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511 Panama Canal & Central America Family Cruise Reviews

My 3 siblings and spouses, along with my husband and myself, wanted to do a trip together since we live in 3 different states. This one gave us 10 days together, and we really enjoyed it. We got to the port about 11:45 and there were ... Read More
My 3 siblings and spouses, along with my husband and myself, wanted to do a trip together since we live in 3 different states. This one gave us 10 days together, and we really enjoyed it. We got to the port about 11:45 and there were no lines. Check in was a breeze and we were on the ship in 15 minutes. Our rooms were actually ready (thanks Cedric!) on the Baja deck aft so we dropped our luggage and headed to lunch in the buffet. We had early fixed dining in the Provence dining room with the best waiters, Sandra and Kevin. 5pm was a bit early some days, but we all wanted to make dinner the time we reconnected and we really enjoyed it. The wait staff was wonderful, the food was good to great and we never left hungry. The early dining did allow us to make the 7:30 shows in the Princess Theater, and although we went early so we didn't have trouble finding a seat, there were usually a few scattered seats available at show time. We saw a magician/comedian twice, guest performer Craig Richard's show, 3 production shows from the on-board singers and dancers, a show from the guest soloist and 2 nights from Miguel Washington, the comedian. Every show was worth going...we were entertained each night. We also listened to the "party" band,Fusion, in the Explorer's Lounge and on deck several times and they sang/played a variety of styles of music. Our cabin was well taken care of by Cedric and yes, the shower was small, but we made do. The storage is adequate and the bed was wonderful. I loved the mattress and the bed linens and slept well each night. Our room had a little vibration being so far aft, but it didn't bother us and overall it was very quiet. Being so far from the Horizon Court was probably a good thing so we got exercise as we made our trips to and from breakfast and lunch. The only times that the ship felt crowded was during certain hours at the buffet area (hard to find a seat) and in the theater or lounge if you were late getting there. Sure, there is a little bit of rust in a couple of places and small repairs that could be made, but I thought it was a pretty ship in great shape and have no complaints about the decor. There were only 4 children and an infant on the ship. Probably 75% of the passengers were 60 and over. We took an excursion in Cartegena which toured the fort and the city. It was interesting and informative. Yes, the local vendors are aggressive as we walked through old town, but when we learned that Colombia has no welfare program and high unemployment, we were more understanding of those who had to make a living this way. Their prices were quite good if you did want to make a purchase. Be sure and bargain with them. Disembarkation went smoothly and we appreciated having a place to wait until our group was called (we met in a dining room.) There was a long line to pass through customs but it kept moving and was very efficient. Overall, we had a great trip with friendly staff on the ship and friendly workers in the terminal buildings. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We had a very fun cruise because we were traveling with several family members. The Norwegian Joy is a fairly new ship and had many good things about it. However the ship only had two banks of elevators and two stairways, which made it ... Read More
We had a very fun cruise because we were traveling with several family members. The Norwegian Joy is a fairly new ship and had many good things about it. However the ship only had two banks of elevators and two stairways, which made it seems very congested. The food was very good and the dine any time/any place policy was enjoyable. We didn't like the constant efforts to sale us something and get us to buy stuff. - "See it, like it, but it". They were always trying to "sign up for our next cruise". A little of the sales pitch was fine, but it because very annoying. The ship had a very nice 900 seat theater and good entertainment. The Footloose and Elements productions shows were by far the best we have seem on any cruise. We wish there were more activity options during the day like dance classes that were at a different time other than 5:00 PM. My wife was disappointed that there were not any Zumba classes. We were on a Princess cruise to Alaska in May 2019 and they had a great variety of Zumba and dance classes - which were very fun for my wife. We wish there were more and better lectures about the Panama Canal and other ports of call. There was one short lecture about the canal held in the small Atrium area. It was packed with people and many could not hear or see the lecture. This should have been held in the large theater. This was very poor planning. We also had to listen to a long presentation about signing up for our next cruise before the lecture started. Going through the Panama Canal was the highlight on the trip. The Customer Service staff, housekeeping staff, and waiters were all very friendly and helpful. We were also disappointed that there were no places to play games with my family. We had a group of 8 people and the ship had a very small game room. We had use the tables in the buffet area when they were not busy. This was certainly not ideal. Our cabin was very nice. The bed was great, and the bathroom was a little larger than many ship we have been on. The shower was especially nice. After many difference cabin types on many curses, we decided that a balcony room works best for us. It makes the room feel a little larger and certainly more bright and sunny. Even though the balcony was small it was very nice to go out side and see what was happening. It was especially nice when we went through the Panama Canal. We when on three shore excursions. Two were good, but the Cartagena Hop on Hop off tour was very poor. the bus was late arriving and we stand in the heat for about an hour. One passenger had heat stroke problems while waiting. The bus was so crowded and the various stops where we were supposed to "hop off" had many people waiting to "hop on" so we didn't dare get off because we could probably never get back on and would miss the ship departure. The narration on the bus was very poor. Not a good tour. The disembarkation process was a disaster. The crew seemed confused on what was happening and where we should go. We needed to disembark early and we were delayed for about an hour. The ship computer system failed and delayed passengers for 1 and 1/2 hours. This is not impact us, but it did cause problems for others in our group. Overall the cruise was fun but I thought Norwegian could have done many things better. I would travel with Norwegian again, but they are not my first choice. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 27th anniversary and my wife wanted to see the Panama Canal. One of the ports took us to Cartagena and it was a beautiful experience. This was our first trip to Columbia and to South America. We also ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 27th anniversary and my wife wanted to see the Panama Canal. One of the ports took us to Cartagena and it was a beautiful experience. This was our first trip to Columbia and to South America. We also got a round trip ticket to the place called Hell in the Cayman Islands. LOL. No one-way ticket there for me. This was our 9th cruise and I can tell you that the embarkation (and our luggage getting to our room) was the fastest and smoothest we've ever experienced. Great job Princess. The cabin was in great shape and our steward, Arthur, was impeccable in his duties. He always had a smile on his face. Our dining room staff was awesome, as well. Arvi and Roland (if you're lucky enough to get them as your servers), were very attentive and pleasant. Again, the best we've ever experienced on a cruise ship. Finally, I was a finalist in and wound up winning the Voice of the Ocean singing competition and the mentors (David and Jennifer) were incredible. It was an awesome experience singing with a live orchestra too. If you try this, go for Lola's team!! She was the "best judge." LOL. We love sailing with Princess and can't for the chance to go again. Read Less
