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Sail Date: December 2015
Having cruised several times before, we were really looking forward to this trip on the Island Princess. While we had a good time overall, we were totally disappointed with the ship. There were too many passengers for the staff and the ... Read More
Having cruised several times before, we were really looking forward to this trip on the Island Princess. While we had a good time overall, we were totally disappointed with the ship. There were too many passengers for the staff and the size of the ship. Anything we tried to do was overwhelming. On one shore excursion, we were herded into the theater as usual, but we sat there for a long time then were sent out onto to the dock and had to stand there between two ships next to a refueling truck. Then when we returned we had to sit on the bus for an hour (no exaggeration) waiting to get near the dock to wait again to get ported to the ship. Our meals were long drawn out affairs, with a slow wait staff. Many times we wanted to get their attention, but never saw them again. Our cabin was fine, bed was comfortable, bathroom small, closet nice sized and we had a wonderful steward (thank you Qi). The ship itself needs a lot of work. Rusting, worn out looking, carpet dirty. Walking down a hall one day we walked under an overhead light that was leaking water like it was raining, water was also coming out along the molding, carpet soaked. We did notify staff about this. Embarkation was a joke but disembarkation wasn't too bad. I will have to think long and hard before I would consider another Princess cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2015
Loved, loved, loved this cruise! The crew of the Island Princess were all wonderful and attentive and I can't say enough how glad we are that we splurged and got a suite for this voyage. The perks that go along with the suite ... Read More
Loved, loved, loved this cruise! The crew of the Island Princess were all wonderful and attentive and I can't say enough how glad we are that we splurged and got a suite for this voyage. The perks that go along with the suite resulted in us feeling very spoiled for 15 days. Breakfast everyday at Sabatini's with Ivan and the fantastic crew there can't be beat. The dinner selections in the dining rooms made it hard to make a choice each evening and with the special deserts, well, let's just say no one can maintain their diet with that temptation. We also had dinners in the specialty restaurants - Sabatini's and Crab Shack. The lobster three ways at Sabatini's was incredible and not to be missed. We got the steamed basket with different seafood options at the Crab Shack and enjoyed all of them. The crab legs were different than what we were used to up here in Alaska, but still good. I didn't feel that the ship was over crowded as some others have mentioned. A couple of times it was harder to find seating for the shows, but I believe that is the same on any ship depending on the entertainment offered that evening. Speaking of entertainment, the shows were quite good and we certainly enjoyed our evenings. The entire ship was decorated for Christmas and this just added to the already beautiful décor. I would definitely recommend this cruise! We are already planning our next cruise with Princess. Read Less
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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2015
In all fairness, this review applies to the ship only; everything else about the cruise was truly wonderful (note the ratings). Apparently, Princess recently added a large amount of new staterooms; the Island was recently in dry dock ... Read More
In all fairness, this review applies to the ship only; everything else about the cruise was truly wonderful (note the ratings). Apparently, Princess recently added a large amount of new staterooms; the Island was recently in dry dock and things have really suffered as a result. The dining rooms were severely overcrowded with long lines to get in, to the extent that at dinnertime they handed out the kind of pagers that restaurants give out. They also reduced the size of the workout room, and relocated it so that there are no windows any longer. The casino was also reduced in size, presumably to make room for the new staterooms. One of our favorite places was the International Café which was removed. With finger sandwiches, soups, desserts, and drinks, it was nice to hang out in the Piazza/Rotunda with its adjacent café. We've cruised on nothing but Princess, but that's no longer going to be the case considering such bad decisions that Princess has made. Seems they got their idea from the airlines who are similarly cramming in more seats. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This was our first cruise since an Alaskan cruise in 1998, so we weren't quite sure what to expect. The Panama Canal was a bucket list item, and I've recently retired so we have plenty of time on our hands to undertake a long ... Read More
This was our first cruise since an Alaskan cruise in 1998, so we weren't quite sure what to expect. The Panama Canal was a bucket list item, and I've recently retired so we have plenty of time on our hands to undertake a long journey. Overall, the cruise was extremely enjoyable although it may have been a couple of days too long. The Island Princess was a great ship and a wonderful experience. Very few, if any, complaints about the stateroom, food, activities, or entertainment. Most of the staff were extremely helpful and the cabin steward was outstanding. Here's a day-by-day detail (hope not to bore anybody to sleep): Day 1 - Embarkation. Took a 15 minute cab ride from home to the Port. Traffic was very heavy coming into the port and the cab dropped us off near the terminal. Left the bags and a tip with the baggage attendant. Lines at Port Everglades were very long on an unsettled, cloudy day. Fortunately, we were under roof. and spent probably 45 minutes to get to security. We chose to carry a few bottles of wine (beyond the two per cabin allowed by Princess) so we were directed to a separate desk. The staff at the desk were very polite as we paid the corkage and had the bottles stamped. Back in line, we waited another 30 minutes or so to check in and receive our cruise cards. Easy transition to the ship and were directed to our deck and cabin. Room was ready when we arrived and we only had to wait for luggage. We opted for a mini-suite since the cruise was 15 days and we weren't disappointed with our choice, B226 on the Baja deck. We checked out the room and balcony, then decided to explore the ship. We opted for lunch in the main dining room (Provence). After lunch and exploring the various decks, we returned to the room to find our luggage waiting for us. Larry, our steward introduced himself to us. We asked him for wine glasses and fresh ones mysteriously appeared thereafter at various times throughout the cruise. He told us that he would have robes for us as soon as they were returned from the laundry. We unpacked and stepped out on the balcony which was fortunately covered since it had started to rain. We grabbed our life preservers when we heard the announcement and headed to our muster station at 3:15 for the drill. We joined a social group at 6:00 and met some new friends for drinks before heading to dinner in the anytime (Bordeaux) Dining Room. We left the dining room too late to catch the Comedian at the welcome show, so we explored the ship further and retired to our cabin around ten or so. We caught an interesting movie (The Age of Adaline) on television before retiring to an extremely comfortable bed. Day 2 - At Sea. Breakfast at the Horizons buffet and time exploring the exterior spaces since it had rained on embarkation day. The sun was finally out and we walked around the Sun Deck and Sports Deck while enjoying our coffee. Took in a great presentation on Cartagena and Aruba from the Destination Expert in the Princess Theater followed by an Enrichment Lecture on Architecture. Lunch from the Grill with the afternoon spent relaxing by the pool with a book. Social group again with cocktails before dinner, then another enjoyable dinner in the Bordeaux Dining Room. Took in the production show "Do You Wanna Dance" in the Princess Theater (all the production shows were excellent). A few more strolls around the ship before retiring to our cabin. Day 3 - At Sea. Room service breakfast this morning... if there's one area Princess falls a little short, it's this strange breakfast sandwich which seems to be swiss cheese, Canadian bacon, and an oval-shaped egg sandwiched between an English muffin. It arrives in a foil bag and the egg has usually rolled out from between the muffin. It's somewhat bland but the rest of the breakfast choices are very good. After our morning deck stroll with coffee, we head to the excellent Destination Lecture on the Panama Canal by Chris Roberts. We end the morning with an Enrichment Lecture on the Mayans before heading to the Horizons Buffet for lunch. Afternoon is spent by the Lotus Pool with a good book and an ice cream from Swirls. Tonight is the first of three formal nights. We really do not enjoy the formal nights and refuse to drag tuxedos along for two weeks, only to drag them back cross-country. Our compromise is a dark blazer and tie. Dinner is by reservation in the Bayou Cafe and Steakhouse. I have the first of many lobster dishes served by my spanish namesake from Peru, Maurizio. Very good service, excellent meal, great martini and Captain Singer stops by our table to say hello and inquire how the cruise is going. The late dinner means we've missed the show by John Bressler, but no worries since he performs again later in the cruise. Day 4 - Aruba. We arrive in Aruba by 7:00 a.m. Since we set sail again at noon, we decide that any excursion will only be rushed so we just walk off the ship into town. We make our way to Starbuck's where we find wifi and catch up on mail and social media. Back on the Island Princess by 11:30 At 12:30 we head to Christian Roberts' presentation on Costa Rica. We decide to remain in the theater for the next presentation, Looking At Paintings in Museums by the guest lecturer. We have a late lunch and spend time lounging around the pool. We meet up with the social group for drinks before dinner, then have dinner in the Bordeaux dining room. Another stroll around the ship, then time for bed. Day 5 - Cartagena, Columbia. Room service for breakfast this morning. Eating on the balcony as we pull into Cartagena, escorted by fishing boats and commuters heading to work. We're excited since this is our first trip to Columbia. We are amazed that the skyline rivals Miami Beach. This is a modern, bustling city. We've booked an excursion (through Princess) of the La Popa Monastery, the colonial city, the Nunez House and the Naval Museum. There are rows and rows of buses as we disembark. We find our bus and the driver begins to leave when someone yells from the back that there are missing passengers. The guide leaves to find the three elderly women who were delayed because the one with a walker was not allowed down the gangway with her walker. Finally we leave and quickly realize that it is going to be a long day as one passenger monopolizes the conversation with the guide. He gets interrupted constantly during his presentation but is able to fit in his advice of "don't pay more than $5 for any souvenirs or trinkets from the street vendors!". Cartagena was extremely hot and humid but the excursion went well. Back to the ship by 2:30 and grabbing a quick lunch at the Grill. A little time to relax before meeting up for drinks before dinner. After dinner, we catch the Movies Under the Stars presentation on the LIdo deck. Day 6 - Panama Canal. Today is the big day, the raison d'etre for taking this cruise. Up early so we don't miss a thing. Room service for breakfast as we approach the canal. The Port Lecturer, Chris Roberts, does an outstanding job explaining the process of transiting the canal. His narrative is broadcast throughout the ship and on the TV in the stateroom. We split time between our balcony and the forward observation area on Deck 11. The crowds at the rail begin to thin as the day progresses. The transit fee for the Island Princess was $253,000. The canal workers are extremely friendly and wave to the passengers. People on shore stop to watch the ship and take pictures. The Panama Canal is an engineering marvel. Hard to believe that it's over 100 years old. We can see progress on the construction of the canal expansion. Passing under the Centennial Bridge and then the Bridge of the Americas is amazing. After we pass the Bridge of the Americas, it's time to change for drinks and dinner in the Bordeaux dining room before catching the production show, Motor City at 9:45 p.m. This was an excellent day! Day 7 - At Sea. Breakfast in the Horizons buffet this morning, followed by a presentation on Nacaragua and San Juan Del Sur by the ship's destination expert. Stroll around the ship balance of the morning. Lunch today was at Alfredo's Pizza (in Sabatini's). The pizza and serve were both outstanding. After lunch was a movie in the Princess Theater. A little time by the pool after the movie, then drinks and dinner. After dinner, we catch the show by Nashville pianist and comedian, John Bressler. After the show, we head to the MUTS for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Day 8 - Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Today, we've booked a Princess shore excursion; a train ride and a river excursion. Costa Rica is very pretty. Costa Ricans enjoy a high literacy rate with free education. The train ride through the countryside past plantations was interesting. The river cruise afforded the opportunity to see wildlife such as crocodiles, monkeys, iguanas, and parrots. We were treated to ice tea and fresh pineapple at the river cruise stop. We did not leave port until 8:00 p.m. this evening as the ship had to sail with the tides. Drinks before dinner in the Bordeaux dining room. then we caught the show by singer Donny Ray Evins in the Princess Theater. Day 9 - San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua. San Juan is a tender port, so we were glad to have purchased a Princess shore excursion to the Mombacho Volcano. We gathered early in the Bordeaux dining room and waited for our excursion number to be called. Once we got to shore, we boarded a bus for the volcano. After almost two hours on the bus, we transferred to former military trucks for a 4 wheel climb up the Mombacho Volcano. Some roads were 45 degree inclines, but we finally reached the top in the clouds. The volcano is ringed by a challenging trail which is constantly damp from its location in a cloud forest. The crater is barely visible through the vegetation but we did have an opportunity to stare down a steam vent. The one reward for the strenuous trek is a fantastic view of Lake Nicaragua and the colonial town of Grenada. After the volcano, we stopped in Grenada for lunch. The cafe was our second opportunity on the cruise to access wifi. We had a delicious lunch in Grenada and checked in on social media. This was a fairly strenuous day, so we decided to hang out at the MUTS, have a pizza, beer and enjoy the Patriots/Texans game. Day 10 - At Sea. Today was a relaxing day at sea. We had a lazy morning, breakfast in the Horizons buffet, coffee on the outside decks. Late morning was spent listening to the enrichment lecture titled "Issues in Caribbean Art". Lunch was at the Grill, followed by the movie The Martian in the Princess Theater. Tonight was the second formal night of the cruise. We had drinks with the social group, then dinner in Sabatini's. This was my second lobster dinner on the cruise and it was excellent. I mentioned in passing to the waiter that I was a Maine native and usually had boiled lobster. He immediately offered to switch my broiled lobster to a boiled one and said it would only take the kitchen ten minutes to do so. The broiled lobster was delicious and the service was outstanding. Sabatini's was not too busy so we had some pleasant conversations with our waiter and the headwaiter. Dinner pretty much filled out the balance of our evening. Day 11 - At Sea. Today is a low-key relaxing day at sea. Can't believe it's taking two days to travel from Nicaragua to Cabo San Lucas but the seas are extremely smooth. After breakfast, we decide to check out the Morning Trivia and do okay. Not well enough to win but a respectable showing. We then rush over to the Princess Theater for the presentation on Mexico and Cabo San Lucas by the ship's destination expert. We enjoy lunch and a couple of brews at he Grill, then take in the Sudoku Challenge in Crooner's. The Challenge is over in 5 minutes, so we decide to hang by the Lotus Pool for the afternoon. Pre-dinner cocktails and we've been invited to join a large table in the Bordeaux for a birthday celebration. Princess has prepared shrimp tempura just for the table, provided a bottle of champagne, service has been outstanding, and the birthday guest has been serenaded by the waitstaff, followed by a solo from one of the waiters. Our fellow diners are mostly Elite cruisers. After dinner, we make the late production show, Piano Man,in the Princess Theater. Day 12 - At Sea. This is our second day at sea cruising towards Cabo San Lucas. Seas are once again very calm but we're beginning to get clouds. Lots of fish activity in the water today as we spot sea turtles, dolphins and few jumping fish. Lunch is from the Pizzeria on the Lido deck, followed by the Passenger Talent Show in the Theater. The show is entertaining, funny, and some acts are pretty talented. The balance of the afternoon is spent lounging on our balcony. Pre-dinner drinks and dinner in Bodeaux. The second show this evening is early at 8:15 so we miss it. We decide to end the evening with a few strolls around the ship. Day 13 - Cabo San Lucas. As we arrive in Cabo, we join the Grand Princess and the Crown Princess in Cabo, a tender port. We've booked the Whale Watch excursion through Princess. Despite a large number of passengers in port, the process is relatively easy. As we leave the harbor on the whale watch, we're pleasantly surprised to see the staff serving us drinks. We actually get to see some whales and have to head back. Most of the passengers happiuly tip the crew after unlimited margaritas, daiquiries, beer and sangria. The lines at the dock are pretty long given the passengers in port, but we enjoy the rendition of Jingle Bells from the mariachi band (use your imagination). The ship is supposed to sail around 6:00 but is slightly delayed because of the tender traffic. At 6:00 we join friends for drinks and head for a slightly later dinner this evening. After dinner, we check out the photo gallery, walk through the casino, and check out the activity in the Explorers Lounge. Day 14 - At Sea. The weather has cooled considerably, so only a few brave souls face the pool. It's overcast, but the Pacific remains very calm as we steam towards Los Angeles. Frankly, we start to get a little bored today but we check out the Outlet Sale and $10 Event which reminds one of a yard sale/flea market. Some passengers seem to get pretty excited by the event as we watch one lady trip over another passenger's walker trying to beat each other to a table. Mid-morning, we join the Destination Lecture on Cruising to Cuba by Chris Roberts. We then attend the screening of a video of the ship's Panama Canal crossing in the Theater. Lunch today is at the Grill. The afternoon is low-key spent reading, doing Sudoku and crossword puzzles. This is the third formal night and we brave the main dining room for my third lobster dinner. (The Maitre D' later reported that this cruise set a Princess record for the most lobster consumed.) We attend the fourth production show, On The Bayou, which becomes my favorite. Day 15 - At Sea. Today's weather is definiely cool. After breakfast, we attend the Culinary Demonstration hosted by the Maitre D' and the Executive Chef. Lots of fun and interesting trivia such as the ship cooks an average of 1,400 pounds of potatoes daily and washes 60,000 dishes each day. We decide to skip the Galley tour and remain in the Theater to catch teh Backstage Tour with the Performance Manager and the Production Manager. Our final onboard lunch is a pizza at Sabatini's (Princess pizza is consistently delicious!) After lunch, we attend the Enrichment Lecture "Multiculturalism and Artistic Diversity" by the Guest Lecturer. That's later followed with the afternoon movie, "It's a Wonderful LIfe" in the Princess Theater. Late afternoon, we pack our bags for arrival tomorrow. Pre -dinner, we have cocktails with our social group then head to our final dinner. Dinner gets out too late to make the show, but we make it to the Crew Talent Show in the theater. The crew does a great job of entertaining, and we finally head back to our stateroom for bed. Arrival in Los Angeles. We're up early as the Island Princess pulls into the Port of Los Angeles. Breakfast is in the Horizon Court, along with a few thousand of your dearest friends. We are in the first disembarkation group, having chosen to self-carry. The process goes very smoothly and we are off the ship and through customs by 8:45. As we are leaving Immigration, the car service calls and advises that they are 10 minutes away. It's a short wait, and we meet some folks who just flew in from Australia to take the Eastbound crossing. The car service arrives in just a few minutes, and it's a quick ride to LAX on this Sunday morning. Curbside check-in, for a flight back to FLL with a connection in PHX. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We enjoyed our cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to LA, CA on the Island Princess. All personnel on the ship were extremely friendly and helpful. This is our 5th cruise on a Princess liner and the staffs of all were different. We found the ... Read More
We enjoyed our cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to LA, CA on the Island Princess. All personnel on the ship were extremely friendly and helpful. This is our 5th cruise on a Princess liner and the staffs of all were different. We found the staff on the Island very accommodating. The food and service in the dining rooms was excellent. The ship is smaller than the others on which we have cruised, but it was comfortable. There were a wealth of activities to keep all who were interested involved. We participated in excellent tours through Princess in all ports except Cartagena (a smaller private tour). Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
We enjoyed our cruise very much. We were afraid that after they added cabins, the ship might feel crowded. But other than almost nightly overcrowding in the theatre, we never really felt encroached upon. Assistant cruise director Hannah ... Read More
We enjoyed our cruise very much. We were afraid that after they added cabins, the ship might feel crowded. But other than almost nightly overcrowding in the theatre, we never really felt encroached upon. Assistant cruise director Hannah was always fun and kept us moving and entertained. Our steward, Menino, kept our room neat and well stocked with out being intrusive. We were spoiled by our mini-suite. The larger balcony and sitting area was nice. Embarkation took a little longer than usual, but it was mainly due to a Coast Guard inspection that the ship had to undergo do to it just arriving from overseas. Disembarkation went smoothly. We chose anytime dining and were very happy with it. We generally chose to be seated with other people at the larger tables and were able to meet many interesting folks. A previous review of our cruise complained that they had up to two hour waits for anytime dining. I have no idea what time they dined or their needs, but we never waited more than a few minutes for a table. We generally avoided the Horizon Court (buffet) due to the general chaos and occasional rudeness of some guests. We also did not partake of any of the fee restaurants, though we did enjoy the English pub lunch that was offered in the Bayou some days. Generally speaking the food in the dining rooms was good of appropriate portion. One complaint I have of the ship after the refit was the elimination of a continuous promenade deck. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
-Overall the food was quite good and the balcony cabin was worth the extra cost. The best specialty dining was the Crab Shack, which opens only 3 nights on the cruise. Outstanding value, with unlimited king crab and large shrimp (we never ... Read More
-Overall the food was quite good and the balcony cabin was worth the extra cost. The best specialty dining was the Crab Shack, which opens only 3 nights on the cruise. Outstanding value, with unlimited king crab and large shrimp (we never got past the original seven huge legs, but some people did). The comedians were generally good and the dance shows were average. But someone PLEASE tell the entertainment director that the MOTOR CITY show is a disaster. It's like watching Lawrence Welk imitate Motown. Awful. You have to use the ship's tours in Panama, but if you're looking at Limon, consider a local tour. We used Oscar Brown Tours, saved $75 per person on exactly the same itinerary (Veragua Rainforest aerial tram tram and Tortuguero Canal) and were back at the pier by 2:30 with plenty of time to shop, while the ship's tours rolled into port at the last minute and forced the ship to depart 45 minutes late. One last note: the anytime dining option is usually our choice, but this ship doesn't handle it very well, causing up to 2 hour waits. We finally went to the fixed time restaurant for the remainder of the cruise and were very satisfied. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
We had a wonderful time on this cruise, especially compared to our last cruise on the Grand Princess. We found all the staff, from top to bottom, very pleasant and accommodating. Any problem or question was taken care of promptly. The ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on this cruise, especially compared to our last cruise on the Grand Princess. We found all the staff, from top to bottom, very pleasant and accommodating. Any problem or question was taken care of promptly. The food was excellent, even on the buffet. We had chateaubriand on the buffet cutting board as well as leg of lamb and pork loin, all of which were excellent. Many choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A little disappointed in the dining room choices for dinner. The one problem in service was in the dining room. We had an excellent waiter, but not so good assistant and most dinners took over two hours. Many other tables were served and gone by the time we were still being served. But overall we found the employees very welcoming and service oriented and food very good. This was our 9th cruise so lots to compare to. Planning on going on the Ruby Princess to Alaska in June. Hope it will be as good. The atrium is not very conducive to musical entertainment as they are not visible to all in the atrium area. We had an excellent steel drum player. I think they need more handicap accessible excursions on these particular ports of call. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
After spending a few pre-cruise days in Venice, we boarded the Island Princess, our first time with them so we were naturally wondering what we would find! The boarding was quite good, everything ran smoothly; the cabin was ready and ... Read More
After spending a few pre-cruise days in Venice, we boarded the Island Princess, our first time with them so we were naturally wondering what we would find! The boarding was quite good, everything ran smoothly; the cabin was ready and our luggage was placed inside shortly after. Cabin E710 is located at the back of the ship so it was quiet as there were not many passengers moving around in the corridors, but when the seas were rough there was a lot of movement and strong vibrations from both the propulsion and waves hitting the vessel. Room size was good, excellent balcony with an open view, very good storage and a small bathroom with a “very small shower” stall. The bathroom was the only drawback for this cabin, not at all suited for heavy set people; TV programming (movies, news, etc.) was first rate. We chose the “any time dining” option in the Bordeaux. To avoid delays or misunderstandings about table preferences we always reserved our table one day in advance but that didn’t always work out; so be prepared to assert yourself in order to sit where you want! The staff in general are super-duper; attentive, fast, cordial and very professional and there are so many that it is difficult to name one and not mention the others, so I will give the name of only one, that in a way, represents all of them. Gianni (Italy), the Food & Beverage Supervisor is a real professional, as well as being a very caring and honest person. But I can’t stop there without mentioning two fantastic Bordeaux waitresses; the first is Olena (Ukraine) she is one-of-a-kind, also the hostess at breakfast and lunch in the Provence; the second one is Lupita, a full-of-life Mexican who picks up the spirits of everyone. The food in the Bordeaux was excellent, with different offerings every night and many interesting choices. All dishes sampled were very tasteful - large portions, served good and hot. The specialty restaurant, Sabattini’s was also excellent, especially their steaks (!!!) as much as their pizza’s at lunch time when it becomes Alfredo’s pizza; as it’s complementary (don’t bother trying them at the Pool Pizza!) The other specialty restaurants (charges apply) are the Bayou and the Crab Shack; both menus are inclined towards the Cajun (New Orleans) food and were not of our liking. It seems that was the case for many others too, because we noted it was practically empty every night when we passed it on our way to dinner. The only time that we saw the place full was when they offered a complimentary ‘English Pub Menu’ lunch. It was really good, especially the fish and chips - so it’s not to be missed! However we were disappointed at not having other types of cuisine, such as a French Bistro or a Steakhouse. Another excellent place to have dinner is in the Horizon Buffet Restaurant (deck 14), the choices are tremendous, it’s up to you how much you eat (danger!) and the waiters are on the ready to serve you and bring you whatever you’d like to drink. Because many passengers are at the theater or in the other restaurants, the place is very tranquil at night, so you can sit where ever you wish. But another “danger” are all those pastries!!! Tremendous selection!! Lunch time there, could be easy, as long as you don’t go when tour buses are returning to the ship! Then it is, real chaos!! The other alternative for lunch is at the Provence (quite enjoyable) as much as their breakfast. Of course you have the Grill at the Pool (burgers, hotdogs. etc.), the Pizza counter, etc. Some of the conferences given such as, on WW2 naval battles were very interesting as were the three Culinary Classes given by Master Chef Alfredo Marzi!! The musical shows at the Theater were unimpressive; the bars we frequented were the Crooners (pianist/singer Oliver, great!) and the Wheelhouse were you were able to dance to live music, however many of the musicians were second rate with dubious vocal skills. The ship has a very good feature (as I believe all the Princess ships have), that is a pay Laundry room on each deck; the cost was $3 for washing and same for drying and if you didn’t need either you could use the steam iron for free. Sometimes boarding the tour busses was tranquil but more often than not it was quite upsetting and stressful. This happened mostly because many passengers were impolite and on many occasions quite rude, pushing their way to get first to the bus so they could get the seats they wanted (usually the front ones) and the same happened when leaving the bus. What was hard to believe was that most of these people were seniors who one would expect would be an example of civility and good manners; it is not the first time that happened to us and that’s why we have finally decided to do the tours on our own, to avoid extra stress. Unfortunately, what was, and will be, unavoidable are encounters with them at the Horizon Buffet. Hard to believe and harder to accept those daily occurrences at the Horizon Buffet! Fortunately, there are many other seniors that behave in a respectful, considerate, friendly and positive manner. It was quite shocking to see so many people in wheel chairs, walkers or canes! We’ve seen this on other cruises but never so many as on this one. And for that reason we got quite concerned when all of a sudden a larger and larger number of them were coughing and sneezing and looking under the weather; a few days later a Medical Alert was sent to each cabin advising on the steps to take to avoid its spread throughout the ship. They even offered Tamiflu injections! The Island Princess had been refurbished earlier in the year to mixed Cruise Critic reviews. But, from our point of view, the Exercise Room, though very well equipped is located inside without sea views, so it seems a crowded and unwelcoming place. The same goes for the Mini golf course, too enclosed and not designed for beginners. The library needs to be updated and is poorly located as many passengers walk through it as a link between forward and aft corridors. The other no-no was the $10 sale event! Wasn’t up to the standards that Princess wants to be or would like to be considered for. The overall experience with Island Princess was highly positive, thanks to the many excellent experiences we had that put aside the few negative ones. The restaurants are excellent, the food superb, very good maintenance of the ship, etc. and the BIG stars were their staff! We never ever, experienced so much attention and care, done always with an honest smile full of energy and good will. It is really a pity that it took us so long to discover Princess Cruise Lines!! But for certain, we will be back!! TOURS!!!! Here are the comments of the ones we’ve been on. 1st stop – Dubrovnik, Croatia – Tour taken: “Dubrovnik & Konavle Home Visit” Too long a ride (1+ Hr.) for a very unsavory tour with not much to see during the ride. Once there, we all got together on a big outdoor terrace where some grappa (hard stuff) was offered, some music played by a group of waiters and then off to a basement were long wooden tables were ready for us. In general the food was from good (prosciutto & cheeses) to very bad (pasta) and really bad (red wine); the same musicians were playing some music while eating. After that, back to the bus, another 1+ Hr ride and boarding the ship. Tour guide (a blond girl) was good but unapproachable. Wasn’t worth the price paid. 2nd stop – Salerno, Italy– Tour taken: “Sorrento on your own” 4Hrs 45’ Not having been there before, we chose Sorrento. Happy we did because it is a very enjoyable town with many outdoor cafes, restaurants, great shops, etc. It was a beautiful day so we had lunch on an outdoor patio facing the main Piazza (Square), food (pizza) was excellent and the wine divine!!! Restaurant’s name: Syrenuse Bar Ristorante in Via Sant’Antonino; food, wine, service and atmosphere were all excellent! Highly recommended! 3rd stop – Civitavecchia, Italy – No tours taken. This time we had the chance to know better the city that used to be a stopover before joining previous cruises, so we decided to go to shore on our own. Map in hand we started to walk around, discovering the place at our own pace. Surprisingly, we enjoyed it very much! 4th stop – Livorno, Italy – Tour taken: “Lucca” - 4 Hrs. We’ve never been into Lucca. Another great choice! Regardless there is no time for lunch at the end, being a sunny and warm day, we were able to sit in an outdoor café facing Saint Michele Square (bus drop-off/pick up point), where we enjoyed tremendously, a great Cappuccino and a fantastic ice cream cone. Needless to say, we are planning to go back and spend more relaxing time there. To make all this more perfect was the Tour guide, Isabella! Completely fluent in English, very knowledgeable who gave