1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Panama Canal & Central America Cruises
  4. Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews
Cruise Ratings
1,829
1,175
662
393
172
2 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
I chose the Coral Princess because of its LA to LA itinerary and because it was doing a Panama Canal transit, even if a partial one. A bonus was many ports I'd never been to before. I have zero complaints about anything. I am ... Read More
I chose the Coral Princess because of its LA to LA itinerary and because it was doing a Panama Canal transit, even if a partial one. A bonus was many ports I'd never been to before. I have zero complaints about anything. I am pretty laid back and easy to please; there were no glaring faux pas on the part of the ship or trip. Yes the ship has bumps and bruises, but the way ships get turned around (and thus keep cruising costs reasonable) I expect them. I don't expect perfection, I just want it to be enjoyable without any glaring problems and there weren't any. We ate a lot of meals at the Horizon because I like fast and simple, but the nights we ate the anytime dining room and steakhouse were very good and a nice change of pace. My method at the buffet was to try very small bites of what looked interesting and what turned out to be great, I'd go back for more of. Not everything I tried was great, so it worked out well to go small rather than load up and be disappointed. The entertainment was good to great. There were more activities on board than one could manage and a little something for everyone. I was happy with pool time at the indoor pool and reading time. Ports that I especially enjoyed were Huatulco, Chiapas, Puntarenas and Puerto Quetzal. We visited a colonial city (Tapachula), coffee plantation and Mayan ruins; all of which were very worthwhile. In Puntarenas, I just made it a beach day and local food, both of which were great. 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
2 Helpful Votes
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
Nice ship, just the right size for this type of cruise. Nice crew. The waiters in the main ding room went out of their way to remember what your favorite food items were. Disappointed that our spacious ocean view balcony was really an ... Read More
Nice ship, just the right size for this type of cruise. Nice crew. The waiters in the main ding room went out of their way to remember what your favorite food items were. Disappointed that our spacious ocean view balcony was really an obstructed barely ocean view balcony (still awaiting a response from RCCL on that one). Good food. Windjammer was actually a nice experience on this ship with a great variety at lunch. Excellent Chef’s Table. Service slow in both Giovanni’s and Chops, but good food. Decent shows. Five of the six ports were good, the exception being Colon, Panama - a disgusting, dirty, garbage strewn city as soon as you leave the confines of the port. The only good part of our tour was going to the Agua Clara Locks Visitor Center, but we barely had any time there. Thrilling to transit the canal. Even though the ship is older, they keep it immaculate. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We love Royal and especially Royal sailing in our backyard in San Diego California! You should know about embarkation - Royal doesn't have their own terminal in California, so they were using another cruise company's ... Read More
We love Royal and especially Royal sailing in our backyard in San Diego California! You should know about embarkation - Royal doesn't have their own terminal in California, so they were using another cruise company's facility. This meant a little more chaos then we had seen at Galveston or Miami. The process for platinum up to diamond category was no faster than a first cruiser would have taken, as the only short lines were for key program or pinnacle. No benefits for loyalty points, unless the top tier or paid. Once on board, we explored this smaller ship in a short time. Finding a comfortable bar, and staying put until the cabin is ready. We booked this cruise late, meaning we were able to book an ocean view, not a typical balcony. We were blessed to bid an upgrade and received a balcony cabin on the 10th floor. The ports and excursions: Leaving San Diego, the ship stayed two days in Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. Although we had visited both these ports before, the weather in March was wonderful. Our stops in Central America were new to us, so we were excited to everywhere. The service was as usual fantastic by room steward and dining room staff. We would definitely cruise on the Jewel and other Radiance class ships, as long as we were not under the Windjammer. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We typically cruise with Carnival, but wanted to do a full transit through the Panama Canal, which Carnival rarely offers. So we booked a cruise on Jewel of the Seas, we have been on Explorer of the Seas back in 2002. We have been on nine ... Read More
We typically cruise with Carnival, but wanted to do a full transit through the Panama Canal, which Carnival rarely offers. So we booked a cruise on Jewel of the Seas, we have been on Explorer of the Seas back in 2002. We have been on nine cruises, we are in our mid sixties, husband and wife. We have never had a bad cruise and we did enjoy Jewel, Some people might be upset that I am doing a comparison, but it may help explain our views on the ship and may help others deciding what cruise line is best for them. Our cruise left on March 13th out of San Diego, we did an overnight in Cabo San Lucas, next port was Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Quetzal Guatemala, Puntarenas Costa Rica, cruising through the Canal, Colon Panama, Cartagena Columbia, ending in Miami on March 29th. Embarkation: We arrived a day early in San Diego and stayed at The Courtyard in Liberty Station. Embarkation on the 13th seemed to take longer than Carnivals, with both there are long lines, Carnival seems to move all the time, we stood barely moving in Royals lines for about 45 minutes. We headed to Windjammer for lunch as expected, it was crowded. Lido Marketplace on Carnival is even more difficult to get a seat on the first day, but Carnival has alternatives to go to and avoid the crowd, we usually go to Guy’s Pig and Anchor BBQ or Pasta Bella, which are free for lunch but away from the crowds. It would have been nice to have an alternative on Jewel, say lunch in the main dining room. Ship Décor: Jewel of the Seas is much more toned down and drab, I am used to the bright, flashy décor on Carnival. That being said, she is a lovely ship once I got used to the subdued look. I found her very easy to learn my way about the ship, I rarely got lost. The Coral Theater have great line of sight and as long as you arrived to the shows about 30 minutes early, there was no problem finding a great seat. Most shows were full by the time they started. Windjammer could get very crowded, but we tend to eat lunch early and I loved the outside tables. The main dining room was nice too, but I felt the tables were too crowded together, it could be difficult just maneuvering to get to your table. Schooner Bar and Safari Club were lovely; we often got an afternoon drink at the Schooner Bar. And I often read or did my sewing (appliqué) sitting in Vintages, I loved the big windows to look out. We don’t gamble, though the casino was quite pretty and we don’t use the spa or gym. The Solarium was probably the most beautiful part of the ship, both in the décor and plants, it beats Carnival’s Serenity hands down in ambiance. I was really looking forward to spending time here, boy was I disappointed. There are not only lounge chairs, but there are tables with chairs which is nice when getting a snack at Solarium Café. But