Sail Date October 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
We are not first time cruisers but have been cruising for 20 years. Nor are we whiners who expect perfection in every area, so this is an honest account of our experience on the NCL Joy 16 day Panama Canal Cruise: We arrived at the ... Read More
We are not first time cruisers but have been cruising for 20 years. Nor are we whiners who expect perfection in every area, so this is an honest account of our experience on the NCL Joy 16 day Panama Canal Cruise: We arrived at the pier in Los Angeles (San Pedro) at around 10:30 and were checked in quickly and escorted to a special area in the building to enjoy snacks, drinks and at around 11:30 we were escorted to the ship by an attendant for the haven and concierge guests. We had a Family Inside Concierge with a virtual balcony for 4 people (adults) and let me tell you it was so roomy and nice to have plenty of room to move around and enjoy the space. The concierge we had (Reynoldo) introduced himself the next morning at breakfast and I can only speak for us, but we used him a lot so as not to have to stand in line at Guest Services to get things done. He took care of our go kart reservations (all 3 times), laser tag reservations, our dining reservations, our entertainment reservations and any time we had a problem he made it right. Because we were concierge, we could eat breakfast and lunch in La Cucina and it was never busy for those even though the food was the same every day for 16 days. As for the ship, it was beautiful. You could tell it was new and well taken care of and it was very clean and elegant looking. When it came to entertainment, we did the go karts 3 times and they went faster than we thought they would and we had an amazing time racing others from our group. The Galaxy Pavilion offered some fantastic VR experiences and we bought at least 2 packages for rides. Hint: Keep an eye out on your Freestyle Daily for the tournaments they offer in the Galaxy Pavilion as it is a good way to see if the experience is for you for free. The laser tag was exhausting in a very fun way. Be sure to play at night for a different experience. We played twice because the first time the staff guy who worked there played as a member of the other team and we did not enjoy the game at all as were were just sniper practice for the worker and did not feel we were able to enjoy or interact with the game. One call to the concierge and we were offered another game at no charge with no workers allowed to play. In regards to ship activities, they had a nice variety of things happening around the ship for different likes. Most of the main activities were held in the Atrium and I could not for the life of me figure out why they could not have enough chairs for people if they insisted on doing things there. It was ridiculously hard to ever find a chair and if the ship was not even full, I can't imagine what they were thinking. The juggler (Scotty Cavanaugh), Elements, and the aerialists Dimitry and Maria, were absolutely fabulous shows. Footloose was worth watching but I felt the violence and cursing really made it inappropriate at times. As for the service, I really have no idea what has happened here and hope it is only the Joy that this is occurring on and not company-wide. The room steward was fine, nothing special, but fine. The service in the Local and La Cucina was good. As for the buffet and the main dining areas it was not good at all. As avid cruisers, we know dinner takes a while to get through and don't expect to be done in an hour, but it was bordering on ridiculous on how slow everything was going and I have never seen so many crew members standing around doing nothing on a ship as I did here. We even videoed 2 waitresses standing in the cubby hole of the restaurant putting lip gloss on each other. We also witnessed buffet workers on their phones or joking with 2-3 other workers while we stood in front of them waiting to order ice cream or cut meat and then it was like we were bothering them to come do it. That is completely unacceptable service and I believe it starts at the top with management giving them expectations to follow. We honestly felt like since they know the service charges are added automatically, there is no need to try harder of go that little extra special bit to make the vacation experience memorable. We did not book any excursions through the ship, but chose to go it alone. Which leads me to my last issue: The Food! If it were not for the food, I probably would consider booking on the Joy again as long as it wasn't full, but for the food alone, my husband and I both agreed, we just could not get past how horrid the food was. Out of 16 days of meals, we can maybe pick 5 things we would eat again and not a single one of them would be a dessert. I told the Maitre D one night about 8 days in that if they did not find a new chef, there was no way people would be repeating this ship, it was seriously that bad. He said they do get quite a few complaints about the food. It's pretty bad when you see the crew eating off the ship in ports and though they can't say it on the ship, many will tell you it is awful. It is pretty sad that they make the regular dining room food so terrible just to try and up sell the fee restaurants. All in all passing through the Panama Canal was an experience of a lifetime and I am happy that we did that. However the three reasons I will never cruise with them again is 1)Food, 2)Service, and 3)the cruise was reduced by 70% 2 weeks before we cruised in order to try and fill the ship and those of us who booked ahead got nothing. I hope they can fix these issues for future cruisers to enjoy their time aboard. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We booked this cruise for the Panama Canal Passage which was a wonderful experience . The only blunder of the actual event is that we were told an incorrect time (5;30 am ) for passing under the Bridge of America. I luckily awoke at ... Read More
