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Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because it started in Ft. Lauderdale and ended 21 days later in Seattle plus we got a very large stateroom #8140 w a wrap-around deck on the stern. The first day for embarkation we felt the cruise line was not ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it started in Ft. Lauderdale and ended 21 days later in Seattle plus we got a very large stateroom #8140 w a wrap-around deck on the stern. The first day for embarkation we felt the cruise line was not organized and although our luggage was labeled "priority" it was the very last on - not that it mattered but what did is we kept wondering if it would show up at all. But note that the disembarkation was very well organized and fast. Holland America has figured out how to make money - we paid $150 for water, $300 for internet (it is just $150 if you stick to social media only) and they must have saved a lot by purchasing low quality food. The Gala Dinner with filet mignon and crab béarnaise was the worst with crab nearly too spoiled to serve a piece of meat that was not filet mignon but some grass-fed animal's "surprise." Some meals were good but spaced well apart and the Lido food began to taste the same no matter what you took. The crew was very well-trained and friendly. Our Neptune suite was ok but I do not believe this ship was updated in 2017 or 2018 as it was worn pretty well including our suite. The ports of call were good and although many were shipping ports, I understand it is hard to find dock space for a ship sized like Oosterdam. The people we encountered onshore were very friendly. We will use another cruise line for our next cruise maybe we just expected better like we got on the Ruby Princess last year. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Our primary purpose during this cruise was to travel through the Panama Canal and celebrate my sister and brother-in-law's 40th wedding anniversary.The food was outstanding with beautiful presentation and staff that were have to ... Read More
Our primary purpose during this cruise was to travel through the Panama Canal and celebrate my sister and brother-in-law's 40th wedding anniversary.The food was outstanding with beautiful presentation and staff that were have to supply our every need. The Jade only carries about 2500 passengers so there were no long lines for meals, shows, etc. With a longer cruise an added bonus is an older crowd and very few young children. Our cabin was smaller than we've become accustomed to but we settled in quite easily. Bathroom setup is really smart with sink in the center, shower to one side and toilet to the other side. Shower and toilet had glass doors for privacy so more that one person could use the bath at the same time. The staff was outstanding with friendly smiles, good suggestions and a world-class friendliness that was remarkable.Ship excursions were pretty pricey but very worthwhile. Every bus we traveled on was immaculately clean. Guides spoke English very well too. Excursion tips: tour the old city in Cartagena; don't miss the Aerial Tram and Exhibits in Gatun Lake, Panama; banana plantation, scenic drive & Shopping (if you consider a convenience store as shopping); dolphin encounter in Costa Maya is good with limited dolphin contact but pictures with dolphins start at $40 each. The best beach day was at Maya Key Private Island retreat. There is a huge winding beach, lots of shade or sun, no blaring music, a nice buffet was also included. There are guides to help beginners snorkel and see parts of the beautiful reef. Very comfortable and safe. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this criuse to celebrate our 50th anniversery and had a wonderful time. We chose the beverage and dining packages and could not have been happier with the choice. We are not big drinkers but it was nice to feel free to try new ... Read More
We chose this criuse to celebrate our 50th anniversery and had a wonderful time. We chose the beverage and dining packages and could not have been happier with the choice. We are not big drinkers but it was nice to feel free to try new ones that we would not have if we didn't have that package. The dining package gave use many great chioces. We chose Cagneys for our anniversery diner and loved it. The only negitves where the soup and potatoes where lukewarm. The service was great and, as it happened, our waiter was also our waiter when we sailed on the Star. We also ate at Le Bistro and Los Lobos. Le Bistro was above average and Los Lobos was so good we eat there two more times. Yessina at Los Lobos is a treasure. On our second night there she made my wife a napkin rose that she kept and admiered for the rest of the cruise. We ate at Savor and The Local alot and they were always top notch. Service on the ship was excellent with only a couple of grumpy grew members. I have a great deal of respect for the crew members. They work 12 hour days for up to 9 months without a day off and still show great attitudes. As far as the ships entertainment and activities go the entertainment was great! We mostly liked to just relax and read a good book, so I can't really review the activies, although there seemed to be something going on all the time. Embarkation was a breeze but disembarkation could be termed organized chaos. We only took one Norwiegian excursion and it was just OK. We took a Thumbs Up 10 in 1 excursion in Costa Rica and it was awsome. If you ever get to Costa Rica you should check this out and request Allie as your guide. Overall we were very happy with the Bliss and would cruise on it again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
First let me say we had an AMAZING 14 day cruise through the Panama Canal. Everyone from the baggage handlers to the Captain were warm, inviting and went over and above to ensure our bucket-list cruise was all we imagined it would be and ... Read More