what happened is that groups of people would come and sit at the tables, conversing loudly, spoiling what should be a quiet area. On cool days, people who sit at the outdoor pool took all the seating inside. Noisy music from the pool deck bled in every time the doors opened. And I found the bird noises annoying after a short time. After the first two days of trying to enjoy the Solarium, I was chased off by the lack of serenity to the area. I ended up spending the time I would have in the Solarium at Vintages. Cabin: We almost always get a balcony cabin. First off, I was disappointed that the view over the side of the ship was obstructed by the roof over the lifeboats. You could look out just fine, but not down to see the ship cutting through the water. This was my mistake as I should have checked to see if there was a sight line down (if you have a balcony at the front of the ship, the roof does not extend there). The room itself felt smaller than Carnival’s cabins, it only had a loveseat instead of a sofa. But Jewel’s actual balcony was probably twice as large as what we get on Carnival. The railing on Jewel was right at sightline when sitting in the chair, you had to bend down to see the horizon. Carnival’s is positioned differently as I never had a problem seeing the horizon. The bed was fine, a bit hard but we had no trouble sleeping on it. The cabins seemed to be soundproofed well, either that or we had quiet neighbors. We did not get much hall noise either (unlike Carnival where the partiers make a lot of noise). The bathroom has less storage of toiletries than Carnival, but the shower with a door is far better than Carnival’s curtain which does not keep the water in. Entertainment: The shows offered in the Coral Theater were good to excellent. My biggest problem was the lack of choices. There was usually one show: dance production, singers, comedian, juggler, hypnotist, etc. Carnival offers a show in the theater and four different routines in the comedy club every night. We were always busy going back and forth. On Jewell we usually went to bed after the show, nothing else offered that interested us. (We are not into Trivia or karaoke). There were a few shows in the Centrum, like finish the phrase, copy cat, dance moves which were entertaining, but seating was limited around the Centrum. Live Music: We enjoyed the Jewel Orchestra very much, supper talented bunch of musicians. There was duo of strings offered occasionally in Centrum and Mood Icons were good. Activities: My favorite activity on Jewel was the knit, crochet, and sew group that met every sea day in Vintages. I had brought handwork specifically for sea days and was pleased to see they offered a group meeting (self lead). I met several wonderful ladies that share a passion of handiwork. Bingo is another favorite of ours, but the bingo costs more than on Carnival. We typically buy six cards to play, Carnival offers this for $29.95 for three games. Jewel had a six card offered for $29.95 for one game a couple of times and $39.95 for three games other times. A lot of money to play bingo. But I have to admit, the final day of bingo on Royal is better. Carnival offers $5000.00 in a coverall, but if no one wins after 50 balls are drawn, reverts back to just a percentage of the take. Royal offers a free cruise and they play until someone wins. We also signed up for the galley tour which we were very interested in, it was offered three times during the cruise. It was offered on the first sea day, we wanted to explore the ship. We booked the second time it was offered, but found out it was the same time as the lecture on the building of the canal, which we did not want to miss. So we booked it the last sea day, showed up and were told it was canceled due to lack of attendance. Fellow Cruisers: We usually do a seven day cruise on Carnival and you do get a lot of partiers. For a 16 day cruise I figured it would be an older crowd and I was right, my guess is the medium age was 70s to early 80s. The other interesting thing we noticed, Carnival sells a lot of beer, very few people had beer on Jewell. The drink of choice is wine. The activities reflected that this is an older group. Dress in the dining room: Carnival and Jewell are very similar in dress code. We had three formal nights, few ball gowns and suits, but mostly nice dresses and sport coats and ties. Casual was the same for both, my husband wore shorts every night with nothing said. My Time Dining: When I booked the cruise the traditional dining was booked full for the early slot and I don’t like to eat late. So I booked My Time Dining. I found that I could book a reservation for My Time Dining, which I did for 6:00 pm every day. It worked out wonderfully, we had the same table for two every night right at a window. Granted the tables for two were close together and we really liked the two couples next to us at tables for two. But if we had not cared for them, we could have ignored them as we weren’t really sitting with them. We always walked right in and were seated immediately. Crew and Staff: This was the biggest jolt to me, on Carnival every single employee whether staff or deck hand, met your eyes when passing and have a smile on their face. I was shocked at how the crew usually avoided eye contact and rarely smiled. They did not make me feel welcome on the ship. Our personal attendants in the stateroom and in the dining room were fantastic. Very attentive and made sure our every request was met. There were many attendants in Windjammer that were friendly and happy to see us. On Carnival I would say that 99% of the employees have a smile on their face and are happy to see me, even just passing. Royal I would say maybe 50% are that way. We saw the cruise director at the beginning of the shows in the Coral Theater and that is about all we ever saw him. Carnival’s cruise directors are much more visible and inactive with the passengers. We always have a Q & A with Carnival’s cruise director which is very entertaining. Not so on the Jewel. Food: This is a very subjective topic, but we found the food to be good to excellent. Windjammer at lunch had a great variety and usually very good. We loved the curry dishes and they usually had all different kinds of roast chicken, stews, and good assortment of vegetables. But, Carnival has Guy’s Burgers and the Mexican Cantina, which are fantastic. Windjammer had hamburgers that I would not even try, they looked gray and dry. Windjammer usually has cookies, mousse, custard pies, a chocolate cake and fruit for dessert. Sometimes a warm dessert was offered such as rice pudding or peach cobbler. Carnival has a dessert station with tempting an assortment cakes and pastries. The main dining room had good food, just not much variety. Appetizers had two to three different offerings, then always had French Onion soup, Cesar salad, shrimp cocktail, and maybe a few more. Main offerings usually had two seafood, a beef, lamb or duck, a vegetarian, and always had a roast chicken breast and New York Strip. Desserts had two different options, then every night had cheesecake, crème Brule, chocolate cake, fruit and ice cream. Carnival’s menus have very few repeats in any category. We happened to go up twice after dinner to see what Windjammer had and felt we might be better off there. One time they had a whole roast turkey, what was offered in the main dining room was turkey roll. On the last night they had a chocolate buffet (which was not advertised in the compass). Beverage packages; We do not usually buy beverage packages, I don’t drink much and my husband has a beer or two. On Jewel they offered a refreshment package, which I was able to buy just for me. This is a great deal. In the morning I would get specialty coffee at the Lattatudes, at breakfast I would get fresh squeezed orange juice and I used the freestyle machines to get soda , sparkling water and carbonated water, in different flavors It does not include alcohol but I was very satisfied to get fruit slushies at night. It was a great package and I would buy it again in a heartbeat (I got it on a black Friday sale for $17.00 a day). My husband likes beer on tap and Jewel offered 10 beer for $49.50 (they had to be on tap, which works for him). App on board: On Jewel we had to use a paper to find out activities (the compass). For menus we had to find an interactive screen near the dining room. For our bill, we had to look on the TV. This all seems very primitive compared to the Carnival App. On the Carnival App (at no charge) we can see menus for the entire cruise, hours of operation, all activities (and can like them so it reminds us when it is coming up and tell us which of our party is going), our shipboard charges, all on our phone. And there is a chat feature to talk to others in my party for $5.00, one time charge. Conclusion: When considering a cruise, if all ports and time is equal, we will choose a Carnival cruise. But I now love a long cruise, which Carnival does not offer. I would certainly book another Royal cruise, on the whole I was pretty happy with it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Bucket-list cruise. Check-in was a bit rough: new program scanned my wife's passport and said she was born on some tropical island I've never heard of; a supervisor had to be called to update the location to NY. Night 2, around ... Read More
Bucket-list cruise. Check-in was a bit rough: new program scanned my wife's passport and said she was born on some tropical island I've never heard of; a supervisor had to be called to update the location to NY. Night 2, around 9:45, we were in the Schooner bar having a drink and listening to Joy Wade the piano player. He was going along quite nicely, until he got bored or ran out of popular songs, and then started playing something that talked about sex and killing someone. There were a few nervous laughs from the folks sitting nearby, but we found it inappropriate and walked out. We're not prudes, but that was out of line. The rest of our cruise was great. We found the food in the main dining room to be much better than what we had on Freedom last year; even the choices in the Windjammer were better. The forays off the ship were eye-opening. We did a mix of RCCL and Costco excursions. We enjoyed them all, but driving through the impoverished areas with the shanties and garbage strewn everywhere made me feel sad. And Colon, Panama looked like Dresden after the bombings of WW2. Cartagena was beautiful. We did a Dora tour and we highly recommend it. 4 hours total between driving and walking around the city. The vendors are relentless, but a firm "No, gracias" usually did the trick. There was a running commentary during our Panama Canal transit, which was very informative. The ship was very clean, and the crew was constantly wiping down/disinfecting the common areas and handrails. We were asked EVERY day about dining in the specialty restaurants. We actually went to Chops Grill on embarkation day as part of The Key package, and dined at Giovanni's Table on the last night on board; both were excellent. Speaking of The Key, I highly recommend it. For 20 bucks per day per person, you get a lot of perks. We walked on the ship with the Diamond and Pinnacle folks, we had the free luncheon at Chops, we had the Voom Internet and streaming package on our phones for the whole cruise, we had some free and then half-price drinks, we had a bottle of sparkling wine waiting in our cabin on day 1, we had priority disembarkation at all the ports, we had reserved seats at all the shows, we had an a la carte breakfast in the dining room on the last day, and we could walk off the ship whenever we were ready to go. Everything was pretty smooth (even if the ocean wasn't on a couple of days, turning the pools into wave pools), until the day we ended in Miami. The breakfast for The Key was very nice, but afterwards, there was supposed to be someone there to escort folks to the gangway; it's no big deal, we found our way off the ship by ourselves. It was a nice touch to see Andrea, the cruise director, waiting by the gangway and wishing each guest safe travels. After getting our luggage and going through customs, there was no one from the crew directing people to the shuttle buses for the airports; there were crew members there with signs for excursions, though! We eventually found our ride, but a little nudge in the right direction would have helped. Overall, we had a really nice time on this once-in-a-lifetime (for us) cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We picked it for the Cruise Destinations, thru the Panama. Started in San Diego, loved SD, stay at the Sheraton (close to airport and cruise port) and walked around, to Little Italy, the docks, Dinner at the Fish Market. We love the ... Read More
We picked it for the Cruise Destinations, thru the Panama. Started in San Diego, loved SD, stay at the Sheraton (close to airport and cruise port) and walked around, to Little Italy, the docks, Dinner at the Fish Market. We love the Jewel, food and service, superb! Clean and not small not huge. Los Cabos - walked around, visiting shops, stopped at a cpl bars for Mexican home made salsa and guac, Margaritas, people watching around the Marina, whale watching the 1st afternoon - private excursion about 8 of us so went out to Lands End too. Puerto Vallarta - met great friends and went to Marriott Resort, day pass, had access to pool and Ocean, lounge chairs, bar and food, was beautiful, safe, fun! Peurto Quetzel, Guatamala- RC excursion - Coffee Plantation etc, very good narration out to the farm and sight seeing there and back. Great coffee too! Punterenas Cost Rica, did a private excursion with 6 new cruise buddies, comfy, AC van, with Dimas Saravua Azcarate Tours, met us at the dock, wild monkey stop - not a stop on the road but natural habitat private farm area, zipling - outstanding, and Wild Adventures Croc cruise in the river, then lunch on one of the nearby mtns overlooking the Ocean and countryside, Dimas was Great! the whole excursion was well done and appreciated by all of us! Panama Canal - one day thru the locks - narrated thru out the day on the ship, and views were cool! Colon Panama - we had nothing planned for this port but go to the Free Zone, somewhat disappointed, once outside of the Cruise/Port gates, it was messy and chaos, with construction, dirty, garbage, difficult to traverse to free zone shopping, stores were dirty and nothing really great for sales....back to the ship! Cartagena Columbia - Our best surprise, clean, fun, Port, went to Teirra Bomba island, private excursion to a private beach bar location the Beach Bomba, we got to arranged pick up area, there was 8 of us, quick boat ride and great beach, water, beer, food Pina's, etc We had a Balcony SR, on the 7th which gives you extended balcony room, so the xtra room was nice! Entertainment was good, we made our own gathering and fun. great at Chops, Chefs Dinner, Mystery Who Done it Dinner, Azumi and Giavonnis, all outstanding! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
After working on the Celebrity Zenith 2004-2005, possibly I'm being too critical? This was my first cruise as a passenger and 2005 was a long time ago, but I wouldn't think that service would be so bad on this cruise. It seemed ... Read More