so many tips to all of us in case we would like to return! Isabella was the best Tour guide of all this cruise, no doubt about it. Do not miss Lucca!! And hope you meet her! 5th stop - Toulon, France – Tour taken: “Scenic drive to Bandol & Sanary-sur-mer 4.5 Hrs. After quite a very nice interior scenic drive we hit Bandol on the coast; sorry to say but it didn’t say much to us, so no comments. From there back along the coast, we reached Sanary-sur-mer around noon and are gladly able to tell you that it was a very nice town! Has all the attributes that so many of the Mediterranean fishing towns have. That is, all the flavours, sounds and smells of those places; we were lucky enough that we got there just when the fishing boats had arrived, so they were busy selling their catch of the day to the Sanary locals! We saw some people sitting around, eating freshly caught sea urchins the fishermen were selling – they eat them raw! There was an open market facing the esplanade selling a lot of food specialties, the harbor is beautiful with any type and size of boats; very nice restaurants and coffee shops with their patios open to the sea! Great town and great experience. Tour guide, double zero. 6th stop – Barcelona, Spain – No tour taken. Very well-known city for us, so we tried one thing that we hadn’t done before and that was the cable car (Telesferic) that goes from San Sebastian Tower (bus #64 in downtown takes you there- ticket $ 3 euros) all the way to Mount Montjuic; you will have the chance to take very good aerial pictures of Barcelona from up there. It is a bit pricy ($11 euros cash only, one way). Once on Mt. Montjuic, to get back to town you had to walk all the way down a very twisting and steep road till you reached a big avenue; doing this is not recommended, so we suggest the reverse trip, that is take a taxi from down town Barcelona, up to the entrance of the cable car at the top of Montjuic and once you arrive at the other end, you take bus #64 back to down town. Tired and hungry we got to the Ramblas, were we enjoyed a terrific, people-watching outdoor lunch!!! 7th stop – Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal – Tour taken: “Crater lakes, Sete cidades & wine tasting” 3Hrs 45’ Unfortunately, the weather didn’t help at all!! Cold, very windy and foggy! So there wasn’t much that we were able to see of the lakes, (formerly craters). The island’s vegetation was outstanding and we were sure that with the right weather would’ve been superb, as much as would’ve been the green and blue lakes. Fortunately, the tour ended on a very high note which was a wine tasting event twined with locally produced young cheese varieties and crackers. Really fantastic! But, the weather spoiled it! Otherwise this tour would’ve gotten really high marks! The tour guide was inconsequential. From there, we started our very, too long, crossing of the Atlantic (a general consensus). Anyway, we docked at Fort Lauderdale, very happy that we took this beautiful voyage with the fantastic Princess Cruise Line!!! See you soon!!!! Thank you so much for your patience! Have a great and happy trip!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
It was a shame what the corporate office did when they decided to add 200 more rooms on the ship. Apparently they didn't account for the 400 more passengers to eat in the main dining room. We had my time dining and most nights were ... Read More
It was a shame what the corporate office did when they decided to add 200 more rooms on the ship. Apparently they didn't account for the 400 more passengers to eat in the main dining room. We had my time dining and most nights were given beepers to wait for an available table. Never had that happen before. Thought I was waiting at Rec Lobster! On formal night they ran out of beepers and we were told to come back in 45 mins. When we came back after 45 mins we were then handed a beeper to wait some more! One night ordered prime rib medium rare. When it came the meat was beige. When the waiter asked me how was my dinner I told him it was too done. He said "you ordered it medium rare and it looks medium rare to me". I then replied "I guess I'll have to order my meat rare from now on". No sommeliers so waiter was responsible with getting people's wine and drinks. I think this added to delays as it took 2 hours to complete our meal. Buffet area was so-so. Boring selection for lunch. Gym was in a small, windowless unappealing room. Casino was so tiny and unattractive. No shopping on board to speak of. Being the cruise was in November you would think that they would have trinkets and souvenirs to pick up. Very little to do on the ship during sea days. Hot tubs did not gave bubbles. Just sitting in a tub of hot water. We got the upper respiratory sickness that had spread throughout the ship. Did not see any aggressive cleaning to try and curtail the spread. Came into our cabin one day after an excursion in port to find our wastebasket sitting on our bed with a damp towel in it under where our sprinkler was. The comforter and mattress were all wet. They just left it like that! 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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