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10 Princess Island Princess First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

This was out first cruise. We were a family of 4 with two balcony rooms side by side on the Aloha deck. This was great for us as we were just below the pool deck, teen club and Horizons food court. The cabins were in good condition and ... Read More
This was out first cruise. We were a family of 4 with two balcony rooms side by side on the Aloha deck. This was great for us as we were just below the pool deck, teen club and Horizons food court. The cabins were in good condition and we had an excellent cabin steward. We choose anytime dinning and had no problems getting seated. We would go early most nights but did go late a couple of times. Plan on spending at least 2-3 hours for dinner, service was a little slow. Sabitinis would be open for lunch some days serving pizza. I would recommend this. The shows that we went to were good. We went to 2 comedy shows and 2 shows featuring the ships performers. There was also a The Voice competition that was entertaining. There was things going on everyday on the boat, just pay attention to the planner they leave you everyday. We did get one moving in under the stars. During sea days we would spend it on the pool deck. I liked the splash deck at the front of the boat. Less people but a little more wind. The service at the pool / Lido deck is questionable. You would have to flag a waiter down to get something. I would just go up to the bar most times, much faster and the bartender also have better personalities. The children had a good time at the teen lounge. It was a great place for them to meet the other teens on the boat. We had a good time at the ports. We only did shore excursions in Limõn and Ocho Rios. In Limōn we did went to the canal and rain forest. Seen a bunch of wildlife. Great tour. Ocho Rios we did Mystic Mountain, the bobsled ride and Dunn River Falls. I think it would have been better if it wasn't so crowded. The Regal Princess was diverted to the island and was there the same day as us. In Aruba we went to Palm beach an relaxed. Took the city bus. In Columbia we got a taxi for the day. $100 for the day. The driver would get out and walk with us telling us about the city. Well worth it. He didn't speak good english, but the children speak Spanish and would translate for us. We just stayed on the boat in Panama. Going through the canal is a pretty cool deal. You receive a certificate for a partial Panama Canal transfer. Getting on and off the boat at all location was a breeze. Overall we had a great time. Not having been on another cruise we have nothing to compare it to, but can't complain. I would do another cruise on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our first cruise, so it was all new to us. Having read previous reviews of this ship we did wonder if adverse comments were true. More of that later. We are an early 60s British couple recently retired, travelling with a ... Read More
This was our first cruise, so it was all new to us. Having read previous reviews of this ship we did wonder if adverse comments were true. More of that later. We are an early 60s British couple recently retired, travelling with a relative. The cruise was 16d/15n from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale via the Panama Canal, with stops in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Aruba. The ship was built in 2002 and refitted last year, with extra cabins added at the rear of Deck 7 Promenade. It is one of two built to Panamax size to suit the Canal, although larger ships can be taken when new locks and channels are commissioned later in 2016. Standard of fit out and furnishing was excellent, with much polished and varnished wood, chrome and marble. Maintenance continued throughout the voyage, and at each stop crew were on shore painting out rust and tug marks on the hull. Previous posters complained about the addition of cabins in the 2015 refit, cutting off the stern part of the Promenade Deck. This wasn't a problem for us when walking , as you could either turn around and walk a long U shape, or cross a landing to do full circuits. There were also comments about crowding in public areas, but we only found a problem in the breakfast buffet in Horizon Court at peak time. The answer was to order hot drinks, cereals and fruit from room service, then to have a cooked breakfast when the crowds had subsided. A daily news letter listed activities, talks and shows, with extra information sheets on destinations. There were also regular deliveries and reminders about "enrichment" (shopping) opportunities. It was irritating how Princess constantly tried to squeeze more money out of the passengers, through on-board shopping, wine tastings, photos and DVDs, the casino, and exorbitant behind the scenes tours at $150 each. Although we only saw a few shows they were varied and good quality. The food was varied and of good quality. Our dining option was the late sitting of fixed time, which gave time to relax and have a drink before dinner, especially after shore excursions. Although we three had asked to join a table of eight we were on our own for the first two nights. The Maitre D' then placed two other couples on the table with us after they changed their options. We like to think that he was proactive to ensure compatibility. The dress codes, including formal nights, were generally adhered to and enforced. Most passengers were American, with some Brits, Germans and Canadians, and generally older than us. Although