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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We are elite cruisers with Princess (have sailed on many ships) and booked two 7 day Alaska cruises from July 3 - July 17, 2019 on the Island Princess. This ship is sadly lacking in public amenities and the cabin was so small you ... Read More
We are elite cruisers with Princess (have sailed on many ships) and booked two 7 day Alaska cruises from July 3 - July 17, 2019 on the Island Princess. This ship is sadly lacking in public amenities and the cabin was so small you couldn't escape to it either. There is no International Cafe, which on other Princess ships serves a menu of very fresh food for 24 hours a day. After 11 pm the only snack available is from Room Service with a limited menu of food which you have to eat in bed as the stateroom has no chairs to relax in. There is no Skywalkers Lounge for a panoramic view of the scenery. There is no Vista Lounge as Princess took lovely lounge space and converted it to revenue producing cabins. There is no Adagio Lounge for relaxing. All that is left is the Wheelhouse and Explorers which are just bars meant to sell liquor and are not convivial day venues. The atrium has no appeal since it is constantly noisy with martini shaking and various music programs and no International Cafe to give you a nice cup of tea and a sandwich. The fitness room and gym are stuck inside with no windows to enjoy the view. The fitness room is so small you cannot stretch because of the number of people on the floor. Stretch classes have been cut from 30 minutes to 20 minutes and 10 minutes of that is taking foot impressions to sell orthotics. You cannot walk all the way around the Promenade Deck as it is always blocked off. There is no jogging track. There is extremely limited deck space since the Horizon Court is at the bow of the ship and most ships have it aft with nice outside tables to enjoy the view out the rear of the ship. There is no aft pool which also affords a view on most ships. The Sanctuary is aft instead of amidship which cuts off the last opportunity to access the rear of the ship. We felt like prisoners on this ship, Stuck in limited public lounges with the Alaskan views only slightly visible through exceedingly dirty windows in the Horizon Court, the dining rooms and whatever few public areas remain. A fleet wide Princess problem is the lack of fresh food on their ships. Frozen fish is unacceptable on an expensive holiday with easy access to port reprovisioning. The only saving graces on this cruise were the entertainment and the staff. The entertainers were very good and on the second cruise we had 3 excellent production shows. The staff (other than Customer Service) were excellent. They are the biggest strength of Princess. Although we often cruise 2 or 3 times a year we are not in a hurry to book another cruise with Princess and will probably give Celebrity or RCCL another try. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This cruise stopped at some ports we had not visited previously and also went into the Panama Canal and back out again. We also left winter behind for ten days and enjoyed the balmy Caribbean weather. Although Island Princess is fifteen ... Read More
This cruise stopped at some ports we had not visited previously and also went into the Panama Canal and back out again. We also left winter behind for ten days and enjoyed the balmy Caribbean weather. Although Island Princess is fifteen years old now, it has been well maintained. Our Caribe deck balcony cabin was excellent and even a bit larger than we expected. Our needs were met perfectly by our steward. Island Princess does not have an International Cafe, Wines & Vines and the rear quarter of the Promenade deck has been closed off to make an additional twenty balcony cabins. So, when one walks the deck, one must cut through the ship to complete each lap. A little irritation not found on some ships. We were moved from anytime dining to a traditional table by the Matre'D the fourth night of the cruise (since some tables were open there) and that became a great experience. Jaco and Akshay proved to be fabulous waiters and made each meal fun and flavorful. The food was well prepared and presented and on a par with the other three Princess cruises we have taken. Some items were outstanding and Jaco's knowledge of the food and desert items was quite helpful. The show "The Secret Silk" was well performed and magician Gary Carson was very entertaining. Allan at the piano off the atrium and Danny the guitarist provided great listening. The vocalist in the Wheelhouse Bar, the violin & guitar classical duo and the group playing dance & pop tunes were all excellent and enthusiastic performers. The Cartagena Old City tour was fun and informative but a bit too short. The snorkel tour on Grand Cayman was not great due to choppy, windy conditions that day. Meeting the Sloths in Limon, Costa Rica, was an educational experience but a poor photographic one due to the sloths being in cages. Ocho Rios is a pretty little port. We took a walk downtown and purchased some handmade items from the makers at the craft market. It's safe to do this during the day with good police presence. It's only a 10 - 15 minute walk one way. Our time in the Panama Canal was interesting and very informative. The canal expert on board was excellent and had great knowledge of the canal from personal experience. He delivered a wonderful pre-transit presentation and a great running narration over the ship's speaker system during the transit. Service on the ship was good and we have learned the times to avoid the buffet to minimize waiting in lines. Food in the Horizon Court was good with lots of choices. Salad greens were very fresh and tasty. Sushi was put out one day only and the pieces of tuna were very small without a lot of taste. The hand-rolls were good though. Embarcation in Fort Lauderdale was a breeze since we arrived two hours after it had started so all lines were gone. Debarcation was slower but not excessive. Being Global Entry participants allowed us to use the short line through customs and we were whisked through quickly. I try not to look too gleeful every time this happens but it's impossible not to smile. I feel for the hundreds of people we bypass but they need to get with the program too if they want the benefits it offers. Getting onto the transfer bus took longer than it should and Princess could use more employees to properly direct guests to the buses and to keep the lines more orderly. FLL is an outdated airport and shows it. Princess EZ Air saved us lots of money on our flights and has been super to use for several cruises now. We always check to see what they can do for us when booking with Princess. All in all, this was a wonderful cruise with very calm seas the entire ten days. Now I'm looking out my window at a snow-covered landscape with 8 degree temps. We have another cruise booked next month and it can't come too soon. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Terrible slow service in the restaurant and a bad waiter. We had a pre-paid reservation for the same restaurant for another night but canceled due to our bad experience. Princess also needs to make sure that the beautiful pictures on the ... Read More
