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Sail Date: November 2012
We traveled with Princess because of the itenerary. That was great; just what we wanted. We had a mini suite at the very back of the ship. We had no trouble with the location as we enjoyed the walk to the dining room, etc. The cabin ... Read More
We traveled with Princess because of the itenerary. That was great; just what we wanted. We had a mini suite at the very back of the ship. We had no trouble with the location as we enjoyed the walk to the dining room, etc. The cabin was very little larger than we were accustomed to in a balcony room. We had a tub with shower and my husband found it difficult to turn around without hitting the curtain. There was no top sheet on our bed. Out cabin steward (who was excellent) immediately placed one on the bed but why did we have to ask for something that shoulw be standard. They gave a welcome aboard party for those who had not said with Princess before. They served "hot" tea and "hot" coffee and pastries. I filled my cup with tea and walked to the tray of pastries where a waiter stood with tongs to serve. As I approached he said: "They are numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4; give me a number and do not touch!!" I shook my head, gave him a number and took my lukewarm tea and my numbered pastry to a seat beside another lady who was drinking her lukewarm coffee. Is this a way to encourage people to come back? Our dining waiter was rude; he would walk up between 2 people and in mid sentence stick the menu in their face and ask what they wanted. We were always late starting our dinner. The later hour did not bother us as we are used to late dining but it was irritating to stand in line for up to 20 minutes past time. The food was not up to the standard we are used to and when I ordered a steak medium rare and it came medium well and so tough I could not cut it I told the waiter and he just looked at me, looked at the steak and walked away. Tips are mandatory so why would any employee go the extra mile when they know the tips are coming anyway, On other lines we received envelopes with suggested amounts. Many times we gave more for excellent service and in rare instances gave less if we felt they were not doing their best. We had an excellent cabin steward, some excellent waiters at buffet upstairs and the shopping helper (her name was Greenwood) was also very good. We missed seeing the captain around the ship (he came to one event and stayed about 5 minutes). We are used to being offered the opportunity to have a picture with the captain. There was a lack of entertainment at an hour compatible with our dining hour. Only 2 days did they have an early show and it was only 30 minutes long. We were just relaxing and enjoying it when it was over!!! All in all we did not feel we had our money's worth. We took this cruise because it went to the Panama Canal leaving from Ft. Lauderdale and returning there. It seems I am looking for something good to say and the visit to the canal was it. Embarkation was very slow. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2012
My wife, adult daughter, and I sailed the Island Princess in July -- August 2012 from Whittier to Vancouver, and had a blast! We had booked our daughter her own room, which by a tremendous stroke of luck, turned out to be a very good ... Read More
My wife, adult daughter, and I sailed the Island Princess in July -- August 2012 from Whittier to Vancouver, and had a blast! We had booked our daughter her own room, which by a tremendous stroke of luck, turned out to be a very good decision indeed. I suppose that Princess must have over-booked the cruise, because 2 days before embarkation, they called and offered to exchange our 2 interior rooms for one premium suite, plus give us $1,000. We received the message late in the day on a cell, plus our daughter was a bit hesitant to give up her private room for sleeping on a pull-out sofa, so (fortunately) we didn't respond that day. I called the next day to ask about the sleeping arrangements in the suite, and the agent informed me that the pull-out sofa could be separated from the bedroom area with a curtain, and when she described all the amenities that came with the suite, and upped the ante to $2,000, this was an offer we couldn't refuse! They apparently really wanted space, and I suspect we were one of the very few families of 3 -- if not the only one -- from whom they could get 2 cabins. In any case, we didn't look that gift horse in the mouth any longer, and so we were livin' large on the cruise. If money is no object, I highly recommend the suite. You'll feel like a rock star. Only qualifier is that sleeper sofa has a rather thin mattress, so it's hard to sleep on it comfortably. Two solutions are to put the mattress on the floor, or, if you enjoy sleeping under the stars and the weather cooperates, pull the mattress onto the balcony. The latter was what our adventurous daughter ended up doing most nights, and she enjoyed the experience. Otherwise, perfect -- lots of storage space, roomy bathroom with both shower stall and jetted tub, wet bar, 2 TVs and a DVD player, enormous balcony. But even apart from the sweet suite, the cruise itself was great. About the ship: As a perk of staying in the suite, we ate breakfast at Sabatini's every morning (with free mimosas), and loved it. (Only suggestion for improvement here would be to expand the menu a bit, but the service and food were great, including an excellent rendition of my favorite, eggs benedict.) For lunch, we generally went to the buffet (we only ate lunch at the sit-down restaurant once), and for dinner we did the buffet 3 times, the Bayou Grill once and Sabatini's 3 times. As you might infer from this, we had great experiences at Sabatini's and so kept going back. But the food at the buffet was quite good, with lots of options. We also enjoyed the pizza place a couple of times. For wine lovers, they have a pretty good wine list, with prices that in general are moderate. The exercise room on the ship was well equipped with weight machines and all kinds of exercise machines (running, rowing, ellipticals, biking, etc.). The only time it was crowded in my experience was at prime time the first day cruising; otherwise, it was very under-utilized. They offer an extensive list of spa services, and our daughter used a few. She was unhappy with one massage, but