there's a teenagers' area we only saw one young person and one toddler. Previous reviewers said that some staff were rude. Without exception, all staff were friendly, attentive and efficient. The only rude people we met were some passengers, who talked to staff as though they were inferior beings. Some vocabularies don't include "please" and "thank you". Doors to decks had stiff closers for obvious reasons, and when holding them open for passengers some didn't thank or even acknowledge me. It was irritating on shore excursions when passengers had loud conversations when guides were talking. A "sailaway" party was planned for departure, but was cancelled as we sailed away four hours late following a faulty software update on the ship's control systems. There were four sea days before the first stop at Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, which gave us time to familiarise ourselves with the ship and to get over jet lag. A shore trip took us to to a coffee plantation and Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Both were worth seeing. At the next stop in Puntarenas we visited a rain forest where a modified ski lift takes passengers above the canopy. Tours started late as another cruise ship was moored at the same pier, and space was limited for coaches to reverse to the ships. The walk around Panama was interesting, when we anchored off Fuerte Amadore and were tendered ashore. At Cartagena and Aruba we decided to do our own thing. The cruise dock at the former is in a commercial port, but there's a shopping centre a short walk along the dock. Check out the emeralds, and haggling can reduce the marked price. Aruba's pier is next to the city, and there are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants to visit. The short time in port meant that some trips would have been rushed. Due to a late return flight to the UK we booked a disembarkation tour at Fort Lauderdale, cruising the Intercoastal Waterway before transferring to Miami airport. The coach driver and guide were confused about where to drop passengers for Virgin Atlantic, and dropped us at the furthest point. We then had a long trek through the airport with our luggage. It is worth paying to use an airport lounge, with drinks and snacks, as the catering provision in the airport is awful. Our cabin was one of only 8 mini-suites on the ship, with the same area as balcony cabins. There was some shuddering when sailing into heavier seas, and there was noise when docking due to being directly above the bow thrusters. In their wisdom Princess have put all laundromats at the stern, so the round trip from a bow cabin like ours to wash or iron was 500 metres. Given the number of sea days we paid for the all inclusive drinks package, which was value for money. If you tot up specialist coffees, bottled water for the cabin and excursions, cocktails before dinner, glasses of wine with, and liqueurs after it is worth it. Don't order bottled water from room service as you still have to pay for it. My wife lost a crown during the trip and I asked the front desk if treatment could be arranged during one of the stops. They never got back to us. We will definitely cruise again, and probably with Princess around the UK or to the Baltic, so the ships will be different. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our 1st cruise and overall it was very enjoyable. The voyage began in Fort Lauderdale, took us thru the Panama Canal and ended in Los Angeles. Our room was very comfortable with lots of storage. The food and the service were ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise and overall it was very enjoyable. The voyage began in Fort Lauderdale, took us thru the Panama Canal and ended in Los Angeles. Our room was very comfortable with lots of storage. The food and the service were very good. The shows were entertaining and things were very well organized when it came to getting us on and off the ship. Watching movies under the stars was fun. The staff were very professional and attentive. The aspects we least enjoyed: - the constant vibration in our room from the ship's engines (Deck 11, room B737) - the extras we had to pay (soda, bottled water, juice, classes in the gym, cover charge for specialty dining rooms). We felt "nickeled and dimed". - two nights of rough seas (very uncomfortable and unsettling) - the passengers were generally older than we are, so not too many onboard activities appealed to us (e.g. bingo, playing cards, art auctions) - the daily sales pitches (ship's newspaper and announcements) to buy their jewelry and art. - wait lines for "any time dining" - crowds at the bars for "happy hour", service was slow (drinks were excellent) - crowds at the theatre (had to line up early to get in, 30-40 minutes) - not being able to walk the skip's outdoor decks for exercise purposes. The addition of over 100 rooms in 2015 means common spaces have been reduced and the upper decks are chopped up so you can't walk uninterrupted from one end of the ship to the other. - broken equipment in the gym and no staff to report issues to. - small shower, stained shower curtains that stick to you as you turn around in the shower Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. It was our first cruise so had nothing to compare it to and no idea what to expect from Princess. Overall, we were impressed and will definitely cruise again. Majority of the passengers were Brits ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. It was our first cruise so had nothing to compare it to and no idea what to expect from Princess. Overall, we were impressed and will definitely cruise again. Majority of the passengers were Brits and Americans but also lots of Australians and Canadians. Most we spoke to seemed to think Princess were one of the better cruise companies. The food and service were excellent. Great buffet choice @ breakfast / lunch although it felt a bit like one of those all you can eat diners you get in Orlando. We had the Anytime Dining in the evening and the food was generally superb. We didn't feel the need to pay extra to visit the speciality restaurants. The one big disappointment was the entertainment. I was expecting much better but what we got was a bit like Butlins. We didn't bother with any of the Princess excursions as the prices were ludicrously expensive. With a little bit of research it was easy to DIY and a huge amount cheaper. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We decided to do a cruise of the med for our 25th Wedding Anniversary and to be honest we were both not really looking forward to it as didn't know what to expect as used to relaxing on holiday and this was a port heavy cruise. We ... Read More
We decided to do a cruise of the med for our 25th Wedding Anniversary and to be honest we were both not really looking forward to it as didn't know what to expect as used to relaxing on holiday and this was a port heavy cruise. We stayed in Barcelona for 2 night before embarkation, with arranged taxi from the airport and the hotel and on disembarkation which was really efficient. The Hotel was upgraded as we wanted to be in the centre of Barcelona. On embarking we didn't get the wow factor we expected and the ships top deck looked tired and old. The outside cabin was on deck 5 and perfect as close to disembarking at ports, it met our needs, was clean and tidy and our steward was absolutely fantastic. We chose late traditional dinning which was something we were nervous about but it proved a great experience, a table of six with a couple and 2 female friends. Although a lot older than us we got on really well, they had lots of cruise experiences between them. The waiter was good and once I started to ask for recommendations my meals were really good, I made a few bad choices for steak. We ate in the buffet in the evening of formal nights as these were sea days which we wanted to relax and had really good food again. We had breakfast in our cabin most mornings as it was easier before trips and always arrived a minute before the time slot ordered. When used the pizza restaurant during one sea day which was a nice experience and it was empty at 12 midday, we liked the pizza on deck as well. The burgers on deck were not to our liking. Due to our dining time it was not easy to get to shows as they started at 10:15 to fit in with late dinning and we didn't always finish before then, if we wanted to go the show we told the waiter and he would make sure we were finished, but generally we didn't want to rush. We saw two different comedians and a magician all of which we enjoyed. I was expecting to see some shows but the one night we planned to go we couldn't get a seat. We did most of the quizzes which were mainly based around the discovery channel programs, but we enjoyed this and got to see similar faces each time. I also took part in the dance classes which were fun. We did the star gazing on top deck, but standing looking at the stars was not easy would have been better on sun loungers, also there was a lot of unnecessary information. There was less activities than expected but we put this down to the smaller size ship. The jewellery shop is a waste of space and the staff not pleasant, we had a gift we had to collect and we laughed at as when collect it was $200 off gold items. We were given champagne and chocolates as a present from my mother but these arrived as vouchers which we had to exchange, she was told they would be waiting in our cabin so not as special as she had expected. We planned trips at most ports with cruise excursions but planned to stay on board and relax when in Toulon and Kusadasi, where we felt we had the ship to ourselves. We booked trips as we thought this cruise would provide us with the opportunity to see a lot of places which we did and thoroughly enjoyed. The drinks were an issue as used to all inclusive holidays although had a soda package for myself, my husband didn't as due to heavy port stops wouldn't have been good value. We had cocktails which were good and made use of the happy hours. In summary we enjoyed our cruise but would have liked to have been with more people our own age 48 and 51 as most people were 70+ although young at heart. We came to like the ship due to its classic feel and size having gazed at others in port. Very efficient at ports and all staff were really friendly and helpful. Not decided on whether we would do another! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our 1st cruise so did not really know what to expect. When we arrived in Barcelona we were met by our driver who drove us to the port. Embarking was well organised, staff friendly and helpful. Our cabin was large, clean and ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise so did not really know what to expect. When we arrived in Barcelona we were met by our driver who drove us to the port. Embarking was well organised, staff friendly and helpful. Our cabin was large, clean and comfortable. Horizon restaurant had lots of choices and the food very good, we also had 2 lovely meals in the Bordeaux where we enjoyed afternoon tea also. We chose not to book excursions with the ship instead we hired a driver at each port which worked out cheaper each driver was very friendly and took us to some lovely places of interest and to beautiful italian resturants for lunch Sorrento being one of our favorites. The service on board was exceptional there was always happy friendly staff to bring drinks whenever we wanted them. We spent a lot of evenings in "Crooners bar" all staff there made us very welcome especially Savio Fernandes, Sandeep Gaikwad & Jenalyn Salvador. Dan and Duke were great hosts and we enjoyed the british pub night. One criticism there are not enough smoking areas otherwise had a great time already looking to book another. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
