I have just returned from a great cruise thur the Panama Canal. Everything was great.
EXCEPT for the embarkation in Costa Rica. The airport is small, and closed at 6 or 6:30 pm, if your flight got delayed you could not get to the ship until the next day. Many people had a delay and did not board until the following day at another port. There tours where missed and most very dissatisfyied.
EXCEPT for the embarkation in Costa Rica. The bus ride was 2 hours to the ship. The country side was interesting and the tour guide was good. The ride itself was long after a 6 hour plane ride with a stop some people longer.
EXCEPT for the embarkation in Costa Rica. There at the ship you entered a "warehouse/terminal" for registration. Not well lite and rushed, tired and thirsty, glad to be there. An accident waiting to happen "ME", I fell on the uneven rugs and broke my thumb and scraped my arm.
I hope that Princess will not consider Costa Rica as an embarkation, but as a port of call to those who would like to see their country.
I will be sailing our of Costa Rica on Holland America next month. I love Costa Rica and wish I could spend more time there this trip instead of just flying down the day of embarkation. HAL uses a different port than Princess does so I will need to see how it is. I will post on HAL's message board when I return.
We're doing the exact same itinerary, and are sailing out on the 14th. We decided to go down a day early; and we arrive in San Jose at 1pm to spend the night at the Costa Rica Marriott; so I'm hoping our embarkation goes smoother than yours.
Do you have any hints, suggestions, or advice about the cruise, the ship, or the ports?
Thanks for any info
The Costa Rica Marriott is an incredible hotel; you will enjoy it immensely. You might consider hiring a taxi to take you to the pier, as you can leave as early as you want and travel more efficiently. Leave around 9, get to the ship at 11 and board immediately. I think a taxi to the pier would be around $80 and a van $120, which is very economical depending on how many people are with you. If memory serves me correctly, Princess transfers to the pier were $45 pp!!! The busses do not leave the hotel until around 11:15am, getting you to the ship around 1:00 or so, but we had to wait for thirty to forty minutes until the lines had died down in the warehouse. For some reason, Princess was not checking-in by deck, but instead just had about 10 booths where you wait in one line like at airports. If you do take the busses just have some patience, it's well worth the wait.
I did the same cruise last October/November. I concur that the bus ride from the airport to the pier is a bit tedious, though the tour guide was great. The reality is that most embarkation terminals are converted warehouses, but they do serve the purpose.
I'm sorry to hear that some of your fellow passengers arrived late, but they were very fortunate that the next day's port of call was so close!
You probably will be thrilled to know that next year's "Classic Panama Canal" itinerary is a fifteen-night affair operating between Fort Lauderdale and San Diego. The "bad news" on that one is that MV Sun Princess and MV Crown Princess are trading places, so MV Crown Princess gets the new fifteen-night itinerary.