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1,204 Princess Island Princess Cruise Reviews

I gave this cruise a rating of terrible because there was no lower rating to choose. Because I worked 42yrs in an industry that did not allow for the number of days away needed this was our first opportunity to go on my husbands dream ... Read More
I gave this cruise a rating of terrible because there was no lower rating to choose. Because I worked 42yrs in an industry that did not allow for the number of days away needed this was our first opportunity to go on my husbands dream trip. The Panama Canal. Originally we were going to choose the 16 day version of this cruise until we found out that all the ports of call on the first half of the trip, from LA to Panama hand been canceled and we did not want to spend 4days at sea. This in mind we & our best friends (10 time cruisers with Princess) changed to the 10 day version Ft Lauderdale to the Panama Canal and back. This change of itinerary should have been an omen but our 2 cruises with Royal Caribbean & 1 cruise with Princess were all so fabulous in every way that we pushed this warning sign aside and booked the trip. This as our 1st vacation in 16yrs! Little did we know what we were in for, but Princess knew! First I will mention the positive factors. Their names are Ismael & Enrico, our waiter & his assistant, Julian our cabin steward, and Anna a wonderful young woman at the customer service desk who were all the best!!! One of the 2 out of 5 scheduled excursions had a wonderful guide through the rain forest of Costa Rica. That’s it. Nothing else on this trip was a positive except the company of our best friends of 30+ years. Never in my life have I felt so robbed, so despondent and so angry all at one time. Where do I begin? We were only allowed to go on 2 of the 5 excursions we booked as we were not allowed to dock at the other 3 countries. My #1 choose of excursions on this trip was riding horses on the beach in Jamaica. I had the chance to do this once before &ziti was the most fabulous experience of my life. To have a second chance, in the meantime I actually learned how to ride had my own tack, rode weekly, was a dream come true. Strike #1! The Panama Canal excursion was my husband’s dream excursion. He waited for this trip his whole life. He is 14yrs my senior and very fit, and at 77 we probably won’t make the trip again. In addition this was our 40th anniversary trip. The food: all 3 cruises we have been on prior to this one the food was the crowning glory of the trip. Exquisite dishes expertly prepared. A wide variety of fresh expertly prepared meals excellent every one. THE FOOD ON THIS CRUISE WAS WORSE THAN DISAPPOINTING IT WAS DOWN RIGHT MEDIOCRE! The meat had poor flavor and bad color as if it was not fresh. The fish was ok off & on depending on the meal. Princess made a point of using 3 pages online to describe their “Chocolate Journeys” and the extraordinary chef they had on board to create them. Well they were very good but they were only offered 4 times on the 10 day cruise. The menu was on the left side the same every night so if you couldn’t find anything on the right side to like you had something to fall back on. What kind of a menu is that??!!! Breakfast was just ok as was lunch. There was no “Captain’s Reception” as in past cruises even though our best friends were 10 time cruisers. The Horizon Buffet which was described in such luscious terms that I couldn’t wait to eat there not only was not good but it was actually leftovers from the dining rooms from the day before that they tried to spiff up or disguise as something else! Leftovers! Bad leftovers! It got to the point where halfway through the cruise the only thing we looked forward to was desert and it too became repetitive. Overall the food was a complete bust to put it mildly. Entertainment: once again the word mediocre comes to mind immediately. There was one trivia evening that lasted about 45 that we really enjoyed. That’s it. My husband would give a few dollars to the casino at the end of night out of boredom. Shopping: The prices in the shops were, on fragrance about $3 cheaper than home, just no tax. The t-shirts for sale to commemorate the trip were very cheap quality. When I got home & compared them to the ones we punched on previous cruises, that are still fit to wear from 16 years ago, were ten times better quality. The main thing my girlfriend & I bought was “gold by the inch”, which I had experience with and knew that they stand behind their product, had a salesperson who did not know what she was doing, could not add even with a calculator & had to have help with almost every transaction. I bought a necklace and bracelet early in the cruise and when I went to take it off that night it broke, not at the clasp but one of the link fell apart! When I went the next day to return it she had to get her manager who was a nasty, rude, crabby man who actually told me that it was my fault that it broke!!! Oh, I forgot to mention that I had a 10% off coupon and a $25 gift card from the cruise line. I checked the next day at the service desk because I did not trust her math and my gift card had not been deducted!!! The water in the pool was cloudy and no one was in it. Very few deck chairs to be had. This being our 1st vacation in so many years, I stepped up my five day a week workouts at the gym so would look extra nice in my painstakingly chosen new swimming suits. I never even put one of them on! To sum up this cruise: WE SPENT CLOSE TO $10,000 ON A VERY SPECIAL AND LOG AWAITED AND DESERVED VACATION AND GOT A GIANT DISAPPOINTMENT FOR OUR MONEY!!! We spent $10,000 including $1000 on platinum cancellation insurance, which we should have used after the first excursion stop was canceled! PRINCESS CRUISE LINES OWE US A COMPLETE AND TOTAL REFUND! Even that cannot give us back my husbands dream vacation, our 40th anniversary trip vacation or make up for an experience so bad that we will never forget it. Nothing can make this up to us and I intend to share our experience with social media as well. I believe with all my being that Princess knew what going to happen before we sailed and the cruise should have been canceled.......... Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Picked this cruise due to its destinations and time of year. Service in all departments was good under the difficult circumstances. Disappointed that all excursions could not be made. This was through no fault of Princess or passengers. On ... Read More
Picked this cruise due to its destinations and time of year. Service in all departments was good under the difficult circumstances. Disappointed that all excursions could not be made. This was through no fault of Princess or passengers. On board entertainment was good. Cabin service was excellent. Dinning was fair. Menu could be expanded. Buffet dinning was crowded and food selection was limited. Had our two Granddaughters with us, and they enjoyed themselves. As to going again will depend on how Princess reimburses our account for the missed excursions. It must be stated that this cruise took place during a difficult period which had a major impact on excursions. The Captain and crew did their best to minimize any inconvenience to the passengers. I have to compliment the crew for salvaging what could have been a disaster of an experience. I like the idea of the formal nights. This lead to a good experience for our Granddaughters. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Wanted to visit Panama and Grand Carman but poor choice of time do to Covid-19. Even so. It was a nice cruise and appreciate the great service we received. Room was outstanding and kept that way the entire trip. Staff and all attendants ... Read More
Wanted to visit Panama and Grand Carman but poor choice of time do to Covid-19. Even so. It was a nice cruise and appreciate the great service we received. Room was outstanding and kept that way the entire trip. Staff and all attendants were always friendly. Even under our serious situation the captain and his staff made this trip an enjoyable one. Never did we feel we were in trouble or under any threat of being endanger. To be truthful most of us on that ship felt safer than what we were returning to. There are not too many things we do in life that we have to experience a trip during some very difficult life threatening times. I applauded the CEO for her choice of shutting down future voyages for 60 days till this terrible virus passes. I wish them the very best. They have put profits aside as they do care about their clients. I say this with all sincerity. Thank you Princess Cruises Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
My sister and I chose this cruise because it was stopping at places we had never been to before and we wanted to see the old locks of the Panama Canal. It most definitely will be a cruise we will not forget! I can't believe how much ... Read More
My sister and I chose this cruise because it was stopping at places we had never been to before and we wanted to see the old locks of the Panama Canal. It most definitely will be a cruise we will not forget! I can't believe how much the world changed in the 10 days we were gone! I asked my doctor if it was safe to go and he said yes when I told him the itinerary. Well, everything went well through the airports, but when we got to the cruise terminal, we had to wait and wait to go through the TSA screening of the luggage, etc. Once we were on board, the mini suite was much like mini suites on other Princess ships except the couch was terrible, we put bed pillows on it to sit on (helped some). The weather was terrible the first 2 1/2 days, the ship was rocking terribly and we couldn't go out on deck. It was hard to walk and we really missed using the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is our treat to ourselves when we sail with Princess. After the first day and a half, they started serving us at the Horizon Court and there was nothing on the tables. Princess was very diligent in keeping everything clean and it paid off as at the end of the voyage the captain announced we did not have anyone with the corona virus and only a handful of people with any sickness. We couldn't dock at Jamaica because of the weather but we had a fabulous tour with Josie from Dora the Explorer in Cartagena, best tour every! We lucked out with beautiful weather while at the Panama Canal. Some people were going to go ashore there and went through health screening and some were on boats going ashore only to be turned away by the Panama government. Costa Rico was very welcoming but the tour we wanted was canceled due to not enough people signing up. So we had to find another one. Grand Cayman would not allow us to come ashore there because of this virus scare. So, out of 5 stops, we only got 2. But Princess had no control over the weather nor the governments of the places that turned us away because of the virus scare. All in all, Princess worked very hard to get the dining rooms open, and things for us to do during the unexpected sea days. The crew and the service was great. Some of the crew I have to mention for their fantastic service and personalities. In the Sanctuary - John, Made, Rigan, Kerwin. Mostly in the morning at the Horizon Court was "the Hello Sunshine" girl with her dance moves - Cyrille. And our room stewart Felix. They made our cruise so much more pleasant. I'm so glad we got home with no problems and my sister and I decided to self quarantine for 2 weeks which I'm just starting the 2nd week. We have 2 more cruises booked with Princess. I don't know if the June one will be canceled or not, but we will most definitely cruise again with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
