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15 San Francisco Princess Island Princess Cruise Reviews

I choose this cruise because if the itineray ie full transit of the Panama Canal Overall the cruise was good although st night time it was dead definetly an older age group on this type of cruise Embarkation was quick and smooth. ... Read More
I choose this cruise because if the itineray ie full transit of the Panama Canal Overall the cruise was good although st night time it was dead definetly an older age group on this type of cruise Embarkation was quick and smooth. the ship itself is okay but dated. the cabin okay smaller than I am used to and the shower far too small - bathroom floor ended up soaking every night Entertainment - was mediocre the cruise director poor although not a bad singer Dining staff and bar staff fab Food in dining room was good but not keen on Horizon tended to use The Grill and Pizza place We did go for afternoon tea a couple of times which was great but the staff come round and try to put everything on your small plate at once ie sandwiches scones jam cream cake and cookie instead they should serve sandwiches and when you are ready the could fo the scones etc but it was good and staff are only being told to do by management. Ports and excursions were good Would I go again yeah but not sure on princess as I found drinks package expensive and the internet really expensive think princess need to look at the costs of these and come in line with other cruise companies Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, and Princess is our go to cruise line. Our cabin was standard Princess, small and efficient with a tiny bathroom and shower. The crew was great and helpful. They seemed like a happy crew. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, and Princess is our go to cruise line. Our cabin was standard Princess, small and efficient with a tiny bathroom and shower. The crew was great and helpful. They seemed like a happy crew. We think the entertainment was very good compared to our past cruises on Princess. There were some very talented singers and dancers. The food was uneven; sometimes very good, other times small portions and way too much salt. A note to the Chef, taste it before you send it out. Embarkation and departure was smooth and efficient. The Princess sponsored port activities were fine but overpriced. We did private excursions in Costa Rica and Cartagena and were happier with those. Now for my big complaint. Effy the ship jewelry store. It is almost impossible to walk by the store without being accosted by pushy salesmen. It is as bad as time share sales in some ports. It is like they invited the Diamond International people on board and gave them free reign. This is really offensive to me and I’m sure many other guests. If I want to buy some jewelry, I’ll come into the store and check it out, otherwise get out of my face. I am hoping this is just an anomaly but if it is like this on other Princess cruises I may have to re-evaluate my go to cruise line. If anybody from Princess reads this, have them back off. Most people don’t appreciate high pressure sales tactics on a captive audience. There, I’ve said my piece. Aside from Effy we had a really good time on this cruise and would recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Exceptional Princess entertainment. We also enjoyed Crooners most every night with David Moore. The Princess orchestra did an amazing job with all of the entertainers. Our mini-suite was a plus-loved the larger balcony and bathroom. ... Read More
Exceptional Princess entertainment. We also enjoyed Crooners most every night with David Moore. The Princess orchestra did an amazing job with all of the entertainers. Our mini-suite was a plus-loved the larger balcony and bathroom. Steward service by Khus was efficient and friendly on the 10th deck. The guitarist-Danny- provided great music in the Wheelhouse. The lectures were outstanding—-especially the day-long dialog going through the Panama Canal with Bill. Boarding in San Francisco was quick as well as our Deboard in Ft Lauderdale. The best part for us was going through the Panama Canal since this was reason we opted for this particular cruise. In December the canal traffic was light but it still takes all day to go thru the locks. Remember to inform those at home to check out the island princess.com web camera so they can view you going thru the locks. The weather in Dec 2018 was perfect. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I normally do not write reviews but people should be informed before deciding to take a cruise with Princess Cruise Lines. Don’t get me wrong, we did not have a horrible time, but there are factors that made it not enjoyable. We chose ... Read More
I normally do not write reviews but people should be informed before deciding to take a cruise with Princess Cruise Lines. Don’t get me wrong, we did not have a horrible time, but there are factors that made it not enjoyable. We chose this cruise because of the timing and crossing the Panama Canal was on our bucket list. First and foremost is the Elite status they give to returning passengers. They flaunt the special lines, discounts and privileges of returning Elite passengers to the point that the first-time cruisers felt like a lower-class passenger. Much like those of maritime crossings of the past. The anytime dining was the biggest fiasco I had seen in any restaurant. I read the prior reviews and we went directly to the Maitre D’ on the first day and requested traditional dining. We were given the second seating, which is okay, but we missed several events in the lounges because of the diner time. We heard nothing but complaints about the anytime seating. You either try to make a reservation or wait in line, which usually stretched all the way around the Atrium. They do have a special line for Elite passengers. Most of the people we talked to just gave up and went to the buffet most nights. The shore excursions have problems as well. We signed up for excursions months in advance. We continued to check the website as we know they add others over time. We noticed one of the excursions was removed from the list of signups, but it was still on our itinerary. We called several times to ensure we were still scheduled even though they were not offering it anymore. We were assured we were still scheduled for the excursion. On the day of embarkation, we received a notice that it was cancelled. I was highly upset because the other excursions we