10 day Panama Canal. Feb 28 - Mar. 10, 2019
Boarding was good in Ft. Lauderdale.
Immediate impression:, cozy, intimate ship. Public areas are small but pretty. Mini suite was spacious. Wow, 2 TVs.... Don't let 2 tvs fool you - THERE IS NOTHING TO WATCH. Pathetic choices on tv.
The bathroom looks like a dumpy Motel 6. Honestly, they should be embarrassed to have guests in these bathrooms- at a charge, no less. Linoleum floors that are curled up on the edges, tile on the tub wall that is rusty, discolored, peeling, moldy-looking. Grout falling out between the tiles. Just awful. Water pressure in shower is great and the water is hot. The shower curtain attacks you and you can't keep it down on the tub. Keep in mind, there is no exhaust fan in the bathroom... which might explain the gross grout.
Internet is a freaking nightmare. Who wants to spend an entire vacation trying to figure out cellular, wifi, internet, messaging? It's beyond frustrating. The Princess at sea messaging system is utterly, completely useless. There is no way to know if you have a new message- no notification. If you have the messaging system on- on your phone, you can't use the internet on your laptop. Princess at Sea (internet) can only be used on one device at a time. The ship should have new technology installed. There is no excuse for this. We've been on several ships where you could use your phone's text messaging to communicate (you cellular provider charges a minimal cost) - not on the Island Princess. NOTHING works on this ship to communicate. Dont even try, you'll end up frustrated and angry.
I pre-paid for an internet package (240 minutes). Only 220 showed up on my account. I'm sure they do this on purpose and many people never notice the difference I didn't notice until the 3rd day. Seemed like we were constantly down to the internet cafe or Passenger services straightening out some mess. Not how I want to spend my cruise.
Horizon court is crowded. Don't bother with it unless you go at an odd meal time. The food is pretty good but, the long lines and exposure to contaminated tongs just isn't worth it. Lunch in the MDR was always good, and uncrowded. The dinners in the MDR were very good. We were on the Royal 4 years ago and a Celebrity ship 2 years ago and the meals on this cruise were hands down, the best.
Beds were pretty comfy and the rooms are very quiet so a good night's sleep is quite possible.
If you are next door to friends or family and like a shared balcony, forget it. They only have a small door that they remove between the two balconies. It's pretty much useless. Furniture on the balcony is unimpressive and dirty.
We did go to a few trivia games. Overall, the questions were pretty hard and everyone seemed to enjoy the challange.
I like the ship size... not too many people, and not too small, It is old but public areas are elegant and have fresh, nice carpet.
Most of our MEALS we ate in the Main Dining Room, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. 90% of the meals were excellent. A couple were so-so. We avoided the Horizon crowds and noise and really enjoyed the MDR.
SERVICE is excellent everywhere on the ship.
My impression of the evening shows was pretty positive.
The secret silk was an interesting show. Vocals were off pitch a few times and too loud, but the show overall, was well worth seeing. Costumes, backdrops, props, dancing were just beautiful.
Second show was soloist, Colleen Williamson. I enjoyed her entirely. She had a beautiful stage presence and an amazing voice. Being a vocalist myself, I could appreciate her range and control. Didn't particularly like the songs she chose, but she did an excellent job, held the audience in her hand, and flawlessly performed the show.
The Bayou Show was very good. They amaze with the costumes and dancing. The Encore show was also very beautiful. Some of the vocalists were occasionally off pitch, but the shows are well worth seeing. Colleen Williamson starred again in the Encore show and she is stunning. The set was jaw dropping and the orchestra was something else.
Also went to Luke Hefner's show. It was very good. I especially liked his performance of "O Sole Mio" and his duet with a female singer of "All I Ask of You" was flawless. One of those unforgettable moments. They were both amazing. I didn't particularly care for his country music.
We did not go to the comedian or magician shows as they did not interest us.
Attended 2 craft sessions. Do they think we are in kindergarten? First was buttons and the second was box making. My pre-school grandkids are way, way beyond these projects. Don't even bother with them.
Good Hope House tour "Taste of Jamaica" Great tour overall. Very hot. Bus ride up was 20 minutes, and air conditioned. Pretty interesting guide. House is no longer used, but very nice. Lunch was outstanding. Traditional Jamaican food.
Also did the open train ride to banana plantation In Costa Rica. Save your money on this one. HOT, humid and boring. We had a great guide and pleasant driver and learned a few details of Costa Rica, but there must be better tours here to choose.
DO NOT waste your time or money on the wine tastings. VERY boring. Wines were good, but my $12 HandCraft Malbec from California is still my favorite.
Wine Tasting for $25 - waste of money. Wine was good, speakers were boring, canapes were so-so. Spend your money on internet !!! Wine Tasting for $10 - waste of money. Same boring speakers, cheese was so-so. Spend your money on internet !
Disembarking was efficient. Then we got in the port area and the nightmare began. We docked at a different dock far away from where we began our cruise. They had a couple of small shuttles to take you back to the parking garage 2 miles north of pier 19. Everyone got pretty aggressive getting on, piling all the luggage into a van that really was not equipped for this. Our plan was for 1 of our group of 4 to get on the shuttle, get the vehicle and come pick us up (and our luggage). Well over an hour later, he arrived at the passenger/luggage pick up. Really not a good situation, at all.
After 10 days on this ship, major complaints are still: grungy bathroom, worthless on-ship communication, lack of tv choices, and internet, internet, internet. It's unfortunate Princess won't address these issues because the Island Princess is a lovely ship for people who don't care for the mega ships. She deserves some TLC.
Nice size room. HORRIBLE bathroom. No exhaust fan. Tiles look old, grout is gross and falling out. Quiet- very little hall noise. Nice location on ship.