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1,366 Princess Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

On the good side, the staff or crew was very friendly and courteous. Food was good as well as entertainment. On the bad: 1) the wait to board the cruise was ridiculous 2) once in our room, hours later, we found a dirty bathroom ... Read More
On the good side, the staff or crew was very friendly and courteous. Food was good as well as entertainment. On the bad: 1) the wait to board the cruise was ridiculous 2) once in our room, hours later, we found a dirty bathroom and carpeting, beds not put together. We complained. 3) went to wait until the room was cleaned, beds put together, carpet vacuumed and were told the room was sanitizer but carpet would be shampooed when at the next port. It never was. 4) there was a second set of bunkbeds folded against the wall, right under the left and right side of our bed, every time we got up from the bed we bumped our heads until we got used to them, except at night when waking to go to the bathroom. 5) when we complained We were told we would be moved, never happened. 6) the entire ship was very cold but guess that's to prevent viruses. However, that should be told in advance for those who packed to go to warm climates! 7) tours where expensive as where salon services and photos. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The food was very disappointing on this cruise. The dining room food was so bland that we just stopped going halfway through the cruise. I remember the disappointment on everyone's face when one meal in particular arrived. I still ... Read More
The food was very disappointing on this cruise. The dining room food was so bland that we just stopped going halfway through the cruise. I remember the disappointment on everyone's face when one meal in particular arrived. I still find it hard to believe that they had the nerve to serve such a meal. The buffet (World Market) was okay for breakfast and lunch, and some of the specialty restaurants were good, but for the price of this cruise, you shouldn't have to pay extra to get decent food. I mostly found the decor of Caribbean Princess pretty uninspiring, although the World Market looked updated and tasteful, and the back of the ship was nice. Other complaints are that they were always blaring movies at one of the main pools, so you couldn't just sit and relax. Often you could hear two different music sources at the same time. And the hot tubs weren't hot – just warm. You also had to keep a close eye on your bill – even after buying the drink package I was charged for a couple drinks. (I pointed it out and they removed them, but the reason they gave for one of them is that I used their app and the drink came from room service rather than a bar.) And to top things off, there was sickness and coughing all over the ship. We were all perfectly healthy when we left on the cruise, but four out of six of us got the flu during the cruise and two developed pneumonia. This was my third and most expensive cruise – my first with Princess – and was definitely the worst. After this experience, I probably won't go on another cruise, but if I ever do, it won't be with Princess. Believe it or not, I really don't like to complain – we're so privileged to be able to have a vacation like this – but our entire group was quite disappointed with this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our 14th time on Princess and 4th on Caribbean Princess. We took the cruise because we hadn't been to the Panama Canal for several years. Everything met our expectations, except for the implementation of the new Medallion ... Read More
This was our 14th time on Princess and 4th on Caribbean Princess. We took the cruise because we hadn't been to the Panama Canal for several years. Everything met our expectations, except for the implementation of the new Medallion Class Technology. Before saying what was wrong with the implementation, I must say it is great technoloy if the users are able to understand how to use it. It was the fastest boarding we've ever had on a cruise. It's neat to be able to find your friends around the ship, buy stuff with the tap on the phone, see what's going on around the ship at a particular time, and have the cabin door unlock as you approach. That said, the implementation suffered on several levels. First, there were serious problems with the smart phone apps. We couldn't download the Ocean app once on the ship. (While sitting in the theater at 1:45 PM on Boarding day listening to the Cruise Director tell us how wonderful the technology was, most of us with iPhones were still trying to download that app. We all had the same error message, "Can't connect to iTunes store". I don't remember a thing the cruise director said. I do remember thinking, "Does he know what a fool this technology is making him appear to be!") I finally figured out a solution which involved uninstalling the Medallion Class app I'd loaded before coming onboard and then reinstalling it by downloading it from the system on the ship. Then I was able to download the Medallion app and get things set up. It was well after dinner before I was able to get that done; because thousands of my fellow travelers were also trying to download apps. No cruise line has a big enough pipe to support that simultaneous Internet demand. My guess about how that could have happened is that a new update to the Medallion Class and Ocean apps had been developed before we left for the cruise. I'm guessing Apple hadn't cleared that app for the iTunes store because of bugs, but Princess had pushed the apps to the ship. The new Ocean app certainly wouldn't handshake with the old Medallion Class app. As to what the bugs that kept Apple from putting it up might be, an obvious one is that geographic location wasn't displayed on any of the photos we took both on ship and on shore excursions. My phone didn't start displaying that photo information again until I'd uninstalled the apps after the cruise. One other technical bug is that the whole system seems to have been designed for 24/7 Internet access from the Medallion system through purchase of 24 hour or cruise long Internet packages. It seems that somebody finally realized that the frequent travelers have free Internet minutes. The solution to that was access through a screen on a web browser that is separate from the apps. It was really easy to run out your free minutes by mistake the way it's set up. That happened to my wife. We gripped, and the minutes were restored. The second problem is marketing gobbledygook. When you finally get the Ocean app installed, there are six or seven parts all called "Ocean" something. I still can't remember what each individual one is called. (While the designers are probably too young to understand "Age Related Memory Loss", the guests certainly aren't. I'm surprised Princess hasn't changed the title of the person in charge of the ship to "Ocean Captain"). The company did mess with another bridge position. "Navigator" is the jargon term for "help desk employee". The physical location of the help desk is "Ocean Front". (Great oxymoron. It has