wanted were full. The excursion desk only shrugged and said, “Sorry.” They did not offer any compensation or offerings to make up for the inconvenience. We also went on an excursion that we were completely unsatisfied with. Again, the excursion desk only said sorry when I asked for a refund. You would think that after spending over $6000 for a cruise they would refund a mere $140 to have a satisfied customer. All they said was to contact customer service when I got back to the states. This issue is still pending. I planned on upgrading my wife’s diamond on this trip as I had for our 10th anniversary. This was our 25th anniversary trip. I brought cash and had done my homework for Aruba. The shopping host talked me into going to Diamonds International in Cabo San Lucas. Just heads up, don’t go there. They have overpriced designer jewelry and were not willing to negotiate prices. The shopping host joined in with a hard sell and told us we needed to compromise if we wanted to upgrade. We left the store and went to a pier side bar named Fat Tuesday. Great place. You sit on a swing outside and drink slushy drinks. When I complained about the shopping host, I was told they do not work for Princess. I later found out that any shop recommended by the cruise ships have to give 5% of all sales to the cruise line that recommends them. In Aruba, we went to Germani Jewelers and got a great deal. They had exactly what I wanted. Gave us the amount we were expecting for our trade in diamond and we saved a tremendous amount in sales and taxes. I highly recommend Germani Jewelers and would warn anyone to stay clear of Diamonds International. Finally, the customer service on this ship was lacking in the worst way. We have traveled with Royal Caribbean three times prior and have had fabulous service. Here, it was just not the same. From the quality of the food to employees just not greeting us as they walked by. There are so many extras that we noticed on Royal Caribbean that were not on Princess which just made the trip less than enjoyable. They don’t even fold the towels into animal shapes. I would highly recommend any other cruise line over Princess. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Ship was very nice. It has some aging but nothing that interferes with a good trip. The staff was fabulous!! Don't do anytime dining. Princess just can't seem to get it right. If it assigned, get on board and go immediately ... Read More
Ship was very nice. It has some aging but nothing that interferes with a good trip. The staff was fabulous!! Don't do anytime dining. Princess just can't seem to get it right. If it assigned, get on board and go immediately to the dining room and try to get it changed. (You can thank me later). The ports were great. The canal is amazing. And the 3:00 daily happy hour is busy so arrive early! We cruise three times a year and would do this trip again tomorrow!! We had a balcony cabin and really enjoyed it. Plenty of elevators and never really had to wait. Food was very good. Like I said the only real glitch is Anytime dining. Since the ship is half the size of the mega ships, getting on, off even on port days is easy. Our favorite ports were Cabo and Cartagena. Enjoy the cruise! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this cruise as we wanted a full transit of the Panama Canal and we only needed to fly 1 way as our travel agent, Zoe of Zoe Cruises and tours provided buses for those of us living in the Sacramento Valley to the cruise terminal. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we wanted a full transit of the Panama Canal and we only needed to fly 1 way as our travel agent, Zoe of Zoe Cruises and tours provided buses for those of us living in the Sacramento Valley to the cruise terminal. We deplore the hassle of flying & changing planes. I had been told by a friend that Island had been remodeled to add more cabins and eliminate the Vista lounge. what I found surprising is the lack of windows in the gym. This is the 1st ship that we have ever gone on that lacked windows in the gym in front of the treadmills. The gym was on a lower deck and tucked away in a dark corner. The SPA continued to be on the Lido deck with windows and lots of unused space that could be adapted to accommodate the gym. I strongly encourage Princess to consider moving the Gym back to the SPA area where it is on most ships, e.g. Grand Princess. We often cruise on Grand Princess and I liked the roominess of the Horizon court at the front of the ship on Island Princess as opposed to the cramped feeling on Grand. We had a chocolate fountain in the evening something that I don't recall seeing on Grand Princess. Food was good not outstanding-typical cruise faire. There was a Patisserie but no International Court with its variety of snacks on the lower level. Another positive was the location of the casino away from Passenger services so the smoke didn't contaminate the Passenger Services area. On Deck 15 cruisers must walk through the smokers area which needs to be moved and isolated . I saw one cruiser put her hands over her mouth & nose which I understood when I walked through the smoker's area for my circuit around the top deck. This smoking area is also near the grill and needs to be moved away from the Grill. The layout of the Island Princess seemed easier to navigate than Grand. The library was well stocked with lots of chairs and areas for the card players. A very pleasant area to hang out. Our cabin was worn and dated feeling. The cushions on our sofa bed were so worn that the cushions' padding and worn down to nothing. The art work near the window was very faded. The towels were worn and the shower had mold and was in need of a deeper cleaning than could be provided by our hardworking steward, Marlon. The mattress lacked padding. We were on Grand Princess in September in a suite and encountered the same problem--then Grand princess went to dry dock and received new bedding for our New Year Cruise. My impression is that Princess is extending the time on replacing furnishings and linens to save $$ and allowing the state rooms to become shabby. I recommend more frequent deep cleanings of staterooms and replacement of linens and furniture. the last day while waiting to go off ship in the Platinum/Elite Lounge in the Provence dining room 200 of the dining room chairs were being replaced. We were very pleased with the Bayou musical on ship . It had a story line, great special effects, singing/dancing etc. I wrote a comment to Island Princess that it was the