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2 Princess Island Princess Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to Mediterranean

The ports of call on this cruise were great. Our experience on the ship was just ok. This was the first cruise for my husband and me, so perhaps our expectations were too high, but we both thought some things could have been so much ... Read More
The ports of call on this cruise were great. Our experience on the ship was just ok. This was the first cruise for my husband and me, so perhaps our expectations were too high, but we both thought some things could have been so much better. To begin with, whenever we passed a crew member on the ship, they completely ignored us, giving us not so much as a nod or greeting of any kind. Only the greeters at the buffet and our cabin steward were cheerful. The captain was not personable at all and bordered on rude. On the one formal evening where he was supposed to "meet and greet" the passengers, he hid near an elevator speaking only to his officers and studiously kept his back to all passengers. When one lady asked if she could have her picture taken with him, he rolled his eyes, stood there while his picture was taken, and then turned his back again to his guests. His welcome speech literally consisted of "Welcome to the Island Princess. I hope you have a nice voyage." and then he left the room. Needless to say, we did not feel very welcome. The Passenger Services desk was staffed only occasionally, and not at all when most passengers were on shore excursions, so if you had a question, you had to wait until it was open and then stand in a long line to get help. Sometimes you got a cheerful answer, sometimes not. We reported a problem of no hot water in our stateroom bathroom; they said it would be addressed, but it was not. Only once was I able to get a helpful answer from someone on the Shore Excursions desk (also only open a couple of hours a day, usually during dinnertime). We had booked a Princess excursion to Cinque Terre, but they cancelled it more than 24 hours in advance due to "high seas." The day it was supposed to take place dawned with calm waters, but the excursion remained cancelled. We tried to book a Princess excursion in Venice, but 5 out of about 8 were cancelled (including the one we wanted), so we went ashore on our own. (Most of our excursions were booked through another shore excursions company for the same tours at about half the price. They were very good, but required walking a little further to reach the van or bus.) The night before disembarkation, we had to have our luggage outside our door by 9pm. That early requirement made our last night on the ship very inconvenient, not having access to everything we would normally need for the night. A time requirement of 11pm or midnight would have been so much better and still given the staff an entire night to collect and sort luggage for our pickup at the port. We chose Anytime Dining. The food was reasonably good (although I would not recommend any of the beef dishes -- too tough), and often the food in the buffet was better, or at least as good as, the food in the dining room. The wait staff was excellent, meals were delivered correctly and hot, and only occasionally slow. We often were seated with other passengers and enjoyed talking with them over dinner. We would go on another cruise if it was the best way to get from port to port, as this cruise was. We would not, however, choose to cruise again if we just planned to stay on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was a 17-day repositioning cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Venice. It was also the last cruise before six weeks of extensive refitting, which explains some of the problems. This cruise attracted primarily Americans. There were ... Read More
This was a 17-day repositioning cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Venice. It was also the last cruise before six weeks of extensive refitting, which explains some of the problems. This cruise attracted primarily Americans. There were some Canadians, a few Brits, and a sprinkling of other nationalities, but we did miss the international contingent we found in cruises to South America and Australia/New Zealand. I suspect this will be true of most such repositioning cruises. We do our own shore excursions or join ones organized by Cruise Critic members. In Madeira we did a van tour with 6 other Cruise Critic members. In Barcelona, a Fat Tires bicycle tour (recommended). In Rome we took the bus to Tarquinia to visit the Etruscan necropolis and wander around. It’s a lovely town and connections by bus/train are easy. Just get to the train station (by foot or bus from the cruise terminal). If you’ve not been to Rome you’ll probably want to go there, but if you have been there Tarquinia is a fine option. In Naples, we were going to catch the ferry to Ischia but the weather was inclement so we settled for walking around the city. As several previous reviews noted, there was an annoying sewage odor at times. For us, it lasted for the first half of the cruise. Not overpowering — but also not pleasant. I presume that will be fixed in dry dock. Unfortunately, the renovation will add about 100 cabins, eliminate a major lounge, and cut off the back part of the promenade deck. Princess is apparently doing this because Venice is restricting larger cruise ships and the Island Princess is just under the limits. The added cabins will make the ship less pleasant, I think. The ship’s itinerary could have been better. It was a repositioning cruise. However, we got to Madeira and Barcelona at about noon, making for abbreviated visits in those lovely ports. Surely the ship could have steamed slightly faster to give more time in port. Our first trip as elite members (in possession of the much-desired benefit of free laundry) didn’t turn out so well. The ship lost a lot of our laundry. Never showed up. Apparently we’ll be reimbursed. Then there is the matter of sniffles. I think cruise ships are like kindergarten — remember when your kids began to go to school and were sick for a semester, passing the various minor infections on to you? Cruise ships seem to be the same. A large percentage of the passengers were sniffling and sneezing, myself included. Norovirus is relatively rare on ships, even if it does get a lot of publicity which it shows up. Colds are much more common, and can last a week or so. On both this and our previous cruise, we could hear the neighbor hacking away through the wall. There isn’t much cruise lines can do about this — but my advice is to pack every cold remedy you find helpful. You may need it. And the on-board store charged $3.49 for a SINGLE antihistamine tablet! Be prepared. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
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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