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Anonymous2 Feb 2012
Has anyone been on board a Princess Cruise from the US through the Panama Canal. I am considering this but an reading mixed reviews online. Would be good to hear from anyone who has personally been on one.2 Feb 2012
I have not travelled on Princess Cruises, but a friend has who said that they are okay, but full of Americans and everything is geared towards American clientle.
I have travelled on a number of P&O Cruises, which are fairly good, but if you have not been with them before and you are a frequent traveller then you might find that passengers are treated a little bit like children as catering to those who only travel one, two or three times a year.
Mrs T did a P&O Cruise between Mexico and Barbados through the Panama Canal a few years back and said it was a good trip. That was a fly cruise. The only issue she had was that the flights offered were with Thomas Cook and Monarch. Hence when we did our DXB-HKG sector on P&O we did our own flight arrangement.
Not the answer to the question, but might help.8 Jul 2012
I used to work for P&O Princess Cruises as an onboard nursing officer and transited through the Panama Canal once a week for 4 month so I feel well qualified to answer this question. Firstly the ships they use on that itinerary are good quality ships, made in the late 90’s or early 2000, such as the coral princess which was my ship. These are good and sturdy ships which carry about 2500 pax and 1000 crew.
The pax are / were mainly Americans with moderate standards ( eg not carnival cruise line class pax nor Cunard class pax – somewhere in the middle), and the onboard currency is American dollars, so usually Cheap for the Brits. Excellent onboard entertainment and food of good quality, especially the steak house and southern American restaurant.
The panama canal transit is good fun, especially given that the captain can negotiate the ship with only 50 cm spare leeway on either side of the ship- the shop often bumps into the sides about 7 am on the transit day. They you float the gatun lake for a while then return through the gatun locks, usually heading for colon where you disembark for some shopping. In gatun lake look out for the crocs – that are there!
I hope you decide to go on the cruise – it offered me a great opportunity to travel the world and see many new places. Also wracked up lots of QF and BA points when flying out to the ship. Also sailed on the Sun Princess in Alaska, Pacific Sun in Australia and world cruise on P&O Oriana. Now I am a loyal servant to the NHS with a bit of medical repatriation (in business of course) when I have time.8 Jul 2012
It is an excellent cruise. We travelled on Caribbean Princees in 2007 – ish. From LAX to Puerto Rico. Do the full transit. A year or so later we did a partial on Ocean Village and made the most of seeing the lock gates of the Canal working, and visited the interesting historic town of Portobello.2 May 2013