best musical that I had seen on ship in years. We cruise frequently and on Grand Princess the entertainment , shows never seem to change. The Encore musical was good but lacked a story line. A WORD OF ADVICE, there is NOT enough seating in the Princess Theatre for the Island Princess and Grand Princess. Cruisers need to go to the shows at least 30 minutes early to ensure good seating. This is a consistent problem. Being frequent cruisers we have cut back on buying the over priced photos and find our own photos are just as good and cheaper. The boutiques on board seem over priced and the merchandise seems recycled over and over again from cruise to cruise . More seating is needed in the atrium area as cruisers frequently sit on the stairwell steps to watch presentations and entertainment. This can be a safety issue as cruisers have to walk around those sitting on the step and cannot reach the banisters for support. Another Safety Issue for cruisers using mobility devices. The metal gang planks to go on and off the ships for excursions are poorly designed and there needs to be a redesign. The metal ramp steps are hard to navigate and can be steep depending on the tides. I don't understand why lifts similar to the ones on handicapped vans cant be adapted?? Excursions do not allow sufficient time to return to the ship and do some shopping at the vendors near the ships. We always felt rushed when returning from excursions. Another pet beef of ours , is the lack of TV channels and dated programs . I always ask Princess to add more channels such as ABC, NBC etc. so we can catch up on US news after all BBC is offered. We do like the movies under the stars during the day and evening. The Lotus Pool is a relaxing area of serenity and I recommend it. Bottom line although we five Princess a 3 star rating we will continue to cruise with Princess as I am now Elite level and we can catch cruises out of San Francisco & not fly or only fly 1 way. I wish other cruise lines would come to S.F to give Princess more competition and incentive to send their ships cruising out of SF to dry dock for updating . Princess is now adding the Club Class Mini Suite as a level between the suite and mini-suite. The mini-suite, club class is supposed offer augmented stateroom amenities and dining options. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We booked our first cruise 3 weeks prior to sailing. Be advised - there is a lot of paper work involved (and I mean a lot!) plus mandatory forms, particularly as requested by Princess cruises. At 54, we were a little daunted when we ... Read More
We booked our first cruise 3 weeks prior to sailing. Be advised - there is a lot of paper work involved (and I mean a lot!) plus mandatory forms, particularly as requested by Princess cruises. At 54, we were a little daunted when we discovered the average age was over 70, but don't let this put you off. This age group lends itself to a courteous, peaceful crowd, good conversation, well mannered and great company without the noise and bustle of some holidays. We were very impressed. We booked outside cabin with obstructed views. Comfortable, very clean, spacious with tv, good sized fridge, hairdryer (not the most powerful, but electrical goods, including irons are removed at boarding and collected before disembarkation so don't bother taking any), large, comfortable bed with pillows so comfortable I wanted to buy for home. At least 40 coat hangers in spacious hanging area and a safe. The views were reasonable and better than anticipated. Try and book a room with shorter corridors as less people passing. However, sleep quality good and very little noise heard. Stewards clean the rooms 3 x daily which we did not really require. Everyone we spoke to got 2 pillow chocolates each day, we received 6 in total, but then I'm not a chocolate fan. The bathrooms were comfortable, towels changed too frequently and we had no issues with the shower space which many reviewers complain about. The steward provides the daily bulletin and info about trips. You need to read these or you will miss out. We visited a friends mini suite and will be booking a balcony next time - so much netter having that extra space. We chose Anytime dining in The Bordeaux restaurant where you can request table for 2.4.6 or more and it's fun joining total strangers for a meal and conversation, though the American opening line: where do you come from? gets a little repetitive towards the end. The queues mentioned so frequently were not an issue, reduced quickly and gave us the opportunity to chat to other couples as we waited - most times there were no queues. The service is very good, the food (I had creme brulee every night, whilst the lobster, lamb shank and garlic prawns were some of my favourites) and you can order as many starters, mains and desserts as you like. Don't feel obliged to pick one only as some of the portions are small. You can also take drinks from the bars in and we actually took our own glass of wine on several occasions as we found bottles expensive (25$ and upwards per bottle and 7$ upwards for a glass, wine packages available and the 10 bottles for 200$ was popular). The buffet food in The Horizon bar on the top deck is also very good and they do specialities each night (mexican, chinese, burger bar). The plates and cups are plastic. It can be waiter service for drinks though we tended to get our own tea, coffee, iced tea and cold water as included in price. There is a bar and you get proper glassware when paying. Try the lemonade with lunch which the waiters bring. You can eat in or outside by the pool and you will regularly see people carrying plates of food all over the ship, so you basically have food available all day in most places. This restaurant is very busy for breakfast on trip days, whereas the Bordeaux and Provence are much better - waiter service, order as much as you like from a menu which is similar to what's on offer in rest of ship and the coffee is vastly superior. Entertainment. Dancing is mostly in groups, like line dancing which the younger end found frustrating. Dancing independently is not encouraged, though there is a wide variety. The afternoon by the pool with the resident DJ tends to be less crowded and often involves games for bottles champagne. I won 2! The opera singer was superb as was the violinist and it is nice to be able to see them in varying places round the ship, partic The Atrium. There is plenty to suit all tastes and much better tah we expected especially the shows. There is plenty