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7 Panama Canal & Central America Spa Cruise Reviews

Our third cruise but the first with MSC. We had a wonderful time on the MSC Divina it’s a very lovely ship. They are more European style it was a different experience for us. We were on the 13th level (even if it’s under the pool area ... Read More
Our third cruise but the first with MSC. We had a wonderful time on the MSC Divina it’s a very lovely ship. They are more European style it was a different experience for us. We were on the 13th level (even if it’s under the pool area it wasn’t that noisy) and they call it the CUPIDO, we were at mid-ship best place to be if you don’t want to feel too much waves!! We had the one hour BALI massage, very nice. We tried the 4D theatre twice, the films are very short but it’s a nice experience to do on a ship, the Canyon film is the best. We also enjoyed a film on the big screen outside on the Friday we saw Maleficent with Angelina Jolie, the films they showed every night were very recent. I did try the Formula 1 should’ve tried it again to do a better time but it was a great experience. We tried the Pizza Eataly, the pizza was good. Andy gave us a very good service at the Black Crab restaurant we ate there almost every night. The buffet was good and we liked to sit in the back of the restaurant for the panoramic view. Thank’s to Agus he was our concierge and did a good job taking care of the room for us. The ship is quite big, they don’t have that many boutiques and that’s OK because you have plenty to shop at every port. We tried the Casino a few times maybe will have better luck next time! Our first stop was in Falmouth, Jamaica this was the second time for us and we enjoyed walking around the port and checking the boutiques, we came back to enjoy the ship since a lot of the cruisers were out on excursion. Our second stop was in Cartagena, Colombia it’s a very clean place and they are very well organize for the excursions at least 44 buses were there on our arrival, we only went for a walk nearby they had a little restaurant with boutiques and a nice place to walk outside. Then we stopped in Cristobal, Panama and we took an excursion to visit the old Panama City, our guide Beni she was just great! We enjoyed our tour and we saw that they are doing a lot of renovations so in a near future it will be a very nice place to visit. Then we stopped in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica we took the train and river boat ride not too impress with this tour, and the area of Puerto Limon is not very clean, but they have a lot of banana trees!! Our last stop was in Cozumel, Mexico this was our first time in this port wow a lot of boutiques and shops there my wife and I shopped for a couple of ours and came back on the ship with a few bags!! We had lovely weather just on the last day it was cloudy, windy and a bit of rain but it was OK we were on our way back home. Also just a note the ship is smoker friendly (we don’t smoke) but we still have enjoyed this cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Phenomenal trip, longest cruise we've been on. Purchased one premium beverage package as wife does not drink as much as me. Cabin was great, in elevator hallway, but minimum noise. Joining cruise critic a few months prior made all the ... Read More
Phenomenal trip, longest cruise we've been on. Purchased one premium beverage package as wife does not drink as much as me. Cabin was great, in elevator hallway, but minimum noise. Joining cruise critic a few months prior made all the difference. We met so many great folks from all over the world. One of our new friends won an upgrade to a penthouse suite during day one bingo. She invited a bunch of us (cruise critic members) to her penthouse as we transited the Gutan Locks. That day alone made the entire trip. Shore excursions...would not recommend snorkeling in the pacific, or at least not this early in the season. Best excursions -- hike to plyacana volcano in Guatemala , Segway tour in Columbia (private), and grand tour (horseback riding, zip lining, and, crocodile river ride) in Costa Rica. Dining in Blu was great, but menu choices became redundant around day 12. Service was great, food was great. But keep in mind we are relatively new cruisers...many cruise critics said food was not up to par from previous cruises with Celebrity.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
My Husband and I have just come from a Panama Canal Cruise on the Island Princess. What a treat! For a very long time, seeing the Panama Canal has been a dream of mine. However, a 10 day cruise was out of the question until this year. ... Read More