nothing to do with the ocean the ship sails on and is located at the back of the ship.) Yet another terminology problem is that the Internet is called "MedallionNet". That wouldn't be so bad were the Wifi system on the ship not also called "MedallionNet". That renaming of common terms was a contributing factor to my wife losing her 250 free minutes of Internet. It happened when whe wanted to go from Internet on the browser screen to the Wifi system. She might have hit the "Medallion Net" button in the center of the screen instead of closing the browser and going to the app. One last note is that in deploying a system that requires hand held devices, Princess seems to have forgotten they need to be recharged. There is still just a single two plug outlet in a stateroom. The cost of adding another outlet plus a couple USB ports would have been no more than a rounding error in the cost of the new hardware that's been installed throughout the ship. (Didn't bother us. Thanks to something I read on Cruise Critic five or six years ago, I always back a small power strip when leaving for a cruise.) A note not related to IT is that the theater is too small. It takes three shows for all the passengers to fit. On our three prior cruises on Caribbean Princess, they did three shows a night. Now they've gone to two. We had 5 PM traditional dining - the earliest sit down dining offered. We got to the theater at 6:45 PM and couldn't get seats together for two people for the 7:15 show two times. When we were able to get in, the shows were good - worth waiting in line for. Some comments about dining. I have Celiac Disease and thus must eat gluten free. In the evening, I take advantage of formal dining where I have the same waiters every night. They learn about the food allergy the first night and then accommodate me the rest of the cruise. (It doesn't work that way in anytime dining. New waiters every night.) On this cruise, in 5 PM traditional dining, our waiter Richard Rodriguez did an outstanding job meeting my need. I was able to pre-order for the next night, he would have things specially made gluten free for me, and he generally kept me out of trouble. That all happened while providing excellent service. I can only give a mixed review about dining at breakfast and lunch in the buffet. There is plenty of food that's gluten free. With the exception of a couple of desserts at lunch, none of it was labeled gluten free. On the first day, kitchen staff persons were available at lunch to show us what was gluten free in some areas of the buffet. I remember the man that gave me the tour showed me lots of things. All I remember out of that is, "the soups are always gluten free". The other stuff was intermixed among non gluten free items, and then there's the fact that the fare on the buffet changes every day. I played safe. What I had was good, but I'm sure I missed a lot of great stuff; because it isn't labeled. One last comment - my "Platinum" benefits as a frequent cruiser on Princess aren't worth much in light of Celiac Disease and the new technology. The three main benefits have long been 1) expedited checkin, 2) Special receptions at 5 PM, and 3) Free Internet minutes. As I noted above, everybody blows through checkin at the pier with the new technology. I need to eat at traditional dining because of Celiac, and since I'm not a night owl, I don't want to sit down to dinner at 7:30 PM. That leaves me in 5 PM traditonal dining when all the platinum activities happen. Finally, the cruise line is obviously moving towards Internet packages and wishes the free minutes thing would go away. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We've been on Princess before and had wonderful experiences. And this cruise was on many ways no different. It would have been at least 4 stars but for the dreaded Medallion and its app's. The medallion gets you on and off ship, ... Read More
We've been on Princess before and had wonderful experiences. And this cruise was on many ways no different. It would have been at least 4 stars but for the dreaded Medallion and its app's. The medallion gets you on and off ship, pays shipboard Bill's, and opens cabin doors. It works. But it is also supposed to work with the Ocean Compass app which is supposed to locate friends, order drinks etc etc. That doesnt work. At one point on a sea day it indicated that I was off ship? Where? No clue. Sometimes it simply doesnt load making it totally worthless. As a person who is pretty tech savvy, I suspect that it wasnt tested properly or under sufficiently rigorous conditions or maybe it just plain doesnt work. In any event, I would warn folks to not rely on it for any serious communication. Part of the problem is also that the folks at the Medallion desk are not IT people. They are dancers. Probably very good dancers but dancers nonetheless. There should be at least an IT person on the desk supervising the dancers. Somehow, the cruise didn't gel. Most staff were personable and appropriate. But others were uncaring and rude. The general sense I had was that everyone was new, had never been on a ship before and didnt want to be on this one. There some serious safety issues in the spa area. Drinks were served in glass around the pool and steam rooms. I have never been at a pool were drinks or food were served in glass. The shore excursions were generally good. The one poor trip was to the White House. Supposed to be a beach excursion with lunch. Problem is there is no beach in the expected sense. There was an open deck over the water from which you had to climb down a ladder to enter the rocky water. Not an easy task. The pool area was nice except the pool needed a good scrubbing. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We are in our late 40's and we are a very active couple. Sitting around and watching movies is not our forte'. The entertainment on this cruise was horrible. When you have 8 days of "Sea Days" and the most exciting ... Read More
We are in our late 40's and we are a very active couple. Sitting around and watching movies is not our forte'. The entertainment on this cruise was horrible. When you have 8 days of "Sea Days" and the most exciting thing for that day is going to a lecture about arthritis, something is wrong with that cruise line! I would not recommend Princess for our age group. We were so ready to get off this cruise and get home to our kids. The ship is showing her age, the staff is just there... nothing outstanding, and the choices for entertainment were not well thought out. There were not enough seats for the activities that were worth going to and you literally had to get there an hour before it started to even get a seat. We don't go for the food, but it was decent. The ship is clean, the staff is there to do their job - and that was about it, and the food was edible. Nothing fancy and not worth the money that we paid. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We wanted to go from Fort Lauderdale FL to Los Angeles CA through the Panama Canal. We were not disappointed. The best part, by far, of this cruise was Bill Fall. This incredibly knowledgeable ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We wanted to go from Fort Lauderdale FL to Los Angeles CA through the Panama Canal. We were not disappointed. The best part, by far, of this cruise was Bill Fall. This incredibly knowledgeable man held several presentations, sharing slides that helped us understand the history and construction of the canal far better than we ever expected. Next to Bill Fall, the best part was our cabin steward, Jonathan. We have cruised many times on various lines and he is at the top with his genuine helpfulness and positive nature. Our dining experience was average to better than average overall. Crown Grill was exemplary for a specialty restaurant on a ship - best steaks ever. Anytime dining very helpful to our schedule, though we didn't have the advantage of the same server to accommodate our tastes. The food was better than average overall. We appreciated having outdoor options as well. Entertainment was as expected. Some shows very fun and others not so. The cruise staff personalities varied to such an extent that we found ourselves picking the evening activities based on who was hosting. Ports very interesting overall. Huatulco is a beautiful sleepy beach town but if you choose a "Highlights of Huatulco" shore excursion, please note that there aren't many highlights in Huatulco. Stick with sitting on the beach as that's the best part. Our favorite shore excursion sponsored by the ship was the La Paz waterfall trip in Costa Rica - well worth it! We also went off the ship's excursion list with a Vallarta Food Tour in Puerto Vallarta (10 stars!) and a segway tour in Cartagena (another ten!). And top marks to Princess for having a texting service that allowed my family to stay in touch while on the ship. You put your phone in airplane mode, select the ship MedallionNet wifi option and add your family names as contacts. This was wonderful for us to be able to know where all six of us were at any given time. The best part was going through the Panama Canal - I think everyone should do that at some point in their lifetimes! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We wanted to experience the Panama Canal and go somewhere warm in January so we booked this cruise and had a fabulous time. We arrived in sunny Fort Lauderdale and stayed at the Marriott North for a couple of days Pre-Cruise. It is a ... Read More
We wanted to experience the Panama Canal and go somewhere warm in January so we booked this cruise and had a fabulous time. We arrived in sunny Fort Lauderdale and stayed at the Marriott North for a couple of days Pre-Cruise. It is a nice Marriott and a good price since it isn’t on the beach. We took Uber to the port and it was very easy. We arrived at 11:30 and we were boarding soon after. The embarkation couldn’t have gone smoother. We are Platinum next cruise and will speed things along even faster. We had lunch in the DaVinci dining room and they announced the staterooms were open before 1:00 which was a nice surprise. This was our third trip on the Emerald and she didn’t disappoint. We have had some fun cruises on the Emerald and the ship isn’t brand new anymore but still very pretty and in good shape. We always seem to have a good crew on this ship and the staff seems happy and eager to please. We had a wonderful stateroom steward, probably one of the best we have ever had. He was friendly and anticipated our every need. We had traditional early seating at 5:15 which was a little early but the late seating is too late for us. My husband is on a very low sodium diet and the head waiter gave him the menu every night for the next night so he could Pre order and they prepared his meals low sodium. We ate in the dining room all but two nights and really enjoyed our waiter and assistant. We thought the food was good in the dining room. I always am amazed that people complain on these reviews about the food. If I don’t have to shop for it, cook it or clean up after then it is great for me. We certainly found something on the menu to eat every night and didn’t come home lighter! The buffet was good as were the hamburgers by the pool. We had escargot, lobster, beef tenderloin, steak, lots of shrimp and scallops and enjoyed every bite. The entertainment was enjoyable. The new Rock Opera which debuted on the Emerald this sailing (it is also on the Sky I believe) was absolutely superb! The singers and dancers on this cruise were tremendous. We had some other really good guest performers that were very talented and some good magicians and comedians. The Princess theater was packed every show and for the 7:30 show you had to arrive at least 30 minutes early to get a seat. I really think it would help if Princess would add a third showtime or repeat the shows because every passenger seemed to want to go to the theater every night. I noticed lots of people brought books to read while waiting. We also had Medallion Net Wifi and we were able to text, email and call if we wanted. It is really a game changer if you need WiFi. Most of the basketball games that my husband NEEDED to see were on a ESPN channel in the stateroom but one that wasn’t on ESPN he was able to keep up with it online. I however went to the theater since I don’t require basketball at sea. We had a balcony booked but this cruise was over sold so they offered us an amazing deal to give up our balcony and move to an inside cabin. Well that was ok but the inside they moved us to had two more berths that fold down from the wall. These extra beds just stuck out from the wall and made the room seem so much smaller and we both cracked our head on them a couple of times. That was a bummer. Fortunately we were aft Riviera deck so it was a quick escape to the terrace pool and bar and outside seating which helped us to not kill each other in that cabin for 15 days. We really enjoyed the ports since they were all new to us. We did a couple of private excursions (in Cartagena and Nicaragua) and a great Princess excursion to the Starbucks Hacienda Coffee Plantation in Costa Rica. We had an awesome guide and a delicious lunch. It was a small group of 10 in a van which made it so nice. It was well worth the money. Starbucks gave us the VIP treatment too. We were on our own in Huatulco which was ok. There isn’t much at the port (some restaurants and shopping) so I would book a tour if I went back. Puerto Vallarta was beautiful and we took a taxi (7.00 each way for the taxi not per person but you need exact change and we tipped a couple of dollars) to the Malecon boardwalk and it was fine with lots of shopping and restaurants and walking along the ocean and downtown. The day of the Panama Canal crossing was an all day event and was fantastic. We were up at 6:00 am with the other 3000 spectators but there were plenty of places to watch the crossing. The most popular spot was Lido deck all the way forward where they opened the unmarked doors to the very front of the ship. They even served mimosas up there which was festive. We went through the new locks and it was a marvel. There was a commentator that talked us through the Canal and he was very interesting. He did a number of port lectures as well which we didn’t attend but watched them in our stateroom later. His name is Bill Fall and he was very knowledgeable and interesting. The first two sea days were really bouncy. I think we were having high winds so I don’t think it was normal. When we arrived in Cartagena it was calm and stayed very calm until we left Puerto Vallarta and headed toward LA. The seas were not quite as calm and the temperature dropped to the 60’s for the two days back to Los Angeles. Disembarkation was also very organized and we were off by 8:30 then took an Uber to LAX and were there in plenty of time for a 12:10 flight. We enjoyed this cruise very much. We found the majority of the staff and crew to be very friendly and efficient. We went to a Meet and Greet with our roll call and enjoyed meeting the Captain and several other officers that attended and spoke. They were warm and approachable. The Captain was really delightful and we saw him often around the ship. He seemed to enjoy talking to passengers and answering questions. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My wife and I have multiple things to celebrate (35th anniversary, both healthy after medical scares, etc...) and decided that a two week cruise through the Panama Canal was just the ticket. We enjoyed everything about the cruise. Both ... Read More
My wife and I have multiple things to celebrate (35th anniversary, both healthy after medical scares, etc...) and decided that a two week cruise through the Panama Canal was just the ticket. We enjoyed everything about the cruise. Both embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and the staff was very friendly and helpful. Our last 2 cruises were on RCL and the staff on those ships treated us like we were annoying if we asked for anything. On this trip on the Emerald, the staff treated us wonderfully, from the front desk to our steward, the dining room, and bar staff. We spent a lot of time at the back of the ship by Terrace Pool. The bartender and staff learned our names and called them out whenever we walked out onto the deck! We splurged more than normal on this cruise and had a mini-suite. We loved the extra room and spent quite a bit of time on the balcony. The only minor complaint would be that the couch in our room seemed quite old and uncomfortable. It should be replaced. The food was pretty good. I found it to be more of a variety than other cruises I've been on, but still got to be repeated too much on a 15 day cruise. But, we did not go hungry! We had some wonderful excursions, and the trip through the canal was awesome! The commentary offered was really great. We also met some really nice people from all over the world. All-in-all, we had a great 15 days! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise to see the new locks of the Panama Canal which we did. We were on the same cruise ship in August and it was very good. New chef, captain, and cruise director made it a poor cruise. Main problem was the food in the ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see the new locks of the Panama Canal which we did. We were on the same cruise ship in August and it was very good. New chef, captain, and cruise director made it a poor cruise. Main problem was the food in the dining room. Awful. Cruise director liked to hold everything in the center of the cruise ship which was not large enough for dance lessons and dancing at night. This was a poor choice. We will not use princess for a about 3 years since it was so bad which is disappointing since we just reached elite. I know Princess will not contact us as they are happy to fill up all their cruise ships for now...but that may change!!! As fof the room, it was very good and the steward was above average. Bars were great and bartender Zen was the best ever. Jun the bartender was good as well. Entertainment needs improvement. Getting on and off the ship was above average. We liked using the medallions for getting in the room and charging stuff. However, the poor food made it so our next three cruises we have signed up for will be on Holland American and Viking. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We loved this itinerary and we were excited to sail on Princess because it has a nice reputation. We loved the Medallion class and the technology and convenience that the ocean medallion offers passengers. The idea is that it will ... Read More
We loved this itinerary and we were excited to sail on Princess because it has a nice reputation. We loved the Medallion class and the technology and convenience that the ocean medallion offers passengers. The idea is that it will personalize the service for passengers in the future. However, I think that Princess still has a very long ways to go before they do that. In fact, I feel that the personalization of the service has diminished since we last sailed on Princess 10 years ago. We liked the excursions offered by Princess and we loved how streamlined the excursions were with the cruise. The biggest disappointment for me was the food - as well as the state of the staterooms (old carpet, old furnishings). The food in the main dining room was very poor. The grill and pizza was even worse, with non-fresh vegetables, non fresh bread, etc. One night, I orderdered the featured mussels with toast. The mussels tasted very fish, the broth had hardly any flavor, and the toast was literally amazingly stale. Like it had to have been just out for days. I liked the food better on NCL and Carnival - and that's disappointing considering the premium price. I was also not impressed with the entertainment. It's hard to get great entertainment each night on a 10-day cruise - I get it. But the 'singer comedy act' that they had was just so amateur. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise because we had cruised Princess to Alaska and had a very enjoyable experience. This cruise was slightly different. Our cabin steward was MIA for the 1st 2 days, apparently he was ill, but there was no one we could ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had cruised Princess to Alaska and had a very enjoyable experience. This cruise was slightly different. Our cabin steward was MIA for the 1st 2 days, apparently he was ill, but there was no one we could directly contact with issues. This was a 10 day cruise, 4 of which were at sea. Additionally, because of bad weather, we were unable to dock in one of our scheduled ports, making it 5 days at sea. The ship seemed crowded. Guests spent a lot of time inside because of the weather. Many people don't remove their used towels from the chairs and it leaves others wandering around wondering what is available. The deck crews should be on top of that more. The spa was okay. I had a facial and my husband and I had a couples massage. The massage was much better than the facial. The fitness center was a disappointment. While it is large and there are several treadmills, they are not available until 9:00 AM. Very disappointing. The entertainment was good, but when it is in a small venue, it is crowded and hard to get a seat. Back to back activities in these small venues creates a problem because people don't leave between activities. The food was good, our server, Victoria was wonderful. As a suite guest we were able to have breakfast in Sabatini's in the morning. The staff there was also great. Room service was average. Excursions: Cayman Island - we took a coast to coast bus tour. It was okay, didn't care for our driver and her uppity attitude. Cartagena - toured the old city and the San Felipe Fortress. It gets hot, make sure your tour is in the morning. Good tour guide, crappy bus, many many peddlers in the streets! Panama - canal locks were amazing. Domed car train ride not worth the money. Jamaica - toured the Rose Hall Great House - it was fine, finished with a short shopping trip to shops. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We have done several Caribbean cruises but had never visited the Panama Canal or Costa Rica. Princess is supposed to be a premium brand of Carnival but we were disappointed with the level of service in the dining rooms and the quality of ... Read More