First let me say we had an AMAZING 14 day cruise through the Panama Canal. Everyone from the baggage handlers to the Captain were warm, inviting and went over and above to ensure our bucket-list cruise was all we imagined it would be and more. NCL corporate on the other hand were HORRIBLE and need additional training and a means to correct actions, which are truly of their making, which affect their employees. I planned for close to a year to ensure my near 80 year old father’s bucket-list cruise through the Panama Canal was everything and more he could have imagined- and it was. I watched countless hours of YT videos on what to pack, what to expect and any precautions which would help us avoid any hiccups during our trip. I called and emailed our personal cruise consultant and Concierge MANY times before our cruise to ask questions and request any items due to my father’s health and to confirm all was done and nothing would missed off or forgotten to avoid any troubles later. I even went to far as to create a daily guide to help us remember what day it was and what the daily activities were to help us commeroate our time together and scoured over our paperwork before and to comply with all NCL required per our cruise documents to ensure our check-in process and our cruise went as smoothly as possible. My parents even paid for the extra travel insurance just to make sure if anything happened prior to or during our trip medically, we would have some peace of mind knowing we had options available to us for added peace of mind. For our cruise we opted for the prepaid gratuities so we made certain EVERYONE who was due money was paid their dues as they are the hardest working people on the seas. You see them in the sunrise breakfasts and the midnight buffets- they must be vampires cause they never seem to sleep from the baggage handlers and dishwashers to the Captain. Lol. My husband and I traveled with my soon to be 80 year old parents to help with baggage and flew literally across the country from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angels in one day. Every step along with way we were there to help with bags from the vehicle to the airport, gate to gate, airport to hotel and hotel to ship. If we were not there this trip of a lifetime would not have been possible. Everyone we met along the way was awesome- a little hectic but what vacations don’t have great stories to tell from memories made after right?? We purchased a two bedroom- two bath suite for our extended cruise and truly had a great vacation. Everyone from the wait staff who waited on us daily, Susi our Concierge and JonJon our butler were exemplary in helping make sure this was the time of our lives and we cannot say enough great things about them- KUDOS to them all. Our issue arose when representatives from each suite were called together to discuss how disembarkation would go and where to meet. It was at this meeting- during the last two sea days of our trip north of Cuba- that Susi let us know our butler was not covered under the gratuities paid which got an audible gasp in the room. Mind you, HOURS of research, emails & phone calls to NCL were made and videos were watched to avoid circumstances such as this from happening. During my research and even during their Shore Excurision presentation they mention at certain ports, “do NOT display obvious signs of wealth.” Which, to be honest, can apply to any street in any town in the US as well so no shade. Our issue is knowing we were told ALL our gratuities were prepaid under our cruise fare by NCL beforehand we all carried cash to tip our baggage handlers, tour guides, bus drivers and a little more if anyone went over and above and deserved a little more appreication than the standard allowed- not extra money which is truly rightly due those who were not covered as we were told by NCL ALL gratuities were already paid. We were absolutely aghast. We went to our room and quickly pooled all our remaining money we had left to give to him. We purposefully didn’t travel with a lot of extra cash as, who carries cash anymore let alone buckets full when everyone cautions you against doing so and being told they were already paid? When we got into the port of Miami, (Saturday) I emailed our personal cruise consultant immediately about what had happened. I was able to speak with her on Monday as she was out of the country as well and she assured me that as we elected to prepay our gratuities our butler, along with everyone else, was covered but to contact Guest Services and let her know of what they said. I just got off the phone with GS, Anthony (i), I believe was his name and he said Butlers were NOT covered by the gratuities we paid and there was nothing that could be done to rectify the matter and it stated in the seven pages of cruise documents he wasn’t covered. I didn’t have the cruise documents in front of me at the time but when I got home later that evening i went straight to them and in fact the butler was NOT mentioned in my cruise documents as I was told it was. This completely taints our entire wonderful vacation because we actually stiffed someone who absolutely positively deserved it the most and earned every last penny of the money during our cruise as we couldn’t be happier. We’re so upset and disappointed with NCL over this, we cannot even begin to properly express them. SHAME ON YOU NCL for doing this to us and well as to your employees. Shame. On. You. You have absolutely taken a wonderful trip of a lifetime and tainted it with a policy that even your own employees do not fully grasp and in turn cheating hard working employees out of hard their earned money without a means to rectify it?? SHAME ON YOU!! We have been looking for our butler on social media to figure out a means to wire them money via PayPal, Venmo etc they are truly due without success. We are just sick over this whole debacle and pray a solution can be found as this has caused us all unnecessary stress as a result. WONDERFUL cruise and staff - - HORRIBLE Corporate office policy!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I wanted to go thru Panama Canal and I had a previous good experience with the Princess Cruise line. I was disappointed on this ship. The food was sometimes below what I expected and the activities on board weren't as fun as my 11 ... Read More
I wanted to go thru Panama Canal and I had a previous good experience with the Princess Cruise line. I was disappointed on this ship. The food was sometimes below what I expected and the activities on board weren't as fun as my 11 other cruises on various cruise line ships. The musicians were good but there weren't any magic shows or acrobatics on this cruise. The back of the boat view was taken over by the Lotus Spa area that you had to pay extra to be in. The fitness center was in a lower deck with no windows. The shower stalls were so small you couldn't bend over in them. Our waiter was the best thing on the ship. He was friendly and brought out the food fast. Most of the tours were good, but one of the tours on Grand Cayman had so many waiting to touch the Stingray that we only got to touch it once for the hour we were waiting in the water. We liked the chocolates left on the pillow each night. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted to see Panama Canal, particularly the old part of it. I have done one passing in my previous career at sea more than 30 years ago, on a freighter. Since HAL had a good itinerary suiting the best for our schedule and that ... Read More
We wanted to see Panama Canal, particularly the old part of it. I have done one passing in my previous career at sea more than 30 years ago, on a freighter. Since HAL had a good itinerary suiting the best for our schedule and that there was so good ratings with HAL with travelers with similar preferences we did not hesitate to book this trip, our first on HAL. Our preferences were quite traditional: Piece and quietness, well mannered co-passengers, dining experiences with lots of choices and styles, civilized onboard activitities and entertainment, interesting excursions, kind and friendly staff and responsible shipowners with competent crew. Particularly we were not after activities some other latest cruise ships may offer for families and younger clientele, We tried to avoid cruse lines with all-day partying and noisy teens and kids around. As a summary HAL offered all this in very sophisticated way. Onboard staff exceeded any of our previous experiences. Based on recommendations on the CC HAL group, before boarding we visited at the Total Wine iand picked up a 6 bottle box of selected wines based on their recommendation of "a taste of America". However, after the trip found that the selections onboard was perfectly adequate, if not US-centric. Check-In Fort Lauderdale was done in breeze by very helpful officer, particularly noticing we were not that experienced cruisers on HAL. We boarded soon before noon and had a wonderful lunch served in the MDR after settling in to our cabin. The VD Class cabin was on the 7th deck with a veranda. It was not a suite, but spacious enough for two of us. For our surprise, there was enough storage space even for a much longer trip. There was absolutely no noise from neighboring cabins or from the corridors. Completely quiet, apart quiet hum from the AC. We found ship interiors very nicely designed and we felt being at home soon after boarding. Most of the fellow passengers were naturally from US and Canada, also quite big part, probably a few hundred passengers from Europe and from South America and Far East.. Based on the Skipper's, Jeroen van Donselaar's note, there were some 2100+ passengers and 800+ crew members onboard, so the ship was practically fully booked. Cruise itself offered everything and beyond we expected. For our surprise the seadays were anything but boring. The days were full of activities, e.g. starting from presentation of the ports we were going to call, Digital Workshops, recitals on the Lincoln Center, stand up shows and other performances after dinner at the Main Stage ending upto enjoying the B.B. King's Club. BTW, they played really well. About dining experience, we had dinners in all the restaurants, twice in the Pinnacle Grill, once in Rudy's, once in Tamarind, once in Canaletto and Lido, rest in the MDR. In general, we were fully content with the MDR, but Pinnacle offered us the something to remember for long time. My personal favorite was the Sole Meunier at the MDR, but it was available only once soon after departure, Based on our experience it's difficult to fully understand those who in CC HAL Forum have complained MDR being not upto their standards. Dover Sole in Rudy's; the Maine Lobster, Tartar Steak and Filet Mignon at the Pinnacle. Tamarind was excellent, but as have traveled lots in the far east, we found it a (little bit) too westernized. Sushi was available daily at the Lido. And now we still miss Hamburgers in the Dive In. They were special. Really. Shore excursions we pre-booked, were mostly as expected: In Cartagena the old town was really nice and worthwhile to visit, could have spend a lots of more in the town. Passing Panama Canal was a really highlight of the day. For an ex Sailor (Master Mariner), like me, this was a really meaningful event. We passed the Canal through the old locks, far more interesting than the new ones, which were apparently not that busy on our day of passing. In Costa Rica we chose an Exc to flower gardens up to the mountain having a magnificent view over to the Pacific. We managed to see a pair of macaws not too far away in the garden and a number of crocodiles on the way. It was most beautiful landscape. Time to visit there was far too short, again. In Nicaragua we had a trip to a banana plantation owned by a local prominent family, supplying their products to major brands. Lots of manual, minimally paid work needed before products can be shipped. Highlight of that trip was to see the landscape with active volcanoes on the way. Local people were extremely friendly with us. Really difficult to figure out how they manage to struggle with the average salaries paid in that country. We hope they will manage with their struggle with economy, e.g. expanding from agriculture to tourism. In Guatemala we had another trip to a Coffee Plantation and a small city on the mountain area. Was really beautiful, again. There were also two Mexican ports, Huatulco and Puerto Vallarta on the way. Enjoyed both excursions to the country side. Street vendors in Cartagena and Guatemala were some degree of nuisance, but nothing unexceptional for 'seasoned travelers'. Before the trip we had concerns, e.g. how to cope potential 'cultural differences' during the two weeks with the fellow passengers mostly from US and Canada since we are not that extrovert. That proved to be a non-issue. With all people we spoke with were most friendly curious and knowledgeable what's going outside US. Quite a number of them had visited even to our home country, Finland, on their previous cruises or careers. So overall, would wholeheartedly recommend Panama Cruise with HAL anyone expecting a classy experience to pass the Canal, see beautiful countries with friendly people of Columbia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico, spend time with fellow most nice passengers on a well maintained ship with a stellar crew. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Unwelcoming excursions for wheelchairs and unsafe, uncomfortable handicap washroom. The excursions was unadaptable, unwelcoming for wheelchairs and all our water excursions was cancel out, without letting you see fit to make your own ... Read More
Unwelcoming excursions for wheelchairs and unsafe, uncomfortable handicap washroom. The excursions was unadaptable, unwelcoming for wheelchairs and all our water excursions was cancel out, without letting you see fit to make your own decisions. It was disappointing because we were so excited for the island princess to enjoy some water and the island feeling. We did not get to do any snorkeling or any water activities and been deprive from it because of wheelchair unfriendlyness and discrimination. However, the diamond princess excursions allow you to have freedom in choosing your excursions and you can decide if the excursions is right for you in real time or can choose to sit out if you feel uncomfortable. Whereas, Island princess excursion will just cancel you out without gaving you the freedom to choose. Handicap washroom was unergonomic, uncomfortable, unsafe because the handrails was design horizontal poking at your back. On comparison, the diamond princess to Japan with handicap washroom was design much better and the excursions was helpful than “ Island princess cruise for being wheelchair unfriendly.” Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife and I thought Holland America was a step above and tried the Panama cruise. First the ship is in disrepair ie: broken windows, window seal deteriorated causing windows to fog in main dining room, burnt out bulbs throughout ... Read More
My wife and I thought Holland America was a step above and tried the Panama cruise. First the ship is in disrepair ie: broken windows, window seal deteriorated causing windows to fog in main dining room, burnt out bulbs throughout especially at the elevators and Old wooden deck chairs on deck three of which 50 percent were broken. Attitude of the Hotel manager was not his problem. Staff throughout the ship in restaurants, cabins, bars etc. A 10 +++. The main dining room meals were over cooked much of the time during dinner hour though breakfast was fine. First night of cruise turkey was served bright pink ( scary !). One night tuna was so overcooked , it was like saw dust and most left it on their plates uneaten. On another evening the wiener schnitzel was served and waiters came around suggesting that we add gravy before we even tried the dish and through the gravy was not part of the menu the waiters were trying to correct another bad meal. Now the Pinnacle Grill was a great experience but we were forced to pay the extra charge to have good food compared to main dining room and we ate there four nights. Entertainment was very good and we enjoyed every performance. The shore experience in Costa Rica called canal tortuguero was a 100% waste of time. When we arrived by bus, there were bathrooms on the second floor of the building that were so unbelievably filthy that I perferred to not use since thing did not flush and one small sink to wash hands shared by men and women with nothing to wipe hands. The boat tour showed two iguanas,three birds and a couple monkeys. The second part of the tour was a banana plantation which consisted of the bus pulling off the main road to point out a few banana plans and return us back to the ship. So much for a plantation. Holland America charged 100 plus dollars and does not care how bad it is. Now it explains why Holland America does not even get mentioned in many ratings and independent reviews. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
our stwerd was awesome. He there when we needed something. Said hi in hall and talked with us. The Buffet was okay. Lots of food from different countries. Not my kind of food so I just picked. Breakfast was the same old thing and ... Read More
our stwerd was awesome. He there when we needed something. Said hi in hall and talked with us. The Buffet was okay. Lots of food from different countries. Not my kind of food so I just picked. Breakfast was the same old thing and the bakery was the same at breakfast. Lunch and dinner bakery was great. Main room dining was good. Photographer they know their job. They do great shots. I loved all my 129 pictures. Get the photo package be you sail. Save $50. Do all shot and have fun with them. This cruise did not have very many kids on board. You only see them at food time. The shore excursions was good. Grand tuck stay away from the town tour with lighthouse. Big disappointment. Shop around ship or do water trips. Pamama canal going thought locks was awesome. tour after to see new locks pamama city and ride old train back to ship. Have to do it. Pools and hot tub very relaxing Try out spa. Got good programs. Getting on and getting off ship was very smooth from Fort Lauderdale fl. We carry-on our luggage. Bags 24 and 28 inch and two smaller one too. Long drive from lubbock tx. Two day drive. 3600 mile around trip. Nice drive if you have time. Oh yes!! Holiday Inn express off of us 84 and I 595 just 10 minutes from ship. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Departure hour was delayed because a Norovirus outbreak in the last cruise. They had to clean the ship. Delayed was just a few hours and did not impact schedule at all. During the first days we had special cleaning instructions how to ... Read More
Departure hour was delayed because a Norovirus outbreak in the last cruise. They had to clean the ship. Delayed was just a few hours and did not impact schedule at all. During the first days we had special cleaning instructions how to behave. No problems at all during our cruise. Pick up at Miami airport was on time and excellent. Friendly crew were at the meeting point with a Princess Signed. My wife and I were the only ones on a big bus ride. The cruise is for older passengers. Baby Boomers and above, so entertainment is focused to this demography. Island Princess is a good ship. Built specially for Panama Canal, so it is “smaller”. It lacks some of the amenities of other Princess ships, like Tapas bar, Panini stand at the main galleria. We tend to miss these two for a midafternoon cup of wine or fast lunch. Another thing is that Princess built more staterooms to accommodate more passengers but did not increase size of restaurants. During peak hours, there are long lines at the Horizon and Anytime Dinner. Expect crowds during these hours. We had the specialty restaurants: Sabatini’s and Bayou Café. Sabatini’s is an excellent option. Nice food and service. Bayou lacks personality and at the end you don’t know what type of restaurant is, either steak? southern? etc. Did not like it very much, Crew is very friendly and helpful. We felt very pampered. Kudos for Island Princess crew, the best so far we have encountered. We took most of the Princess tours. All went well. All port of calls were excellent. Cartagena, beautiful city. Yes, you will find street vendors all over the City Tour, but they are friendly. Try to engage with them and you will learn one or two new things. Panama Canal was superb. Really an experience. Go outside for photos and fun. In Costa Rica we went to the Rain Forest tour. It was a 2:30 hours drive from port to the place. It is near San José. It is a long and slow ride on a winding jungle highway. In Jamaica we went to Dunn River falls. Lots of fun and the guides were happy and helpful climbing the falls. Don’t forget water shoes!! In summary, we were pampered for our anniversary celebration at Island Princess at Panamá Canal. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Main Entertainment was very good to excellent but entertainment in main areas of ship was awful. Food good with very good variety. Service good. Can’t prove it but food on shore excursions gave both of us Montezuma’s Revenge. ... Read More
Main Entertainment was very good to excellent but entertainment in main areas of ship was awful. Food good with very good variety. Service good. Can’t prove it but food on shore excursions gave both of us Montezuma’s Revenge. TV in room had very limited and intermittently unavailable programming. Tiny stateroom with no sitting area or sofa. Onboard activities very limited and too many tried to sell something or had fees. Game show hostesses were annoying with hard to understand Eastern European accents. Tiny pool. Limited common areas for relaxing. “Free” Ultimate Beverage Package a total rip-off. Mandatory $20 per person per day charge for gratuity. Very nice main theater. Smell of cigarette smoke in many public areas. Ship staff overall were very good. Chaotic process for finding ship sponsored (and other) location of transportation for shore excursions. Very elderly passengers. Median age definitely over 70. Probably over 75. Aerialists, Magician, Thomas John, Levena B Fox and production shows were excellent. Hypnotist not very good. Female Comedian very good. Good shore excursions. Many options for bars and restaurants although too many of them are an extra charge. Terrible smoking in casino kept me away. Captain was very informative and kept us on schedule. Limited seating in complimentary restaurants. Always a line and forced to wait. Too few tables for 2. Pressured to sit with others. Disembarkation was chaotic. Very long lines. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this because we always wanted to see the Panama Canal and the central America ports. Embarking was very quick. We arrived approx 11:45 and were on the ship by 12:15. Headed to O'Sheehan's bar for lunch and ... Read More
We chose this because we always wanted to see the Panama Canal and the central America ports. Embarking was very quick. We arrived approx 11:45 and were on the ship by 12:15. Headed to O'Sheehan's bar for lunch and beverage. Nice bar and good food. Great staff! Anytime dining allows you to dine here as well as the main dining rooms. Checked out the ship after that. The Start just had a major refurbishment so it looked great! Not to crazy about a few dead end areas when trying to get to a few places but we figured out out after time. Our rooms are ready before we left the port. Main dining areas were very nice. Service was very good and the food was good to very good. Staff was very good to excellent. Fine dining was very good to excellent a well as the service. Bars were great and service was very good even at the pool. They had a buffet at the pool daily. Entertainment was very good. Something for everyone. Our room was well laid out with many USB chargers. Best bathroom layout I've seen on cruise ships. Sliding doors on both shower and toilet area for privacy while the sink area can be used at the same time. Bed was very comfortable and the a.c. was efficient and quiet. Patio was big enough for 4 to sit but not lounge. Good size casino. Why do they still allow smoking in there? It's time to stop that practice. The gamblers will come back to gamble after they step out for a smoke. It's not like they can drive home. Health before profits! That goes for all cruise lines! The staff was excellent overall in all departments. Very happy, talkative, cheerful and helpful. By far NVL's biggest asset! We had a great time and weren't disappointed. I'll definitely cruise with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We wanted a winter cruise to warmer climes and a chance to transit the Panama Canal. Pros: -Our Coral Princess cabin was very quiet and comfortable, entirely adequate. The Promenade Deck was a delight, great place to walk, nice ... Read More
We wanted a winter cruise to warmer climes and a chance to transit the Panama Canal. Pros: -Our Coral Princess cabin was very quiet and comfortable, entirely adequate. The Promenade Deck was a delight, great place to walk, nice deck chairs to relax in, great viewing of the Panama Canal. -Dinners in the main dining room were outstanding. Had seafood virtually every meal, the staff was fantastic. -The Theatre entertainment was also outstanding. Great shows, highly professional, not to be missed. Cons: -Abusive prices for wines purchased on board in the main dining rooms. Outrageous! -Stern Serenity Area: $20/half day!!! Seriously?! -Lido Deck Hamburgers & Pizza - awful, don't bother. Worst we have ever had. -Breakfast sausage - greasy! -Food selections in the Horizons Cafe quite limited except for salads. -Far too few port stops on this cruise, far too many days at sea for length of cruise. One port stop (Nicaragua) was cancelled due to rough weather. -No self serve of beverages except water, tea, coffee. Even lemonade is by special request! -Internet service is hardly worth paying for, marginal at best. -On-board smart phone messaging between passengers about like Windows 95. Terrible, no sound alerts, often had to be re-loaded, re-booted, exasperating! -Main doors to Promenade deck, Lido Deck, Sun Deck, Horizons Cafe are very heavy wooden things that require a huge effort for most people. Great place to transfer germs, they feel sticky and will knock you down if you are not prepared. The should be automatic! -Overall the ship had a very "Stodgy" feel and atmosphere. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife and I chose this cruise for our 45th wedding anniversary. It was our first cruise ever and without a doubt it was 100 times better then we could have ever expected. From the moment we got on board every single person on staff ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise for our 45th wedding anniversary. It was our first cruise ever and without a doubt it was 100 times better then we could have ever expected. From the moment we got on board every single person on staff could not have been any more helpful friendly and happy to see me. The garden buffet was very good for a quick bite to eat. Versalies restaurant was absolutely amazing for breakfast lunch or dinner probably our favorite. Aqua was great dining good food fantastic service. Ginza was very good Asian food. We really enjoyed OShehans for a 24 hr a day choice for eats and drinks. I cannot say enough about the wait staff at every restaurant and bar. Absolutely amazing experience! The ship itself was not too big and the perfect size for me. Although I can’t compare to any other. It was clean and all the public spaces were very beautiful. Karaoke at sea nights was my favorite thing at 5 o’clock somewhere bar. Absolutely the best time and the best people from all over. The nightly shows were very good and the theater was beautiful. We had a picture window stateroom and it was very adequate. On the third day when we returned to our stateroom it was decorated for our anniversary with champagne. Very nice surprise. We loved all of the ports and took an excursion at all but 1. All were well worth it. All in all a wonderful way to vacation. Already looking at another cruise to book. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise to go through the Panama Canal and it ended in San Francisco which is home for us. The ship, Coral Princess, had been in dry dock for 12 days prior to our cruise and the contractors were not finished with the upgrades ... Read More
We chose this cruise to go through the Panama Canal and it ended in San Francisco which is home for us. The ship, Coral Princess, had been in dry dock for 12 days prior to our cruise and the contractors were not finished with the upgrades such as new carpet and flat screen TVs in the rooms. Nice upgrades, but there were rolls of carpet about the ship and painting still being done. Embarkation was delayed for 4 hours as the ship was late coming from dry dock so we sat in the waiting area until we could board. Our cabin had a new TV and the room was thoroughly functional, but the wi fi was not working properly and there were tech's throughout the ship working on it. Cosmetically the ship was not up to the standards we have experienced on Princess. For instance there were speaker covers sitting on the floor in the Princess theater and seats around us were broken and wobbly. Our cabin was a balcony unit and other than the minor cosmetics we were overall happy with it, it was clean and the bed was comfortable. Dining was excellent, the food was great and a nice variety to chose from. The dinners were a little long, averaged about two hours to finish our meals. We had the early seating for dining, the shows are staggered so we could still see them after dinner. We really enjoyed the Production show, well done. The guest entertainers were excellent, I recommend seeing them, comics, magicians, singers. Lots of activities daily on the ship, we never got bored. The service was excellent, the crew is friendly and works hard. We took a shore excursion at every port through Princess and they were well organized. Only drawback is on ports where you tender in took a long time waiting in tender lines both coming and going. Some ports were short on time and some of it wasted waiting in line. Only one of the excursions we took was misleading in the Princess tour listings description. In Cabo San Lucas, MX we took tour SJD-500 that is titled "4 x 4 Desert and Camel Adventure". There was NOT a 4 x 4 ride "on a guided off-road safari adventure". It is also listed there is a tortilla-making presentation which did not happen, very misleading. We did have a tequila tasting as described and the traditional Baja meal was excellent. The camel ride was fun and unique, well organized. The description says "cameras may not be used whilst atop a camel", however we were prevented from taking photos while greeting the camels too. Disappointing since the vendor had there own photographers taking photos, unfortunately their photos were expensive starting at $40 for one! Way too expensive, we returned without a photo of us on the camel. Guests we dined with took the Whale Watching by Zodiac in Cabo San Lucas and they really liked it, said it was fantastic and they saw about 30 whales and several were up close. If we are able to do this cruise again we plan on doing this excursion. This was a great cruise and we would do it again (probably will in a few of years). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
It was my wife's 70th birthday and we wanted to do something grand and special so this fit the bill. A trip through the Panama Canal had always been on my "bucket list" and this was a chance to visit many different ... Read More
It was my wife's 70th birthday and we wanted to do something grand and special so this fit the bill. A trip through the Panama Canal had always been on my "bucket list" and this was a chance to visit many different countries. Interacting with the "locals" was wonderful. Enjoyed our hop-on hop-off bus tour in Cartegena, and the submarine excursion in Aruba was exciting ... beautiful coral and colourful fish. The ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaco) were a treat, very friend people, colourful buildings, easy to walk around. The ship itself was thoroughly enjoyable ... never a lack of things to do. Every show in the Theatre was excellent, and we especially enjoyed the Cirque du Soleil duo. We are not "formal" people, so free-style cruising suits us well. The casino was good because the "odds" on the slots were set high enough that you could enjoy some decent play time. The only drawback is that smoking is allowed. The only improvement I would suggest to the itinerary would be to include a stop in either Nassau or San Juan to break up the final three and a half days at sea. All in all, a wonderful trip and we plan on continuing to "cruise like a Norwegian". Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because of the canal transit and that did not disappoint. Get a balcony state room as you get a real experience from the balcony of the locks and transit. We ate at all the specialty restaurants as we had the package. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the canal transit and that did not disappoint. Get a balcony state room as you get a real experience from the balcony of the locks and transit. We ate at all the specialty restaurants as we had the package. They were all very good with excellent service. The entertainment was top notch, with great Broadway style shows and funny comics. It was a real shame that the pool deck was a disappointment. First of all, they were scraping and painting above one pool and small flecks of paint were floating in the water?!! No effort was made to screen off the maintenance, which was above the grill and the pool! I did not swim in that pool after seeing the paint flakes floating in it. But, both pool were unheated?! According to the life guard, the pools were replaced with sea water every night?! This was to keep them clean?! They were consequently freezing even in very hot weather. Unacceptable. Also people would reserve loungers by placing items on them and then walk away. The pool deck staff did nothing about this and on at sea days it was hard to find a spot to sit in the sun and then take a quick shower as the pools were really too cold. In frustration one day I complained to one of the guys on deck and he went around and collected a few towels but basically did nothing to help me. We often went up top away from the pool to sit away from the very loud group with a terrible female lead singer who sang everything flat. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Itinerary was great! food in mdr was average at best. any time dining was a big waste and princess needs to correct because the wait was always over anhour. sabatini's and bayou cafe were excellent. beware the crab shack was ... Read More
Itinerary was great! food in mdr was average at best. any time dining was a big waste and princess needs to correct because the wait was always over anhour. sabatini's and bayou cafe were excellent. beware the crab shack was only held one evening and we had already booked dining on balcony for two which was awesome and we recommend for any princess cruise! the entertainment consisted of comedians. there was only one production show and it was one song after another and no big deal. staff was excellent but the cruise director hid for most of the ten night cruise. the ports were really outstanding. did a tour with dora the explorer in cartagena, columbia, and would love to visit again. the rain forest in limon costa rica as also worth doing. stayed on the ship during the panama canal transit and enjoyed the whole day watching the ship go through the locks! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I had been planning this cruise for several years to celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary as well as her completing her PhD. We had booked an ocean view cabin on Deck #1. We did not find out until out first night that we ... Read More
My wife and I had been planning this cruise for several years to celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary as well as her completing her PhD. We had booked an ocean view cabin on Deck #1. We did not find out until out first night that we had a cabin under the B.B.King nightclub! Could someone please explain to me why a cruise line would put passengers in a cabin under a noisy night club! We complained to Guest Services several times and finally we moved to another cabin. 4 nights of a 10 night cruise spent in a cabin we could not sleep in! GRRRRR! I wrote to Holland America corporate customer service after the cruise to express my displeasure with their accommodations. They offered us $500.00 in Ship Board credits on our next cruise. So in order to avail ourselves of their offer we have to spend several thousand dollars. Not a good option. We also booked a Romantic Getaway Package. We were supposed to get complimentary pictures, casino lessons and credit at the casino, as well as flowers, sparkling wine, (upon entering our cabin on the first cruise day) and chocolate covered strawberries in our cabin. The wine was not chilled. We were told the florist was running behind. In order to get the pictures and the lessons and credit at the casino the letter with the package was not accepted. We had to go back to Guest Services and get a card showing that we should receive the services. We ended up doing this over several days as we tried to get our package services. So, basically we went to customer service on a nearly daily basis. GRRRRR! Holland America had many opportunities to make things right. Many of the onboard staff did a commendable job trying to resolve these problems. Corporate could have done a better job. The dining room staff and the Green House spa staff were great. The excursions were good. Overall I would have to say that when a problem arose the onboard staff tried to make the situation right. Holland America Customer Relations - Not so much. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Fantastic experience! Stateroom was beautiful but I can confirm the vibration is excessive, even for an aft stateroom. However, the overall quality of the room and that balcony during the transit far outweighed the vibration being a ... Read More
Fantastic experience! Stateroom was beautiful but I can confirm the vibration is excessive, even for an aft stateroom. However, the overall quality of the room and that balcony during the transit far outweighed the vibration being a problem. Would book it again in a heartbeat. Balcony dinner was FANTASTIC. Club Class dining was wonderful and we were able to have the same server every night and never a wait. They accommodated my no dairy / no gluten needs without a problem. I found the food to be exceptional. Canal transit was the highlight for sure. We opted to stay on board instead of doing an excursion and watched the transit from our aft balcony going into Gatun and then from deck 11 forward leaving Gatun so we got both perspectives. Great choice in my opinion. We embarked from terminal 2 but were bumped to a different terminal upon return but they handled it wonderfully with minimal inconvenience. We stayed at the Hilton Marina the night prior to sailing. Great location, not impressed with the grounds at all. Not a good representation of a Hilton property. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This cruise stopped at some ports we had not visited previously and also went into the Panama Canal and back out again. We also left winter behind for ten days and enjoyed the balmy Caribbean weather. Although Island Princess is fifteen ... Read More
This cruise stopped at some ports we had not visited previously and also went into the Panama Canal and back out again. We also left winter behind for ten days and enjoyed the balmy Caribbean weather. Although Island Princess is fifteen years old now, it has been well maintained. Our Caribe deck balcony cabin was excellent and even a bit larger than we expected. Our needs were met perfectly by our steward. Island Princess does not have an International Cafe, Wines & Vines and the rear quarter of the Promenade deck has been closed off to make an additional twenty balcony cabins. So, when one walks the deck, one must cut through the ship to complete each lap. A little irritation not found on some ships. We were moved from anytime dining to a traditional table by the Matre'D the fourth night of the cruise (since some tables were open there) and that became a great experience. Jaco and Akshay proved to be fabulous waiters and made each meal fun and flavorful. The food was well prepared and presented and on a par with the other three Princess cruises we have taken. Some items were outstanding and Jaco's knowledge of the food and desert items was quite helpful. The show "The Secret Silk" was well performed and magician Gary Carson was very entertaining. Allan at the piano off the atrium and Danny the guitarist provided great listening. The vocalist in the Wheelhouse Bar, the violin & guitar classical duo and the group playing dance & pop tunes were all excellent and enthusiastic performers. The Cartagena Old City tour was fun and informative but a bit too short. The snorkel tour on Grand Cayman was not great due to choppy, windy conditions that day. Meeting the Sloths in Limon, Costa Rica, was an educational experience but a poor photographic one due to the sloths being in cages. Ocho Rios is a pretty little port. We took a walk downtown and purchased some handmade items from the makers at the craft market. It's safe to do this during the day with good police presence. It's only a 10 - 15 minute walk one way. Our time in the Panama Canal was interesting and very informative. The canal expert on board was excellent and had great knowledge of the canal from personal experience. He delivered a wonderful pre-transit presentation and a great running narration over the ship's speaker system during the transit. Service on the ship was good and we have learned the times to avoid the buffet to minimize waiting in lines. Food in the Horizon Court was good with lots of choices. Salad greens were very fresh and tasty. Sushi was put out one day only and the pieces of tuna were very small without a lot of taste. The hand-rolls were good though. Embarcation in Fort Lauderdale was a breeze since we arrived two hours after it had started so all lines were gone. Debarcation was slower but not excessive. Being Global Entry participants allowed us to use the short line through customs and we were whisked through quickly. I try not to look too gleeful every time this happens but it's impossible not to smile. I feel for the hundreds of people we bypass but they need to get with the program too if they want the benefits it offers. Getting onto the transfer bus took longer than it should and Princess could use more employees to properly direct guests to the buses and to keep the lines more orderly. FLL is an outdated airport and shows it. Princess EZ Air saved us lots of money on our flights and has been super to use for several cruises now. We always check to see what they can do for us when booking with Princess. All in all, this was a wonderful cruise with very calm seas the entire ten days. Now I'm looking out my window at a snow-covered landscape with 8 degree temps. We have another cruise booked next month and it can't come too soon. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This itinerary has been on our bucket list for a long time. The enrichment activities provided by Chris Roberts and Dr. Angel Colon were most enjoyable and greatly increased my awareness on the topics covered. Please continue these ... Read More
This itinerary has been on our bucket list for a long time. The enrichment activities provided by Chris Roberts and Dr. Angel Colon were most enjoyable and greatly increased my awareness on the topics covered. Please continue these enrichment lectures with fine speakers like these two gentlemen. The crew was awesome and provided perfect service as well as exhibiting tremendous good morale. Special thanks to bar staff, Shailesh, Komang, Edgar, Mario, Geraldine & Sheila. Thanks to IC staff as well including Papa Ver, Anoop, Lito and Yehven. We loved the numerous spaces for the passengers to sit, eat something or have a drink. Our faves were the Wheelhouse bar (biggest fave), Crooners, the IC, MUTS, Explorers bar. The Blue Jade band was the best entertainment and dance band we have heard so far on a ship. We closed the Wheelhouse bar every night due to them. The ship's band was the best we have experienced to date as well. The theatre really need two more exits. Many somewhat disabled people took a lot of time using the two available exits making me really hope that there would be no emergency that required the theatre to vacate. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Always wanted to do this one. Being able to take 15 days to travel to Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Columbia was icing on the cake. The on-board experience was excellent. We spent a good deal of time at one club, the service ... Read More
Always wanted to do this one. Being able to take 15 days to travel to Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Columbia was icing on the cake. The on-board experience was excellent. We spent a good deal of time at one club, the service and friendly demeanour of the crew made us feel we were in a favourite neighbourhood pub. On shore trips were also great. Our state room steward went out of his way to attend to our every need. I had a malfunction of my running shoes, a glue repair was required. Ronald was able arrange the fix, and did so free of charge. My wife requested distilled water, and and extension cord for her Cpap machine, it was present at check in. When we checked in to board, everything was streamlined and effortless. From the time we checked in until we were in our cabin was less then 30 minutes. Well done on our return as well. Disembarkation was very efficient, and clearing customs slick. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We choose this cruise because of the destination - to make a full transit of the Panama Canal. Additionally, our travel agent was able to find us a pre-cruise option to go to the New Years Day 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the destination - to make a full transit of the Panama Canal. Additionally, our travel agent was able to find us a pre-cruise option to go to the New Years Day 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA prior to going on the cruise. The NCL Star was the perfect ship for us as we are very low - maintenance cruisers I guess. We did not want a big ship, we wanted to just relax and do what we wanted to do. So Free-Style Cursing on the NCL Star worked very well for us. Can't say enough good things on the just plain Excellent food, entertainment, accommodations we chose, or most importantly of all the service we received from the entire staff and crew. The shore excursions we choose were all very good and well worth the price we thought. However,we could see adding a port - of - call after the Panama Canal (we sailed west to east btw), and dropping one of the ports - of - call before going through the Canal. Having a stop in Panama itself would have been interesting. We did not travel with children, and were looking for a itinerary, ship and time of sailing that would not have a lot of kids on it. Yes, we would most certainly sail on Norwegian Cruise Lines again....and we will! Read Less

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