After working on the Celebrity Zenith 2004-2005, possibly I'm being too critical? This was my first cruise as a passenger and 2005 was a long time ago, but I wouldn't think that service would be so bad on this cruise. It seemed like many of the crew were crabby all the time if not downright rude. I prepaid my gratuity and the only person who deserved it was my room steward plus, we gave him an extra $100. I didn't understand that I could get some of that money refunded by going to Guest Services. Also, I don't drink much and didn't get any drink or dinner packages and didn't understand that I could book a room that had some of these perks. I also didn't know that every single time you ordered a drink, a coffee, anything there was a 20% gratuity automatically added to the price. Big shock. Also, who knew how dumb I could be booking my first cruise by myself through the agent, but I didn't ask enough questions. The food was good. I paid to go to Cagney's and the food was excellent. The food in the buffet got real old after a while. It seemed that every restaurant or bar we went to we were ignored and sat for a long time before someone came to the table even when it wasn't busy. The balcony stateroom was very nice. We went to one show and it was fun. The worst part of the cruise were the ports. I know cruise line has their own private Caye, but I didn't know that Costa Maya was owned by several cruise lines and it was packed. I almost started having panic attacks because people vendors were on us like crazy, We had something to eat which was supposed to be Mexican food, because we were in Mexico and it was some crappy American/Mexican. The bill was $70. for 2 meals and 2 drinks. The food was cold and horrible and I didn't have any qualms telling them about it. We did make it to the beach in Mahahual which was nice. I was extremely disappointed in most of the ports, Limon was filthy and I don't remember being in that port before when I worked on the ship or maybe we never got off there because of that. Roatan was beautiful, but we accidentally got in a tour cab and we wanted to go to the Grand Roatan Hotel West Bay Beach to get away from the crowds, but it didn't work that way. We still found a nice part of the beach that was semi-quiet and didn't have to pay for a chair and drinks were reasonably priced. The Panama Canal was nice. We did a zip line somewhere, but I have a short memory and don't remember where it was at. The worst thing about the trip is that I went with an old friend who I hadn't seen for a long time. She's a vegetarian, complained a lot, she got sick. So because I was so unfulfilled by the cruise, I just booked another one to Bermuda for May 19th on the Norwegian Escape ALL BY MYSELF! I cruised back and forth between New York and Bermuda every week for almost my whole 8 month contract so I pretty much know where things are. It will be the first time docking at the Dockyard since we docked in Hamilton. I can't wait! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We traveled with a large group so, you can be sure we had a good time. The ship was quite nice and a perfect size--not too big. The staff was great--especially Diamond in the Bliss Lounge, Sandra in the piano bar, and of course our ... Read More
We traveled with a large group so, you can be sure we had a good time. The ship was quite nice and a perfect size--not too big. The staff was great--especially Diamond in the Bliss Lounge, Sandra in the piano bar, and of course our steward, Asep. Everyone working onboard was friendly, hard working, and attentive. The specialty restaurants were great-Teppanyaki, Cagney's, La Cucina, and Moderno (Teppanyaki the best) and dining in Alizar and the Grand Pacific were also very nice. The Garden Cafe always had a variety of offerings if you wanted to eat quickly but, finding seating was not always easy. The other dining areas around the ship were also very good. It was never difficult to find something delicious to eat, or drink either. We enjoyed the piano player, Toze, and the guitar player, David, enjoyed listening to their music, singing, and dancing-while it lasted. Sometimes it ended too early, stopping for a game show or some other activity which resulted in lots of people leaving with no where else to go to dance. We didn't go to any of the shows in the Stardust Theatre after the first night so I can't say anything about them. The ports of call were not the greatest. We did private tours in Cartagena and Costa Maya and they were our best excursions. Harvest Cay was nice and we enjoyed spending a relaxing day on a beautiful beach. The private beach in Roatan was okay and the animal refuge there was interesting. Our excursions, with not a lot to choose from, in Colon and Limon were fair at best and certainly not worth the price. It would have been far more interesting staying on the ship in Colon and going back through the canal to see what we couldn't see going through the first time. Limon was too much the same as Colon. Both of these cities were so run down and poverty stricken, that it was difficult and depressing driving through them to get to where we were going. I think my favorite days were our five days at sea. Disembarkation was easier than on any other cruise we have been on which made for a pleasant ending to an enjoyable vacation. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to go thru the Panama Canal again. We did it a couple of years ago and it was not a very enjoyable experience. This time was much better. Our cabin was ok, however I really did need a handicapped ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to go thru the Panama Canal again. We did it a couple of years ago and it was not a very enjoyable experience. This time was much better. Our cabin was ok, however I really did need a handicapped cabin, which the ship could not accommodate me with. Most of the food was ok, however having a dietary issue, at times the dining staff could not find a dessert to fit my needs. Sorbet and jello were usually offered, neither of which I like. Teppanyaki is an amazing restaurant, as was Cagneys steakhouse. Le Bistro's food was intensely over seasoned, and not palatable. We were disappointed with the Dolphin swim and Adventure at Costa Maya. It was amazing to be able to swim with them, however the costs for pictures were VERY EXPENSIVE!!! Beware, and cameras are not permitted. Our trip to Harvest Caye was very enjoyable, and our least expensive. The Capuchin monkeys, macaws, and sea lion more than made up for our disappointing visit with the dolphins, Otherwise, our trip was very enjoyable, excellent entertainment, things to do aboard ship, attentive stewards and cruise staff. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
I was leader of a group of twenty friends age 60-70. And we chose this cruise for the Panama Canal itinerary. We ate in 4 special dining rooms and the Alizar and Grand Pacific for dinner with reservations made before we left home. My ... Read More
I was leader of a group of twenty friends age 60-70. And we chose this cruise for the Panama Canal itinerary. We ate in 4 special dining rooms and the Alizar and Grand Pacific for dinner with reservations made before we left home. My group generally agreed the food and service was very good. Embarkation procedure was good although the terminal was hot and didn’t have enough seating. The entrance to the ship was lame and the atrium space is under whelming (but clean and nice) after being on some of the bigger ships. The public spaces were always clean. The food at dinner was very good to excellent, for lunch, in the Garden Cafe, the food was a little repitious but tasted fine. We did lunch several times in O’Sheehan’s. The burgers on the pooldeck were very good too. Dinner at Teppanaki was terrific, the food was delicious and I am not even a fan of Asian food. The chefs and their “shows” were fantastic. The group loved it. Cagney’s food was great too and service good. They were helpful with a large group. LaCucina was ok. It is small (as are all of the specialty restaurants) so less able to accommodate a group of twenty. Also there is nothing special about the ambience. No tablecloths just plastic place mats. And Moderno was also just ok. The same placemats as in LaCucina. The meat in Cagney’s and