We have done several Caribbean cruises but had never visited the Panama Canal or Costa Rica. Princess is supposed to be a premium brand of Carnival but we were disappointed with the level of service in the dining rooms and the quality of food overall. Wait staff were not fluent in English and we had difficulty conversing with them. The ship was built in 2004 and it looked tired, even though it had recently been refreshed. We prevously cruised on Celebrity Summit and Infinity which are comparable in age and we found them to be much better overall. We had difficulty conversing with staff in the restaurants because their English was very poor. We expected Princess to be on a par with Celebrity but this was not the case. The dining staff on Celebrity were easier to understand and there were 3 people assigned to each table while there were 2 on Princess. Each Celebrity table had a wine sommalier to help with wine selection. They poured drinks at the table from a bottle shortly after you arrived while Princess staff (not sommalier) had to get each drink from the back, increasing wait times considerably. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Food in restaurant was very disappointing (eg. 1 got a seafood entree that only had 1shrimp,4 mussels, 0 scallops and one bite of Sea Bass. All served on a bunch of scallop shells in a broth. It shouldn’t even have been sent up from the ... Read More
Food in restaurant was very disappointing (eg. 1 got a seafood entree that only had 1shrimp,4 mussels, 0 scallops and one bite of Sea Bass. All served on a bunch of scallop shells in a broth. It shouldn’t even have been sent up from the kitchen or served ) (eg.2. Got served a bowl of broth with a piece of fish dropped in it. This was supposed to be a “chowder”. Inedible!) (eg. 3 requested rye toast in restaurant for breakfast and got 2 pieces of warm, untoasted, brown bread). Enough said re restaurant fare. We ended up just eating at the World Fresh Market. ie buffet. This buffet food was very good! The production shows were disappointing. The performers were very talented but the shows were not exactly toe tappers or sing alongs. Most of the staff were friendly especially in the all night International Cafe. When we could not go into Limon Costa Rica ,due to bad weather , the company was very fast at refunding our prepaid excursion costs. Alcoholic drink costs were atrocious so we only indulged once. We ordered 2 glasses of wine on the formal dinner night that ended up costing us almost 30 dollars Canadian. We enjoyed the ports and the people. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were on a group tour from our church. We like the itinerary as we wanted to see the new locks. SHIP: Overall the ship was very nice. All the public areas were well maintained and the people flow was good. We chose to hang ... Read More
We were on a group tour from our church. We like the itinerary as we wanted to see the new locks. SHIP: Overall the ship was very nice. All the public areas were well maintained and the people flow was good. We chose to hang around the adults pool located at the back of the ship. Easy access to food and beverages, not as crowded and a little quieter. The Medallion experience was OUTSTANDING! With a disk the size of a quarter you can locate anything you need, all your traveling companions, activities, directions by checking in at the portals located throughout the ship. Even better is to download the app and have all of this at your fingertips. You get a free lanyard and there are accessories you can buy (a bracelet; a wristband) but I though the prices were too high. SERVICE: Again shout out to Edel and Jonel our waitstaff and Basulto our cabin steward!! The cruise director (DuVual) and his staff were outstanding, funny, gracious and entertaining!! ENTERTAINMENT: This was EXCELLENT!! We went to every show and none disappointed. Bravo (a medley of Broadway show tunes); Fantastic Journey (a type of Cirque d Soleil); a comedian; a magician.. The only issue was that both the comedian and magician played both in the main theater and in one of the lounges - the lounge was very tight for space. ON BOARD ACTIVITIES: We enjoyed all the trivia games, a back stage tour, a galley tour. There were two violinists on board who were outstanding and played in the piazza. We did line dancing and a couple of "beat the crew" games; a photography class; and arts and craft classes. DINING: We dined with our group in the Palm Island room. The menu selections were at times a bit strange - we are not foodies and just enjoy basic meals. But they had a base offering of the same menu items each night which appealed to us. Portions are not large but very sufficient. So if you want to indulge in more, you might have room. The buffet was good - excellent omelette station! PORTS OF CALL: Cartegna, Columbia: We generally do not due excursions mostly because they tend to spend too much time at a gift shop vs. the actual experience. However we did disembark to the pier and were told about an aviary within walking distance. We spent a great deal of time there and saw sloths, anteaters, parrots, peacocks, flamingoes and various fauna. Well worth the visit! Partial transit/Canal New Lock (Aqua Clara): Unfortunately the day dawned overcast and a bit of rain early on. We went out on deck by 6A to fully watch the entry into each chamber leading up to Gatun Lake. Fascinating engineering. There was an on board lecture being piped throughout the ship which was sadly more annoying than informative. We had attended the prior lecture on the history of the canal offered the day before in the theater oddly given by the same person so it was a bit surprising that the day edition wasn't quite as good. Limon, Costa Rica: Unfortunately due to rough waters at the pier, our ship could not safely dock. We got another sea day as we headed to our last port in Jamaica. I have to absolutely commend the cruise director (DuVual) and his staff for the efficient and quick way they put together yet another fun filled day of activities at such a short notice. Falmouth, Jamaica: This was actually our second visit to Falmouth and again we chose not to do any excursions. we had intended to just freely walk about the exterior streets (outside