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Room selection for Panama Canal on Island Princess

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We are considering a Panama Canal cruise on the Island Princess. I was all set to book my typical balcony stateroom location when it occurred to me that there are probably some balconies better suited for this cruise than others....and that I don't know what I don't know.

 

So I figured I would ask here where there are people in the know:

Is it better to be higher? Lower? Aft? Forward? Is there a better location to be in for a Panama Canal cruise?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Jeff

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We were just on the Coral Princess, the sister ship of the Island. We enjoyed our covered balcony on the Emerald Deck. It gave us some shade, and it also provides protection during rainy periods (likely in the tropical location of Panama). You're only one deck above the Promenade, so it's easy to go down a flight of stairs to get a view on the other side of the ship. Since it's the lowest deck for the balconies, you get a good view of the lock operations as the ship transits.

 

For the canal transit, remember that it's an all-day event. You will want to move around and see operations from different vantage points. With the unfortunate reconfiguration of the Island, you won't have much chance to see operations from the stern. However, you still should be able to go out on the forward viewing areas on the decks below the bridge during the canal transit.

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I think the public aft deck is on deck 8 - there are no rooms there. You could also get an aft balcony. I've been through the canal twice - once on the Coral and last year on the Island. Contrary to what most have said about the Island, it is my favorite ship. Part of the reason is we were in an aft vista suite on the deck with the children's center - not sure which deck that is. The cabin was the nicest vista suite we've stayed in with an incredible balcony. We were a little higher up than I prefer, and most of the balcony was exposed, but the size was massive. On both canal passages, we spent most of the canal day on different decks - front, sides, back, and on our balcony. You'll have plenty of time to experience the canal from high and near the water. I'm sure I'll do another canal transit some day, and it will be on the Island.

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There is another thread on this topic to which I just replied. I read the prior response by a traveler who liked the aft cabins on the Island Princess. Here is a copy of my response up above, including a link to our review:

 

DO NOT STAY IN THE NEW CABINS!

 

We did a Panama Canal cruise in April 2107 in Cabin C731 (a corner balcony). We had a great cruise EXCEPT for the cabin, which the customer relations manager (who joined the ship the day we boarded) said was officially described in the notes he inherited as a "noisy cabin." It's in quotation marks because it's a direct quote. We've been in aft cabins before. We like aft cabins. We know there is vibration. It is not the vibration that gets you (although it does prevent our Apple iWatches from fully recharging.) It is the rattles. And prior guests had done all sorts of things, including wedging a bottle opener into the ceiling fixture to eliminate the rattles. Some of the rattles are unachored wires and pipes in the walls so the problem is basically incurable. And, as you will read in our review, there were days where we had no refrigerator (I carry medicine which must be refrigerated) and where we had no hot water and had to use the spa for showers.

 

Try this link:

 

https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberr...EntryID=583865

 

As I noted, Princess provided a very significant credit on the ship, coupled with the promise that the customer service manager (and not some random employee) would call us when we got home. When we arrived home, we had to chase down Princess to speak to a lower level employee, who insisted, after review, that no one at Hq was going to speak to us further. We did get a FCC, which we promptly applied to a cruise.

 

Would we sail on the Island Princess again? Yes. Would we take a cabin in the new section? Never. You can't sleep and you don't have hot water.

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We have C731 sailing in 4 days. Since this review above, I haven't seen any other bad reviews of this room. I will certainly follow up with a review. We love the Emerald deck aft minis, took this one even after seeing the review.

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We sailed the canal on the Coral Princess. We sailed from LA to FLL and chose a balcony cabin that was starboard (odd numbered) to avoid the afternoon sun and heat for most of the cruise. (This would be the reverse from FLL to LA.) Even then, we kept the drapes closed to keep the cabin cooler...we prefer cooler! As previously mentioned, move around the ship. While it was fascinating to watch from the upper decks both forward and aft, looking out the window of the International Cafe was very interesting, too.

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We are considering a Panama Canal cruise on the Island Princess. I was all set to book my typical balcony stateroom location when it occurred to me that there are probably some balconies better suited for this cruise than others....and that I don't know what I don't know.

 

So I figured I would ask here where there are people in the know:

Is it better to be higher? Lower? Aft? Forward? Is there a better location to be in for a Panama Canal cruise?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Jeff

Been on the Island Princess. Loved the Mini Suite B226. Besides your own balcony, you have access to the forward bow that can accommodate at least 25 people. Great views forward going thru the locks.

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Last cruise we didn't bother with a balcony since we spend most of our time in the Lotus Pool area. Air conditioned, padded loungers and good view outside, plus easy access to outside decks when you want to take pictures. Just avoid the obstructed ocean view cabins over the Explorers Lounge - band was ok but the singer was off key. Mostly ended by 11-12, though.

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We are considering a Panama Canal cruise on the Island Princess. I was all set to book my typical balcony stateroom location when it occurred to me that there are probably some balconies better suited for this cruise than others....and that I don't know what I don't know.

 

So I figured I would ask here where there are people in the know:

Is it better to be higher? Lower? Aft? Forward? Is there a better location to be in for a Panama Canal cruise?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Jeff

 

Greetings Bro

 

You did get some wrong info by travelers that said that they had not been on the ship. 1st clue. The Island Princess has two draw backs to Balcony cabins. The largest cabins BE (234 Sp Ft) on emerald Deck and I had originally booked one until my ticket came and said: Please be aware that Outside Cabin Balcony Doors will be locked during Lock Transits of the Panama Canal as cables are attached to ship to keep it from striking the walls and these are directly outside your balcony and extremely dangerous.

 

Hence I changed my cabin to deck 11 BE Which has it"s drawback that the teen center is down the hallway from the rooms or the hallway is the passageway to the Teen Center. If you do not mind someone talking loud, Boy/Girl private party outside you door, this is the next best bet. There is only one of these taken so far as of yesterday. The front is totally sold out H M M M I wonder why?

 

Remember the food service is at the back and the Main Lounge, Pools, Casino, etc are easily reached by Forward elevators and secondary by MidShip elevators. If you need to exercise off the 13 possible times and places to eat on board each day, a room at the Forward will assist in depletion of calories.

My wife and I are on the SFran to Ft Laud Dec 5, 2018 Island Princess

 

Patrick

Edited by DelrayDancer
Compacted

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Just a heads up, When the Inland Princess was remodeled in2015 the Universe Lounge was removed, both inside and balcony cabins were addedin its place. Thru the Promenade deckaft now have the lowest balconies and the walking deck on the Promenade deck nolonger goes completely around.

 

Per Princess the on the BE-category cabins on the Promenadedeck will be the only closed balconies during lock transient when cables areattached. Here is the contract notice includedwhen ticketing.

 

Notifications

 

PROMENADE DECK BALCONY ADVISORY

 

Please be advised that dueto operational and safety reasons, guestsin BE-category cabins located on the Promenade deck will be unable toaccess their balcony while the ship is in the locks on Canal transit day.

When traveling through the canal, heavy cables are attached to the ship to helpguide the vessel through the locks to maintain its correct position. As thesecables are strung near the Promenade deck, as a safety measure access to thesebalconies will be restricted during the Panama Canal transit.

Please note this only applies to Promenade deck balconies, and will only applywhen the ship is in the locks; guests will be able to use these balconies atall other times.

If you are in a balcony cabin on anyother deck, please disregard this message.

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We had D503 (minisuite) on the Coral going through the Panama Canal and loved it.....mid-ship and fairly low. Convenient to elevators (but no noise) and equally distant from back and front. Like others said, we went forward, aft and on our balcony during the day long passage though.

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We did a Vancouver to Fort Lauderdale cruise w/full Panama transit in 2009 on the Coral. We were in cabin A309 which was referred to as a ‘bump-out’ cabin.

 

We chose the ‘bump-out’ cabin to obtain the least obstructed views from the balcony.

 

(Realistically, while going through the Panama locks, we opted to be out ‘on deck’ watching the event from either the promenade deck or up top for a full 360-view.)

 

If you review the deck plans, you will find both Balcony and Mini-Suite cabins that ‘bump out’ on Aloha, Baja and Caribe decks.

 

An example of what I mean by ‘bump-out’ using Baja deck on the Island would be balcony cabins B309/B310, or B622/B637.

These cabins protrude out from the adjacent cabins on one side, providing a better angle for viewing forward or aft down the side of the ship.

 

Conversely, if you look at cabins B311/B312, you’ll see them somewhat recessed.

 

Views from these recessed balconies would be more limited because they are set back into the deck more and obstructed to one side buy the projection of the ‘bump-out’ cabin next door.

 

I’ve attached a picture (Posted by user cr8tiv1) to give you perspective on what I’m trying to describe.

 

Ideally, getting a ‘bump-out’ on Aloha deck would be best. An Aloha deck ‘bump-out’ would be best to minimize the obstruction from the larger balconies on Dolphin deck (when looking directly down from the balcony).

 

I hope this explanation hasn’t been too confusing.

 

If you do a forum search for ‘bump-out’ – you’ll find numerous threads on the topic.

IMG_1525_zps12fc1bbe.thumb.jpg.80c71c8daf29a130a79623bfb32ae928.jpg

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We did a Vancouver to Fort Lauderdale cruise w/full Panama transit in 2009 on the Coral. We were in cabin A309 which was referred to as a ‘bump-out’ cabin.

 

We chose the ‘bump-out’ cabin to obtain the least obstructed views from the balcony.

 

(Realistically, while going through the Panama locks, we opted to be out ‘on deck’ watching the event from either the promenade deck or up top for a full 360-view.)

 

If you review the deck plans, you will find both Balcony and Mini-Suite cabins that ‘bump out’ on Aloha, Baja and Caribe decks.

 

An example of what I mean by ‘bump-out’ using Baja deck on the Island would be balcony cabins B309/B310, or B622/B637.

These cabins protrude out from the adjacent cabins on one side, providing a better angle for viewing forward or aft down the side of the ship.

 

Conversely, if you look at cabins B311/B312, you’ll see them somewhat recessed.

 

Views from these recessed balconies would be more limited because they are set back into the deck more and obstructed to one side buy the projection of the ‘bump-out’ cabin next door.

 

 

 

We have booked a bump out for our Panama cruise. Are the balconies on these cabins the same size as the balconies on the regular Balcony cabins? On the deck plans they actually look a little smaller.

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My last trip thru the Canal I was upgraded to C201, the very first forward Window Suite. No balcony but only steps from the open forward deck. When nothing was in view ahead I would retreat to my cabin to cool off and watch the TV for sights ahead, then was back outside in seconds. I thought it was a nice location and a huge cabin for one person.

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