Teppanaki was better, but it was our last night and I could hardly look at food because I had already eaten so much. The cabin (a balcony mini suite) was great, clean and comfortable. The bathroom had a tub and shower. So much closet and storage space. We didn’t see all of the theater entertainment, but Blazing Boots was good. We felt like they missed the age demographic in the nightclubs. Not enough dance music from my time and too many games. Our cruise director was Jacky and I was not a fan. He tried too hard to get suggestive responses during the night time games and it felt like the only type of dancing he knew was line dancing. I felt the bar service was fine. There were always waiters circulating, but you can get a drink fast enough at the bar too. And a special kudo to Diamond, our bar waiter in the Bliss Lounge. We did a few excursions. Basically they all worked well and were as described. The day at the Panama Canal was not as smooth we spent too much time waiting in the theater for the tenders, probably because we were late getting into and through the canal. The good news was the ship was early getting out of the lake and to Colon where everyone who went on an excursion was taken to reboard the ship. That way less time to kill in Colon. Debarkation went well and we did an excursion in the Everglades that was a good way to spend time before a 5pm flight and it was also transport for the group to Fort Lauderdale. And one final point. We had an included drink package but bottled water isn’t even included. Considering the ‘charge’ is shown as higher than RCI’s drink package. Water bottles should be included. It is on RCI. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Embarking onto the ship was a horrible experience and we were worried that this was an indication as to what our trip was going to turn out. Felt like we were be herded in like cattle. Thank goodness once we boarded the ship things turned ... Read More
Embarking onto the ship was a horrible experience and we were worried that this was an indication as to what our trip was going to turn out. Felt like we were be herded in like cattle. Thank goodness once we boarded the ship things turned around. Our first cruise with Norwegian; overall was a great trip! Cabin service was excellent and service in the spinnaker lounge was exceptional. Many dining choices. The ship was very clean and the crew was friendly. The nightly entertainment and game shows were so much fun; the Cruise Director/Co-Director were very fun with everything they hosted. We decided to book with Norwegian because of the wonderful packages they offered; by the middle of our trip we signed up with Next Cruise to book future cruises. Only negative - compared to other cruises we have taken we felt that the Shore excursions were a little disorganized when meeting to depart the ship and trying to find the right tour bus to get on. There wasn't much direction given. Also, one evening I went to the shore excursion desk and the gentleman working was very dismissive to me and seemed annoyed that I was asking him a question. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
The comedian was funny as was the ventriloquist, the singers and dancers were good, the singer from Vegas (Alyssa Harris) was great, the acrobat duo were fantastic. We thought the shows were the best that we have seen and we have been on ... Read More
The comedian was funny as was the ventriloquist, the singers and dancers were good, the singer from Vegas (Alyssa Harris) was great, the acrobat duo were fantastic. We thought the shows were the best that we have seen and we have been on 7 cruises across 4 lines. Main dining room food was the least appealing of all of our cruises. Crepe and omelette stations in buffet were nice. They know how to make real cheesecake! We tried many flavors. My husband liked the ice cream and the milk stations close together. :) We enjoyed the free pub, O'Sheehan's. We appreciated the many ports included on this cruise. We usually do our own excursions but went entirely with the cruise line on this one due to security concerns. They were expensive, but with the $50 per port excursion perk, they were manageable. It was a lot of time on buses and other transport, but the guides were good and the trips well managed. We were warehoused for a couple of hours before embarking, something that we usually avoid by arriving a bit later. They offered enrichment activities like painting and origami, but they didn't interest us. We exercise daily and found the track to be small but ok and the fitness room to be ok. Staff were pleasant across the board, especially the excursions desk which allowed us to make a couple of changes at the last minute. Overall price was quite high for a vacation for us as budget conscious travelers. We enjoyed our vacation and would book with Norwegian again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because it fit in to our schedule, they offered free drink package, reduced airfare and 5 free dining upgrades. We were flown from Boston to Miami on a premium airline nonstop. We got their free shuttle from the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it fit in to our schedule, they offered free drink package, reduced airfare and 5 free dining upgrades. We were flown from Boston to Miami on a premium airline nonstop. We got their free shuttle from the airport to the ship terminal building. Once there, check in was immediate. We were on the ship at 12:06pm... 6 minutes after boarding had begun! Once on board, the staff welcomed us at every juncture. The buffet was open so we stopped there first to wait for our rooms to be ready at around 2pm. There are 3 free restaurants and 5 restaurants that you pay for but we had the 5 included in our package. We however, chose only to go to two of them. We found the other free ones quite nice. We have been on many cruises but this by far was the most “laid back”. We really could eat any time with anyone or just alone. The people cruising were very friendly. The entertainment was very good and the excursions were extremely well done. We chose an 8th deck cabin with ocean view which suited us fine. We saw many awesome sunrise and sunsets from our cabin. We especially liked the Tabyana snorkeling excursion and the one to the Miraflores locks because our tour guide was excellent showing us all the air bases and explaining the history. We would definitely recommend this cruise. We have been on other cruise lines (4 Royal Caribbean and 1 Carnival) and are traveling without kids (I think the other cruise ships have more for kids) this is a great cruise. It is not as fancy as some of the other ships we have been on, but the flexible schedules makes it truly a pleasure. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Checking in and disembarking went very smoothly. The specialty dining was excellent. The main dining rooms had the same menu so other than having to dress up more at the Grand Pacific there was no difference. The crew and staff on ... Read More