Terrible slow service in the restaurant and a bad waiter. We had a pre-paid reservation for the same restaurant for another night but canceled due to our bad experience. Princess also needs to make sure that the beautiful pictures on the boat that shows the pictures of the food dishes should match what Is served to you. It is almost like night and day difference (have some look at the picture on display of the short ribs pasta dish and then go order it in the restaurant). You will be shocked. Also, our bathroom in our suite was dirty as there was mold on the shower grout walls. The shower curtain was stained yellow across the bottom. Also, the fitness center was truly the most disappointing fitness center I have ever seen on any cruise ship that we have been on. Stuck in a room with no windows and just staring at walls is unreal. How could you ever enjoy working out? Many comments from passengers on board said they would not work out because of the fitness center location. We have been on many cruises and will most likely not go on Princess again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I should start this review telling you a bit about me. At home I am pretty active. I enjoy doing a lot of different things and like trying different things. I do bicycle a lot and play volleyball. When cruising I like doing Trivia, ... Read More
I should start this review telling you a bit about me. At home I am pretty active. I enjoy doing a lot of different things and like trying different things. I do bicycle a lot and play volleyball. When cruising I like doing Trivia, building things for egg drops and scrape heap boats. I like bean bag toss or what ever else we might toss. The penguin toss was very popular, I like putt putt golf but the course on the Island princess was pretty sad. They had a sports deck but due to the construction of the protective net only tennis and pickle ball could be played. You could play basket ball but the low protective net mad that difficult. The door way and all the gaps under the net allowed balls to escape. The space on the sports deck could have been utilized better and the net could have been installed better. I am thinking the person in charge of the putt putt course was also in charge of the sports deck. All the activities like Trivia and bean bag toss were not scheduled very well. Too often I had to choose one of three that were in the same time slot and then there was times nothing was going on. I asked the staff about it and was told they had little input on scheduling and seemed as frustrated as I was. I liked most of the Ports but there was a few we could have skipped. I was not looking forward to Rio but it turned out to be a lot of fun. We did very few ship excursion and mostly went out on our own. Past cruises we were usually disappointed with the ship excursions and felt the cost was too high for what you got. This cruise was no different. My biggest frustration was the food. I am a vegetarian. They marked very few of their foods vegetarian and some dishes that are normally vegetarian they would put meat in them. I contacted them a few times but things would only change for a short while and then they would go back to their old way of doing things. In conclusion I was disappointed with the ship. I think they could have done a better job and with so many ships out there now I was surprised they didn't try harder and do a better job. This was my second Princess Cruise I was disappointed with. I will try them again in the future and hope they do better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We booked this cruise as soon as we became aware of it through mail advertizing. For such a long cruise it met most of our expectations. The staff and crew especially Captain Tuvo were fantastic. The itinerary was the primary reason for ... Read More
We booked this cruise as soon as we became aware of it through mail advertizing. For such a long cruise it met most of our expectations. The staff and crew especially Captain Tuvo were fantastic. The itinerary was the primary reason for booking this cruise. It had three bucket list destinations and all were great experiences. The down side to this cruise was the ship. We had been on this ship in 2014 and it was fantastic. I think the ship was ruined in 2015 when it went through major renovations to add 100plus staterooms and eliminate/change venues. I should have been more careful to notice these changes before booking. I would consider booking a cruise on sister ship Coral Princess (as long as it is not also converted) but' will never book this ship again. The ship must have had major plumbing issues with flooded staterooms and public restrooms, and foul smells at various locations. (This was even after having gone through a refit less than three month previous.) This was a wonderful cruise, just not on this ship. I believe most of this itinerary could be duplicated on other ships by booking all of the segments around South America. (This cruise was also offered as three segments). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We are retired and doing a canal transit was on our list. The ship will be in dry dock soon and needs significant repairs. For us personally, this was not a major factor. Our balcony room, E-711 was fine. Nothing broke. The room is ... Read More
We are retired and doing a canal transit was on our list. The ship will be in dry dock soon and needs significant repairs. For us personally, this was not a major factor. Our balcony room, E-711 was fine. Nothing broke. The room is too small. There was a desk chair and one other chair that did not fit well in any position is the small space available. No way a small sofa would have. Comedians can have a field day on the small shower, but the balcony was of decent size. Our room steward was great. In areas of the ship there were bad odors at times, but not in our area. There were small pipe leak floods in some halls and rooms, but not in our area. Emerald deck has a great public back deck, but no seating. It would be a nice area to sit and watch the sea, visit, or read. Embarkation was very good. The room was available immediately and ready for us at noon. Luggage came efficiently. The ship was not full, so it was rare to feel crowded. The one level theatre only seats about 660 people, so there were often three shows in the evening. The entertainment was very good, The ship is currently rated by passengers as the top Princess ship for entertainment. The central plaza area has a tiny dance floor, but the Explorer Lounge and Wheelhouse bar are public areas are very nice and intensely use. They must be zoos when the ship is full. In terms of decor, colors, and art, this is a very fine ship. The crew and service staff are tops. Our time in Aruba was very short, but we had a great Princess snorkel excursion. Our time in Cartagena was also too short, but we had great private tours there and in Nicaragua arranged through the board pre-cruise discussion here in Cruise Critic We did a good Princess archeological tour with a lot of walking in Huatulco, but were on our own in Costa Rica and in Puerto Vallarta, places we've been multiple times. Cartagena, Nicaragua, and Huatulco were all first time places for us, and we loved all three. The sea days were lovely. Lots of diving birds to entertain us. The first sea day out of Puerto Vallarta gave us great views of Cabo and the Baja Coast. Lots of sail boats, motor crafts, even oared and paddled craft. Lots of dolphins breaching and even jumping out of the water in unison. The buffet, because of the excess of rooms to public space had very tight passage ways between tables to exit the area. It must really be difficult when the ship is full. The central plaza patisserie bar