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disneyochem

HAL Rotterdam or Island Princess for Panama Canal?

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Hello, I would like some feedback on which ship to take on a first-time Panama Canal trip.  Both leave from Ft Launderdale:  Island (14-day Cruise) ends in LA, HAL (16-day cruise) in San Diego.  Price differential is only $86.   We live in Northern California so getting home is about the same to us from either port.

 

We have sailed Princess before (which we loved) but not HAL.  We are pretty active in our late 50’s who like to DIY at ports, like ships with promenades, enjoy fine wine with traditional dining (not buffet folks) and not into the shows (like to listen to music though).  Always book an inside room (though we do enjoy balconys when upgraded!)—hubby has to complete darkness at night for a good sleep!

 

We want to go through the old locks on our first transit—that’s a must.  Also, we have to go during my semester break in December/January 2021 (college professor).

 

Thank you in advance!  And, what a great topic to post—either way, we get to go on a fantastic cruise!

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Posted (edited)

Really can't offer anything substantive regarding which cruise line, but can throw out a couple of things to consider.  All of HAL's ships will be using the legacy locks, they presently have only one ship that would need to use the new locks.  That ship is the Koningsdam and I don't see it scheduled for any Canal transits.  On the other hand Princess has three ships scheduled for full transits, the Emerald, Coral and the Island.  The Emerald will be using the new locks while the Coral and the Island will use the legacy locks.  From what I have read, most people prefer the Coral over the Island as a result of the additional passenger cabins that were added and reduction in some public spaces.

 

One other thing to add, I would look for a cruise that offers a port call in Panama in addition to the transit.  Panama is quite a bit different from the "regular" Caribbean or Mexican Riviera cruises.  Several good historical/cultural excursions as well as you can explore some of the Canal from the shore side perspective.  Not all cruise lines combine a port call in Panama.  Both Princess and HAL do call at Ft. Amador on the Pacific side, however they don't always include the Ft. Amador stop in every itinerary.  I would be willing to wager that the 14 doesn't stop at Ft. Amador.

Edited by BillB48

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Hubby and I did a LA to Panama with the return to LA - 19 day cruise. 
We had a mini suite on the Island Princess ~ the only time we have. Usually we do regular balcony or oceanview.

I was hesitant about how that ship would be but we both agree that it was

one of the best cruises we had done.

I do not think you can go wrong with either line actually. I can only tell you what we experienced and it way wonderful.

 

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We did the Coral Panama Canal and loved it. Island has gotten some bad marks since the "remodel" or whatever you choose to call it.

 

Haven't done HAL is a while. I prefer Princess now, but wouldn't turn down a chance to cruise on HAL if the right trip came up.

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On 8/17/2019 at 8:32 AM, BillB48 said:

Really can't offer anything substantive regarding which cruise line, but can throw out a couple of things to consider.  All of HAL's ships will be using the legacy locks, they presently have only one ship that would need to use the new locks.  That ship is the Koningsdam and I don't see it scheduled for any Canal transits.  On the other hand Princess has three ships scheduled for full transits, the Emerald, Coral and the Island.  The Emerald will be using the new locks while the Coral and the Island will use the legacy locks.  From what I have read, most people prefer the Coral over the Island as a result of the additional passenger cabins that were added and reduction in some public spaces.

 

One other thing to add, I would look for a cruise that offers a port call in Panama in addition to the transit.  Panama is quite a bit different from the "regular" Caribbean or Mexican Riviera cruises.  Several good historical/cultural excursions as well as you can explore some of the Canal from the shore side perspective.  Not all cruise lines combine a port call in Panama.  Both Princess and HAL do call at Ft. Amador on the Pacific side, however they don't always include the Ft. Amador stop in every itinerary.  I would be willing to wager that the 14 doesn't stop at Ft. Amador.

Thank you for your thoughts.  We are limited to certain dates based on my teaching schedule so it is between the Island and Rotterdam.  I’m going to take a look into the ports now.

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On 9/3/2019 at 1:55 PM, greenie082756 said:

Hubby and I did a LA to Panama with the return to LA - 19 day cruise. 
We had a mini suite on the Island Princess ~ the only time we have. Usually we do regular balcony or oceanview.

I was hesitant about how that ship would be but we both agree that it was

one of the best cruises we had done.

I do not think you can go wrong with either line actually. I can only tell you what we experienced and it way wonderful.

 

Thank you!  I have heard such bad reviews about the Island.  Glad to hear you had a wonderful cruise.

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20 hours ago, scottca075 said:

We did the Coral Panama Canal and loved it. Island has gotten some bad marks since the "remodel" or whatever you choose to call it.

 

Haven't done HAL is a while. I prefer Princess now, but wouldn't turn down a chance to cruise on HAL if the right trip came up.

Hubby is leaning towards Princess.  He loved our first Princess cruise so much that he booked three more!  Wants to explore and experience more with Princess.

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On 10/17/2019 at 5:01 PM, marysb said:

We did a HAL Panama Canal cruise on the Eurodaam.  loved it, but we did really like that ship.   Here are some photos of our HAL experience.  https://maryandnormtravel.blogspot.com/2017/05/panama-canal-cruise-april-2017-part-1.html

 

im sure you you will enjoy whichever you choose.

Mary

THank you for the link!  Great pictures!  Looks like it was a wonderful cruise.  We had been leaning towards Princess but now we’re re-evaluating.  

 

Thank you again!

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