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11 Venice Princess Island Princess Cruise Reviews

After spending a few pre-cruise days in Venice, we boarded the Island Princess, our first time with them so we were naturally wondering what we would find! The boarding was quite good, everything ran smoothly; the cabin was ready and ... Read More
After spending a few pre-cruise days in Venice, we boarded the Island Princess, our first time with them so we were naturally wondering what we would find! The boarding was quite good, everything ran smoothly; the cabin was ready and our luggage was placed inside shortly after. Cabin E710 is located at the back of the ship so it was quiet as there were not many passengers moving around in the corridors, but when the seas were rough there was a lot of movement and strong vibrations from both the propulsion and waves hitting the vessel. Room size was good, excellent balcony with an open view, very good storage and a small bathroom with a “very small shower” stall. The bathroom was the only drawback for this cabin, not at all suited for heavy set people; TV programming (movies, news, etc.) was first rate. We chose the “any time dining” option in the Bordeaux. To avoid delays or misunderstandings about table preferences we always reserved our table one day in advance but that didn’t always work out; so be prepared to assert yourself in order to sit where you want! The staff in general are super-duper; attentive, fast, cordial and very professional and there are so many that it is difficult to name one and not mention the others, so I will give the name of only one, that in a way, represents all of them. Gianni (Italy), the Food & Beverage Supervisor is a real professional, as well as being a very caring and honest person. But I can’t stop there without mentioning two fantastic Bordeaux waitresses; the first is Olena (Ukraine) she is one-of-a-kind, also the hostess at breakfast and lunch in the Provence; the second one is Lupita, a full-of-life Mexican who picks up the spirits of everyone. The food in the Bordeaux was excellent, with different offerings every night and many interesting choices. All dishes sampled were very tasteful - large portions, served good and hot. The specialty restaurant, Sabattini’s was also excellent, especially their steaks (!!!) as much as their pizza’s at lunch time when it becomes Alfredo’s pizza; as it’s complementary (don’t bother trying them at the Pool Pizza!) The other specialty restaurants (charges apply) are the Bayou and the Crab Shack; both menus are inclined towards the Cajun (New Orleans) food and were not of our liking. It seems that was the case for many others too, because we noted it was practically empty every night when we passed it on our way to dinner. The only time that we saw the place full was when they offered a complimentary ‘English Pub Menu’ lunch. It was really good, especially the fish and chips - so it’s not to be missed! However we were disappointed at not having other types of cuisine, such as a French Bistro or a Steakhouse. Another excellent place to have dinner is in the Horizon Buffet Restaurant (deck 14), the choices are tremendous, it’s up to you how much you eat (danger!) and the waiters are on the ready to serve you and bring you whatever you’d like to drink. Because many passengers are at the theater or in the other restaurants, the place is very tranquil at night, so you can sit where ever you wish. But another “danger” are all those pastries!!! Tremendous selection!! Lunch time there, could be easy, as long as you don’t go when tour buses are returning to the ship! Then it is, real chaos!! The other alternative for lunch is at the Provence (quite enjoyable) as much as their breakfast. Of course you have the Grill at the Pool (burgers, hotdogs. etc.), the Pizza counter, etc. Some of the conferences given such as, on WW2 naval battles were very interesting as were the three Culinary Classes given by Master Chef Alfredo Marzi!! The musical shows at the Theater were unimpressive; the bars we frequented were the Crooners (pianist/singer Oliver, great!) and the Wheelhouse were you were able to dance to live music, however many of the musicians were second rate with dubious vocal skills. The ship has a very good feature (as I believe all the Princess ships have), that is a pay Laundry room on each deck; the cost was $3 for washing and same for drying and if you didn’t need either you could use the steam iron for free. Sometimes boarding the tour busses was tranquil but more often than not it was quite upsetting and stressful. This happened mostly because many passengers were impolite and on many occasions quite rude, pushing their way to get first to the bus so they could get the seats they wanted (usually the front ones) and the same happened when leaving the bus. What was hard to believe was that most of these people were seniors who one would expect would be an example of civility and good manners; it is not the first time that happened to us and that’s why we have finally decided to do the tours on our own, to avoid extra stress. Unfortunately, what was, and will be, unavoidable are encounters with them at the Horizon Buffet. Hard to believe and harder to accept those daily occurrences at the Horizon Buffet! Fortunately, there are many other seniors that behave in a respectful, considerate, friendly and positive manner. It was quite shocking to see so many people in wheel chairs, walkers or canes! We’ve seen this on other cruises but never so many as on this one. And for that reason we got quite concerned when all of a sudden a larger and larger number of them were coughing and sneezing and looking under the weather; a few days later a Medical Alert was sent to each cabin advising on the steps to take to avoid its spread throughout the ship. They even offered Tamiflu injections! The Island Princess had been refurbished earlier in the year to mixed Cruise Critic reviews. But, from our point of view, the Exercise Room, though very well equipped is located inside without sea views, so it seems a crowded and unwelcoming place. The same goes for the Mini golf course, too enclosed and not designed for beginners. The library needs to be updated and is poorly located as many passengers walk through it as a link between forward and aft corridors. The other no-no was the $10 sale event! Wasn’t up to the standards that Princess wants to be