the marketplace right at the pier). We lasted about three blocks. Once you leave the marketplace (which is fenced in and guarded), you are at the mercy of EVERY street vendor, taxi driver, tour guide, hawker imaginable and they are relentless. Once one leaves you, there are at least two or three waiting to walk at your side and talk you into whatever they are selling. It is also a bit unnerving to walk around, The smell of marijuana permeates, there are too may deep dark alleys, and it just didn't feel safe. Would NOT recommend leaving the pier marketplace. All excursion transportation enter the fenced in area to pick up passengers and return the same way. Embarkation and disembarkation: Excellent!!! We arrived at the port with our group and were at our cabin within a hour (one suitcase was already there). Same for disembarkation. Our group was scheduled to leave the ship at 8:40A and the day was going so well, we actually were able to leave 30 minutes earlier (however, our return bus wasn't scheduled to pick us up until 9A). Our bags were at the terminal in their assignen/coded areas and we easily picked them up, breezed through customs and wento meet our bus. So both experiences were leisurely and stressless. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Great Panama Canal experience! The Caribbean Princess is an older ship with great upgrades and a fantastic crew! The Cruise Director was unbelievable and was a huge asset to the fun on the cruise. The waitstaff in the dining rooms were ... Read More
Great Panama Canal experience! The Caribbean Princess is an older ship with great upgrades and a fantastic crew! The Cruise Director was unbelievable and was a huge asset to the fun on the cruise. The waitstaff in the dining rooms were great and worked together to make your ding experience a great one! The ships decor was terrific and the flow of the activity decks seemed you were on a much smaller ship. I loved the International Cafe for there fresh Lattes and service. A great friendly smile to start your day. The Guest Services Desk was always full of employees to help with you issues, not like other cruise lines that have a skeleton crew (NCL) to service your needs.Overall, the Princess cruise line is trying and staying way in front of their competition with there Medallian program which is helping non techy's like me to feel GOOD! I hope they continue to be way in front and accommodating! Thanks Princess Cruise Line! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I have never been on a cruise before and I came in with little to no expectations and a positive attitude. At first I was overwhelmed with amount of action going on and the small rooms, food etc. But after the initial first day, which was ... Read More
I have never been on a cruise before and I came in with little to no expectations and a positive attitude. At first I was overwhelmed with amount of action going on and the small rooms, food etc. But after the initial first day, which was stressful because of flying and nothing with the Princess cruise line, everything worked out. Sure, we did not go on one of our port stops due to weather, but safety was the priorty and I understood that. Also, the staff was INCREDIBLE!! Everyone was so personal, kind and nice! Spoiled me rotten from such great service. Entertainment was great and the whole time I was enjoying, having a blast and was always satisfied with everything. And if at any point I had any issues, they were quickly resolved. The game shows and entertainment was too notch, they have things for kids, teens and in betweens. And obviously adults and older adults as well. We watched a movie outside and ate ice cream, I mean what could be better? So all in all, the best vacation of my life. I would totally reccomend. For a lot of people who complain on these forums, these people are natural complainers so I would take it with a grain of salt. I had an awesome time and would 100000 percent reccommend. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Totally satisfied with the entire cruise experience! All the Princess Cruise people were so helpful, bent over backwards to help you. Food was excellent, service was excellent! Saw some reviews that the Caribbean Princess was dated. I ... Read More
Totally satisfied with the entire cruise experience! All the Princess Cruise people were so helpful, bent over backwards to help you. Food was excellent, service was excellent! Saw some reviews that the Caribbean Princess was dated. I did not, enjoyed the art, especially deck 6 entry to the theater. Do go at least 30 minutes prior to the events. I would highly recommend the Caribbean Princess, and would sail on it again. Also purchase the shore excursions well in advance they sell out very fast. The Princess cruise excursions were very good. It’s worth any extra costs to book thru them for the security of knowing they will wait for you. We did Panama canal partial crossing, It was sufficient. They went thru 1st 3 locks to Gatoon Lake. They dropped off Princess excursions to buses for all Princess passengers. Did the Old Panama city Pacific side tour with 1 hour stop at original canal Lock. Ship was going thru being pulled by 4 engines. Fascinating, definitely best shore excursion ever. Highly recommend!!!!!! One other note, If you do a tour you only see half the transit thru The new locks, for me it was fine Seeing the original canal lock and Pacific side on the excursion. Trip of a lifetime! Highly recommend! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose Princess for the first time mainly for the ports of call. The trip overall was wonderful as far as the stops and the excursions we did, some we booked through the ship and others we chose once we got off at each port. The ship was ... Read More
We chose Princess for the first time mainly for the ports of call. The trip overall was wonderful as far as the stops and the excursions we did, some we booked through the ship and others we chose once we got off at each port. The ship was a beautiful ship overall. The staff every where on the ship were exceptionally friendly, always greeting you with a smile as they passed by. Our stateroom steward was amazing, friendly and very accommodating. The entire casino staff were wonderful, the only downfall were the hours the casino was open. I have never been on a ship where the casino closed at midnight at the very latest, that was very disappointing. The food in the dining room was satisfactory, I definitely like Carnival's common dining menu much, much better. The dining staff again were amazing. The shows were disappointing overall, we only attended two, the remainder were not of interest to us. Our room was quite noisy most of the nights. This cruise as far as being on the ship just did not fit our age group, not exciting for the most part, music variety was terrible. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Interested in the Panama Canal primarily but the whole itinerary was very appealing. We explored our departure city (Fort Lauderdale) before the cruise (1 night). Embarkation and disembarking was a breeze - so well organized, easy and ... Read More
