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

Old & Worn-out

Island Princess Cruise Review by mrbronson

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Sep 2019
  • Destination: the Panama Canal & Central America
  • Cabin Type: Balcony

We truly enjoyed our cruise. That being said, Island Princess is OLD and tired. We do enjoy the smaller ships, but in the future because how Princess manages these smaller ships and offers lesser quality food, music, activities and we feel lower quality staff, we will not be returning to the Island.

My primary observations:

No electrical by bed. Had to request extension cord and run across cabin. Trip hazard.

Daily activity flyer, print too small.

Cruise director & staff superficially friendly. If asked for a more in depth answer, they get surly.

Beds are very nice. Towels are the quality of a cheap hotel. Toilet paper and facial tissues are bargain basement quality.

Why did the balcony rail and deck need to be stained and sealed during my passage?

Received notice after several days into cruise that our balcony would not be accessible during the canal crossing. Why did we pay the premium for a balcony or when booking

New Princess Net is pretty good. But, expect to have spotty service during rain and/or fog.

In cabin TV. The presentation of the channels and guide is very hard to figure out and know what is on and how to select.

Bridge cam is out of focus and has been since we've been monitoring in preparation for our cruise. 3 months.

Horizon buffet. Restaurant management not engaging with customers. At every meal on the horizon, 50% of tables had no salt shakers. Weird.

Maritime crew not friendly.

Large wall posters advertising light snacks at the Patisserie and coffee bar. Yet, no food available at the patisserie coffee bar. Apparently, a coffee bar has been added to the casino where the food has been moved to with no mention to the passengers. Just sweet buns.

Front desk/passenger customer service – these ladies are life savers answering questions and solving problems that better management would have prevented from ever happening. Eve & Belen helped me many times and had a delightful attitude.

Cruise director & staff – bubbly, but if asked for some help, or to resolve an issue, not so interested. When met outside of an activity, quite distant and unfriendly.

Morning coffee and afternoon wine at La Patisserie – Fabian and Ana will always be remembered.

Ship's climate control - The ship appears to be 5 separate compartments, connected into 1 master vessel. The temperature and humidity can vary quite noticeably between these sections of the ship.

There are no clocks in the rooms.

Things Princess does not mention, but passengers should know.

The shops, casino, spa, etc. are not Princess operated. They are leased operations. Besides being considerably more expensive than similar State-side businesses, if you have any issues with products needing warranty service, you must go to the vendor, not Princess. $5 for a tube of Pringles? Insulting.

Gambling. There is no gaming commission overseeing operations as you find on land casinos. Payouts for slot machines and table games are at the discretion of the casino and yes, not as favorable as popular casinos such as Las Vegas. Some have noticed that the slot payouts are favorable on day 1 or 2 on the cruise to excite the passengers and then lowered for the remainder of the cruise.

ADA - The doors to many places on the Island Princess ship, unlike the newer Princess ships I've been on are not only not auto-open, and are very hard to open, even for non-wheelchair use passengers.

One of the greatest benefits of Princess vs. other Lines are the self-service laundries. Unfortunately, there is a 3" transition into them so this service is totally inaccessible to a wheelchair.

Food - I do not know if it is the age of the ship, the itinerary, the Chef or what, but as compared to the Regal & Emerald, the menu is far less exciting, the meat quality is lesser and the wait time for food delivery diminishes the dining experience.

Wine – we expect to pay 2x retail as in most restaurants. 4 times retail is insulting.

Princess tries to convince us that they are concerned about the environment by suggesting we should use our bath towels for many days, yet the amount of single use beverage containers and paper products at buffet wash stations is far more wasteful. Does Princess ever mention the $40 million dollar fine for Illegal Ocean dumping and 9 probation violations?

Future Cruise Dept. - I do not understand the benefit to the passenger for this onboard department. I was interested in an Alaska cruise for 2021. Princess had not published the itineraries yet or which ships will be in use. The staff person could not or would not put me an email list to let me know when they were known. Her suggestion was to check with a travel agent. Pretty sad.

We have found that the daily activities on the Island are sparse during the day as compared to our other Princess cruises. Activities such as trivia and marriage match game are not scheduled until later in the day.

The live music in the various lounges and Plaza are noticeably poorer quality than previous cruises on other Princess ships.

Shows - The band is pretty good. Princess advertises 'Las Vegas" style shows. Makes me think that they have never seen Vegas or NYC shows. They are nice, but more like high school talent show quality. There is nothing wrong with them, but be more honest as to the offerings. The musicians in different lounges and plaza were not the quality I’ve come to expect from Princess.

Our other Princess ships had a dedicated pizza restaurant. Very nicely prepared. Santorini's offers pizza a few times per cruise. No better than the pizza on the pool deck and no servers with a 'tude' to deal with.

The Ocean App. Why can't the lunch and dinner menus be post there?

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

Cabin BE Pr709

This is an accessible cabin. Very good bathroom. No electrical by bed so if you have a medical device that needs power, you'll need an extension cord that will be stretched across the cabin. Bad idea for anyone much less a handicapped person. No clock so as you go through time zone changes, it becomes a guessing game. Towels and tissues are very low-end motel quality. Balcony on this deck cannot be accessed during Panama Canal crossing. Oops! Someone might have mentioned that before taking my money.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


Small and just another excuse to shop. Felt safe. No bargains.

Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera)

Beautiful. Easy to negotiate good priced tour with local taxi.

Cartagena's Cathedral

It's a Cathedral.

View All 18 Cartagena's Cathedral Reviews
Cartagena (Colombia)

booked with local taxi. They really try to take advantage of tourists. Lots of begging all over Cartagena. No bargains or local crafts to be had. Didn't feel exceptionally safe.

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