or would like to be considered for. The overall experience with Island Princess was highly positive, thanks to the many excellent experiences we had that put aside the few negative ones. The restaurants are excellent, the food superb, very good maintenance of the ship, etc. and the BIG stars were their staff! We never ever, experienced so much attention and care, done always with an honest smile full of energy and good will. It is really a pity that it took us so long to discover Princess Cruise Lines!! But for certain, we will be back!! TOURS!!!! Here are the comments of the ones we’ve been on. 1st stop – Dubrovnik, Croatia – Tour taken: “Dubrovnik & Konavle Home Visit” Too long a ride (1+ Hr.) for a very unsavory tour with not much to see during the ride. Once there, we all got together on a big outdoor terrace where some grappa (hard stuff) was offered, some music played by a group of waiters and then off to a basement were long wooden tables were ready for us. In general the food was from good (prosciutto & cheeses) to very bad (pasta) and really bad (red wine); the same musicians were playing some music while eating. After that, back to the bus, another 1+ Hr ride and boarding the ship. Tour guide (a blond girl) was good but unapproachable. Wasn’t worth the price paid. 2nd stop – Salerno, Italy– Tour taken: “Sorrento on your own” 4Hrs 45’ Not having been there before, we chose Sorrento. Happy we did because it is a very enjoyable town with many outdoor cafes, restaurants, great shops, etc. It was a beautiful day so we had lunch on an outdoor patio facing the main Piazza (Square), food (pizza) was excellent and the wine divine!!! Restaurant’s name: Syrenuse Bar Ristorante in Via Sant’Antonino; food, wine, service and atmosphere were all excellent! Highly recommended! 3rd stop – Civitavecchia, Italy – No tours taken. This time we had the chance to know better the city that used to be a stopover before joining previous cruises, so we decided to go to shore on our own. Map in hand we started to walk around, discovering the place at our own pace. Surprisingly, we enjoyed it very much! 4th stop – Livorno, Italy – Tour taken: “Lucca” - 4 Hrs. We’ve never been into Lucca. Another great choice! Regardless there is no time for lunch at the end, being a sunny and warm day, we were able to sit in an outdoor café facing Saint Michele Square (bus drop-off/pick up point), where we enjoyed tremendously, a great Cappuccino and a fantastic ice cream cone. Needless to say, we are planning to go back and spend more relaxing time there. To make all this more perfect was the Tour guide, Isabella! Completely fluent in English, very knowledgeable who gave so many tips to all of us in case we would like to return! Isabella was the best Tour guide of all this cruise, no doubt about it. Do not miss Lucca!! And hope you meet her! 5th stop - Toulon, France – Tour taken: “Scenic drive to Bandol & Sanary-sur-mer 4.5 Hrs. After quite a very nice interior scenic drive we hit Bandol on the coast; sorry to say but it didn’t say much to us, so no comments. From there back along the coast, we reached Sanary-sur-mer around noon and are gladly able to tell you that it was a very nice town! Has all the attributes that so many of the Mediterranean fishing towns have. That is, all the flavours, sounds and smells of those places; we were lucky enough that we got there just when the fishing boats had arrived, so they were busy selling their catch of the day to the Sanary locals! We saw some people sitting around, eating freshly caught sea urchins the fishermen were selling – they eat them raw! There was an open market facing the esplanade selling a lot of food specialties, the harbor is beautiful with any type and size of boats; very nice restaurants and coffee shops with their patios open to the sea! Great town and great experience. Tour guide, double zero. 6th stop – Barcelona, Spain – No tour taken. Very well-known city for us, so we tried one thing that we hadn’t done before and that was the cable car (Telesferic) that goes from San Sebastian Tower (bus #64 in downtown takes you there- ticket $ 3 euros) all the way to Mount Montjuic; you will have the chance to take very good aerial pictures of Barcelona from up there. It is a bit pricy ($11 euros cash only, one way). Once on Mt. Montjuic, to get back to town you had to walk all the way down a very twisting and steep road till you reached a big avenue; doing this is not recommended, so we suggest the reverse trip, that is take a taxi from down town Barcelona, up to the entrance of the cable car at the top of Montjuic and once you arrive at the other end, you take bus #64 back to down town. Tired and hungry we got to the Ramblas, were we enjoyed a terrific, people-watching outdoor lunch!!! 7th stop – Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal – Tour taken: “Crater lakes, Sete cidades & wine tasting” 3Hrs 45’ Unfortunately, the weather didn’t help at all!! Cold, very windy and foggy! So there wasn’t much that we were able to see of the lakes, (formerly craters). The island’s vegetation was outstanding and we were sure that with the right weather would’ve been superb, as much as would’ve been the green and blue lakes. Fortunately, the tour ended on a very high note which was a wine tasting event twined with locally produced young cheese varieties and crackers. Really fantastic! But, the weather spoiled it! Otherwise this tour would’ve gotten really high marks! The tour guide was inconsequential. From there, we started our very, too long, crossing of the Atlantic (a general consensus). Anyway, we docked at Fort Lauderdale, very happy that we took this beautiful voyage with the fantastic Princess Cruise Line!!! See you soon!!!! Thank you so much for your patience! Have a great and happy trip!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
My husband and I have more than 30 cruises under our belt, however, we usually do not use one cruise line. We select our cruises based on itineraries. The selection of this cruise was based on the ports and because my sister and her ... Read More