of room in the theatre and frequently 3 shows from 17.30 (much quieter then) so don't feel you have to rush for dinner to get a seat. The seats are comfy, but the theatre can get a little cool so take a shawl or jumper. Go to the trivia quiz at 1600. It is great fun and we made several good friends which made the holiday. I would particularly suggest this for single people wanting to join in. It tends to be after the daily 'Happy hour' at 1500 whereby drinks are buy one get one for a dollar. It gets crowded for both reasons, but worth the wait. Don't worry about delayed waiter service (it takes about 25 mins to get your drink and they come in 2s, plus the waiters make sure they get back to you before the time is up (no doubt because every drink you buy has a service charge on the menu price). I tried numerous cocktails (the frozen strawberry daquri was very popular), but they were mostly average. No frills and I found low in alcohol. I am a keen cocktail drinker and I would have expected a cocktail bar or at least a few colourful straws, tinsel or an odd sparkler. Dull, so we stuck to bottled beer. There is draught heineken (8$ each after gratuity)on the lido deck only Charges. You will have read about the gratuity charges. We cancelled ours at reception on day one. It was well done and I did not feel pressured to have to contribute. Everyone states how good the service is in their reviews. I got the impression on occasions that it didn't matter what the service, the charge was there anyway, so staff did not have to try too hard, but generally it was acceptable. I have had better on other holidays. Because of the added gratuity to drinks, we did not tip the waiters. Trips Tend to be pricey. There is an internet site, cruisetrips which has offers, but we did not have enough time to arrange. Try it and let me know for my next cruise. Aruba. 5 mins walk into town. Hot. Don't go too early as shops don't start opening until late morning. Nice little harbour walk and short bus tour. We ended up in the upstairs bar on main street near port. 15$ for 4 beers. Since the ship docks overnight, take the time to admire the beaches and views when leaving as it is a beautiful place. Columbia. We met a single lady from Australia at the first trivia quiz who was understandably concerned about travelling alone on a trip in Columbia so we decided to accompany her rather than her cancel unnecessarily. The Hop on Hop off bus is excellent - book it before the cruise starts for 39$ rather than $44 on the ship. Get to view whole area safely. There are 16 stops and you can get off at 14 for a guided tour of the old city of Cartagena. You are offered cold water bottles at the start and end of the walk which takes approx 90 mins, mainly because a crowd is slower. You could do the walk independently in 30 mins, but it is more fun. The guide speaks average english and though you get the impression it is a bit staged so the guide can get freebies, it is very enjoyable, though very hot. You have to get off at the stop before hip, or duty free stop - not to just go to duty free shop (note - the cigars are much cheaper in Costa Rica) but to see the parrots, flamingos, peacocks and iguana. We were witness to a peacock/iguana fight! The cafe area is cool and the beers 2$ each. Even if you don't go into town or on a trip, this place is 5 mins walk from ship and worth your time. This is a great trip for singles. Panama canal. Less entertainment during the day because the is a commentary from Umberto (good talks in theatre - Captain Cook, history of rum, all about each country visited - you won't want to attend lectures on holiday, but try as they are very interesting). The commentary is on deck and not heard in cabins which I thought was good - history, future plans, stats etc and worth the ear time. You can also catch up on tv in room. Take binoculars and walk to different parts of ship for variety of views. We had breakfast in Bordeaux whilst going through locks which made for interesting conversation. Costa Rica. Punterenas. Dock alongside very long concrete quay. Train to take you to to, approx 10 mins walk to shops, bars. There are private taxis and excursions as you step off and at end of pier. Lovely views from ship. We went on coffee plantation trip which provided better wifi than the ship. Air con coach, comfy, spacious seats. Nice country side views for about 1h 30 mins - lots colour, flowers, iguanas,fruit. Hot, but interesting on Pan American highway. Coffee tasting which everyone said was excellent - I'm not a big coffee fan, though did buy the beans which were 9$ for a large bag (twice the price in Mexico). Look out for the humming birds in trees as you walk round. Oxcart factory is different - the guide speaks a mixture of English, costa Rican and Swedish - she takes some following! The shop there is great for hand made goods, with fresh fruit to keep you going. Take bottle water as suggested. You are told not to take food off the ship. They do not check bags on exit so we took 2 muffins from the breakfast buffet which we had with the freshly brewed coffee and I'm glad we did as we were getting peckish. Nicaragua. The captain announced the weather was too bad for the tenders so it was cancelled. Some passengers kept saying it was a way to save money on fuel and time, either way we spent the next 4 days at sea and by the Sunday eberyone was ready to get off the ship. Mexico. Tender to shore approx 10 mins. Good fun. We booked onto the Tall ship from 1885 (or similar!) thinking we would have an historically, elegant cruise around the bay - absolutely not. We did not quite understand the 'free bar' message and ended on a 'booze cruise' with a laughing pirate and crew. The boat was not a tall ship per se but fun all the same. The drinks flowed and anyone wanting to scuba dive entered the water for at least 45mins - not for the feint hearted. My husband is a good swimmer, but even he found it tiring and cold. The bonus was we saw and followed a whale in the bay which was superb and one on my bucket list. The music was good and the crew and passengers friendly and fun. Consider it a booze cruise and you won't be disappointed. TIPS Attend the free champagne (more like cava, but free and drinkable) parties - there are 2 and the one on the next to last is the best. Meet the captain, have lobster for dinner - best night of the cruise. Art - don't bother. They offer free champagne, but not until you have jumped through hoops to get it. I like art museums, but this is awful ( in my opinion) Coffee