I was nervous about it all, having never cruised before, but within two hours we were completely comfortable and having a great time. Short excursions were messed up: scammed in Puerto Amador, foiled by demonstrations in Puntarenas, wholly ... Read More
I was nervous about it all, having never cruised before, but within two hours we were completely comfortable and having a great time. Short excursions were messed up: scammed in Puerto Amador, foiled by demonstrations in Puntarenas, wholly disappointed in Aruba, double-crossed in Cartagena. Princess' Puerto Chiapas excursion, on the other hand, was five-star. Lots of colds and coughing on this cruise, one person medevac'd at Cabo (with pneumonia according to scuttlebutt). Entertainment would have been a five, except for singer Sophie Selbie, who was shrill and whose material (Andrew Lloyd Webber, the Carpenters) was not to our tastes. Production shows were excellent, especially "Motor City". Had anytime dining which was okay after the first few nights (45 minute waits). Took Ultimate Ship's Tour which was amazing and totally worth the money. Loved the minisuite. We came home on Friday and by the following Monday, I'd booked our next Princess cruise. I guess that says it all! Ship highlights: Lotus Pool area, although hot tubs there were not especially hot. Sun and Sports Decks at night make for great exploring. Lots of time in the Explorers Lounge for trivia and karaoke. Liked that the Fitness Room had views. Splurged on the Thermal Suite one sea day and thought it was marvelous. Really liked the wraparound Promenade Deck, especially in the tropics when the wind was warm and you could go walk out there any time, day or night. Cruise highlights: Panama Canal, despite boring, droning commentary (and I'd read the McCullough book). Just being in the isthmus was a thrill for me. Beautiful robins-egg blue water. Loved the narrow sections in particular. Otherwise, it was all good. Yes, a cruise is a floating assisted-living facility, but what's wrong with that for two weeks? Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was my first cruise, I had no idea what to expect. Princess was recommended to me by several family members, was told I got a great deal, no if you ask me. From the start, the entire check-in process seemed so disorderly, a total ... Read More
This was my first cruise, I had no idea what to expect. Princess was recommended to me by several family members, was told I got a great deal, no if you ask me. From the start, the entire check-in process seemed so disorderly, a total hurry up and wait process. HUrry to get here, wait in line for a half hour or more.....finally got on board, our cabin was nice, smaller than a hotel room, but, just enough, nonetheless. Bed was so-so, wife needed extra pillows for her back, they were very obliging. One thing I will say, their customer service was awesome! Food was all rich gourmet foods in the main dining rooms. How many times can you eat filet, they aso had a cafeteria style eatery, it was okay, seemed like there wasn't much variety there either, there is a pizzaria onboard, fairly good, also an ice cream parlor, both of these close early though. Not being a gambler, or a big bar person, I found the cruise borderline boring. Checked out two comedians (I think they were), they were pretty bad. Not into broadway type shows, so did not ttend any of them. Good thing I had my Kindle loaded with books. The ship had some newer movies, a fw interested me, so I went to see them. They had in room streaming TV channels. Reruns of favorites, Big Bang Theory, etc, movies also streamed in rooms. I felt nickle and dimed to death. Was fed al these gourmet foods and charged $2.00 for a can fo soda?!!! REALLY? I know many cruiselines do this and I am not a big soda drinker anyway, but, that is not the point. They have drink packages for this and that, there is also a beer package for some subpar watery American beers, Bud, etc. Not worht the money. Drinks usually run around $10.00/mixed drink, I was told. I felt that the cruise could have been much mich better if there were no hidden charges, charges me a few more dollars for the cruise, do away with the soda package, serve some more normal fare rather than rich (indigestion brewing) gourmet fare that is only okay. The rooms are clean. Princess offered excursions when in port, I was very dissapointed to see that they tunred Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway in giant shopping toilets, with jewelry stores owned by the cruiselines. YOU WILL FIND NO DEALS HERE, hese stores are way overpriced, tax free or not!!! I will not be going on another cruise unless I go to a super upscale line with no hidden charges, including excursions. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
The Island Princess is an older, but well-maintained ship. The only problem with our mid-ship balcony stateroom (Baja deck) was the EXTREMELY uncomfortable bed--hard, looked almost like a camp cot--on a metal frame with one thin mattress! ... Read More
The Island Princess is an older, but well-maintained ship. The only problem with our mid-ship balcony stateroom (Baja deck) was the EXTREMELY uncomfortable bed--hard, looked almost like a camp cot--on a metal frame with one thin mattress! We did not complain, so we don't know if could have been switched or not. Surprising for a ship of this stature. Shower was tiny, very tiny. Anytime dining worked out ok, but you still needed a reservation to eat at your desired time window--nothing was ever available as a "walk-in" in the 6-7:30 range, so we generally had dinner at 9 following the shows, and sat for a table for 2( which at times was uncomfortable because other tables for 2 would be set up right next to you within just a couple of inches! It would then not be certain as to whether to engage those next to you in conversation or whether they would like to be alone, so uncomfortable to say the least. Food (Bordeaux room) was very good and beautifully presented with the exception of the shrimp cocktails--always tasted like defrosted frozen shrimp, small unappetizing. Everything was imaginative and delicious. The buffet food, although it was repetitive at times, was always nicely presented, colorful, for the most part very tasty, and plentiful. We liked the song/dance shows very much. The first night show was sort of a warm-up lesser show with comedy and some singing dancing. I was disappointed in getting a "reduced" performance just because it was the first night. Is this true of other cruise lines? I felt that for a highly rated cruise line, all performances should be top-notch. This was again true of the combination comedian/guitarist who changed up the lyrics and called it comedy. Really? Not at all a high quality performance. We did not bother to attend his second performance. Did not like being charged for sodas. We thought the price of the photos was excessive . The port shots should have been offered in the 8-10 dollar range; we would have bought all of them thus spending more total money. Also charged for hot chocolate which was ridiculous. We were standing outside on deck at Glacier Bay. It was freezing and raining. A waiter came by with hot chocolate which would have been wonderful to warm us up only to find out there was a charge for it! We didn't have our cruise cards with us to view the glaciers so were denied the hot chocolate! Some wanted liquor in theirs, and I can understand charging for that, but really, Princess??? Also felt as if they were ALWAYS trying to sell us something--seminars on shopping?The bar cocktails were varied, reasonably priced, and beautifully made,but they had little if any alcohol, so we only had 3 or 4 total for the entire cruise. Be sure to take the allowable wine/per person with you on board. All servers, waiters, staff, etc. were always polite, friendly, helpful, funny, and professional. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Our cruise on the Island Princess was very nice and we had fantastic sunny weather all the way until the last full day. Princess had a naturalist on board, who spotted animals and did mini lectures, which was nice. Our room was always ... Read More
Our cruise on the Island Princess was very nice and we had fantastic sunny weather all the way until the last full day. Princess had a naturalist on board, who spotted animals and did mini lectures, which was nice. Our room was always clean, new towels, cookies at night, candy on pillows. Some of the things we didn't like: the laundry rooms were in disrepair; SMOKING!!; commercialization of the ports was ridiculous and the onboard shopping thing was just nuts. We felt like Princess had it's hand in our pockets all the time! Let's face it, unless you have the bucks, this byline they go by 'escape completely' is unattainable. More ping pong tables would be an asset as all the teens tie them up all day long. We also felt like we were very uninformed about how things went. We eventually figured it out, but maybe a little flyer 'new cruiser tips' would be good. Food. Supper in the anytime dining 'Bordeaux' was great. We didn't want to go formal, so two nights we had to eat elsewhere. Sabatinis and the Bayou Cafe were not an option as $20 times 4 when you have two little kids who won't eat much is a waste. Forget dinner in the Horizon cafe. YUK. Pizza is excellent. Coffee is awful. We never got the complete scoop on the drink cards. My kids have never had soda, so that didn't seem like a good idea. Coffee card for that yukky coffee? no thanks. But then when I went to get one of those (free) midget ice cream cones, there were a lot of other items, not for free. !? no prices listed though. We did not book any port activities with Princess, but I did a lot of research and we did great things at lesser prices. All our port activities were SUPER! All in all, a great time, but I wouldn't be adverse to checking out another cruise line next time. Oh, and disembarkation. We had an 11:30 flight, so Princess had all of us early flights gather in the Bayou at 6:30 AM. They pick up your baggage the night before. All the people moving part went fabulously, but then we waited an hour at the airport for the truck to deliver the bags. Not so good at the baggage moving part. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
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 4.2
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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