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Boarding This was the fastest and smoothest we have ever boarded a ship. From exiting the cab to entering our room took about 30 minute’s total. It was flawless as was disembarkment. Bars/Entertainment We spent most of our time at the Explorers Lounge and had a great time with the bar staff. We also went to the Wheelhouse for trivia and a tribute to Billie Holiday which was fun. The Casino bar was friendly and down to business as they are way too busy to socialize. Overall the bar and wait staff was the best I’ve seen on 5 Princess cruises; they were more entertaining than the entertainment. As for the entertainment, each individual act/show/game was good or OK but the sequencing was terrible. Karaoke followed by DJ plays your favorite dance music draws a different crowd so everyone just left the bar after Karaoke. It was like scheduling Bingo after a Karaoke show, they didn’t but you get my point. Princess also needs to post large signs at the venue entrance for UNHOSTED Singles & Solo’s Get-Together or LGBTQ+ Get-Togethers events. These unhosted events were in the large Wheelhouse bar and other passengers coming in had no idea it was gay or singles night. The entertainment was nice but we had to jump from venue to venue to stay within a single type of entertainment. Casino I’ve never had so much fun losing money. The Dealers and Pit Bosses were great but the passengers on this cruise were there to have fun and we did. The passengers in the casino did not have that hard core Vegas style attitude towards gambling. The Dealers joked and laughed right along with us; it was great. Smoking Areas The Island Princess only has 3 smoking areas, an outside uncovered space on deck 15, Churchill’s lounge and a small section of the casino. Because of the limited areas on every cruise ship smokers get to know each other very well and form strong bonds/groups. With only 3 smoking areas this cruise was the best as around 10 of us became great friends. I logged my first formal complaint with Princess due to their complete and total lack of understanding smokers. On the formal night it was raining so the outside uncovered smoking area was unusable. They also closed the Casino to smoking that night leaving the small Churchill’s lounge as the only smoking area for the entire ship. The Captain or Casino Manager should be able to override the “rigid schedule” and make ad-hoc changes. If it’s raining don’t close the Casino smoking area; reschedule that for another night – make a managerial decision. The non-smokers just outside Churchill’s Lounge in Crooners were as upset as the smokers. Dining We had the privilege and pleasure to dine in the Sabatini's, Bayou Café, Bordeaux Dining Room, Ultimate Balcony Dining, Horizon Court, Slice Pizzeria and a lot of late night Room Service. The food was delicious everywhere. This was our 3rd time doing the $100 Ultimate Balcony Dining for 2 ($50 each) and it was phenomenal again. A five course meal with Champaign served on your private balcony makes for a beautiful and romantic night. The wait staff is superb and patiently waits in the hallway between courses. If you’re in love, this is the way to create a special moment; photography is included. Princess Theater We did not attend a single show in the theater and there is a good reason for that. We have no idea what each show is from the Patter. We looked in a couple of times and there was a guy talking and another time some people singing. I’m looking for the Broadway style production shows which I heard was on this voyage. Princess knows well in advance what show is being performed in the theater and should do a special Patter insert on the first day with show details and pictures. Ports/Excursions We took this cruise for the Panama Canal and it did not disappoint. Having a wraparound Starboard/Aft balcony (C731) only enhanced the experience. The canal is truly an engineering marvel and should be on everyone’s bucket list. We took various excursions at every port and they all met or exceeded expectations except for one. DO NOT TAKE the Limon, Costa Rica - Limon Waterfront & Backstreet Canals excursion. It was drizzling so they skipped circling an Island where Christopher Columbus anchored his ships in 1502 (big deal) and when straight for the canal. The boat idled for about a half mile down a canal lined with trash and slums, literally. We spent 2 ½ hours looking in the trees for birds, three-toed sloths and monkeys. We saw 1 of each and to kill time they turned the boat around so the people on the other side could see. I was ready to jump out and swim back to the ship. Going to a free public zoo at home would have been better. Princess e-mails out surveys that allow you to rate your excursions. Our ratings now show up when reviewing excursions. Ease take the surveys and rate your excursions – you could be saving someone a horrible experience like the Limon Waterfront & Backstreet Canals excursion. Overall While the entertainment could have been sequenced better, it was still good. A rainy formal night with only one small inside smoking area was terrible, it was only one night. One excursion of 5 was disgusting and the canal was beyond amazing. All of the negatives account for less than 1% of an awesome 10 day cruise. My husband and I cherish the positive and we don’t dwell on the negatives. We had a great stateroom & balcony, delicious food and a lot of fun especially in the Casino. But what made this particular cruise a perfect 10 for us was the Princess staff and our fellow shipmates we bonded with – thank you all.

Island Princess – 10 Day Panama Canal with Costa Rica & Caribbean Dec 20, 2019

Island Princess Cruise Review by KnA8361

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Boarding

This was the fastest and smoothest we have ever boarded a ship. From exiting the cab to entering our room took about 30 minute’s total. It was flawless as was disembarkment.