is markedly below average for a snack or dining space, but everywhere the service was wonderful. Don't expect a donut on this ship. We had a set dinner time at a table for 8. We started out with just 4. Nelson, the head waiter was able to find 4 more people to fill out our table. Nelson is the best head waiter I've had on any cruise. We got on well with out tablemates. Overall, the food in the dining rooms and buffert were high average, but I sometimes felt some food was being strictly rationed. I could not get extra spinach, but could get asparagus, green beans and peas. I'm on coumadin and my dosage is based on me eating a certain amount of green vegatables. Several salads I had that contained "tomato" had a single cherry tomato split in half. Just before the end of the cruise they ran out of papaya and banana. I sang a chorus of "Yes! We have no bananas!" with a tablemate that last morning. Callie, the cruise director was wonderful. He was the best cruise director ever. One evening he hosted the shows in drag. It took his feet days to recover from the spike heels, but he looked fabulous. I'm sure some female passengers were envious. Disembarkation were smoothly, very smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
I enjoyed the fellowship of many Faith believing Christians on this cruise. Traveling alone they welcomed me into their group which made the trip extremely enjoyable. I was very impressed with the Sunday Services we had which were also ... Read More
I enjoyed the fellowship of many Faith believing Christians on this cruise. Traveling alone they welcomed me into their group which made the trip extremely enjoyable. I was very impressed with the Sunday Services we had which were also very well attended. The crew staff were very hospitable to the extent that they knew your likes and served them when you were in their area. I was very impressed with the culinary variety they offered so that all ethnic backgrounds would be able to enjoy their food, and those who were willing to broaden their palate had the same opportunity. The entertainment on board was great, from Halloween Celebrations, Formal evenings and Campaign cascade, Dance,as well as Language instructions, as well as the dancing group on board did a fantastic job with their productions. They were so good that the Theater was always packed, with little room left for late comers. There was enough activities for anyone's taste, Bingo, Casino, Trivia and the like. Love going on Princess voyages. Bon Voyage Amigos!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We are Princess Platinum, and although we have our issues with the company, we find their ships and staff still a cut above the other in the "reasonable" cruise line pricing sheet group. Cabin: B524; Steward, Ricky. ... Read More
We are Princess Platinum, and although we have our issues with the company, we find their ships and staff still a cut above the other in the "reasonable" cruise line pricing sheet group. Cabin: B524; Steward, Ricky. Outstanding service, room kept spic and span, and he accommodated our special needs after my wife became ill on the trip -- More on this later. Food: Horizon Court (buffet) was great as always. Sit down dinners in the Bordeaux were standard Princess menu, but very high quality food and service. Snack service good as well. Entertainment: This is an area where Princess still FAR outshines the competition. There was NOT ONE bad show or entertainer on the ship. The dancers and singers, costumes, choreography and special effects were simply dazzling! These young people are to be commended for their drive and energy at all times while on stage. Lotus Spa: We always purchase the additional "thermal package" ($349 for two for 15 day cruise), and although the spa area on this ship is smaller than on others, we never felt crowded out using the area. $35 (plus 15% gratuity) for a haircut, which is the going rate here in CA at home, but well done. Excursions: We tend to drift back-and-forth on Princess excursions, because they can be inconsistent. Snorkeling in Aruba: A++; Self walking tour (we used the hop-on-hop-off bus in Cartagena: B, as Cartagena is jam packed with beggars and other street people constantly bothering tourists to purchase their wares, even to the extent of fighting and arguing with other vendors selling the exact same item, so beware! Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary in Puntarenas, Costa Rica; A++, Simply because the young people who work there are so dedicated to what they do; San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, cancelled due to high winds and seas (this is a tender port), but we have done the Mombacho Volcano hike on another cruise, and rated it A++ as well, if you are in good physical condition. Zip lining in Cabo San Lucas, A++ (second time here as well, and consistently excellent). Our biggest ongoing bitches with Princess are their asinine alcohol policy, and constant selling of EVERYTHING. Their alcohol prices are just totally absurd aboard ship, and their "unlimited alcohol" price of $57.80 per day is even worse. My God, this is a cost of $120 per day (or $1,734 for a 15-day cruise), and is more than we spend on alcohol for six months at home! Their premium wines are more than double the price that you can purchase a bottle for at any supermarket in any port we stop in, and they know it, because now they are taking bottles of wine away from passengers returning to the ship each day, to be returned at voyage's end. Most passengers we have talked to have some very creative secret ways to get around this idiocy (as do we), but it is a shame that through their GREED, Princess continues to gouge passengers. If they were to come up with a reasonable daily rate, as well as drop their on board bottle costs to something reasonable, they would A: Make a LOT more money than they are now, B: They would not have to pay three of four staffers to deal with this passenger issue in EVERY port, and C: Your passengers would be a LOT happier with you! SERIOUSLY! Same with people selling all the time aboard ship. People who wish to shop and purchase items will do so, whether staffers are constantly hawking stuff to them or not. For the rest of us, this is a BIG TIME ANNOYANCE! The trip through the Panama Canal makes this trip worth it alone. Such a magnificent work of engineering, and the local expert (Humberto) on-board spent the entire day going the just about everything anyone could ever wish to know about the canal. Finally, a word on shipboard illness. Princess (we are sure as with other lines, but probably even more so) is MANIC about on-board health, hand washing, Purell (they must go through 3,000 gallons of that stuff per cruise!), etc., some people are still just so inconsiderate of their fellow passengers, or maybe, just uneducated. This trip had a pretty aged clientele aboard, and we were astounded at the number of people openly coughing, sneezing, being in congested areas while being ill (theater, restaurants, buffet, etc). Especially on a winter cruise where people are coming from colder climates to Florida, then through Central America, and back into winter along the CA coast going into San Francisco. As such, this ship became a plague ship by the time we docked in SF. We spent the last three days of the trip locked in our cabin, as my wife caught a horrendous cold. People were wearing masks and everything else by the final day of the trip, but, still others continued to obnoxiously spread their germs amongst everyone else. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
