1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Princess Cruises
  4. Island Princess Review
  5. Island Princess Cruise Reviews
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
An Alaskan cruise was definitely a "bucket list" item for us. We had heard Princess was the best line for Alaska. Our experience on the ship, however, was mixed. Of course the scenery and ports did not disappoint (although towns ... Read More
An Alaskan cruise was definitely a "bucket list" item for us. We had heard Princess was the best line for Alaska. Our experience on the ship, however, was mixed. Of course the scenery and ports did not disappoint (although towns were definitely geared to tourists). However, the customer service, food and activities on the ship were a mixed bag. My sense was about 40-50% of the staff were polite, professional and accommodating. Unfortunately, there were those who made us feel like we were inconveniencing them by asking questions or for directions to restaurants, etc. on the ship. Quality of the food was also mixed. My suggestion is to stay away from the Horizon buffet and stick to the restaurants. Full disclosure - my husband liked the buffet, although he ignored his low sodium diet while dining there. I, being gluten intolerant, found very few choices that were gluten free and saw no low sodium options for my husband. And, of course, the last thing you want on vacation is to be sick. Quite honestly, in this day and age, I was surprised to see how hard it was to get healthy options. Bordeaux was very good, and the Cajun restaurant, Bayou Cafe was great! We did not go to the Provence or the Italian restaurant, Sabatini's, However, the marinara sauce at Bordeaux was probably the best we've ever had. So, if the Italian chef there was also cooking at the Sabatini's restaurant, I'm sure it was fantastic. Be very selective in choosing shore excursions. From what I heard from other passengers, you may want to look into the land/sea trips (Donali, etc.) instead of taking the shore excursions. We went on the "White Pass Scenic Railway" in Skagway, the "Whale Watching and Salmon Bake" in Juneau and the "Lighthouse, Totem and Eagles" in Ketchikan. While they were all good in their own way, some things to be aware of: On the Scenic Railway it was difficult to get unobstructed photos as there were only a few spots where you could stand on the train to get a good view. Also, our guide was new and neglected to point out other scenic photo ops like waterfalls, etc. Hopefully, you will get a more experienced guide. Don't expect to see any wildlife on this ride. The whale watch was great for us because a pod of orcas surrounded our boat and our guide was wonderful! Not sure this (orcas) happens consistently, but, given our experience, we have no regrets scheduling this excursion. Salmon bake was great! The "Lighthouse. Totems and Eagles" excursion was very enjoyable due to the incredible hospitality of the guides. They served snacks and the best hot chocolate ever. However, for views of wild life you will need binoculars. We did see bald eagles and harbor seals. To me, it was worth it to meet the wonderful guides and just enjoy the ride. We did an extra day in Vancouver. If you're into wildlife, you may want to take in the Grouse Mountain Park. We saw grizzlies there. Alaska is a once in a lifetime experience! Enjoy! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
This is our second trip to Alaska. This time we did the Connoiseur (?) land & sea. We liked the ship overall, but did find the shower very small, which sounds like a common issue for this ship. But it was manageable. We had an ... Read More
This is our second trip to Alaska. This time we did the Connoiseur (?) land & sea. We liked the ship overall, but did find the shower very small, which sounds like a common issue for this ship. But it was manageable. We had an inside cabin with a window, and it was big enough for the time spent in it. The bed was very comfy, and our steward was friendly and very efficient. We ate mainly in the main dining room. The food was very good, and the portions allowed for all the courses - room for appetizer, entree, and of course dessert! I had halibut one night and it was the best fish I've ever tasted. One night I ordered lobster off the Bayou Cafe menu and I thought it was dry and tough, although my friends had no complaints about theirs. The entertainment was good, but nothing exceptional. We were more entertained by just sitting on deck watching the world go by, although we did enjoy the comedian/magician, and the show we saw by the company was very good. We also enjoyed the naturalist, Mark. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Island Princess was a nice ship. Smaller and less spacious than the previous Royal Princess that we have been on. But we knew this when booking. Shower in cabin is EXTREMELY small. We are small to average size people and found this ... Read More
Island Princess was a nice ship. Smaller and less spacious than the previous Royal Princess that we have been on. But we knew this when booking. Shower in cabin is EXTREMELY small. We are small to average size people and found this shower to be very tight. Paid ahead of time for the full photo package however sometimes the photographers left early and set up late so we missed them sometimes. If you want your photo with the champagne tower on the first formal night and it starts at 7pm, don't wait like us to avoid the line. We went at 750pm and they were already in the middle of taking it down. Super disappointing. The photographers often had us pose in rather unflattering or odd looking positions. My husband was frequently told to lift his chin up which made for really abnormal looking photos. I was frequently asked to keep my fingers together when my hand was on my hip. Looks very strange in the photos. These are just examples. Typically I would say the full photo package is more than worth the price if you value photographic memories however, on this specific cruise experience I would be less likely to agree. Cabin Steward Ephraim was amazing. Super attentive and very on the ball. We did not find any of the wait staff outstanding which we have in the past. Food in the main dining rooms was awesome. Usually not a long wait to be seated. Sabatini's not worth the money as lobster was over cooked. Lido buffet was good. Food was average but variety was spectacular. One can't say they didn't have a ton of options. Ports and excursions were awesome. We chose this cruise based purely on going to Hoonah or Icy Straight Point for the Ziprider. Ziprider - awesome, if you are a thrill seeker this is probably up your alley Jeep tour - not a great value in our opinion. We didnt really get to go off roading which is what we had envisioned based on the description We didn't do any whale watching specific tours but many people who went on them in Icy Straight came back saying that many whales put on quite a show. Juneau - Helicopter to Mendenhall Glacier and salmon bake Amazing awesome experience. Loved all of it. Stunning scenery. Breath taking views. Mouth watering salmon bake. Skagway - lake Bennett and Carcross train tour Most beautiful part of the trip. Largely untouched beauty. Train itself is super cool as the train cars are original (updated) Glacier bay cruising was mesmerizing and the rangers were awesome. Handy little tip, book your seat in the Sanctuary for the day and have open photo opportunities. You don't have to fight other people to take great photos in an unobstructed area. Although we did have a clear day so for us it was well worth it. I should note we had near perfect weather for this cruise which made everything so much more awesome. We actually came back with sunburns. However, that is not the norm, most people experience a lot of rain or overcast days. We did not have time to see any shows but heard they were good. We did not use the fitness facilities, as again, we were too busy doing other things. Ultimate ship tour is awesome if you want to see how some things work behind closed doors on the ship. We got to visit the bridge, multiple galleys, some food storage, printer room, photo lab, engine control room, anchor area and a few others. A few perks also included as part of the ship tour fee were brand new bathrobes to take home, princess aprons, named stationary pad, a few photos as a group in different areas of the ship, champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries and a few other awesome goodies. We highly recommend it if it sounds like something you might be interested in. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Small ship made for short or no lines, three or fewer in the hot tubs, plenty of prime seating for sightseeing and a very relaxed atmosphere. Check in was a breeze and room was ready when we boarded. Staff in buffet was fabulous at being ... Read More
