We were a group of eight cruise age people, meaning seniors, ranging from 72 to 75, one in wheelchair and one mobility challenged using a walker. The draw of this cruise was the itinerary, which turned out to be more challenging than ... Read More
We were a group of eight cruise age people, meaning seniors, ranging from 72 to 75, one in wheelchair and one mobility challenged using a walker. The draw of this cruise was the itinerary, which turned out to be more challenging than anticipated, and the Turkish ports of Istanbul and Kusadasi, as well as Naples, Italy.
Starting with the negatives, it all started when we checked in and found that Princess had "upgraded" one of the reserved accessible cabins to a non-accessible mini-suite. The perks of a mini-suite would have been nice, but for a person in a wheelchair, a door and bathroom that are not accessible is not a viable option. Despite repeated claims from the onboard staff that "we must have authorized the change," (a false claim by the way), the problem was eventually fixed to the total satisfaction of the couple involved. As the contact for the couple, I have checked my emails and have received confirmation from my TA that there had been NO notification of the proposed "upgrade" and none had been authorized. For me, just another in a string of misinformation from Princess headquarters.
Leading me to the second disappointment. Princess at the last minute cancelled the call on Istanbul, citing safety concerns. For months it had been known that the day of the call was to be an election day, and Princess headquarters had assured my TA that there were no plans to skip Istanbul. Then at the last minute it happened. Subsequent events required further itinerary changes, suggesting that Istanbul could have been switched to another day and not be cancelled. A clear case of convenience for Princess rather than consideration of the clients who might have booked this cruise specifically to visit Istanbul, as was the case for half of my party. (As a "substitute" Island Princess wasted a day sitting off Santorini!)
On the positive side, Island Princess is a nice ship that was somewhat butchered to make it fit into Venice itineraries, then rules changed and it's back to Alaska. The promenade deck is severely truncated, the Vista lounge is gone, and the Fitness Center is more like a down scale gyn than a bright, airy, ocean view fitness center common on most Princess ships.
Evidently, Princess is still having birthing pains with "Anytime" dining. Long frustrating lines at prime dining hours in the Anytime dining room while upstairs the Traditional dining room sat largely empty. After a couple of days, the lines disappeared, presumably frustration set in and the Horizon Court (buffet) got busy. Our party, with mobility problems, was eventually accommodated at a fixed table of proper size, but we had to maneuver the wheelchair up two steps to reach the table when several of same size were on the entry level. The Maitre'd in the Anytime room was not the most pleasant face on the ship. Our service team, Richelle and Sherwin, were outstanding however and mealtimes were a joy. Food was Princess standard, comparable to an upscale restaurant back home. La Patisserie is a joke,its' a bar not an alternate food establishment, so miss the International Cafe on Emerald and Ruby.
Our group of eight had a range of cabins, from standard midship balconies, to a forward mini-suite to a new accessible balcony cabin in the newly refurbished area. All were more than adequate with excellent cabin service from all the Philippine stewards. The new accessible balcony cabin was especially nice, large, with totally accessible bathroom and a large balcony, with no complaints about noise or vibrations mentioned in some reviews of this area.
We did not manage to partake of the entertainment or activities, due in part to the port intensity and some minor fatigue, but also in part to the scheduling of entertainment. At our age, shows starting at 10:30pm are just not on, and the earlier show conflicted with the only meal time we were able to arrange. Some Princess ships alter the show length and schedule three in an evening, much more accommodating. Not sure if there was a Cruise Director on board, certainly not one in evidence.
Just a pet peeve, the Captain's announcement were virtually incomprehensible and curt.
This review turned out to be more negative than intended, but as i wrote the negatives came flooding back and the positives seemed minor. Too bad, we had a good time but have had much better on other Princess ships. Read Less