Interested in the Panama Canal primarily but the whole itinerary was very appealing. We explored our departure city (Fort Lauderdale) before the cruise (1 night). Embarkation and disembarking was a breeze - so well organized, easy and quick. Ship has been refurbished so looked new. Cabins were typical sizes and there were good dining options on the ship. The entertainment was phenomenal both at the various bars and the theatre. The service at all times at all locations was impeccable. Our cabin was immaculate at all times. The bar service was excellent. The Medallion experience was outstanding. Every cruise line should offer this option on their ships. It made the boarding process so quick and monitoring ship activities or ordering food and drinks anywhere on the ship was so convenient. I would recommend this ship and itinerary. The itinerary included Fort Lauderdale, Panama Canal, Falmouth in Jamaica, Cartegena in Columbia and Limon in Costa Rica. It was a diverse itinerary that covered every interest. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were excited to view the new locks, which were made for the larger ships. We first went to listen to the excellent lector in the Princess theater, who told us the history of the building of the canal. It was extremely informative and ... Read More
We were excited to view the new locks, which were made for the larger ships. We first went to listen to the excellent lector in the Princess theater, who told us the history of the building of the canal. It was extremely informative and prepared us to better understand what we would be seeing. We had originally booked a mini-suite, and the perks included were additional credits to spend on the cruise, plus no gratuities (a terrific deal) but were pleasantly surprised to find out a few weeks before sailing that we had been upgraded to a mid-ship Club Class suite at no additional cost. As Club Class guests, we had our own entrance to the dining room every evening, plus an upgraded menu. No waiting with 100 other people to enter, we walked right in. And our position in the dining room was separate from all other passengers. By that I mean that it was in a different area with other club class members. We were really spoiled! The new Medallion technology is wonderful, allowing us to speed through embarkation, which took a whole 10 min. for the 3 of us. Debarkation at the end of the cruise was equally satisfying. We had opted for a Princess shuttle to take us to the airport at the end of the cruise, and it was effortless! About midway through the cruise, I came down with my yearly upper respiratory infection and confined myself to my cabin for a few days, but this was my bad, as I should have brought a prescription with me just in case! Oh well, live and learn. The only shore excursion we had to cancel (the girls wouldn't go without me) was our trek through the rain forest and boat ride through the small canals that run through Costa Rica. I have been there before, so no big deal for me, but I hated to see my companions miss out. They did, however, leave the ship to shop for souvenirs at the port, and upon their return said that they were glad we had cancelled, as it was so darn hot. My only disappointment was in the food, the quality of which was not on a par with Carnival, but this is my opinion. Many things in the ships dining room were excellent, but others were not as good as I've had on other Princess ships. In particular the lobster, which was very chewy and not served with drawn butter! My sister opted for the steak (also extremely chewy) and had to politely bury the chewed pieces under whatever remained on her plate. But the service provided by our little Victoria (from the Ukraine) and her co-worker also from the Ukraine, known only as Bo or Baby was excellent! The food up on the Lido deck was hit or miss as well. Some times a terrific selection, and others just a bit below average. And in my opinion, their soups up on Lido were sub-par and watery. I wish Princess would adopt a real deli where fresh sandwiches could be made as ordered, like Carnival. Their sandwiches were pre-made and somewhat rolled up in butchers paper and standing upright in a large container, which made all of the juices run to the bottom and soak the bread. I was not impressed by the food at all. We did the ship excursion in both Jamaica (Greenwood plantation) and city tour of Catahenia, and both were excellent. We got off the ship in Grand Cayman and took the 2 and 1/2 hour city tour offered at the port for just $25. (same tour offered by excursion desk for $49) and it was also excellent! They took us to 7 mile beach (gorgeous) and we also got to see the people swim with and kiss the dolphins at their center for free. We had a choice of seeing the dolphins, or crossing the street to the turtle center. The tour driver was a fountain of knowledge and we enjoyed the tour very much! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was an excellent cruise. The ship was very comfortable, had excellent food and service, and had wonderful entertainment. We stayed on the ship through the locks returning from Gatun Lake to the Caribbean Sea. Fascinating to ... Read More
This was an excellent cruise. The ship was very comfortable, had excellent food and service, and had wonderful entertainment. We stayed on the ship through the locks returning from Gatun Lake to the Caribbean Sea. Fascinating to watch how the lock opens and closes. We were able to get to the viewing area in the very front of the ship, above the bridge! On deck 15, go all the way forward and through the door at the end of the hallway to access this viewing area. Our ports were Falmouth, Jamaica, Cartagena, Columbia, Panama Canal transit, Limon, Costa Rica and George Town, Cayman Islands. We did stop in Cristobal, Panama to pick up passengers who had gone on excursions in Panama. We did an excellent tour with Dora the Explorer, www.cartagenatour.com, in Cartagena. Dora is very enthusiastic about her city, speaks excellent English, runs small group tours and only charges $70 cash for her 4 hour tour. We were able to go to La Popa Monastery on top of the hill which offered stunning views of the whole area. Large buses cannot negotiate the very twisty road to the monastery. Check Dora's website for more information.. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Starting at embarkation sitting in an overcrowded hall for the better part of 3 hours - we were not off to a good start! No credible explanation from Princess; no bother to greet the arriving pxs when they finally made it on board. ... Read More