Small ship made for short or no lines, three or fewer in the hot tubs, plenty of prime seating for sightseeing and a very relaxed atmosphere. Check in was a breeze and room was ready when we boarded. Staff in buffet was fabulous at being there with what ever you needed and to get drinks etc. Buffet was very clean, wide selection of foods and had plenty of fruit and a sugar-free dessert nightly. Diabetic diet was easy to maintain while getting to try new things. Room was very nice and steward was very attentive. More hangup space than was needed and made a nice alcove for dressing. Casino was small but the dealers were friendly and made it fun...just difficult to get into a table at times. Plenty of slot machines. More clocks around the ship would have been great to help get to activities on time. Missed several activities because time and looking at phone just didn't help when you are in the hot tub or wrapped up in a blanket. Negatives....Movies under the stars in thirty degree weather even with a blanket was impossible. Sitting on the room balcony was hard even with the down comforter due to the winds however during the day was doable with a blanket. Italian restaurant was OK but the shrimp was tough and overcooked. "cooked just for you by the chef" yet the next night the buffet had Italian night and there was the food from the restaurant on the buffet. Different name for the shrimp but same flavor and texture. Sit down restaurant was very nice, waiters was nice however service was s l o w and if you didn't like something you ordered getting something else slowed it down even more. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
The Island Princess is a great ship to find your way. we had some rough seas one day but we barely felt it. Embarkation went well and smoothly. we were welcomed on board and went to the atrium until the cabins were ready which was a ... Read More
The Island Princess is a great ship to find your way. we had some rough seas one day but we barely felt it. Embarkation went well and smoothly. we were welcomed on board and went to the atrium until the cabins were ready which was a wait of about 30 minutes. when we got to our cabin we found it spotless and our luggage was outside our door. We had a wonderful lunch in the main dining room. Muster was at 3:30 and I love that we no longer have to lug life vests. One thing I did't like was a lot of deck space was removed as was a show lounge so they could add more cabins to the ship. However, despite the higher number of passengers, the ship rarely felt crowded except during show times and many trivia games. Club class dining had impeccable service. Many of the meals were very good but sometimes they weren't. the quality of meat has gone down. We had the best cabin steward. He was like a ghost but had our cabin refreshed twice a day and happily fulfilled any requests. You have to be careful with the ratings on tours. One "Easy" tour had more walking than I could do and I ended up spending most of it on the bus. The tour desk wasn't very considerate of physically challenged people. Favorite ports included the Panama Canal and Fuerte Amador, Punta Arenas Costa Rica, Puerto Vallarta, San Francisco, and Victoria BC. in Huatulco, there was a horrendous walk from the ship and two three wheel scooters that you could squeeze three people in to get to the shops and tour buses. I think after four times through the canal, it will be a long time before i do this again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise last minute after our transatlantic cruise was cancelled last minute. The cruise was wonderful; the cruise director and staff fantastic, and there were so many activities available each day and night. Both the ... Read More
We chose this cruise last minute after our transatlantic cruise was cancelled last minute. The cruise was wonderful; the cruise director and staff fantastic, and there were so many activities available each day and night. Both the production shows and the music entertainment around the ship were good. Food in the main dining room and buffet was excellent, on par (and sometimes better) than Celebrity. The only drawback was the tours offered. They were pricey and one in particular a "Cooking and Discovery" tour while we were in Nicaragua was very misleading. We arrived at the meeting time for the tour, but had to wait 45 minutes to leave. We then had to wait until a tender filled up to make it to shore. We were put on a tiny bus with uncomfortable seats for a 2 1/2 hour drive. When we got to the city, there were no restrooms available and by now it had been almost 4 hours. At the restaurant we neither cooked nor discovered. Friends at our dinner table took a tour in Panama that was terrible as well. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Princess really does it right - effortless embarkation and disembarkation, comfortable cabin, great ports. The cruise was a round trip from Ft. Lauderdale - a really easy port in terms of getting from the airport to the ship. Stops were ... Read More
Princess really does it right - effortless embarkation and disembarkation, comfortable cabin, great ports. The cruise was a round trip from Ft. Lauderdale - a really easy port in terms of getting from the airport to the ship. Stops were Grand Cayman (visited the turtle farm and Stingray City), Columbia, Panama (tendered excursion on Lake Gatun); Limon, Costa Rica; Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Food was good and the staff was excellent. We enjoyed dining at Sabatini's and in the main dining room. They had a really fascinating lecturer on board - he had grown up in the Canal Zone so he had a lot of insight on the area. If you don't like the noise in the main pool area, there's another adults-only pool nearby. We got to see some great recent movies with their Movies Under the Stars. We paid extra to have our bags sent directly to our destination airport at the end of the trip - best $25 I've ever spent! Because we didn't have to stop to get our luggage, time from the ship to the curb was about 5 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Experiencing the Panama Canal was on my "Bucket List" especially since my Grandfather was one of the many electricians that helped build the original one. The partial-transit worked well for my time restraints. I will say my ... Read More