My husband and I have more than 30 cruises under our belt, however, we usually do not use one cruise line. We select our cruises based on itineraries. The selection of this cruise was based on the ports and because my sister and her husband were traveling with us and they wanted a long cruise. This was our third transatlantic, the first two on Celebrity Cruises, but this one on the Island Princess was the best. Looking at some of the other reviews people seemed to be preoccupied with the look of the ship but to us the most important concern is service and WOW!...they delivered. The service was phenomenal, from the cabin stewards, to the service staff, to the bar staff, excursion staff, sales personnel at the shops and best of all the waiters, asst. waiters and supervisors. If we were going to complain about anything, it might be that they catered somewhat to ballroom dancers and forgot that others like to dance at what we like to call "a la natural", which means, what ever floats your boat. They had very good movies on sea days which we enjoyed. We enjoyed the shows and the singers, nevertheless, we would of wanted some more comedians. In conclusion, based on what we experience on this ship we have booked two more cruises on Princess. Another transatlantic on April 2016 and a South American on January 2017. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
My age 61, travelling with my 62 year old partner, my 90 year old Dad and my 33 year old son, who has learning difficulties. This was our 16th cruise, but first with Princess, so I was excited to experience a different cruise line, and was ... Read More
My age 61, travelling with my 62 year old partner, my 90 year old Dad and my 33 year old son, who has learning difficulties. This was our 16th cruise, but first with Princess, so I was excited to experience a different cruise line, and was not disappointed. The port itinerary was not new to us as we did the same route last year with NCL. Unfortunately October can be lovely and warm, or chilly and wet, as it was this year. We arrived in Venice planning to take the water taxi from the airport - just the best way to approach the city over the lagoon, especially at dusk, however it was raining hard so we took a large taxi from right outside arrivals which took us right to the ship for just 45 euros. After an easy embarkation, we went straight to our staterooms D303 and D305 on deck 9. These were right by the lifts. Up to deck 14 and we exited the lift right next to the entrance to the Horizon buffet where we took all of our meals. Perfect. We found our staterooms to be incredibly spacious and spotlessly clean. The shower was a little small but no problem really. Plentiful storage for our clothes, and very comfortable beds. We had good sized balconies with 2 fabric loungers and a little table. We always use buffet dining, and found the food in the Horizon buffet to be plentiful, hot and top quality. The plastic plates were always hot too, which is a rarity. Although Horizon was always busy (less so in the evenings) we had no problem finding a table, or asking the servers to find one for us. The service was excellent. As soon as we were seated we were offered fresh orange juice and coffee at breakfast, then wonderful lemonade and water at lunch and dinner, plus the usual alcoholic drinks if required. I liked the way all the staff on the ship used "My lady" instead of the usual "Madam". It was fun and quirky. I loved the older style of the ship, and didn`t find the staterooms dated at all. We particularly liked the decor of the Wheelhouse Bar with its leather chairs and sofas, and the fabulous atrium. Unfortunately it was too cold for me to use the outdoor pool, or even sit outside to watch the big screen, which was disappointing, and although the Lotus Pool was covered and warm, the loungers were always taken. We only went to one show in the Princess Theatre as it was necessary to be there 30 minutes before the start of the show to get a seat. Instead in the evenings we went to the trivia competitions, played Monopoly in the library, and ended the evening with Happy Hour in the Explorers Lounge (buy one get one for 1$) listening to great music from the group Cosmic or DJ Tintin. A couple of things were disappointing - we like to play roulette, but there was only one roulette table in the casino. My son loves karaoke, but we found the advertised "Karaoke" to be a singing competition, which rather defeats the idea of karaoke. Ports and excursions: Venice - half a day with just enough time to walk to Piazza Roma and take the vaporetto to St Marks Square, which was flooded because of the high sea level. Istanbul - we took a taxi to the Blue Mosque (free entry), then it`s an easy walk to Hagia Sofia, which is a museum and has an entrance fee. We also had a quick look around the Topkapi Palace buildings. One day I`ll go to the Sultan`s Hamam! Mykonos - tender to the old part of Mykonos Town. Fantastic gifts of all prices and quality, with great art. Piraeus - Hop on hop off bus to Athens, where we stopped for lunch, took a horse and trap ride around the base of the Parthenon for 30 euros, then back on the bus to complete the route and return to the ship. Naples - we did take the hop on hop off bus, but the Capodimonte museum we wanted to visit was closed on Wednesdays. As it was cold and wet we just returned to the ship. Ajaccio - Just a typical Med seaside town, nothing special. We did take the little tourist train which goes around the town. Toulon - Big problem here as the ship did not dock in Toulon, but in nearby La Freyne Sur Mer, then Princess charged 20$ each for the ferry back to Toulon! Very naughty. We walked into the town of La Freyne, about 30 min walk, which has a big marina, and a street market. Livorno - Hop on hop off bus which took us to the funicular up to the Monastery of Montenero. Apart from the view there was nothing to see. This bus also stops at the birthplace and museum of Modigliani, but this shuts at 12.30 so we missed it. Civitavecchia - Disembarkation, which was extremely well organised. I had booked train tickets to Rome, but we were faced with an arduous trek on the shuttle to the big car park. Then another bus to the station. Then 20 steps both down and up to go under the lines, no lift. This was a nightmare with 4 large suitcases, and 2 people with mobility problems. Taxis are not allowed up to the ship, but privately booked cars are. We really enjoyed our holiday, and will be looking at Princess first for any future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We originally booked one of the new stern cabins, but after reading some of the early reviews decided to move. We booked B615 on Baha deck and had no trouble with the engine vibration(s). Embarkation: went smoothly - until we received ... Read More