Starting at embarkation sitting in an overcrowded hall for the better part of 3 hours - we were not off to a good start! No credible explanation from Princess; no bother to greet the arriving pxs when they finally made it on board. Balcony stateroom was okay but was very shocked to find torn sheets and stained pillowcases on the bed (replaced 2 days later). Room steward was great as were a few bartenders and waiters, but the vast majority of staff were not engaged, sullen, and in a couple of cases - obnoxious! Food in all venues was pretty horrible for anyone with a palate (I only had 3 meals which were "good"). Buffet selection was the worst we have ever seen after being on multiple cruise lines. Restaurants were kind of dirty with the worst being the steakhouse where I accidentally knocked about 3/16" of dust off the railing beside our table - ick factor 10. Likewise I ruined a brand new shirt when I leaned against a bar railing and got a large brown stain for my efforts. For a so-called high end, large ship, the entertainment was, for the most part second rate, and most activities were pretty lame for an older crowd. Shore excursions offered by Princess were okayish, except for in Panama city where we had to stand in line for 1.5 hrs in the sweltering heat to get on a tender back to the ship without so much as a hint of concern from staff - it is a wonder some of the frailer people didn't collapse! At long last we come to disembarkation - it was a bit better than the start, but once again no one from Princess directing you where to go for transfers. We got lucky and chose the right line up. If they can do a reasonable job in ports of call, why can't they make the same effort for leaving? Is it because they no longer care about you? I would say so. We will never use Princess again - there are so many better cruise lines that they can't hold a candle to! Sure, it may be one bad experience, but they are supposed to have corporate standards, so we can only assume that this is what we can expect on other Princess ships too. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Because I am generally a really positive person that tries to see the good in everything, I will start off with that. Edward the cabin steward was fantastic and just a great guy. He genuinely cared and worked hard. The food was ... Read More
Because I am generally a really positive person that tries to see the good in everything, I will start off with that. Edward the cabin steward was fantastic and just a great guy. He genuinely cared and worked hard. The food was generally pretty good in the dining room and the dining room staff was fun to interact with and they worked hard. Although - it makes no sense how we can be travelling through Mexico and Central America and get literally none of the amazing fruits of those countries on ship (papaya, mango, plantains etc..). Also great were the ports (specifically Huatulco and Punta Arenas)...but I am reviewing the ship here because of the large amount of sea days. I did learn that the US has a flight to Huatulco and I plan on doing that in the near future. Now to the negative - the entertainment was terrible and I found myself watching movies in the room most nights. At least the movie selection in the room was good. During the day there was no discernible entertainment. The 'entertainment' at night mostly consisted of Frank Sinatra singers and the like. While I may be relatively young for this cruise, I do know that 'old' people like a little more fun and variety than that. Trying to find something to do or eat after 9 PM, there was literally nothing. The one bar that was open (on the top level) had nobody there other than the bartender and cocktail servers. As a poker player, I figured that I could at least play poker for fun in the casino...but the poker table had an absurd 18% rake which took all possible fun out of it because statistically you are going to lose even if you play extremely well. I've been on other cruise ships and the entertainment on them was awesome, so my review isn't naively written. Also the customer service left a terrible taste in my mouth. I received a $100 Princess gift card for my birthday from a relative in light of the upcoming cruise (after the cruise had been booked). I tried to use the gift card online for excursions and internet but that was not possible as it only accepted credit card payments. I called customer service twice and they acted like they tried to help but stated that the gift card could only be used on the ship and that I couldn't use it to pay for internet and excursions. However, when I attempted to use the gift card on the ship, the person I spoke to on the ship said that I could not use it on that cruise but laughingly said that I could apply the amount to a future Princess Cruise. He literally didn't give a damn. I just had a terrible time on board the cruise ship, why would I want to go on another cruise with Princess? So now I have a worthless gift card that a family member spent good money on as a birthday gift. I didn't even know how to reply when they asked how I enjoyed the gift card for fear of hurting their feelings. Shame on Princess for its gift card scam!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We choose this cruise for the transit through the Pannama Canal. The commentary though out the cruise and in the canal was fantastic. Loved the Captains updates. We where very pleased with our inside cabin and twin beds. Our cabin ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the transit through the Pannama Canal. The commentary though out the cruise and in the canal was fantastic. Loved the Captains updates. We where very pleased with our inside cabin and twin beds. Our cabin steward was fantastic. The food on the other hand was mediocre at best. Beef was the the downfall each night it was served. I have never had a more boring prime rib. Could only finnish about 1/3rd of my NY strip. I love beef. Pancakes where ok. Mashed potatoes ok. Not enough veggies. Port were not bad but nothing I would want to go back to. Cartagena had the best food and architecture, I wish I could have enjoyed it, but the hawking street people where overwhelming. They would come at you two three four deep. You could not look at a building with out them thinking you were looking at them. Then they came at you. It was scary at times. Either get rid of these hawkers or Princess change port to Aruba, or Curacao. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We had been on the Emerald Princess before, and enjoyed it. Since the last time it has been update and some areas remolded. Very nicely I might add. Biggest noticeable difference is the Market Place on the Lido deck. More open and bright, ... Read More
We had been on the Emerald Princess before, and enjoyed it. Since the last time it has been update and some areas remolded. Very nicely I might add. Biggest noticeable difference is the Market Place on the Lido deck. More open and bright, and the eating area seems larger and much nicer. We enjoyed the ports that we stopped at, all of them. On previous cruises there were some ports we did not enjoy. Our cabin was on the Lido deck, and it was so convenient to just walk down a hall and be out on the outside deck and close to the pools and Market Place. They also have a hamburger, hot dog, fries and chicken tacos eating place-all delish. Enjoy the open atrium area on deck 5,where they have the International Cafe and entertainment. You can get a salad, Panani, soup and desert while listening to music. The ports were lovely, warm and humid, but very enjoyable. Can't wait for our next cruise....... Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
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