is much better in Bordeaux and Provence. Don't buy bottled water for 1$ for your room or for trip days. Some trips provide water and it is available to take back to your room and fill a bottle to be put in fridge. We ended every night with large glass water to room. Bingo 30$ for tickets - big prizes - my friends informed me that it was worth attending. Laundry busiest am - try going later. Costs 3$ for wash, 3$ for dryer. Most people are very helpful. You can take drinks from Wheelhouse bar at happy hour to other bars. Can bring 1 bottle wine per person PER TRIP, not as we thought for the whole trip. If you take the all day drinks package you will be charged for cans coke, not for glasses of coke to be wary. Some passengers felt the waiters may have been on commission to automatically provide cans Internet - we paid more for the 3 attempts at using it 'pay as you go' (.79$ per min) than for 10 months unlimited at home. We got better free internet in bars and on a coach for one and half hours in Columbia! You can buy packages, but we thought the fees were exorbitant and we only wanted a few minutes to check emails. Note - you start paying when you access the internet - not when you log on so beware. When we complained I was told it was my internet providers fault that I could not log on. This really needs sorting and was the worst thing about the cruise. We barely had any access and it cost us £60 which in this technological age is truly exorbitant and unnecessary. We will definitely cruise again following this experience. The people you meet make the holiday special, so join in. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We choose this cruise because going through the Panama Canal had always been something we'd wanted to do. Although this is listed as a 15 day cruise we actually got on in Vancouver which made it 18 days. Vancouver is a great city to ... Read More
We choose this cruise because going through the Panama Canal had always been something we'd wanted to do. Although this is listed as a 15 day cruise we actually got on in Vancouver which made it 18 days. Vancouver is a great city to visit. It's pedestrian friendly with many great things to see and places to eat. Overall this was an excellent cruise. I'll hit the negatives first and they really involve moving people on and off the ship. When we arrived in San Francisco the majority of those who got on in Vancouver were getting off to be replaced by those doing the 15 day cruise. Many of us doing the 18 days had excursions scheduled in SF. We were way late in getting off the ship and to our excursion and since we had to be back for sailing the excursion was cut short. In fairness, Princess refunded some of our excursion fee. Still, it seemed to me Princess should have had a good idea how long it would take to get people off the ship. They blamed customs but again time should have been managed to cope with delays most might expect to happen. Perhaps those with excursions should have been let off first. I'd have been quite willing to go early if it meant getting the entire excursion. This happened to a lesser extent when we tendered in to Nicaragua. We ended up with less excursion time. The planning could have been better. But in life things happen and it didn't ruin our cruise. My other real gripe was when we were leaving a port and there was a party up top hosting by some guy called DJ Delight. This was at night and the music was unbelievably loud. We were two decks down and mid ships and it was loud even in our room Even with a pillow over my head I could feel the thumping of the music. This happened only once so I'm hoping there were complaints and they corrected it. Having said all this we were very happy with the cruise. Service was outstanding. I'm always impressed by how hard working the staff is. Our cabin steward, Nelson, did a great job. The quality of the staff was very good throughout the trip. The food was outstanding. We mostly ate in the Bordeaux for dinner and ate in the sit down restaurants as often was we could. The buffet is fine and is good for quick meals but the sit down offers a more relaxed experience, plentiful choices, and the chance to interact with other passengers. The things to do on the ship were what you'd expect. If you like to do enrichment or like to party on into the night it's there for you. There were shows to attend as well. There were very informative sessions about upcoming ports that we found very helpful. Embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly. So, I heartily recommend the Island Princess and her crew. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
It was a wonderful cruise... our second transit of the canal. We will likely do it again one day. We enjoy Princess cruises, and this one met all of our expectations... except one. Wei chose CTG-110 "Old City" in Cartegena. ... Read More
It was a wonderful cruise... our second transit of the canal. We will likely do it again one day. We enjoy Princess cruises, and this one met all of our expectations... except one. Wei chose CTG-110 "Old City" in Cartegena. The guide was Rivero, and he was atrocious. Our "stroll" ended up being several miles of walking in 95° temperature. Our visit to Fort of San Felipe was ten minutes (was not able to leave the sidewalk). Rivero did not use the PA system in the bus so we could not here him. He insisted we stand in the full sun to watch 'a friend' paint on mirrors for ten minutes. We stood in the San Pedro Claver Church with no air circulation. We climbed thirty five 9" stairs to see artifacts. We exited into a planted square and disappeared. He would not hold his number sign up to be seen. We took a chance and found him at the next street corner. We entered the 18th Century Historical Museum of Cartagena and it was no more than an emerald sales office. One of the cruisers was physically in trouble due to excessive walking and heat not expected (Type I Diabetes and Parkinson's). He needed two of us to help him to stand. Rivero was aware and did not care. Again we could not find him. My wife had warned him to hold his sign up. We found him a block away watching break dancers in the sun. I caught up with him and chastised him for ignoring the ill customer and not holding his sign up. We again visited the church so have our picture taken with a parrot on our shoulder. No one accepted. Then we went into a stone room with dancers and a single loud drum. That was our Navy Museum visit. We were promised a soft drink. It was water but they did not give one to the ill man... We had to get pushy for the drink. Now a mile walk to the bus ...without the number sign again. We did the shopping at the dungeons. It was not what anyone signed up for. Do not sign up for CTG-110. Fifty dollars of punishment. Princess Excursion desk said "you have to expect that... you are in a foreign country." No, I expect Princess to print the truth in their brochure, and CARE about their clients. I asked for a Princess person to contact me when I filled in my evaluation online, but I am still waiting to hear. All other excursions were as they were expected. This one is not good at all. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Panama Canal was on my "Bucket List" and having one that departed just public transit distance from my home is my first choice. I have traveled a lot on Princess and am always happy with my Princess Cruises (Souffle!!!) The ... Read More
Panama Canal was on my "Bucket List" and having one that departed just public transit distance from my home is my first choice. I have traveled a lot on Princess and am always happy with my Princess Cruises (Souffle!!!) The service is always good. I thought the medical staff was inefficient and rude, but other than that, the cruise was all I had hoped for and more. I've seen films and pictures and read a lot about the canal, but pictures don't do it justice. To watch those locks open for my ship, and the one beside us just inspired greater awe than I had expected. I love sea days, and this cruise had six of them. Stringed quartets, fun shows, and a good lecturer who was really canal knowledgable added to the experience. We pre-planned our own shore excursions at two of our ports, and hired taxis as private tour guides at two. I prefer to not use the ship excursions. The equatorial heat on this cruise is hard to take, but it is temporary and so nice to get back to the a/c on the ship. We had to divert from our scheduled stop at Aruba to avoid a storm, but stopped instead at Grand Cayman. Nobody seemed to be upset about this. I felt it was Princess taking care of us. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We have sail a few times on Princess and have not ever had a really bad experience. We had a smooth pickup at airport and took very little time at the terminal before boarding the Island Princes. I guess my one complaint was the food. In ... Read More
We have sail a few times on Princess and have not ever had a really bad experience. We had a smooth pickup at airport and took very little time at the terminal before boarding the Island Princes. I guess my one complaint was the food. In the main dinning room some was good, some was just ok and dinners were repeated. We ate at the specialty restaurant Bayou Cafe and Steak House one night and the food was good and plentiful especially the huge Porterhouse steak that my husband drooled over. However, since we are not fans of spicy foods, most of it we only just tasted. I still can't get use to taking 2 1/2 hours for dinner, but I guess it is expected when food is cooked to order. Our waiter was great and did his best to keep us happy. We made reservations at Sabatinis but canceled after hearing several people telling us how the food was not that good. Most of the employees were welcoming and polite. A special shout out for Archie and Honey at the Wheelhouse Bar, they were always pleasant and knew what we wanted to drink before we even had to order it. They were interested in us and we learned so much about their family and their life. Hope to see them again. Most of the ports we enjoyed but from the time you got off of the ship you were constantly reminded that you were in a third world country. The constant begging put a damper on the tours almost to the point that it was annoying and we just wanted to get out of there. The Panama Canal was an interesting journey which I'm glad we took. Amazing the process of going through the locks, and was especially unbelievable as the ship went up and down and you can see just how close the ship comes to the concrete wall, it was like you could reach out and touch it. the lakes were beautiful and was fun to watch us playing tag with another ship. I do wish we could have gone to the City of Panama, maybe another time. If you go on this cruise especially in Aug, Sept. be prepared for it to HOT, HOT, HOT. Also, if you want to purchase jewelry in port, be sure to use the recommended merchants so that if there is a problem you have Princess to back you. All in all it was a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Super cruise. Ship clean, lots of activities, and rarely appears crowded. Was expecting an older crowd but found it largely 'my age.' That's scary. No smoking policy works great for me. Food: As always, wait staff ... Read More
Super cruise. Ship clean, lots of activities, and rarely appears crowded. Was expecting an older crowd but found it largely 'my age.' That's scary. No smoking policy works great for me. Food: As always, wait staff attentive tho overworked. The food was excellent. Appetizers varied from chicken wings to escargot. Dinner varied from comfort food to frog legs. Hand sanitizer use required in buffet. Buffet service good, seating often crowded and requires doubling up. It was easy to make reservations for anytime dining, and I didn't ever see too long a line for those w/o reservations. Entertainment: We attend all the shows we can. The production numbers were reruns and not a good as larger ships, but excellent. The comedians were exceptional. 'Arni G' was the evening lounge player and he was so terrific, wish I could spend more time. Our favorite is the Crew Show. This was scheduled badly, 10pm the last night, in the Universe Lounge. It is true that there are many seats in this lounge (esp balcony) that you can't see the stage. The naturalist, William Fall, was often a sell-out crowd. No nonsense, no book to sell ... just knowledgeable. Rooms: Ample room, lots storage. Shower is tight. If you drop the soap, shower is over. Beds are hard. Compare them to lying on a sleeping bag on a carpeted floor. Our balcony was particularly large-- loved it. We were traveling with another couple and kept the door between balconies propped open and made for quality time w smuggled liquor. Princess is liberal on bringing liquor aboard and I appreciate. Husband brought his favorite beer and I brought a bottle booze. Note: I'm a fan of the Emerald Deck. Usually lowest priced, quick access to public areas. But I've suspected the best tables are saved for the best rooms (not Emerald) and here's an example: We showed up at our reserved time. The Maitre D apologized for a need to wait, hurried away and scanned the starboard side, came back, apologized again, scanned the port side, apologized, said follow me, and personally escorted us to a table. Except table wasn't set up yet. The waiter had to rush to get it ready. He pointed to a perfectly set up table next to the window. The Maitre D said 'No, I haven't decided what to do with that table yet.' Within 5 minutes, he had decided and was seating another party, with a better room number I'm sure. Merchandising: I'm retired marketing so can't help this. The drink of the day runs $7.95, which made me think they were all pricey. In reality, beer is $4.50; a long island ice tea was $5.50+ tip. Not bad. Formal photos are $24.99 ea. They should have buy 4 get 1 free. Candid pics are $19.99 ea. A day is coming when you enter your key to see pics rather than printing all those pics. Such good photography!! I've never had a problem with Princess upselling. A No to wine or water or spa is simple enough-- they've almost cut back too much, esp w hard to research shore excursions. I-net painfully slow-- Just logging onto email took about 5 minutes. Oh, library needs books on countries we are visiting, esp birds & wildlife. Ports: Cabo -- too hot, humid, town wasn't open for season yet, merchants aggressive. Puntarenas - My favorite, took the exceptional Sky Walk-Pura Vida Garden tour. Great guide, good food, saw lots of critters. Fuerte Amador: Went to Gamboa Rainforest Tram and found is lacking compared to Costa Rica. Did have great view of canal, even Embera Village, and nice fill visit to orchid, butterfly, aquarium. Port terminal had small mall great for picking up souvenirs. Canal was very interesting. Secret back deck was never crowded. I heard the upper decks were but when I went there later, not bad. Cartagena: Terminal has pricey store w no USD prices, but a great mini-zoo of iguanas, flamingo, toucan, macaws, monkeys, many wild roaming. We (2 couples) negotiated a taxi to Old Town, hotbed of history & culture. They like round trips and this proved an adventure. We had good driver 'Freddy' who took us there, gave us a private tour, drove us back. Merchants are aggressive, there was poverty and beggers and attractive ladies (let's leave it at that). Freddy wanted $15, but we paid $20 each way. Aruba - Clean, walkable, no outward poverty. Iguanas running all over. Ft. Lauderdale: If you have down time before airport, or you're staying at local hotel, I recommend a trip to Sawgrass for an airboat ride. They pick you up, store luggage, come back to take you to destination. We privately arranged thru KSA and it solved a lot of problems plus lots of fun. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Ship Info: While the boarding process in San Francisco was a bit confused, we were able to get to our cabins (we booked C701 and C703) quickly and have time to stroll about the ship before sailing. Both cabins were very nice, and being ... Read More
Ship Info: While the boarding process in San Francisco was a bit confused, we were able to get to our cabins (we booked C701 and C703) quickly and have time to stroll about the ship before sailing. Both cabins were very nice, and being able to open up the balcony between the cabins gave us a lot of space outside, where we would spend a lot of time. The cabins were nicely appointed and very comfortable. We were concerned about the cabins being so close to the elevators, but as it turned out, there was no noise and being close helped one of our party, who has trouble walking. We found the ship to be well laid out, and easy to navigate, be it to the dining rooms, speciality restaurants, spa, or any of the pools. In a word, from the start, the entire ship felt comfortable. Activities: As noted above, one of our party had limited mobility, so our participation in activities was likewise limited. We did get to spend time at the Lotus Pool, which was very relaxing for sitting and swimming. Port & Shore Excursions: See the separate reviews for each. Dining: Excellent. We ate at several dining facilities (Provence for fixed-time seating, Sabatinis for dinner and breakfast, Horizon for quick meals, assorted others for pizza and snacks), and enjoyed each. Crooner's Bar was another favorite hang-out, with great drinks and very friendly staff. Entertainment: We did not see many shows, and what we did see was pretty average. Disembarkation: This was handled very well, although it took longer than expected due to customs having only a few representatives and asking some people a lot of questions and looking through their luggage. Summary: The ship, staff,and excursions all exceeded our expectations. We loved every minute. We liked it so much, we booked a cruise for next year to the Eastern Med and Holy Land! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Got into San Fran from Detroit (Frontier Air $135) a day early and booked the San Remo hotel which is walking distance from the pier. Embarkation was a breeze at about 1:30 p.m. We did notice right away that this was an older crowd then ... Read More
Got into San Fran from Detroit (Frontier Air $135) a day early and booked the San Remo hotel which is walking distance from the pier. Embarkation was a breeze at about 1:30 p.m. We did notice right away that this was an older crowd then the many Carnival cruises we have taken. Wasn't going to let that get us down and it really never became an issue. Being a fifty year old young man isn't all bad. Room was typical for an inside cabin. Enough space for my Wife and I but would be crowded if we needed those drop down beds for two more. Picked the late seating and a table of eight. Great companions to share the days activities with. Food was at par with other cruises; no complaints and wait staff was top notch. The Lido deck for lunch and breakfast was an improvement over other cruises. Food service areas were divided into about six areas preventing lineups. No waiting to get to your desired dish. I think with an older crowd and a lot of balcony rooms, the full ship did not seem crowded. No waits for machines in the gym and always a deck chair. Advice to others. Your allowed to bring beer and wine on board (not liquor) and there is a small fridge in your room. Join the cruise critic group for your cruise. It adds to your group of friends on board and it got us to the front of the line when boarding tenders in Panama. Pick a larger table for your dinner seating