My husband and I have traveled extensively. We were excited that this cruise was to take us to multiple ports and did not repeat any that we've visited before. Further, we've cruised with Princess before and felt comfortable ... Read More
My husband and I have traveled extensively. We were excited that this cruise was to take us to multiple ports and did not repeat any that we've visited before. Further, we've cruised with Princess before and felt comfortable with the cruise line. Embarkation was fairly smooth. We got on the ship, found our cabin as expected (although we were disappointed that our view was obstructed), and headed for lunch. Next, we toured the ship and found it as most ships in this class. We are not first class people, so the decor of the ship and layout suits us just fine. Let's pause here to share that the COVID19 virus was starting to grow in intensity in the world (not necessarily the US), and the cruise line did offer a 100% refund of cancellation fees (whatever that meant) if customers wanted to cancel. My husband stayed on the phone for an hour the morning of the cruise, but couldn't get through, so we decided to go on the cruise even though we had some doubts. Day 1 was a day at sea. We had rough seas...not terribly rough, but consistently and decently wavy. My husband and I didn't get sick, but we heard of several passengers who did. We were concerned about the many elderly on board and the possibility of them losing their balance and falling while attempting to walk. The crew kept reminding people to use handrails. Day 2 was to be in Jamaica. However, due to the rough seas, the port wouldn't come out to assist the ship in getting to the port. So, Strike One port. Day 3 was at sea...still rough seas. :( As my husband says, "It's feeling like Groundhog Day (the movie)." We did arrive in Cartagena, Columbia early (approximately 5 p.m.) and allowed to get off the ship. They even arranged for us to have excursions. Of course, you get to pay for them. $$ My husband, desperate to get off the ship, booked a carriage ride around the old city, and a dinner in town. It was an expensive excursion, but we had an enjoyable evening. Day 4 was Cartagena, Columbia Thank Goodness, we get to get off the ship and step on solid ground!! The ship was getting boring. We were happy to go tour and visit. We booked an excursion through the cruise ship; a canoe tour of mangrove tunnesl and a walking tour of the old city. The canoe tour was quiet and peaceful and guides went to great lengths to show us monkeys, sloths, and a variety of birds. The old city stroll didn't allow much time to really shop, but as we had gone to the old city the night before, it wasn't an issue for us (others were disappointed). Day 5 Panama Canal This was a day we looked forward to. We were both excited to see us go through the locks which we did have plenty of time and view of the ship going through 3 locks. This ship narrated and talked us through the history of the locks, what we were seeing and what was happening. Once we got into the lake, we were told we had to be scanned for potential fever by the Panamanian officials before going on excursions (those who had booked them). We all lined up and were scanned for fever, then received all the stickers, etc. for our excursions. A little later, we began boarding our tenders to leave. My husband and I were on the second tender. Once they loaded everyone, we wondered why we were waiting by the ship for a few minutes without leaving. Then, I noticed the first tender coming back toward the ship. At that time, I told my husband, "They are not going to allow us to enter Panama." (due to the virus) Sure enough, a ship official soon boarded the tender and told us the Panamanian government had decided to not allow us to come ashore due to the fear of the virus. (Why did they go to all the trouble of testing all of us for fevers if they were not going to let us come ashore?) Anyway...Strike Two port! Day 6 Puerto Limon, Costa Rica We booked an excursion through the internet to Tortuguero and a banana plantation. We found the group to meet, although we had to walk a decent distance from the ship to them. We boarded the bus and they drove us rain forest, then along the beach to an area that honestly didnt look like it would be safe (felt safe when we got there, though). We got off the bus and into boats they were rowed by locals who tooks us through mangrove growth. Some locals danced for us in traditional clothing before and after our boat ride. Back on the bus, they took us to the banana plantation. They pulled up to the gate (which was closed), and informed us that the plantation was closed to visitors due to a fungus that was endangering the world's population of banana's. The proceeded to tell us about the process of banana growth and process to market while we sat on the bus. Not sure why we had to drive all the way there for them to sit at the gate and tell us the process. They could have told us this at the port or while we were driving to the boat tour. Plus, we feel we paid for a two part tour, but only received one part. After the banana gate, though, they did drive us by a shopping place (how convenient). It was off by itself and the prices were all in US $). The prices were high and I'm not sure why anyone would purhase there. My husband and I took a quick walk through and then got back on the bus. This tour disappointed us greatly. Day 7 at sea Over the week, we've been watching the news and seeing the pandemic getting out of control. The US is getting very nervous about the virus, more cases are developing there, and the stock market is taking a hit as a result. One Princess ship has been off the coast of California for 2 weeks as they have cases of the virus on board and my husband and I are getting nervous that we could get held off the coast once we get back. Unlike most of the passengers on board, we have jobs to get back too. Today, we booked a flight home from Grand Cayman (our last port) so we will avoid the possibility of quarantine. Day 8 Grand Cayman Guess what?? Grand Cayman is not allowing cruise ships in their port due to the virus, so Strike Three Port! :( Luckily, the flight we booked is fully refundable. Now, we pray we do not get quarantined off the coast when we get back to Florida Day 9 at Sea Day 10 back to Florida Luckily, no one on the ship has shown any signs of the virus and we are able to dock. Disembarkation was super smooth and fast. Thank goodness as we had a 10:40 a.m. flight home. Why did I give the cruise a poor rating: 1. We didnt get to go to 3 ports...wouldn't you know it, the 3 ports that mattered the most to me and my husband. 2. Food...whew...the food is just average, at best! They feel they have to put every steak and pork in a brown gravy (the same brown gravy for all of them). Even though they try to mix up some of the foods at the buffet, we found most of them to not be good/tasty. Keep in mind, we are not gourmet/5-star people. More than one day we went through the buffet and couldn't find anything to eat, other than a salad. We ate more hamburgers and french fries from the Grille than anything for lunches. Thank goodness for the Grille...burgers and fries were very good. 3. Gripes you'll find on nearly all cruises...internet too expensive; excursions too expensive; entertainment just okay; very little music by the pool (loved it when they had Thosh DJ by the pool/need to do that more often) Positives: 1. Trivia...had a blast at all of them (went to nearly every one) 2. Staff...nearly every one we dealt with was kind, accomodating and really tried to instill postive vibes, especially with the difficult cruise we were experiencing (Kudos to Thosh, Ken, and Kristina) 3. Could actually get pool chairs on this cruise...probably because of the age of most of the passengers and/or the cruise wasn't full due to the virus Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
March 7-17 (2020), we were on the Island Princess for a 10 day Panama Canal Cruise. Due to weather conditions and of course the coronavirus situation, we were not allowed to dock at most of our ports! We were able to do the turn around ... Read More
March 7-17 (2020), we were on the Island Princess for a 10 day Panama Canal Cruise. Due to weather conditions and of course the coronavirus situation, we were not allowed to dock at most of our ports! We were able to do the turn around through the canal and it was awesome! Island Princess was the last Princess Cruise ship at sea until their 60 day suspension is over. The captain and crew were very professional, worked tirelessly and under the circumstances, did everything they could to accommodate us and keep us informed. They all should be commended for their work!! The crew and (most) passengers, made the most of a very difficult situation! With all said, we had a great time and would definitely cruise again with Princess! In fact, while still on board, we put down a deposit for a future cruise. We’re thinking Alaska again next year and maybe Antarctica in 2022. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This is a senior citizen cruise and should be advertised as such. Pros: • The room steward & most of the staff was friendly. • The cabins were decent. Cons: • No events to do for younger people • The ... Read More
