ready for bed and didn’t want to bother to re-dress just to spend such a brief time in a vendor’s tent. Talk about frustrating. At most extremely hot ports of call the ship staff didn’t set up cold drink stations near the gangways for returning guests even though they were very much needed. On the deck of the ship an elderly woman even fainted from the heat but ship’s medics would not allow her to be carried or walk to an air conditioned indoor area less than 5 feet away, but instead brought her a chair to sit in on the hot deck and had her husband fan her with a paper. This made zero sense to us. Summary: For the record, we are very experienced cruisers who went on 6 cruises in 2018 alone. Over the past 12 years we have cruised many times on each of 4 different popular cruise lines but we have no financial or other connection with any of them. Our reviews are as objective and fair minded as we can make them. While there were several significant positive aspects of this particular cruise, the overall deficits were serious enough that, despite our high loyalty status level, we will never book another Princess cruise again. Instead of “coming back new,” we came back stressed, disappointed, and so ill that a week later we were forced to cancel our long awaited holiday travel plans to be with family. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We simply chose the Holland America volendam because the dates fit in with several of the party we were cruising with. We do enjoy Holland America and our only bad experience out of 7 sailings with them has been on the veendam in the ... Read More
We simply chose the Holland America volendam because the dates fit in with several of the party we were cruising with. We do enjoy Holland America and our only bad experience out of 7 sailings with them has been on the veendam in the spring 2018 so we were a bit anxious about this booking on the volendam. We were absolutely delighted with our experience on the volume down. She is well maintained. Her food is excellent. The crew was extremely friendly. when we had any issue the staff bent over backwards to help us work it out. If we submitted a common card with anything the least bit negative we got a phone call to our stateroom and if we were not in our stateroom to take the call we got a note on our door. They then followed up to make sure every little thing was perfect. of the seven sailings with Holland America in the last two years I have to say this was probably our best overall experience, even though we did enjoy all of our other sailings except on the veendam. What I'm coming to realize is that most ships seem to go through a low period, And then if the company is smart measures are taken to get its act together and correct their weaknesses and make the ship much more pleasing and accommodating to passengers. The volendam is the same class of ship as the veendam and westerdam. As beautiful as a koningsdam and the eurodam are we do enjoy the smaller ships and this class a ship that the volume down is in is somewhere between 1300 and 1450 passengers. A great experience and we would definitely cruise on her again. It was really hard to even find constructive criticism to give on our end of cruise survey. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018

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