The service on there was really good nothing too much trouble but be careful with reception as some of them do not speak good English or understand. The best person to speak with is Bernard who comes from Canada. We have never had such ... Read More
The service on there was really good nothing too much trouble but be careful with reception as some of them do not speak good English or understand. The best person to speak with is Bernard who comes from Canada. We have never had such friendly helpful staff. The food is always cold so do not except too much, the deserts in the Horizon is really good for choice and the staff up there are the best always asking if you would like coffee or tea , Water nothing was too much for them to do for you. The free ice cream on the Lido deck is free and really good. The biggest problem was the shaking of the cabin at the AFT deck lido deck 14 on island princess shaking these are new cabins even though they were clean and nobody could look down on you and were not noisy the shaking is like being on one of those fitness shaking machines all the time. The shows were very short and some of the acts were terrible. The Films on Deck at night were good with free popcorn and cookies. The Burger bar is very good very hot food and fresh. Room Service which is free try the steak sandwich in the afternoon what a treat. The cabin Staff were so good always cleaning and perfect. Always sun lounger’s room in the pool space for all as there are 2 main pools and a splash pool on top deck forward. Be careful with the photographs can be very persistent. One of the best things is Any dinning you can go for dinner between 5:30 and 10 o'clock and sit a a different table every night. When shopping on board we found that staff very unhelpful and always looking at their watches rather than helping you. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
The Island Princess is an older ship, but very nicely maintained. Embarkation was the best we have ever experienced, I believe. It must have taken10 minutes tops. We are “Platinum”, so were guided to a shorter-looking line. We arrived ... Read More
The Island Princess is an older ship, but very nicely maintained. Embarkation was the best we have ever experienced, I believe. It must have taken10 minutes tops. We are “Platinum”, so were guided to a shorter-looking line. We arrived at the port at about 12:30--and I think that a lot of the early-birds had already arrived. The Horizon Court was really full, but we did find a table for lunch. It was very nice to be able to access our cabin immediately on arrival. Be sure to go to your “muster station” a few minutes before the announced time, unless you are assigned to the theater. Seats fill up quickly and many people had to stand in the Universe Lounge. The entertainment was a very good variety--instrumental, vocal. production shows, and comedians. The Rhapsody Trio played classical music usually before dinner and at other times--they even had 2 concerts in the Universe Lounge--we enjoyed hearing them very much. The “On the Bayou” production show is not to be missed! Arrive 40-50 minutes early. It’s worth it. In fact. arrive at least 20-30 minutes early for any “theater” show. I saw plenty of people playing cards, reading books, or i-pads as they waited. The comedians were a mixed bag! They tried really hard. Of course, every ones’ taste is different. We enjoyed the Bordeaux Anytime dining. Tables 73-76, served by Elena and Richard, were where we tried to sit--they both had a wonderful sense of humor, and were very attentive, and remembered our preferences early on. Dinner with them was a special part of our enjoyment of the trip. We did Princess tours at 4 ports. I know lots of Cruise Critic readers prefer to book private tours, but this time we found the ship tours to be well-priced and we enjoyed them. We really enjoyed the Puntarenas rafting trip--even though the river was low, it was very fun, and we saw some wildlife. Our guide was skillful and fun. Hacienda Amayo in Nicaragua was a lazy day--Pretty music by marimba and guitar, dancers in pretty costumes, hammocks by the lake, I even milked a cow and made a tortilla, and they also had horse rides. The lunch was pretty basic, but it was O.K. Watching the locks on the Panama canal was interesting. The port lecturer gave excellent information. The MUTS was pleasant on a couple of nights. They offer a blanket and popcorn. Service was excellent, and we will surely cruise with Princess again.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
This is not the first cruise I have taken, but it is the first one that was 15 days. My husband and I are fairly active and I called Princess several times prior to final payment to verify there were certain activities on board. Our ship ... Read More
This is not the first cruise I have taken, but it is the first one that was 15 days. My husband and I are fairly active and I called Princess several times prior to final payment to verify there were certain activities on board. Our ship had 4 days in a row at sea and we needed to guarantee some physical stimulus. First of all, the web site stated that there was a golf simulation screen on board. It was removed last year. There was a resistance wave swimming pool advertised. The pool didn't work as a resistance wave, it was just a pool. There were a total of 10 treadmills, 4 were broken. Several pulleys on the weight machines were broken and unable to be replaced. There was one free class at 7:30 a.m. the rest were for a fee. Princess has made the decision to not have a Bridge Director after March 2014. They will use a member of the Princess staff to run all Bridge games after this time. There is no guarantee that the staff member will have masters points and be a director. That is not going to work very well. We also had anytime dining. Meaning we could have dinner anytime from 5:15 to 9:30 without a set seating schedule. You could call after 8:00 a.m. and make a reservation for the evening. Well most of us could never get in before 7:30 p.m., which wasn't convenient if we wanted to attend an early show. We finally discovered that because so many people wanted the 530p.m. seating they just spilled into the anytime dining room and the people who signed up for "anytime dining" couldnt even get a seat until 730-745.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2013
Overall impression: The Island Princess is a fine ship--it is in great shape--looks almost new. The ports and glaciers--this ship goes to both Glacier Bay and College Fiord which is a great combination--you will see multiple glaciers. ... Read More
