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Island Princess Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,190 Reviews

Excellent itinerary, service, food and entertainment

Island Princess Cruise Review by HaveDogWillTravel

11 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2017
  • Destination: the Panama Canal & Central America
  • Cabin Type: Vista Suite with Balcony

The service on the Island Princess was absolutely stellar. Everyone (wait staff, bar staff, room steward, customer service desk) we came in contact with did their utmost to make this cruise the best experience possible. I know they had help from all the folks behind the scenes too!

The food in the MDR was excellent. There were one or two items that might have disappointed me but in 15 days - lunch and dinner- that is an excellent record! The dining room is quite willing to accommodate special requests within reason. Our waiter Milan and his assistant Mark were the best ever. I have never found two people more dedicated to customer service than these two.

Club Class dining allows you to come whenever you want during breakfast, lunch and dinner service and get a table without waiting. No more rushing from excursions, flexibility to see the shows before or after dinner and you can eat dinner early then go back later for dessert. The menu is the same as the MDR. The head waiter will prepare one dish (sometimes one from the printed menu and sometimes something extra not on the printed menu) in the MDR for the CC diners. Every night this dish was always one of the best in the room.

We did the chef's table (this is my third) and I was a bit underwhelmed. The food was great, the wine was good and flowed freely, but this chef's table lacked the "WOW" presentation factor of my two previous ones (Island May 2016 and Grand Dec 2015). If this had been my first chef's table I may not have even noticed.

Between Sabatini’s and Bayou for specialty dining we preferred Bayou. I do not recommend Lobster 3 ways at Sabatini’s (one of the very few things that disappointed me). Breakfast at Sabatini’s was outstanding! Alfredo’s pizzeria was served out of Sabatini’s and this was excellent as well. The grill on the Lido deck had great bratwurst, knockwurst and burgers.

We enjoyed the shows and Simone, our cruise director was great! She added a 5:45 show for the most popular shows. We really liked this as an alternative to the usually crowded and hard to get a seat 7:45 show. The soprano on board was just amazing. There was a guitarist/vocalist on board that played in the Bayou Bar and the Atrium that I really enjoyed as well.

The enrichment lectures were very good for the most part and we enjoyed the four that we went to.

We were always able to find a lounge chair by the pools or up on the upper decks or the promenade. The only time I experienced any real type of crowded type of situation was at one of the more popular shows in the Explorers Lounge or the 7:45 Princess theater show. Otherwise moving about the ship was easy and I did not feel crowded.

Granted the gym is now on the 6th deck aft and it is a bit dreary, but we still went and did our workout and felt better for it.

HaveDogWillTravel's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Vista Suite with Balcony
Cabin S6 Aloha 729

This aft facing balcony suite was perfect for the canal crossing. We stood directly above the gates as they opened and closed.

The balcony is at least 30 feet long by at least 6 -7 feet deep. Huge! Princess suites are excellent value for the money. We had over 650 sq ft of total space. The new luxury bedding is simply wonderful.

Free same day laundry, free mini bar set up (16 little bottles and 8 sodas), 2 splits of champagne on embarkation, complimentary specialty restaurant dining on embarkation day, full MDR room service, mimosa's and cooked to order full breakfast in Sabatini's, ice twice a day, canapes each evening, tea in room each afternoon, chocolate covered strawberries on formal nights, rose corsage and boutonniere on first formal night and the best new perk of all Club Class Dining.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Los Angeles

Port is very convenient to many hotels and rental car agencies

Puerto Vallarta

Walk past the vans right off the ship and find a cab beyond them. They overcharge for the ride and you have to sit and wait for the whole van to fill. They tried to put me in a middle seat in the very front that was not secured at all to the floor. It was completely loose. Jeez really????

Went to the market in the Romantic Zone and sifted through the stuff made in China and found a young man from Loredo weaving baskets out of palm leaves. Excellent quality. We also like the vendors on the island in the river separating old town from the romantic zone.


This tourist destination has great infrastructure. It is a bit like a Mexican Disneyland in that it is all sort of fake and made up for us. But I don't really mind that. The Copalita Archeological site was a bit underwhelming, especially if you have been to Chichen Itza, but we were glad we went.

Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera)

KInd of seedy tourist area just off the dock. Safe enough to go pick up a few things, again you have to look hard to find anything actually made by hand.

City Tour

We enjoyed Dora and the tour a lot. We went to La Popa on the hill and got an overview of the land as well as a tour of the monastery. Then we drove to the fort but did not get to walk up. The walking tour of the walled city was excellent (she even bought us all fresh fruit cups from a street vender half way through- very refreshing!). When we did the obligatory "Now here's where you have some time to shop" she always had an alternative for us non shoppers...we could walk up onto the wall and explore it and the beautiful views. I was a little disappointed that we did not go into the Inquisition Museum, but I really liked the art museum and church we did go to.

View All 367 City Tour Reviews

Really underwhelming. Overpriced food and drinks, had to pay $25 for two hours of shade under an umbrella with a lounge chair. Princess only provides chairs in the full sun. The beach (Moomba beach which is part of Palm beach) does not even make my top 20 of nice beaches. I would rent a car and just drive to one of the quieter lesser used beaches.

View All 125 Beach Reviews

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