We originally booked one of the new stern cabins, but after reading some of the early reviews decided to move. We booked B615 on Baha deck and had no trouble with the engine vibration(s). Embarkation: went smoothly - until we received our luggage - it was soaking wet. It was raining that afternoon in Venice and luggage was left uncovered on the quayside ! To be fair Passenger Services provided free laundry service.but there were many people in the laundry rooms. Princess could have earnt a brownie point by contacting all passengers with the "dryout" offer. The extra cabins that have been installed seem to have put a strain on some of the public areas, such as long queues for the restrooms after dinner and at the finish of the performance in the Theatre. There was an excellent singer/pianist in Crooners, Daniel Oliver but again seats/tables were at a premium. Food quality in the Provence dining room was excellent,every night and the service superb. The Horizon Court buffet was plentiful but noticed that the seating along the sides started to be cordoned off around 3.30, to set tables for evening meals and the Crab Shack, which meant that if you returned from a shore trip around 4.00, again difficulty in finding a table. Was really looking forward to visiting Istanbul and booked an excursion with SPB Med, who we had used in the Baltic/ St Petersburg on a previous cruise and they were really good. Would recommend this company for Baltic and Med excursions. Also booked Rome in a Limo for an excursion from Livorno to Pisa and San Gimignano which was also good value - especially the lunch/wine tasting (14 wines !) but this was extra/ Also used RiL for transfer to Rome airport at 32 euros pp - much cheaper than the Princess service. Cabin steward was excellent and kept our cabin in tip top condition. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise, but think that Princess have tried to cram too many people on board without extending public areas, also missed the International Cafe, which I thought I woulnt Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We joined the ship at Venice cruise terminal nice and early and had a very slick embarkation. Because we had a ‘guaranteed’ cabin our luggage took a while to find us so we had a relaxing lunch .having previously cruised with Emerald ... Read More
We joined the ship at Venice cruise terminal nice and early and had a very slick embarkation. Because we had a ‘guaranteed’ cabin our luggage took a while to find us so we had a relaxing lunch .having previously cruised with Emerald Princess we found the ship’s layout was unsettling. When they refurbished the ship they added more cabins at the rear of the ship this also meant the spa and the Horizon buffet were moved to the front which for regular cruisers was very disorienting. Our cabin was one of the new ones A721 right near the back the layout of the cabin was an improvement, gone was the stack of shelves in the corner with its bulky TV, there’s now a flat corner table hiding the mini-bar and the TV is a 19” flat screen wall mounted at the foot of the bed another noticeable point was the lighting they had at last fitted some decent bulbs. We did notice considerable vibration and noise when the captain ‘played’ with the engines Being frequent cruisers we didn’t notice the slightly used look of the ship. The entertainment team under Dan (an Eric Morecambe clone) from Blackpool with his team from Liverpool, NZealand, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Leeds were the best we’ve encountered, always friendly and willing to chat (unless busy). Dining we used anytime dining and even using the pager did not have to wait long, disappointing was the food as another reviewer said there were some weird concoctions. Whether it was the galley or the waiting staff but there seemed to be a lot of waiting for food and I’m sorry to say most of it was tepid or cold. On the nights we used the horizon buffet we found a good choice being a server it was hot even the plates. Also in the buffet the waiters were something else, at your elbow to take your orders for drinks (tea etc) and whisked dirty plates as soon as you finished. A nice touch was laying out the table with place mats and cutlery all ready to go. Even at the busiest times you could still find a seat (if you’re willing to share). Occasionally we used the grill above the pool when you fancied a thick hamburger or hotdog. That together with free ice cream and pizzas there was something for all. Entertainment was plentiful with the usual games during the day, with some very popular Trivia Quizzes (our favourite). In the evening there was a mix of music venues satisfying music lovers, some popular TV games –under a different names – which were hilarious. Finally there were some excellent shows in the Theatre, ranging from full musicals using top notch dancers and singers to top class comedians. We did not use the ship’s tours having been to the sights previously, we still went ashore and enjoyed the local towns and mingling with the locals. The disembarking went like silk. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We really enjoyed this cruise especially the sail out of Venice. I have sailed into and out of Venice with Princess before and it's a real delight - do it while you can, it may not always be an option with the potential sinking of ... Read More