they immediately offered her another. We didn't avail ourselves of many late-night activities -- too much to do during the day -- but we did watch a movie in the Universe Lounge, which is a nice facility. The lectures by the Park Rangers and narration during the cruise (rangers came on-board 2 days of the cruise) were very informative. The cruise resident lecturer, Dr. Ryan, is obviously very knowledgeable and has a lot of experience in Alaska, but we found his talks a bit disorganized. Still, they were worth hearing, except the last one (titled something like ''The Inside Passage''), which we found was pretty repetitious of the previous ones. There was a lecture by the first woman to win the Iditarod, but unfortunately this was during the day in Skagway, so we had to miss it. (It would seem they could have brought her on board the previous evening.) About the sights and ports: As much as we enjoyed the ship, what really made the cruise special was what went on in the water and on shore. While cruising, we saw our first whales soon after leaving Whittier, then later saw many, many whales, sea otters, seals, sea birds, and even a bear and wolf (a long way off) while cruising Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay. The only excursion we did was whale watching with Alaska Galore tours in Juneau, which was fabulous. (Read my review on Tripadvisor; search ''Alaska Galore''.) In Skagway and Ketchikan, we looked around town on our own, and had a great time. I'm sure the excursions are good, but we found plenty to see and do on our own. A final word on a topic about which I consulted Cruisecritic chat groups before our cruise -- bringing beverages on board. At our original embarkation and while re-boarding after a port call, I brought on board boxes and (at embarkation) plastic bottles of wine and a 12-pack of soda cans. At one stop, our daughter brought a 6-pack of beer and some cans of cider. No one said anything about this. This is not Princess's official policy, but I have to infer that they have sensibly concluded that it's not worth the time and aggravation (for their staff and passengers) to really try to prevent this. This certainly makes me more willing to cruise on Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Day One: Embarkation from Vancouver. Captain's announcement made it all sad and teary. Horizon Court food awesome. Ever changing dining options. Day Two: At sea. Children liked Kids Program, scavenger hunts... Not so many chair ... Read More
Day One: Embarkation from Vancouver. Captain's announcement made it all sad and teary. Horizon Court food awesome. Ever changing dining options. Day Two: At sea. Children liked Kids Program, scavenger hunts... Not so many chair hoggers, for it was chilly. Pool was heated to good temp. Day Three: Ketchikan. Highly suggest the ziplining excursions. Pricey, but worth it. So much fun. Day Four: Juneau. Sleepy Town, but lots of scenery. Day Five: Skagway. Very sleepy town, but friendly people. Lots of stores downtown to shop for souvenirs at cheap prices. Day Six: At sea. Same as always. However, children (crazy children) were in the pool, both. All day long. Day Seven: Last Day. Crew made embarkation very sad, though isn't that the way it is suppose to be? General: Really swift embarkation and disembarkation. Friendly crew from Indonesia and the Phillipines ( 99% of them). Except for the guy who served ice cream at the ice cream bar. Always seems irritated. Staterooms were very large with flat screen Tvs. Thanks for the chocolate! Helpful tips: Photos, worth their price. Promenade Deck large sweeping views Take advantage of Park Rangers on Alaskan Cruises Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2009
This was my wife and my first cruise, and we went with friends that had been on cruises before. We choose Princess on the advice of friends who had taken several cruises before. Overall we had a great time. We arrived in Vancouver a day ... Read More
This was my wife and my first cruise, and we went with friends that had been on cruises before. We choose Princess on the advice of friends who had taken several cruises before. Overall we had a great time. We arrived in Vancouver a day and a half early as we had never been to the city before. I suggest that if you take this cruise to take a day or two to see Vancouver. You will not regret it. We arrived early at the port at about 11:15 AM. This was not recomended but we were able to quickly get through the check in and board the ship. We went to have lunch on the top deck. The food was very good as was the service. After lunch we went to our room and found it was made up and ready for us, and our bags were in our room. We packed light and had room for all of our clothes. I suggest bring some plastic hangers as we were a few short and we didn't have that many clothes. We found we had a problem with the shower. First it is very small which is something I'm not use to. I am not small, but I felt that way in the shower. We could not figure out how to get hot water. We found our stewart and he showed us we had to turn the knob counter clockwise until it stopped then press in on the small button and it would trurn on the hot water. The only other problem we had was with the toilet. You will get use to the sound it the same as on a airplane. You are instructed not to flush anything that dosen't belong in the toilet. We had kids in the next cabin and the flushed something that they shouldn't and it stopped three cabin's toilet for an hour. They did fix it quickly. There is a small safe in the room. Don't forget to look at the code you entered each time. It will show the code for a few seconds after you enter it. I had to get the staff to come up and unlock it after I entered the wrong code when I was locking it and could not get it open. I do not like formal dinners. So my wife and I skipped three of the evening meals so we could just relax. I have no way of comparing this cruise with other, as this was our first cruise, but Princess did a great job. Any problems we had were taken care of rightb away. If you plan to do laundry on the cruise pick up $10.00 in quarters from Passenger Services. The coin machine was not working and it takes about $5.00 a load. (We had to run the dryer twice to get the clothes dry) Read Less
Island Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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