My Husband and I have just come from a Panama Canal Cruise on the Island Princess. What a treat! For a very long time, seeing the Panama Canal has been a dream of mine. However, a 10 day cruise was out of the question until this year. Although we did not travel completely through the Canal, it was enough to get the experience. What also enhanced the experience were the TV shows and presentations on the history of the Panama Canal. those are a must if you want to get the most out of this cruise. I really enjoyed the set up of this cruise. There were two days at sea, several ports, the Canal, another port, sea day, port and a final day at sea. On other cruises, the port days have been back to back without much time to enjoy the ship. The days at sea were just enough and at the right time to relax and enjoy cruising. The choice of ports were also good. Besides the Canal, I especially enjoyed Aruba, Cartagena and Costa Rica. The locals selling wares in Jamaica were a little overpowering. The Island Princess is a mid-sized ship and, since our previous cruise had been on one of Norweigan's larger ships, it took a little while to adjust. However, I can't say enough about the mini suite with a balcony! The cabin was spacious with a full size bathroom including a bathtub, two TVs, plenty of storage room and a great balcony. Some of our favorites about the Island Princess were the breakfast room service, the Lotus Spa and the Movies Under the Stars. It was a true pleasure to have breakfast on the balcony. On the first cruise day we paid to use the Lotus Spa tranquility room for the entire trip. The steam, sauna and eucalyptus rooms were great but the heated tiled loungers were wonderful, especially after a day of sightseeing. At night, Princess turned the chairs in the pool area into movie loungers and showed first rate movies on a very large screen. I loved snuggling up in a warm throw (provided by Princess) sipping a beverage, eating popcorn and watching a good movie with waves splashing in the pool and the cool ocean breeze blowing across my face. The buffet choices and foods were very good. However, I wasn't as impressed with the formal dining arrangements. We had signed up for "anytime dining" because I didn't want to eat early or late. I probably wouldn't do that again on Princess. Because the wait for the dining room was lengthy, we ate most evening meals at the buffet instead of the fine dining room. We did eat in the speciality restaurant, Sabatini's, which was excellent except for the $25 per person cover charge. That combined with a bottle of wine made the cost over $100. All in all, we had a wonderful time with a lot of memories. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We left from Los Angeles on our adventure aboard The Coral Princess on February 21, 2013. The boarding process was pretty uneventful and quick. We were able to go to our rooms as soon as we boarded and our luggage arrived not much after ... Read More
We left from Los Angeles on our adventure aboard The Coral Princess on February 21, 2013. The boarding process was pretty uneventful and quick. We were able to go to our rooms as soon as we boarded and our luggage arrived not much after that. As to the general impressions of the cruise: The ship was well cared for and kept in beautifully clean shape throughout the trip. All of our staff, from room steward to waiter, were excellent. The food...great! Our only concerns were as follows: The use of tenders at two ports (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua) ate up several hours of our time in port. The way the line handled it was to have everyone go to the formal dining room and wait around (sit) for hours until all the "Princess Cruise Excursions" and "preferred" passengers were tendered. Then (after two hours in Cabo and an hour and a half in San Juan Del Sur) the remaining passengers who wanted to go ashore were taken in small groups (depending on the number on a ticket you were given when you entered the dining room). You were unable to wander around the ship while you waited. You had to sit in the enclosed dining room on a beautiful day and wait. Very disappointing. We had scheduled a tour in Nicaragua and because of this missed two hours of it! Also, when we did go on Princess tours, which we did in Costa Rica, Columbia and Aruba, we were usually herded into jewelry stores even when those were not on the tour. We all felt like we were constantly being "sold" things while on board the ship and while on the tours organized by the ship. While in Costa Rica we went on the "Rainforest Canopy" tour from the ship. Immediately we were told by the tour guide that although the tour states that you will be hiking to 5 bridges through the forest canopy, we will only be including 3 today. No refund, just a shorter tour. The tour took a turn for the worst when we got to the hiking trail and one of the men on the tour (who clearly should not have been there) collapsed and couldn't walk any further. So for the next 2 hours our tour guide and driver along with two of our fellow passengers helped this man make the "hike" though the rainforest. All of us had to wait and the entire tour was altered. He was fine but I wonder why the ship doesn't make it clearer that those who can't walk very far shouldn't be signing up to go on a "hike" through the forest. We went on another tour in Columbia where the tour guide rushed us up and down the beautiful streets of the "old city" at breakneck speeds so that he could try and force us all into, what I'm sure was, a "friends" jewelry