We really enjoyed this cruise especially the sail out of Venice. I have sailed into and out of Venice with Princess before and it's a real delight - do it while you can, it may not always be an option with the potential sinking of Venice! The overnight in this port gave us the option of seeing the city at night too - it's a wonderful place, easy to get around with lovely buildings and canals at every turn. This was a busy itinerary, Istanbul, Mykonos, Athens, Naples, Rome, Florence, Toulon & Barcelona, but great if you have the stamina for busy, cosmopolitan destinations. The embarkation and disembarkation we extremely well manged, full points Princess. In Istanbul, Athens, Mykonos, Toulon and Barcelona we did our own things, partially because I had visited several of them previously but we did the Rome on you own, using the ships private train excursion because Rome is so far from Citavecchia. This was comfortable, relaxing and convenient, much better than taking a bus on the busy roads. We had a guide who took us into St Paul's Square and gave us great tips, a map etc. and then we were left to our own devises. We chose to simply orient ourselves, use the underground and see the places rather than waste time in the many long queues for the major attractions, planning to come back on another occasion when not so pressed for time. We did a similar thing in Florence, but this time it was on your own by bus but again our tour guide John did an excellent job in orienting us, giving hints and tips for Florenece - he was so amusing! We chose to visit Herculaneum using the ship's excursion - a sound decision and hugely more interesting than Pompeii. We had an archaeologist who worked on the site to show us around. A very good half day tour. Prior to this in the morning we simply walked off the ship and into Naples town a mere 5 minutes away. Toulon was perhaps the most disappointing visit. There isn't a great deal there and as others have said the place is closed on Sundays, although there is a market open and a small tourist train operating. However, the beaches are in easy reach by the tourist train, by bus or taxi only minutes away, although from the ship a water taxi is necessary to the main town area. After the cruise we spent a couple of days in Barcelona; TIP using a Hop-on Hop-off bus go straight to the tourist office in Plaza Cataluna, they are really helpful, and pre-book times for busy sites (any Gaudi venue) to organise your day effectively. MAJOR TIP FOR PIRAEUS/ATHENS - as others have said getting into Athens is cheap and easy via the Metro (15mins from Piraeus), about 1.5 euros per person each way, however, getting to the Metro, which is in the main train station depends on where your ship is berthed. We were berthed at the Themistokleous Pier Terminal B which is beyond Gate E12 of Piraeus Harbour and the furthest away. The main train station/Metro is between gates E5 & E7 on the opposite side of the road. Gate E6 is a Pedestrian bridge over the busy main road but this is closed for repairs! From Terminal B to the Metro is a good 50 mins walk at a goodly pace and remember it's the same coming back, one could perhaps take a taxi or public bus there. Don't bother with an all day ticket on the metro, once in the city, if you start at the Acropolis buying the 12 euro all venue ticket, you can easily work back towards the direction of Piraeus without using the metro again - we walked to the New Acropolis Museum, to Hadrian's Arch, through the Plaka and onto the Roman Agora before catching the Metro back from Monistiraki and all for less than 23 euros each! Istanbul too is easy to negotiate by tram, follow recommendations that you can find on-line from the port of Salipazari. Mykonos is very easy to visit on foot from the water shuttle stop. It's a while since we used Princess Cruises, a few things have changed but not sufficient to disappoint us. We were very pleased with the food, service, entertainment etc. Like I said - a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our 7th cruise and 2nd with Princess. We are married and Mid 50's. Very important: prior to cruising enroll in your ship's/cruise Roll Call on this site, its a great way to get and share ideas and make friends prior to ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise and 2nd with Princess. We are married and Mid 50's. Very important: prior to cruising enroll in your ship's/cruise Roll Call on this site, its a great way to get and share ideas and make friends prior to your cruise!!!! We did the Venice to Barcelona route departing Venice Friday at 1 PM and beginning with Istanbul....however we never made Istanbul because on Saturday night we rec'd a distress call from 118 Syrian refugees on a small boat and it took us out of our Route from 9PM until disembarking the refugees in Greece Sunday at 2:00 PM, so they took us to Santorini instead of Istanbul which was VERY, VERY Disappointing to many of us...Santorini was nice but NOT Istanbul! The ports were all nice, the weather was hot, seas calm, food very good, the entire staff/crew were all VERY nice and accommodating, the ship clean and well maintained, good entertainment and overall a typical great cruising experience on Princess. Our cabin was A333 (Aloha Deck/deck 12 starboard side). Very nice cabin, our steward Imran was great however 2 minor points to mention: Our cabin was along the inside "curve" of the ships cabins so we could see out well, but not able to see fwd to the bow or rear to the stern, also the floor of outside deck 14 directly above us did provide shade on our balcony but also restricted your view upward (not a big deal) however cabins at the front, mid ship and stern sections were on the outside of the curve and had a more complete view. By "curve" I refer to walking down the hall from front to back, after about 15 cabins the hall turns inward and then straight again until mid ship when it curves out again and repeats to the stern. Also, having the floor of deck 14, where its outside near the pool, directly above us, we did hear the occasional pounding of feet when someone ran along above us. Barely noticed that but wanted to mention it. Cabin A333 was about the 5-7th cabin down from bow to stern, on this inside curve. Thats really our only very minor complaint. We chose the anytime dining and that enabled us to sit at different tables and meet many people and staff members. We only had to wait once for a table, about an hour for a table on the first Saturday night when everyone showed up to eat around 8PM. In the MED it was light outside until about 10PM so everyone enjoys eating later. Aside from the first night, we had no trouble getting a table immediately. For the formal nights, some dressed up with Tuxes, suits etc, we chose not to and just wore khakis and either a long sleeve dress shirt or a collared golf type short sleeve and that was fine. No shorts in the dining rooms for dinner. We were scheduled to eat in the Bordeaux dining room on deck 5 which was fine. We were not impressed with either the Italian (extra fee of $25/person) or the Bayou Steak house menus so why pay extra for menus that we didn't care for. The Crown Steakhouse was NOT on the Island princess and that in the past was very enjoyable. Those who did pay extra and ate at either place said all was fine, however we are not into cajun etc. For 3 nights the ship