and join tables on the Lido deck. We had a blast.Actually the stop is Hualtuco, Mexico (wasn't on the list) A small port town which looks like it was built for the cruise ships. Janet and I walked to the nearest town Crucieta (about 45 minute walk through safe streets) Bus to town from the ship is $45 and a cab is only about $5/person but if it's a nice day, it's a nice walk. Nice town. Walked past 3 hospitals on our way to the town square. Nice church to visit and a good town to walk around to shop. Picked up a panama hat for $5 and a six pack of Caronna for $6. Was going to take a taxi back but needed to burn off some calories, so we walked back. There was roadwork going on which looked like it could cut the time down to about half an hour. Shopped at the port shops for a while. The better deals were in Crucieta.PUNTARENAS, Costa Rica (not on the drop down list) Pre booked a tour with charlie Soto of OkeyDokey Tours. Only the four of us this day plus Charlie and his driver Ricardo. Our first stop was the monkey lady's house. It's down a road where no tour bus could get. This lady brings out a bucket of cut up bananas and starts clapping her hands. At least a dozen Capuchin monkeys come down from the tops of the trees so you can feed them. You put a piece of banana in your fist and they will peel your fingers back to take it. Fed them for a good 20 minutes. She expects at least $2 per person and well worth it. Stopped at a wilderness hotel where you could go zip lining but we chose the next stop. The Crocodile Man tour on the Tarcoles river. One and a half hours on this tour boat travelling the river (we counted at least 35 crocs) at one point the driver gets out on the muddy shore and feeds a croc some turkey legs. Lots of wildlife with a well narrated tour by local Costa Ricans. The Scarlett Macaws are something to see if you get lucky. Next we stopped at an outdoor buffet by Jaco beach for a Costa Rican Lunch (included). Went to a Marriott resort and fed the iguanas at the shore. The driver stopped at a local grocery store where I bought local beer and some premium coffee. (4 bags $13.38). Went to a local wood shop and then got dropped at the pier. Lots of good market stalls there to shop. Probably the best prices of the tour and locally made products. Not the usual stuff you see in most ports. Coffee was $7 a bag.FORT AMADOR - PANAMA CITY Booked VistaMar Panama Tours. (eco-rainforst tour) A driver with a van met the nine of us in the port area and we drove for 45 minutes to a dock where we got on a hard canopied boat with our tour guide Carl. Headed out into the canal and Gatun lake. Lots of info. Got up close to the drilling rigs working on deepening the canal and the pipelines carrying the dirt and rocks away. Pulled up on a jungle island and capuchin monkeys came on the boat to be fed peanuts and dried fruit. Another island produced Tamarind monkeys that we fed grapes. We could hear howler monkeys as we cruised down a smaller river. We arrived at Carl's place. looked like 2 big houseboats attached with an upper and lower deck. It had washrooms, a diving platform,gift shop, kitchen and a large eating area. a hot lunch was ready for us with unlimited refreshments. He had on board a night monkey (very cuddly)a couple of large iguanas, toucans, a couple of small caymans and a boa (if you wanted a picture with one around your neck). After lunch we got into a motorized canoe and a couple of kayaks and headed further into the rain forest to a waterfall where we went swimming. Back to the houseboat and then the 30 minute trip back to the dock for the waiting taxi and the ride back to the port. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
This was our 3rd Princess cruise. We have cruised 25 times most of which were on RCCL. We went with friends mainly because the ship embarked from San Francisco and required one plane ride (home). We enjoyed the ship for it's public ... Read More
This was our 3rd Princess cruise. We have cruised 25 times most of which were on RCCL. We went with friends mainly because the ship embarked from San Francisco and required one plane ride (home). We enjoyed the ship for it's public areas, friendly staff and varied activities. Embarkation was our fastest yet. It took less then ten minutes and we were on the ship. Our cabin was not quite ready because our cabin steward had also just boarded the ship. Luggage was delivered speedily.Our cabin was nice but lacked in a place to sit other than a desk chair or on the bed. It would have been nice to have had at least on comfy chair. Closet space was more than ample. The bathroom and shower area were the smallest we have ever had on any ship. We opted for anytime dining. The first night we had to wait for 40 minutes but after that we had a reservation for 7:30 every night at the same table and were seated promptly. Our servers got to know what we liked and were one step ahead of us with our desires. The activities (mostly trivia games) were fun. The speakers were knowledgable but boring in presentation. The food venues varied in quality. The dining room at dinner was good but not excellent. The Ploughman's lunch on sea days at the Bayou was not to our liking. We did not eat in the dining room other than dinner. The grill and pizza were very good. The Lido was good for breakfast but we found boring for lunch. The entertainment was very good. The production shows were colorful and enjoyable. The entertainers were all good. The timing for anytime diners was a bit difficult to get everything in. The public areas were very comfortable. Nice easy chairs and cozy nooks for lounging and reading. The library and card rooms were spacious and serene.Fuerte Amador was our stop to see Panama City. We arranged a private tour with "My friend Mario". He had two air conditioned vans and we were a group of 32 people. Our guides were very knowledgeable and the areas we saw were very interesting. We did some riding and quite a bit of walking. It was very hot and part of the group wanted to go back to the ship. The tour was going to be about 5 hours. So after most of the sights and before the shopping area we divided up and some of went back to the ship and some continued on shopping. The cost was 30.00 per person US cash. Well worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Island Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.6
Family 4.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.8
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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