Overall Rating: Good
|Departed From:||Ft. Lauderdale|
|# of Nights:||9-10 Nights|
This was our 1st sailing on the Island Princess and our 2nd trip to the Panama Canal. We had a balcony cabin on Emerald Deck. Plenty of room for the 2 of us. Our cabin steward was very good. My door was decorated for my birthday as requested.
This was also our 1st sailing as Platinum members of Princess Circle. The priority boarding was a joke, but the rest of the perks were nice, like the discounted cocktail hours with different snacks each night and the free internet.
We had late seating dinner and sat at a table for 8. We had wonderful tablemates or we would have moved. The waitress was awful. Another tablemate and myself had a talk with the head waiter and the service improved because they assigned her a 2nd assistant. The 2 assistants and the head waiter were marvelous, we could have lived without her, she didn't do much anyway. 20 minutes with an empty wine glass, no dinner recommendations most nights, etc. Howie says the quality of the meat has declined and my fish was rubbery most nights unless specially made to order. The rest of the service at open seating breakfast and lunch in the dining room was excellent and the food was always hot. The food was typical buffet food in Horizon court.
The ports were Aruba, Cartagna Columbia, Limon Costa Rica, Grand Cayman and Colon Panama as well as transit into Gatun Lake and back out again.
We did one tour on this trip and it was the tour of Cartagena boat trip. We really liked it an would recommend it as a different look at Columbia. We had done most of the "required" tours the last time we did this cruise. In addition this time we stayed on transited back through the locks and docked in Colon, Panama. Last time we took a tour but I was very happy we stayed on the perspective going back through was so worth it.
We are not much for shows so we only went to 1 the 1st and it was only so so. There is a new show called "On the Bayou" that everyone raved over, even frequent cruisers, so if you get a chance go see it.
We left some of our money in the casino but not too much. We enjoyed the pool on most days when everyone was off the ship. It was never really overcrowded and we had no trouble getting a deck chair.
This is a wonderful itinerary but we have done it twice now which is more then enough. I wish I could say we will sail Princess again soon but not sure that will happen for the following reason. I wanted to share my review before we got to the annoying part of our cruise.
Let me say that this is our experience and you may not have this issue but be forewarned....
I registered the credit card with Princess online pre-cruise. Aruba, day 3, I got a letter stating the card was rejected. Went to the desk they said it was because we used our card out of the country(Aruba was our 1st port), called the credit card co. no issues, left the desk all was well. (I had no balance on my credit card and I hadn't used it nor did I intend to out of the country). I used the ship card no problem, the rest of the day.
Next day went to bar to get beer and the card was flagged. Now I'm getting angry........back to the desk. Different person of course, same story. Gave her the background story and she suggested clearing the account and starting over. Fine. She puts through the charge on the SAME card and all is well. I was pretty embarassed that our card had been flagged and the bartender told me it happens all the time.
Day 5, I get a nasty letter from the desk telling us we need to make an alternative form of payment. We went through the canal and this time both Howie and I went to the desk, got the 1st guy. He started to give us the same BS and I stopped him and showed him the copy of the payment from the day before. He looked at the computer and said he didn't understand why we were having problems because all appeared good, we asked for his boss.......of course he wasn't there. Let me also say that we found out that morning we were not the only ones having issues with our accounts, one guy got the nasty letter and he had a credit balance of over $200, lady in a suite had to use a different card, etc. The guy promised that we'd get a call my noon from the Financial Manager. We saw the guy write it on the list. Needless to say we received no phone call.
I will say that Princess called Howie after he filled out the online comment card and offered him $200 on board credit if we book another cruise by next December. Not sure that will happen if it's up to Howie. I might be willing to give them another try for the right price.