Bars/Entertainment

We spent most of our time at the Explorers Lounge and had a great time with the bar staff. We also went to the Wheelhouse for trivia and a tribute to Billie Holiday which was fun. The Casino bar was friendly and down to business as they are way too busy to socialize. Overall the bar and wait staff was the best I’ve seen on 5 Princess cruises; they were more entertaining than the entertainment. As for the entertainment, each individual act/show/game was good or OK but the sequencing was terrible. Karaoke followed by DJ plays your favorite dance music draws a different crowd so everyone just left the bar after Karaoke. It was like scheduling Bingo after a Karaoke show, they didn’t but you get my point. Princess also needs to post large signs at the venue entrance for UNHOSTED Singles & Solo’s Get-Together or LGBTQ+ Get-Togethers events. These unhosted events were in the large Wheelhouse bar and other passengers coming in had no idea it was gay or singles night. The entertainment was nice but we had to jump from venue to venue to stay within a single type of entertainment.

Casino

I’ve never had so much fun losing money. The Dealers and Pit Bosses were great but the passengers on this cruise were there to have fun and we did. The passengers in the casino did not have that hard core Vegas style attitude towards gambling. The Dealers joked and laughed right along with us; it was great.

Smoking Areas

The Island Princess only has 3 smoking areas, an outside uncovered space on deck 15, Churchill’s lounge and a small section of the casino. Because of the limited areas on every cruise ship smokers get to know each other very well and form strong bonds/groups. With only 3 smoking areas this cruise was the best as around 10 of us became great friends. I logged my first formal complaint with Princess due to their complete and total lack of understanding smokers. On the formal night it was raining so the outside uncovered smoking area was unusable. They also closed the Casino to smoking that night leaving the small Churchill’s lounge as the only smoking area for the entire ship. The Captain or Casino Manager should be able to override the “rigid schedule” and make ad-hoc changes. If it’s raining don’t close the Casino smoking area; reschedule that for another night – make a managerial decision. The non-smokers just outside Churchill’s Lounge in Crooners were as upset as the smokers.

Dining

We had the privilege and pleasure to dine in the Sabatini's, Bayou Café, Bordeaux Dining Room, Ultimate Balcony Dining, Horizon Court, Slice Pizzeria and a lot of late night Room Service. The food was delicious everywhere. This was our 3rd time doing the $100 Ultimate Balcony Dining for 2 ($50 each) and it was phenomenal again. A five course meal with Champaign served on your private balcony makes for a beautiful and romantic night. The wait staff is superb and patiently waits in the hallway between courses. If you’re in love, this is the way to create a special moment; photography is included.

Princess Theater

We did not attend a single show in the theater and there is a good reason for that. We have no idea what each show is from the Patter. We looked in a couple of times and there was a guy talking and another time some people singing. I’m looking for the Broadway style production shows which I heard was on this voyage. Princess knows well in advance what show is being performed in the theater and should do a special Patter insert on the first day with show details and pictures.

Ports/Excursions

We took this cruise for the Panama Canal and it did not disappoint. Having a wraparound Starboard/Aft balcony (C731) only enhanced the experience. The canal is truly an engineering marvel and should be on everyone’s bucket list. We took various excursions at every port and they all met or exceeded expectations except for one. DO NOT TAKE the Limon, Costa Rica - Limon Waterfront & Backstreet Canals excursion. It was drizzling so they skipped circling an Island where Christopher Columbus anchored his ships in 1502 (big deal) and when straight for the canal. The boat idled for about a half mile down a canal lined with trash and slums, literally. We spent 2 ½ hours looking in the trees for birds, three-toed sloths and monkeys. We saw 1 of each and to kill time they turned the boat around so the people on the other side could see. I was ready to jump out and swim back to the ship. Going to a free public zoo at home would have been better. Princess e-mails out surveys that allow you to rate your excursions. Our ratings now show up when reviewing excursions. Ease take the surveys and rate your excursions – you could be saving someone a horrible experience like the Limon Waterfront & Backstreet Canals excursion.

Overall

While the entertainment could have been sequenced better, it was still good. A rainy formal night with only one small inside smoking area was terrible, it was only one night. One excursion of 5 was disgusting and the canal was beyond amazing. All of the negatives account for less than 1% of an awesome 10 day cruise. My husband and I cherish the positive and we don’t dwell on the negatives. We had a great stateroom & balcony, delicious food and a lot of fun especially in the Casino. But what made this particular cruise a perfect 10 for us was the Princess staff and our fellow shipmates we bonded with – thank you all.
KnA8361’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MD
Cabin
Our cabin on the Island Princess was a Mini-Suite on Caribe Deck 10, C731 located at the aft of the ship. The room was great and the balcony even better. The balcony was very large facing starboard side and the stern with a great view of the wake. This room is known for its vibrations and things rattling but we didn’t notice it. We always book aft staterooms and you will always feel a slight vibrations but it was nothing to be concerned about. The furniture and desk top are old and ready to be replaced but again it was nothing to complain about. Overall this is wonderful stateroom and the best possible cabin for the Panama Canal.
Caribe Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews