My husband and I traveled on the Island on a short three day cruise to see how the short cruise compares to longer ones we have taken. We've traveled on 9 cruises mainly on the Princess line.
The best part of this trip was leaving from our hometown, so we took the bus to the pier (Canada Place). We arrived at 12:45 and we were on board at 1:00 pm. The check in was very efficient and the staff were all very helpful.
We booked an outside Mini Suite Category AF and we got cabin C202 first forward cabin. The room was huge, where the balcony would have been was part of our cabin. We had a couch, coffee table, two end tables/shelves. A center counsel between the bed and sitting area that had two t.v. (one facing the bed, the other the couch), below was a fridge and shelves. The fridge was stocked with some pops and a bottle of water, note you will be charged if you consume any of these items, unless you are Elite Status and you get a stocked mini bar for free. The bed was made up into a King, very noticeable crack. Bed was hard, but we didn't experience too many problems. The bathroom was a nice size, and a treat after experiencing so many smaller bathrooms. I did take a bath one day. The counter space was ample and there was tons of storage for all necessary toiletries. Closet space was just outside the washroom with lots of space for all our needs. I don't like the location of the closet as it was hard for one person to use the washroom white the other tried to access things in the closet and/or safe. Our room steward introduced herself and she did an outstanding job and accommodated us with everything we requested. She showed up with an entire bottle of champagne, I thought we were only going to get a glass but we got the entire bottle.
Now the entire reason for writing this review is to compare it to seven day or more cruises. So here I go.
I found the ship was in great shape and nowhere did I notice any more than normal refurbishments happening. I say this because I read somewhere that the cruiseline uses these repositioning cruises to make tons of repairs.
The ship was in good shape, sure there were signs of wear and tear but nothing serious. One of the couples we were traveling with had their shower back up after 30 seconds of showering causing a flood the first night. Someone was called and they said they would fix it while they were at dinner. But the next day it did it again, obviously no one had fixed it, so another call was made and they made sure it was repaired. Luckily nothing important got wet.
Dinning Room/Food Service: We ate dinner in the dining room, on anytime dining. We did notice that it seemed that they were short staffed as many sections were not occupied or closed and our waiters were often very busy and we therefore did not get the same attentive service we normally experience. The Horizon Court buffet was great with a large variety of foods, overall it seemed to be the same as other cruises. The food was good but not great as we have experienced in the past. But we certainly didn't starve.
Activities: We definitely noticed fewer activities on this three day cruise compared to 7 or longer cruises. But we managed to keep busy. They did put on an evening show every night; however I never attended the big shows. But did enjoy the Dan Bennett juggling/comedy show as well as a comedian the next night.
There was no questionnaire/survey to fill out at the end of the trip, which I would of like to have seen as there were many staff that deserved to commended as well as few things I would of liked to have commented on.
We are Canadian and when we received our final bill it stated at the bottom that the bill had been converted to the currency of the card (ours being Canadian) plus a 3% administrative charge. Now I was not aware that this would happened as I would of ensured that this did not happen. I later found out that you can tick off a box when you check in and present your credit card to ensure this does not happen. Also to confirm with the pursers desk upon sailing that in fact they will not do this. This is a bit of a beef with me as I don't agree with negative billing. I don't think you should be charged for something unless you say you don't want it. I know I know you are going to say this happens in a lot of places; however that doesn't make it right and I will be sure to let Princess know this is not something I like.
Disembarkation: Since we were traveling with three other couples and we were scattered throughout the ship we all got different color coded tags. I went to the purser's desk and asked that I get tags for everyone that were the same and showed my shuttle van reservation for 9:30 and they were happy to accommodate me. We were off the ship by 9 am and Los Angeles port was very efficient. Because we cleared US immigration in Vancouver before sailing and we did not stop in any ports we did not have to clear customs or immigration in LA which is a nice change.
We had prearranged a shuttle van to accommodate all of us. The price was $87 from the pier to the airport. We were at the airport very early but we were able to check in our bags early and we went exploring.
Overall I would recommend this short repositioning cruise to anyone who wants a short getaway where you are not distracted by phones/t.v./internet. However if you are a first time cruises or have never sailed Princess please note that the experience is different and in my opinion better on longer cruises.