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32 Princess Island Princess Repositioning Cruise Reviews

Our third Atlantic crossing, and the second time on Island Princess (Other time to Alaska). Island Princess is very stable, even in high winds and moderate seas, so no problems with seasickness for me (Mrs. K. likes rough seas-go ... Read More
Our third Atlantic crossing, and the second time on Island Princess (Other time to Alaska). Island Princess is very stable, even in high winds and moderate seas, so no problems with seasickness for me (Mrs. K. likes rough seas-go figure!). Unfortunately, my allergies acted up, as did those of other passengers I spoke to. More than one crew member said that there was so much dust on the ship that it could no longer be cleaned thoroughly. Since I have never been bothered on a cruise before, I hope the drydock and re-fitting will ameliorate the situation for future cruisers. Closing the Universal Lounge and having parties like the Captain's Circle in the dinky atrium was a BAD idea! Acoustics are terrible for an amplified band and announcers/speakers; too many people were jammed into too small a space and spread over four decks. Closing the Universal also meant that entertainment venues and entertainers were halved. Since I've seen the same dance shows on other cruises, it would have been nice to see another entertainer. Fortunately, the indoor pool on the Lido was available for late evening swims and hot tubbing. The shows I did attend ranged from pretty good to outstanding. Being a late riser, I took my breakfast in the Horizon Lounge most days. A beautiful room with consistently good food in great variety, and attentive wait staff who were always ready to help find seating, clear used plates and replenish drinks. Dinners were as we have come to expect from Princess: wonderful entrees, knowledgeable, friendly wait staff, and multiple desserts! We dined in the Provence dining room, second seating, which we much prefer to anytime dining. Second seating allows time to return from shore excursions and get ready for dinner, then go watch a show. However, when second seating was moved to 7:30 pm, showtimes should also have been moved 1/2 hour earlier, as there is now too much down time between dinner and show. Shore excursions were a mix of ship run, and private hires. My traveling companions did most of the planning, and I got to enjoy. I have always found Princess tours to be well run, although our Venice walking tour almost ended up as something else when we got the wrong tour stickers from staff. Fortunately, an alert crew member recognized the mistake and got everyone into the correct groups. The private tours, in small vehicles, can go places that tour busses can't. We were the first ones into the Gates of Pompei when they opened in the morning! I will always treasure my pictures of Vesuvius overlooking the ruins with not a single human being in the pictures! Madiera was a surprise; everything either up or down from wherever you happened to be! People having to take an elevator up a cliff from their seashore homes to get to work and school. Switchbacks and a superhighway blasted around and through the island. A 500 meter drop through a glass floor to the ocean! I would have enjoyed a few days on this island! It is hard to go wrong in cities like Venice, Rome, Barcelona and Naples, whatever tour you take. One highlight for me was the wonderful church of La Sacrada Famiglia in Barcelona. Inside and out, perhaps the most beautiful building I have ever seen. Graceful and elegant natural lines, and glowing, multi-colored light through the stained glass windows made this an experience I will remember. I've wanted to see the Roman Pantheon since seeing black and white pictures of it in a grammer-school textbook. Still beautiful, after 2000 years! The Colesseum. Imagine standing in the Christian end-zone and watching the Goth home team pouring onto the field through the opposing goal posts! One quibble with Princess is the sports deck. I love to play basketball. On this trip I found a few other old men who also enjoyed playing, every sea day! Princess, to save their lives, cannot seem to set up a basketball court properly! I know this will not affect many members of Cruise Critic, but indulge me, please. It does not cost any more to hang a basket exactly ten feet above the floor, than it does to place it nine feet, or eleven feet! It would be no problem to hang the protective netting around the court high enough so that a normal shot doesn't hit it. Painting a foul line fifteen feet away from the basket is no more difficult than painting it seventeen feet away, etc.! Please, Princess, next time you put a basketball court on a ship, consult an NCAA rule book, which will give you all the dimensions you need, and save all the guesswork. Locate a tape measure and go to town. You got it right on Sun and Dawn Princesses, but not on any other Princess ship I've been on. As far as travel to and from the ship is concerned, it was on airlines, so it sucked. Stand in long lines to be hassled, run from one terminal to another, stand in another interminable line, sit for hours in a chair that was designed to hold a 3/4 scale size human; repeat at the next airport. When it is all over, pray your suitcases will appear in some semblance of intactness on the baggage carousel of broken dreams... Yes, I would travel Island Princess again. At least some of the problems and annoyances seemed to be due to the ship's need of refurbishing. Other than the staff failing to explain that the $29 water taxi tickets in Venice were unnecessary, and that the Barcelona shuttle buses back to the ship were free if you had purchased an excursion package, the staff service was extremely good. Although onboard activities that suited my own tastes were not plentiful, I was able to find lots to do, including getting several books from the ships library, and sitting on the Lido deck, alternately napping, reading and swimming! Actually, floating in the pool is more my style. I did it every day; outside whenever it was warm enough. I guess I'm just easy to please. A pool/hot tub, a basketball court, books and a chair, and I'm ready to cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Time just flew going across the Atlantic for the first. There was lots of things to do and plenty of down time when I wanted it. The food was amazing on the ship. The nightly entertainment was very professional and talented. The library ... Read More
Time just flew going across the Atlantic for the first. There was lots of things to do and plenty of down time when I wanted it. The food was amazing on the ship. The nightly entertainment was very professional and talented. The library was well stocked and people left their magazines for others to read. Tried the treadmill and those were great. My husband was surprised when he went to play basketball and there were actually four or five other men who liked to play too. Ladt cruise there was no one to play with so he won all the metals. He had competition on this one. Even though the ship was showing wear and tear, the staff more than made up for it. I never felt so catered to. We had the mini suite and there was plenty of room. The only thing I wish was that we had longer in Rome and Venice. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We had a fabulous time, but I can certainly agree with other reviewers...time for refurbishing! Princess staff are all usually wonderful and it was definitely so this cruise too. We visited two of the specialty dining rooms, ... Read More
We had a fabulous time, but I can certainly agree with other reviewers...time for refurbishing! Princess staff are all usually wonderful and it was definitely so this cruise too. We visited two of the specialty dining rooms, Sabatini's and the Bayou Cafe & Steakhouse. Both were excellent. We actually went to Sabatini's twice! Read Less
Sail Date March 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 June 2015
This was our fourth transatlantic, our 20th cruise on the Princess Line and the third on the Island. During this 31 day repositioning we found the Island clean, though a little dated, with excellent always-with-a-smile service and the ... Read More
This was our fourth transatlantic, our 20th cruise on the Princess Line and the third on the Island. During this 31 day repositioning we found the Island clean, though a little dated, with excellent always-with-a-smile service and the food selection tasty and varied the entire time. The entertainment was over and above the usual cruise fare, even at times world class. We always get a mini-suite, this time choosing C204, an elongated mini-suite without a balcony. The cabin window was large enough to always give us an adequate view but, of course, nothing like a full sliding glass door. There were a few times that I did miss the balcony but the extra room made up for what was lost. I will say we would never book this type cabin on any Caribbean cruises as we are heavy balcony users in warmer weather. The cabin was quiet and just a few feet away from an outside door leading to the front of the ship. Only a couple times during rough weather did I find a rope across the door entrance that denied access. Believe me this front ship area afforded a spectacular view when entering Venice’s canal way. But it didn’t take us long to realize that this was not the same ship experience we had when taking the Island Princess through the Panama Canal, twice. This time we found crowded public spaces, overlapping events, that kept people waiting outside venues in large crowds if anything went long, and witnessed people in long lines trying to get into the anytime dining room. Fortunately, we opted this time for the traditional dining time slot, even though for some unknown reason every night, and I mean every night, our dinner took two hours, from beginning to end. When coming out of dining we would see long lines a floor down of people waiting to get into the anytime venue and talked to people over and over that were very unhappy about waiting, with a buzzer in hand, to be called for the anytime experience. What we did observe, now that the large Universal Lounge has been taken out, was staff that had to constantly juggle limited venue options. An example was a speaker, in the Explorer Lounge, giving an excellent talk on WWII that was barely audible because of the bingo players signing up outside, not a few feet away. The cruise line has not only taken away an extremely large public space but has added an additional 100 cabins to the Island that was never in the initial configuration. The fabulous former fitness center has been moved to a unappealing windowless lower level that I ended up not using because of the smallness and lack of ambience. The Princess Theater, I guess, because of all the additional passengers has had all the side aisles removed which meant the nightly climbing over people to get to your seat routine. We will definitely go on another Princess vacation as we have reached Elite status and having your laundry done is a perk not easily surrendered but we will watch carefully and never go on another ship that has been reconfigured to take away public spaces so that additional innumerable extra cabins could be added. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Although we'd previously visited some of these ports/countries in past independent travel, this was our first repositioning/ Transatlantc cruise. The refurbished rooms on the Island Princess were an improvement over what we remembered ... Read More