Experiencing the Panama Canal was on my "Bucket List" especially since my Grandfather was one of the many electricians that helped build the original one. The partial-transit worked well for my time restraints. I will say my friend and myself were some of the youngest cruisers at 61! The majority of the fellow passengers seemed to be well over that and limited mobility abound by many - scooters and walkers! Some younger families with only a handful of kids onboard. Don't know if was off-season or just before spring break. Boarding was a breeze and the cabins were ready before 2 p.m. Our mini-suite was standard but a bit smaller than some of the larger ships I've ben on The beds were comfy and the room décor is basic and the colors are dull. Our Cabin Steward/Housekeeper was outstanding. Liezal was always friendly and warm. She did a great job on keeping our room clean and comfortable. She always inquired how our day was and how we were doing. We had the "anytime" dining which was o.k. My recommendation is to arrive before any of the evening production shows get out or you will wait for 45 minutes in a very long line to be seated. I found the service to be professional but slow at times. The food was good. We mainly ate at the buffet. The selection changed every night and enjoyed the specialties. Indian dishes seemed to be offered as a regularly featured evening optional fare Lemonade is on the drink menu but you have to ask for it. Sabatint's Italian Restaurant was good and the service was excellent. The selections were somewhat limited but the meal was tasty. Reservations were readily available and we had no problem getting in I thought the ship's entertainment productions were just o.k. The song and dance routines were boring along with the magic show. They did have a pianist that was exceptional. We didn't get the opportunity to go to Grand Caymans since the seas were too rough and tenders could not operate safely. It was a disappointment for many of my fellow travelers. The ship went ahead to Cartegena early. This particular port was my least favorite due to the pushy street vendors who will follow you and knock on the tour bus window! I will say once we were on the actual horse carriage tour ti was a beautiful ride through the old city. Going through the Panama Canal was fascinating. You can watch it from your room balcony and live stream on your cabin t.v. You don't have go to the bow of the ship. Limon, Costa Rica is beautiful. We took a tour of La Hacienda. The bus ride was 2 hours each way! It is long and windy, so take care if you get motion sickness. The Hacienda was interesting but felt the drive was too long for the short time we were in port. Jamaica is always one of my favorites. Took the tour of the Raft Ride on the Martha Brea. Again the bus ride was over an hour each way. The gentle bamboo raft ride was relaxing with view of the lush vegetation. The "captain" will try and sell you some carvings that he did and there are vendors along the river that will try an sell you trinkets. My complaint is on the way back te bus stopped at a funky trinket mall for a half hour. There are several sea days during this cruise which were enjoyable. Time to catch up on much needed rest and relaxation. I took line dancing lessons that were fun, and watched several of the "Movies Under the Stars". If you want to do a Arts & Crafts project plan on showing up at least a half hour early because the class filled up fast and people were turned away, Finally, disembarkation was a breeze since we took a excursion at the Everglades Airboat and Airport Transfer. I think we were some of the first people off the ship. The tour was short but fun and got us to the airport by noon or so. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because of destinations. Unfortunately we did not go to Cayman Isl. Because of rough seas.the entertainment on this ship was exceptional! My wife and I have done 39 cruises and I have never seen this quality of ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of destinations. Unfortunately we did not go to Cayman Isl. Because of rough seas.the entertainment on this ship was exceptional! My wife and I have done 39 cruises and I have never seen this quality of entertainment. The food is good the average age of passengers around 60. The ship is in great shape considering its age. We sailed on this ship many years ago and would do it again. The weather was great and we did not have a hard time finding a deck chair. The casino is small and has only 1 roulette table. The only complaint on food was the ice cream bar. The ice cream was very grainy and not enjoyable. We had a balcony which was very nice sitting outside enjoying the views. Our fridge was stocked with drinks and booze.we enjoyed the chocolate covered strawberries brought to us and the dry cleaning . If you like cruising I would definitely suggest the Island princess. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
EMBARKATION: On 2/28/19, only two cruise ships in port, and little traffic. The area was well marked and parking was easy. At Terminal 2 there isn’t a line for Priority boarding for Platinum and Elite from outside. Everyone enters in ... Read More
EMBARKATION: On 2/28/19, only two cruise ships in port, and little traffic. The area was well marked and parking was easy. At Terminal 2 there isn’t a line for Priority boarding for Platinum and Elite from outside. Everyone enters in one line and staff checks Passports and Boarding Passes. Then the line splits for Priority. We’re Platinum, and it took less than 30 smooth minutes from driving through the Port Everglades main gate, off-loading luggage, parking the car, checking in, and sitting down for lunch in Bordeaux Dining Room. Weather was great; seas were calm. Most passengers were over 60. Saw only two children. No illness as far as we know, and there are good prevention procedures in place. SHIP: We were on “Island” for 15 days in 2006 when it was quite new. We’ve sailed on brand new ships since then, but we like “Island” best. We prefer its understated elegance over the newer ships’ wretched excess. Sadly, some of it borders on shabby now but the good bones are still there; the basic design and décor is gorgeous. The beauty of her glory days are still evident in spite of the age. She deserves a full makeover. The elevator situation is odd, and not every elevator serves every floor. Stairs are convenient. With the last refurbishing, they added cabins to accommodate ~225 more people. Public venues weren’t expanded to handle the overload, so Princess Theater, Horizon Court, etc., are crowded. DINING: We had early seating in Provence. The food at every meal was outstanding - much better than Princess food in 2013 and Celebrity in 2017, and it brought back of the good ol’ days of cruising, before specialty restaurants, when dining rooms were the only option and food was amazing – even back to Sitmar. Our waiters, Santiago and Louie Gene, did a great job. We got the hard-sell at dinners to buy wine tastings. We did one, and the speakers were more focused on hearing the sound of their own voices than on the wine. Sadly, even in the dining rooms, if you want the best, there’s an up-charge for some meals. Horizon Court can be chaotic and overcrowded. It’s a beautiful room with wrap-around windows. Having coffee at 6 a.m. is peaceful. We ate there only a few times. The food was much better than at Horizon Court the last few years. The scrambled eggs were sloppy, but that was the only down-side we noticed. INTERNET: It was stable and fast enough for a ship. Usually we use minimal Internet, but relied more on it this trip for email because Cellular At Sea was dreadful. CELLULAR AT SEA: If you need cellular to keep in touch back home, on this ship you may have a problem. On past cruises on other ships we used it, and texting was our group’s tool to keep in touch during the trip when at sea. It had worked flawlessly 24/7 everywhere – decks, cabins, and interior theaters, but not this time. About 95% of the time, the display showed, “No Service” or “No SIM card - emergency calls only”. Even if you glanced at the screen and saw the “Cellular At Sea” provider notice and tried to sneak in a text or a call, it wouldn’t go through. A tech at Internet Café told us that Cellular At Sea on this ship is weak and we shouldn’t rely on it, even in our cabins. “It might work on Deck 7”, he said. It didn’t, except a few times a notification beep would come through and you might have a text from someone sent days before. Or it might be notification of a voice mail, which you couldn’t listen to because there was no service. The Internet Cafe people say they aren’t knowledgeable about cellular, so don’t expect help. These days, people expect good communication while vacationing. If Princess is paying fees to MWS / Cellular At Sea, and passing those fees to passengers, that’s a problem. We have family with serious health issues, and we needed to be in touch via