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My husband and I tried Princess for the very first time for this unusual 4-night cruise. We did it because we’re considering it for the Panama Canal. So this was a test. Princess had one chance to impress us and, well . . . for us, their customer service did not wow. We have been Royal Caribbean and Carnival people for 15 cruises over the past decade (mostly Royal). We also took one Disney cruise. We boarded the ship, excited and open-minded. First, the positives: The Island Princess is lovely with its abundant rich wood trim, reminiscent of Disney ships. Also abundant is comfortable seating in the library and lounges, atrium and even walkways – more than we’ve ever seen on any ship. Great to sit and chat with friends or to read quietly – kudos. We also found the ship much quieter than our past experiences. Hurrah for keeping the buffet open for so many hours (almost nonstop). While none of us need to eat 24 hours a day, this avoids the clock-watching and discovering “Oh nuts, the buffet closed for lunch ten minutes ago.” Convenient! Also hurrah for simply making pool towels available to anyone all the time, eliminating the checking in and out of towels on our other cruises. So much nicer! The library is the best we’ve seen – for a cruise ship, well-stocked and fairly generous seating plus tables to play board games or cards. While they’re at a premium, the overstuffed chairs in here with footstools are to die for – with a view out the window to boot! The pools were acceptable but the hot tubs we found were very small, handling only five people comfortably. Food – ever-popular subject when it comes to cruising, isn’t it? We’d have to say it was comparable to Royal and Carnival in the main dining room. The buffet was less enticing. We found it difficult to find anything we liked at noon, and on the days we went, no meat was being carved. Lobster was never offered in the evening. My husband paid for the filet mignon one evening and found it less than stellar, not the melt-in-your-mouth tenderness he had hoped for. On a side note, when I saw the word Patisserie I fully expected bakery and/or desserts and free coffee and hot tea. Instead it was really just another bar emphasizing alcohol with no sweet treats. The only coffee available there was “specialty” and came with a price tag. Just a disappointment, compared with the Café Promenade which is almost always open on Royal’s ships. Also disappointing was the quality of ice cream at Swirls: what we were given was grainy and the chocolate was bitter. Pizza was ordinary and Italian sausage was not a choice. But service is where Princess really fell down. For us, attentiveness needed improving in the main dining room for traditional dining, especially beverage service. Our orders are generally quite simple: iced tea or water with lemon. We had a dickens of a time getting refills on either. My husband was brought one tiny glass of iced tea (mostly ice) and had to keep reminding the waiter that he needed more tea. “Yes sir, it’s on its way,” and then nothing. I couldn’t get simple replenishing of my ice water either without reminding them. Then we ordered coffee with our dessert. Everyone at our table had finished eating our desserts before they ever began bringing coffee. Naturally, we had wanted coffee and dessert TOGETHER. Just frustrating. Finally, on our last morning in the main dining room we ordered hot breakfasts and waited and waited and waited. The maître de happened by and asked if everything was okay. We said “Well, yes, but we still don’t have our breakfasts.” He ran over to the waiters who frantically looked through their cart, finding our breakfasts under layers of about six meals under those plastic covers. We’re not sure we ever would have received them without the maître de’s intervention. Naturally the food was cold by then, but we ate it because we needed to get going. The following is one of those experiences you probably won’t have so skip it if you want. But I think it does speak to overall “customer service”: We noticed the first night that our cabin was unusually cold, and adjusting the thermostat did nothing to warm it up, so we reported it the next morning. My husband had caught a cold and was wanting to sleep that day so he would feel better by the next day for our one port, Amber Cove. A maintenance person came and said he needed parts and would return in the afternoon. He never did, so I visited Passenger Services. As the gentleman looked at his computer, he let it slip that “this has been reported before”, meaning a guest on a previous cruise had apparently reported it (so Princess knew of the problem before giving us that room?) He sounded very pessimistic that it would be fixed by the end of the day so around 5:30 he offered a different cabin. He said someone would come to our cabin and then show me the new room, for my approval. That “someone” eventually arrived, but it took a long time. All in all, it was more than a three-hour process to deal with Passenger Services and get us moved. They helped with our hanging clothes and luggage but it was very annoying to have to pull everything out of drawers and cubby holes, repack and then unpack again – just for a four-night cruise! The timing was such that I barely had time to change for dinner and of course my husband did not get the rest he had hoped for that day! I did hear an apology, but I fully expected some type of gift delivered to us the next day. Nothing. So did they resolve the problem? Yes, but it seemed like a problem that they were aware of before putting us in that room, which is unacceptable. And then the resolution process was too slow and convoluted. I kept getting calls “Did this person come to your door yet?” No. Repeat. Repeat. I know that a bad cabin or inattentive waiter can just be the luck of the draw, but people do judge on their own experiences. So we are thinking through and debating whether we should choose Princess for our ten-night Panama Canal cruise or not. Entertainment was only so-so compared to what we experience on Royal with its Broadway musicals, aqua/dive shows and ice skating shows. Silk had talented people but the story was not easy to follow. The comedian was only okay. The male singer was the most enjoyable. We skipped the final production because the write-up said it included voodoo, something we are not comfortable with as a known evil. While the ship was decorated for Christmas, we had hoped for a bit more Christmas music by performers since we were sailing so close to Christmas itself.

Classic Lovely Ship But Service Needs Upping

Island Princess Cruise Review by skykingNC

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2019
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Balcony
My husband and I tried Princess for the very first time for this unusual 4-night cruise. We did it because we’re considering it for the Panama Canal. So this was a test. Princess had one chance to impress us and, well . . . for us, their customer service did not wow.

We have been Royal Caribbean and Carnival people for 15 cruises over the past decade (mostly Royal). We also took one Disney cruise. We boarded the ship, excited and open-minded.

First, the positives: The Island Princess is lovely with its abundant rich wood trim, reminiscent of Disney ships. Also abundant is comfortable seating in the library and lounges, atrium and even walkways – more than we’ve ever seen on any ship. Great to sit and chat with friends or to read quietly – kudos. We also found the ship much quieter than our past experiences.

Hurrah for keeping the buffet open for so many hours (almost nonstop). While none of us need to eat 24 hours a day, this avoids the clock-watching and discovering “Oh nuts, the buffet closed for lunch ten minutes ago.” Convenient! Also hurrah for simply making pool towels available to anyone all the time, eliminating the checking in and out of towels on our other cruises. So much nicer!

The library is the best we’ve seen – for a cruise ship, well-stocked and fairly generous seating plus tables to play board games or cards. While they’re at a premium, the overstuffed chairs in here with footstools are to die for – with a view out the window to boot! The pools were acceptable but the hot tubs we found were very small, handling only five people comfortably.

Food – ever-popular subject when it comes to cruising, isn’t it? We’d have to say it was comparable to Royal and Carnival in the main dining room. The buffet was less enticing. We found it difficult to find anything we liked at noon, and on the days we went, no meat was being carved. Lobster was never offered in the evening. My husband paid for the filet mignon one evening and found it less than stellar, not the melt-in-your-mouth tenderness he had hoped for. On a side note, when I saw the word Patisserie I fully expected bakery and/or desserts and free coffee and hot tea. Instead it was really just another bar emphasizing alcohol with no sweet treats. The only coffee available there was “specialty” and came with a price tag. Just a disappointment, compared with the Café Promenade which is almost always open on Royal’s ships. Also disappointing was the quality of ice cream at Swirls: what we were given was grainy and the chocolate was bitter. Pizza was ordinary and Italian sausage was not a choice.

But service is where Princess really fell down.

For us, attentiveness needed improving in the main dining room for traditional dining, especially beverage service. Our orders are generally quite simple: iced tea or water with lemon. We had a dickens of a time getting refills on either. My husband was brought one tiny glass of iced tea (mostly ice) and had to keep reminding the waiter that he needed more tea. “Yes sir, it’s on its way,” and then nothing. I couldn’t get simple replenishing of my ice water either without reminding them. Then we ordered coffee with our dessert. Everyone at our table had finished eating our desserts before they ever began bringing coffee. Naturally, we had wanted coffee and dessert TOGETHER. Just frustrating.

Finally, on our last morning in the main dining room we ordered hot breakfasts and waited and waited and waited. The maître de happened by and asked if everything was okay. We said “Well, yes, but we still don’t have our breakfasts.” He ran over to the waiters who frantically looked through their cart, finding our breakfasts under layers of about six meals under those plastic covers. We’re not sure we ever would have received them without the maître de’s intervention. Naturally the food was cold by then, but we ate it because we needed to get going.

The following is one of those experiences you probably won’t have so skip it if you want. But I think it does speak to overall “customer service”:

We noticed the first night that our cabin was unusually cold, and adjusting the thermostat did nothing to warm it up, so we reported it the next morning. My husband had caught a cold and was wanting to sleep that day so he would feel better by the next day for our one port, Amber Cove. A maintenance person came and said he needed parts and would return in the afternoon. He never did, so I visited Passenger Services. As the gentleman looked at his computer, he let it slip that “this has been reported before”, meaning a guest on a previous cruise had apparently reported it (so Princess knew of the problem before giving us that room?) He sounded very pessimistic that it would be fixed by the end of the day so around 5:30 he offered a different cabin.

He said someone would come to our cabin and then show me the new room, for my approval. That “someone” eventually arrived, but it took a long time. All in all, it was more than a three-hour process to deal with Passenger Services and get us moved. They helped with our hanging clothes and luggage but it was very annoying to have to pull everything out of drawers and cubby holes, repack and then unpack again – just for a four-night cruise! The timing was such that I barely had time to change for dinner and of course my husband did not get the rest he had hoped for that day!

I did hear an apology, but I fully expected some type of gift delivered to us the next day. Nothing. So did they resolve the problem? Yes, but it seemed like a problem that they were aware of before putting us in that room, which is unacceptable. And then the resolution process was too slow and convoluted. I kept getting calls “Did this person come to your door yet?” No. Repeat. Repeat.

I know that a bad cabin or inattentive waiter can just be the luck of the draw, but people do judge on their own experiences. So we are thinking through and debating whether we should choose Princess for our ten-night Panama Canal cruise or not.

Entertainment was only so-so compared to what we experience on Royal with its Broadway musicals, aqua/dive shows and ice skating shows. Silk had talented people but the story was not easy to follow. The comedian was only okay. The male singer was the most enjoyable. We skipped the final production because the write-up said it included voodoo, something we are not comfortable with as a known evil. While the ship was decorated for Christmas, we had hoped for a bit more Christmas music by performers since we were sailing so close to Christmas itself.
skykingNC’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MD
The following is one of those experiences you probably won’t have so skip it if you want. But I think it does speak to overall “customer service” and "problem resolution":
We noticed the first night that our cabin was unusually cold, and adjusting the thermostat did nothing to warm it up, so we reported it the next morning. My husband had caught a cold and was wanting to sleep that day so he would feel better by the next day for our one port, Amber Cove. A maintenance person came and said he needed parts and would return in the afternoon. He never did, so I visited Passenger Services. As the gentleman looked at his computer, he let it slip that “this has been reported before”, meaning a guest on a previous cruise had apparently reported it (so Princess knew of the problem before giving us that room?) He sounded very pessimistic that it would be fixed by the end of the day so around 5:30 he offered a different cabin.
He said someone would come to our cabin and then show me the new room, for my approval. That “someone” eventually arrived, but it took a long time. All in all, it was more than a three-hour process to deal with Passenger Services and get us moved. They helped with our hanging clothes and luggage but it was very annoying to have to pull everything out of drawers and cubby holes, repack and then unpack again – just for a four-night cruise! The timing was such that I barely had time to change for dinner and of course my husband did not get the rest he had hoped for that day!
I did hear an apology, but I fully expected some type of gift delivered to us the next day. Nothing. So did they resolve the problem? Yes, but it seemed like a problem that they were aware of before putting us in that room, which is unacceptable. And then the resolution process was too slow and convoluted. I kept getting calls “Did this person come to your door yet?” No. Repeat. Repeat. To be fair, they said they "upgraded" us when they moved us: well, it was a balcony which meant nothing to me because we had purposely picked a minisuite that had more square feet within the room itself INSTEAD of a balcony (for us, that was more valued).
I know that a bad cabin or inattentive waiter can just be the luck of the draw, but people do judge on their own experiences. So we are thinking through and debating whether we should choose Princess for our ten-night Panama Canal cruise or not.
Caribe Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

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