This is a senior citizen cruise and should be advertised as such. Pros: • The room steward & most of the staff was friendly. • The cabins were decent. Cons: • No events to do for younger people • The showers in the cabin seem smaller than usual. The balcony was filthy. • The food is terrible and the menus are too complicated • Some staff was not so friendly. Even had one roll their eyes at me for no reason • The elevators smelled so bad during the cruise • Dining room is very strict about dress code • The only thing to do on the cruise for younger people is go to the casino or pool • We were only able to go to 2 of the 5 ports and only got a $100 credit per person for that. I understand it’s not Princess’s fault but they should’ve done more. This cruise might be fun if you’re 60 or older. If you’re younger, stay away. There is nothing to do for you. I spent the whole cruise, besides when at port, in my cabin and there wasn’t even any good TV shows or movies on the TV. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose this cruise to see the islands Jamaica, Panama Canal, Cayman Islands , Columbia, and Costa Rica. Unfortunately due to rough water and Corona Virus scare we could only see Columbia and Costa Rica. This was very disappointing ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see the islands Jamaica, Panama Canal, Cayman Islands , Columbia, and Costa Rica. Unfortunately due to rough water and Corona Virus scare we could only see Columbia and Costa Rica. This was very disappointing and the water was very rough going from Fort Lauderdale in Florida to Jamaica causing many people to get motion sickness and was the main reason for our ship not stopping at Jamaica. We were stuck on this ship for 8 out of 10 days . The ship is need of interior repairs (floors were rough under carpet causing trip hazards, pipes in ceiling were leaking in hallways) Pools onboard were empty of water due to rough sea conditions. Entertainment was ok but could have been better if they were to make it to the ship, some flights were cancelled the entertainment could't make it to the ship. I would not recommend princess cruises for cruising, I thought they were highly reputable cruise line but I was wrong. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We selected this cruise as an alternative to flying home from an expedition cruise to Antarctica. Cruising is a great way to see multiple countries, have a consistent place to eat, plus the opportunity to enjoy entertainment and other ... Read More
We selected this cruise as an alternative to flying home from an expedition cruise to Antarctica. Cruising is a great way to see multiple countries, have a consistent place to eat, plus the opportunity to enjoy entertainment and other amenities. People should also know they are a captive audience, pay more for adult beverages, excursions, will likely experience nonstop marketing to buy items on board, pay 20 - 30 dollars a day for Internet, to frequent the paid-for restaurants, or purchase spa treatments. In summary, after 15 cruises on Hurtigruten, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, Holland America, Carnival, Princess, and smaller cruise / ferries, Princess was our worst value / experience of any cruise, with Hurtigruten being the best by orders of magnitude. Positives - Matt O - the cruise director who lead the exercise classes, the outdoor movie theater screen, a nice birthday greeting for my wife, and our room attendant. Now for the negatives... 1) We started the cruise with an excursion issue as we booked our cruise online to see Carnaval in Rio, when we got on ship, our excursion was not recorded and now there was no availability. We were relayed to multiple desks, with over 2 hours of waiting, and was finally met by a customer relations manager who ultimately told us it was our issue, they had no way to contact Princess support, and they would only grant us one day internet to see if we could solve our own problem. We told the CRM we needed multiple devices online and was told to just create the account and it would be later credited. Fast-forward a few days, and we see the charge on our bill. We went and met with the same CRM who told us that we could only have the 1 device internet, and we had to pay the difference. He stated that we were not listening like we didn't listen the previous day, and only after asking for his director, did he remove it from our bill. 2) Health Management - We noticed numerous people on the ship who were openly coughing and some passengers jokingly referred to it as the cruise cough. Two specific examples of many include one observation was a woman who was in the Wheelhouse lounge continuously coughing without covering her mouth, with two employees within 10 feet of her, this woman was shivering, took her jacket and covered herself like a blanket, then laid down on the couch. She was not asked to leave the public area and we left the lounge. The second example was in the Horizon Court buffet area, referred to as the cough-eteria. A woman was within 10 feet of the opening at the end of the buffet, openly coughing without covering her mouth, spits up into her ship napkin, at which point I mentioned it to the cruise staff. I went to get coffee and returned to walk past the same woman at the same table, flossing her teeth at the table. This was within 5 feet of the cruise staff and nothing was done while we were there. I submitted a note to the desk, but received no response. We observed no medical screening upon disembarkation the ship when exiting the ship or entering the port terminal and customs. It was astonishing in this global situation of the Corona outbreak, why did Princess not have health monitors asking people to leave the public areas or even have exit medical screening. We avoided many of the shows and other lounge events on this cruise due to our observations. Multiple passengers said they would only go to the doctor on board if they were near death as they realized it would result in isolation or other considerations (we saw multiple people removed from the ship in ambulances). This is more of a human behavior study than a Princess issue, but know that this thinking was rampant on the cruise. 3) Carnaval excursion - This excursion was our main interest on this trip outside of getting home. This was a very busy excursion and when we were traveling to the Samba-school location for the event, we received many instructions on safety and where cruise staff would be so when we needed to return from the event, we could do it safely and without issue. We left at the parade time they recommended, the same location we entered, and it was chaotic at best. We saw no Princess staff present where we entered, and we had to exit into the bus area, luckily finding a Hamburg cruise staff member who told us where the Princess buses and representatives were located. It was also interesting having the bus driver take us through a drunken block party, having people bang on the bus, with the driver subsequently running the remaining red light avoiding stopping on the return. 4) The remaining are grouped. The food quality and selection was very disappointing and it felt like you were at common buffet in or near your hometown, after the lunch or dinner rush. Non-stop pressure to spend more money was clearly the Princess focus - you should know what you're getting into when you get on a ship, so our fault - but it was to the level of a circus side show caller doing the come one, come all, this is the greatest, most rare, your only chance, yadda style of getting people to purchase more. Worst of it was the Effy jewelry sales rep. The Princess Patter documentation for ports did not provide a relative distance for each port of key sights and it was clear their primary interest was to get you on their excursions and less on those who want to walk - again no surprise, and our fault. The port stops were very poor, although there were plenty of the Diamonds International and other cruise port supported shops in the main area, but step out from there and good luck. Needless to say, we will never cruise Princess again and it will likely affect any ship under its holding company. To end this on a positive note, if you want an other-worldly experience on a cruise, take a cruise on Hurtigruten. It will change your life for the positive. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Selected this cruise due to Itinerary we had not visited including Carnival in Rio. and Princess had previously been our first cruise line choice State Room was clean..only 1 chair for 2 people..fridge didn't work. Dining room ... Read More
Selected this cruise due to Itinerary we had not visited including Carnival in Rio. and Princess had previously been our first cruise line choice State Room was clean..only 1 chair for 2 people..fridge didn't work. Dining room menu was short and you needed to pay extra to get lobster, steak, etc. All staff were friendly and helpful. They tried to work around HQ dumb dictates Ship was clean and well appointed Excursions were generally well handled but we waited too long in lounges to get outside the ship and onto busses. Entertainment was excellent. We booked a princess selected pre-cruise hotel in Buenos Aires (Sofitel) which was excellent. Great food and excellent staff. Also a Princess rep that offered help for dining etc.. booked and booked an excursion.. Our boarding was seamless as bags were delivered directly to ship. Princess needs to look after the little details if they're to remain my "go to Cruise Line". Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The reason I chose this voyage was the amazing itinerary that was offered. I had only cruised on Princess one time and I wasn’t happy. I had many friends that praise the line so I was willing to try again. Unfortunately, our ... Read More
The reason I chose this voyage was the amazing itinerary that was offered. I had only cruised on Princess one time and I wasn’t happy. I had many friends that praise the line so I was willing to try again. Unfortunately, our experience was not a positive one. The itinerary was wonderful and we were able to get to most ports, except one due to a delay because of fueling, weather and ultimately a strike in the port of San Antonio. The Island Princess is a ship in need of an overall. Of course some things could be corrected by home office immediately. I was appalled to find holes in tablecloths and sheets. Towels were so thin they need to be discarded. Dining room chairs with rips across the seats – and there were many with rips and looked dirty. Our room was a balcony room with a single desk chair, no chair or couch to sit on in the room so we had to bring a balcony chair inside if you did not want to sit on the bed! A mini suite would have been a choice for more room and a couch, but BATHTUBS which are in mini suites, are ridiculous on a cruise ship. Most of the passengers are 55+ and using a bathtub is not an alternative, definitely not for me. Our room steward was fine and kept the room in as best shape as possible but could have used some lessons in vacuuming. I have never been on a ship that painting rust areas was not taken care of when in port or windows that were not washed for 58 days! One of the most important things on a cruise ship is cleanliness. The procedures that Princess has imposed are a nightmare waiting to happen! Actually it was well on its way during this voyage. Unfortunately, for many passengers they were impacted. I have never been on a ship with so few hand sanitizers around the ship. The dining room was the exception but really I did not see them anywhere, not in lounges, coffee bars, the theater and even right before security when returning to the ship. A hand sanitizer at the bottom of the gangway is worthless when you have to hold the railings on the gangway to enter the ship. No one checked if people used it at the bottom of the gangway. There should be someone with sanitizer as you enter the ship itself. I feel that this was a reason why so many on the ship had coughs, sneezes and runny noses – the cruise cough! It was well known that if you went to medical there would be a good 10-15 people waiting to see the doctor. I heard at one point, the doctor said 25% of the ship had been to medical and that was within the first 30 days. Luckily, we were not part of the Coronavirus scare that has affected 3 Princess ships I think they saving grace was the length of the cruise and that about 75% were on for the entire cruise. A hotbed for germs was the Horizon Court. Yes, you serve drinks, but do the waiters CLEAN the tables when you are finished - No! They may have gotten better once they tried to enforce hand washing and restricted flow, but too little too late! After we experienced this lack of cleanliness we stopped going there for anything. We watched passengers sneeze into food and touch things with hands while waiters and a head waiter, stood by and said nothing. Steps should have been taken right away when they were told of the sneezing, touching food etc etc. On a positive note the head staff, in the Bordeaux dining room, was excellent. Some waiters were well trained but several were mediocre at best. We watched more than one waiter serve a table. When the guests got up they cleared the plates then reset the table with clean dishes, never changing the table cloth. Of course we told the head waiters when we saw this happening. The home office needs to review the menus and compare it to the provisions that are ordered. For example a diver scallop is a large scallop, probably an inch and a half in to 2 inches in diameter. A bay scallop, which was what was served as a diver scallop is a small scallop, about a 1/2 inch in diameter if that. Broccoli should be green, not yellow when served. Yellow means it is going bad. The quality of the beef was disgusting. The fish, although sometimes mislabeled, was good most nights and well prepared. Brown mangoes are rotten mangoes. What a shame that a cruise line like Princess serves a hamburger as the “everyday” choice for beef. We shouldn’t even mention serving a Monte Christo with cocktail sauce? Running out of items like lettuce toward the end of the cruise or bananas can be acceptable but running out of items before we reached San Antonio, one third through the cruise and never replenished? Entertainment, what a shame that a trip around South America and had virtually no local, Latin entertainers. The theater was such a hotbed for germs with people coughing and sneezing that many chose early on to stay clear of the theater. Tried once after Rio, same situation so we left before entertainment even started. The entertainment in the lounges was ok but to have the same entertainers for 58 days gets boring, a change every so often would have been nice. Guest services ran very well but you could tell that the staff members had their hands tied when it came to certain issues. The cruise director and his staff were excellent and there were many activities that could keep you busy during the many sea days on this cruise. We took the cruise hoping that our opinion of Princess would change for the better but unfortunately this cruise reinforced our dislike for the line this will be the last Princess cruise we ever take. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Like to travel on Princess ships. This was a amazing itinerary. Two things I really wanted to do was Easter Island and the Nazca lines. For me that was a over the top experience. There where many other things that I really enjoyed. Zumba ... Read More
Like to travel on Princess ships. This was a amazing itinerary. Two things I really wanted to do was Easter Island and the Nazca lines. For me that was a over the top experience. There where many other things that I really enjoyed. Zumba in the morning, the shows at night. The Entertainment team was super. The whole crew, starting with the captain was concerned to show us a good time and to keep us safe. Embarkation was a little lengthy, but that will change once the Island Princess is a Medallion ship. The disembarkation went smoothly, considering there where 6 cruise ships docking at the same port on the same morning. Cabin B623 was nice and we enjoyed the balcony. On the days we had a excursion, we ordered breakfeast to Be delivered to the room. It came timely. The food was great, we had a choice of going to the buffet or eating in the dinning room. I belonged to the singles group, so there was no waiting in line since we had a table reserved for us. Then we had special lunches sometimes, that where announced in the Patter ( on board daily 4 page news ) at 3 pm we could have English tea. Then in the evening there where specialty restaurants or wine tasting. There was so much to do, also different areas to relax in, arts and crafts, anyway I never got all of it done. You just have to deceit what your priorities are. A wide variety of excursions where available or you could just go on land without a excursion, there was always something to see and do. Not many children where on board, it was mostly a older crowd. Some people in wheelchairs and walkers. Would love to do this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise since it was 58 days and included sailing around South America. We had previously been to South America but never to all the places were we went to on this cruise. Some of the highlights for me was visiting Easter ... Read More
We chose this cruise since it was 58 days and included sailing around South America. We had previously been to South America but never to all the places were we went to on this cruise. Some of the highlights for me was visiting Easter Island, Falkland Islands and Rio De Janeiro. Embarkation went smoothly, however disembarkation was delayed over one hour for our group versus the published schedule. Island Princess is a smaller ship that needs refurbishing. Dining was good but there was a bit of repetition for the menu. Excursion prices from the ship were high. The staff performed extremely well and always had a smile and positive attitude. I believe that senior management and middle management needs to be looked at by Princess on this ship. They have not been training/supervising their staff. They will not meet with guests when their are problems that need to be addressed. Too many times I heard that, "we do not do it that way on this ship." I would go again on this cruise and hope management will be improved. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose it because of the itinerary, Around South America. However, on many occasions the pools were closed "under maintenance" especially on some sea days when it would have been ideal to enjoy the pool: no explanation was ... Read More
We chose it because of the itinerary, Around South America. However, on many occasions the pools were closed "under maintenance" especially on some sea days when it would have been ideal to enjoy the pool: no explanation was offered as to the issue. On this cruise of 58 days we were offered two lobster nights and only twice an offering of escargots: we expected a few more evenings with lobsters. We also went for a Chef's Table night and while we clearly requested that sea food should be kept to a minimum because some of our fellow passenger did not like sea food, we were given plenty which I consider unacceptable; I feel we wasted our money as some of our fellow travellers did not enjoy it. We also went to another restaurant (Bayou) with some of the food served lukewarm at best especially the alligator ribs. Communication from the management team was less than ideal as information was not properly conveyed to the passengers especially when there were delays in port; you just need to tell people why things are or aren't happening more frequently and accurately. The free coffee is terrible and should NOT be called coffee at all as it uses a coffee syrup mixed with hot water; it is not freshly brewed as on other cruise lines. From time to time the syrup would not dispense and only hot water came out. Simply disgusting. Most of the music available on the ship was not appropriate for the audience; so boring that not many people were around after 10:00 p.m. or so. The two times (out of 58 nights) they had activities people came up in droves to party. Having said all of the above our experience was enjoyable in the dining room as we had a wonderful waiter tending our table. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Route: 58 days round trip Fort Lauderdale including 21 ports of call, passage through the Panama Canal, rounding Cape Horn, and scenic cruising around Devil’s Island. Total trip 17,591 nautical miles. 1. General Comments: We are ... Read More
Route: 58 days round trip Fort Lauderdale including 21 ports of call, passage through the Panama Canal, rounding Cape Horn, and scenic cruising around Devil’s Island. Total trip 17,591 nautical miles. 1. General Comments: We are regular cruisers, and our focus of this cruise was to get an overview of the South American continent. This cruise showed us that further visits are needed. Five ports required tendering, of which two (Easter Island and Falkland Islands) were rather rough. All the other stops were in ports that had varying degrees of support for cruise ships. We were a full ship; due to the length of the entire cruise, most passengers were of older age. Besides the complete cruise, it was also divided into three legs: Fort Lauderdale to Santiago; Santiago to Buenos Aires; and Buenos Aires to Fort Lauderdale. I guess we changed around 500 passengers on the second and third legs. We had a suite on the 10th deck that made for a comfortable two-month cruise. 2. Travel to For Lauderdale and Embarking: We made our own plane and hotel arrangements. Having checked in on-line, we boarded the ship relatively quickly. Our suite was ready, and luggage appeared 30 minutes after we walked into our suite. A record time for receiving our suitcases. 3. The Island Princess: An attractive ship (2,000 passengers), but it is showing some wear and tear and definitely needs its dry dock session at the end of 2020. There is no smooth walkway around the ship. The back of the 7th deck promenade deck is blocked off to provide balconies for cabins there. There is no way to walk around the ship inside without either having to go through a public space or go through an area of cabins. The track on the 15th deck is blocked off in the back by The Sanctuary. The moving of the gym to the 5th deck - and no windows - is odd. The lack of a large lounge area high up on the ship is noticeable with the holding of gatherings in various bars. Odd venues result in Zumba sessions in the Explorer Lounge, and university-type lectures in the Wheelhouse. Our suite: There are two double outlets for recharging devices. Bathroom has one outlet for shavers, 110 and 220 volts. Storage space is not bad; you may have to use your suitcase under the bed as additional storage, especially if having large temperature changes and needing appropriate clothing. The bathroom could use a shelf under the sink. Temperature in cabin is a constant 70 degrees, no matter what you set the thermostat on. If too cold for you, ask your cabin steward place work order with maintenance to check system. Public areas are colder. Unless you love cold temperatures, bring a sweater. Door decorations. During the first week on board there was a variety of door decorations, both by the passengers and generic ones for birthdays and anniversaries provided by the ship. Suddenly they all disappeared, and since then only the generic ones remain. Gossip said the ship staff had problems with some of the decorations (fire hazards), and the staff took all of them down. This was changed to approving only the generic ship signs for birthdays and anniversaries. You have to read the daily planner very carefully. Special Activities are listed among the regular ones, and there are not necessarily any extra highlights. Bridge gives a navigation and weather report at noon. Cruise director sometimes gives a morning or afternoon report of activities; rest of the time he is quiet. There is some odd scheduling of meetings, ie, the shore excursion lecture is at 9am. It is rebroadcast on the ship’s tv channel, but the time is not published. The ship also has music channels on the tv. Unfortunately, each station runs for a certain length and runs at the same time every day. This can get old; for example, as when we ate breakfast, the background music was always the same Irish songs. TV channels on board are Fox, CNBC, MSNBC, ESPN, BBC, and some movies. There is no printed “newspaper;” you have to get your news off the TV. The library is minimal. We learned that Princess no longer runs libraries on board. They do purchase books, but the taking and returning is all on the honor system. Crew members only clean and neaten up. Service on board. Excellent by all. Due to the length of the cruise, cabin stewards and wait staff got to know our individual habits and likes/dislikes. Front Desk personnel were truly “jacks of all trades” and were able to resolve whatever matters we asked about. 4. Meals: Anytime Dining worked perfectly. Our usual time was 7pm and except for a couple nights when the area of our two waiters was full, we always had seats in the same area. Our waiters got to know us, and we them. Worked out well for this long cruise. Food was very good. There were creative presentations of desserts, especially pastries. Because of the length of the cruise there was repetition of some of the menu items. There is enough variety, though, so that repetition was not a real problem. Quality of fresh fruits fluctuated throughout the ship. Bananas disappeared within a couple weeks of departure from Fort Lauderdale. Melons, on the other hand, fluctuated between ripe and delicious to barely ripe. Pineapples declined from pleasant to inedible by the second month. Horizon Court: We used it for lunch and a couple times when we wanted just a bite for dinner. There was quite a variety of good food, whether you wanted a meal, sandwich, or salad. Desserts were equally varied. Specialty Restaurants: We did not bother with meals in the two specialty restaurants. We had leisurely breakfasts on sea days in Sabatini’s. There are other food outlets (pizza, grill, ice cream, etc.) and bars on board. You cannot go hungry or thirsty. The La Patisserie is not that; it has no food. It only has coffees for a charge and is also a regular bar. 5. Dress code – formal nights. When you discuss a cruise with three legs, make sure your agent gets the correct information from Princess on the number of formal nights. We were told 4 nights “for the cruise.” It turned out to be 4 nights for the first leg, 2 for the second leg, and 2 for the third. “Formal” meant anything to the passengers: from tuxedos to sport shirts. All other nights on the cruise were “smart casual.” 6. Shore Excursions: Make your shore excursion reservations online! This saves you standing in line at the ship’s tour desk. If you know the ports of call and want to travel by yourself, then, of course, you don’t need the ship’s tour office. Tour prices are not cheap; you are paying for the convenience of having the ship organize the tour rather than you doing it after you get ashore. Also, if you obtain your tour through the ship’s staff, you have support when there is a problem. On this cruise, in the main, the excursions were good. Buses were comfortable and guides’ abilities fluctuated between excellent (English ability and subject knowledge) and poor (lack of ability in either). Drivers were uniformly outstanding when dealing with traffic and road conditions. Tour descriptions have to be improved, especially in describing the tours to the ship’s passengers. Princess should print an actual itinerary of the tour in the material provided on board, similar in detail to that posted on the Princess website. This includes the amount of time at each location and travel time. Toilet stops should also be noted. Most tour guides provided this information, but there were slip-ups. Most of the passengers on this cruise were older and did not have the ability nor stamina of a 30 year old. At the same time, passengers (and their travel agents) have to honestly consider their health situation. Can they handle steep gangways? Walking on rough roads? Handle heat and humidity? Are they able to get on and off bouncing tenders? Passengers need to consider such questions, and they should be able to get accurate answers from Princess shore excursion personnel before booking these excursions. 7. Shipboard entertainment: We saw a few shows of the review type and the guest artists. They were pleasant and entertaining. The combos playing in the lounges varied between fine and depressingly melancholy (singer in Crooners was especially the latter). The theater is small with no balcony. We went to some of the second shows. Fifteen minutes before showtime you can still get a seat. Preferably, you should go between 20-30 minutes before. There were different guest lecturers on board. A good speaker was George Weston (lectures at UCLA) who spoke of music (operas, opera singers, Broadway shows) and ancient history (Egypt, Greece, Rome). A delightful lecturer who, unfortunately, left the ship in Lima. A miserable speaker was Armando F Sanchez, an “oral historian.” His lectures on intelligence and espionage were baffling due to his rambling and lack of back-up facts to his statements. The ship has a daily schedule full of activities for all tastes: lectures, bingo, exercising, movies, etc. The art auctions were ever present and not too obnoxious. The selection of duty-free liquor on board was not great, but adequate; you order your liquor and it is delivered to your cabin before disembarking. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to have your picture taken by the ship’s photographers--pricey, but a good souvenir. The Island Princess is a small ship when it comes to shopping. There was one jewelry store, one half watches and half perfume/cologne store, one art auction, and one “all other” store (clothing, snacks, liquor, cigarettes, souvenirs). Popular were the occasional sales in the atrium and in a dining room. They replaced the usual end-of-cruise sales on many ships. 8. Tipping: Not a problem if you sign up for the recommended amounts. The amounts are charged to each person’s shipboard account. You have nothing more to do. You only need to tip separately (cash) the person who brings your room service. Your bar and wine bill automatically adds 18 percent. If you want to tip anyone for exemplary service, you can give him cash in an envelope. 9. Settling of Accounts: During your voyage, anything you purchase on board (drinks, souvenirs, tours, duty free items, photos, etc.) is punched into a computer. You do not receive a receipt for drinks/wine in bars or the dining room. You can get a printout at a machine (looks like an ATM machine) near the Front Desk in the atrium with your key card. If you have a computer or phone, you can access your account through the ship’s WiFi. There is NO charge for this service; you just have to register. You should be able to settle any bill questions beforehand and not spend departure morning in line at the Front Office sorting it out. We did receive a final paper bill the morning of our disembarkation. 10. Disembarkation: Not bad, but not great, either. We had to be out of our cabins by 8am after which we were scattered around the ship to wait. We had to wait about one and a half hours past our scheduled time. As this was 7 March, we feared the coronavirus issue was the reason for the delay. It was not; apparently the reason was bureaucratic. When we got off the ship, it was smooth going in the terminal passing through Customs and Immigration. The disappointing SNAFU at the end was when we left the terminal looking for the Princess buses to take us to the Fort Lauderdale airport. There was no one from Princess around to help, and we all had to depend on local law enforcement personnel to get us to the correct buses. The scene was a bit chaotic as people were also arriving to board the ship, thus adding to the confusion of what buses were going where. This finally worked itself out (without Princess personnel present) and we arrived at the airport in time to proceed on home. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Circumvented South America with stops in Easter Island and Falkland Island sailed thru the Panama Canal and Went around the Horn. Rio during carnival. Avoided winter in Canada, what more can I say. Trip of a life time and it is now off my ... Read More
Circumvented South America with stops in Easter Island and Falkland Island sailed thru the Panama Canal and Went around the Horn. Rio during carnival. Avoided winter in Canada, what more can I say. Trip of a life time and it is now off my bucket list. The cruise had it’s up and downs. We were stuck in San Antonio, Chile for and extra 2 nights, god only know why and the Corona virus followed us around like a bad dream, but the crew and staff were great and I don’t think I could of done 58 day cruise without the pleasure of their humour and hard work. Would I do again, probably not. Most of the ports were great the weather was kind, thou I think I take a miss on Rio de Janeiro at Carnival, but that could be because of old age. All and all a very favourable cruise with a good Cruise Line, Princess. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I originally chose this cruise for the itinerary. It may have sounded wonderful on paper but the experience couldn't have been further from the truth. Although some things were not Princess's fault I say 90% was. This is a very ... Read More
I originally chose this cruise for the itinerary. It may have sounded wonderful on paper but the experience couldn't have been further from the truth. Although some things were not Princess's fault I say 90% was. This is a very old ship that should have been in dry dock. It had problems you would expect like leaks everywhere and a musty smell throughout the ship. 3 in my room alone. The showers are extremely small. I felt continually cramped because there about 250 extra rooms were just added on recently. Because of this the Gym was relocated to very small room with no views. Also 2 of the water shuttles were removed leaving only 4. We often waited in line for 2-3 hours waiting for a shuttle to return to the ship. It also caused our Princess tours to be cancelled at the Faulklands although we were told it was due to weather. In other ports tours were always delayed at least hour so our experiences in each were cut short. In Rio we were delayed 4 hours because they were checking medical records.Even though I was supposed to have a full day tour everything was shortened and I only got to spend 10 minutes at Christ the Redeemer. I was one of the lucky ones because it starting pouring and many did not get to see it all. I understand the virus is a global issue but it was my understanding that people from Asian Countries had been let on our ship that maybe shouldn't have been. In Santiago Chile, we were held for 2 days again we were told that it was because of weather port authorities wouldn't let us out. But most people said it was because of a strike and the ship paid $250,000 to be let go. We missed Puerto Montt and the Amalia Glacier cruising. I am frustrated because I didn't feel like I got to experience South America the way I had hoped. I spent a lot of money and time. Now I question whether I ever want to cruise again but I know that this has not been my experience with Holland America. I always came back refreshed, grateful and excited about traveling more. I also saw a lot of other unhappy frustrated passengers, some elite members who said this was the worst Princess ship they had ever been on and will probably never cruise with them again. On a positive note their e-zcheck system for my luggage went very well and for that I am grateful. I also enjoyed being able to attend bible-study. Also when I brought my complaints to management they did listen and did not get defensive. However I feel that should have reimbursed more for all the aggravation I experienced. I do think now with this virus and the other challenges Princess is facing things are going to get worse before they get better. So I think that this was my first Princess cruise and my last. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Why did I choose this cruise? I have no recollection of why I chose Princess again after a mediocre world cruise experience in 2018. What could I have been thinking? What "offer" caught my attention and convinced me to ignore ... Read More
Why did I choose this cruise? I have no recollection of why I chose Princess again after a mediocre world cruise experience in 2018. What could I have been thinking? What "offer" caught my attention and convinced me to ignore my "never Princess again" decision? Whatever it was, it was a mistake to book another long cruise with this pitiful line. I had hoped, I suppose, that the Island Princess, being a larger ship, would offer a better experience than the smaller Pacific Princess had. The ship itself is past its prime and is beginning to mirror the image of the faded blondes and paunchy men surrounding its numerous bars. In the two month journey around the perimeter of South America the windows of the ship collected grime and salt and were more a hindrance than an aid to viewing the sights we were passing. The early morning sail down "glacier alley", when we sat in the Lido restaurant with our coffee and breakfast hoping to view the glaciers, was an exercise in futility, as the windows were so dirty and streaked we couldn't see through them. Enrichment offerings were disappointing and seemed to ignore or avoid any information or connection with the countries we were sailing past, except for a few early morning talks by a man with an impenetrable accent which were not available later on room TV. Shopping seemed to be the main concern. Our hopes to be informed about Chilean and/or Argentinian wines were squelched and when we questioned the dining officers, being given the "fisheye" and dismissed. Seminars on Italian and French wines were offered however. The menus adequate, if somewhat repetitive in the dessert category. Dinner rolls however were exemplary, fresh, wonderfully crusty and fragrant. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We choose this cruise because of the timing and destinations. The info about the excursions are limited. Jamaica was not the best, very disorganized. We traveled on Celebrity last year and it was very enjoyable. This cruise the ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the timing and destinations. The info about the excursions are limited. Jamaica was not the best, very disorganized. We traveled on Celebrity last year and it was very enjoyable. This cruise the open seating is very disorganized, the showers are so small you can't move in the shower without get the bathroom floor soaked and the carpet. Food is OK. Entertainment ok. I have cruised a number of times but this one was the biggest disappointment.We have a balcony so that made the experience better. We took the excursussion thru the Panama Canal which was great but it as very long. In Jamaica we went to a beach that was nothing great. Had rum punch and food, nothing I would suggest to do, then stopped to go shopping, not good. Not sure why I can't review the excursions on their website so I can give other feedback. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
After cruising Alaska on Princess Cruise with friends many years ago, we (myself&Hubby)decide to take another opportunity and cruise again in December 2019 over the new year to cross the Panama Canal and start the new year and decade ... Read More
After cruising Alaska on Princess Cruise with friends many years ago, we (myself&Hubby)decide to take another opportunity and cruise again in December 2019 over the new year to cross the Panama Canal and start the new year and decade celebrating life onboard Island Princess. And glad am I, we did!!! Our experience was a 5star journey from the beginning ‘til the end. I will start with the embarkation in FortLauderdale where everything was well organized and we didn’t have to wait a minute(even if the cruise was fully booked).A tip to my fellow travelers:if you can, get to the port early to avoid crowds and long lines.We felt like VIP’s since we board the ship in less than 5minutes.Once we got to our room, everything is history because 10days have been filled with happy moments and great memories we will remember and share for a lifetime. For new year eve, all guests were spoiled with fine dining experience and later on the captain come down to greet and wish everyone onboard a Happy new year! and the champagne was flowing like a river.The party moved from inside to the deck outside where we did the countdown into the new decade together.Happy new year!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose the cruise for the locations and because we had sailed with Princess previously. We knew the cabins were comfortable and dining was excellent. There were plenty of shore excursions to choose from if that is what you are after, and ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the locations and because we had sailed with Princess previously. We knew the cabins were comfortable and dining was excellent. There were plenty of shore excursions to choose from if that is what you are after, and plenty of activities to keep you busy on the ship. We chose to do some tours, but also enjoyed staying on the ship and relaxing by the pools. I LOVE that there is a laundry on the ship. So don’t have to pack enough clothing for the entire trip. The specialty restaurants provided delicious meals for a minimal extra charge. The dining rooms offered a variety of choices and the buffet was amazing. Will definitely travel with Princess again, in fact we have put a deposit down using the Future Cruise program offered by Princess. Would recommend Princes cruises to anyone interested in a cruise holiday. Than you Princess Cruises for our amazing Caribbean holiday. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We recently returned from a 10-day cruise to the Panama Canal on the Island Princess. There were several things that made this cruise special – a Birthday celebration, getting together with over 38 family members/friends, and just the ... Read More
We recently returned from a 10-day cruise to the Panama Canal on the Island Princess. There were several things that made this cruise special – a Birthday celebration, getting together with over 38 family members/friends, and just the opportunity to spend Christmas on the high seas. However, without the overall excellent service provided by the staff the trip wouldn’t have been as wonderful as it was. First off there are a few staff members that I’d like to highlight, starting with our booking agent Kim. She did an outstanding job coordinating all booking aspects of the trip especially since several members of the group booked through third-party agents posing the additional challenge of ensuring that those individuals were correctly assigned to our group. Then there was Diana from Group Events who worked with me in organizing the onboard Birthday party. She patiently addressed all my questions and ensured that every detail was accurately communicated to the Events team. Also, need to mentioned Jena – Customer Relations Manager and Carlie – Videographer who both did an awesome job in addressing all my questions/concerns once onboard resulting in a classy and smoothly run Birthday Bash. Overall, I have nothing but positive words for all staff members that we encountered. Pro: • Excellent customer service from Steward and Dining Staff • Internet service Cons: • Ship is small as compared to newer ships and linen, carpets and room furnishings are showing their age • Meal choices were very limited – appeared to serve the same items daily just in a slightly different form. Soups were often too salty, juices appeared watered down and there was a complete lack of variety as it pertained to Vegetarian or Vegan meals • Given this cruise offered several Caribbean & Inter/South American stops it would have been nice to have more meals that reflected the cultural delicacies of the region; and the few attempts at offering regional dishes left a lot to be desired. Would suggest getting a Regional Chef on staff or someone with this background to offer consultation. Overall, this cruise ship was chosen because of the itinerary and it delivered. Everyone in our group has a great time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
After reading reviews for a few months ahead of our first cruise with Princess, I thought I would post about my personal experience. Island Princess, Christmas in the Panama Canal . A bucket list tick cruise for many. One of the ... Read More
After reading reviews for a few months ahead of our first cruise with Princess, I thought I would post about my personal experience. Island Princess, Christmas in the Panama Canal . A bucket list tick cruise for many. One of the smaller princess ships, built in 2003, remodelled in 2015. Boarding was flawless. We left our Fort Lauderdale hotel at 11am by cab. We were ordering coffee onboard in La Patisserie by 1130. The boarding time on our ticket was 1230. We were in the cabin by 12. The balcony cabin was fine. The water package was delivered and on the bed, the medallion WiFi was superb throughout the trip. Dining The food was generally good. We had set dining at 730pm, the earlier one being 515pm. Some tables for 2 were better than others. We were very lucky. And onto dining wear, subject of many posts. Smart casual. As long as your not in shorts or beach wear, you’ll get in. Jeans, polo shirts, trainers... even an outdoor puffer jacket and jeans were noted. Formal wear , well tuxedos and ball gowns were rare. Dark suits with or without tie, with or without jacket .... it’s not enforced from what we saw. It doesn’t really work when the minute you enter a bar before or after dinner, passengers are in shorts and t shirts. Surely only a matter of time before it’s dropped. For lunchtime , sea days they seem to do crab shack in Cafe Bayou and Alfredos Pizza in Sabatinis on deck 7. The Horizon Buffet is the standard cruise ship “ trough” throughout the day. By the pool, the Grill for hot dogs and burgers - the pizzeria and ice cream bar. The latter at times understaffed leading to waits. Ice cream free, malted milk shakes at a charge. In the evening , try Cafe Bayou and Sabatinis, both were excellent alternative dining . Service at Breakfast in the main dining room can be slow. The minute steak takes 15 minutes to come! Bars There are the pool bars, Crooners on deck 7 of the atrium, squashed in with a piano player, much more suited to a crows nest type venue but the ship doesn’t have one! Wheelhouse Bar is wooden panelled by the theatre - bands and background music. Venue for morning trivia. The bar only opens pre dinner till 12. The show lounge bar is Explorers deck 6. Home of Karaoke, Quizzes and Entertainment. They have “ Liars Club” , a game show that is actually Call My Bluff. There’s a quiz there - which seemed quite flat. ....... Entertainment and Sea Days Princess Theatre is home of the Production Shows. “ Do you Wanna Dance?” is old school cruise ship camp. The big production offering is called “The Secret Silk” , a complex Chinese/Japanese folk tale which is strangely studied with western music. The best show is “On the Bayou” which works really well. Finally, the “ Encore” show seems to include an added Soprano who adds to the cast. The production shows were supplemented by an amusing Christmas show, a singer song writer, an acrobatic violinist and American comedian. The Culinary Show is very entertaining. Then you get to tour the galley which ends of course in an area where there is a shopping sale, which you use to exit. They thought that tactic through ! On that note, Chad the onboard shopping concierge says “shopping is the number one thing to do on a cruise”. The discounted aftershave onboard was more expensive than Amazon or Home Bargains! The rum tasting turned into a mini stampede, one passenger accelerating towards the drinks tray at high speed in a scooter within the bounds of the shop. To be honest, if it’s overcast or choppy at sea, there isn’t a lot to do. Watch vegetable carving , egg carrying competitions or passengers throwing paper planes in the atrium ..... play Pictionary in the bar by yourself . Try the Sanctuary for a quiet chill on a comfy sun bed. Book early if you want shade. It’s $20 for a half day. No pool on Island Princess Sanctuary. You get the bed, waiter service and flavoured water. It did seem that a proportion of passengers booked - and paid for the Sanctuary but then didn’t use it , or just came for a few hours if they booked all day. The staff confirmed that to be the case. More money than sense ! Service was variable depending on staffing numbers. The onboard enrichment lecturer was a retired high school lecturer who threw together some power point presentations based on his research from Wikipedia. Accuracy was not always essential - certainly not on his maritime attempts. I have sailed on a lot of ships - big and small. Island Princess didn’t seem to be a great sea boat. A lot of movement in not a lot of swell. One passenger said she was cancelling her transatlantic on her on the basis of how she felt that sea day. On the plus side, the WiFi onboard is superb. Ports Was the Panama Canal worth it? Absolutely. We stayed on the ship to see the transit both ways. Annoying basic commentary on the morning transit from the Wikipedia led ex teacher at 7am. But really enjoyed it - but that’s what we went for , a bucket list tick. Limon - book the Sloths in advance if you want to go. It was fully booked and people were left frustrated. We went on the Princess tour. I think you could find a taxi to take you there and pay for a tour. It’s open 0800-1400 Tuesday - Sunday with tours on the hour. The sanctuary trip involved a canoe ride which was abandoned when we visited as the river was swollen. This was only after one failed attempt with the group ahead of us. I was amazed to see Princess put pensioners in a small canoe in the fast flowing river without life preservers and attempt to navigate against the stream in torrential rain! Insurance firms would be wincing. Take a light waterproof jacket if you are going to do it. The town itself has a nice vibe and seems safe. The crew were heading to MacDonalds! There are great local cafes not far from the port if you prefer a more local bite- plus a supermarket. The cafe opposite the park was superb and good value. Falmouth, Jamaica. If you aren't on a tour , the town is small , expect lots of people trying to sell you stuff. The bus round town is $20. You can walk were it goes easily for free. There isn’t much there. There is a port area with over priced shopping. Cartagena, a great place to wonder. We took the “ by yourself tour” which includes a 30 minute orientation walk. Then you have 90 minutes to explore yourself. Hundreds of street vendors, beautiful colours and architecture. The port actually has a mini zoo you can enjoy plus over priced gift shop. Grand Cayman - the ship tenders here. We did the land and sea tour, semi submersible, turtle sanctuary, Hell and a rum cake gift shop stop. The latter is what it is, the rest were great and a good way to pack things in as costs are high on Grand Cayman. Overall, yes we enjoyed our trip. A cruise is what you make it, the people you meet, the experiences you have. Thoughts For me, I thought Princess would be more professional , have more to fill sea-days. I’m not sure if their management or onboard entertainment director ever just sits and watch what their staff are told to do. Timings are rigid. People lining up to sing karaoke , the explorers lounge buzzing. The bar busy. But rather than let it roll, the kareoke stops with people left disappointed, the DJ started to change to the disco atmosphere and watched 75% of the passengers walk out. I’m sure the DJ could have waited 20 minutes. Onboard flexibility in creating atmosphere. Some of the game show contestants and karaoke singers have more personality and presence than members of the entertainment team hosting it. And given the sound and light equipment , they could make more of it. Put the song lyrics up for all the audience to see at karaoke aswell even. The same happens in the Wheelhouse Bar where an older crowd enjoy dancing. 