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Sail Date: December 2018
My husband and I enjoy cruising during holidays, when we can -- Christmas, New Years, Easter. This was a Christmas cruise. We chose it mostly for Cartagena and Panama Canal. Cartagena was a vision as Island Princess entered the harbor. The ... Read More
My husband and I enjoy cruising during holidays, when we can -- Christmas, New Years, Easter. This was a Christmas cruise. We chose it mostly for Cartagena and Panama Canal. Cartagena was a vision as Island Princess entered the harbor. The city is designed so that the sun lights up the white skyscrapers like torches at sunrise. It's breathtaking! This was our second cruise to go through the Panama Canal but there are plenty of excursions and this time we took a tour of the old city and Miraflores locks. The tour was great, mostly because of Rosablanca, ("White Rose") our tour guide. We only took three excursions on this 10-day cruise. Cartagena Old City (a UNESCO World Heritage site), Trolly Tour in Grand Cayman and Panama mentioned above. Cartagena has some over-assertive street vendors. With plenty of sea days and a couple of great lecturers -- Bill Fall and Marina Oborotova -- this turned out to be a relaxing cruise. Played trivia and Bingo with Robbie (best Bingo caller in the fleet, I think!). We didn't win. We were always in the dining room at 5 sharp so we could make the 6 pm show. Robert and Jelana always competent in the dining room and brought smiles with their conversations. (Table 75 anytime dining). Horizon Court offered up a great variety of chow and desserts. They also had gingerbread houses and decorations and they baked four humongous cakes (enough for 1,000 perhaps?) strawberry, blueberry, chocolate decorated like a christmas tree, and German chocolate -- spectacular effort! Dining room food was a medley that could be graded A (NY strip steak, lamb roast, prime rib), A- (lobster tails with no butter, but on a pile of sticky rice/arugula) and one F (bad red snapper). Balcony cabin was good with a full length closet. On the last morning, the room steward wanted to come in and strip the beds when we went to breakfast. This was ten minutes before six a.m. -- my suitcase was on the bed, open, waiting for a few last minute additions to be thrown in. That thing weighs 40 pounds. That was inconvenient! We had some heavy seas and the captain and crew handled the steering as well as possible to alleviate pitching and yawing. They had the stabilizers out when called for. I slept like the dead, but you might want to pack your dramamine, just in case. One of the best production shows ever, on any cruise ship -- their new New Orleans show. I've seen Encore three times, it never gets old. The Secret Silk show is magical. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I choose this cruise because if the itineray ie full transit of the Panama Canal Overall the cruise was good although st night time it was dead definetly an older age group on this type of cruise Embarkation was quick and smooth. ... Read More
I choose this cruise because if the itineray ie full transit of the Panama Canal Overall the cruise was good although st night time it was dead definetly an older age group on this type of cruise Embarkation was quick and smooth. the ship itself is okay but dated. the cabin okay smaller than I am used to and the shower far too small - bathroom floor ended up soaking every night Entertainment - was mediocre the cruise director poor although not a bad singer Dining staff and bar staff fab Food in dining room was good but not keen on Horizon tended to use The Grill and Pizza place We did go for afternoon tea a couple of times which was great but the staff come round and try to put everything on your small plate at once ie sandwiches scones jam cream cake and cookie instead they should serve sandwiches and when you are ready the could fo the scones etc but it was good and staff are only being told to do by management. Ports and excursions were good Would I go again yeah but not sure on princess as I found drinks package expensive and the internet really expensive think princess need to look at the costs of these and come in line with other cruise companies Read Less
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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, and Princess is our go to cruise line. Our cabin was standard Princess, small and efficient with a tiny bathroom and shower. The crew was great and helpful. They seemed like a happy crew. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, and Princess is our go to cruise line. Our cabin was standard Princess, small and efficient with a tiny bathroom and shower. The crew was great and helpful. They seemed like a happy crew. We think the entertainment was very good compared to our past cruises on Princess. There were some very talented singers and dancers. The food was uneven; sometimes very good, other times small portions and way too much salt. A note to the Chef, taste it before you send it out. Embarkation and departure was smooth and efficient. The Princess sponsored port activities were fine but overpriced. We did private excursions in Costa Rica and Cartagena and were happier with those. Now for my big complaint. Effy the ship jewelry store. It is almost impossible to walk by the store without being accosted by pushy salesmen. It is as bad as time share sales in some ports. It is like they invited the Diamond International people on board and gave them free reign. This is really offensive to me and I’m sure many other guests. If I want to buy some jewelry, I’ll come into the store and check it out, otherwise get out of my face. I am hoping this is just an anomaly but if it is like this on other Princess cruises I may have to re-evaluate my go to cruise line. If anybody from Princess reads this, have them back off. Most people don’t appreciate high pressure sales tactics on a captive audience. There, I’ve said my piece. Aside from Effy we had a really good time on this cruise and would recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Exceptional Princess entertainment. We also enjoyed Crooners most every night with David Moore. The Princess orchestra did an amazing job with all of the entertainers. Our mini-suite was a plus-loved the larger balcony and bathroom. ... Read More
Exceptional Princess entertainment. We also enjoyed Crooners most every night with David Moore. The Princess orchestra did an amazing job with all of the entertainers. Our mini-suite was a plus-loved the larger balcony and bathroom. Steward service by Khus was efficient and friendly on the 10th deck. The guitarist-Danny- provided great music in the Wheelhouse. The lectures were outstanding—-especially the day-long dialog going through the Panama Canal with Bill. Boarding in San Francisco was quick as well as our Deboard in Ft Lauderdale. The best part for us was going through the Panama Canal since this was reason we opted for this particular cruise. In December the canal traffic was light but it still takes all day to go thru the locks. Remember to inform those at home to check out the island princess.com web camera so they can view you going thru the locks. The weather in Dec 2018 was perfect. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Chose itinerary for Panama Canal but too many other ports require tenders. No international cafe. New meal schedule of 7:30 dining hard to get adjusted to. All suites have tubs but grout not maintained and required extensive cleaning ... Read More
Chose itinerary for Panama Canal but too many other ports require tenders. No international cafe. New meal schedule of 7:30 dining hard to get adjusted to. All suites have tubs but grout not maintained and required extensive cleaning during cruise. Many crew do not have good command of English. Excellent port itinerary presentation. Most excursions require long (1hour) rides from port. Poor safety standards for monkey island tour in panama ( resulted in fall exiting slippers boat and $1000 med bill on ship). Food service in traditional dining room very good. Coffee in dining rooms and horizon still terrible. Pastries good but variety for breakfast and lunch in horizon got boorish on fifteen day cruise. Entertainment pretty good in theater and piano bar. Medical staff excellent but have general problem when accident on their excursion clearly resulting from their poor safety condition still required charge to my account and then requires me to seek reimbursement back from Princess insurance. Passengers with limited mobility may not seek getting off ship on most ports bout resign themselves in enjoying passage through canal day. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
I had sailed the Panama Cruise before and this is the first time I was able to go to Panama City. Also wanted to see the new canal and the itinerary included other ports that have not visited in many years. Loved the destination port San ... Read More
I had sailed the Panama Cruise before and this is the first time I was able to go to Panama City. Also wanted to see the new canal and the itinerary included other ports that have not visited in many years. Loved the destination port San Francisco. I am not a fan of the mega ships and love the size of the Island Princess. It is starting to show it’s age a little bit but would sail on it again. I booked the mini-suite and always enjoy the extra space on longer cruises. The Princess sleep system beds are wonderful and had the most restful night sleeping during the cruise. The entertainment was very good and really enjoyed their new production, “Silk”. Selected first seating for dining and did not like the change in time with dinner starting at 5:15. The meals were very good in the dining room and the waiters were more than willing to get additional items on the menu. Have sailed on the Island two other times and visited the Bayou Cafe. Was disappointed this time in the attempt to deliver Cajun food. I am sure it didn’t help that I visited New Orleans in June. The service is stellar and usually make great friends with the servers. I stuck with the ship sponsored tours and was glad of that. There was a parade and blocked the streets and a tour was thirty minutes late from sail time. The ship was held until they arrived. Princess has the embarkation / disembarkation down to a science. It is so smooth getting on and off in record time. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
The ship is nice, as it's one of the smaller Princess ships. However, the ship does not have an International Cafe, which limits your dining choices to the dining room, the buffet (Horizon Court), or the specialty restaurants. The ... Read More
The ship is nice, as it's one of the smaller Princess ships. However, the ship does not have an International Cafe, which limits your dining choices to the dining room, the buffet (Horizon Court), or the specialty restaurants. The specialty restaurants have increased their pricing to $29.00 per person. Further, the dining room has removed several items from its offering menu; instead, including an "up charge " menus for many steaks. The Mattress in our stateroom had a severe sagging in its middle, and despite the ship not being full, and requesting the steward change the mattress - they didn't! Additionally, if you're a smoker, this ship is show a good deal of disdain for your business. There are only two available locations on the ship where you can smoke - The Churchill lounge (deck 7), and on the port side of deck 15 in an uncovered area that's open to the elements, with uncomfortable chairs and wobbly tables. The ship seems overdue for a refurbishing, as many of the public areas are showing their age. We were also put off by several staff memeber attitudes that were "I do the minimum." However, I will also say that several of the bar staff members were terrific. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for dining. The service in the dining room was slow, and somewhat inefficient. And the chef's primary response to special requests was NO. Not what I've come to expect as an Elite member with this line. The company still provides good value for the money. But they have definite deficiencies in staff and service aboard this ship. I also felt the port choices could have been better. When traveling in Nicaragua, we had police escorts, and the excursion we took (cooking in Granada), is one you can easily pass up. Unless you have a desire to spend $80.00 to make your own tortillas and guacamole for lunch. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We found the ship to be older than what we expected from the 2016 refurb. Dining in the main "anytime" dining was not a great experience. The food was cold by the time it was served. The portions were lacking and we had to ask ... Read More
We found the ship to be older than what we expected from the 2016 refurb. Dining in the main "anytime" dining was not a great experience. The food was cold by the time it was served. The portions were lacking and we had to ask for more each time we ate there. We enjoyed the buffet on Lido more than the main dining room. Entertainment was not as good as expected. One the 15 day cruise they had only 3 production shows as all other shows were one man shows of comedy or musical. All of the one man shows were repeated the next week. Cudos to the production performers on the 3 shows they did. They did what they could with the scripts they were given. We were not impressed with any of the production or one man shows. The Princess theater does not have enough seating. We had to arrive 30-45 minutes prior to make sure we got seats. Service was very inconsistent in the restaurants and the buffet. Sometimes there were too many servers hovering over us and than at times we had to flag down servers for assistance. Our cabin was as expected. We were in a balcony room so we could see the Panama Canal locks. Our bathroom and shower were small but we knew that going in. The ports of call were good and the excursions we purchased from Princess were good. We enjoyed all of them. Our favorite was in Panama when we went to the Embra Indian village via a 60 minute canoe ride through the rain forest. Our least favorite excursion was in Cartegena, Colombia where we went to the walled city and didn't get to see much of the area and our shopping was limited to a pressured sales pitch in an emerald shop where we were locked in the store for 30 minutes. They were hoping that we'd buy some emeralds. No one did. LOL! I advised the excursions staff of this. We'll never cruise on the Island Princess again and since this was our first time on a Princess ship, we are still open to cruising on other Princess ships. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We selected this cruise, because crossing the Panama Canal has always been a "bucket list" cruise for me. I can now cross off another item on that list. This cruise was very good, to excellent in most respects: Our cabin ... Read More
We selected this cruise, because crossing the Panama Canal has always been a "bucket list" cruise for me. I can now cross off another item on that list. This cruise was very good, to excellent in most respects: Our cabin was clean and comfortable, although a little small, particularly the bathroom and shower. Food: overall very good in both the Horizon Cafe, and Provence dining room. Entertainment: Outstanding....particularly the production shows. They were all highly professional, entertaining, and were first-class in quality. Enrichment Activities: Outstanding, with regard to Bill Fall, who was extremely outstanding in his Panama Canal, and Central America presentations. We learned so much of the Canal, and surrounding countries, and his talks made it even more enjoyable. My main complaint or criticism of Princess would be their recent change in traditional dining, and show times at the Princess Theater. In all of our previous cruises, whether they're with Princess, or another cruise line, we always opted for late seating, traditional dining. Once we had dinner, we enjoyed seeing the late show at the theater. Now, Princess has elected to run show at 6PM and 8PM, which forces us to go to the 6PM show, in order to have dinner at 7;30, which is earlier than we want to go, for a variety of reasons. Would like to see Princess go back to the old times of 7:45 and 9;45 for Princess Theater showtimes. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
