While waiting for a reply to this post, I checked online and the hike was already waitlisted for my date... so I signed up in case we get a chance to to this excursion. I'm calling Princess about booking a back-up excursion and for confirmation on cancellation deadlines for the specific tours.
I did book the Volcano Photo Safari on the same day and left our names on the waitlist for the hike. I called Princess and they said if our names moved up on the waitlist, they would contact us and give us the choice.
Just back from Island Princess 15-day Panama Canal. We were initially waitlisted for the volcano hike and were given tickets as soon as we checked into our cabin so cancelled the back-up plan for the Volcano Photo Safari. The hike was fine but the excursion was just so-so overall for me.
Pros (and there were several):
- got to see the countryside during three-hour drive there
- the four-wheel drive up the volcano was the most fun part (very steep)
- the view from a look-off was impressive
- the hike was pretty and didn't seem too long
- lunch in Granada was very nice.
- it took three hours to get there in heavy traffic, after a one-hour unexplained delay getting off the ship
- part of the road was under construction wasting additional time (but we were warned)
- felt that there wasn't enough time to complete the excursion as advertised (didn't get to see the lagoon crater up close or stop at the Crossing for a close look at the two volcanos in Lake Nicarauga). The bus just pulled off the road for a picture through the window and you couldn't see that the volcanos were in the lake, although visability was good.
- zero time to buy anything except coffee at an unscheduled stop at a small plantation on the road up the volcano
- we weren't provided with the advertised bottle of water
- we got back to the ship at 7:30pm = one very long day that felt incomplete.
Given another chance, I would rather see an active volcano or spend more time in Granada. It felt more like a mountain hike than a volcano hike (forest and grass) and I expected to see a crater that didn't look like a grass covered mountainside.
Better research may have helped me enjoy it more for what it was.
Hope these details help someone decide whether or not they would enjoy this excursion.
welcome back and thank you for the very objective review. I'm sorry the excursion left you "incomplete", as you put it; I've been on some of those too. Sometimes they come off exactly as advertised; sometimes not.
The volcano hike was waitlisted when I started booking excursions so we opted for the "Colonial Granada" and I think I'll just let that stand.
In Granada we had a quick walk around a block or two and that was it. The lunch was very good (pre-orders were taken for fish, chicken or beef) and there was live entertainment - sorry I don't know the name of the restaurant but maybe the Tour Desk can tell you where the Princess tours usually go. I had chicken and my husband had beef - both were good. Granada looked like a nice enough place and I think anyone would enjoy spending some time there.
If you have any questions about the cruise, I'll check the board.
This is so cool. We were surprised to receive a 'Log of the Cruise' in our mail box on the last day. There's an 'Extract From the Deck Log Book' and I can tell you exactly what time we went through the locks.
"...cleared the (Pedro Miguel) locks at 1500 and slowly began making headway towards Miraflores Locks. The vessel cleared the Miraflores breakwater at 1633, and rigged the pilot ladder on the port side of the vessel. With the pilot safely disembarked, courses were set towards Puntarenas." Like I said, cool!
This is based on entering the first part of the Gatun Lock at 0740 and entering Gatun Lake (forward gates opened) at 0907.
There were ships waiting for their turn in each direction and I heard someone say that the cruise ships get priority - don't know if that's true or if you can count on the same schedule that we had, but there is it.
Based on information found on this site, we watched most of the going into the locks from the front of the ship, deck 11, I believe. Just kept walking forward past all of the cabins until there was an Exit door and found ourselves right below the bridge and no railings in the way. Awesome. Later in the day we switched to the aft-er (ha) end. At first we were on a higher deck and then moved down a few decks so we were closer to the proceedings.