Overall impression: The Island Princess is a fine ship--it is in great shape--looks almost new. The ports and glaciers--this ship goes to both Glacier Bay and College Fiord which is a great combination--you will see multiple glaciers. Other ports are standard--Skagway is OK (I prefer Sitka)(I rented a car instead of the train and drove into the Yukon--Whitehorse was surprising nice), Juneau is fine, and Ketchikan is pleasant (ps in Ketchikan you can walk 10 minutes to the Safeway if you want to buy anything and the store even has free internet access). Re the Island Princess--the ocean view cabin is small--it isnt small by measurement compared to other ocean view cabins on other cruise lines--but due to what I regard as a poor layout due to the wasted space for the "walk in closet" and the wall running perpendicular to the orientation of the room which cuts the room by 1/3 and makes the bed area seem small--not even enough space for a small couch. You will feel cramped. I am sure Princess did a lot of research on how to arrange the space--but I think it makes the room feel cramped. And the comments on the shower that other people have commented on--it is really tiny--if you are at all a bigger person (really I am normal weight (BMI 24...) and it was tight)--it will be tight--seriously--you will be surprised how small it is. Re the layout of the ship itself--this is great--if you like to walk--you can walk on the promenade deck or the top of the ship. The lowest level, the Plaza--does feel claustrophobic as it opens to the atrium. And the coffee shop is on the Plaza level along with the dining room. Get the coffee card for around 32 dollars and you are set--just leave your room and get endless brewed coffee and up to 15 expresso drinks--right there near the room--no need to go to the Lido deck. Re dining--never a signif wait for a table under anytime dining. Service excellent. The food is fine--as long as you stay with pure american or italian food. Anything non-european will be terrible--interestingly, Carnival or Holland America do good Asian food--but not Princess. The italian food on Princess is good--surprising good pizza. Food was fine, both on the Lido deck, and the dining room. Overall a fine experience. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
My husband and I are in our early 60's and just completed the Feb. 16, 2013 10 Day Roundtrip Panama Canal Cruise on the Island Princess. We had completed the 15 day Full Transit a few years ago on the Coral Princess so decided on the ... Read More
My husband and I are in our early 60's and just completed the Feb. 16, 2013 10 Day Roundtrip Panama Canal Cruise on the Island Princess. We had completed the 15 day Full Transit a few years ago on the Coral Princess so decided on the 10 day for this trip. We both love the size of the Coral and the Island Princess. We chose Traditional Dining, early seating. 90% of passengers on this trip requested early seating so we were fortunate to keep the early time as others were moved to the late seating. Service was fantastic, from our room steward to all of the dining, bar and entertainment venues. Everyone always greeted us with a smile. We were in a mini-suite and the room was in great shape and our bed was comfortable. We enjoyed all of the excursions we had booked - DePalm Island in Aruba, Old City and Fort tour in Cartegena, Aerial Tram and Tortugera Canal in Costa Rica and snorkeling in Ocho Rios. Since we've been in Panama previously, we stayed on the ship for the day transit and turnaround in the Canal. The entertainment was good - we've seen some things on previous cruises so skipped a couple of shows. As usual, the 8 pm shows in the Princess Theater filled in quickly and you had to get there 45 minutes ahead of time to get a seat. The person giving the port lectures, Emile Baladi, did a great job and it was actually a lecture and not a shopping sales job. Loved this cruise!   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
We began our cruise a day early and stayed in the North Beach area at the Winterset. The North Beach group is doing a nice job renovating older motels in the area, and this is a fun area to stay. It is quiet, near the beach, and a great ... Read More
We began our cruise a day early and stayed in the North Beach area at the Winterset. The North Beach group is doing a nice job renovating older motels in the area, and this is a fun area to stay. It is quiet, near the beach, and a great way to start a cruise. I think the Winterset needs some more work, but there are many others in the area to choose from. The Plaza Bistro (another North Beach operation) was an awesome place to have dinner. You need to read the reviews on Tripadvisor to get an idea of what to expect here. It may not be for everyone. The food was terrific, the service professional and the dinner was priced reasonably. We easily arrived on board by 11:30 a.m. after embarking from the Platinum/Elite lounge. Only Elite passengers now get a continental breakfast! Our stateroom was decorative and perfectly clean. Roberto, our steward, did an excellent job taking care of our needs inobtrusively. He always had a smile on his face and was very polite. The only complaint was the smaller than usual shower. Even the comedian made jokes about it! Overall, I was very impressed how Princess maintained this older ship. Everywhere you went it glistened. The varnishing was always carefully done. It was an absolutely beautiful ship! The layout was great, there was plenty of pool space, and we rarely had to wait for a lounge chair even on sea days. I would venture to say it was my favorite ship in the Princess line. The indoor Lotus pool area is definitely a place to visit, and the gym was also very well done. There were certainly no complaints about the food, even with the new menu. We listened to our waiters, Dragisa and Bozidar, for their recommendations and kept an open mind as to trying different foods. It was great. The service here was also spectacular. Very professional and warm. We ate at the Bayou and had a marvelous meal. It certainly is worth the upcharge. We also spend a lot of time at the coffee bar. Geronimo and Cyril became our friends! They were wonderful servers - congenial and welcoming. It was always a pleasure to stop by for a specialty coffee with our cards. We were very lucky to have good weather most of the trip. The captain did an amazing job keeping the boat steady even during times when the swells seemed large. I got the feeling the boat was a stable one. We did hit a nasty storm one night which closed the port to Costa Rica the following morning. We were so disappointed as this port was one of the reasons we chose this itinerary. Aruba - This was strictly a shopping stop for us as we were leaving around noon. It worked out well. We got off the boat, walked to town, did our shopping, walked back and lounged by the pool on a beautiful sunny day. Cartagena - We took the harbor cruise excursion through Princess. We had a beautiful ride through the harbor on a comfortable boat, then landed and were taken by comfortable bus to a secure shopping area. We boarded the bus and traveled to the fortress for a guided tour. Our tour guide was Elkin, and he was certainly the best. This was a first-class excursion. We even enjoyed our ride back to the boat seeing the sights of the old city. The hawkers are definitely out there swarming, but Elkin's group were bothered the least. Panama Canal - We took the advice of other reviewers and went to the front of deck 10 through an exit door. Get there early! The canal is interesting to see and worthwhile. However, be prepared, it is a very long slow journey. We took the ship excursion that took us the rest of the way through the canal to the Pacific Ocean. While I think this was the best type of excursion to take, it was by far the worst company to take it with. After a bus ride on a vehicle with uncontrollable cold air conditioning (we stuck the curtains in the broken vents to try and make it comfortable), 300 + of us boarded an old ferry vessel. We could choose to be upstairs or up front in the blazing sun/then rain or inside on one of three levels. Once you got your plastic garden chair seat tightly packed to your fellow passenger, that was yours. There were two bathroom stalls for our group on this 10 hour trip. There were no bathrooms on the bus btw