45 minutes later... it’s over and another item starts, loosing the crowd. Events in bars for new cruisers - morning trivia in wheelhouse bar - where the bar isn’t open to even get a soft drink or coffee. Why ? It’s obvious surely. Opportunities for them to earn income and passengers to relax. Staffing in the wheelhouse at night goes from over staffed to being impossible to get served as they are trying to sort theatre orders ! Meaning that pre dinner drink is rushed. Unhosted events are often in bars - singles, LGBT...etc. If other passengers are there and there is no signed area or nibbles etc, I’m sure most folk would be nervous to go up to people and ask if they are travelling alone - or are they gay? I think the problem is that cruising has moved forward at such a pace - and carried passengers expectations with it. So the mid size ships like this at 16 years old struggle to deliver. Where she does deliver is fitting the old locks of the Panama Canal. However, if Princess stopped and looked at what they could do with this class of ship, it could be better with a few tweaks. Would I book Princess again ? Maybe...it would be destination dependent- not necessarily that I was bowled over. It’s a step above P&O, a step down from Cunard . We left the ship with great memories and enjoyed it. Experienced really good service and great food, visited fascinating destinations. I just think it could be so much better with a few obvious improvements that Princess management should be seeing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My husband and I have been talking about going to see the Panama Canal since our first cruise to Alaska in 2006. We have finally retired and decided on the Christmas Cruise to the Eastern Carribean and Panama Canal on Island Princess. ... Read More
My husband and I have been talking about going to see the Panama Canal since our first cruise to Alaska in 2006. We have finally retired and decided on the Christmas Cruise to the Eastern Carribean and Panama Canal on Island Princess. She is the sister ship of our Alaskan cruise ship Coral Princess so she was familiar in layout. We stayed in a local hotel the night before the cruise and decided to get to the Port early. We were in a group of about 25 people who showed up early and were given the number one to be called for embarkation. We were called about 11 am and went on board. Embarkation was smooth and effortless. We walked around and took pictures for a while and then went to lunch in the Horizon Court. We decided to check out our room and found our luggage already delivered. We had a balcony cabin and layout was good with plenty of storage and hangers. We had requested late seating (715p) in the Provence Traditional dining room but we were assigned a 715p seating in the Bordeaux Dining room which is used for Any Time Dining. This caused confusion as first we were told to get in line and wait to be seated but I questioned why we were given a seat and time assignment on our Cruise Card and still had to get in line. Hostess then told us to go right in to our table and to do this every night. It took several nights until the hostess and wait staff recognized us and did not ask where we were going! We enjoyed the dining very much, had great wait staff who remembered our choices in beverages and food came fairly quickly with only rarely a wait time. Entertainment was excellent, we went to the production shows, comedian, juggler, singers. Everything was very professionally done. All the cruise staff were polite, pleasant and helpful. We booked all our excursions through Princess. The one excursion in Panama was cancelled by the tour company and we were reimbursed by Princess. We did not schedule another excursion but decided to watch the departure through the Gatun locks. All our excursions were very informative and very organized and on time. We had excellent tour guides who answered all questions and brought us back to the ship on time. Would like to give a shout out to Fran in Limon, Jose C in Cartagena and Sonia in Grand Cayman who did excellent tours. We also scheduled airline flights through Princess EZair as this was recommended by travel agent as the best prices. We had problems with delays on American Airlines so would not use American again. Overall we were very pleased with our cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Boarding This was the fastest and smoothest we have ever boarded a ship. From exiting the cab to entering our room took about 30 minute’s total. It was flawless as was disembarkment. Bars/Entertainment We spent most of our time ... Read More
Boarding This was the fastest and smoothest we have ever boarded a ship. From exiting the cab to entering our room took about 30 minute’s total. It was flawless as was disembarkment. Bars/Entertainment We spent most of our time at the Explorers Lounge and had a great time with the bar staff. We also went to the Wheelhouse for trivia and a tribute to Billie Holiday which was fun. The Casino bar was friendly and down to business as they are way too busy to socialize. Overall the bar and wait staff was the best I’ve seen on 5 Princess cruises; they were more entertaining than the entertainment. As for the entertainment, each individual act/show/game was good or OK but the sequencing was terrible. Karaoke followed by DJ plays your favorite dance music draws a different crowd so everyone just left the bar after Karaoke. It was like scheduling Bingo after a Karaoke show, they didn’t but you get my point. Princess also needs to post large signs at the venue entrance for UNHOSTED Singles & Solo’s Get-Together or LGBTQ+ Get-Togethers events. These unhosted events were in the large Wheelhouse bar and other passengers coming in had no idea it was gay or singles night. The entertainment was nice but we had to jump from venue to venue to stay within a single type of entertainment. Casino I’ve never had so much fun losing money. The Dealers and Pit Bosses were great but the passengers on this cruise were there to have fun and we did. The passengers in the casino did not have that hard core Vegas style attitude towards gambling. The Dealers joked and laughed right along with us; it was great. Smoking Areas The Island Princess only has 3 smoking areas, an outside uncovered space on deck 15, Churchill’s lounge and a small section of the casino. Because of the limited areas on every cruise ship smokers get to know each other very well and form strong bonds/groups. With only 3 smoking areas this cruise was the best as around 10 of us became great friends. I logged my first formal complaint with Princess due to their complete and total lack of understanding smokers. On the formal night it was raining so the outside uncovered smoking area was unusable. They also closed the Casino to smoking that night leaving the small Churchill’s lounge as the only smoking area for the entire ship. The Captain or Casino Manager should be able to override the “rigid schedule” and make ad-hoc changes. If it’s raining don’t close the Casino smoking area; reschedule that for another night – make a managerial decision. The non-smokers just outside Churchill’s Lounge in Crooners were as upset as the smokers. Dining We had the privilege and pleasure to dine in the Sabatini's, Bayou Café, Bordeaux Dining Room, Ultimate Balcony Dining, Horizon Court, Slice Pizzeria and a lot of late night Room Service. The food was delicious everywhere. This was our 3rd time doing the $100 Ultimate Balcony Dining for 2 ($50 each) and it was phenomenal again. A five course meal with Champaign served on your private balcony makes for a beautiful and romantic night. The wait staff is superb and patiently waits in the hallway between courses. If you’re in love, this is the way to create a special moment; photography is included. Princess Theater We did not attend a single show in the theater and there is a good reason for that. We have no idea what each show is from the Patter. We looked in a couple of times and there was a guy talking and another time some people singing. I’m looking for the Broadway style production shows which I heard was on this voyage. Princess knows well in advance what show is being performed in the theater and should do a special Patter insert on the first day with show details and pictures. Ports/Excursions We took this cruise for the Panama Canal and it did not disappoint. Having a wraparound Starboard/Aft balcony (C731) only enhanced the experience. The canal is truly an engineering marvel and should be on everyone’s bucket list. We took various excursions at every port and they all met or exceeded expectations except for one. DO NOT TAKE the Limon, Costa Rica - Limon Waterfront & Backstreet Canals excursion. It was drizzling so they skipped circling an Island where Christopher Columbus anchored his ships in 1502 (big deal) and when straight for the canal. The boat idled for about a half mile down a canal lined with trash and slums, literally. We spent 2 ½ hours looking in the trees for birds, three-toed sloths and monkeys. We saw 1 of each and to kill time they turned the boat around so the people on the other side could see. I was ready to jump out and swim back to the ship. Going to a free public zoo at home would have been better. Princess e-mails out surveys that allow you to rate your excursions. Our ratings now show up when reviewing excursions. Ease take the surveys and rate your excursions – you could be saving someone a horrible experience like the Limon Waterfront & Backstreet Canals excursion. Overall While the entertainment could have been sequenced better, it was still good. A rainy formal night with only one small inside smoking area was terrible, it was only one night. One excursion of 5 was disgusting and the canal was beyond amazing. All of the negatives account for less than 1% of an awesome 10 day cruise. My husband and I cherish the positive and we don’t dwell on the negatives. We had a great stateroom & balcony, delicious food and a lot of fun especially in the Casino. But what made this particular cruise a perfect 10 for us was the Princess staff and our fellow shipmates we bonded with – thank you all. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Island Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.6
Family 4.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
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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