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1,134 Princess Island Princess Cruise Reviews

As a solo traveler, I got a really good deal, which is rare obviously. I just wanted to get away and try and build up my next tier for cruising on Princess. Additionally, I wanted to check out the ship and try and relax and have a good ... Read More
As a solo traveler, I got a really good deal, which is rare obviously. I just wanted to get away and try and build up my next tier for cruising on Princess. Additionally, I wanted to check out the ship and try and relax and have a good time, which I did. As a previous passenger on the Pacific Princess last month, I really enjoyed the Island Princess even more. It was on a bigger in scale scale, the service was slightly better, the crowd was a little bit younger, the food was better and the entertainment was absolutely outstanding. The cabins are laid out much differently than the Pacific Princess. They are smaller in square footage but I like the layout better. For example, there is ample closet space and a bathroom is more private and secluded then on the Pacific Princess since you have the closet as a divider! Additionally, the balconies have a glass transparent structure that allow you to look at the ocean with less obstruction. One thing I do not like about most Princess ships is that they have balconies that protrude under other balconies. On this particular ship, the forward section of balconies are at level from top to bottom decks on the ship. This means you're not looking down on someone or turning your head and looking up at a sea of balconies looking at you. For the most part, their larger ships really missed the mark on "private balconies" in my opinion! If you want more private on this type of ship, select one in the forward section. The ship, three years newer than the Pacific Princess felt much newer and did not show her age. The public areas were completely shiny and new, the carpeting was in great condition and so was all the furniture throughout the ship. The entertainment on board was outstanding. The show, "On the Bayou," was wonderful and is only shown on the island and its sister, the Coral as they built a stage made just for this show that rotates, has hydraulic lifts and spins. The "Piano Man," at the princess theater, was also superb and featured songs of Billy Joel, Elton John and Barry Manilow. One thing Princess is extremely behind on is there anal-retentive nature about dressing formally on a formal evening. They seem to forget people are on vacation and although some people want to dress in formal attire, many do not. It should be "formal optional" and Princess really falls behind the mark in this domain. The only drawbacks are the formal evenings and the disembarkation was not the greatest. I did a "self-help" disembarkation, meaning I did not purchase a princess transfer. When I went to the "platinum lounge," the Captain's Cruise Circle hostess (Julie) told me to "be gone." That really put a damper on the last memory I had getting off. Being that I enjoy the rest of the crew so much I did not allow her rudeness to interfere with the good time I had but I did leave immediately when she pointed me out to the gateway. Another drawback, their afternoon tea is extraordinarily rushed and you could tell the servers do not want to do this additional task. They are downright rude and passing around sandwiches and tea as quickly as possible. Although they wear white gloves, it is certainly far from white glove service. Princess needs to rethink this and make it a little bit more as they advertise it. Lastly, I really appreciate that Princess allows people to have gluten-free bread and rice milk or soy milk for those of us who prefer an alternative to dairy or gluten. Great product, I recommend anybody to go on this beautiful ship.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We decided to celebrate our 43rd anniversary with friends that were first time "Princess Cruisers" and expressed how wonderful their service was as well as entertainment and onboard activities. What happened? Heard many ... Read More
We decided to celebrate our 43rd anniversary with friends that were first time "Princess Cruisers" and expressed how wonderful their service was as well as entertainment and onboard activities. What happened? Heard many complaints from many passengers expressing the lack of... We were quite disappointed with the changes. I may be in the "60"+ group but we're not dead! There was everyday at noon live music for 1 HOUR ONLY, no poolside activities (or if you call chip shooting) an activity for all...I missed something. The miniature golf course was in bad need of either being completely eliminated or in serious repair. Food was ok for me since i'm not much into rich foods. Our friends thought different, "complete disappointment". Entertainment, OMG! That was REALLY disappointing, where did Princess get their Comedian/Magician's from? What happened to the great shows, i.e., Circus de Soleli, Broadway, etc.? They may of been on the stage a whole 30 to maybe 40 minutes. Felt completely rushed. WOW is all I can say. Excursions were the best. We've have been a loyal followers of Princess and decided to do this cruise and bring more followers, but, I'm not sure they will return. After the build up telling our friends what great service, food and entertainment, etc. it didn't happen the way we wanted it to. I'm hoping they will try Princess again and hope Princess relooks at these disappointments.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We are experienced cruisers from AZ. We've been on RCCL, NCL, HA and Azamara but had never been on Princess. We decided to try it for this "Holiday Week" trip through the Panama Canal, which we had long wanted to travel and ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers from AZ. We've been on RCCL, NCL, HA and Azamara but had never been on Princess. We decided to try it for this "Holiday Week" trip through the Panama Canal, which we had long wanted to travel and for a chance to see some Central American ports. We arrived in Acapulco the evening before the cruise with time only for dinner due to plane delays. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza. We knew is wasn't going to be perfect but even so were not happy. It was fully booked with many many Mexican families of very noisy children and their parents who filled the elevators, restaurant and all public areas. It was nearly impossible to get an elevator down in the morning when we were checking out and then it got stuck between floors for several minutes (not fun at all). I heard from others on the cruise that Las Brisas would have been a better choice but have a feeling it was out of our price range. There don't seem to be hotel shuttles to the port in Acapulco but we got a taxi driven by the self proclaimed "Second Best Taxi Driver in Acapulco (the best is in the hospital recovering from an accident). We arrived at the port by 11:30 and waited with a porter for 12:00 to board. Boarding went smoothly and our cabin was already ready for us. We headed directly up to the Sanctuary having heard that to book for the full week we should do that first thing and traveling alone on a cruise that would have over 500 children on board we felt we needed the "serenity" of Sanctuary. We had over 30 minutes to wait (with a few other CC Members) for an attendant to arrive at about 1:00 and then were told that a) there was no discount to book for ther full week, b) there was a significant upcharge for Canal Day (more