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I booked this cruise very last minute and actually didn't do a lot of research prior as there wasn't time. I knew Princess was a nice cruise line, but hadn't sailed with them before, and found out the ship had just been through a major drydock. I chose the cruise because of a very good price and a great itinerary that included Istanbul. By the time I booked, all balconies were sold out, and I was offered a great deal on an oceanview or interior. We figured we would be in port a great deal, and booked an oceanview obstructed view based on price consideration and that we would have more money for port tours. Princess upgraded me against my request, and put me in a brand new oceanview cabin that was right next to the casino. I was not happy (that was an understatement). Called my travel agent several times, called Princess, was told the ship was completely sold out and could not change my room. I was assured several times that there would be no smoke smell in my cabin from the casino and that the room was actually a nice upgrade and in a nice midship location. At that point I had to try to go with a positive attitude and knew I would be be complaining bitterly if there was any smoke smell or unreasonable noise in a cabin. After all, who wants their cabin next to the casino. Well, I have got to say that Princess was absolutely right, there was absolutely no smoke smell or noise at all in the cabin and it was a MUCH better cabin then the obstructed view cabin I booked. We were in cabin F504, and the brand new cabin was set up just like a balcony cabin, but with a floor to ceiling picture window instead of a balcony. The bed was on the wall like a balcony cabin and not in front of the window, and we had a chair in front of the window. The bathroom was small, but brand new, and we had plenty of space for the two of us for the cruise. We ended up loving the midship location as we were so close to everything. I heard a couple comment as they walked by the corridor of these new rooms that they would hate a room near the casino. I would have agreed, but honestly liked this so much better than I thought I would have. Great room if you can get it at a budget price and like to be close to everything or have walking issues. Our cabin steward there was great too, and I did not miss the balcony as I thought I would. The ship's food was good, we actually really liked the Horizon Court and liked the fact that it was open to midnight. The main dining room was decent as well, and we ate there most nights. Compared to other lines I have been on, I thought the buffet was better than most and the main dining room was about equal, perhaps a little less. Service was spotty in the main dining room and we didn't like the fact that a table for two was literally two inches away from another table for two. We enjoyed afternoon tea on several afternoons and thought that was a nice touch. Entertainment was not particularly overwhelming, but it suited this port intensive cruise in Europe and the fact it was just my husband and myself relaxing. We sampled most entertainment options, but couldn't help compare shows to other ships we have sailed on. The fitness options were a huge disappointment. Not being able to run around the promenade deck and the fitness center being moved into a small space inside was not optimal. The minimal amount of fitness classes weren't even included in the Patter and I wondered if they did that so they wouldn't have a large turnout as there was minimal space. I will say that visually, the back of the ship was quite ugly and I never went around there as I had no way to get to the aft. The ship never seemed overly crowded, but on the top deck it was sometimes difficult to get lounge chairs near the pool. We always found some somewhere though and actually spent most of our time on the Promenade deck chairs where it was shady, cool and very quiet. Ports were great, however we missed Istanbul due to picking up refugees and that was a big disappoint as Istanbul was a huge draw for the cruise for me. Santorini was substituted and I was happy about that. Loved the Greek islands and we had plenty of time on them. Rented a scooter on Mykonos and went to the beach. Did Athens on our own, took the X80 bus in and Metro back and found it easy to do, but will say that we are walkers. Did a small group tour for Pompeii and the Amalfi, would make sure that your van will drive into Positano and not just drive by it with a picture stop. Did a small group tour in Rome too, was nice, just not enough time in Rome. If the Vatican is not important to you, then see the other sites with the limited time. Kind of wish we had done this, although our tour of the Vatican was very thorough and informative. Did Florence on our own and had a great day. Rented a car in Toulon, had a great time, just really wish it wasn't such an early all aboard at 3:30. Made it difficult to do a lot. The only shore excursion we booked through the ship was the Florence on your Own transportation. That worked out well, just wish we had left as soon as the ship had docked. Could have had another half hour in Florence easily. We loved Barcelona and Venice as embarkation and debarkation ports and found clean, and inexpensive lodging in great locations for both cities. Overall, we loved the cruise, lots of pros, a few cons. I would consider Princess again for a European cruise with lots of ports, but probably not for the Caribbean or Alaska. The demographic was right in line for us, we are a couple in our mid to late fifties. There were plenty of people of all ages though, and many different nationalities.

Just returned from the Island Princess Grand Mediterranean July 9th sailing

Island Princess Cruise Review by roblc1

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2015
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview
I booked this cruise very last minute and actually didn't do a lot of research prior as there wasn't time. I knew Princess was a nice cruise line, but hadn't sailed with them before, and found out the ship had just been through a major drydock. I chose the cruise because of a very good price and a great itinerary that included Istanbul.

By the time I booked, all balconies were sold out, and I was offered a great deal on an oceanview or interior. We figured we would be in port a great deal, and booked an oceanview obstructed view based on price consideration and that we would have more money for port tours. Princess upgraded me against my request, and put me in a brand new oceanview cabin that was right next to the casino. I was not happy (that was an understatement). Called my travel agent several times, called Princess, was told the ship was completely sold out and could not change my room. I was assured several times that there would be no smoke smell in my cabin from the casino and that the room was actually a nice upgrade and in a nice midship location. At that point I had to try to go with a positive attitude and knew I would be be complaining bitterly if there was any smoke smell or unreasonable noise in a cabin. After all, who wants their cabin next to the casino. Well, I have got to say that Princess was absolutely right, there was absolutely no smoke smell or noise at all in the cabin and it was a MUCH better cabin then the obstructed view cabin I booked. We were in cabin F504, and the brand new cabin was set up just like a balcony cabin, but with a floor to ceiling picture window instead of a balcony. The bed was on the wall like a balcony cabin and not in front of the window, and we had a chair in front of the window. The bathroom was small, but brand new, and we had plenty of space for the two of us for the cruise. We ended up loving the midship location as we were so close to everything. I heard a couple comment as they walked by the corridor of these new rooms that they would hate a room near the casino. I would have agreed, but honestly liked this so much better than I thought I would have. Great room if you can get it at a budget price and like to be close to everything or have walking issues. Our cabin steward there was great too, and I did not miss the balcony as I thought I would.

The ship's food was good, we actually really liked the Horizon Court and liked the fact that it was open to midnight. The main dining room was decent as well, and we ate there most nights. Compared to other lines I have been on, I thought the buffet was better than most and the main dining room was about equal, perhaps a little less. Service was spotty in the main dining room and we didn't like the fact that a table for two was literally two inches away from another table for two. We enjoyed afternoon tea on several afternoons and thought that was a nice touch.

Entertainment was not particularly overwhelming, but it suited this port intensive cruise in Europe and the fact it was just my husband and myself relaxing. We sampled most entertainment options, but couldn't help compare shows to other ships we have sailed on.

The fitness options were a huge disappointment. Not being able to run around the promenade deck and the fitness center being moved into a small space inside was not optimal. The minimal amount of fitness classes weren't even included in the Patter and I wondered if they did that so they wouldn't have a large turnout as there was minimal space.

I will say that visually, the back of the ship was quite ugly and I never went around there as I had no way to get to the aft. The ship never seemed overly crowded, but on the top deck it was sometimes difficult to get lounge chairs near the pool. We always found some somewhere though and actually spent most of our time on the Promenade deck chairs where it was shady, cool and very quiet.

Ports were great, however we missed Istanbul due to picking up refugees and that was a big disappoint as Istanbul was a huge draw for the cruise for me. Santorini was substituted and I was happy about that. Loved the Greek islands and we had plenty of time on them. Rented a scooter on Mykonos and went to the beach. Did Athens on our own, took the X80 bus in and Metro back and found it easy to do, but will say that we are walkers. Did a small group tour for Pompeii and the Amalfi, would make sure that your van will drive into Positano and not just drive by it with a picture stop. Did a small group tour in Rome too, was nice, just not enough time in Rome. If the Vatican is not important to you, then see the other sites with the limited time. Kind of wish we had done this, although our tour of the Vatican was very thorough and informative. Did Florence on our own and had a great day. Rented a car in Toulon, had a great time, just really wish it wasn't such an early all aboard at 3:30. Made it difficult to do a lot. The only shore excursion we booked through the ship was the Florence on your Own transportation. That worked out well, just wish we had left as soon as the ship had docked. Could have had another half hour in Florence easily. We loved Barcelona and Venice as embarkation and debarkation ports and found clean, and inexpensive lodging in great locations for both cities.

Overall, we loved the cruise, lots of pros, a few cons. I would consider Princess again for a European cruise with lots of ports, but probably not for the Caribbean or Alaska. The demographic was right in line for us, we are a couple in our mid to late fifties. There were plenty of people of all ages though, and many different nationalities.
roblc1’s Full Rating Summary
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