The reason I chose this voyage was the amazing itinerary that was offered. I had only cruised on Princess one time and I wasn’t happy. I had many friends that praise the line so I was willing to try again. Unfortunately, our experience was not a positive one.
The itinerary was wonderful and we were able to get to most ports, except one due to a delay because of fueling, weather and ultimately a strike in the port of San Antonio.
The Island Princess is a ship in need of an overall. Of course some things could be corrected by home office immediately. I was appalled to find holes in tablecloths and sheets. Towels were so thin they need to be discarded. Dining room chairs with rips across the seats – and there were many with rips and looked dirty. Our room was a balcony room with a single desk chair, no chair or couch to sit on in the room so we had to bring a balcony chair inside if you did not want to sit on the bed! A mini suite would have been a choice for more room and a couch, but BATHTUBS which are in mini suites, are ridiculous on a cruise ship. Most of the passengers are 55+ and using a bathtub is not an alternative, definitely not for me. Our room steward was fine and kept the room in as best shape as possible but could have used some lessons in vacuuming. I have never been on a ship that painting rust areas was not taken care of when in port or windows that were not washed for 58 days!
One of the most important things on a cruise ship is cleanliness. The procedures that Princess has imposed are a nightmare waiting to happen! Actually it was well on its way during this voyage. Unfortunately, for many passengers they were impacted. I have never been on a ship with so few hand sanitizers around the ship. The dining room was the exception but really I did not see them anywhere, not in lounges, coffee bars, the theater and even right before security when returning to the ship. A hand sanitizer at the bottom of the gangway is worthless when you have to hold the railings on the gangway to enter the ship. No one checked if people used it at the bottom of the gangway. There should be someone with sanitizer as you enter the ship itself. I feel that this was a reason why so many on the ship had coughs, sneezes and runny noses – the cruise cough! It was well known that if you went to medical there would be a good 10-15 people waiting to see the doctor. I heard at one point, the doctor said 25% of the ship had been to medical and that was within the first 30 days. Luckily, we were not part of the Coronavirus scare that has affected 3 Princess ships I think they saving grace was the length of the cruise and that about 75% were on for the entire cruise.
A hotbed for germs was the Horizon Court. Yes, you serve drinks, but do the waiters CLEAN the tables when you are finished - No! They may have gotten better once they tried to enforce hand washing and restricted flow, but too little too late! After we experienced this lack of cleanliness we stopped going there for anything. We watched passengers sneeze into food and touch things with hands while waiters and a head waiter, stood by and said nothing. Steps should have been taken right away when they were told of the sneezing, touching food etc etc.
On a positive note the head staff, in the Bordeaux dining room, was excellent. Some waiters were well trained but several were mediocre at best.
We watched more than one waiter serve a table. When the guests got up they cleared the plates then reset the table with clean dishes, never changing the table cloth. Of course we told the head waiters when we saw this happening.
The home office needs to review the menus and compare it to the provisions that are ordered. For example a diver scallop is a large scallop, probably an inch and a half in to 2 inches in diameter. A bay scallop, which was what was served as a diver scallop is a small scallop, about a 1/2 inch in diameter if that. Broccoli should be green, not yellow when served. Yellow means it is going bad. The quality of the beef was disgusting. The fish, although sometimes mislabeled, was good most nights and well prepared. Brown mangoes are rotten mangoes. What a shame that a cruise line like Princess serves a hamburger as the “everyday” choice for beef. We shouldn’t even mention serving a Monte Christo with cocktail sauce? Running out of items like lettuce toward the end of the cruise or bananas can be acceptable but running out of items before we reached San Antonio, one third through the cruise and never replenished?
Entertainment, what a shame that a trip around South America and had virtually no local, Latin entertainers. The theater was such a hotbed for germs with people coughing and sneezing that many chose early on to stay clear of the theater. Tried once after Rio, same situation so we left before entertainment even started.
The entertainment in the lounges was ok but to have the same entertainers for 58 days gets boring, a change every so often would have been nice.
Guest services ran very well but you could tell that the staff members had their hands tied when it came to certain issues.
The cruise director and his staff were excellent and there were many activities that could keep you busy during the many sea days on this cruise.
We took the cruise hoping that our opinion of Princess would change for the better but unfortunately this cruise reinforced our dislike for the line this will be the last Princess cruise we ever take.
Cabin is small with only a desk chair, no couch or side chair. Shower small. Plenty of storage space.