about that later), c) there would be no refunds and d) we could not reserve seating for the week. We all tried to argue with her to little avail. The best we could get was that she would make note of our seating preferences and give us preference during the week for shade (if that's what we wanted) and for the four cabanas (if that's what we wanted). So $230 per person later we headed to the Horizon Court for our first lunch. I have no complaints about the cabin The size was adequate, there was no motion/vibration problem and it was kept clean by an attendant who we almost never saw. This itinerary included four ports in the first four days. In Huatulco we took a walk around the town and beach. Not that much to do there and we were still acclimating to the cruise. In Puerto Quetzal we took took the Filadelfia Coffee Plantation tour and it was one of the highlights of the week. The tour of the plantation was well done both educational and fun and the lunch was probably the best I've ever had on a tour (note: on request we were provided with a vegetarian lunch). In San Juan del Sur, we arranged a short tour of the town on a pedicab and saw the local library (the first in Nicaragua, we were told) and participated in a holiday party for the local children. In Costa Rica we did a river rafting tour (also well done) all before our first sea day. Whew... In between al that we found time to eat and be entertained on the ship. Although we had signed up for Traditional Late Dining, we only ate that once and ate all other dinners in the Anytime Dining Room with the exception of one night at Sabatini's and one night in the Horizon (I think, or maybe not). We are pescetarians (we eat fish but otherwise are vegetarian). Also, I am trying to diet (not a good thing when cruising, I know). The food was not as good, in general, as we have had on the other cruise lines. The menus on the Formal Nights were very "informal" with lobster tail only offered in the main dining room on the Captain's Night (not a formal night). The salmon from the "Alternative (every night)" menu was nearly petrified (tough and dry). Other fish was marginally better with the exception of Barramundi (sp?) late in the cruise which was very good and sea bass which was good once and fair the other time. Salads were ok but skimpy. One appetizer, the last night, with seafood in it tasted really off and we returned it. There was pasta every night with fettucini alfredo there every (or nearly every) night. Bread and rolls with butter on the table every night were a downfall for me, I must get the courage to ask for crudites instead in the future. We had breakfast in the Horizon each morning, nothing special. Note that the coffee is AWFUL. We bought a "coffee card" which entitled us to "unlimited premium filtered coffee" and 15 espresso based drinks for $24. The premium coffee was hard to find (and why couldn't it be standard?) and the espresso was sometimes good, sometimes too acid. My DH got to like the cappucinos though. Also note that we were disappointed with the service in Horizon. We were never asked if we wanted coffee or juice. Also the only juices easily available were orange and apple, anything else was a special order. Dinner at Sabatinis was good quality. I can't remember what I ate, though, they just kept bringing out more and more and more. The production shows were better than average. We liked one comedian who did a fun act together with the cruise director. My husband liked the ventriloquist. My favorite (as always) was the piano bar. On this cruise it was Martin Kaye, a Manchester-Brit with a passion for Elton John who also managed to introduce us to Cold Play and some other post-modern music. When not on tour, we spent our time in the Sanctuary. Service there was spotty, sometimes getting the cabana we had expressed a preference for but about half the time, not. Sometimes we were spoiled with ice-water refills cold cloths and towels and other times, we were pretty much ignored. There was fruit-water set out each day but as the cruise wore on they neglected to put cups out for it. The gates to the Sanctuary area were often bolted shut to keep out non-paying guests but that made access hard for those of us who had paid. Canal day was a bit chaotic. We paid $70 per person for that day and were told we would get champagne, food, use of binoculars and free photos. We got a skimpy glass of champagne (refills were charged for), the same food that was offered every day (nothing special), binoculars that were collected before the transit was completed and the photos... well that was the part that pushed me over the edge. I had presumed (incorrectly) that the photos would be of US ! The photos were stock shots of the ship going through the canal. Oooh (not). I complained about this to the Director of Passenger Services (who responded by sending me a couple of extra stock shots). Also, the afternoon after the canal, a group of passengers decided to have a party on the Sanctuary deck with music played through speakers they attached to their iPods and loud talking and smoking by at least one of them. I complained about this to the attendant and she brought me chips and salsa in response to my complaint. But and however, the Sanctuary is a really good concept and when it works, it works and is a good thing. We are back home now and I have good memories of my cruise and I'm relaxed and ready to get back to the real world (as well as ready to plan more vacations). Who could ask for anything more? Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Sorry for taking so long to get this review out! I really appreciate Cruise Critic forums so I want to contribute. I am going to go through the whole trip but I will be brief. Destination: RT FLL to Panama Canal. 11/30 /09 Embarkation: ... Read More
Sorry for taking so long to get this review out! I really appreciate Cruise Critic forums so I want to contribute. I am going to go through the whole trip but I will be brief. Destination: RT FLL to Panama Canal. 11/30 /09 Embarkation: Hit a snag couldn't find our cruise cards so they were remade still pretty smooth process. 2 days at sea: We had a mini suite Caribe deck all the way forward. It was nice to have 2 TV's and a sitting area. Balcony was a tad bigger. Wait time in lines are reasonable, elevators fairly fast, good deck layout, ship seems very well maintained and crew service was just fine. Food was just OK overall. We had late seating and it was very empty. Aruba: Our third year in a row so we booked a tour on our own with LaPonderosa Horseback riding (a Princess vendor). The only problem was we had to get to the terminal to meet our transportation. No big deal they had a shuttle the Island was parked farthest from the terminal. Cartagena: Ships Volcano mud bath tour, nothing exotic about this. Your in a man made hill that has pit full of mud. Everything about the mud is slippery (railings, steps and ladders you must climb) and not well maintained so if your not careful you can fall or slip and bust your head open. Its a lawsuit waiting to happen. To be fair the people are friendly and it was different then normal cruise tours. A word about Cartagena we went through a long ride and had a policewoman on the tour with us the whole time. I saw nothing unsafe about the time I was there but the security presence cannot be noticed. Panama Canal: You get to the locks early so if you want to see all of it get up early! Caribe deck all the way forward you can get a nice view from under the bridge deck. They anchor and let tours out, that takes about 2 hours. Tenders, so you know that takes time. Did the ships fishing tour, the bite started out fast and furious then didn't catch anything else. $120 kinda pricey but it was fun. I was up for something different. Colon: just shopped Costa Rica: Cruise Critic members recommended Charlie Soto tours and we booked a tour through them. We had some problems communicating over e-mail about a custom tour but it all went smoothly. We did horseback riding, zipline and riverboat tour. The ship scares you off booking your own zipline tour saying it wasn't safe but we had the best time here, our guide was very friendly and the operation was safe and professional. Overall the tour was great everything was smooth, had nice lunch and were right on time. Our guide (Carlos) and driver (Marcos) looked after us all day, kept us laughing and did a great job. The company is well aware of Cruise Critic and I think they really try to please so they don't get bad reviews. Definitely would use them again. Jamaica: Lets just start out by saying I hate Jamaica on a cruise tour and have met others who felt the same way. Dunns River falls has nothing to offer me. They switched from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios and I and many others were disappointed. We docked at the pier farthest from town and took a taxi in and walked back (figure 20 minutes). They have tried to make Ocho Rios more cruise friendly by making cruise traveler shopping areas by port called Island Village. We shopped at the Taj Mahal and after looking at too many $25 t-shirts went to Island V. The big thing here is Margaritaville, which we skipped and went for the beach that was pretty small but safe and clean. There were some guys hawking souvenirs but they were nice about it. Disembarkation was smooth took the Highlights land and sea tour kinda of a waste but we were desperate not to sit in the airport. If you like looking at fancy houses on the waterway this is for you. They had Everglades tours but they were all cancelled for lack of participation, hmm. Overall a good cruise. Island Princess is big enough but doesn't offer some choices as bigger ships. I hope they get movies under the stars like some of the other ships. I noticed allot of older folks on this trip, a ton of retired Floridians on this voyage. We had an awful time out of Princess last January so this made up for it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Let me start with saying this was our kids (ages 8yr and 10yrs) 5th cruise and me and my husband's 15th. I will give as much detail as I can about the ports in the sections below. Here is a basic review of the ship and ports as a ... Read More
Let me start with saying this was our kids (ages 8yr and 10yrs) 5th cruise and me and my husband's 15th. I will give as much detail as I can about the ports in the sections below. Here is a basic review of the ship and ports as a whole. We stayed in a mini-suite with a balcony and it was great since we have four of us in one room. I read from many reviews that the standard rooms have very tiny showers (even for cruise ship standards). We had a bath/shower so plenty of room. The balcony was nice for sailing past the glaciers. The ship holds 1900 which is smaller than we are used to and that was REALLY nice. It never felt crowded like on many other ships. The downside was that the kids area wasn't big and the older kids were combined with the younger kids. Ages 8-12 are usually in a separate room with more big kids stuff. After seeing the room neither of my kids cared to go. They loved in two months ago on the Crown Princess because it's a much better space for older kids. Dining- Bayou Steakhouse was great. We didn't go to Sabatini's but have gone on other ships and is usually very good. The anytime dining worked great for us especially since some of these ports are LATE. The singers and dancers are excellent on this ship. But they don't have as much variety as other ships we've been on. Packing: I wish I could have found this info somewhere. We wore layers everyday with long sleeve and tshirt under and sometimes a jacket. I'm always cold so I wore by jacket every day. I never wore shorts even though I've heard other say to pack shorts. It was never warm enough for that and they said they were having warm weather. Now onto some basic info regarding ports. Ketchikan and Juneau were my favorites. Skagway was ok but we didn't see much of it. The glaciers are amazing. The land portion is great. IMPORTANT: DO LAND PORTION FIRST. We did the cruise first and then the land portion. We were exhausted when it was time to come home. For the land portions since they weren't a cruise port so I can't give detailed info below so I'll do it here. Talkeetna is a GREAT place to salmon fish. We used Talkeetna Adventure Tours. We caught 50 salmon between the 6 of us. It was the best excursion. We then went to Denali and we were of the lucky 7% who actually saw all of Denali(AKA Mt. McKinley). It was amazing. We did the natural History tour. In Fairbanks we panned for gold at El Dorado Goldmine. I would say go there if you have kids. Mine loved it. The riverboat tour is AWESOME. I highly recommend that. Fairbanks was my least favorite city I think. Not as pretty as the other more wilderness settings. My only complaint with Princess would be that our time in the airports and flying time was 15hours from Fairbanks to Austin, TX. They have direct flights from Seattle to Austin. Instead Princess gave us two (2 1/2 hour layovers) at midnight and 4am with small kids. That was the worst part of our trip. I will never book air through Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
ISLAND PRINCESS Let me start this review with positives: Princess has the embarkation and disembarkation process down to the nth degree. There was a problem this time because of an outbreak of Noro Virus the cruise prior to ours, and ... Read More
ISLAND PRINCESS Let me start this review with positives: Princess has the embarkation and disembarkation process down to the nth degree. There was a problem this time because of an outbreak of Noro Virus the cruise prior to ours, and embarkation was delayed by several hours to give the crew an opportunity to sanitize the ship. We had been notified of this the day before by our travel agent, and were prepared. We were bussed by Princess representatives at the airport to a local Los Angeles hotel where a buffet lunch was available. Alas, we were one of the lucky ones as later arrivals were dispatched to a different hotel and were offered only coffee & cookies during their four to five hour wait to board ship. We had extraordinary measures placed in effect the first week of the cruise: we were not allowed to handle any common serving pieces at the buffet and in the dining rooms; rather, we were served everything by gloved attendants. If you wanted salt or pepper, for example, you had to ask for it to be served on your food. Rolls and breads were placed on your plate with tongs. Hand sanitizers were mandatory when entering the dining rooms and were also dispensed by the gloved crew. It worked because our voyage was, if not noro free, at least not epidemic. And these precautions were relaxed during the latter half of our cruise. The ambience and decor of the ship is outstanding. The four story atrium with its shining pillars and beautiful glass art is magnificent, as are the public rooms. We had booked a mini-suite for our cruise which was more than adequate. It contained a queen bed, a full couch, small table, dressing table, two night stands, and one armchair. The closet space was more than adequate, a rarity for cruise ships, and additional shelves were placed in another closet. Great for shoes and small items. We had two TV sets which was ridiculous because, since they were side by side, couldn't be used together unless they were tuned to the same channel. Our small balcony was more than adequate, since it was so cold and windy on the return voyage, it couldn't be utilized. The entertainment was, by and large, very good. The ship's musical reviews were excellent with some of the singers capable of being stars on Broadway. We saw two very good comedians, an illusionist, a classical pianist, among others, so the entertainment was varied enough to appeal to all segments, although the majority of cruisers were in their 60s and 70s, with a sprinkling of younger people and children. The wait staff was excellent as well, although the "Excellent Choice" remark when ordering got to be tiring after awhile. The ship's officers are mostly Italian; the wait staff and stewards are from the Philippines and mid-Eastern Europe, and provided attentive service. We ate in one of the ship's specialty restaurants: Sabatini's, an Italian experience. We were told we just had to specify our entree as everything else on the menu would be served to us as "samplers." Be prepared not to eat lunch if you want to relish the full gastronomical experience. And the service in the restaurant was exemplary. It's certainly worth the additional $20 pp (plus gratuity) for the experience. Now for the negatives: The food in the dining room was very disappointing. The descriptions on the menus were usually more appealing than the actual food. Princess' pasta dishes are generally the best they can offer. It was so in 1999 when we last cruised with Princess, although at that time, the pasta was prepared by the captains tableside. And while they come from the kitchen now, they are still very good. However, the quality of the rest of the food has deteriorated seriously. Perhaps this is because they are now owned by Carnival and the bottom line is now paramount. The last night's offering of lobster tails was ridiculous. They must have shopped for midget lobsters as the servings were so small. A rack of lamb on another night yielded 3 small chops, drowned in an indeterminate gravy. Also being charged for afternoon ice cream as well as the over-the-top cost for bottled water made this unpalatable for us. Suffice is to say, our remembrance of Princess Present didn't jibe with our remembrance of Princess Past. The one complaint we heard time and again from fellow cruisers was that there was insufficient communication between the ship and its passengers. Announcements were not available in one's stateroom, only in public areas. We opted for the Anytime Dining and were very pleased with that aspect, since it allowed us to meet so many more fellow cruisers, whether it was at a table for four, six, eight, or ten. It's also nice to recognize many faces when one is on a ship with more than 2500 passengers. I'd recommend it to anyone who is travelling either alone or as a couple. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
 We traveled in a group of 5 couples in their 40's and 50's who enjoyed balconies on a variety of floors. One couple on the Aloha deck reported noise from the pool area during early morning staff preparations. Rooms were small, ... Read More
 We traveled in a group of 5 couples in their 40's and 50's who enjoyed balconies on a variety of floors. One couple on the Aloha deck reported noise from the pool area during early morning staff preparations. Rooms were small, but comfortable--some balconies are open above--bathrooms, especially the showers are tiny. The cruise staff were extremely friendly and competent--great service especially in the food areas. Ask and you shall receive--extra entrees, special desserts, mix and match dinners--very accomadating. We experienced "anytime dining" and shopped for a waiter we liked and then settled in and made reservations for the same table each night at a variety of times to suit our schedule. The food was above average, the salads were uninspired, but the seafood and beef were excellent. Sabatini's served a sampler of every item on the menu which ended up being too much food--we noticed that this restaurant seemed empty the second half of the cruise. Worth trying, but be hungary when you go. This ship is clean! Our best excursions were the eco-tour in Limon, Dunn's Falls in Jamaica (take a taxi for $10 and pay the entrance fee of $10--3 miles--and save $100 per couple), the Sail and Snorkel in Cozumel and the 7 mile beach in Grand Cayman (taxi to the beach for $20). The entertainment included 3 different comedy performers, a juggler, magician and 3 evenings of the cruise singers and dancers. All performances were enjoyable--the singers were above average but not expectional voices. Only one of the comedy acts were laugh out loud funny--Kevin Hughes. The pool areas were fantastic. Plenty of loungers--quiet sections and louder sections. The on-board activites were plentiful and interesting. The golf simulator was spectacular. Impossible to be bored. If you like cruising, and many do since many people we met were multiple time cruisers, this ship is an excellent choice Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
Island Princess Inaugural Cruise Review July 12-19, 2003 Let me preface this review with a little history of how we ended up on this cruise. We sailed on Disney Magic-April 2001 and RCL Voyager-April 2003. Right before we left on our ... Read More
Island Princess Inaugural Cruise Review July 12-19, 2003 Let me preface this review with a little history of how we ended up on this cruise. We sailed on Disney Magic-April 2001 and RCL Voyager-April 2003. Right before we left on our Voyager Cruise we found out that we could go on an Alaskan Cruise for FREE on The Builders Club Grand Destination Trip. The Builders Club is like a frequent flyer program for home builders and remodelers that rewards them with Club Points for doing business with an exclusive group of suppliers. My husband is a Homebuilder and we had accumulated enough points for the 4 of us. Myself, Husband, Daughter (age:18) and Son (age:16) to not only go on the cruise for free, but get two cabins. Needless to say, it didn't take much for us to decide that we were cruising once again! Day 1 We left Ohio a day early so we could spend sometime in Vancouver. We arrived in Vancouver at 10:30 am PST. I reserved 2 rooms through Priceline.com at the Westin Bayshore Hotel for $75.00 USD each. The rooms normally run around $250. We chose to take a limo from the airport to the hotel because we had so much luggage. I think the pre-set cost was $42 Canadian. Our driver was excellent. He gave us a mini tour and history of Vancouver and drove us through some of the old neighborhoods. It is a beautiful city. Our rooms weren't ready when we arrived so we checked our luggage and set out to explore. It's a great walking city. The architecture is amazing, lots of great shopping, ate lunch at a place called O'Douls (excellent), and then headed back to the hotel to get our rooms. The beds at the Westin were unbelievable. They call them "Heavenly Beds" and they're not kidding. We forced ourselves to get off the beds and headed back out. We rented bikes around the corner and headed to Stanley Park. We stopped at the Aquarium for about an hour and them road around the park for another hour. It's hard to believe your in the middle of a big city when your in the park. After the bike ride, we headed over to Canada Place for our first look at the Island Princess. My family is still teasing me over my excitement at seeing her. She was beautiful. Stylish, polished, sleek and classy! We checked out the boarding area and found out that Immigration opened at Noon and that Princess reps would probably be there at 11:30am. We walked back through the Harbor area to our hotel and hit the Heavenly Beds. Day 2 We headed for Canada Place about 10:45am. I think it's about a $5 USD cab ride. The cabs drive right into the parking garage and the Princess employees take your luggage right from there. We then proceeded into the waiting area (we were one of the first ones there) and met some of the other people from Builders Club. At around 11:30am they opened the gate and we took off for the check in. Check-in is divided up by deck name and deck name with express check-in. We went to the Dolphin Express Check-in booth and had to change our VISA card (my other one was lost about a month ago). We had a trainee at our booth but she did a good job, gave us our cards and got us finished up fast. We then moved onto to another area with chairs in a winding line up. At about 12:10pm Immigration opened up. We waited probably 5 minutes in line and off we went to board the ship. We actually sign up for pedicures on our way onto the ship. Then, they stopped us for the customary family boarding photo. We stepped off the gangway and we were directed to the Welcoming Area. This is where they take your photo for their security. (They check your picture everytime you swipe your card to return to the ship.) The embarkation went very smoothly. There were Princess personnel directing us all along the way. We went right to our rooms, D227 and D229, on Deck 9, forward and starboard side. We had two rooms next to each other and the other 24 people from our Ohio Builder's Club group were also on our deck. There were also 240 Builder's Club members from Minnesota on our cruise. There are name tags on the cabin "mailbox" next to the door. The rooms are nice. You enter into a hall. One side is a full length mirror and the other side is a large closet area with a storage cabinet and safe and the bathroom is off of that area. The bathroom is typical cruise size. You can shave your legs while sitting on the toilet seat and brush your teeth at the same time. The shower controls are tricky. You need to push on the side piece to make it go past the trickle stage and same thing for the hot water. I wish I could explain it better. Once you master the knobs, it's a very powerful shower. I thought I was going through the wall the first time I turned it to full power. The sleeping area is adequate. The bed is by the wall with a small aisle for walking, there is a desk area, two nightstands, a refrig. cabinet, two chairs and a small table. I always overpack and there was plenty of storage and hangers for everything to be unpacked. The luggage fit under the bed. The balcony has two chairs and a table. We had the steward remove the panel between our balconies and it made it feel even bigger. If we weren't in our room sleeping, we spent most of the time on our balcony. Our steward was Victor and he did an excellent job. He had a great personality. Our whole group really liked him. After checking out the room we headed out to explore the ship. We found it pretty easy to find our way around. They have maps and signs posted in every hall where you get off the elevators/stairs. We found all of the lounges, the kids area, the pools, basketball, shuffle board, the golf simulator and putt-putt (we even played a quick game of putt-putt), the restaurants (we checked out our table in the Provence dining room), the spa and exercise areas, the library, internet and card rooms, bought 2 drink cards for my husband and son and then hit the Horizon Court buffet. Needless to say, everything looks new! I'm not sure how to describe the dEcor. It mirrored the outside of the ship, classy, stylish and comfortable. We went back to our rooms and our luggage had arrived so we unpacked and got ready for the Muster Drill. After that we went for our pedicures and had a great view of the sail away. We went around in circles for about an hour and they performed some calibration tests on the ship and then we headed out to sea. Builder's Club hosted a cocktail party for us before our second seating dinner. We were given name tags to wear the whole cruise so that we could recognize others in our large group. It made for a fun time because it opened up a lot of conversations with other people on board. Dinner was scheduled for 8:00pm but we usually didn't get in until 8:15pm. Some people got impatient waiting to get in, but it didn't bother us. Food The dinners were all excellent, with a wide variety of dishes to choose from on the menu. If you didn't like what they were offering on the specials, you could always get chicken, strip steak, ceasar salad, fettucini alfredo, etc. Our waiter was Sylvia from Hungary and our Asst. Waiter was Josepi from Italy. Sylvia was very professional and personable. We think she was training Josepi because he didn't make a move unless she told him too. He was shy and quiet but did a good job. Sylvia never steered us wrong with her suggestions and did a great job of keeping the teenagers happy with their selections. I thought that this was the best food I've had on a cruise, my kids didn't agree. This food was a little too fancy for them but they tried some dishes they normally wouldn't have because Sylvia assured them she would bring them something else if they didn't like it. Although my son was thrilled because they had crab legs on Wed. and lobster on Thursday. The appetizers and soups (especially the cold soups) were so good, the salads and dressing selections were great and the entrees were excellent. Desserts were unbelievable. I had soufflE 3 nights, crème brulee one night and assorted other goodies. I had 2 desserts on the nights I couldn't decide. It's okay, because I rarely used the elevator. (At least that what I tell myself as I'm eating the 2nd dessert). We didn't try any of the other restaurants because we like to eat dinner with our kids every night. Plus we had all of our Ohio group sitting in the same area, which made for a lot of fun. We ate breakfast in the Horizon Court everyday. They could use a little improvement here. They need a bigger selection. They did not offer any specialties, like omelets made to order or waffles. Other ships we've been on have had these items on their buffet. They might offer them in the dining room. They did have excellent french toast. My husband's only complaint on the whole cruise was that it was extremely hard to get juice. There was no place for us to get it ourselves and they had one cart going around the entire dining room serving juice. There were many stewards clearing tables but they couldn't get your juice. Oh well. The pool areas offered pizza and burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, hot dogs and french fries. The fries were really good. Sometimes we'd just stop and grab a plate of them. Some people in our group liked the pizza and some didn't. There is an extra charge for the ice cream, even the soft serve. We did have ice cream bars one time, but that was it. There was a seafood buffet (A Taste of Alaska) the day we went through Glacier Bay. It was up by the pool. I don't eat seafood but everyone else thought it was unbelievable. Entertainment There were a ton of things to do at night. Besides the casino, there were the variety shows, the comedians, the lounge acts, karaoke, dancing, the not so newlywed, name that tune, etc. We had a hard time deciding what to attend. The Variety Shows The regular entertainers need a little more practice. They lip sync because they are dancing and it was very obvious. The shows did not "Wow" us. They were just okay. It hard to beat Disney when it comes to production numbers. The Comedians We saw Steven Scott, Jim MacDonald (very original and funny) and Sarge. They were all very good. The best show on board was Alexander. He's billed as America's Funniest Hypnotist. What a great show. We were in tears from laughing so hard. My son took part the first night. My husband and I tried the next night. It didn't effect my husband at all, I went out for a little bit but I woke up from the trance and couldn't go back to sleep. I'm glad I got to go back to the audience because it was hilarious. Definitely go to this show. My daughter and I spent a lot of time in the Crooner's Lounge listening to Eric Stone. We really enjoyed his Frank Sinatra and Broadway Show tunes. He also does a Name that Tune game that was a lot of fun. The Karaoke in the Explorer lounge was also fun. We had a few karaoke performers in our group, including my daughter so we hung out there quite a bit. We also took part in most of the Team Trivia games that went on everyday. We had a competition going with another group. We rec'd key chains, back packs and travel mugs for our winnings. It's a nice way to get to know other people. We also spent time in the card room, which got quite crowded. We won a shuffleboard tournament. We played putt-putt and played 9-holes on the golf simulator. The casino was a big hit for some of our group. We had a few winners and a few losers. I played the slots twice but lost my $20. My husband and his cohorts were into playing a game called 3-card. My husband won big one night and came out $100 ahead for the entire cruise. Another friend hit $1000 on the slots. My son went to "Off-Limits" the teen club. They seem to have quite a few activities going on every night. He enjoyed it, and he says it was better than RCL's program. My daughter hung out with us most of the time. There were only 22 other 18-20 year olds on board and they must have all been with their parents because we never noticed any groups going by. She was allowed in the lounges and dances with us (just no drinking) so it wasn't a problem. We also spent some time in the Pottery Studio being creative. We had a really good time together. It was nice because she's leaving for college in one month and I enjoyed spending some time with her. Ports I booked all of our excursions independently. I like the smaller groups and personalized service you receive. I rely heavily on Cruise Critic's message boards for help in choosing which excursions and operators to use. Since the cruise was free, I probably spent more than I normally would on excursions. I booked most of our excursions for afternoon so we wouldn't have to rush in the mornings. We like to stay out late and enjoy the entertainment. Ketchikan We chose to go fishing with Captain Ken. I booked at the end of April. There were 6 of us on board with him. We met him right off the gangway at 7:15am and his boat is a very short walk to a very steep gangway down to the dock. It was low tide so the floating dock was very far down. We really enjoyed this trip and our fishing experience. He's extremely knowledgeable about the area and about fishing. We caught and released about 30 salmon: King, Coho, Pink and the other kind that's not Sockeye. We were out until 1:15pm. We did a quick walk through town and bought my husband a pair of Levis (he forgot to pack his jeans, he lives in jeans and he forgot them, it was pretty funny!) Back onboard by 2:00pm for sail away at 2:30pm. Juneau We spent the morning exploring the town. DO NOT take the trolley tour. It is a rip off. They told us they had a historian on board so we thought why not? Wrong. For $12.50 apiece, besides the all day use pass, I expected to learn something that I hadn't read in the Princess Patter. The tour lasted maybe 15 minutes. We walked back to the ship to drop off our bags. When we went to use the trolley again, we sat for 10-15 minutes while the driver talked to friend. We finally got off and walked back into town. It was frustrating. I did find a local artist that makes jewelry from fossilized walrus ivory and embeds Alaskan Jade in it. I bought a pendant and some earrings. A lot of the stores have the same merchandise, so I like to find the local artists whenever we travel. We also visited the Harley store here so everyone could get their T-shirts. My husband and son went on a fly-in fly fishing trip with Butch from Alaska Fly'n Fish Charters. They said it was amazing. My son wanted to just keep flying and forget the fishing. But they did catch 150 trout and salmon. They said the minute your line hit the water you had a fish. They saw two brown bear from the air, and lots of eagles. They said it was one of their top ten adventures. My daughter and I went helicopter/glacier trekking with North Star. This is the most professional tour company that I have ever dealt with, from the moment they pick you up until they drop you off. The staff is very well trained, friendly and knowledgeable. We were picked up outside the Red Dog Saloon. Which by the way has a great bar-b-que beef sandwich! They were kind enough to drop my husband and son off at the airport on the way to their offices. We got there and signed in and got dressed (they supply everything) and had a lesson in helicopter safety. Then off we went into the wild blue yonder. The blue I'm referring to is in the glaciers. I'm not sure if breathtaking is a good enough adjective for the sights we saw, but it will have to do. After a brief tour of the area we landed on the glacier. We were met by our guide, Jimmy, who then prepared us for our trek. It felt like we were on another world. We got lucky because we were the only two on the tour. Jimmy took us for a quick lesson in going up, down and sideways on the ice. We were wearing crampons, they are spikes that fit around your boots. We felt pretty confident we started to hike. We went up, down, through an ice cave, we repelled down a wall, and we drank glacier water. We explored all over the glacier. We did get to do a lot more because it was just the two of us. We got back to base and waited for the helicopter to take us back for another exciting ride. I really don't have any words to describe this experience. If you have a chance to do this excursion, it's a must! Skagway- We really liked Skagway. It's a neat town. This is where we found the Alaska t-shirts and sweatshirts that we liked. The store is called "T-shirts to Go" and they had a nice variety. We decided to go on another helicopter tour of the glaciers here so that my husband and son could get a good look at the glaciers. We chose to go with Temsco and the Pilot's choice excursion. We landed on two glacier areas and got out and walked around about 15-20 minutes at each stop. We also flew for about 1 hour touring the glaciers from the area. Our pilot was excellent. He taught us so much about the area, the glaciers, the mountains...we were hoping for a trivia game on the cruise about glaciers because we know we would have won! Once again, a great excursion with a great guide. Glacier Bay and College Fiord These are not just lazy days on board. The sightseeing is fascinating. This is why you want balcony and why you need to pack binoculars. We saw whales, porpoises, seals, baby harbor seals, and otters. So bundle up(cuz it gets chilly)and be ready to be amazed! There are blankets available by the outside deck chairs. This was some of the most unbelievable scenery I have ever seen. Glacier Bay was a little foggy in the morning but it lifted and our day in College Fiord was sunny and cool. Order a hot chocolate (remember it's European style so you'll want to add cream and sugar to it) and sit on your balcony and enjoy. Or head to the outside decks ( I think it was deck 7 forward that was kind of protected and had heat blowing out ) and be ready to run from one side to the other when you hear that someone spotted a whale. This is nature at its best! Disembarkation We were given our Red 5 tags and put our bags out before heading down to dinner at 8pm. According to the Patter, Red 5 meant we would be called around 7:45am for our bus to Anchorage. We went to breakfast at 7am and then headed down to the Explorer lounge to wait. They called Red 5 at about 7:50am. Make sure you wait in a public area. There are no announcements in the room. One of the single males in our group stayed in his room waiting to be called and ended up missing our bus. He did catch up with us later. We walked off the ship and onto the bus. The drive to Anchorage is like another tour. We had an informative bus driver who even stopped for a quick break and wildflower hike. We got to Anchorage by 11:00am. We were taken right to the Egan Center and our luggage went directly to the airport (our flight was at 7:25pm). We stored our carry-ons at the Egan Center and went in search of lunch. We ended up at a local bar/restaurant called "Humpy's". They had great burgers and great service. Then we walked around for awhile. Some of us decided to kill time by going to the movies. We went to see Pirates of the Caribbean. The fact that none of us fell asleep should attest to the excitement and entertainment of the movie. The others in our group went to a local farm market that had crafters, too. They said it was really nice. We got back to Egan Center and took the 4:30pm bus to the airport. We got to the airport and someone from Princess got on board and told us where to find our luggage. We found our luggage and then waited forever to check in at Northwest. This was a very disorganized ticket counter. Also, watch your baggage weight. Their limit is 50 lbs. and they did charge some of us $25 per bag for being overweight. Now one person in our group had a 65lb and a 70 lb bag and they were not charged by their ticket agent. My bag was 62 lbs and I was charged. In my defense, we flew out Air Canada and their limit was 70 lbs per bag. I forgot to check on Northwest before we left. Overall The Island Princess is beautiful. It was easy to get around the ship. The staircase down to dinner is perfect for pictures. There are windows everywhere so you always have a great view of the sights. She was very smooth riding. I only needed to take Bonine on our last night out. In fact, I was passing out Bonine to everyone. I heard many people remarking about the friendliness, politeness and professionalism of the entire Crew and Staff. They were outstanding! We had to keep reminding ourselves that we were on an Inaugural Cruise because everything ran so smoothly. Well, I think that just about covers it. This is my first ever review so let me know if I missed anything. I'm still working on how to get copies of the patter scanned and downloaded. I'll be glad to answer any questions for you. bbyost@alltel.netAugust 2003 Read Less
My now 90 year old mother and I took this same ship to the Panamal Canal in 2012 and we were now celebrating her 90th birthday and looking forward to the renovations that were made in 2017 to the ship. Imagine our surprise when we find ... Read More
My now 90 year old mother and I took this same ship to the Panamal Canal in 2012 and we were now celebrating her 90th birthday and looking forward to the renovations that were made in 2017 to the ship. Imagine our surprise when we find that our balcony grade room was now 1/3 smaller and the shower so small that I could not even turn around without bumping my head (I'm almost 6 feet tall but no giant and my wife could not even shave her legs in the shower because there was no room. Also, the casino was cut in half and I was specifically told by the casino manager that Carnival had done this to create space for more rooms. So our comfort is sacrificed so Carnival/Princess can make a buck. Typical corporate mentality. Forget about quality just mo money mo money mo money!! Our room had no air conditioning for one night until I threatened to sue everybody and then it miraculously came back on. The food was mediocre at best. The shows were average (when you could get in since the cattle call of over 75+ seniors got to each show about 45 minutes before to take all the seats). I guess when there is nothing else to do you have no choice. The Huatulco shore excursion was a total joke. The guide spoke no English, was 45 minutes late and showed us the fronts of 4 hotels saying that these were the cultural highlights of the City! If I have to hear about one more bs EFFY jewelry promotion I am going to throw up. What a ripoff! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Worst vacation experience ever! We will never cruise again after the nightmare 5 day trip to Alaska on the Island Princess we just returned from. Our 5 day cruise was suppose to include two stops; Juneau and Ketchikan. We sailed on a ... Read More
Worst vacation experience ever! We will never cruise again after the nightmare 5 day trip to Alaska on the Island Princess we just returned from. Our 5 day cruise was suppose to include two stops; Juneau and Ketchikan. We sailed on a broken ship, the stop in Juneau was cancelled, the staff was rude and surly, the food was inedible, the gym was abysmal, and the “activities” on board were sales pitches to spend more money; the experience was miserable. The Broken Ship and Cancelled Juneau stop: We received a message from our travel agent the day before the ship was to set sail informing us Princess had just issued mandatory preassigned times they were requiring passengers to board the ship the next day. Our assigned time was several hours sooner than we had planned as we had plans to sight see in Vancouver that morning. So, we hustled down to the ship for our assigned boarding time. When it was finally time to leave port several hours later the captain announces that some propeller was broken and they were fixing it and we would leave late. (So, it is beyond me what the rush to rush everyone onto the boat was for!) Through out the evening we continued to just sit there not moving while the captain would come on the load speaker and promise we would be leaving “soon.” At 2:00 the next day we finally left. At this point we have been held captive on essentially a floating hotel for over 12 hours! The following day, after we were already moving, the captain announces the boat was not fixed and they will not be sailing into Juneau. Instead they will “try” to find an alternative port. Great, we are not going to Juneau, the capital of Alaska, I won’t be hiking any glaciers (there are not any trips to see glaciers in the other port) and my husband will not be going on the Alaskan salmon fishing trip he had booked (there was no such salmon fishing trip in the other port). Glaciers and fishing for salmon in the capital of Alaska are the reasons we took this trip, now none of it was going to happen and we would be stuck on this broken-down ship for the next 5 days. If they would have told us this when we were still in Vancouver, we could have gotten off the boat and made our own arrangements to fly to Juneau! Oh, they did go to an alternative port to replace Juneau: Prince Rupert, Canada. Canada, not Alaska. In addition, Prince Rupert had nothing there, and was not equipped to have a boat full of 2000 people dropped off on it unexpectedly. I asked at the visitor center if they even get cruise ships that make stops in their little island and was told they do not. When we finally did make it to our stop in Ketchikan, we were not allowed off until the afternoon. So, we only got to spend half the day there. The Staff and Food: Staff all over the ship looked miserable and if you smiled at them, they just stared blankly back at you. The dining room staff was slow and disorganized. The first night we ate there my husband and I could not even eat the food they served it was so bland. It also had been sitting waiting to be served so long, gravy had formed a disgusting skin on top of it. Another time we went in and only ordered dessert and hot tea. We sat there for 30 minutes without any hot tea. We gave up and left without it. How hard is it to hand someone hot water? We tried the buffet hoping it would be better. The food was poorly labeled for allergies and vegetarian choices were lacking, none existent, or only consisted of raw veggies and wilted rotting lettuce. After the rotten lettuce experience, I went into the dining room to eat a salad and then asked if I could have an extra salad to take back to my room and put in my fridge and was told “no.” Why not?? I can bring the rotted lettuce from the buffet back to my room, why is it so egregious to you that I take a salad from the dining room back??? Another time I ordered a pizza and it was handed to me whole and uncut. I asked if they would please cut it into slices for me and was told, “There is a fork and knife behind you.” The guy was literally standing in front of 3 pizza cutters, but would not slice the pizza he just handed me. The Gym and Activities: I hope you don’t like to run or walk in fresh air while on this ship because a walking/running track does not exist, they don’t have one. Instead they have a small, stuffy, windowless room, in the bottom of the boat with a few treadmills facing the wall, really. We had seen photos of treadmills facing out to the ocean in the Oasis spa online, when I asked about those treadmills, I was told they moved them all down to the windowless room. Wonderful, who doesn’t love to run on a treadmill with their face 3 feet away from a blank wall. Don’t like the sound of the walking/running situation on the treadmills, well then try spinning. They offered spinning classes; only 3 times and for a fee. The rest of the time the spinning bikes were chained together and stored in an aerobics room they used for other “pay to play” classes or used for sales pitches disguised as “events.” (“Learn how to have better posture” for example, is really a pitch to buy orthotics). So, unless you care to pay for a class and go during one of the only three, 45 minutes they held a spinning class, you are not allowed to use the spinning bikes. Once you finished exercising in their stagnant dungeon there was really nothing else to keep you busy. Other “activities” throughout the ship were set up similarly; you had to pay a fee to participate or the “learning” and “event” experience was just a sales pitch. On our Island Princess cruise to Alaska missed half of the ports it should have sailed to, the ship was broken, the food was bad, the staff was rude, and the onboard activities were really just sales pitches. To make matters worse, Princess gave each person a $100 ship credit and 15% off a future cruise for compensation. Are you kidding me?! First of all, $100 won’t even cover the gratuity they add automatically to your bill at the end of the cruise and we just missed half the ports this cruise should have gone to! Second, if they think I would ever voluntarily sign up to pay even one dollar for another 5 days of hell trapped on one of their boats they are insane! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I had high expectations for seeing a glacier and snow in Alaska. That was the motivation for taking this 5 day “sampler” of 2 ports in Alaska, vs 4 day with 1 port. Unfortunately, the embarkation port exit was postponed 11 hours. This ... Read More
I had high expectations for seeing a glacier and snow in Alaska. That was the motivation for taking this 5 day “sampler” of 2 ports in Alaska, vs 4 day with 1 port. Unfortunately, the embarkation port exit was postponed 11 hours. This delay and the inability to correct the problem resulted in a port cut, Juneau. The ship itself is older, and looks outdated. The refurbishment done a few years ago added more cabins, but cut the interior common areas down, leaving a person wondering around trying to find a place to sit. Everything was crowded, the outside space, the inside, even the dining. The balcony cabin (210 square feet) had one good quality, outdoor access. The interior was tight, shower barely large enough to wash in. Room service had to be eaten on the bed, as one chair provided in a room with a refrig that barely cooled the water (and had more ice in it than any where on the trip). The tv choices were rerun over and over again. The lighting dim, especially on the nightstands. Not a place you wanted to spend a lot of time in. The thermostat had no impact on the rooms temperature. Food options were dull, and bland. Cookies the main option and little fresh to choose. Nothing made you say oh! My husband lost 4lbs. on the trip. Activities, entertainment, bars and common areas crowded and never quite made you want to stay. Port calls were late on pickup and caused tightly timed excursions. Coming and going from the ship was time consuming and the security over done, looking for items in your bags on return. Generally the staff was helpful, although many were not understandable when they replied to questions. The room service staff was the best, they got the orders correct and were timely on delivery (very limited options). One thing stands above all else on this trip, Princess Cruises prefers to charge on every item on board. I purchased the internet, drink and water packages prior to the trip. On board there is a constant up-sale, for photo packages of questionable quality. The spa has steam rooms, for an additional fee, even when having massages with them. These facilities are clean and the therapists pleasant enough. The fitness center had old, needing repair covers on equipment seats and has a very small footprint. Not inviting, more like a dudgeon with mirrors. The choice to make this cruise was dependent on seeing the glaciers and snow, I saw nothing but rain. Knowledge of the propulsion issues and the cut of a port caused the captain to offer compensation, $100.00 now and 15% off of a future cruise. That is hardly compensation for this change of itinerary, 15% on this trip would have made it more palatable. This made the line seem cheap and not at all caring about what had been promised and purchased by guests. 50% would have been appropriate, one port cut of two, refund 50% of the fees. This set the tone for the trip. Would I use Princess or any of it’s line of services again, No. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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 4.2
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

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