Checking in and disembarking went very smoothly. The specialty dining was excellent. The main dining rooms had the same menu so other than having to dress up more at the Grand Pacific there was no difference. The crew and staff on board were excellent. They were helpful and friendly and addressed us by name if they saw us several times. I lost my wallet at Colon Panama and they did all they could to help me address the trials and tribulations of this occurring. The steward said good morning etc. every time we saw him in the hallways. The room was always in excellent condition without him hovering or being in the way. The theater's seating was very uncomfortable as the seats were very low and hard to get up from. The lounge and nightclub seating was very uncomfortable as they were tight. I don't know how large people sat in any of the seating in the lounges. The bartenders and wait staff were entertaining and friendly. They remembered you if you went to the same lounge more than once. We had a mid-ship picture window room on Level 5 Our picture window was so scratched we couldn't really see anything out of it. This could be because our room was so close to the water level and is probably scratched from the salt water and wind during storms. The toilet area was tight but the rest of the bathroom area was adequate. The closet wasn't huge but there were plenty of drawers to accommodate clothing for an 11 day cruise. Entertainment was very good with a high quality and variety. There were many activities during the day that were a lot of fun. The digital scavenger hunts were very entertaining. The port in Belize is beautiful. I wouldn't plan an excursion at this stop unless it's something you can't miss as the beach area is huge, free and beautiful. The passage through the Panama Canal was the highlight of the trip. I sat right up front in the Spinnaker Lounge which has 90 degree view from the front of the ship. I used the NCL app on board. The wi-fi was active to use this app. I could check my account spending, the days activities and it listed which excursions and specialty dining were active for each day. You also can text others on the cruise that paid a $10 fee for this feature only. I did not have need of this feature but would use it if I was traveling with a larger group. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
In 2015, Princess refit this boat and added space for about 300 more people by shrinking the cabins. Staff was leaned. Restaurants were not expanded. Cabins were shrunk. The results we experienced were as follows: - Poor food ... Read More
In 2015, Princess refit this boat and added space for about 300 more people by shrinking the cabins. Staff was leaned. Restaurants were not expanded. Cabins were shrunk. The results we experienced were as follows: - Poor food service in all venues. ( Time of service, Replenishment, Quality, Ambiance,Noise). One waiter and an assistant handled 22 people in our area. We missed shows due to long wait times as a table close to us gorged on 4 lobster tails each at one dinner and staff was run crazy trying to keep up as our table waited to get served at all. - Meat came out overcooked. I sent my lamb back 3 times until the Head Waiter intervened and brought me a properly cooked piece. - The buffet restaurant became a better option than fine dining. Food was properly cooked with ample seasoning. However, it was crowded and loud. - 2 couples in our group tried the Crab Pot. It was waterlogged and inedible. Fortunately they were given their money back. - Anytime dining resulted in us almost sitting on top of other couples with no option for privacy. I have eaten in MacDonald's with more space between tables. - No cabin seating other than the bed. Our room did not match the picture online. Carpet and furniture were worn and resembled a 2 star interstate hotel. - Slow inconsistent room cleaning due to 1 room attendant handling 17 rooms. Do not expect a towel animal on this cruise. You are lucky to get a towel. - Staff unable or unwilling to resolve issues. Need to find a Senior Officer in order to get any resolution. Promised refunds then are never processed. They will say anything to avoid actually dealing with the issue. They would not allow me to escalate my issues. I had to find out who was in charge of an area and track them down myself. Seemed as if staff was either untrained or burned out. - No answer on room service and dining reservation lines. Waited over 15 minutes in one case and gave up. - Internet is time based and a ripoff. Of 300 purchased minutes, was only able to actually use 100. Do not buy this option unless you constantly want to be scolded by the Internet Manager for not logging off. Found out later that even if you log out, the slow service will keep you logged in wasting your time. I was promised a refund after submitting a complaint. it never appeared on my final bill. - Ports are on the yet undeveloped sides of islands. Tours then take 65% of the allotted time for travel leaving little time to enjoy sites. Colon is a slum. Falmouth has no amenities. Porto Limon has about 8 streets and is mostly undeveloped as of yet. Used to be a Banana Port. Only options for the independent traveler if you do not book a tour are the fake tourist shops in the port buildings. Only Cartagena and Georgetown presented opportunities other than tours for exploring the island. -Ship itself is in need of another update (Carpets worn, Furniture worn, Elevators break frequently.) - Fitness area is cramped with no windows. - The My Princess app is not aligned with the paper Princess Patter. It is not user friendly. - Announcements cannot be heard in the rooms. You have to open the doors to hear and often cannot hear most of the content. This is a safety issue. Only positives we hit on the cruise were the service staff themselves. Most of the Waiters, Bartenders, and Room Stewards were warm and friendly often more helpful than management. We are young active Seniors. Ship activities seemed to be focused on an older , less mobile demographic. Napkin Folding was not high on our agenda. The Cruise Director while flamboyant was not a good fit. It did not seem that this ship was designed for those with mobility issues. Long elevator waits, crowded elevators, and malfunctioning elevators forced those with mobility issues to use steps. We have cruised throughout the world on three other lines. This was by far the worst cruise we have ever taken. We left more stressed than we arrived. We will never cruise Princess again! It seemed to us that Princess was stuck in the past and no longer innovative. Ship and systems were designed to put profit over quality. Our gift for being a past customer was an invitation only presentation on new cruises. On other ships we would have had a Captain's reception not a sales speech. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this particular Panama Canal cruise for the itinerary. The ship stopped in Aruba, Curacao and Costa Rica, in addition to traveling through the canal, which were all new ports for us. After reading reviews, I did not expect a ... Read More
We chose this particular Panama Canal cruise for the itinerary. The ship stopped in Aruba, Curacao and Costa Rica, in addition to traveling through the canal, which were all new ports for us. After reading reviews, I did not expect a "new" ship, but since it had been in dry dock less than 2 years ago, I figured it would be okay. My husband and I have taken about 10 cruises over the years, and this was our first Holland America cruise. The cruise before ours had a norovirus outbreak, and we received an email the day before embarkation alerting us to a late embarkation due to their need to sanitize the ship. A bit disconcerting to say the least, but we preserved. As a result, embarkation was a bit hectic due to the larger crowds boarding the ship at the same time. The embarkation agent forgot to give us the activities planner for embarkation day, which we did not realize until much later, when we did not find any information in our cabin. After asking our room steward for the activities information we kept hearing others speak of, it was only then that we realized we were missing information. That did not start us off on the right foot, but we let that go and had a nice evening. The first stop was Half Moon Cay, the private island of HAL. There was another ship on the island that day as well, so it was extremely crowded. The ship arrived around 8:30, and after disembarking and being tendered over at 10:00, the clam shells we had signed up for (and paid for) were nearly gone. We had to walk a VERY long way down the beach, speak with a variety of (grumpy and inattentive) personnel at stations along the way to continue to direct us to some open clam shells. We stayed on the beach for a couple of hours -- which WAS beautiful -- then decided to head back to the ship. The thought of fighting for a meal with so many on the island was unappealing. Not the most auspicious start to our much anticipated cruise. Recommendation for Half Moon Cay - many of the loungers are under trees and are nicely shaded. Save your money and do not get a clam shell. We would not have had to walk so far if we wanted a free lounger in the shade. The next day was a sea day, and we attended a wonderful wine tasting. The day was really relaxing and enjoyable. The following days at the various ports of call were fine and we enjoyed Aruba and Curacao. Going through the Panama Canal is an experience not to be missed. We THOROUGHLY enjoyed the experience, and we very happy with the day. We opted to get off the ship in Colon "just to say we were in Panama." We spent about 10 minutes there and got back on the ship. Not a nice place, to say the least. Unfortunately, it was POURING rain in Costa Rica. We did go on a canal tour, but honestly, it was pretty miserable due to the weather. It was raining so hard, it was hard to see into the jungle at times, and we were just plain wet. No one's fault, to be sure, but it did take much of the enjoyment away from that day. Overall, the cruise was enjoyable, and we met some wonderful people with whom we dined with and enjoyed our time with on sea days. Our experience in the main dining room was EXCELLENT. The staff was warm and accommodating. We had anytime dining, and never had to wait more than 5 minutes to be seated. And as the cruise went on, we went to dinner with a group of other couples, and were easily and quickly accommodated. The food was varied and tasty. I think there was only 1 night that I was underwhelmed by the choices for the evening. The wine stewards were helpful and accommodating as well. We had ordered a wine package which we felt was a good value. However, there were some problems that HAL needs to address, and we did tell them so in our survey response to HAL. 1. Maintenance: It was VERY disruptive the amount of maintenance that was ongoing during the cruise. There was the smell of paint/varnish several times when sitting and relaxing on our veranda. Also, one day after arriving back on ship, we grabbed a meal in the Lido and went to sit outside to enjoy our meal. Amazingly, there was LOUD banging and sanding/sawing going on right above the area where the tables were -- so that option of where to sit outside was totally out of the question. WHY?? And to our shock, one day when we had just arrived in a port and were readying to leave our cabin, all of a sudden a man was on our veranda hosing down the entire deck, and he was opening all the dividers and washing all the decks on our side of the ship. No warning given at all by anyone. All the cushions were soaked, as was a beach towel we had left on a chair. We were flabbergasted to say the least! If maintenance such as this needs to be done - and it so disruptive to those of us who have paid a considerable amount of money to enjoy a vacation - this ship should spend a week out of rotation to be attended to. Much of this was "routine" maintenance, not something that broke while at sea. We found this unacceptable that we were forced to endure noxious fumes and "wet paint" as well as sanding/noise etc. on various decks. 2. Lido Dining: Okay, so Lido is the buffet/cafeteria style dining. I do understand one has to pack some patience for the buffet, We went there for lunch when on the ship, and for breakfast on days when we were heading out early for an excursion. . But the drink stations were woefully inadequate - there were only 2 for the entire dining room. That means only 2 water filling spots for a ship that had 1,700 people on board. Waiting in line for a glass of water, from machines that trickled out water (thus the line) and the ice machine that was frequently empty, was inexcusable. We did discover that the staff in the eating area inside would bring you water (they had pitchers), but they were busy with lots of folks, and it was hard to get them to focus to get to your table. We really did feel that we had to "work too hard" just to get a glass of cold water during dining times. Also, while in ports where we had early calls, they did open the Lido earlier than usual so we could get breakfast -- the problem was they only opened half the available stations, so the lines were VERY long, and the staff was fairly inefficient. This made for a stressful start to a vacation day - as we were on a time schedule to make our excursions. Fellow cruisers: We are in our late 50's and had plenty of company. There were very few younger than us, however, and there were plenty older. Disembarkation: We opted to take our own luggage and leave as soon as they allowed as we had a morning flight. This was the quickest disembarkation we ever experienced. From the time they let us off the ship to arriving at Ft. Lauderdale airport less than 30 minutes. No stress at all! Overall, in spite of some "head shaking" worthy circumstances, we really did overall enjoy our vacation. We chose to focus on the positive. Interesting ports of call, meeting wonderful people whom we hope to remain in contact with, and for the most part, very accommodating and caring staff. Was it the best cruise experience we ever had - no - but honestly, when we reflect back on the trip, it was a good trip overall, one that we were happy we took. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
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
6 Helpful Votes
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
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Two years ago, my wife and I with three other couples enjoyed a GREAT cruise on this ship. Accordingly, another couple and ourselves chose to repeat our positive previous experience with this 16 day cruise. Spoiler Alert- Big big ... Read More
Two years ago, my wife and I with three other couples enjoyed a GREAT cruise on this ship. Accordingly, another couple and ourselves chose to repeat our positive previous experience with this 16 day cruise. Spoiler Alert- Big big MISTAKE! Very little worked on this so called "Luxury Experience" . It is quite obvious that the "bean counters" at Regent have decided to squeeze every single dollar out of every single cruise and then let the customer "suffer" their decisions. The problems began with the so called "Free" Airfare. This is nothing more then a marketing ploy as the cruise fare is increased by $ 300 per couple if you decide to take their "Free" airfare. Regent's response, when questioned, it that if you do not take the "Free" Airfare they will credit $ 150 pp. So much for the "Free" Airfare!. We decided to upgrade our flight to LAX via First Class @ an upcharge of $ 699 pp. When we finally received our flight information we found that Regent had booked 4 Senior Citizens to fly out of Miami on a 6:30AM flight to Chicago! Yes... fly to Chicago in mid-winter! We would have to get up at 3 AM in the morning to try and catch that flight. Really! When we objected, our travel agent finally had Regent offer us a 9:30 flight from Miami to Orlando and then to LAX. Somewhat better but that "new" flight was @ a $350 per couple upcharge! We declined and made our own First Class flight to LAX. Regent included a one night stay at the" Beverly Wilshire" Hotel which was fine. After checking in we were told that Regent had a "Hospitality Suite" available for all information about the next days travel to the ship. The so called "Hospitality Suite" offered NOTHING in the way of either Food or drink! Not even a bottle of water! The Regent "representative" could answer none of our questions except to say that our luggage should be ready to be picked up at 7:30 AM and we should meet in a Hotel Ballroom @ 11:15 AM. The "free" included breakfast was not offered in the Hotel's restaurant but instead was a buffet-style "Holiday-Inn Express" type of breakfast. Shame on "Regent" for that! The buses to the ship did not even arrive until 1:30 in the afternoon! Regent"representative offered little information except to wait. Arriving at the pier involved another l o n g wait. Once on the ship we again had to wait even though our quarters were supposed to be ready at 1:30 PM. No apologies were offered for the delay! We heard through the grapevine that the ship was inspected by the Coast Guard that day and experienced some "difficulties". In addition, many of the crew's contracts had expired and they were leaving and a new crew had come onboard. Many of the "new" crew were in-experienced and it showed. They just did not know what to do. Breakfast in "Compass Rose" took close to a hour and 45 minutes. Two years ago at breakfast, you were immediately served juice and coffee/tea and a server came right offer and offered Muffins/Pastries. Now, we waited and waited and waited. Finally, we were served Coffee/Tea and then waited some more to juice. The server offering pastries/muffins made only a single pass at the table and did not return. Each morning we had to ask our server what the Breakfast "special" was. They either did not know or were instructed not to offer that information. Orders are transcribed via Tablets and mistakes (missing orders) were common. Coffee refills had to be requested. An order of Smoked Salmon and a Bagel resulted in being presented with a single small scoop of cream cheese. You had to request more cream cheese or ask for a triple serving of it when ordering. Head Waiters tried very very hard but were totally overcome3 by problems/issues with the kitchen and the inexperienced staff! Breakfast service at "Compass Rose" was overall a failure! Our quarters were excellent as was our Butler and Steward! Kudo's to them! Dinner at "Compass Rose" matched that of Breakfast except the food quality overall was fair at best. We dined 5 nights at the "Pacific Rim" Restaurant and overall both the food and service was excellent. The steakhouse. "Prime" featured quality food and excellent service also. As to the French "Chartruese"... forgetabout it! Poor food and even worse execution. Service was even worse as demonstrated by our request for Onion Soup. Both "Chartruese" and "Prime" share a kitchen with two separate lines working. Onion Soup is offered at "Prime". Two of use requested Onion soup at "Chartruese" and were told NO!!!. No exceptions..!! Way to go Regent! We never went back to "Chartruese" with their poor food. As to the cutbacks- portion sizes have been cut back... obvious to us was the fact that previously when ice cream was ordered as a desert, you received 3 scoops plus a cigar shaped cookie (a "Pirouette"". Now, only 2 scoops and no cookie! Cost savings are now the norm and not the exception as to both the quality and quantity of the food. An example of the cost cutting is the fact that on one night dinner was ONLY served on the pool deck as a buffet. ALL other Restaurants were closed so either eat at the buffet or order room service. There is little question that this "move" by Regent saves them money overall. At dinner, I like to be served and help myself to a buffet. Overall, the crew is very very nice and helpful. However, here again, Regent drops the ball. One night a notice was placed on our bed that "Painting and Varnishing" of our deck were take place the next day. We returned to our room and noted one crewman was entering our cabin with a paint bucket/varnish materials. We followed him in and noted another crewman working on our deck and they finished shortly afterwards. However, they had left the doors leading to the deck open, so our quarters were both hot and humid as well as smelling from the paint/varnish. I called to complain and was told it would not happen again. Two days later, in the late afternoon, my wife was napping, and I was shaving. Our curtains were open and I then noted a crewman on our deck, varnishing. I chased him away and again complained that our privacy had been compromised. I received an apology again but clearly this is no way to treat a passenger. I do not expect perfection in an imperfect world. However, if I am paying top dollar for a cruise experience, ( over $ 30,000 in this case) , I do expect more then we received from "Regent" on this cruise. In speaking to other repeat "Regent" passengers on this cruise, I found my experiences not to be that unusual. The conclusion reached appeared to that "Regent" has changed... sadly, not for the better... Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We have cruised for a number of years with different cruise lines but promised ourselves that one day we would try one of the supposed most luxurious cruise ships. After much research and saving we decided to try Regent Seven Seas Explorer ... Read More
We have cruised for a number of years with different cruise lines but promised ourselves that one day we would try one of the supposed most luxurious cruise ships. After much research and saving we decided to try Regent Seven Seas Explorer and booked the Mexican Riviera to Panama Canal cruise.We flew to Los Angeles and were transferred to a 1st class hotel for the first night bit of a shock in the bar 2 beers $48.00. We were informed to be downstairs by 11am for coach transfer to ship but then waited 1 1/2 hours for collection which I considered very poor. On arrival at the port we had another wait of over 1 hour before we could book in, this was the worst book in of any cruise we have ever been on and was starting to wonder whether we had made the right decision to cruise with Regent, later on board we were told this was due to a customs inspection of the ship if we had been told the reason for delay a number of passengers would not have been so angry. We eventually got on board and went to our cabin 1409 which was a D grade Concierge. The cabin was presented immaculately with a wealth of cupboards and hanging space for clothing, the bathroom had a bath and large walk in shower. The balcony was large with very comfortable reclining chairs.Our cabin stewards were excellent even going to the trouble of decorating our cabin on my Birthday with balloons and happy birthday banner, a large cake and champagne was also supplied. We ate in all the restaurants while on board and the standard of food and waiting service was excellent as was the menu and the best of any ship we have ever sailed on. Due to the low number of passengers only 750 only one show at 9.30pm was performed but at no time was it necessary to get into theater early to get a seat, we walked in a 9.25 and could always find a good seat. The production shows were 1st class as was the guest entertainers. Most of the many and varied excursions ashore are included and of a good and interesting nature, a point to note that a few trips have a supplement to pay but check once on board and a very similar trip may have been added which is included but was not shown when booking. The bar staff again were excellent and no matter what drink or cocktail you wanted it was available.It would be nice if a day room at a hotel was included on disembarkation as you have to leave ship at 9am and in our case our flight was not till the evening a hop on hop off trip of Miami was included but was poor and once completed at 1pm waited a further hour for luggage which was stored by the bus company. One day I will hopefully cruise with Regent again as we will always compare other ships to this which will be a very hard act to follow. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
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

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise