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Sail Date: February 2019
I chose this cruise as I thought my husband would enjoy the Panama Canal. It was great! I was a little worried about reviews complaining about the ship. Do not believe these reviews. It was just fine. I’m sure there are ships out ... Read More
I chose this cruise as I thought my husband would enjoy the Panama Canal. It was great! I was a little worried about reviews complaining about the ship. Do not believe these reviews. It was just fine. I’m sure there are ships out there that are more glamorous but Island Princess was great. Excursions are too expensive on ship. We waited and got tours off ship except in Jamaica and saved money. Following are ones we took and highly recommend all of them. In Turks & Caicos - www.islandtrams.com, Island Trams, 42 Front Street, Grand Turks & Caicos 649-432-TRAM. In Cartagena - rouscartagena09@hotmail.com. In Costa Rica - Oregon Tours with Christian Robinson - Highly recommend you request Christian. We just got off ship and got our tours with groups that will be right there as you get off ship. We were very pleased with all the tours we had. Disembarkation was great. We walked right on ship. No waiting. I think they need more signs however in regards to where to leave luggage if you’re not carrying on board. Also signs on how to get to parking and which way to go to get on ship. We were early to board but our room was ready shortly after we boarded. Disembarkation was smooth and quick. Chose to carry our luggage off ourselves and recommend this if possible. No waiting at all. The service in the dining room was great. My husband is lactose intolerant and he just mentioned it to our waiter and the head waiter was right there talking to him. They had him fill out a menu each night for the next night so they could be sure no milk products in it. The chef made special desserts for him that were great. Our cabin was comfortable and service great. Loved our bed. We have always gotten inside cabins and very pleased with them. Gone from the cabin most of the time so we don’t need the balcony. Entertainment was excellent. Enjoyed it each night. The regulars on ship were outstanding. Great voices. One complaint would be people who put their towels on lounge chair and leaving them there all day so many people don’t get a turn. Have a great cruise! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
First and foremost it was a great cruise. Any criticism I have here should be taken lightly as I consider it very minor. We chose this cruise for the itinerary, Princess was the only cruise line that had the dates we wanted and ports we ... Read More
First and foremost it was a great cruise. Any criticism I have here should be taken lightly as I consider it very minor. We chose this cruise for the itinerary, Princess was the only cruise line that had the dates we wanted and ports we had never been to. We are four time Carnival cruisers and had heard good things about Princess so why not. The staff was wonderful, as they have been on every cruise we have been on. The food was really good, on par with Carnival. Naturally we liked some dishes better than others (depends on your taste) but all really good quality and quantity. Good selection in the dining rooms and great selection in the Horizon buffet. I highly recommend the Bayou Cafe, my wife and I thought it was the best steak filet we have ever had. Service there was great as well. Just a warning about anytime dining, they allow reservations which defeats the purpose in my opinion because it now ties a table to a time. If you don’t get there by 5:30 or after 8 you are going to wait (they’ll give you a pager). We never had to wait a long time but it’s annoying watching people get there after you go in before you. There was lineups to get in the Horizon Court but that was due to a continuing Norovirus outbreak so you had to wash your hands before going in (and shame on the people that sneak around the line and claim they just washed their hands). Also due to this they had to serve everything to you in the buffet which slowed things down a bit but I was grateful because we didn’t catch anything. Don’t base your decision to go on this because it was not a normal situation (it had been eradicated by the end of the cruise). As another reviewer said, there was definitely an older crowd on this ship. We are also early 60’s and felt like we were part of the youngest group aboard, I suspect a lot of the negative reviews are due to the older demographic. Yes the ship is smaller than the newer ones but it has to go through the Panama Canal. It never felt overcrowded though, there are the usual people that stake out loungers first thing in the morning and then come back 2 hours later but we always managed to get a spot we liked. Getting a table in the Horizon Buffet at peak times was a challenge but that’s to be expected if everyone goes at the same time. Entertainment was good in the theatre, again catering to an older crowd. Most of it not my thing but it was very well done. Get there early though, it’s full 15 minutes before showtime. We thought there could have been more deck entertainment but again, older crowd, so they could be keeping it sparse for them and there was always something on the movie screen (we saw 4 good movies while sunbathing). To be fair, on the first sea day they tried to get people to join the Hairy Legs competition and not one person volunteered. Different story on the last sea day, they got 8 contestants, and later an impromptu beach ball game broke out in the pool. There is also another pool with a retractable roof that they don’t open, we went in there once to get out of the blazing sun and it was ok but it’s an indoor pool so I’ll leave it at that. Ports and excursions were great. You have to bear in mind that most of the stops are industrial ports so if you don’t do an excursion you’re not going to see much. Grand Turk was excellent, no excursion required. We lucked out as we were the only ship that day so it wasn’t crowded. Tropical paradise with Jimmy Buffet drinks! (By the way you can research how many ships will be in a particular port each day on line, just google “ship port calendar”) We took the bus/walking tour in Cartegena which was really good. The street vendors really pester you but you just have to be patient and keep saying no thank you (they would usually leave and then come back 2 minutes later, but hey, they’re just trying to eke out a living). Some of them were quite comical and give you a laugh during their efforts. The city is beautiful and full of history. The Panama Canal is amazing! We got to the front observation deck at 6 am and stood mesmerized for the next 3 and a half hours. We felt we didn’t need to do an excursion there as the canal transit was the attraction for us. We stopped in Colon after we came out and there wasn’t much there but it didn’t matter as the transit itself was our day’s excursion. After seeing not much in Colon we booked the Bus/boat/rainforest walk excursion in Limon. Amazing. Think Disney Jungle Cruise but for real. Saw a Toucan, Sloths, Jesus Christ Lizards, Iguanas, Howler Monkeys, Poison Dart frogs and the Coast Guard station with a confiscated drug runner boat. We did Dunn’s River falls and the Bamboo Beach VIP excursion in Ocho Rios. Again excellent. If your knees and heart can handle some exersize, go for it, it was a lot of fun. The Beach club was not what I expected, it’s a little rustic, but we walked out of there a little wobbly from the free drinks and so full we couldn’t go to the dining room that night. Two observations: we thought the rum drinks tasted like plastic from the coolers at first until I realized it was Appleton’s rum we were tasting; and the difference between the VIP and the regular excursion is that they serve you food and drinks instead of having to get them yourself. All three excursions we took had excellent guides and were well worth it. I also want to mention that the embarkation/debarkation/transfer were the smoothest we have ever experienced. So all that said, I would highly recommend this cruise and I hope this helps your decision. Read Less
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Sail Date: February 2019
A pleasant trip, with the Panama Canal and Cartegena being our highlights. The captain skillfully managed the ship in the high winds. Because of the winds, we were unable to stop at Jamaica, but that was ok for us, as we had been there ... Read More
A pleasant trip, with the Panama Canal and Cartegena being our highlights. The captain skillfully managed the ship in the high winds. Because of the winds, we were unable to stop at Jamaica, but that was ok for us, as we had been there last year. There were a lot of people with scooters, walkers, and canes on this trip. Some had a very hard time walking with the rocking of the waves. Some got sea sick, but we were fine. On 'at sea' days, we watched 'Crazy Rich Asians' and 'Instant Family' in our room. Both were recent, good movies. Cartegena is busy, but colorful. Lots of vendors trying to sell their goods. We took the horse and buggy ride of the old city--interesting, but the driver could not speak much English--but he did try. The bus tour guide had perfect English, and was very knowledgeable. The ship is small so that it can go in the Panama Canal. It was thrilling to be on the ship as it passed through. We took the Rainforest excursion, and felt it was well worth the money. One downside to the smaller ship is there was no easy place to go for a good walk--none of the floors had a circular path. Our room (Mini-suite) was decent, but carpet and sofa could use some updates. The bed was SO comfortable, and the bathroom had a full sized tub, which was nice. There was an outbreak of the norovirus, but we did not catch it. About 40-50 people contracted it. Immediately, the crew was spraying off all handrails, doors, etc. with disinfectants. The Horizon Court switched from 'help yourself' to staff service. Handwashing by all guests was strictly enforced. We give the crew credit for trying their best to contain the virus before it got worse. The ship's food was usually good, we especially enjoyed the Horizon Court for breakfast and lunch. The traditional dining was ok, but we were at a table of 10. All great people to visit with, but the table was so long, it was hard to have a conversation across the end of it. Also, it was in a fairly noisy area of the dining room. The food was usually good, and service was good, too. The theatre was busy every night. My complaint was shared by many--it was too loud. After the first night, I took earplugs with me. I mentioned it to staff, who said they would pass it on--but no change was made. The guest entertainers were excellent--but the staff entertainers were mediocre. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Enjoyed this cruise even thought we could not dock in Jamaica due to high waves. Noro virus was also on board so many passengers were confined to their rooms. The staff performed very well in order to contain. Food good overall. Did ... Read More
Enjoyed this cruise even thought we could not dock in Jamaica due to high waves. Noro virus was also on board so many passengers were confined to their rooms. The staff performed very well in order to contain. Food good overall. Did not appreciate having an additional charge menu with our meals, Meals are included, but they will keep the good items at a premium. Septic smells were in some areas of the ship. We did not get sick or have a problem with septic smells. For smokers, leaves little to be desired. You are confined to a small area deck 15. No shelter if rain. Poor service there, yet many guest were smokers. Smoking area inside ship is an insult when compared to other places on ship. Anytime dinning option did not work for us, as it took 1 to 1.5 hrs wait or you need to reserve a time. We changed to fixed dinning and all was well. Enjoyed Costa Rica and Cayman Islands. Would probably try another cruise line to see their rooms and their definition of all inclusive. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Wanted the Panama Canal experience. I would caution you on taking the Island Princess. Ship did have a break out of a virus that caused some concerns . I do not think people took washing hands before eating seriously. Staff needed to ... Read More
Wanted the Panama Canal experience. I would caution you on taking the Island Princess. Ship did have a break out of a virus that caused some concerns . I do not think people took washing hands before eating seriously. Staff needed to clean the ship and update furniture. Wheelhouse Bar furniture would have been rejected by my local Habitat For Humanity! Yes that is how bad it was and had an old smell to it . Head waiter in the anytime dinner needs to go to charm school, he never smiled or took your questions about seating to heart . He did what he had to do to get people in yet making it a positive experience fell way short. Fitness programs in the lounge bar?? Not even fitness work out center. No room to move around or atmosphere to get you motivated. Pool seating is always a challenge. The one pool was covered ( not sure why when it looked like the roof could be moved ) and got very warm and smelled like an old sock by the afternoon with a 100 people in this location , stay away! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
The Ports we have cruised the Canal before bit since the new one is in business wanted to see what it looked like. The size and the new canal area is very interesting. Took a few more excursions this time and they were very informative ... Read More
The Ports we have cruised the Canal before bit since the new one is in business wanted to see what it looked like. The size and the new canal area is very interesting. Took a few more excursions this time and they were very informative and interesting. Had a good time on all the Islands we visited but we were disappointed that Falmouth was cancelled because of the wind and wave action. But after a night of rock and roll the weather broke and the other islands welcomed us with sun and great temperatures. Am still amazed by the engineering of the old canal and what it entails to build. I would recommend this trip to anyone who asks. The crew and entertainment on this ship were very professional and caring. No request was looked down on or made you feel unwelcome in any way!! Would travel Princess again. The food in the dining room was divine. And if there was something special you wanted just ask!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Every part of our Panama Canal cruise experience met or exceeded our expectations. Both the embarkation and disembarkation processes were seemless and simple. Our stateroom adequatley met our needs and our steward Michelle made sure we ... Read More
Every part of our Panama Canal cruise experience met or exceeded our expectations. Both the embarkation and disembarkation processes were seemless and simple. Our stateroom adequatley met our needs and our steward Michelle made sure we were well cared for every day. The Horizon Court breakfast and lunch dining options were amazing. We sampled all sorts of dining delicacies and ulimately overate at every meal. We enjoyed our evening dining very much. We went to the scheduled production show every night of the cruise. All of the shows were exceptionally well done and the entertainment value was consistently high. We frequently discussed the shows we had seen while on the cruise and we still do since coming home. Our shore excursions all were informative and entertaining. Going through the Panama Canal locks was a real bucket list experience. The canal is truly one of the greatest engineering marvels of all time. Our favorite excursion otherwise was the day on Grand Caiman...fish and reef viewing in a semi-sub, visiting the turtle center, and going to Hell and back. What a great cruise it was and full of life lasting memories. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our first time cruising with Princess and we were disappointed. The food quality was poor, the on board activities limited, we had to skip a port due to high winds and then parts of the ship were closed due to an excessive ... Read More
This was our first time cruising with Princess and we were disappointed. The food quality was poor, the on board activities limited, we had to skip a port due to high winds and then parts of the ship were closed due to an excessive outbreak of norovirus. We knew the ship was small and older but the on board activities were dull and tacky. The quality and variety of food at the MDR, the Horizons Buffet and both specialty restaurants were the poorest of all 4 cruiselines we have sailed. The tiny fitness center is in the windowless bowels of the ship and dark and depressing. And while we understood that this itinerary attracted an older crowd, we were surprised to be one of the youngest couples on board (we are 55 and 59). Few of the onboard activiites were designed for an older demographic so the evening events were empty and boring. The biggest thing to do on board was afternoon trivia. Due to the norovirus outbreak the library and parts of the casino were closed. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Choose cruise because Panama Canal was a bucket list. The ship getting on and off was rather easy, The evening shows was not the quality we are used to with Royal Caribbean. The afternoon filler entertainment was boring and we had other ... Read More
Choose cruise because Panama Canal was a bucket list. The ship getting on and off was rather easy, The evening shows was not the quality we are used to with Royal Caribbean. The afternoon filler entertainment was boring and we had other couples tell us the same thing. The anytime dining was a mess. We had signed up for the 7pm dining and ended up with the any time room. First night after we boarded and got to the any time room, we ate with rather poor service and after we got done, there was a line to get in that stretched all the way to the bar. Heard from another couple it took them an hour to get a table. Had to constantly get up to refill our drinks. The Hamburgers on level 15 was awesome and ate there several times since we didnt want to deal with the crap at anytime dinning One thing we did like was that they had 1st run movies running all the time either on Room TV and the huge TV out by the pool. Good thing due to the rest of the entertainment for us was boring. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Wanted to see the Panama Canal for a second time and was hoping to see the new canal. Unfortunately we went through the old locks. However had a great time with 3 other couples in all of the cruise stops. The ship is showing its age ... Read More
Wanted to see the Panama Canal for a second time and was hoping to see the new canal. Unfortunately we went through the old locks. However had a great time with 3 other couples in all of the cruise stops. The ship is showing its age (built in 2003, I think) and prefer the newer, larger ships. The staff and service were terrific. The cabin was clean but dated. The food in the dining room was very good. The Crab Shack was not that great. Sabatini's, the Italian restaurant was mediocre. The Bayou Steak House was very good. The internet was horrible. The nightly entertainment with the production shows and guest entertainers were pretty good. The daily music entertainers were good with the exception of the steel drums performance - gave me a headache after a while. However there could be more variety in the music venues to change it up a bit. Read Less
Island Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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