for our 1-1/2 hour trip. The food was comical. We had trays of sliced frankfurters in some unnamed sauce, small pieces of chicken on skewers, little cubed egg fritatas, and a few other unappetizing dishes. There were sweet sodas and water available. It was an insult especially considering the cost of the trip (over $300 for a couple). Ships kept cutting in front of us because of their priority claims, but we finally made it off to land and our buses two hours late. We did hit a tugboat pretty hard in the canal, but don't know whose fault this was. On our way home we hit a torrential downpour, and to our dismay, our bus had no working windshield wipers!! That did not stop the bus from rushing through the mountains to get back to the Island who was patiently waiting for us. The experience was not what I would expect from a Princess excursion to say the least. One saving grace - The bus pulled up right to the gangplank and there were the crew with umbrellas open for us - at least those that did not fly away in the storm. It was a nasty storm!! As I mentioned before, the Costa Rica port was closed so we took a slow trip to Jamaica. Jamaica - We took a first-class Princess excursion on Cool Running, a gorgeous catamaran to tour the coast and take in some swimming. We had a fabulous time enjoying the sights and interacting with the very accommodating and friendly crew. Definitely recommend this excursion. All in all, this was a wonderful cruise. Princess continues to be our favorite line and we are excited to go on the Royal in the fall. Even though there are some cutbacks that you might notice, Princess does not bother you in an annoying way to buy their upcharges. Many of these extras are worth it in my opinion, but certainly appreciate their polite way in selling them. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
My wife and I along with our great neighbors just returned from the Panama canal cruise, sailing aboard the beautiful Island Princess, it was a terrific cruise, and a special way to celebrate our anniversary. Having sailed on over twenty ... Read More
My wife and I along with our great neighbors just returned from the Panama canal cruise, sailing aboard the beautiful Island Princess, it was a terrific cruise, and a special way to celebrate our anniversary. Having sailed on over twenty cruises, mainly with Princess, Celebrity, RCCL and Carnival, I feel well qualified to write an honest and neutral review. We choose this cruise as it was on my "Bucket list", and we did not want to go as far as the western Mexican coast, as it doesn't appeal to us and isn't the safest place to be anymore, so a partial transit more than satisfied our wishes. We drove down from Mobile, Al the preceding day and stayed at the Clarion in Stuart, Fl., which we have done many times before. It's the perfect distance and the Clarion is warm, friendly and clean, with an attractive rate. The drive to the port is only an hour and a half. We arrived around 11:00 and had about an hours wait in the lounge and then boarded with the first group. A very simple process and went straight to our Baja deck cabin. It was on the front bump out and proved to be a perfect location for everything. Unlike most ships the buffet, dining rooms and theater are all on the front end. We found the ship to be very easy to get around and was pleasantly surprised to see that the Island was in great shape, with know show of wear and tear, despite being a little older. The crew has done a super job keeping up the appearance.The staff and crew were the friendliest we have ever experienced, they were all terrific, especially in the Bordeaux dining room. Our room steward was also outstanding. We followed the recommendation seen on Cruise critic and made an immediate reservation for anytime dining and were assigned a 7:30 seating each night at the same table, it worked out perfect. We also put our name down immediately for the Chef's table, and were fortunate enough to make the list, which was one of the highlights of the cruise. The food on the ship was terrific, as good as we have experienced on any ship. I would recommend everyone try to do the Chef's table one time, it was an unforgettable evening. The Maitre d Ignazio D Agostino and Executive chef Klaus Otto were our hosts for our group of ten, and it would take a review all by itself to fully describe the evening, it was simply fabulous. Three of the couples had done this before, but I wouldn't want to do it again and spoil the memories of our evening, as it would be hard to top. Having the first two days at sea was a luxury, as it was as peaceful as you could ever want, with plenty of places to relax. Our first port of Aruba was uneventful for us, as I had lived on the island for six years as a child and have re-visited many times, and with only half a day, it's little time to do much. The next day in Cartagena, we had booked a tour through Dora at http://cartagenatour.com, and what a wonderful decision it turned out to be. We had linked up with three other couples through CC and the ten of us had a fabulous day seeing all of the sights in and around the city, I would highly recommend her services. The big day of visiting the Panama canal finally arrived, and we were out on the front of the Baja deck at 5:30, just in time time to see the pilot board, and then for the next 2-1/2 hours we proceeded through the locks, which were as exciting as imagined, and even more enhanced by narration of Dr. Ryan, who was our on-board lecturer. Once in Gatun lake, many passengers disembarked for various tours and later caught back up with the ship in Colon. We stayed on-board and enjoyed going back through the locks even more than the first time, what a wonderful experience. We later got off the ship to look around the dock area in Colon, but what a waste of time, nothing to see or do. Our day in Puerto Limon turned out to be another wonderful experience as we booked a tour through Charlie Soto at http://okeydokeytours.com/ and saw everything imaginable around the area, including a Banana plantation, canal tour, wildlife in action( including several Sloth's) and a wonderful lunch. Our tour guide Jorge did a terrific job. Having been to Grand Cayman on many occasions we decided just to take a riding tour and visit the Sting rays. While it was fun, it's just never the same the second time around. The only area to fall a little bit short of expectation was the entertainment, and while it was good we have seen better. Perhaps we were spoiled having been on the Oasis last fall, and that's not a fair comparison. As you can tell, we really enjoyed the cruise and highly recomend it to everyone, it was loads of fun. I'll be pleased to respond to any questions. Now, it's time to start planning another cruise ! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
This was my first cruise with Princess. Overall, a fantastic experience! The ship and crew are both top notch. Despite being nearly a decade old ship, it is well kept by its friendly staff. Embarkation was a breeze, luggage arrived ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Princess. Overall, a fantastic experience! The ship and crew are both top notch. Despite being nearly a decade old ship, it is well kept by its friendly staff. Embarkation was a breeze, luggage arrived nearly the same time as we located our stateroom. Our cabin steward was friendly and helpful. This ship is the perfect size. Plenty of places to go and things to do without seeming like you are forever wandering around a labyrinth of a ship. Panama Canal day was the highlight. Worth it to wake up early & enjoy the Panamanian sunrise while entering the locks. (There's a secret buried in another review on this site about the Island Princess. It will make your early morning rise all the more special if you find it.) I have to agree with the other reviews, food was just ok. Although a blessing in disguise as I did not gain any lbs during this 10 day cruise, it was a disappointment to not have warm rolls or flavorful fish in the main dining room. We did not venture into the "upscale" restaurants. The all you can eat pizza was mostly overcooked (dare I say, burnt) and the grille above it was again, just ok. Stateroom was a mini-suite with a balcony. Good space and the 2 TV's were a nice feature. No built in DVD player (included) was a disappointment, but not a deal breaker. Bathroom was surprisingly spacious and well designed with lots of shelves and places to hang things. Main bed was comfortable and cozy. Pillows... not so much. Might want to bring your own if you can. Fold away bed was uncomfortable and mattress was very thin. Anyone who weighs more than 60 lbs will not like it.Kid Stuff: Not many kids on this cruise (10 total), but the kids club was friendly and well stocked. Lots of crafts and other fun stuff you will not have room to pack. Again, the warm, friendly staff thru-out the ship knew my child by name about day 3, so that was a nice, welcoming feel. Tipping: This was my first experience with auto-tipping, ($12 per day per person). At first, I didn't think I would like it, but for me, it was more comfortable overall just tipping those persons that truly went that extra mile for you, knowing that others are still getting something extra. Dining in the formal dining room: This was very pleasant. Although the food could have been better, it was a nice, (relatively) quiet meal. We were never interrupted with some kind of "show" by the wait staff or a blatant plug for money (see Tipping above) by the maitre d'. The staff were warm and friendly & attentive without being "in your face". Dining in the buffet: It could be tough to find a table if you go a peak times. Staff are quick to try to find you a table and to carry your plate for you (especially if the seas are rough). The buffet is on the bow of the ship, so if you are prone to sea sickness, as some in my party were, I recommend taking your food out to the pool area for a more stable meal. There were plenty of tables and areas to eat at outside in the fresh air. Other things: Pictures: Yes, there will be pictures taken & sometimes the photographers are in your way. Smile and move on... You are on vacation! (You don't have to buy them, so relax.) Work out area: Free to use all equipment which was modern and well kept. Lotus Spa: Very nice offerings, but not the best prices. (Surprised?) As with most cruises, check back frequently as specials arise daily. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
My husband and I chose this cruise to celebrate our 50th and 55th birthdays on board. We had been on one other Princess Cruise and had a wonderful time and were expecting no less from this cruise. We found the staff to be very friendly ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise to celebrate our 50th and 55th birthdays on board. We had been on one other Princess Cruise and had a wonderful time and were expecting no less from this cruise. We found the staff to be very friendly and helpful in all areas of the ship. I do find it makes a difference if you say good morning and please and thank you when you are asking someone to do something for you. Our room steward was wonderful and asked us constantly is there was anything he could do for us. I do have to admit, we tip our room steward and waiters extra because we feel they really can make a difference in your cruise experience and they work really hard. We give them some money the first day and again on the last night. The food in the dining room and at the buffet was not bad but wasn't great either with the exception of a few particular dishes. It was just good, but not memorable. I guess when you are serving 12,000 meals a day, it's kind of hard to make all the meals extraordinary. We did eat at the Bayou Steakhouse one evening and that meal was wonderful. We also had the great fortune of going to the Chef's Table one evening. It was one of the best meals we have ever had!! If you have the opportunity to participate and don't mind paying the $95 up charge, do it. We also went to the gym everyday. It was pretty funny that the first few days of the cruise, the gym was pretty full whatever time we went, but as the days wore on, there were fewer and fewer people. There was a good amount of equipment to choose from. Various weight machine, treadmills, ellipticals and a couple of recumbent bikes. There were spin classes, and yoga classes you could sign up for with a $12 per class cost, held on sea days, as well as free zumba classes also on sea days. There were also line dance and ballroom dance classes held on sea days which were fun. There were the typical activities such as trivia games, bingo and gambling tournaments. This ship also had a daily lecture about an interesting topic if you were interested in something a bit more serious and they also have a ceramics at sea program where you can paint a bowl. There were plenty of movies daily both in the theatre as well as Movies Under the Stars. The movies were pretty recent which was nice. We did do MUTS one night and were brought popcorn and blankets. The entertainment each evening was very good. There were 4 large stage productions, some running 2 nights. There was a comedian, a really great guitarist and a fantastic hypnotist. There was plenty of live music of various kinds around the ship each night at well. Princess ships also have a 5K Komen breast cancer walk each cruise which we participated in. The cost was $15 a person and you received a baseball cap for participating. There are 2 free pool areas. One of the areas was very loud, where the kids and families would be. This area is open to the sky, with the perimeter area in the shade. It is also where MUTS is. If you want a quieter area, there is the Lotus Pool which has an enclosed pool and seating area, teak chairs and quiet music. No children were allowed in here. There is also the area called the Sanctuary. This is a pay per day area with very cushy lounge chairs, a small pool and butler service. We do not spend enough time at the pool to warrant the extra cost, but if you're a sun lover, the area is really nice. The ports we went to were all really good. We did some private tours that I had organized as well as some Princess sponsored tours. All were very good with the exception of a tour we did in Grand Cayman. It was the Turtle Farm, Hell and Tortuga Rum factory tour. The Turtle Farm was very interesting but not enough time was spent there. Going to Hell was fun but that required all of 15 minutes and we thought the Tortuga Rum Factory was an actual factory visit where we would see how rum was distilled but it is just a store. This wasn't an expensive tour, but not worth the money. You could easily take a cab to the Turtle Farm and Hell for much less. We also signed up to take the Ultimate Ship's Tour on one of our sea days. This tour is about 3 1/2 hours and costs $150 per person, but you get to go to many places on the ship that you would never get to see otherwise. You're also each given spa bathrobes, chef's jackets and stationary with your names printed on it. Everywhere you were taken, you were greeted by the head person of that area, so we met the head chef, head maitre d', the captain, chief engineer, head of the laundry, theatre director, chief printer of the print shop, and head photographer. We were very happy that we had chosen to take this tour, although once is probably enough. If you intend to do this tour, be sure to take an extra carry on bag to bring your stuff home in. The robes take up a LOT of room. We really had a great time and would certainly cruise on Princess again. Yes, I do think they have had to cut back on some things in the last few years and cruising is not what it used to be, but it is still a great vacation for the money and it is wonderful to be able to park your stuff in one place and be able to relax after that. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Arriving the night before the cruise, we stayed at the Crown Plaza right out side the cruise terminal. Nice, new and convenient - you couldn't beat the location. Very close to some last minute shopping. Our cruise started off ... Read More
Arriving the night before the cruise, we stayed at the Crown Plaza right out side the cruise terminal. Nice, new and convenient - you couldn't beat the location. Very close to some last minute shopping. Our cruise started off with the easiest embarkation experience ever. From the time we arrived via cab to sliding our key in the door was no longer than 15 minutes. We met the two other couples we were traveling with and departed for some more last minute wine shopping. Before we left though we stopped off at the spa to register for the thermal suite (more on this later) Walked right off, into a cab and returned with no hassle. We then checked out our cabin, unpacked and explored the ship. She's in excellent shape, clean throughout and the atrium is stunning. The crew was very friendly and our cabin steward Morvin from India was the best. It took a some time get seated at our first anytime dinning experience in the Bordeaux, but that took care of itself over time and the food was always good. A little rainy and breezy upon departure, but otherwise a great day. We stayed in a mini-suite Cat AA and felt we had one of the best rooms on the ship. Cabins on either side were occupied with our friends, so we opened the doors between the balconies creating a fairly large common area. Our outside chairs seemed a little dingy with significant paint droppings. We mentioned it to Morvin and he had them restrung with new webbing. This was a nice touch on Princesses part. The room didn't have that brand new feel we got on the Ruby, but I guess that was to be expected. Everything was as clean as possible. We ate at both the Bayou and Sabatini's. By far the Bayou was the best meal and well worth the up-charge. After pursuing the wine list we asked to speak with the Sommelier Jan Krell who was only a short pager message a way. After discussing what we liked he had something a little special in the wine cellar for us. This personal experience made the meal. In fact, we met him for diner every night there after. Sabatini's was a great meal as well and we would go back to both. We had light breakfast of coffee, yogurt fruit delivered to the cabin every morning. My only negative comment here is the menu has become extremely limited over the years. Frankly, so has the room service menu as I remember receiving full dining room menus (for free) a few years back. Lunch most days at horizon court which was always well stocked and the pizza was out of this world. If you wanted something special all you needed to do is bring your own ingredients. The one disappointment was Irish Pub meal at the Bayou. On previous cruises with Princess this was quite the experience, here it seemed like an excuse to sell expensive pub beers. Pretty much that was all you could get to drink and the food fish and chips was humble. All in all I have no complaints about dining as every dinner was outstanding. Almost every day my wife and I used the gym and after the second day the crowds thinned out. The equipment was in good shape and the place was always clean. As I mentioned earlier, one of our first stops was the Spa to reserve a spot for the thermal suite. On previous cruises we found this to be one of the best values on board. However, after this experience I may never use one again. The beds were often cold, the showers didn't work properly, and the staff seemed more interested in shutting them down than keeping them open. This was particularly disheartening after I called in advance to make sure they were open and to arrive and find everything turned off. It was annoying! We spent a little time in the casino were the staff taught my wife to play roulette. She walked a way a winner and our group had free drinks, so all in all this was a good experience. We didn't seem to have a lot of time for other entertainment as some of the dinners went long and we were up early every day. We did happen to see Duncan a musician and comedian. He was really great and boy could he play the guitar. Getting off was as easy as getting on. After a nice breakfast, we arrived at our disembarkation lounge five minutes early, sat down and cleared to leave within minutes. Less the 10 minutes later we were in a cab heading to the airport - arriving a few hours early. I could probably go on for days about this trip, but in summary I'll just say it was a five out of five. The crew as nice as could be and everyone was helpful. The ship common area are in fantastic shape although the room was slightly worn. The dinning experiences across the board were very enjoyable. We already put down our deposit for our next Princess cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2011
Island Princess- Feb 8- Feb 18- We had a group of 12 people on the cruise. Our big disappointment was only being in Aruba from 7:30am to 12:30. Stores open at 10. If you go on an excursion (SUBMARINE), YOU GET BACK AT 12:30. ... Read More
Island Princess- Feb 8- Feb 18- We had a group of 12 people on the cruise. Our big disappointment was only being in Aruba from 7:30am to 12:30. Stores open at 10. If you go on an excursion (SUBMARINE), YOU GET BACK AT 12:30. Princess completely skipped stopping in Limon. All of our stops were short. Our rooms were great, Crooners martini bar is fun with wonderful bartenders. The Casino personal can't wait for you to leave. They actually tell you that they are closing in 15 minutes. This was before 12. One comedian was great , the other was horrible. In the defense of Princess, long time cruisers of princess were very disappointed in this Island Princess cruises. They said not to judge Princess by this cruise. Embarking and disembarking was great, very fast. Luggage was placed in our rooms very quick. The pool had excellent hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza and ice cream. The breakfast buffet was good, lunch was horrible after the second day. Dinner was either great or horrible, no in between. All in all The Island Princess is beautiful, the passengers are great and but the ship closed up at 11pm. Going up for movies night was an experience of seeing how many people were sleeping with there mouth open. I only saw 4 children but there was a lot of animated movies. all 12 of us are in our 60's and we thought there was no night life. The Spa was wonderful. I cannot say enough good about it. 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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