Crossing the Panama Canal was one of our "must see" destinations. While many cruise lines offer this as an option, few offer this in depth voyage from ocean to ocean. We selected this Island Princess cruise because it was nicely ... Read More
Crossing the Panama Canal was one of our "must see" destinations. While many cruise lines offer this as an option, few offer this in depth voyage from ocean to ocean. We selected this Island Princess cruise because it was nicely priced and featured several ports that we wanted to visit. By the time we disembarked in San Francisco we were satisfied with our choice. We have done various cruise lines and itineraries over the last few years and one thing is certain, no one is perfect. Some have great food. Some have great amenities. Some have great loyalty programs. This being our second cruise on Princess we were definitely driven by the itinerary but found several other things that were pleasant surprises. Overall, our experience with the crew of this ship was very good. The Cruise director and his staff were very accessible, friendly and best of all service oriented. The entertainment on the ship was also very good. The production shows and the cast were some of the best we've seen on an ocean liner. In between we had some featured guest entertainers performing music, comedy and yes magic for various age groups. Some were better than others but overall they were entertaining and that is what they are there to do. In addition there were many activities and "parties" for the guest to participate in. Enough to keep everyone engaged and busy. As with most cruise ships, the food options on this ship were plentiful and abundant. From self service buffet at the Horizon Court, to fine dining at Sabatini's Italian bistro, to typical main dining room options, to surprise Pub Lunch options, the food was what you would expect. Most everyone could find something to satisfy their cravings. We selected the "Anytime Dining" option because we wanted the flexibility to eat whenever we wanted. We have selected this option on four different cruise lines and on various ships. We have learned that some do better than others at managing this option. While the Island Princess did a respectable job at managing the guest flow, they were lacking in consistent service delivery. Inherently the "anytime dining" option negates one of the true joys of cruising, offering a dining room staff that gets to know and understand your preferences. When you eat with different servers for every meal, you never quite connect with anyone that knows what you like. The opportunity to be surprised and delighted in your dining experience is eliminated. So much so, that in this cruise we never even got over the stage where you are recognized by the host and maitre'd as that guest that prefers to dine alone and not share a table with eight other people. I found this to be the most awkward part of my dining experience when each evening I spoke to the same maitre'd and requested a table for two and no, I do not want a table to share. After making my wishes known, I was then politely seated at a table for two in the most awkward crevices of the dining room, next to servers workstations, or next to another equally unsocial guest at a table for two that was just eight inches away from ours. It would have been nice to get a table for two by the window one evening. The only time that happened was when we reserved a table at Sabatini's, the specialty Italian restaurant. Fortunately, that was the worst part. in every other aspect dining was a fun part of our experience. On sea days, we even participated in afternoon tea with yummy finger sandwiches and raisin scones. Having gone through a recent drydock in 2017 the amenities on the Island Princess have been updated and spruced up. The common areas have nice carpeting and furniture. Technology and equipment has been upgraded in the theatre and in most lounges and bars enhancing our appreciation of the entertainment that was offered in these. The fitness center featured all new easy to use equipment as well as ample workout studio. It was conveniently located on deck six (Fiesta Deck) but was not attached to the spa area. I found this to be a plus but others might disagree. On a service level, we have nothing but accolades for the crew of this ship. Most every encounter we had with a crew member was pleasant and laser focused on providing great guest service. The embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and subsequent debarkation in San Francisco, California were about as effortless as one could make them. At each port of call we were well informed and escorted to the appropriate tender boat or gangway to venture off on our excursions. On board, we enjoyed pleasant and informative presentations by the shopping expert, the future cruise consultant, and the destination expert. All of these crew members delivered unique perspectives on the cruise experience. We definitely will entertain a future cruise on the Island Princess. 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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