Although we'd previously visited some of these ports/countries in past independent travel, this was our first repositioning/ Transatlantc cruise. The refurbished rooms on the Island Princess were an improvement over what we remembered from our Panama Canal cruise on the same ship last year. The wall-mounted flat screen TV & slight improvements to the bathroom gave an updated look. Some changes to the ship weren't positive, such as the smaller fitness center & the elimination of both the Universe Lounge, and the bigger pastry counter usually found on Deck 6. We always enjoy the port lectures in the theater, but here, the gentleman who served as port lecturer had a more limited role. Being in port on many consecutive days, the majority of his lectures were just recorded & shown on stateroom TV. And because he disembarked in Barcelona, there was no lecture given at all for our last port, the Azores. At many of the ports, Princess charged a high fee to get into the town via shuttle or boat, such as $29.00 to get into Venice. Any available , cheaper options were neither explained by the port lecturer or described in the Patter. The one free shuttle bus that was offered, in Salerno, was little used because so many of the tours ran late. We really enjoyed our tour that day, visiting Mt. Vesuvius & Pompeii, but were dismayed by some of the inconsiderate passengers. At both locations, people did not rejoin the group at the appointed time. At Pompeii, someone disappeared so the rest of us were left mlliing around while the tour guide looked for the wayward person for over half an hour, with no communication to the rest of the group. For the premium cost of these excursions, it seems that the cruise should build in some compliance by the participants, or at least stress punctuality.The days at sea were enjoyable, although there was a lot of congestion related to the dining rooms. People lined up in the evening before the Bordeaux dining room even opened, but were still given beepers. And at 5:45, some of the "anytime" diners were taken up to the Provence dining room (fixed seating.) It seems this system needs serious revamping. Delays in dining made it difficult to get to the shows in many cases, too. On the positive side, the cruise director & staff seemed very hard-working and energetic . Many people depended on reading to get through the long days at sea, and the Library collection on Deck 8 really is in need of updating. Looking at the book titles was like a throwback to the 1990's. But all in all,we enjoyed the cruise and all of the ports. We were very lucky to have excellent weather, with daytime temperatures in the 60'S and 70's. In spite of this nice weather, many people were coughing and sneezing, and a letter on respiratory illness was issued to all by the Medical Center, which was a bit daunting. We did learn to look for the "non- coughing" area at events! For the most part, we had an enjoyable time and felt that the crew and staff were hard working and available to passeners.Disembarkation was handled smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
After spending a few pre-cruise days in Venice, we boarded the Island Princess, our first time with them so we were naturally wondering what we would find! The boarding was quite good, everything ran smoothly; the cabin was ready and ... Read More
After spending a few pre-cruise days in Venice, we boarded the Island Princess, our first time with them so we were naturally wondering what we would find! The boarding was quite good, everything ran smoothly; the cabin was ready and our luggage was placed inside shortly after. Cabin E710 is located at the back of the ship so it was quiet as there were not many passengers moving around in the corridors, but when the seas were rough there was a lot of movement and strong vibrations from both the propulsion and waves hitting the vessel. Room size was good, excellent balcony with an open view, very good storage and a small bathroom with a “very small shower” stall. The bathroom was the only drawback for this cabin, not at all suited for heavy set people; TV programming (movies, news, etc.) was first rate. We chose the “any time dining” option in the Bordeaux. To avoid delays or misunderstandings about table preferences we always reserved our table one day in advance but that didn’t always work out; so be prepared to assert yourself in order to sit where you want! The staff in general are super-duper; attentive, fast, cordial and very professional and there are so many that it is difficult to name one and not mention the others, so I will give the name of only one, that in a way, represents all of them. Gianni (Italy), the Food & Beverage Supervisor is a real professional, as well as being a very caring and honest person. But I can’t stop there without mentioning two fantastic Bordeaux waitresses; the first is Olena (Ukraine) she is one-of-a-kind, also the hostess at breakfast and lunch in the Provence; the second one is Lupita, a full-of-life Mexican who picks up the spirits of everyone. The food in the Bordeaux was excellent, with different offerings every night and many interesting choices. All dishes sampled were very tasteful - large portions, served good and hot. The specialty restaurant, Sabattini’s was also excellent, especially their steaks (!!!) as much as their pizza’s at lunch time when it becomes Alfredo’s pizza; as it’s complementary (don’t bother trying them at the Pool Pizza!) The other specialty restaurants (charges apply) are the Bayou and the Crab Shack; both menus are inclined towards the Cajun (New Orleans) food and were not of our liking. It seems that was the case for many others too, because we noted it was practically empty every night when we passed it on our way to dinner. The only time that we saw the place full was when they offered a complimentary ‘English Pub Menu’ lunch. It was really good, especially the fish and chips - so it’s not to be missed! However we were disappointed at not having other types of cuisine, such as a French Bistro or a Steakhouse. Another excellent place to have dinner is in the Horizon Buffet Restaurant (deck 14), the choices are tremendous, it’s up to you how much you eat (danger!) and the waiters are on the ready to serve you and bring you whatever you’d like to drink. Because many passengers are at the theater or in the other restaurants, the place is very tranquil at night, so you can sit where ever you wish. But another “danger” are all those pastries!!! Tremendous selection!! Lunch time there, could be easy, as long as you don’t go when tour buses are returning to the ship! Then it is, real chaos!! The other alternative for lunch is at the Provence (quite enjoyable) as much as their breakfast. Of course you have the Grill at the Pool (burgers, hotdogs. etc.), the Pizza counter, etc. Some of the conferences given such as, on WW2 naval battles were very interesting as were the three Culinary Classes given by Master Chef Alfredo Marzi!! The musical shows at the Theater were unimpressive; the bars we frequented were the Crooners (pianist/singer Oliver, great!) and the Wheelhouse were you were able to dance to live music, however many of the musicians were second rate with dubious vocal skills. The ship has a very good feature (as I believe all the Princess ships have), that is a pay Laundry room on each deck; the cost was $3 for washing and same for drying and if you didn’t need either you could use the steam iron for free. Sometimes boarding the tour busses was tranquil but more often than not it was quite upsetting and stressful. This happened mostly because many passengers were impolite and on many occasions quite rude, pushing their way to get first to the bus so they could get the seats they wanted (usually the front ones) and the same happened when leaving the bus. What was hard to believe was that most of these people were seniors who one would expect would be an example of civility and good manners; it is not the first time that happened to us and that’s why we have finally decided to do the tours on our own, to avoid extra stress. Unfortunately, what was, and will be, unavoidable are encounters with them at the Horizon Buffet. Hard to believe and harder to accept those daily occurrences at the Horizon Buffet! Fortunately, there are many other seniors that behave in a respectful, considerate, friendly and positive manner. It was quite shocking to see so many people in wheel chairs, walkers or canes! We’ve seen this on other cruises but never so many as on this one. And for that reason we got quite concerned when all of a sudden a larger and larger number of them were coughing and sneezing and looking under the weather; a few days later a Medical Alert was sent to each cabin advising on the steps to take to avoid its spread throughout the ship. They even offered Tamiflu injections! The Island Princess had been refurbished earlier in the year to mixed Cruise Critic reviews. But, from our point of view, the Exercise Room, though very well equipped is located inside without sea views, so it seems a crowded and unwelcoming place. The same goes for the Mini golf course, too enclosed and not designed for beginners. The library needs to be updated and is poorly located as many passengers walk through it as a link between forward and aft corridors. The other no-no was the $10 sale event! Wasn’t up to the standards that Princess wants to be or would like to be considered for. The overall experience with Island Princess was highly positive, thanks to the many excellent experiences we had that put aside the few negative ones. The restaurants are excellent, the food superb, very good maintenance of the ship, etc. and the BIG stars were their staff! We never ever, experienced so much attention and care, done always with an honest smile full of energy and good will. It is really a pity that it took us so long to discover Princess Cruise Lines!! But for certain, we will be back!! TOURS!!!! Here are the comments of the ones we’ve been on. 1st stop – Dubrovnik, Croatia – Tour taken: “Dubrovnik & Konavle Home Visit” Too long a ride (1+ Hr.) for a very unsavory tour with not much to see during the ride. Once there, we all got together on a big outdoor terrace where some grappa (hard stuff) was offered, some music played by a group of waiters and then off to a basement were long wooden tables were ready for us. In general the food was from good (prosciutto & cheeses) to very bad (pasta) and really bad (red wine); the same musicians were playing some music while eating. After that, back to the bus, another 1+ Hr ride and boarding the ship. Tour guide (a blond girl) was good but unapproachable. Wasn’t worth the price paid. 2nd stop – Salerno, Italy– Tour taken: “Sorrento on your own” 4Hrs 45’ Not having been there before, we chose Sorrento. Happy we did because it is a very enjoyable town with many outdoor cafes, restaurants, great shops, etc. It was a beautiful day so we had lunch on an outdoor patio facing the main Piazza (Square), food (pizza) was excellent and the wine divine!!! Restaurant’s name: Syrenuse Bar Ristorante in Via Sant’Antonino; food, wine, service and atmosphere were all excellent! Highly recommended! 3rd stop – Civitavecchia, Italy – No tours taken. This time we had the chance to know better the city that used to be a stopover before joining previous cruises, so we decided to go to shore on our own. Map in hand we started to walk around, discovering the place at our own pace. Surprisingly, we enjoyed it very much! 4th stop – Livorno, Italy – Tour taken: “Lucca” - 4 Hrs. We’ve never been into Lucca. Another great choice! Regardless there is no time for lunch at the end, being a sunny and warm day, we were able to sit in an outdoor café facing Saint Michele Square (bus drop-off/pick up point), where we enjoyed tremendously, a great Cappuccino and a fantastic ice cream cone. Needless to say, we are planning to go back and spend more relaxing time there. To make all this more perfect was the Tour guide, Isabella! Completely fluent in English, very knowledgeable who gave so many tips to all of us in case we would like to return! Isabella was the best Tour guide of all this cruise, no doubt about it. Do not miss Lucca!! And hope you meet her! 5th stop - Toulon, France – Tour taken: “Scenic drive to Bandol & Sanary-sur-mer 4.5 Hrs. After quite a very nice interior scenic drive we hit Bandol on the coast; sorry to say but it didn’t say much to us, so no comments. From there back along the coast, we reached Sanary-sur-mer around noon and are gladly able to tell you that it was a very nice town! Has all the attributes that so many of the Mediterranean fishing towns have. That is, all the flavours, sounds and smells of those places; we were lucky enough that we got there just when the fishing boats had arrived, so they were busy selling their catch of the day to the Sanary locals! We saw some people sitting around, eating freshly caught sea urchins the fishermen were selling – they eat them raw! There was an open market facing the esplanade selling a lot of food specialties, the harbor is beautiful with any type and size of boats; very nice restaurants and coffee shops with their patios open to the sea! Great town and great experience. Tour guide, double zero. 6th stop – Barcelona, Spain – No tour taken. Very well-known city for us, so we tried one thing that we hadn’t done before and that was the cable car (Telesferic) that goes from San Sebastian Tower (bus #64 in downtown takes you there- ticket $ 3 euros) all the way to Mount Montjuic; you will have the chance to take very good aerial pictures of Barcelona from up there. It is a bit pricy ($11 euros cash only, one way). Once on Mt. Montjuic, to get back to town you had to walk all the way down a very twisting and steep road till you reached a big avenue; doing this is not recommended, so we suggest the reverse trip, that is take a taxi from down town Barcelona, up to the entrance of the cable car at the top of Montjuic and once you arrive at the other end, you take bus #64 back to down town. Tired and hungry we got to the Ramblas, were we enjoyed a terrific, people-watching outdoor lunch!!! 7th stop – Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal – Tour taken: “Crater lakes, Sete cidades & wine tasting” 3Hrs 45’ Unfortunately, the weather didn’t help at all!! Cold, very windy and foggy! So there wasn’t much that we were able to see of the lakes, (formerly craters). The island’s vegetation was outstanding and we were sure that with the right weather would’ve been superb, as much as would’ve been the green and blue lakes. Fortunately, the tour ended on a very high note which was a wine tasting event twined with locally produced young cheese varieties and crackers. Really fantastic! But, the weather spoiled it! Otherwise this tour would’ve gotten really high marks! The tour guide was inconsequential. From there, we started our very, too long, crossing of the Atlantic (a general consensus). Anyway, we docked at Fort Lauderdale, very happy that we took this beautiful voyage with the fantastic Princess Cruise Line!!! See you soon!!!! Thank you so much for your patience! Have a great and happy trip!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
CRUISE This was a combination of three cruises back to back. We boarded the ship in Fort Lauderdale, cruised through the Panama Canal and on the Los Angeles, Vancouver, and finally Whittier, Alaska. It wasn’t on my bucket list, but ... Read More
CRUISE This was a combination of three cruises back to back. We boarded the ship in Fort Lauderdale, cruised through the Panama Canal and on the Los Angeles, Vancouver, and finally Whittier, Alaska. It wasn’t on my bucket list, but the Panama Canal transit was amazing and the highlight of this cruise. Although, I usually don’t buy the Reflections DVD, I did this time so I can relive the transit experience again and again. PRECRUISE We flew into Fort Lauderdale a day before our cruise. We rented a small car from Thrifty at the airport and returned it to their port location after dropping off our luggage at the pier the next day. Thrifty had a free shuttle to the ship and we hopped on after turning in our vehicle. The cost of the rental was probably not much more than several taxi fares and gave us so much flexibility. With three ships in port, hotel rooms were at a premium. We ended up staying at the Residence Inn in Dania Beach. It is close to the airport, but so quiet. Actual embarkation was quick. THE SHIP Please, please, please, everyone just quit saying that the Island Princess was ruined by adding all those cabins, etc. etc. The ship is beautiful. The atrium is amazing. It has a wide promenade deck with lots of chairs. I don’t feel the ship was crowded at all. There were so many quiet places to sit and relax. I missed Skywalker’s and the International Café, but the Island Princess never had these. And the staff! The hotel and restaurant staff were stellar. OUR CABIN We were in a balcony room on the forward Dolphin deck. I’ll just say it was ready for a rehab. Tired, tired, tired. DINING We always choose anytime dining. The Island Princess has lots of tables for two, so we rarely waited. There were lots of regional (Caribbean and Alaskan) items on the menus. We ate at Sabatini’s twice. The cover charge the first time was $25, the second was $29. We also discovered Alfredo’s pizza. It is not to be missed! We also purchased a wine package; we had to ask about it. ENTERTAINMENT Well the musicians were fantastic! My husband became a Phoenix Rising fan and I was a Josh Wheeler groupie. I particularly enjoyed pianist Christopher Contillo. The ship’s band was great; they are so talented. Even the Princess Pop Choir provided an outstanding performance. Everything else was …. Since when did happy hour become the entertainment? There were so many happy hours on this ship it is surprising there was any booze left to drink. POST CRUISE We purchased Princess transfers from Whittier to Anchorage. It took more than three hours to get to the Hospitality Center with unscheduled stops at the airport and Earthquake Park. After all that we had time for lunch and the trip to the airport and no sightseeing. WHY DOESN’T PRINCESS? While there are thousands of captive passengers waiting to leave the ship, why doesn’t Princess do a better job of servicing the public restrooms? Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We wanted to transit the Panama Canal. The canal experience was wonderful and very worthwhile. The ship itself is dated and needs some work. The port of Aruba was a very short visit, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We wanted to transit the Panama Canal. The canal experience was wonderful and very worthwhile. The ship itself is dated and needs some work. The port of Aruba was a very short visit, only a few hours, same for Colombia. Costa Rica was nice, so was Cabo San Lucas. We did not get to visit Nicaragua, as the seas were rough and tendering was not safe. That being said, many people were disappointed that another port was not offered, or docking early in Cabo San Lucas. The Princess Patter had the times wrong on a couple occasions, causing guests to miss activities: the rum tasting was posted at 2:30, but when we arrived at 2:15, it was almost finished, no apologies given. They "raffle" you to death in the Jewelry Boutique. They insist that everyone crowd into the store, which was hot and stuffy. They had a big sale (selling off the souveniers and trinkets from past cruises) that was basically junk. They really promoted their "Voice of the Ocean", which is a glorified karaoke contest, modeled after the television show. The grand finale was on the last evening at 8pm. We had late seating for dinner, and would have missed it, had it not been for our head waiter, who offered us a seat in the same section at 5:30. Poor planning. It should be held when everyone had a chance to attend. Last, but not least, I had a major complaint about several guests who habitually arrived late for the theater performances. They climbed over people to get a seat and were very rude and disruptive. I did file a complaint with the passenger services department, they should prohibit entry after the show has started. The staff was very friendly and our room was comfortable. To many sea days for us - 8. There was just not enough to keep us busy and would think twice about taking a cruise with that many sea days again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
At the outset I always want to describe myself as someone you will find in the gym, restaurants, bars or casino - not the shops or shows. I am a lawyer in my 60's that practices with a large firm in Los Angeles. Living in Los ... Read More
At the outset I always want to describe myself as someone you will find in the gym, restaurants, bars or casino - not the shops or shows. I am a lawyer in my 60's that practices with a large firm in Los Angeles. Living in Los Angeles I could not pass up a brief repositioning cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver. For very little I was able to book a standard cabin with a balcony - no stops -just two days at sea. This was my second Princess cruise - my first being a 14 day cruise on the Diamond Princess, which is based in Japan. The Island Princess is one of their older and smaller ships and really does not compare to the newer and larger Diamond Princess - which is really great, including its Japanese toilets (the Diamond Princess was built in Japan). In the past few years I have also taken cruises on Regent, Silversea and Crystal - which I may mention for comparison. 1. Getting on and off - very good. The staff was friendly and efficient in Los Angeles. In Vancouver there were quick and easy choices of getting off. I chose the 7:30am walk off and precisely at 7:30 I was on my way to the terminal - no muss nor fuss. 2. Food - the food on the Island Princess was very good, as was the food on the Diamond Princess. Frankly, for the money, it's a great deal and really not that much different than what you get on Regent or the other high end ship main dining rooms these days. The selections on the Island Princess main dining room menu were more limited than Regent, Crystal, Silversea or the Diamond Princess. The selections in the buffet are about the same - with pretty good coffee (the coffee on Regent was terrible). There are two speciality restaurants - which are priced at $29 per person (this must be a recent increase from the $25 per person which is mentioned in other recent reviews). I did not try them as their menus were not all that exciting - to me at least. The service in the main dining room was ok. The waiters seemed to wait for a whole bunch of dinners to be ready from multiple tables before getting them and staggering out with 10 covered dishes on the tray. The service in the buffet was very good - better than my last Regent cruise (Voyager - I have a separate review there) where there were not enough tables and servers to handle everyone promptly. Overall, Silversea (Spirit) had the best dining - but the Diamond Princess is a close second together with Crystal (Serenity). 3. Cabin - very comfortable bed and pillows - two uncomfortable chairs. As noted by others, the shower is small with an annoying shower curtain. The water pressure was good. I am 5',7" - 140 pounds - and just fit......... 4. Bars - good, with fast service. 5. The gym - not good. As noted by the professional Cruise Critic "critic", the gym was recently moved from a top deck with views to inside space on deck 6. I did not catch this and before the cruise (there are a number of You Tube videos showing a beautiful large gym with nearly 360 degree views) and was very disappointed to find a small claustrophobic gym that seemed like an afterthought. Moreover the equipment is old and the free weights seemed to be on the heavy side (no it was not because of my bar experience the night before). 6. The casino - a let down. Here again, on You Tube you will see a large casino with a fairly good sized craps table - not any more.....It appears the the remodel that pushed the gym to the 6th deck also took half of the casino. The craps table is gone and the tables that remain (blackjack and three card poker) are pushed up against a wall so that there is very little room to move around. There are a number of slot machines (although no where near what you see in the posted You Tube videos) which have a varied number of games, including a block of Quick Hit machines - which a lot of people like. The staff in the casino were friendly. 7. Other - the front desk was well staffed and organized - no lines. The same cannot be said for the Diamond Princess. The ship was clean - but the absolute cleanest and brightest (of all ships I have been on) was the Diamond Princess. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was the third Princess cruise for my husband & I. We travelled to the embarkation port (Vancouver, BC) by Amtrak, staying in Seattle, WA and Vancouver prior to embarkation. The island Princess is looking a little worn in ... Read More
This was the third Princess cruise for my husband & I. We travelled to the embarkation port (Vancouver, BC) by Amtrak, staying in Seattle, WA and Vancouver prior to embarkation. The island Princess is looking a little worn in several places, but was very clean. One thing I noticed was an ongoing mildew odor in the corridors located midship. We did not eat in the dining room. Instead we ate at the Bayou Cafe, Sabatinis, & the buffet. Evey call made to room service was filled quickly I cannot recommend the Bayou Cafe. The steak we ordered was more than half fat/gristle/bone. It was one of the worst steaks I have ever eaten. Fortunately, the meals we had at Sabatinis (dinner & breakfast) were good. The buffet offered less itiems, but they were of a better quality.than previous cruises. We didnot particiapte in any activites/entertainment. The only feature i used was the thermal suite. Although it is smaller than what i expected, I enjoyed the experience. The customer service was what made this cruise. All the crew members i encountered were friendly and helpful The only bad note was that we waited 3 hours to dismbark. This was the worst dismbarkation experience I have ever had. I probably wouldn't sale this ship again unless it was assigned a new itinerary Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We recently went on a repositioning cruise from Vancouver to Fort Lauderdale with stops in Victoria, San Francisco, Cabo San Lucas, San del Sur, Puntarenas, Panama, Cartagena and Grand Cayman. The leg between San Francisco and Cabo San ... Read More
We recently went on a repositioning cruise from Vancouver to Fort Lauderdale with stops in Victoria, San Francisco, Cabo San Lucas, San del Sur, Puntarenas, Panama, Cartagena and Grand Cayman. The leg between San Francisco and Cabo San Lucas felt very long with the three sea days. We were late getting to our excursion in Cabo due to bad weather, so were unable to see much of the port itself. Overall, the service onboard was good, met some great bar staff that went over and above, along with our room steward. Passenger services were unhelpful and a little arrogant (one in particular) telling us different information than their counterpart. One of the head waiter in the MDR was amazing, although the rest of the staff not so much. The further south we went, the ship took on a strange smell in the elevators, possibly due to the humidity, but it was pretty foul. The Captain and his crew were awesome, polite and friendly. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Panama Canal and it embarked from our home city of Vancouver. Embarkation went smoothly but dis-embarkation took a while to get rolling but went smoothly once it started. Ship organized ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we wanted to see the Panama Canal and it embarked from our home city of Vancouver. Embarkation went smoothly but dis-embarkation took a while to get rolling but went smoothly once it started. Ship organized transportation to Fort Lauderdale airport was efficient and quick. The Island Princess is an older ship but was renovated not so long ago. There were no issues with the ship. Our balcony cabin was on the Aloha deck between midship and the stern and was quite roomy although the bathroom / shower are tight as everyone can attest to. We did anytime dining and ate dinner usually around 6.00pm. We shared a table and with the exception of 1 night when we had a wait of 45 minutes we were usually seated within a couple of minutes. The entertainment was top notch and varied. The activities were plentiful with choices for everyone. The service was very good in all areas - stateroom, dining, bar, medical clinic. We took shipboard excursions in Nicaragua (Visit to Granada which didn't live up to the expectations), Costa Rica (Aerial tram and river cruise was excellent), Grand Cayman (swim with the stingrays and snokelling was excellent). I don't think we would do it again as we have seen the canal now and the weather was very hot with extremely high humid and we found it quite draining. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This re-positioning cruise was perfect for us, as we only had to fly one way. We boarded in Vancouver, having taken the ferry over from Victoria. We had a lovely mini-suite (as we did previously on our cruise to Hawaii) and our cabin ... Read More
This re-positioning cruise was perfect for us, as we only had to fly one way. We boarded in Vancouver, having taken the ferry over from Victoria. We had a lovely mini-suite (as we did previously on our cruise to Hawaii) and our cabin steward was outstanding. We were at the aft end of the vessel (Island Princess) so there was some vibration from the propellers, but that's to be expected. I particularly like Deck 9 on the Princess ships (not sure why...but I always stay on Deck 9) The food of course was outstanding. The entertainment excellent. My only criticism would be that when we went for hors douvres in the lounge for Platinum and above, the music was awful. I looked around and I'd venture to say the average age was 70. So why were we subjected to the likes of Mylie Cirus screaming her head off? The DJ should have been more aware of the audience in the lounge and played "elevator music." The ports were all wonderful and the excursions fantastic. We even went zip-lining, and at age 67 for me and 78 for my friend (female) it was pretty gutsy! I found the announcements from the Captain were very difficult to understand. He spoke far too quickly and in a very heavy Italian accent. He obviously can't help his accent, but he should know that if he slowed down his delivery, he'd have had a much better chance of being understood. But all in all, a superb cruise again on Princess! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
The Island was repositioning from Vancouver to Ft. Lauderdale and offered a three day segment from Vancouver to San Francisco. Since I live in the SF Bay Area my friend and I thought it would be a fun getaway. We splurged on a Suite ... Read More
The Island was repositioning from Vancouver to Ft. Lauderdale and offered a three day segment from Vancouver to San Francisco. Since I live in the SF Bay Area my friend and I thought it would be a fun getaway. We splurged on a Suite C703. Flew to Vancouver on Monday 9/12 and stayed in the Residence Inn on Hornby Street. Loved the hotel and the location. Full kitchen, large room and well located. Breakfast was included. We spent Monday evening and all day Tuesday walking around, shopping and eating. We took the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tuesday with a pick up outside the hotel. Loved seeing Stanley Park and Granville Island. On Wednesday we walked and shopped some in the morning and then took a cab to Canada Place. Check in went quickly as we are both Platinum and Suite Passengers. I received my Elite card when I checked in - Yippee!! We had just settled down in the "lounge" when we were whisked on board. Straight to our stateroom. Caribe Deck 10 Aft. Very comfortable and large. Loved the extra large balcony. Since this was a repositioning short term cruise the service was inconsistent. We didn't get our coffee cards delivered until three trips to the Service Desk. We didn't meet our steward until late in the afternoon but we dropped our carry on and went straight to the Dining Room for lunch and then walked around. After muster I still had no luggage but I had a nice note from Security to come see them about my luggage. They did not like my power strip and took it away. Lots of people were down there getting appliances removed. First time in 29 years that has happened to me. Our Steward had just been reassigned to our floor and suites so he was figuring it out. He worked hard to make us happy. We had Anytime Dining. NEVER AGAIN. Long lines to get a pager, then long waits to get a table. I know I could have made reservations but I couldn't quite figure that out. So we went to Sabatini's the first night. Once again I was underwhelmed. I liked the food, but the service was sketchy and the head waiter was not thrilled to have us. We felt that way at Breakfast too the one day we ate there. The second night we had reservations at the Bayou Cafe and it was fabulous. Lots of great, innovative dishes, great service, it has a bar with a dance floor and entertainment during dinner so it was a nice change. The last night we had dinner with friends we made on the ship and waited the hour for a table for 10. They were continuing on the 15 day cruise and were going to ask about late seating set dining as they were unhappy with Anytime as well. We had lunch in the Dining Room everyday and once again they seemed to be surprised by how many people were trying to eat there. I think they were getting used to the new flow given Alaska being so port heavy and not a lot of people on board during the day. Took Pilates and Yoga both morning for $12 each. Great classes with a good instructor. Did two spa services which I love. I use Elemis products so the upsell stopped as soon as I said that. With limited time in Victoria we went to the Royal BC Museum which has a great First Nations Exhibit. Since we had done a lot of shopping in Vancouver we didn't shop in Victoria. Disembarkation was a nightmare. Everyone on the three day was expected to walk off with their luggage. We were assigned groups based on our cabin location but Suite/Elite/Platinum were sent to a separate lounge. Rather than having us disembark as a group behind tours and early flights they waited until our groups were called. I had never seen this. They also did not provide tags so the crew did not know if you were telling the truth about your group. The ship took an hour to clear before they allowed groups to leave and then everyone rushed the gangplank. No checking no order. The in transit passengers did not understand that they needed to fill out a form and sign it so Customs got irritated and shut down for 45 minutes to clear the hall. We got off at 11. Poorly handled logistics by Princess. But I was home by 11:30 with no flying and not jet lag. A nice break Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We choose this cruise because going through the Panama Canal had always been something we'd wanted to do. Although this is listed as a 15 day cruise we actually got on in Vancouver which made it 18 days. Vancouver is a great city to ... Read More
We choose this cruise because going through the Panama Canal had always been something we'd wanted to do. Although this is listed as a 15 day cruise we actually got on in Vancouver which made it 18 days. Vancouver is a great city to visit. It's pedestrian friendly with many great things to see and places to eat. Overall this was an excellent cruise. I'll hit the negatives first and they really involve moving people on and off the ship. When we arrived in San Francisco the majority of those who got on in Vancouver were getting off to be replaced by those doing the 15 day cruise. Many of us doing the 18 days had excursions scheduled in SF. We were way late in getting off the ship and to our excursion and since we had to be back for sailing the excursion was cut short. In fairness, Princess refunded some of our excursion fee. Still, it seemed to me Princess should have had a good idea how long it would take to get people off the ship. They blamed customs but again time should have been managed to cope with delays most might expect to happen. Perhaps those with excursions should have been let off first. I'd have been quite willing to go early if it meant getting the entire excursion. This happened to a lesser extent when we tendered in to Nicaragua. We ended up with less excursion time. The planning could have been better. But in life things happen and it didn't ruin our cruise. My other real gripe was when we were leaving a port and there was a party up top hosting by some guy called DJ Delight. This was at night and the music was unbelievably loud. We were two decks down and mid ships and it was loud even in our room Even with a pillow over my head I could feel the thumping of the music. This happened only once so I'm hoping there were complaints and they corrected it. Having said all this we were very happy with the cruise. Service was outstanding. I'm always impressed by how hard working the staff is. Our cabin steward, Nelson, did a great job. The quality of the staff was very good throughout the trip. The food was outstanding. We mostly ate in the Bordeaux for dinner and ate in the sit down restaurants as often was we could. The buffet is fine and is good for quick meals but the sit down offers a more relaxed experience, plentiful choices, and the chance to interact with other passengers. The things to do on the ship were what you'd expect. If you like to do enrichment or like to party on into the night it's there for you. There were shows to attend as well. There were very informative sessions about upcoming ports that we found very helpful. Embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly. So, I heartily recommend the Island Princess and her crew. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
> Getting on and off the ship was a breeze! The crew was wonderful! > Much of the entertainment included 2 new production shows I had not seen before! They were Wonderful! > Shore excursions are a little pricey, but there is ... Read More
> Getting on and off the ship was a breeze! The crew was wonderful! > Much of the entertainment included 2 new production shows I had not seen before! They were Wonderful! > Shore excursions are a little pricey, but there is comfort in knowing you are with an approved excursion company. Carteghena was the exception. Awful 5 hour day with no BIO break or water until the last 30 minutes! Very little bus time. It was unbelievably hot and humid ... my fault to sail so late through the Canal, but our tour guide didn't seemed concerned for the mostly over 70 group he was leading. NOT wonderful and Never again. > We enjoyed a nice standard balcony cabin with a good steward it all went pretty smoothly, Except when we didn't have air-conditioning. That was not wonderful. It happened twice -- we were miserable, and they tried to fix it as fast as they could, but ..... I can't ask for much more but the ship is getting old. The toilet seat was so beat up it looked like someone took a wire brush to it. The towels were ratty and old; the sheet were always pretty nice. But the Island Princess was looking her age on this trip. > Now you may be wondering why I keep using the word "wonderful" so often while I am writing this review. It is because I was WONDERING the entire trip WHAT is wrong with the dining room on the Island Princess ? It was a disaster. I have never seen such a confused and chaotic mess in my life, on any ship. Anytime Dining did not work. Tables were left vacant, while passengers were given electronic notifiers that you could finally go into the dining room. Many Traditional Diners were hosted in Bordeaux, but tables were not full and those folks often waited 20 - 30 minutes to get table companions and start dinner. The CLUB CLASS dining area in Bordeaux was usually less that 10% full, and no one was ever seated there except CLUB CLASS. Service was slow and spotty; rarely did we see a 2nd waiter; ordering a cocktail or bottle of wine could add a half hour to dinner time which was always more than 2 hours, which made it complicated to see a show in the Princess Theatre. Food was good, but spotty. Sometimes the meat would be hot the potatoes cold. Sometimes the Asparagus as hard as a rock, and the potatoes mushy. Getting a reservation, even if you called first thing in the morning it's nearly impossible. I was never able to do it but I did make a few people who did. It didn't seem to matter whether we came at 5:15 630 or 7 o'clock I was confused and chaotic mess. We thought about asking to go over to traditional dining, but were told it was impossible; the Plan was set. We met many passengers however, who did exactly that. Different rules for different people I guess. About half of the cruise we spent having dinner at Horizons. Not enough wait staff there either. Tables are left dirty for an hour, sometimes making it difficult to find a table. Often Horizons might be taken up with the Crab Shack specialty dining. Again fewer tables, less wait staff. Again great deal of mismanagement that I'm not a custom to on Princess. YES, we will cruise again with Princess, but won't be able to rave about they quite the way I used to. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We always wanted to go through the Panamacanal and i choose Princess, because the sailing dates fitted our plans best. The Island Princess is a small, older but nice kept vessel. Our fellow passengers were at an average in their at ... Read More
We always wanted to go through the Panamacanal and i choose Princess, because the sailing dates fitted our plans best. The Island Princess is a small, older but nice kept vessel. Our fellow passengers were at an average in their at least mid sixties. We - age 50 and 48 -were way below the average age, but this did not bother us at all. Most people we talked to, were well travelled and had wonderful stories to tell about their experiences. And with 8 seadays out of 15 nights in total. There was a lot of time to have a nice conversation. The embarkation was not as good as we had - with other cruise lines before. You had 2 stops, because your photo for the shipID was not taken at the embarkation in the building, but at the entrance of the ship, this caused another line! Our Cabin C404 was nice, but not clean. We found leftovers from passengers in the drawers and in the bathroom ( used Q-tips!) and the balcony was really ugly with food in the tiles on the floor. As other passengers wrote before, the bathroom and shower are small and a shower curtain is nothing anyone likes these days. The aircondition blew on one side of the bed, but we used a small towel to block that corner of the air outlet and then it was fine. We arranged all our excursions on our own and went in groups of 4 with two friends, who travelled with us or had fellow passengers join us - arranged on the roll call. In that case we were 6 or 10 alltogether. The canal day was perfect, the lecturer was really good and provided us with the information. We spend part of the day on our balcony or walked the outdoor decks to have different perspectives. Anytime dining worked ok most days, but i think that Princess could improve here. Food was really good and we got really good service. The entertainment was ok, we had better before, but we did not expect that much from princess, so we were not really disappointed. One thing about the ship was really BAD!! The only shady loungers were around the pool area, but there you had to stand the incredible noise from either bands, DJ or the always running Movies under the stars. Very, very loud. And it should be named Movies all day long. We liked it at night, watched 3 movies there, but i had to use earplugs. Disembarkation was very well organized! Better than other cruise lines! Wemoght choose princess again - depending on the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was our fourth cruise overall and the second with Princess. The full Canal Transit was our main reason for going, which left few options in our choice of ship. Complaints have been made here about the Island Princess, but on the whole ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise overall and the second with Princess. The full Canal Transit was our main reason for going, which left few options in our choice of ship. Complaints have been made here about the Island Princess, but on the whole we found her quite enjoyable. She is a bit aged, that´s true, but still elegant and comfortable. The Island is considerably smaller than Sapphire Princess, which we used on the Grand Asia Tour of 2015. This made it easier to find our way around but also created a crowded feeling from time to time. This must have two main reasons: 1. The addition of cabins/passengers and the closing of public areas made in the last overhaul. 2. The faulty system of Anytime dining ("Sometime dining…?"). The Atrium, the Theatre and the whole aft part of the ship suffered most from this crowdedness. In the canal transit, the lack of good viewpoints from the aft was particularly evident as almost all open decks there have been replaced by private balconies. The closing of the International Café in the Atrium is also regrettable. The replacement bar/café down there, ”La Patisserie”, enabled use of our coffee cards, but offered only occasional sandwiches and no gluten free choices (despite several requests; we had to go up in the Horizon to get any pastries at all with our coffee). I agree with previous posters that something has to be done in the Anytime dining room, "Bordeaux". For our part, we simply adjusted to the matters of fact and rarely went near the place before 7.30 pm. If we wanted to eat earlier, we could bypass the long lines in the Atrium by making a reservation on the phone. This was quite easy to do, but in my opinion contradicts the whole idea of Anytime dining. That said, we enjoyed the main advantage with the Anytime system, which is the opportunity to meet new people allt the time. Usually we gladly accepted to share a table, which both shortened our waiting time and involved us in nice chats over the meals. The food in the dining room was generally of good quality and variation. One of us has celiac disease, and got adequate daily guidance from the head waiter, Vincente, showing and explaining tomorrow’s menue. The need of gluten free food was the main reason for our having almost all dinners in the dining room. For breakfasts and lunches, we generally used the buffet in Horizon court. The quality there was almost as good, but we did notice some sloppy food handling by other passengers at the buffet. However, breakfasts and lunches in the dining room were simply too slow for us. Our embarkation in Port Everglades and debarkation in Vancouver (including airport transfer) were flawless. Logistics also seemed to work fine in ports with smooth transfers to excursions. The service on board was excellent and the production shows we saw in the Theatre were very good, with an extra mark for "On the Bayou". The itinerary could have been better. Some of the port calls were simply too short, particularly the half day rush in Aruba. Generally, the ship should arrive early in the morning and not leave before 8 or 9 pm. We also had four consecutive sea days between Mexico (Puerto Chiapas) and Los Angeles, which was at least one too many. (Things didn´t improve when the captain, due to a heavy storm outside San Francisco, had to cancel the planned stop in Astoria, Oregon.) We purchased this cruise as a trip from Ft Lauderdale to Vancouver and were really surprised to find out that we actually were taking two cruises, the first one ending in Los Angeles. The transit was smooth enough – both cruise cards and account were continued on the next leg – but we talked to some other passengers who would have enjoyed continuing up to Canada and, eventually, Alaska but had not got the opportunity to do so. Ports Oranjestad, Aruba We used the very short time to take a Princess tour around the island, ending on Eagle beach. Really not very much to see here apart from the lovely beaches. Cartagena, Colombia Princess tour ”Highlights of Cartagena, Fortress & Las Bovedas”: Steaming hot and interesting, at least if you haven´t seen any town in South America before. Canal Transit The weather was excellent and this part of our cruise met all expectations. Very good commentaries all day in public areas and on stateroom TV from port expert Humberto. Puerto Amador (Panama City) Honestly there wasn´t much to see here, so this stop is dispensable. Probably a night tour after the Canal transit would be enough. Furthermore, our full day Princess tour, ”Colonial Panama & Miraflores Locks Observation Center”, was completely ruined by a miserable guide. You could hardly hear what he said and if you did, you couldn´t understand his accent. Puntarenas, Costa Rica Princess tour ”Scenic Train Ride & River Cruise”. The train ride was so and so with the best views of the countryside on the train’s left side. The river cruise was much bette with several crocodiles and many different birds to see. Good refreshment stop with fruit and drinks. Puerto Chiapas, Mexico Princess tour ”Banana Farm & Community Exploration” was a highlight of our cruise. A good and knowledgeable guide took us to a small town where we visited a local school, met and talked to many of the children in their classrooms (they hade come voluntarily on a Saturday) and finally enjoyed a fine dance performance. The banana farm was also very interesting. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was our 2nd time on Island Princess. Overall it was a wonderful cruise. Cruise Director, Calli Smit and his team were outstanding especially Sandi and Heather and Mattie. The only downer were minor and had to do with food. The ... Read More
This was our 2nd time on Island Princess. Overall it was a wonderful cruise. Cruise Director, Calli Smit and his team were outstanding especially Sandi and Heather and Mattie. The only downer were minor and had to do with food. The gravy and other sauces were watery. The noon-time pizza in Sabatinis left much to be desired. The matre d in Sabinitins need a class on being a congenial host. However the Crab Shack evening was very nice and the food was exceptional. Congratulations to the captain and crew who got us through a terrible storm safely. The other area for improvement would be to train the port crew on what the Bon Voyage package is. We had purchased this package for our daughter and every crew member we mentioned it to at the port looked at us like we had two heads. We embarked at Fort Lauderdale. Disembarkation was extremely well organized and ran like clockwork. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We live in Georgia. We booked this cruise for a halfway meeting point with friends from Hawaii who are also frequent cruisers, and to make a port call in Oregon, a state we have never visited before. This is our 30th cruise overall, 25th ... Read More
We live in Georgia. We booked this cruise for a halfway meeting point with friends from Hawaii who are also frequent cruisers, and to make a port call in Oregon, a state we have never visited before. This is our 30th cruise overall, 25th on Princess. We were successful in our first goal, disappointed in the second. We booked our air travel through Princess EZ Air and flew without incident from Atlanta to LAX. The transfer to the ship was slow but the expedited embarkation went smoothly. Our balcony cabin was as expected and the service provided by Jojan (Joe) was excellent. There was no complimentary mini bar in our cabin (Elite status) and it took me five tries to get it delivered, two complaints to the cabin attendant, two calls to room service and finally a visit to the front desk where the desk officer called the room service supervisor directly. That did the trick. We enjoyed the production shows, especially "On the Bayou," skipped the comedians and ventriloquist. We ate breakfast and lunch daily in the buffet, dinner most nights in the anytime dining room, three nights at a table for four by request, and two nights at a shared table. We had friendly, enjoyable companions at every meal. I must say that "any time" dining has now become first and second seating. If you want to reserve a table for any times other than 5:15 or 7:30, you're out of luck or you have to endure a long wait. The food was always good and service excellent with the following exception. We ate one night at the Bayou Cafe Steak House. The service was not better than the AT dining room and the huge steaks were of uneven quality, part tender and part tough. One of the four had to be sent back to the kitchen. I consider we wasted our money on the specialty restaurant. Our travel agent had booked end of cruise transfers to the airport for us. Separately, I booked an end of cruise excursion in Vancouver. The first day of the cruise I went to the excursions desk, turned in my transfer tickets and asked for a credit on my cabin account. I was assured then and later by the excursions supervisor that I would see the credit on my final statement. The final statement showed not a credit, but an additional charge for two more transfers (total four transfer tickets plus two end of cruise excursion tickets). My first visit to the front desk was deflected by the answer, "You have to wait for the excursion supervisor to come to her office at 8 o'clock." We were due to get off the ship at 8:15. Back to the desk at 8 and a different, much more responsible officer immediately made the correction (without reference to the excursion office) and we were on our way. Sad to say, we missed our port call in Astoria, Oregon. After two days of rough weather, the captain announced at dinner that we would skip Astoria for safety's sake and to make our port call in Victoria on time. However, by that time the sea had calmed considerably. IMO, we could have stopped at Astoria for four to six hours and cut short the 18-hour port call at Victoria by six hours. I do understand that there were many more people booked on ship excursions in Victoria than in Astoria, ergo, for Princess it was as much a financial decision as a safety issue. We had a very nice excursion in Vancouver followed by a 19-hour trip home, seven hours in the air and 12 hours waiting at multiple airports. That's nobody's fault: It's hard to get an afternoon flight from the west coast to the east coast. We had a great time reuniting with our friends, met many nice people, recognized a few Princess officers and crew from past cruises, and enjoyed our visits in San Francisco, Victoria and Vancouver. We were disappointed at missing Astoria. We were unhappy at the mini bar, transfer tickets and steak house situations. None of those were up to usual Princess standards and I attribute them to lack of attention or carelessness by higher level management or supervision on this particular ship. We will cruise on Princess again; we hope for a better experience next time out. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We had a wonderful time on the 6-day Pacific Wine Coastal on Island Princess, Los Angeles to Vancouver. I had read the posts on the refurb and it took a little bit to maneuver the ship but I never found it annoying. You just adjust. ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on the 6-day Pacific Wine Coastal on Island Princess, Los Angeles to Vancouver. I had read the posts on the refurb and it took a little bit to maneuver the ship but I never found it annoying. You just adjust. We did early traditional dining, which was at 5:15 p.m. (we signed up for 5:45 but it ended up being earlier). We normally don’t even get home from work until 6:15 so this was early for us but it allowed us to see the 7:30 pm show and my husband to be in bed around 10 (too early for me but he’s a creature of habit). I was afraid of the wait times for ATD given the posts for Island Princess. This early seating worked out well for us. Here’s my thoughts on the other things most people seem to want to know about a cruise: Food: We went on a Princess Alaska cruise several years ago and honestly, I don’t remember the food being as good as it was this time. I learned last time, if the waiter recommends something, go with that choice in the MDR and was sorry I didn’t heed my own advice all the time (can’t recommend the Curtis Stone seafood stew choice). I eat much more plant-based food since the last Princess cruise and was determined to order off the menu just to see if I could. Loved the Caesar salad (ordered with anchovies) and had it for my entrée twice (recommended by one of our table mates). If you are vegetarian, I’d recommend on the day they have the ratatouille and cheese tarts, skip the cheese tarts and order an entree sized ratatouille. It was very yummy! The buffet was great for breakfast and lunch with plenty of fresh fruit and salad options. And the Indian food was great as a plant-based option. There’s plenty for meat eaters and I must say I had lox every day we ate in the Horizon buffet for breakfast. We did the Ultimate Balcony Dining and I couldn’t pass up the lobster. It was very yummy and the service was exceptional but we were in San Francisco so the food got cold quickly on the balcony. Just keep that in mind if you are in a colder climate. But can you beat the view (Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco) and the experience was well worth the price. From other posts on the topic, I assumed they added the customary 18% gratuity to the bill, which they did not so we are glad we tipped the waiter extra at the end because he and his assistant truly deserved it for making it such a memorable experience. We also did Bayou Café. The food was great but I’d have to say the service was … meh. I’d like to think it’s because Lorna Luft and her husband along with a senior officer (I want to say it was the doctor) were at a table close by and got a lot of attention but honestly l’m not sure how much difference it made. The service was not bad but I certainly wouldn’t consider it good. Just so-so. I had the shrimp and my husband had the porterhouse and lobster. We really liked the food. The porterhouse was huge! Service: Excellent all around. Our cabin steward, Norman, was rarely seen but always kept the room spotless and could easily be found if needed. We always had the ice we needed for our before dinner drinks and he did a great job straightening up our cabin after our numerous midday naps. Joepep, our waiter was excellent and his assistant, Roland was great too. We loved the traditional dining experience (have done ATD the past couple cruises), loved our table mates, enjoyed meeting them and the nightly conversation. Princess has an after dinner $3 Irish cream shot (think Bailey’s) where you get a cute little souvenir shot glass. It’s great as a shot, on the rocks, or in your coffee and it’s so cool you can buy your table a round without breaking the bank. Joepep even cleaned and wrapped the shot glasses after dinner and found us a box on the last night to transport them home safely (they are in the dishwasher as we speak). Entertainment: EXCELLENT – Do not miss On the Bayou. It’s probably the best production show I’ve seen on a cruise ship. The comedian was good and I liked he wasn’t raunchy like how they are on short Carnival cruises. He definitely catered to the older crowd which made up his audience, which I really liked. The ventriloquist was very entertaining. All in all I’d say it’s the best entertainment I’ve experienced on a cruise ship. And since there were 500-600 passengers in transit from the Panama Canal cruise, there was never a problem getting a seat at the 7:30 show even if you arrived at 7:20. We totally enjoyed the naturalist’s talks – he was great and well qualified in terms of experience. I even got to see Star Wars Rogue One on the big screen so what more can you ask for! Cruise Director: Callie Smit is so funny. OMG loved him and his stories! He made the cruise fun. General comment: Others may slam Princess because the captain decided to miss the Astoria stop because the weather was terrible. We had two days of rough seas. But we are grateful he decided to put safety first. And it gives us a great excuse to plan another cruise so we can visit Astoria in the future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
The cruise must have been sold out. Hard to find any area for 'down time' except in our cabin. The buffet (Horizon Court) was always busy and it was sometimes difficult to find a comfortable seat to enjoy your meal. Speaking of ... Read More
The cruise must have been sold out. Hard to find any area for 'down time' except in our cabin. The buffet (Horizon Court) was always busy and it was sometimes difficult to find a comfortable seat to enjoy your meal. Speaking of which - we found the food very tasteless and unappetizing. Tried the dining room and ordered prime rib - I literally needed to saw through it, it was so grizzly. Definitely not 'prime'. Our last night onboard I ordered the steak in the dining room - same thing - a piece of steak which I had to saw through...such a disappointment. Plus the menu was very limited - not a lot of options. So the food/dining experience was a 1 out of 5. Loved our cabin - great view, nice sized balcony, really nice in late afternoon. Regarding 'service' - it was slow in the lounges/bars - at times; I often got up and went to the bar to order a beverage as wait staff were either not around or busy talking to each other. Was not terribly impressed with dining/bar staff ... they were always polite but did not really seem to 'see' me; hard to explain. We went several time to the Library - never any available tables/lounge chairs...always occupied. We sat on the sofa at the 'librarian's desk' and watched several (30+ people) come in one side and walk out the other side of the Library doors - no seats, some even came back after 30 minutes or so and found nothing had changed. Many (all?) tables seat four but most of the tables had two people at them -- perhaps put more tables for two? - also it would be wonderful if the Library was enlarged -- there is definitely a demand. We sat on the sofa and played Scrabble on our iPad. There was no signage to inform people where the games/cards were stored ... many people at the 'desk' waiting for the librarian to ask...Entertainment was very good - Teacake and AJ Jamal were great - but again there was standing room only - just packed - and not good air quality (Princess Theater). Disembarkation was excellent (LA). Regarding if we would travel on this particular ship again - if the price was right - yes. Many years ago we did a Princess cruise and it was spectacular - the food was excellent and the ship had many places for us to enjoy down time - that's about all I can remember - except it was an 'inside' cabin and now after having just enjoyed a cabin with a balcony - we will always go with a balcony cabin in future cruises (if the opportunity arises). Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We picked this cruise to avoid a cross country flight and for more sea days than port days. Then we added on the three day run down from Vancouver to L.A. just for the sea days. So, for us a 22 day cruise, still too short! Embarkation ... Read More
We picked this cruise to avoid a cross country flight and for more sea days than port days. Then we added on the three day run down from Vancouver to L.A. just for the sea days. So, for us a 22 day cruise, still too short! Embarkation was a snap in Vancouver, even with a full ship of three day cruisers. We did utilize the Princess Transfer and Hotel which made everything even easier. I know I am on Holiday when I see the Princess person at the A/P on arrival. Put my brain in neutral and follow their directions. We did arrive a couple of days early to visit with friends in Vancouver. The ship was in good condition and the cabin was up to snuff. Our CC Roll Call had a "sailaway" on deck and a good group in attendance. The cruise down the coast allowed us to get in to relax mode and a routine. Our cabin steward "Glenn" took care of all our special requests and was great to deal with on both of the B2B cruises. Calle Smit the CD did a superb job of organizing activities, especially the cruise long activities. He was always around and very easy to talk with, very entertaining when he ran an activity. His crew was just great, Laura and Wally stand out. I normally like to attend the lectures, but did not make one of them on this cruise. We only saw one show, the Princess "On the Bayou". We were always just too busy doing what ever came along. We had AT dining and it worked super well for us. We usually went in anywhere from 1815 hrs. to 2000 hrs. and only had to wait about five minutes once. We always ask to have a table to share and that makes it much easier and one meets some other great folks that way. They even accommodated us one evening when we walked up with a party of 13. It took about 10 minutes to come up with 1 eight top and 1 six top table next to each other. It was a rather raucous meal to say the least and late enough that we had the area mostly to ourselves with a very fun waitstaff. Just perfect for our group of new/old friends that evening. We did eat 3 times in the Bayou and once in Sabatini's. All meals were very good, I had the duck twice and it was a little over cooked on the one occasion, but still very tasty. Service was excellent. We did have a party of eleven once and when we got there for our reservation they said they could only seat a party of eight. We looked at the reservation book and it said 11, so they rearranged the tables and we had our group of 11. Way to go Bayou restaurant on the Island Princess! A great dinner was had by all. Sabatini's serving Alfredos Pizza for lunch was superb. Did that quite a few times. I did not do the Crab Shack, but really liked the Mongolian BBQ in the Horizon Court. The new layout for the Horizon Court worked very well, once everyone understood that you can just go to the area of food you want and not make a long line out the door. We did do a couple of Princess Excursions and two on our own. The Princess Excursions were good and well worth the money and piece of mind that the ship would wait for you if traffic or something held up the return. Two buses on a Princess excursion were held up by traffic and were then given a police escort back to the port. We did have to skip two ports, one was replaced and one just cancelled. This was due to mother nature, an earthquake near the one port and a hurricane on the other side of Mexico. This was all fine and Princess did what they could on the spur of the moment. All in all, a very good cruise. I can really find only one thing to complain about with Princess and their ship the Island Princess. I did miss the Skywalkers lounge and the Universe lounge for activities. I do not feel that removing these and making more cabins improved the facilities enough to warrant doing it. I will not sail on the Island again, but will choose the Coral in the future unless it is degraded to the Island's physical stature also. Our one major complaint is with the Spa. It is a contracted out operation to our complaint is with them not Princess. This was the worst experience we have had in a Spa on a Princess cruise. We will be very careful in the future on our use of the Spa. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
I wrote how great the shore excursion in Victoria at Craigdarroach Castle was, how we'd done Butchart x2, how great the food at Horizon Court was, how we seldom got to restuarants even tho so pretty cuz loved buffet so much! The ... Read More
I wrote how great the shore excursion in Victoria at Craigdarroach Castle was, how we'd done Butchart x2, how great the food at Horizon Court was, how we seldom got to restuarants even tho so pretty cuz loved buffet so much! The sea was rockier than expected so didn't get much sleep, glad of entertainment. Best was Amethyst Trio wAlex & 2 violinists, wowza! Staff was great, esp Leo our stateroom steward, Igor in Horizon Court, Kirk at Future Cruises, Jojo in Pizzaria. Fun w/DJ doing trivia, but pretty hard questions!! Need more general stuff, widely known. Enjoyed piano player/singer, didn't remember name. So glad embarcation & debarcation were so easy, tho they had us at wrong time, was able to get it fixed. Our mini-suite was clean & comfy, plenty of toiletries & hangers, plenty of room. Sure wish we could have gotten onto balcony more, was too cold & windy! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
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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