We booked this cruise for the Panama Canal Passage which was a wonderful experience . The only blunder of the actual event is that we were told an incorrect time (5;30 am ) for passing under the Bridge of America. I luckily awoke at 2:45 am and was on deck as we passed under around 3:30 am . The rest of the morning was spent listening to other passengers complain that they missed it. Panama Canal experience is amazing ! I was disappointed that Costa Rica was deleted . We could have done without the very Dirty port of Cabo ! we were not informed that our excursion was cancelled until we were on the dock. It was not a pleasant walk along the marina front so we returned asap. The Mazatlan topless bus ride was also just a tourist money seeking trek that really did not show anything interesting and took too long. The Guatemala safari drive through was a good excursion. There are a great variety of animals and the property is well maintained . At the Puerto Vallarta port , we enjoyed the Discover PV bus tour . The stops were interesting and our guide was terrific. We arrived in Acapulco ( an added stop) on a rainy day . We decided to just walk the shoreline but soon realized that there is nothing to see . There were "beachfront" restaurants closed due to weather . I am not sure that sunshine would make the area look more appealing . It was especially annoying to try to get off the gangway without being poked by the umbrellas of all the taxi drivers offering to take us somewhere. Overall , The Joy just needs to improve on it's food selections , There is too much of the same menu and the desserts in Buffet are not appealing. The main pool also seems small for such a large ship. There is another smaller pool (SpiceH20) that was available. We were very Happy with our inside Family Concierge 2bed/2bath cabin. Our Steward David and our concierge Reynaldo were both terrific! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My girlfriend wanted us to go on this cruise with them. I figured it would be a lay back cruise because, face it, young people don’t go to Panama for a grand time. There were a LOT of elderly people on this cruise and only 25 kids out of ... Read More
My girlfriend wanted us to go on this cruise with them. I figured it would be a lay back cruise because, face it, young people don’t go to Panama for a grand time. There were a LOT of elderly people on this cruise and only 25 kids out of 1900. The food was so so. The excursions we chose were pretty relaxing, except for the zipline excursion. That one was a disaster with many injuries, but with the waiver signed not much could be done except a refund. Activities on the ship were ok. The entertainment was so so. A comedian, a magician, dancers, and a pianist. Then they repeated them for the next 4 days. Check in and check out were fast. The promotional offers were great. They had milkshakes on the ship, but no straws. Staff was very very nice. Decor was nice also. Nice layout of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The Panama Canal was on our "Bucket List". Aftrr a lot of health challenges, we knew we wanted to do this. We liked the smaller size of the Island Princess. Fewer passengers, not so busy and crowded. We had a balcony cabin ... Read More
The Panama Canal was on our "Bucket List". Aftrr a lot of health challenges, we knew we wanted to do this. We liked the smaller size of the Island Princess. Fewer passengers, not so busy and crowded. We had a balcony cabin starboard and midships. It was more spacious than we anticipated with lots of storage space and a generous balcony. The cabin steward, Zaldy, was a Godsend.He handled all our special requests, including extra pillows to help make hubby more comfortable. He even found a lost hearing aid after we had searched diligently and couldn't find it. We selected early dining, but I don't think we would do that again. Oir table mates were delightful and we enjoyed getting to know them. Restaurant staff (Bernie and Roy) were great. However, there were entertainments that we missed because we were at dinner. Next time we will chose anytime dining so we can enjoy the piano guy or get to the Princess Theater earlier for seating. We also liked the food choices at the buffet as much as we did the dining room menu but felt locked into the dining schedule we had picked. Not Princess' fault, just didnt want to leave our seats at the table empty when we were expected. Amenities on board were amazing. With 3 pools, we rarely lacked for z deck chair when we wanted one, the pools were used but not crowded. Of course, kids were in school so most passengers were adult, we saw very few kids. We particularly liked the big screen movies (3 Cirque shows, Greatest Showman, Dumbo, Spiderman and a couple of others). Entertainment was excellent--awesome comedian, great stage performances, intimate crooners and instrumentalists in the bars and pubs. We.didnt have enough time to see them all, but really enjoyed what we did. Shore excursions were ... disappointing. Our favorite by far was the train/canal/bus tour in Limon. Our guide,Ivan, was remarkable--by far the best guide we've ever had anywhere. Puerto Plata was a lot of bus time without time to really explore any sites. We got off to see a church (be careful: our guides 'helpers' will grab your camera, take a few shots and expect tips when they hand your camera back). Shopping was limited to one store and I'm guessing the guide gets a 'gratuity' for bringing the bus there. Jamaica was also a lot of bus time. We took the Konoko Falls tour, but the tour itself was very rushed, no time to wander the grounds at leisure. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Panama Canal always piqued our interest. My husband and I were definitely in need of a vacation and were on the Princess website one day. This cruise 'jumped out' at us and so we booked it that day, without much thought. We had ... Read More
Panama Canal always piqued our interest. My husband and I were definitely in need of a vacation and were on the Princess website one day. This cruise 'jumped out' at us and so we booked it that day, without much thought. We had planned to go alone as we were trying to catch up on celebrating our 25th anniversary from last year [we had to cancel our vacation in 2018 because we live in Leilani Estates where the lava erupted in May]. We flew the night before disembarkation from Hawaii Island to board the ship. Airport transfer from LAX was a little glitchy as the Princess folks did not put us on the airport transfer check-list for some reason after we checked in with them, so we had a bit of a wait. Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth. They are definitely very well-organized on handling these two events. We did not spend any time in our departure city, really had no desire to explore LA. We had cruised to Alaska with Princess in 2017 on the Coral Princess so we were familiar with the ship layout already as the Island Princess is basically the same ship. The cabin was small, but cozy and very neat and tidy. We knew what to expect so no surprises here. We utilized Anytime dining so that we were not locked in to any sort of schedule every day. We ate most of our meals in the Horizon Court, due to the availability of choices to eat different foods each day. Breakfast, however, felt very monotonous as it was the same offerings every single day. We had a few meals in the Bordeaux dining room, all of which were great dining experiences. We took advantage of both specialty dining restaurants [The Bayou Steakhouse and Sabatini's] and neither one disappointed. We took advantage of the variety shows most every night. Some were better than others, but all were entertaining in their own way. The production show on the final evening was amazing. The game shows held in the Explorer's Lounge were definitely entertaining. We spent a lot of time on the Lido deck at the pool. Some of the movies they played were too loud and hard to comprehend because they sounded distorted. There was one day when the speakers malfunctioned and it was static as loud as you could imagine that literally cleared out the pool area. It was painful to your ears even if you put your hands over your ears. I'm not sure how long it took them to correct it, but we left after 5-10 minutes. The Voice of the Ocean talent was really lacking and the karaoke was pretty bad. The service staff on the ship were amazing. Our room steward was so very attentive and the bar / wait staff are extremely good at what they do and were all very friendly. We visited 5 ports while on this cruise and went on 4 excursions. We were unable to port at one of the tender stops due to inclement weather, but did not have any excursions booked anyhow. The Copalita Archaeological excursion in Huatulco, Mexico was very interesting and the grounds were well-kept and very beautiful. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. We visited the animal rescue 'sloth sanctuary' while in Puntarenas, Costa Rica and this was amazing. They are doing good work here. While in Panama we went on an excursion to the new locks, which was interesting as well. The time spent was a little short, but our guide was very knowledgeable and the bus ride to and from was interesting and filled with facts. The wait to get back onto the tender at this port was RIDICULOUS. We literally stood in line for well over an hour in the blistering heat. It was not pleasant. Transiting the Canal was AMAZING! To watch the process is enlightening and to think about the work that went in to making that possible is incredible. While in Cartagena, Colombia, our last port stop, we chose to simply do the 'Hop on, Hop off' bus tour of the city. We chose to get off at the Walled City and do the walking / audio tour. The street vendors were absolutely relentless. They made it very difficult to actually enjoy the tour. They were literally in your face the entire time trying to get you to buy whatever it is they were selling. I would not recommend this tour to anyone. The website does provide a warning about this excursion city / port, but the warning needs to be a little stronger. The only other true disappointment was that this ship evidently was experiencing some sort of sewage venting issue as there were certain areas of the ship that literally smelled of raw sewage every time you passed those areas. It was not pleasant. If given the chance I would most definitely make the Panama Canal Transit a future cruise on my list! I would choose different port of call, so that I could see more areas, but it was definitely an incredible experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We truly enjoyed our cruise. That being said, Island Princess is OLD and tired. We do enjoy the smaller ships, but in the future because how Princess manages these smaller ships and offers lesser quality food, music, activities and we ... Read More
We truly enjoyed our cruise. That being said, Island Princess is OLD and tired. We do enjoy the smaller ships, but in the future because how Princess manages these smaller ships and offers lesser quality food, music, activities and we feel lower quality staff, we will not be returning to the Island. My primary observations: No electrical by bed. Had to request extension cord and run across cabin. Trip hazard. Daily activity flyer, print too small. Cruise director & staff superficially friendly. If asked for a more in depth answer, they get surly. Beds are very nice. Towels are the quality of a cheap hotel. Toilet paper and facial tissues are bargain basement quality. Why did the balcony rail and deck need to be stained and sealed during my passage? Received notice after several days into cruise that our balcony would not be accessible during the canal crossing. Why did we pay the premium for a balcony or when booking New Princess Net is pretty good. But, expect to have spotty service during rain and/or fog. In cabin TV. The presentation of the channels and guide is very hard to figure out and know what is on and how to select. Bridge cam is out of focus and has been since we've been monitoring in preparation for our cruise. 3 months. Horizon buffet. Restaurant management not engaging with customers. At every meal on the horizon, 50% of tables had no salt shakers. Weird. Maritime crew not friendly. Large wall posters advertising light snacks at the Patisserie and coffee bar. Yet, no food available at the patisserie coffee bar. Apparently, a coffee bar has been added to the casino where the food has been moved to with no mention to the passengers. Just sweet buns. Front desk/passenger customer service – these ladies are life savers answering questions and solving problems that better management would have prevented from ever happening. Eve & Belen helped me many times and had a delightful attitude. Cruise director & staff – bubbly, but if asked for some help, or to resolve an issue, not so interested. When met outside of an activity, quite distant and unfriendly. Morning coffee and afternoon wine at La Patisserie – Fabian and Ana will always be remembered. Ship's climate control - The ship appears to be 5 separate compartments, connected into 1 master vessel. The temperature and humidity can vary quite noticeably between these sections of the ship. There are no clocks in the rooms. Things Princess does not mention, but passengers should know. The shops, casino, spa, etc. are not Princess operated. They are leased operations. Besides being considerably more expensive than similar State-side businesses, if you have any issues with products needing warranty service, you must go to the vendor, not Princess. $5 for a tube of Pringles? Insulting. Gambling. There is no gaming commission overseeing operations as you find on land casinos. Payouts for slot machines and table games are at the discretion of the casino and yes, not as favorable as popular casinos such as Las Vegas. Some have noticed that the slot payouts are favorable on day 1 or 2 on the cruise to excite the passengers and then lowered for the remainder of the cruise. ADA - The doors to many places on the Island Princess ship, unlike the newer Princess ships I've been on are not only not auto-open, and are very hard to open, even for non-wheelchair use passengers. One of the greatest benefits of Princess vs. other Lines are the self-service laundries. Unfortunately, there is a 3" transition into them so this service is totally inaccessible to a wheelchair. Food - I do not know if it is the age of the ship, the itinerary, the Chef or what, but as compared to the Regal & Emerald, the menu is far less exciting, the meat quality is lesser and the wait time for food delivery diminishes the dining experience. Wine – we expect to pay 2x retail as in most restaurants. 