cell but we couldn’t. We overheard one gentleman who had been told that cell service was available on the ship when it wasn’t. A staff member rigged a way for him to make one call through some Apple app. We overheard everything, and it was obvious a close relative was dealing with a life-and-death situation. Without cellular, he panicked. Other passengers complained. When in or near different countries, notifications for text messages might pop in, having been hanging in cyberspace for days. We had good reception using other countries’ cell service, even Cuba’s. But with the ship’s network while at sea, reception was slim to none. Princess MUST inform passengers of this situation to provide “truth in advertising”. After arriving home, I emailed Customer Relations about this and was contacted by phone a couple days later. The rep was personable and kind, but couldn’t say why it’s a problem or how to remedy it. So we won’t sail on Princess again until/unless we’re certain this won’t be an issue. She suggested using Wi-Fi calling, but you’d have to be connected to their internet 24/7 onboard to receive incoming calls or texts, and who can afford that? PRINCESS@SEA: Oh, dear. You have no clue a message is waiting. No value for us. The rep said that all ships are transitioning to Medallion class this year. The Medallion gadget can replace the cruise card for cabin access, and provides useful apps while onboard for directions, locating people, ordering, etc. It sounds great! But it seems it has no app for communicating (I could be wrong). So must passengers be connected to Medallion AND Cellular At Sea, AND Princess@Sea all at the same time? It can’t be done due to the Airplane Mode issue. PUBLIC SPACES: Overall, they are well cared for, with a few places needing TLC. This ship has many nooks and crannies with cozy seating areas just calling out to you to sit down and relax. STAFF: Great assistance from Guest Services, Tour Desk, and pretty much everyone. We were impressed how they maintained composure even when dealing with high-maintenance passengers. ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES: MUTS … Watching evening movies in wind and cold wrapped in blankets is a bad idea; my friend lost her voice. (The better movies used to be in small, cozy theaters.) They play concerts and movies during the day when it’s hot and generally uncomfortable. Colleen Williamson, Soloist: Our favorite of the shows. Amazing vocal range and stage presence. Get a seat close to the stage to appreciate her tons of personality. Production shows “Encore” and “On the Bayou” were very good. Great dancing, with stunning costumes and sets. Sometimes voices were a bit flat, but not too bad. Colleen Williamson sang again in “Encore”, and it doesn’t get better than that. The ship orchestra is fantastic. Didn’t see “Silk”. Luke Heffner, Soloist: We enjoyed his show with a mix of country, opera, and Broadway. About 15 passengers put on a choral concert in the Atrium on the last at-sea day after a few rehearsals. They did an excellent job and had fun. We were impressed with the conducting abilities of Cruise Director Loney – sharp and tight. Great conducting is an art, and he’s good. In-cabin TV hasn’t kept up with technology. There is no guide as to what’s showing, and no information. Newer Princess ships are much better in this regard. GYM: It used to be in a beautiful area of “Island”, with ocean views. Now it’s small, and in the bowels of the ship. Attendants used to “attend”; now they just give you a paper cup for water and tell you to get your own. LIBRARY: This always has been a beautiful place on the ship reading, listening to music, etc., and it still is. PORTS/TOURS: Falmouth: No tender required. Just off the ship is a nice collection of shops. We took the Taste of Falmouth / Good Hope House tour by Chukka. The bus was clean, with a restroom and A/C. The guides were fine, and gave a lot of history about Jamaica. Lunch was wonderful. Cartagena: No tender required. There’s a decent shopping facility nearby, with a bird sanctuary. It isn’t immediately off the ship as in Falmouth and there’s a shuttle that will take you. The Princess info sheet says it’s “an easy walk”, and it is for some. I’m 70, and for me it wasn’t “easy”, but I did it. A man with a heart condition also had trouble. You can’t judge the distance when exiting the ship, as the shops are around a corner. If in doubt, opt for the shuttle. The landscaping is beautiful, with gorgeous and friendly birds. The shops are typical. I was looking for jewelry, but couldn’t find any. (Just kidding!) Restrooms are convenient and clean. Panama Canal: Going through the locks was exciting and interesting. So glad we did it. Costa Rica: No tender required. In easy walking distance is a souvenir market. Some of the items seemed to be of a higher quality than in other ports. Grand Cayman: The only port using tenders. Hubby took the bike ride/Hell tour. It was interesting and the biking wasn’t strenuous. He said Hell gave him “the creeps” -- as it should, I guess; it’s Hell. DISEMBARKATION: A few days in to the trip we were notified that even though we had sailed from, and parked at, Terminal 2 we would arrive at Terminal 21 (later changed again to 19). Complimentary shuttles would run between 19 and 2. There was a 30-minute delay leaving the ship’s waiting areas. Many ships were in port so Customs was overloaded - not Princess’ fault. Princess staff did a great job under the circumstances. After that, the process was smooth to the doors leading outside. Porters with large carts waited where luggage is placed, so we took advantage of that. The porter piled everything on to his cart for the four of us and was our Sherpa to and through the Customs line. Then he escorted my friend to the shuttle going to the Northport garage. A godsend. Then things came to a screeching halt with chaos created by the 2-to-19 switch. I sat on a bench next to an elderly lady traveling alone. Her travel agent had arranged for transportation to Miami airport, but it never showed up, most likely cruising around Pier 2, per original arrangements. There was no way to reach her agent on a Sunday. We looked for a Princess rep who might help, but couldn’t find any. I wish I knew what happened to her. Another woman’s husband is diabetic and she was worried because the process of waiting a long time for the shuttle, riding to Terminal 2, getting the car, maneuvering out of the garage (a maze, coned off in many areas), getting to Terminal 19, and finding her, was taking far too long. He needed food, but you can’t take food off the ship and he had nothing to eat. She was concerned that he might have gone into insulin shock, and was going to speak to a Sheriff across the driveway to see if there had been any reported emergencies. He finally came, but a serious medical situation had been possible. (Again, no Princess reps to be seen.) A few times I heard the comment, “I’ll never use Princess again.” It may not have been Princess’ fault, but it reflected negatively on the cruise experience and Princess. We’re confused about the terminal switch. It looked like “Royal” was at Pier 2 where we should’ve been. Ships’ schedules are set two to three years in the future. It makes no sense. It should be a smooth operation. Overall, we had a good trip. Would have given 5 stars if not for hiccups of communication and no Princess reps assisting passengers with terminal change. Will definitely sail Princess again, assuming communications issues are remedied. MAJOR PROS: Food. Production shows. Staff. MAJOR CONS: Communications/technology. Gym. Overcrowding. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Outstanding value for the cuisine that is included and onboard entertainment. I would not recommend the premium restaurants as many have complained about the food quality for the extra price. Long wait times for Anytime Dining. You need to ... Read More
Outstanding value for the cuisine that is included and onboard entertainment. I would not recommend the premium restaurants as many have complained about the food quality for the extra price. Long wait times for Anytime Dining. You need to reserve your dining times to avoid. Ports of call on this itinerary are below average and the excursions are not worth the money. This cruise is clearly targeted for senior citizens. It is not recommended for ages 55 and below. Very laid back vibe. The staff on this ship are very well trained and accommodating. Countries represented are mainly from the Philippines, India and China. They have the most pleasant demeanor and disposition unlike some cruise lines that represent Eastern European cultures. Princess has an amazing reputation for providing excellent quality food and highly skilled chefs that prepare a variety of international dishes. Our new preference for cruise companies is clearly Princess. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Interesting destinations. Panama canal, Cartagena, and Limon well worth seeing. Great snorkeling on Grand Cayman. Well organized and executed tours. As usual service on board and embarkation and debarkation very good. Rooms were well ... Read More
Interesting destinations. Panama canal, Cartagena, and Limon well worth seeing. Great snorkeling on Grand Cayman. Well organized and executed tours. As usual service on board and embarkation and debarkation very good. Rooms were well appointed and clean. Ship is unique in that it offers and indoor pool and lounge area along with a sauna. There is also a top sun deck with a splash pool. Additional outdoor lounge seating can be found along lower outdoor passageways. Dining and entertainment is top notch. On board activities are well organized and presented. For those selecting Princess be aware that this cruise line is generally not suitable for children, young adults and young couples. The majority of passengers are elderly (many over 70), white and American. Although the band was excellent and played up-to -date music, most passengers do not participate in dancing. Woe betide the person who does not get up early, especially on at sea days as passengers tend to reserve deck seating despite ship policies to the contrary. This ship was my favourite in the Princess line as it is somewhat smaller and service and seating is more accessible. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
I am confined to a wheelchair and cannot stand. I was unable to find any wheelchair accessible excursions provided by the Island Princess at any port of call during the whole of this cruise. A few of the excursions were labelled as ... Read More
I am confined to a wheelchair and cannot stand. I was unable to find any wheelchair accessible excursions provided by the Island Princess at any port of call during the whole of this cruise. A few of the excursions were labelled as wheelchair accessible on the website and I had booked these prior to the cruise. Unfortunately, when on board, I was informed that while the location was wheelchair accessible, the transportation was not. Only two of the ship’s doors opened automatically. The others could only be opened with considerable effort and had a ledge that made it difficult for a wheelchair to roll over. Unlike other cruise ships such as Celebrity there were no hoists to lift me into the pool. The noise levels in the Horizon restaurant are extremely high. At one lunchtime I measured sound levels over 90 dB over a sustained period of time. This level of noise can produce permanent damage to hearing. It is especially dangerous when someone is exposed to this for a sustained period, such as your staff. We were constantly bombarded by sale offers. On exiting from dinner, we were confronted by half a dozen "paparazzi". A man dressed as a giant bear blocked our paths on the deck. Our television always started with the Princess channel offering more sales opportunities, not the channel we had just watched. Over the trip at least three dozen sheets of paper with advertising offers were left on our bed. Travelling with Princess cruises would be considered again if these problems could be corrected. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
I wanted to do a Panama Canal cruise. I would never choose the Island Princess again. The hallways to the rooms were very narrow & the bathrooms & showers were very, very small. Much smaller than any other cruise ship I've ... Read More
I wanted to do a Panama Canal cruise. I would never choose the Island Princess again. The hallways to the rooms were very narrow & the bathrooms & showers were very, very small. Much smaller than any other cruise ship I've been on. The shower head in the tiny shower was fixed to the wall. All other shower heads I've ever had could be removed to spray hard to reach areas. I'll never step foot on this ship again because of the bathrooms! I had an inside room. The room had very comfortable beds & large comfy pillows. There was plenty of room to hang our clothes & large shelves to store folded clothes or other items. It had a refrigerator, a large tv, & a safe. We had My Time Dining but we changed it to early dining when I found out I had to call after 8 o'clock each morning to reserve a time for My Time & we wouldn't have the same waiters. We had good waiters & 2 lovely couples at our table. The food was just average. The cuts of meat they served were poor quality. Breakfast was good in the Horizon Buffet. The entertainment was very good for the most part. We had 1 great shore excursion & a couple of hiccups on 2 of our excursions. The shore excursion team gave us a 30% refund on 1& a 20% refund on another one. Embarkation was delayed because of sanitizing the ship due to the Norivirus. We got on & off of the ship easily because my friend had to have wheelchair assistance. Finding a place to park was very confusing! The ramp we were supposed to go up had lots of red cones & the stations were unmanned & had bars across them. We found out after circling around several times that we had to approach the bars, get a ticket from a ticket dispenser to make the bars go up, & then go up the ramp to the parking deck. We had to keep up with the ticket so we could pay for parking after the cruise. I've always paid to park before the cruise & had attendants at the stations as we entered. There were not very many shops on this ship & the photos were pricey. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
this was our first platinum cruise with princess and a great experience. Embarkation was smooth and efficient and we were on board and settled well before we would usually have been.- definitely worth persevering with the loyalty ... Read More
this was our first platinum cruise with princess and a great experience. Embarkation was smooth and efficient and we were on board and settled well before we would usually have been.- definitely worth persevering with the loyalty program! the itinerary was just what we needed - a mixture of islands and mainland destinations with Panama as the ultimate focus. En route Cartagena was delightful - easy to get around - no need for a tour - just exit the ship and find a taxi to the old town. Panama did not disappoint. the partial transit was a splendid experience, sedate but continuous and a spectacle to enjoy. worth messaging home to let friends know of the live feed and they too can share your experience. we took the tour which included the new locks, coach to Panama and the train ride back to the cruise ship - so we can actually say we have been coast to coast. lovely ship , great experience - next time a full transit! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Departure hour was delayed because a Norovirus outbreak in the last cruise. They had to clean the ship. Delayed was just a few hours and did not impact schedule at all. During the first days we had special cleaning instructions how to ... Read More
Departure hour was delayed because a Norovirus outbreak in the last cruise. They had to clean the ship. Delayed was just a few hours and did not impact schedule at all. During the first days we had special cleaning instructions how to behave. No problems at all during our cruise. Pick up at Miami airport was on time and excellent. Friendly crew were at the meeting point with a Princess Signed. My wife and I were the only ones on a big bus ride. The cruise is for older passengers. Baby Boomers and above, so entertainment is focused to this demography. Island Princess is a good ship. Built specially for Panama Canal, so it is “smaller”. It lacks some of the amenities of other Princess ships, like Tapas bar, Panini stand at the main galleria. We tend to miss these two for a midafternoon cup of wine or fast lunch. Another thing is that Princess built more staterooms to accommodate more passengers but did not increase size of restaurants. During peak hours, there are long lines at the Horizon and Anytime Dinner. Expect crowds during these hours. We had the specialty restaurants: Sabatini’s and Bayou Café. Sabatini’s is an excellent option. Nice food and service. Bayou lacks personality and at the end you don’t know what type of restaurant is, either steak? southern? etc. Did not like it very much, Crew is very friendly and helpful. We felt very pampered. Kudos for Island Princess crew, the best so far we have encountered. We took most of the Princess tours. All went well. All port of calls were excellent. Cartagena, beautiful city. Yes, you will find street vendors all over the City Tour, but they are friendly. Try to engage with them and you will learn one or two new things. Panama Canal was superb. Really an experience. Go outside for photos and fun. In Costa Rica we went to the Rain Forest tour. It was a 2:30 hours drive from port to the place. It is near San José. It is a long and slow ride on a winding jungle highway. In Jamaica we went to Dunn River falls. Lots of fun and the guides were happy and helpful climbing the falls. Don’t forget water shoes!! In summary, we were pampered for our anniversary celebration at Island Princess at Panamá Canal. Read Less
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
2 Helpful Votes
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
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our 2nd cruise with Princess. This line has good food and drinks. The ship was in good condition for it's age. The rooms were in nice condition. The Wheelhouse bar/gathering room could use some new furniture. We did the ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise with Princess. This line has good food and drinks. The ship was in good condition for it's age. The rooms were in nice condition. The Wheelhouse bar/gathering room could use some new furniture. We did the cruise of the Gatun locks and into the lake. With our excursion we got to see the new locks we felt it was enough to satisfy our curiosity of panama canal. My advice if you go is to see one lock on your balcony, then move to deck 5 and see the walls through the coffee house windows. We then went up to the front of the ship(take your pictures outside the annoying blue plexiglass). We saw our last lock from the back of the boat. Be sure to be up and ready about 15 minutes before they start into the locks. We were on the Starboard side and I thought it was fun to watch the other boat going the other way go through the locks at the same time. Also most of the cruise this side had the best views when in port. The entertainment was similar to the Royal. Great music for ballroom dancers. We prefer more rock and roll so it was OK for us but we knew what we were in for. We enjoyed the late dinner seating and we watched the concerts on the big scene every evening. They also showed Bohemian Rhapsody one night. It did seem silly that they showed kid movies most days in the afternoon. I only saw 10 children on the 2000 person ship. It was hot in Cartagena. I took some cold washcloths wrapped in ice. It felt great . Be prepared for the people selling things they are SUPER aggressive. This was the downside of this cute town. I also recommend to take an excursion in Limon, Costo Rica. Not much to do in town and I wasn't to comfortable walking the streets. The food was good but not quite as good as the Royal. Also the servers were good but on the Royal they were outstanding.They did have some gluten free choices which was nice. Embarkation and disembarktation both went excellent. We got on around 1:15 and left at 7:30(walk off) we had no lines. I would recommend this cruise to see the Panama Canal. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This cruise stopped at some ports we had not visited previously and also went into the Panama Canal and back out again. We also left winter behind for ten days and enjoyed the balmy Caribbean weather. Although Island Princess is fifteen ... Read More
This cruise stopped at some ports we had not visited previously and also went into the Panama Canal and back out again. We also left winter behind for ten days and enjoyed the balmy Caribbean weather. Although Island Princess is fifteen years old now, it has been well maintained. Our Caribe deck balcony cabin was excellent and even a bit larger than we expected. Our needs were met perfectly by our steward. Island Princess does not have an International Cafe, Wines & Vines and the rear quarter of the Promenade deck has been closed off to make an additional twenty balcony cabins. So, when one walks the deck, one must cut through the ship to complete each lap. A little irritation not found on some ships. We were moved from anytime dining to a traditional table by the Matre'D the fourth night of the cruise (since some tables were open there) and that became a great experience. Jaco and Akshay proved to be fabulous waiters and made each meal fun and flavorful. The food was well prepared and presented and on a par with the other three Princess cruises we have taken. Some items were outstanding and Jaco's knowledge of the food and desert items was quite helpful. The show "The Secret Silk" was well performed and magician Gary Carson was very entertaining. Allan at the piano off the atrium and Danny the guitarist provided great listening. The vocalist in the Wheelhouse Bar, the violin & guitar classical duo and the group playing dance & pop tunes were all excellent and enthusiastic performers. The Cartagena Old City tour was fun and informative but a bit too short. The snorkel tour on Grand Cayman was not great due to choppy, windy conditions that day. Meeting the Sloths in Limon, Costa Rica, was an educational experience but a poor photographic one due to the sloths being in cages. Ocho Rios is a pretty little port. We took a walk downtown and purchased some handmade items from the makers at the craft market. It's safe to do this during the day with good police presence. It's only a 10 - 15 minute walk one way. Our time in the Panama Canal was interesting and very informative. The canal expert on board was excellent and had great knowledge of the canal from personal experience. He delivered a wonderful pre-transit presentation and a great running narration over the ship's speaker system during the transit. Service on the ship was good and we have learned the times to avoid the buffet to minimize waiting in lines. Food in the Horizon Court was good with lots of choices. Salad greens were very fresh and tasty. Sushi was put out one day only and the pieces of tuna were very small without a lot of taste. The hand-rolls were good though. Embarcation in Fort Lauderdale was a breeze since we arrived two hours after it had started so all lines were gone. Debarcation was slower but not excessive. Being Global Entry participants allowed us to use the short line through customs and we were whisked through quickly. I try not to look too gleeful every time this happens but it's impossible not to smile. I feel for the hundreds of people we bypass but they need to get with the program too if they want the benefits it offers. Getting onto the transfer bus took longer than it should and Princess could use more employees to properly direct guests to the buses and to keep the lines more orderly. FLL is an outdated airport and shows it. Princess EZ Air saved us lots of money on our flights and has been super to use for several cruises now. We always check to see what they can do for us when booking with Princess. All in all, this was a wonderful cruise with very calm seas the entire ten days. Now I'm looking out my window at a snow-covered landscape with 8 degree temps. We have another cruise booked next month and it can't come too soon. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We really wanted to cruise the panama canal but didn't have the time to do sea to ocean so the 10 day Princess cruise just suited us perfectly. Everything went perfectly well with the embarkation and disembarkation, Princess has it ... Read More
We really wanted to cruise the panama canal but didn't have the time to do sea to ocean so the 10 day Princess cruise just suited us perfectly. Everything went perfectly well with the embarkation and disembarkation, Princess has it down to a science. the Island Princess, even though it was refurbished in 2017 is rather dated looking. We had a mini suite and the sofa needed replacement cushions! The accommodations were really good and we were glad we made the decision to get a mini suite considering it was our home for 10 days. The evening entertaining was great fun, just some great games and laughs in the Explorer Lounge. The service on the ship was overall really good. We did each in each of the specialty restaurants once each and they were all very good. Glad we did that, it was a nice change and quite reasonable for what you got. You can't go out for dinner to any restaurant for what they charge. We did our shore excursions through Princess directly and they too were very well orchestrated. Very well organized and quite enjoyable. We did Dunn's River Falls (and walked the path immediately beside the falls rather than climb the falls), we did the hop on hop off bus tour/walking tour in cartagena which was also very good. It gets very hot very early there so we did our excursion at 7:30 and were back on the ship by noon. We did not get off the ship in Panama or Colon. Did the coffee and banana plantation/city tour which we also quite enjoyed in Costa Rica. In Grand Cayman, we just got off the ship and walked around on our own as this was our third time there. One downside to the ship is that their fitness room in the the "dungeon". No windows!!!!! I was shocked but still used the treadmills. the equipment was fine, the location was so not expected. I thought it would be in a room that we could see the ocean from! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Ship was up to standards. Staff was friendly and very responsive to needs/requests. Entertainment was top notch. We were in L706 which was directly across from the teen center. We only heard activity briefly on New Years Eve when the ... Read More
Ship was up to standards. Staff was friendly and very responsive to needs/requests. Entertainment was top notch. We were in L706 which was directly across from the teen center. We only heard activity briefly on New Years Eve when the staff gave them noise makers (why?). Bathroom , although small, accommodated my large spouse. We chose the anytime dining option and were relegated to only the Bordeaux dining room Would have liked to try the other dining room.Mostly, the food was good, although we were slightly disappointed that the choices were limited. We were surprised that the Horizon Buffet was a good as it was. We usually avoid buffets but this one had a great variety and food was fresh. The only real disappointment was the excursions. We opted for the Princess excursions as we were traveling with an individual with limited mobility, we were on foreign territory, and did not want to be left behind as port calls were short in duration. On the tour of Cartagena we were led mostly through a gauntlet of street vendors that were very aggressive and the tour guide did little more than text on her phone the entire time. The tour through the locks on the Panama canal took over 12 hours most of which was spent on a bus. Princess needs to be more realistic with their descriptions of their excursion. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
A cruise to the Panama Canal had been something my husband & I had planned for some time. When friends asked us to join them on this December cruise, it was the perfect opportunity to go. We had a lovely cruise. However, most of the ... Read More
A cruise to the Panama Canal had been something my husband & I had planned for some time. When friends asked us to join them on this December cruise, it was the perfect opportunity to go. We had a lovely cruise. However, most of the ship’s recent changes (the removal of the International Café, some specialty restaurants & the awkward relocation of other public areas) during its refurbishment were not well-planned. The small, windowless fitness center is crowded, & not at all inviting. The addition of 121 cabins reduces many public areas, & cuts off walking a full circuit of the Promenade deck. All of the staff on Island Princess are hard-working, courteous, & did their best to please us. How they can accomplish it all, in their limited time, is amazing. Our cabin steward, Benedik, was the best! He addressed all of our cabin concerns (a shower door didn’t close properly, causing water to leak into the bedroom, a loose shower shelf, & broken hair dryer housing) quickly, & efficiently. Our cabin was comfort-able, but needs to be updated. Storage space in our suite was very generous, w/ lots of hangers. Embarkation: This went smoothly, & we boarded about 11:30. Lunch in the Bordeaux Dining Room (12-1:30) was a relaxing way to begin our cruise, instead of the busy Horizon Ct. On embarkation night, only, passengers in suites & elite guests can dine at the specialty restaurants without paying the $29. Anytime Dining does NOT accept dinner reservations on embarkation day, but does after that. Princess Theater: The 50 min. shows were at 6 p.m. & 8 p.m. Anytime Dining allowed us to dine before or afterward, depending on whether or not we planned to attend a show, or how late our excursion lasted. The larger shows (“The Secret Silk”, “On the Bayou”, “Encore”, & one other) were excellent, & alternated nights w/a comedian or singer. As mentioned, by others, get there at least 30 min. early to get a seat. It can also be very chilly during the evening performances, so bring a sweater or jacket. Sabatini’s: Serves wonderful dinners & breakfasts, only, to suite & elite guests. Our best meal was the Ultimate Balcony Dinner prepared by Room Service. It’s an exceptional experience & value. The lobster & filet were cooked to perfection. Served by the hard-working Room Service staff, Alwynn & Namadan, both of whom were outstanding servers: courteous, & efficient. We dined indoors, because of windy weather. Bordeaux Dining Room: Meals were just average. Ordering steak & lobster were an additional charge, (an unwelcome upcharge from their main menu), & not always the best choice. My lobster was overcooked, & some of the entrees were not hot when they arrived at the table. On past Princess cruises, there were more upscale menu items offered without this extra charge. Head waiter, Adrian, was helpful w/ seating the four of us, in the Bordeaux, when we were not using the Club Dining section of the room. Waiters continually circulated the room trying to sell “extra” drink offerings. Club Dining: a lovely, no-wait section of the dining room, for those in suites or certain mini-suites. Menu choices appeared to be about the same as in the regular section. We dined there only once, but not having to wait in line for seating is a definite plus. Horizon Court: Well-designed for improved flow. Improvements include hand washing stations, a glove-wearing staff member to hand you a plate upon entering, & nightly “theme” food, which was quite good. After a past experience w/ norovirus (on a different cruise line), I was hesitant to use the buffet. However, using the My Shield hand sanitizer I purchased from Amazon made us feel more secure. (http://www.stopthestomachflu.com/Home/what-do-hand-washing-and-hand-sanitizers-really-do/my-shield-hand-sanitizer ) Internet service is slow & expensive. Early mornings or late nights were often the only time we could connect to their satellite service. The Internet Café staff is not as competent as on other cruises, & several questions went unanswered, that had to do w/ phone settings to make calls while on board, using our phone plans, set up in advance. The free Princess@Sea app. for communicating w/ other passengers was handy (when it worked), but was a bit more complicated to set up than advertised on the website. Tips: The best view of the Panama Canal transit is from Deck 11, (just below the bridge) ALL the way to the front of the ship, & thru the normally closed doors to the outer deck. The doors are open to passengers on this day, only, & offered the best views of all of the action. Coffee Card: The card is not separate, but loaded onto your cruise card. As that was not explained, we had to ask several staff members before we understood how it worked. We purchased two, but really only needed one for both of us. As it was, we didn’t even finish half of what was offered, & are unable to have it carry over to a future cruise. Bottled water: We purchased 2 cases from Princess before sailing, & they were delivered to our cabin. It was less expensive than purchasing it individually, on board, & came in handy for shore excursions. Elite Lounge: (for suite & elite passengers) – Held each evening in the Explorer’s Lounge, deck 6, at the very back of the lounge, nightly between 5-7. Lovely complimentary appetizers & discounted drinks are offered. After our initial visit, we brought our traveling companions w/ us. Sanitation: I also purchased Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide Wipes (odorless & more effective than the ones at a market) from Amazon, to wipe down our cabin’s touchable surfaces. We also carried a small My Shield foam hand sanitizers w/ us, & used it a lot. Once you’ve experienced norovirus, you never want a reoccurrence. Bar gratuities: 15% is automatically added to your cruise account, so you don’t need to add tips during individual purchases. Lotus Spa: There are many services available. I had a facial. And while it was good, it was not as thorough as others I’ve had. Products advertised on the Princess website are not the same as what the spa offers. Princess needs to update its website. Formal Nights: Both were on sea days. The first was on the 1st sea day. The last was held on the 3rd sea day, as most passengers were packing on the 4th. The Captain’s Champagne Reception was fun, as wasbeing one of the several passengers who got to pour additional champagne, over the tower of glasses. There was a line to do it, but it was worth it! Photos are taken, & it’s videotaped. Photos: All photos & “packages” are expensive, but fun to have. The photographers who take photos, when passengers disembark at ports, only stay there for 3 hrs., after docking. So if you get off later than that, you may miss them. Mai was the photo manager on board, & corrected a few charges for us that were incorrectly calculated. Lectures: Bill Fall’s port lectures were fabulous. He’s very experienced & used to live in Panama. His commentaries, as we entered the canal, were also wonderful. Don’t miss him. Cruising: Gale force winds between Jamaica & Cartagena & Limon & Grand Cayman resulted in the closing of the Promenade deck, two rocky crossings, & the cancelation of one of the shows: for the safety of the performers & the passengers. Otherwise, it was fairly smooth sailing. Medical Center: very good. In spite of our attempt to stay healthy, my husband contracted a chest cold, (not flu), & the Center treated him quickly & efficiently. Do pack as many OTC meds as you think you’ll need. We stored all of our toiletries in an inexpensive over-the-door shoe organizer, in the bathroom. It saved counter space, & no one touched our things while cleaning. Also, if you need to cancel (or miss) a Princess sponsored tour, because of medical reasons, ask the Med. Center to stamp your tour voucher, before you leave them. Then take it to the shore excursions desk & ask them to void the tour charge. Pre-Cruise Inoculations: We chose to get Hepatitis A & Typhoid Fever shots. We also used Sunsect, a combo sunscreen/insect repellant used by our U.S. troops. We had no issues w/mosquitoes, but it pays to be safe. Excursions: Except for Cartagena, ours were sponsored by Princess. Bathroom breaks were conveniently spaced on all tours. Complimentary Princess totes were handy for onshore purchases or to carry water. DO check excursion vouchers for tour time changes, (from the guides) from what you may have booked. Jamaica: We took the excursion to Good Hope Great House, which included a lovely Jamaican lunch. If not taking a tour, it’s safer to stay within the gated area of the cruise port. Cartagena: Daniel Grey, from Tours by Locals was a fabulous guide. We customized our tour, saw all we requested, & skipped the visits to the emerald shops. Our stop for lunch at La Mulata, in the Walled City (a local & reasonably priced restaurant), was perfect. They served great food & used filtered water. Finally, a quick stop at the port’s free mini zoo, on the pier, completed our perfect day. Panama: “Rainforest, Gatun Lakes & Locks Tour”: Only Princess tours could disembark & be tendered to the tour pick up. Panama Port Authority determines when passengers can disembark. Our tour didn’t leave until 11:30. Our stop at the Agua Clara Visitors’ Center would have been more appealing IF their restaurant had been opened, (Christmas Day) & we were not relegated to a long line where chips & sodas were all that was left. The hike near the resort was short & uneventful. The boat ride on Gatun Lake was pleasant, but we saw only one sloth. Limon: the 7.5 hr. Veragua Rainforest & Research Center, & Tortuguera Canal excursion was excellent! Our weather was perfect, & we saw sloths, monkeys, crocodiles, & egrets along the way. We descended the rainforest in a gondola, hiked to a waterfall, & enjoyed a local buffet lunch at the Center. On the Tortuguera Canal, we saw crocodiles, monkeys & sloths. It was well-organized, & one of our best tours. Grand Cayman: We were tendered to Royal Watler pier. Our tour, Highlights, “Hell”, & the Seven Fathoms Rum Distillery was great. The Seven Fathoms Rum Distillery is actually processed 42 ft. below the ocean, (7 fathoms) & 11 miles from shore. A stop to buy Tortuga rum cakes was also included. Check tour times. Afterward, we had a great lunch at the Cayman Cabana, located near the pier & the tenders. Currency: We took foreign currency for all port stops except Panama, whose currency’s value is the same as the U.S. Store prices were in U.S. $. We paid using their own currency, which seemed to confuse & surprise a few shop owners, who were anxious for U.S. $. We didn’t use credit cards, as we felt it risky. Weather: Check the temperatures of the ports, before you leave. It can be very hot & humid. Bring a hat to wear if you’re out on the deck during the Canal transit, or for the shore excursions. Disembarkation: This went very smoothly, & IF you have a Global Entry card, you’ll be able to use the short line exclusively for those who have it. Three months ago, I requested that Princess distribute copies of the Embarkation Day Princess Patter, to passengers waiting in the lounge to board. They didn’t. But hopefully, they’ll begin to do that as a service to their passengers, in the future. It would be helpful in planning that first day’s activities. It would also be nice if Princess reinstated their embarkation day “treasure hunt”. It gave passengers a chance to become acquainted w/all of the public areas. While a lovely ship, I would not cruise on the Island Princess again. If given a choice I’d take the Coral Princess, which has not been refitted w/ 121 additional cabins, & has more restaurants & public spaces. Read Less
Island Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

Find an Island Princess Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise