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We had a wonderful time on the 6-day Pacific Wine Coastal on Island Princess, Los Angeles to Vancouver. I had read the posts on the refurb and it took a little bit to maneuver the ship but I never found it annoying. You just adjust. We did early traditional dining, which was at 5:15 p.m. (we signed up for 5:45 but it ended up being earlier). We normally don’t even get home from work until 6:15 so this was early for us but it allowed us to see the 7:30 pm show and my husband to be in bed around 10 (too early for me but he’s a creature of habit). I was afraid of the wait times for ATD given the posts for Island Princess. This early seating worked out well for us. Here’s my thoughts on the other things most people seem to want to know about a cruise: Food: We went on a Princess Alaska cruise several years ago and honestly, I don’t remember the food being as good as it was this time. I learned last time, if the waiter recommends something, go with that choice in the MDR and was sorry I didn’t heed my own advice all the time (can’t recommend the Curtis Stone seafood stew choice). I eat much more plant-based food since the last Princess cruise and was determined to order off the menu just to see if I could. Loved the Caesar salad (ordered with anchovies) and had it for my entrée twice (recommended by one of our table mates). If you are vegetarian, I’d recommend on the day they have the ratatouille and cheese tarts, skip the cheese tarts and order an entree sized ratatouille. It was very yummy! The buffet was great for breakfast and lunch with plenty of fresh fruit and salad options. And the Indian food was great as a plant-based option. There’s plenty for meat eaters and I must say I had lox every day we ate in the Horizon buffet for breakfast. We did the Ultimate Balcony Dining and I couldn’t pass up the lobster. It was very yummy and the service was exceptional but we were in San Francisco so the food got cold quickly on the balcony. Just keep that in mind if you are in a colder climate. But can you beat the view (Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco) and the experience was well worth the price. From other posts on the topic, I assumed they added the customary 18% gratuity to the bill, which they did not so we are glad we tipped the waiter extra at the end because he and his assistant truly deserved it for making it such a memorable experience. We also did Bayou Café. The food was great but I’d have to say the service was … meh. I’d like to think it’s because Lorna Luft and her husband along with a senior officer (I want to say it was the doctor) were at a table close by and got a lot of attention but honestly l’m not sure how much difference it made. The service was not bad but I certainly wouldn’t consider it good. Just so-so. I had the shrimp and my husband had the porterhouse and lobster. We really liked the food. The porterhouse was huge! Service: Excellent all around. Our cabin steward, Norman, was rarely seen but always kept the room spotless and could easily be found if needed. We always had the ice we needed for our before dinner drinks and he did a great job straightening up our cabin after our numerous midday naps. Joepep, our waiter was excellent and his assistant, Roland was great too. We loved the traditional dining experience (have done ATD the past couple cruises), loved our table mates, enjoyed meeting them and the nightly conversation. Princess has an after dinner $3 Irish cream shot (think Bailey’s) where you get a cute little souvenir shot glass. It’s great as a shot, on the rocks, or in your coffee and it’s so cool you can buy your table a round without breaking the bank. Joepep even cleaned and wrapped the shot glasses after dinner and found us a box on the last night to transport them home safely (they are in the dishwasher as we speak). Entertainment: EXCELLENT – Do not miss On the Bayou. It’s probably the best production show I’ve seen on a cruise ship. The comedian was good and I liked he wasn’t raunchy like how they are on short Carnival cruises. He definitely catered to the older crowd which made up his audience, which I really liked. The ventriloquist was very entertaining. All in all I’d say it’s the best entertainment I’ve experienced on a cruise ship. And since there were 500-600 passengers in transit from the Panama Canal cruise, there was never a problem getting a seat at the 7:30 show even if you arrived at 7:20. We totally enjoyed the naturalist’s talks – he was great and well qualified in terms of experience. I even got to see Star Wars Rogue One on the big screen so what more can you ask for! Cruise Director: Callie Smit is so funny. OMG loved him and his stories! He made the cruise fun. General comment: Others may slam Princess because the captain decided to miss the Astoria stop because the weather was terrible. We had two days of rough seas. But we are grateful he decided to put safety first. And it gives us a great excuse to plan another cruise so we can visit Astoria in the future.

Enjoyable Cruise on Island Princess

Island Princess Cruise Review by coopco

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We had a wonderful time on the 6-day Pacific Wine Coastal on Island Princess, Los Angeles to Vancouver. I had read the posts on the refurb and it took a little bit to maneuver the ship but I never found it annoying. You just adjust.

We did early traditional dining, which was at 5:15 p.m. (we signed up for 5:45 but it ended up being earlier). We normally don’t even get home from work until 6:15 so this was early for us but it allowed us to see the 7:30 pm show and my husband to be in bed around 10 (too early for me but he’s a creature of habit). I was afraid of the wait times for ATD given the posts for Island Princess. This early seating worked out well for us. Here’s my thoughts on the other things most people seem to want to know about a cruise:

Food: We went on a Princess Alaska cruise several years ago and honestly, I don’t remember the food being as good as it was this time. I learned last time, if the waiter recommends something, go with that choice in the MDR and was sorry I didn’t heed my own advice all the time (can’t recommend the Curtis Stone seafood stew choice). I eat much more plant-based food since the last Princess cruise and was determined to order off the menu just to see if I could. Loved the Caesar salad (ordered with anchovies) and had it for my entrée twice (recommended by one of our table mates). If you are vegetarian, I’d recommend on the day they have the ratatouille and cheese tarts, skip the cheese tarts and order an entree sized ratatouille. It was very yummy! The buffet was great for breakfast and lunch with plenty of fresh fruit and salad options. And the Indian food was great as a plant-based option. There’s plenty for meat eaters and I must say I had lox every day we ate in the Horizon buffet for breakfast.