4 times retail is insulting. Princess tries to convince us that they are concerned about the environment by suggesting we should use our bath towels for many days, yet the amount of single use beverage containers and paper products at buffet wash stations is far more wasteful. Does Princess ever mention the $40 million dollar fine for Illegal Ocean dumping and 9 probation violations? Future Cruise Dept. - I do not understand the benefit to the passenger for this onboard department. I was interested in an Alaska cruise for 2021. Princess had not published the itineraries yet or which ships will be in use. The staff person could not or would not put me an email list to let me know when they were known. Her suggestion was to check with a travel agent. Pretty sad. We have found that the daily activities on the Island are sparse during the day as compared to our other Princess cruises. Activities such as trivia and marriage match game are not scheduled until later in the day. The live music in the various lounges and Plaza are noticeably poorer quality than previous cruises on other Princess ships. Shows - The band is pretty good. Princess advertises 'Las Vegas" style shows. Makes me think that they have never seen Vegas or NYC shows. They are nice, but more like high school talent show quality. There is nothing wrong with them, but be more honest as to the offerings. The musicians in different lounges and plaza were not the quality I’ve come to expect from Princess. Our other Princess ships had a dedicated pizza restaurant. Very nicely prepared. Santorini's offers pizza a few times per cruise. No better than the pizza on the pool deck and no servers with a 'tude' to deal with. The Ocean App. Why can't the lunch and dinner menus be post there? Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise in order to experience the Panama Canal transit. We were welcomed at the airport and transported to the ship. Embarkment processing was completed within five minutes and disembarking from ship to shore was completed ... Read More
We chose this cruise in order to experience the Panama Canal transit. We were welcomed at the airport and transported to the ship. Embarkment processing was completed within five minutes and disembarking from ship to shore was completed within 15 minutes. Our cabin stewart did an amazing job as well as our dining waiter. The meals were great and the main show each evening kept you well entertained. We found time to relax, read books from the library, and made new friends each day. We took advantage of excursions at each port and found them very informative and interesting. The off-road excursion was one that stood out as we traveled the back roads in Mexico and saw how corn was ground and cooked to make tortillas. The town tours provided us with the local history and background of the local areas.I would recommend this cruise for anyone desiring to experience the canal transit. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I chose the cruise for the Panama Canal Crossing and Costa Rica destination. The cruise was good and service was excellent. However there was false advertising: 1) The ad says India food available. When we boarded we were told that ... Read More
I chose the cruise for the Panama Canal Crossing and Costa Rica destination. The cruise was good and service was excellent. However there was false advertising: 1) The ad says India food available. When we boarded we were told that India food is available only for dinner and not for breakfast and lunch. In the dinners also India food was missing for 3 out of 9 dinners. We were to request repeatedly to get Indian food. The picture attached shows a full platter of Indian food, while in reality there was only one curry and rice. The Indian food tasted like out of can. Greatly disappointed. 2) The ad says Rocky and Rollers Band (refer to the picture attached). The band was changed to some other cheaper band and saxophone and no communication. This was clear false advertising and disappointing. 3) The deck 9 & 10 were leaking water. The ship needs a make over. 4) For the Grand Cayman 7 mile beach excursion, no snorkels were provided and we were to rent the equipment on the beach. 50% of the excursion fees was refunded after several complaints. 5) Cabin needs makeover. Refer to Cabin review. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise because it was a newly renovated ship going on a 14 day cruise, I was very upset by some extremely negative reviews right before going on this cruise and i wish to put everyone else at ease, we have been on 3 other ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was a newly renovated ship going on a 14 day cruise, I was very upset by some extremely negative reviews right before going on this cruise and i wish to put everyone else at ease, we have been on 3 other cruises and so far, 5 days in this one is the best so far. I realize that there was a few bugs they needed to work out the first few cruises out of the renovation but things are running very smoothly on this 4th cruise of this ship, i have not seen any construction or finishing that is still not complete, so far no sewer issues. The buffet is very crowded during peak times but we knew this in advance and just worked around it. We have been eating at other venues or during non peak times. Love the blue iguana cantina, guys burger joint and the pig and anchor bbq, the bbq we did on embarkation day, it was like no one even knew it was there!! No lines, i recommend the beef, super tender!! Everything is so new and beautiful, everyone has been super helpful. Our room steward gave us a box fan for my hubby, it's been a life saver!! My advice is to ask for something, you never know if they might have it. Love the ropes course and water slides, never any lines, loving the comedy and entertainment, cruise director Chris is a blast. My daughter has trouble making friends but the youth crew has made things super fun and she had friends by the second day. I can't say enough about the great time we are having on this beautiful ship. It makes me sad that people only leave reviews when they want to complain, life is too short to be negative!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was a cruise I have been wanting to do for a while. This was a Retirement cruise for me and to celebrate my 20th Wedding Anniversary (close to our wedding date). I was very impressed with the Captain and his crew in sailing of the ... Read More
This was a cruise I have been wanting to do for a while. This was a Retirement cruise for me and to celebrate my 20th Wedding Anniversary (close to our wedding date). I was very impressed with the Captain and his crew in sailing of the Ship through the Panama Canal. You never knew when we were in port due to the expertise handling of the Captain and Crew. Impressed and thrilled with receiving a certificate for sailing through the Panama Canal. Also I want to Thank Princess Cruise for televising the Easter Mass for people who were not able to attend Church Service due to being on the Sea and did not realize that we would be spending Easter on the Cruise. Easter Service meant a lot to me as a practicing Christian. Thank you for that special event to be aired. Loved the Zumba classed to start off our days when we were at sea. Activities were plenty. Dining was superb. Thanks to all who prepared those heavenly meals and exquisite desserts. Embarkation and Disembarkation went smoothly. Staff was very present and helpful. Would like to do this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Cruised with my 20 YO Granddaughter. Had a great time despite having very few younger people on the ship. First time to Panama Canal. Tampa embarkation is a little more difficult to me having to park across the street but ok. Got right ... Read More
Cruised with my 20 YO Granddaughter. Had a great time despite having very few younger people on the ship. First time to Panama Canal. Tampa embarkation is a little more difficult to me having to park across the street but ok. Got right on the ship. Cabin was in good position on the ship but Cabin steward was not the best I ever had. Enjoyed the entertainment. Food was adequate but not anything to rave about. Both excursions that we took were fantastic. They cancelled one that we booked with Carnival so we took one from the port at Grand Cayman. The ship is in good shape and I liked the gaudiness. It reminded me of the good old days of cruising. Didn't miss Guy's Burgers, the grill took it's place and was good. Debarkation was easy. Off the ship with my own luggage and on the way home at 8:15. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Cruising the Panama Canal was on my husbands bucket list so this cruise was a birthday gift for him and our 29 year old son. This was my 28th cruise with Carnival and the second time on the Miracle so I'm not new to evaluating what ... Read More
Cruising the Panama Canal was on my husbands bucket list so this cruise was a birthday gift for him and our 29 year old son. This was my 28th cruise with Carnival and the second time on the Miracle so I'm not new to evaluating what works and what doesn't on these ships. I've sailed pretty much every class as well. The Ship - So the Miracle is not the newest or my favorite. But it was a nice size and easy to navigate. Yes the crew is always working hard to keep it clean and updated. I see that on all the ships. We had a suite for the three of us and the balcony was extended and really nice. The cabin itself was nice as well. Very roomy for three adults and our ac worked just fine. The Crew and the Passengers - Probably one of my favorite of all cruises. The prior weeks cruise was spring break so they were thrilled to have a ship full of "old people" with tons of status treating them with respect and warmth. And I have to say - combine an eight day cruise with the cost of the Panama canal and you get an average age of 75 years old and 500 plus diamond and platinum members. Our steward Arnold, our dining staff Lydia and Rosi, the Alchemy Bartenders Jacob and Gabrial and Gabrial's wife by the pool couldn't have been friendlier. And it was not about extra tipping, the crew was just so eager to please. Maybe the nicest crew I've ever experienced. And finally the food. Well I am not a huge fan of the American Table menu on any ship these days but I can always find something I like. Was it fun? Well for my 29 year old he had to find his own fun as there were barely any other passengers even close to his age. But he did. And as far as the entertainment the house band was good as were the vocalists and violin trio. This was not one of those late night cruises for us by a stretch with the crowd on board but it was completely relaxing. 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
Chose this for an extended family cruise (3 suites) for our 50th anniversary. Panama Canal on our bucket list. The cabin was nice, cabin steward attentive, and the restaurants were OK but not something to write home about. Entertainment ... Read More
Chose this for an extended family cruise (3 suites) for our 50th anniversary. Panama Canal on our bucket list. The cabin was nice, cabin steward attentive, and the restaurants were OK but not something to write home about. Entertainment meh. We did enjoy the talks about the Canal. Customer service desk personnel were unacceptable and mostly just angered us by blaming ship problems on us (it was somehow our fault that the batteries in the cabin door locks failed twice). The Bistro restaurant was our first choice (we did 4 extra-cost dining experiences). The main dining rooms (Versailles and Aqua were OK, but the food was only OK. Strangely, the onion soup at the Bistro was excellent but really poor at both Versailles and Aqua). Tepanyaki restaurant gave a very good show; food was like Benihana. There's a big current focus on using hand sanitizers--understandable given norovirus outbreaks. There was one "washy washy" girl (as they called themselves) in the Garden Cafe who made the most of this--super friendly and entertaining. Kudos to Hannah. Promises that we would somehow be compensated for 2 days without toilets, 1 day without water, and having to lock our door fail twice proved to be empty promises, However, I did have a long talk with the head of hotel operations, and he seemed genuinely concerned about our experiences. By the way, it wasn't just our room that had major plumbing problems. The 12th deck bathroom immediately above our room overflowed into the hallway and many other cabins suffered without toilets for some days (including one of our daughters' cabins). The internet only worked sporadically and was basically down for most of 2 days in a row. The average age of passengers was noticeably older than previous cruises we've been on. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
-Embarkation was excellent and smooth. We were onboard a little after 11am and only took about 15 minutes from start to finish. Disembarkation was just as smooth, with a slight delay due to a computer glitch with immigration. -The ship ... Read More
-Embarkation was excellent and smooth. We were onboard a little after 11am and only took about 15 minutes from start to finish. Disembarkation was just as smooth, with a slight delay due to a computer glitch with immigration. -The ship was great, didn't really notice any wear and tear. It had just been in dry dock recently with upgrades. Elevators were quick and there are many of them. Lots of public spots to be out of your cabin. We did have to work while on vacation on the ship, and thanks to the new Medallion internet service.. it was a breeze and just as good as the internet at home. This made our cruise very stress free! We had been worried about that prior, thinking we would not have good internet until the port days.. and then part of our port days working. But thanks to Medallion, we were able to absolutely enjoy all the cruise activities we wanted, the port days and work when needed! -Our Cabin was a balcony one. I absolutely recommend a balcony especially for anything longer than 7 days. It is really great to order room service and eat out on the balcony. Also just having that extra semi private space to just sit and read, watch the ocean and marine life.. really makes a difference to be in your pj's and do that! Beds were good. we had 3 in our room. Our daughter was up in a berth bunk, and it was comfy and big, not too high and plenty of room above her as she is 5'1" and she could sit very comfortably and there was still space over her head. Our beds were originally as 2 twins, but the 3rd day in our steward suggested putting them together, and I was pleasantly surprised as that was not an option on our room bed request configuration. He said no problem, and set it up, and from then we were very comfy! Closet space was great with tons of hangers! I also had brought closet shelving and over the door storage, that with the cabinet with the safe was absolutely perfect for the over packing I did. I do have to say.. the bathroom was small, and the shower was TINY..lol. all in all a great room. -Dining- we had anytime dining. Did not do any of the formal nights.. we are over that. Instead we choose to be comfy and just relax now when we cruise and not be on a schedule or have to go eat at a certain time and dress up. We did go to breakfast at the dining room, only once as the buffet works better for us, and our tastes and times we eat. The buffet was great! lots of variety.. food was good to great on some dishes in our opinion. always difficult to please everyone when it comes to food..lol -Entertainment and Activities- They cruise director, staff, entertainers, musicians and dancers were great!!! Not all shows were spectacular, but they were very good and entertaining, and thats all you can hope for with nothing else to do! We did have a lot of fun with trivia and the shows though. There really is tons to do.. for all tastes.. and thats the great thing about cruises.. you can do as much or as little as you wish. -Service - We had exceptional service throughout the cruise. The youth center staff was great as they only had 12 kids on the ship.. and not all were together at most times.. and they really went out of their way to make sure the kids were not bored. Can't thank them enough.. because bored kids would have made this a really LONG cruise..lol Our steward was great.. a little ninja.. we hardly saw him! but our room was always perfect and clean. The buffet staff were amazing!!! we spent most of our late evenings with them since we are night owls, and the demographic age of the ship went to sleep pretty early compared to us. We would enjoy our coffee and chat with them as they did their cleaning with music coming from the kitchen.. Really a lot of fun! that was very unexpected! -Ports and Shore Excursions- I will list them individually, but will say that the excursions we did were not with Princess but private tours and they were exceptional, and did the same and more than the Princess excursions but at a fraction of the cost. -Huatulco Mexico~Absolutely loved Huatulco.. we did a boat cruise that took us to all the bays and the man in the rocks, and other sights to see. Then went to Entrega and went snorkeling with our tour captain. it was just us 6 in our group, and it was exceptional!!! Snorkeling was only about $5 per person..with all the gear. He was great and snorkeled with us, actually towed us around holding a line on a floating ring and went and got different fish and we fed then and we went all along the bay amazed by the coral.. just the best time! The water was wonderful with no currents or waves really in that bay. The coral is literally steps from the beach. This is the place I would recommend you go in the water or relax on the beach. we also enjoyed some great food at great prices, right on the beach.. huge and delicious shrimp cocktails and drinks.. just the best place! -Chiapas Mexico- not our fave at all.. everything was far from the port and the heat was insane! We didn't venture from the port and visitors center. There are some stores and shops, and a pit where they dance. The dancing and live music was great. Be prepared to tip, the young kids really do a great job and earn their tip. We stayed there about 2 hours then headed back on the ship. Friends we spoke with said the tour to the town wasn't great.. very crowded, small and too many people.. might have been great for others though. -Puerto Quetzal Guatemala - After reading on the state department website that this was a level 2 place to not visit, we had decided to not do an excursion. there is a really big market area right at the port area where you can really walk around safely. But after being at the port for a bit.. we started chatting with a gentleman who offered us a tour to Antigua. We did go, and am glad we did. You fell like you stepped back in time 200 years in Antigua. There is gorgeous architecture, and a volcano well within view. We ate at a great little bar and had the best tuna sandwich ever! Tuna is one of Guatemala's major exportations, so it was delicious! It is not the safest place, and the tour operator had extra security following us around the markets and streets.. but we never felt un-safe. They did a great job and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there and are very happy we "risked it" and went. -Panama Canal and overnight stay in Gatun Lake- Well we woke up very very early (4:30am) to get a good spot up on the deck outside, then spent HOURS watching as we passed through the locks. It all began around 8 and we anchored around 5 I think. It is a wonder and amazement to experience it.. and just the engineering that went in on this is mind boggling.. but it is a very very long and slow day. And be prepared for some rude people (fellow cruisers) around you to shove and push a little. that was our experience least. On the return transit, this time it didn't start till 11 am.. so by about 8 am we got a big table at the very front of the buffet and spent another very very long day there repeating the locks, but in reverse.. then anchored again to take on fuel all night long... which was a little noisy as it was on our side of the ship. The anchoring on Gatun lake was great... very calm waters which was great as when we left Chiapas, we had some strong winds for a few hours. -Puntarenas Costa Rica- This country is gorgeous and the people were amazing!! you can tell that most people live comfortably, and poverty is not very visible like in other countries. It is also a very safe country to visit. We did a private excursion with Chico and he was amazing!!! He has a brand new 14 passenger van, and we were the only 6 with him.. he took us EVERYWHERE!! Went to almost every place the cruise excursions went to, and we had lunch at an amazing restaurant up high in the tropical rain forrest.. it was open air and the views were breathtaking!! He also took us to a private monkey habitat.. and we had the best time.. monkeys everywhere..and they climb right on you and you feed them fruit. it was sooo much fun and only $3 a person... we also bought some arts and craft and water there.. was just the best experience! We also went and saw the crocodiles.. the rain forrest, the volcano, wild life.. beautiful parrots and birds... went shopping.. had great great delicious milkshakes and smoothies... of all the ports, Costa Rica was our favorite country and we hope to return and spend some time there! -San Juan Del Sur Nicaragua- Captain skipped this port due to high winds.. honestly after speaking with our Costa Rica tour guide and the staff on the cruise ship.. I believe it was mostly due to the political unrest in the country. The week before 3 ships skipped that port as the political protests ended with violence. We knew the night before we were not going to port.. so we just had a very relaxing day on the ship instead.. although it did start early about 6 am, as the captain came over the speakers to inform us of the canceled port. -Manzanillo Mexico- You really do not need to do any excursions there.. you can have a great time just off the port. LOTS of shops and places to eat.. you can get right on the beach immediately... of all the places we visited, Manzanillo had the nicest and best priced souvenirs. everyone was very nice... weather was great.. not as hot and humid as the other ports. spent the day driving around with a private tour operator.. and had a great time... We did travel with our daughter age 11, my husband and myself in one cabin. My mother (age 79), my sister and my nephew age 17. the kids had just as much fun as we did. the staff on the cruise were amazing... our ports were good to great! the only thing I can say about this long cruise.. is that it didn't really feel long, and that I give great credit to mother nature as the ocean was almost lake like most of the time. Only about 2 hours of high winds leaving Chiapas Mexico was the worst of it. And the rest of the credit goes to the staff and private tour guides we were lucky enough to meet. We would do the Panama Canal tour again, but I think it would be the back to back tours from Los Angelos to Florida, then back again.. only adds 10 days.. but different ports. The ratio of port days to sea days.. were long.. but not unbearable. 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
Entertainment was terrible. Movies were for teenagers. Activities were for 3 year olds. Cabins are clean. Couldn’t get off in Nicaragua because of wind. Smoking area on 15 is uncovered, and I got hit 3 times with chairs sliding in the ... Read More
Entertainment was terrible. Movies were for teenagers. Activities were for 3 year olds. Cabins are clean. Couldn’t get off in Nicaragua because of wind. Smoking area on 15 is uncovered, and I got hit 3 times with chairs sliding in the wind..and it’s also a walking deck. People were complaining we were smoking up there. The indoor lounge was packed with smokers, and the ventilation was poor. No sports bar. You had to be in your room to watch sports on T.V. Food was good in the buffet and had great staff. Anytime dinning you were given a beeper to be called when a table was ready. It took about an hour, so we ended up eating in the buffet everyday. The Coral Princess is one of the Princess fleet that I will never go on again. Felt like I was steerage. Bought cigarettes on ship 3times and each time, they were a different price. Check your receipts Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Crew is not friendly at all, food was terrible. Very little entertainment, unless all you want to do is play bingo. Was my first and last cruise on Princess. They charge you for everything. The sanctuary, which is called the serenity ... Read More
Crew is not friendly at all, food was terrible. Very little entertainment, unless all you want to do is play bingo. Was my first and last cruise on Princess. They charge you for everything. The sanctuary, which is called the serenity deck on carnival. You have to pay to use the sanctuary on princess, $80 for a day. I think this was ridiculous. The entertainment was non existent. We had 2 comedians on a 10 day cruise. The dining was terrible. We paid $58 for the crab shack. I figured we would get enough food to be full. I got about 3 ounces of actual crab meat. After dinner my wife and I were looking for more food. The overall experience was terrible. I have been on 6 other cruises. Luckily I have has very good experiences on the previous cruises. Princess could have ruined my cruise experience if I didn't have any thing else to compare it to. If you like to sit in your cabin and watch TV all day, this is the cruise for you. If you like to be busy and have fun, don't use Princess !!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise to see the Panama Canal, which was the highlight and a great experience, for the family. Boat seemed aged, every thing costs an arm and a leg, and bathrooms are very small. This was a family cruise with kids, but ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see the Panama Canal, which was the highlight and a great experience, for the family. Boat seemed aged, every thing costs an arm and a leg, and bathrooms are very small. This was a family cruise with kids, but there were very few kids on the ship. The demographic is very old, so lines are slow and the entertainment is suited for that generation. Disappointed with Princess, will not take a cruise with them again. Some of the staff were a rude on disembarkation day. Food was okay, but got a little tiring after awhile. I do want to not that generally the staff was pleasant and amenable. The ports of call were just okay. Jamaica was probably our least favorite would avoid it. Our favorite being Grand Cayman with very little hassle and great port experience. Would suggest that if you plan on taking this cruise expect not to be overwhelmed, but under whelmed. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Panama Canal itinerary. We traveled with friends and this cruise date and itinerary worked for us. Enjoyed the ports visited and transiting Panama Canal. The shore excursions were very expensive compared to the prices and options available ... Read More
Panama Canal itinerary. We traveled with friends and this cruise date and itinerary worked for us. Enjoyed the ports visited and transiting Panama Canal. The shore excursions were very expensive compared to the prices and options available after we departed ship, so we purchased our excursions through local vendors. The cruise office required mandatory gratuities charged to my credit card, which made the cruise staff lazy. Service was not a top priority since they didn't have to earn tips. Dining room staff was rude as well as jewelry store staff. One guy insulted me because I couldn't afford a $2000 ring and turned down the credit card application he pressured me to take. There was no midnight buffets and very little activities on sea days compared to other cruise lines I have sailed on. After boarding ship, everything required an additional fee as compared to other cruise lines offering those items for no charge. Food in dining room and buffets was blah, blah, same old stuff every day with no specialty meals. Overall this cruise was very disappointing. Will not cruise with princess again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This wasn't my choice of holiday normally but I replaced someone who couldn't go. Overall it was a lovely holiday on a clean and comfortable ship but it was in need of a spruce up in placed particularly the glass house/indoor ... Read More
This wasn't my choice of holiday normally but I replaced someone who couldn't go. Overall it was a lovely holiday on a clean and comfortable ship but it was in need of a spruce up in placed particularly the glass house/indoor pool. Food was good with a variety of choice. Entertainment was good if not a but samey after a few nights shows were excellent with a talented bunch of people. Only problem was times of shows and dining if you wanted early show you had to eat early as restaurants closed when show ended as late night buffet was average. Staff were mostly pleasant and helpful but service did alter depending on where you sat in restaurant. Nice to return to cabin with towel animal, chocs and next day info. Excusions had a good choice and were well organised. Main issues were the quality of drinks. Cocktails were weak and soft drinks were of poor quality which spoils all the drinks which meant a lot got left which were a waste Read Less
Sail Date March 2019

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