store. Those of us who simply said "no thank you" went on about our tour of the streets but he went inside with the others and was none to happy with us. More of a variety of musical entertainment on board the ship in the evening would have been nice. Honestly unless you wanted to listen to one of the "oldies" bands you didn't have much to chose from. I admit the crowd was mostly older but there should be some variety. How much can you play trivia games and do the Foxtrot? There were younger people (say 30's, 40's & 50's) on board and they had nowhere to go for fun music at night. The one exception was the "deck party" at the end of the cruise. Another problem is the lack of any snacks in the lounges at night. When you go for a cocktail before or after dinner shouldn't there be some offering of chip, nut, snack...anything on the tables in the bars. We asked one evening and were brought a little container of peanuts that was mainly dust from the bottom of the bin. When we asked if there were any more the waitress reluctantly said "no" but must have felt badly about it because she went over to the "preferred" (there's that word again) cocktail party and brought us back a few shrimp from their table. Also, the drinks leave a lot to be desired. They are not made well. In the two weeks we had very few that were actually good with the exception of a couple of martinis. The others were either terrible or void of alcohol. There are no drink specials, ever. Princess does a good job but they seem to be going the way of the "nickel and dime" lines. Suggestion: Charge a decent price and don't try and open the passenger's pocket the entire time they are on their trip. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Embarkation was quick an uneventful, as it has been on all three Celebrity cruises I have taken. I recommend Aquaclass not only for the spa advantages and Blu dining but also for expedited check in. Cabo San Lucas, and Puerta Vallarta ... Read More
Embarkation was quick an uneventful, as it has been on all three Celebrity cruises I have taken. I recommend Aquaclass not only for the spa advantages and Blu dining but also for expedited check in. Cabo San Lucas, and Puerta Vallarta were the only two ports worth visiting. We did not book any excursions. Personally you can only zip line, parasail, and lay out on a beach so many times before frankly you have just done it. I personally though the Guatemala and Costa Rica ports were disgusting. Even the air risked of dirty. The cruise ship however was beautiful as is typical for Celebrity. This was my second cruise on the infinity in six months so it was a little boring the second time. The main shows were the same, but still very good. The comedian Fred Klett was beyond hilarious. Other than that the other shows were a waste of time, energy to the performers, and money for the cruise line to book. The staff were wonderful courteous, and efficient. A bright shining star of staff members was an activities staff person named Mark Western. He was wonderful, and single handedly made our cruise spectacular. He was so funny, and worked so hard to make you feel wanted and welcomed. The worst staff person was the cruise director Patti Honecki. Not only was she not personable, she was also never around. I only saw her o. The ship off stage once, and that's pretty bad for a 15 day cruise. While on stage she was unimpressive, and her attempt at humor always fell short of funny and fell far more into awkward. I do however give her kudos for loosing the 60 pounds she lost. She only told us every time she got on stage. There was a norovirus outbreak, but the staff got on top of it, and my husband and I did not end up getting sick. All in all this cruise was good, as far as the ship it was perfect the ports fell short. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Another great Celebrity cruise with specialty restaurant providing the wow factor..........The veranda cabin was 2 feet shallower than the concierge cabins. The only downside was the smaller vanity and as such it was less used. The option ... Read More
Another great Celebrity cruise with specialty restaurant providing the wow factor..........The veranda cabin was 2 feet shallower than the concierge cabins. The only downside was the smaller vanity and as such it was less used. The option to upgrade to concierge of $700 pp was not worth the extra. The ship was full because of the time of year (over Christmas and New Years)The Constellation was Solsticized, which was a nice improvement from Summit. The addition of Tuscany as a 2nd specialty restaurant was great, as was Cellar masters and Cafe @ 5. Although I am a wine lover, Cellar Masters took up too many square feet and was under-utilized, as was the specialty wines by the glass automatic dispensers. I suspect that section will be re-configured.The wine choices, including 5 Champagnes by the glass was wonderful.Michael's was great with a wonderful pianist/singer. Staff was very friendly and helpful.We dined in Ocean Liners (3), Tuscany (3) and MDR 7 and it was well worth the $390 extra. We were regulars and treated incredibly well.Zip lining in CR was fun but my wife had to pay full price even though she did not zip line.3 formal nights were fun but many passengers dressed down and would not have been admitted to a private club on such an occasionDebarkation in San Diego was very slow and annoying but we were forewarned that it would be slow.This was our 2nd Celebrity cruise in 2010 and very favourable. We will likely sail Celebrity again, however, we would like to try upscale in order to avoid some of the less attractive aspects, being their emphasis on junk food, sloppy dressing passengers and fewer of the buffet crowd. I recognize that this might sound a bit snobbish, but we do enjoy healthy alternatives, fine dining and dressing up on special occasions.I suspect that a large percentage of Celebrity passengers are more "mainstream" than "premium" passengers, but because of the more subtle approach to cruising, the more mature passengers prefer what Celebrity has to offer. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Embarkation: Embarkation was going smoothly until we got to the point where we were supposed to get our stateroom key and were told to go back to the beginning as we did not have all the required paperwork. It seems the customer service ... Read More
Embarkation: Embarkation was going smoothly until we got to the point where we were supposed to get our stateroom key and were told to go back to the beginning as we did not have all the required paperwork. It seems the customer service representative who directed us at the entry point was misinformed about procedures. As we were walking back to the check in area we heard several fellow passengers were grumbling because they too had received misdirection from Holland America staff. Public Rooms: Public rooms were adequate, not spectacular by any means but not totally unpleasing. Several areas showed obvious wear and tear and contained furniture which needed to be updated, renovated or replaced. Cabin: The suite was quite spacious with a couch, chairs and small table. There was a nice balcony and plenty of storage space. The bathroom contained a glassed shower stall along with a whirlpool bath which also had a shower - good thing as the first night while showering the shower stall overflowed due to a clogged drain. The hair dryer in the room also did not work however it was replaced when a call was placed to our room attendant. The furniture in the room had wear spots and is in need of replacement in the near future. A suggestion for improvement would be to get better lighting for reading near the bed and couch. A "perk" of the cabin is access to the Neptune Lounge where light breakfast is served in the mornings and canapEs throughout the day. A concierge is also in the lounge to assist with reservations or any issue with which you may need assistance. Fitness and Recreation: This is an important component of the trip for me and unfortunately it was disappointing. The first day of the cruise I bought a thermal suite package with hopes of a sauna, thermal bath, thermal chair relaxation or some time in the steam room after my daily workouts. Unfortunately daily, something did not work properly. Some days the sauna was out of order, the thermal chairs weren't all working; the thermal bath was not heated to the proper temperature, etc. Only one television on the treadmills was working by the end of the cruise, one of two elliptical never worked and one of two recumbent bikes was not operating properly. Dining: We didn't utilize the dining room but one night opting instead to eat at the Pinnacle Grill, on the Lido deck, in the Italian Specialty Restaurant and in the room. One of the advantages of a suite is being able to order anything being served in the main dining room. Entertainment: I was not impressed with the entertainment I viewed but it should be noted I did not attend but two of the evening events. Service: The service of the room stewards was wonderful. They were attentive, knew our names on day one and greeted us wherever they saw us around the ship. They were on top of anything we needed and had a positive, upbeat attitude. The same is true of the beverage servers and dealers and supervisors in the casino. Those staff members "rock"!!! Shore Excursions: I went on only one ship shore excursion and that was to kayak in the Panama Canal. Although it was a rainy day, it was an incredible experience and one I am glad I took. Value for the Money: The price paid was not bad for the accommodations due to the discounting received however if I had paid full price, I would have been upset. Overall: Overall, it was a ship with a majority of older, not so active, adults. While younger, more energetic folks could be found they were few and far between. The positive of there were lounge chairs available on the decks anytime one was wanted. This is not a ship I plan to cruise on again and unless I see or hear some major positives in relation to this cruise line, I most definitely try another line my next trip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010

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