We did the Ultimate Balcony Dining and I couldn’t pass up the lobster. It was very yummy and the service was exceptional but we were in San Francisco so the food got cold quickly on the balcony. Just keep that in mind if you are in a colder climate. But can you beat the view (Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco) and the experience was well worth the price. From other posts on the topic, I assumed they added the customary 18% gratuity to the bill, which they did not so we are glad we tipped the waiter extra at the end because he and his assistant truly deserved it for making it such a memorable experience.

We also did Bayou Café. The food was great but I’d have to say the service was … meh. I’d like to think it’s because Lorna Luft and her husband along with a senior officer (I want to say it was the doctor) were at a table close by and got a lot of attention but honestly l’m not sure how much difference it made. The service was not bad but I certainly wouldn’t consider it good. Just so-so. I had the shrimp and my husband had the porterhouse and lobster. We really liked the food. The porterhouse was huge!

Service: Excellent all around. Our cabin steward, Norman, was rarely seen but always kept the room spotless and could easily be found if needed. We always had the ice we needed for our before dinner drinks and he did a great job straightening up our cabin after our numerous midday naps. Joepep, our waiter was excellent and his assistant, Roland was great too. We loved the traditional dining experience (have done ATD the past couple cruises), loved our table mates, enjoyed meeting them and the nightly conversation. Princess has an after dinner $3 Irish cream shot (think Bailey’s) where you get a cute little souvenir shot glass. It’s great as a shot, on the rocks, or in your coffee and it’s so cool you can buy your table a round without breaking the bank. Joepep even cleaned and wrapped the shot glasses after dinner and found us a box on the last night to transport them home safely (they are in the dishwasher as we speak).

Entertainment: EXCELLENT – Do not miss On the Bayou. It’s probably the best production show I’ve seen on a cruise ship. The comedian was good and I liked he wasn’t raunchy like how they are on short Carnival cruises. He definitely catered to the older crowd which made up his audience, which I really liked. The ventriloquist was very entertaining. All in all I’d say it’s the best entertainment I’ve experienced on a cruise ship. And since there were 500-600 passengers in transit from the Panama Canal cruise, there was never a problem getting a seat at the 7:30 show even if you arrived at 7:20. We totally enjoyed the naturalist’s talks – he was great and well qualified in terms of experience. I even got to see Star Wars Rogue One on the big screen so what more can you ask for!

Cruise Director: Callie Smit is so funny. OMG loved him and his stories! He made the cruise fun.

General comment: Others may slam Princess because the captain decided to miss the Astoria stop because the weather was terrible. We had two days of rough seas. But we are grateful he decided to put safety first. And it gives us a great excuse to plan another cruise so we can visit Astoria in the future.
coopco’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BE C234
Very happy with this balcony up sell we got for $99 per person from our inside cabin. Thank you, Princess. The only downside is the shower size. My recommendation is you should imagine/wish for the smallest shower you can and at the end of your trip, you can honestly say, Island Princess exceeded all expectations! We loved the location of this cabin, close to the Princess Theater and Horizon Buffet but located in the quiet, residential district of the cruise ship.
Lido Deck Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • City Tour
    We did the hop on/hop off bus in San Francisco. Make sure to pick up your ear plug as you board the bus. We really enjoyed it and rode it around the full route, went back to the ship for lunch, then hopped back on to explore the city more. Do dress warmly if riding on the top deck because it’s quite chilly when you cross the Golden Gate Bridge. We chose Big Bus Tours because you can use the ticket within 30 days of purchase and if we missed the port, it would be easy to use the ticket since we live two hours from San Francisco. But the really nice thing is they pick you up right in front of the ship. You can buy your tickets when in port right in front of the bus. You save $5 by buying in advance online.
    View All 26 City Tour Reviews
  • Trolley Tour
    We stayed one night in Vancouver with a late flight home so we got to enjoy two days in the city. We stayed at the St Regis Hotel. It’s centrally located with easy access all over downtown Vancouver. The service at the St Regis is excellent and a made-to-order breakfast is included. The rooms were a little small and the queen-sized bed is really more of a full-sized bed but the room was very nice and comfortable. We walked from Canada Place, which I would not do again. I’d definitely take a taxi. It’s a short 10 minute walk but it’s uphill and when you are hauling luggage, it’s a hike. But it’s an easy walk without luggage.
    We did the Trolley Company hop on/hop off bus since tickets were sold at the hotel (entire city route) then took the green route and walked around Stanley Park, used our free ferry coupon to go to Granville Island, hopping back on the city route bus. We lucked out and had excellent weather the first day. The next day we did the Fly Over Canada at Canada Place. It’s worth doing once but I thought the tickets were a little pricey for the short ride (I think it was $27 Canadian-I forgot to use my 10% off coupon from the hop on/off bus). It’s very similar to Soarin’ Over California in California Adventure. Since it was raining cats and dogs, it was a good, indoor activity. We bought some souvenirs in Gastown (using the 10% off coupon from the hop on/off bus at Michelle’s) then had lunch at the Flying Pig (which we really enjoyed) and left for the airport. The taxi there was $35 Canadian.
    View All 21 Trolley Tour Reviews
  • Butchart Gardens
    We took one of those pedicabs from the cruise terminal to the front of the Fairmont Empress Hotel. It was $14 American per person plus tip. It was enjoyable to go through the residential area of Victoria. It’s such a beautiful city. From there we went to Butchart Gardens, which we really enjoyed. It’s beautiful in May with lots of tulips. We bought our tickets at the tourist information building across the street from the Empress Hotel. I believe tickets cost a few dollars more if you purchase them at the booth outside the Empress where the buses pick you up. Taxi back to the ship costs $10 Canadian so it’s quite reasonable.
    View All 274 Butchart Gardens Reviews