offered a "Crab Shack" on the port side of the Buffet area, it was roped off for some privacy, cost $20/person and we found that well worth it as it was all you can eat, great choice if you enjoy seafood. "IF you meet others on Cruise Critics ROLL Call, be sure to ask the cruise director onboard or even contact Princess prior to the cruise and request a "meeting/meet and greet" set up for your Roll Call friends, Princess and other lines have always met this request!!!! They even mentioned it on the ships TV after our meeting but did not publish it in the newspaper due to the name "Cruise Critic'. On our ships Roll Call (which is apparently deleted at the start of our cruise) we noticed several of our future shipmates spent an incredible amount of time researching port excursions from private operators and sharing that info and allowing others to join them...GREAT Idea! Shore excursions: In our opinion and that of many of our ship mates the Princess excursions were FAR TOO COSTLY and had too many people.......we heard many complaints and people had wished they had heard about our private tours. The operators we used were EXCEPTIONAL, great guides, great vehicles and usually anywhere from 6 to 12 people max. These operators were also very sensitive to our departure time and many boast that they have never had a passenger miss their ship's departure. We did the Ship's Mykonos beach excursion, $47/person for a 15 minute bus ride to the beach that wasn't all that nice, it was the 2 name beach something p......giallo ???? Just a ripoff, others took a cab or local bus for no more than 10 Euro and made out fine. Also on the above beach, an umbrella and 2 sand chairs were $12-20 Euro for the day however the Princess tour lasted just 3 hours. I'd like to now share our tours with you as they were all VERY Good and we payed less than HALF price of the Princess tours for double the amount of tours: Venice: We arrived on Thursday July 9th and spent the day, after checking in, with relatives in the area. That left us Friday from 8-noon to see Venice. We booked a walking tour thru Dark Rome.com, the cost was about $43 Euro/person www.citywonders.com and was very good, it lasted 9-11AM, we got there from the ship to the Rialto bridge via water taxi and a 15 minute walk, then had plenty of time for a Gondola Ride $85 euro for 2 people for about 30 minutes, worth doing as you are in Venice. Mykonos: Nice place, no tours, beach then strolled thru town, had lunch bayside. NOTE: Most tour groups offer to buy ahead skip the line entrance fees, DO IT!!!!!!! These tours also all had small vans/mini buses with good air conditioning and good drivers. Athens: $70 Euro/person for 8 person group includes entrance fees. Spirostours@yahoo.com owner Spiro was a NYC Taxi driver, speaks english, GREAT TOUR and Guide. Our Guide Caliopi was sensational. Driver George (Yorgo) was from Crete, knew of a Cretan restaurant named 5 Phi's located a few blocks behind the Hilton near the US Embassy. We had a huge family style lunch of freshly prepared Greek/Cretan food at a cost of JUST $9 euro/person. Awesome tour, guide and fantastic lunch, a GREAT Value. Highly recommended. Saw the main sites of Athens. I'd give you the address of the restaurant BUT their business card is in Cyrillic. Web address: www.ta5f.gr Naples:$73 Euro/person APTours, Info@APTours.it or www.aptours.it. We chose the Pompeii, Positano and Sorrento Tour including the Amalfi Coast. Spectacular! Highly recommended. Arturo was our driver, great guy! Dario was our guide in Pompeii, awesome guide, we paid him that day to buy us pompeii tickets as guides have their own window, no lines, he took us first thing in the AM, even then it was hot, we walked around the ruins in "out of the way" crowd avoiding places where we saw some awesome sites, walking around on cobblestones and dusty streets, wear shoes/sneakers. positano was a charming seaside town and the ride down the Amalfi coast was spectacular, we stopped for photos several times, Sorrento was very nice as well. We ate at a restaurant/pizzeria called 'basilica" down a long alley near the center of town. Great pizza and other items, reasonable. After Sorrento, we opted for taking the Ferry back across the bay to our ship, cost of $13 Euro/person, 35 minute boat ride, very well worth it, sailed right past the Isle of Capri. Rome: Gianluca Colonnelli was our driver, great guy, brand new Mercedes minivan, informative. $137 Euro/person included tickets to the Vatican and Coloseum + Vatican Guide Barbara who was very knowledgeable. About an hour- 1:30 ride into Rome from the ship, we were there on a Saturday so roads were empty but Rome was hot and crowded with 9 cruise ships there. Tour Group was Italytours.eu or info@italytours.eu The Vatican tour took 4 hrs instead of 3 due to crowds and we were there early around 9:30 am, Coloseum was next and we spent 30 minutes there, then saw the Pantheon, had lunch sandwich and a drink at a little deli with tables in the rear, first shop as you exit the Pantheon on the left, Pantheon crowded but we went inside and then saw other sites by van then headed back. The heat and crowds plus travel time do make these tours somewhat tiring but they are all far superior to the ships tours. Livorno/Florence: $65 Euro/person for 8 people + $25 euro for a GREAT Lunch!!! Italy Shore Drivers : www.isdsharingtours.com or www.italyshoredrivers.com or info@italyshoredrivers.com. Michele Traversi or Gianmaria Mariti Phone: +39-348-60-05-482 or +39.328.18.88.057 Florence is a good hour drive in from the port of Livorno and we did NOT get to Florence. We chose the Pisa and Lucca tour. Our Driver/guide was Mauro and he was excellent. He had us at the Leaning Tower in Pisa at 8:30 am on a Sunday morning and there was nobody there, crowds started forming as we left about 9:15-9:30, including the huge groups from our ship. Mauro then pointed us in the right direction in Lucca's square following a car tour of parts of the city. lucca was a nice, leisurely stroll thru an old walled town and we enjoyed the slower pace. We found a deli a block away from St. Michaels church(facing the church front, make a left down that small side street and its the next to last shop on the right called something pizzeria I think) and ordered some Italian cold cuts, (bread, cheese, proschiuto and mortandella (a huge piece about 14 inches round) and ate on the steps nearby. We also bought small bottles of local Chianti here to bring home. Following our 1:30 minute stroll, Mauro took us to a friend's restaurant in the hills overlooking Lucca. It felt as if we were guests on a cooking show with one of the famous TV Chefs, the place resembled a private home, we ate freah local Italian food and had 3 bottles of local wine, dined out on a covered patio among the rolling hills with mountains in the background. There were 8 of us and cost with tip came to $50 Euro Per couple Including appetizers, main course, some had dessert and coffee. This included a complimentary glass of Prosecco wine. Truly a marvelous experience and a needed relaxing day/tour. We passed numerous large sunflower fields on our travels here and highly recommend the tour. We had friends who chose Pisa and Florence and they too had a good day/tour but did not enjoy the hillside restaurant as we did. Restaurant: Osteria da mi pa, Via della Chiesa 65, Gragnano, Lucca. bianchi.daniela@tin.it Phone: 0583-975010. If you can get there...do it!!! Toulon: We paid the $20 dollars each and took the short ride on the ships ferry into town. We docked near many French navy ships including their aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. At the ferry dock there was a small train tour available and we did this for about $10 Euro/person. Not a real train but a small motorized vehicle designed to resemble a train and it towed 3 'train type' cars with about 6 people in each. Nice 45 minute tour of the town. After that we poked around the shop area and headed back to the ship for lunch. St. Tropez beach is a 2 hour drive 1 way. There is also a local beach on the opposite side of town but we did not go there. Barcelona: Barcelona day Tours info@Barcelonadaytours.com About $210 euro for 2 people. Marta was our guide and Manuel our driver, the 12 of us did the Barcelona and Montserrat tour. Marta was great, Barcelona is a very nice city, we prepaid for tickets to the Park Guell (very nice to see) toured the "Sagrada Familia" Church from the outside, this church has taken 130 years to build, was designed by "Gaudi" and should be done in 2026 finally. Impressive site. Montserrat was amazing, we drove up a steep winding mountain road far above Barcelona to see the Monastery and church up there and we had lunch there. Awesome/tremendous mountain views, amazing structures, cable cars etc....highly recommend going to Montserrat and of course Barcelona. The tour group loaded our luggage and then dropped us at our respective hotels. Again Highly recommend this tour group. Our travel agent recommended us to take this company from Barcelona, (our Hotel was the Colon across from the Cathedral (very nice old hotel with modern amenities as Wifi, Air Conditioning, rooftop pool spa and terrace where you can see the Cathedral and the sea, very clean, elevators etc. We had dinner at "Neyras" 2 blocks away which was excellent and reasonable.) Anyway: Suntransfers.com Email: info@suntransfers.com or www.suntransfers.com. $39 euro for a private car for the 2 of us, 20 minute ride to the airport at 8am on a Wednesday. We were told a taxi would be just $30 euro however we found taxi prices to be about $50 euro for 2. The driver was there 5 mins early and got us to the airport no problem. Thats it, hope this helps and hope you get to Istanbul. NOTE: We booked at the end of march, friends booked about a month later and received a great deal of about half of what we paid...FYI Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This is a beautiful ship in excellent condition with outstanding cuisine and a very attentive staff & crew. I have sailed 2 previous times with Princess but this was my first time on an "older" Princess ship. Now I chuckle ... Read More
This is a beautiful ship in excellent condition with outstanding cuisine and a very attentive staff & crew. I have sailed 2 previous times with Princess but this was my first time on an "older" Princess ship. Now I chuckle writing that because the Island Princess just came out of an extensive dry dock and looks brand new! We originally booked a mini-suite and were offered an upsale 6 weeks prior to departure to a full suite. I cannot say enough how beautiful the Naples suite is (Baja Deck 745). Marble entry way, full size jacuzzi bathtub, separate shower, 2 sinks, private toilet area, separate living/bedroom area, extremely comfortable mattresses, more storage than needed & a double balcony. Again - the nicest stateroom we've ever had. We were the 4th sailing after the dry dock so we felt very fortunate to experience this stateroom in its prime condition. I'm posting the Princess Patters and Port Guides from our cruise under Princess Cruise Line forums - so be sure and check those out for all of the activities and itinerary information. There was always plenty to do but our favorite spot on the ship will always be the Sanctuary! SO quiet and relaxing. The dining was very good to excellent. Some dishes better than others but consistently very good. We loved the crusty rolls, softened butter, variety of menu choices & scrumptious desserts. The wine choices were good too. I am sad to say that our worst meal was in Sabitini's which we paid extra for. That was our first night and we never went back. Horizon's Buffet was okay. Not my favorite but sometimes it fit our time schedule for breakfast, lunch or a late night snack. Suites are offered an extended room service menu - the blueberry pancakes were the best. For some reason, our room service orders never, ever came as ordered. We always had to call back with something they forgot (bowl for the cereal we ordered for example). They really couldn't get it right. Embarkation and Disembarkation were painless. Princess has this down perfectly. The port lectures were outstanding. I can't say enough about how important it is to attend the lectures for a port intensive itinerary such as the Grand Mediterranean. Peter (the port expert) always offered great tips for getting on and off the ship. He even had office hours where you could ask him questions about your planned day. His knowledge cannot be emphasized enough! We loved all the ports (missed Istanbul due to rescuing the Syrian refugees). Our favorites were Santorini (substituted for Istanbul), Mykonos & Naples. It's amazing how much you can see in the 10 hours you have in port! We did a mixture of Princess shore excursions and those we booked privately. Both were great. The comedian, Al Katz, was the best we've experienced on any cruise. What a super funny guy that kept it clean for families! Other entertainment was very good. You won't go wrong booking the Island Princess! I can't say enough good things about our trip. Princess really knows how to offer a consistently wonderful cruise experience! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
My wife and I (both over 70) where very pleasantly surprised at the size of the balcony cabin on C deck; being first timers we were a little apprehensive after reading various reports. We found the cabin to be well planned, with plenty of ... Read More
My wife and I (both over 70) where very pleasantly surprised at the size of the balcony cabin on C deck; being first timers we were a little apprehensive after reading various reports. We found the cabin to be well planned, with plenty of room to unpack completely, and an out of sight storage area for our suitcases. The balcony was private and a secluded with two chairs and a small table. Ideal for sitting a watching the sea and trying to read. The bathroom on the whole was fine, but as I am over 6 ft tall I found the shower to be a little cramped. It was easier to wet down then put on soap before washing off – I was unable to shower in my normal way of avoiding the water whole soaping etc. This small detail would be my only negative comment. Check in at Venice went like a dream – shore going excursions and re boarding all went smoothly, which really impressed me the way so many people where handled so smoothly. The food in the restaurants was very good, as was the overall service. Horizon restaurant for lunch after time ashore was ideal, with a large choice of food, which was constantly refreshed. I liked the idea of compulsory hand sanitizing on entry to the buffet area, and the plastic barriers to stop anyone handling the food except via tongs. All the staff members that we came in contact with where friendly and helpful, it was difficult at the end of the cruise to single out those for special mention. We loved the Crooners Bar – quiet, yet very good for people watching; plus the picture windows over the sea kept me interested. We enjoyed the shows in the theater, even those on the top deck brought back memories of yesteryear. We are both 'sold' on cruising in the future Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was our 20th Princess cruise (5 in last 2 years) and 80th overall. We went back to cruising with Princess two years ago and have found that excellent food, customer service and awareness of detail by the staff that made us a loyal ... Read More
This was our 20th Princess cruise (5 in last 2 years) and 80th overall. We went back to cruising with Princess two years ago and have found that excellent food, customer service and awareness of detail by the staff that made us a loyal Princess cruiser 15 years ago. And after this cruise, the Regal Princess back in February 2015 and the Caribbean Princess twice last year, strongly feel that Princess is back in good form. This cruise was a last minute cruise, going to places we have traveled before, but liked the tour options. Princess did a great job with the tours and we enjoyed 5 tours plus the boat shuttles in both Venice (the day we arrived) and in Toulon. These shuttles were nice ways to get into the town centers to explore on your own. Service was top notch and as a blind traveler, found the staff responsive and overall, well trained in disability etiquette. So the cruise line is providing good training on the ADA. We rated every dinner meal a 9 or 10 with usually two seafood choices each night and a number of other meat and veg items. Deserts were all very nice, especially the Norman Love specialty chocolate items commemorating Princess's 50th year. We used the Horizon court or room service for all breakfasts. We thought the presentation of food in the Horizon court was superior and we liked the fact that tables seemed to always be available and servers were there to take drink orders (iced tea, water, coffee etc.) and kept dirty dishes removed. We used the Horizon court for three dinners to facilitate our tour schedule. Room service for the continental breakfast was more than adequate for those mornings when we had a tour. They now offer a nice egg breakfast sandwich like you can get at McDonalds along with fruit, cereal yogurt and bakery products. We liked the fact that you had the same server, and we had a winner and always got the food to us on tine and the order correct. My wife has enjoyed the cruise passenger choir again (was on the Regal Princess) and the group performed music from Sound of Music in the equivalent of the Piazza on both ships and the fellow passengers enjoyed a job well done. The four production show entertainments were also very first class. The other entertainers (comedians or musical acts) were quite good and fit in with the expectations of the appreciative audience. All of the shows we went to were well attended, even on the last night. But do not know how well attended were the late shows. As a rule, we went to the 8:15 p.m. shows, enjoyed our cocktails and then had any time dinner at 9 p.m. If we had an early tour the next day, we would dine at the Horizon court instead. So a lot of dining options. No need for us to use the specialty restaurants. Like others, we miss the international café on the Island Princess. We enjoyed using the coffee card to get specialty coffee's at half price on Deck 5 or in the Horizon court. Shore excursions staff was very helpful and we liked the fact that stickers for tours were provided the day of the tour at the specified location without having to walk the many steps down to the bottom of the Princess theater. I do wish the cruise line would take the shower gel and shampoo/conditioner dispensers out of the very small showers. This made a marginally comfortable shower totally unacceptable. There seemed to be many other activities and entertainment options on this port intensive cruise. There were talks on each port as well, with the speaker available along with a very professional shore excursion desk to answer questions and provide other information to help us in making any changes to the tours we had already booked. The prices we paid for our pre cruise tours was lower than those offered on the ship. And with Princess, unlike RCL and Celebrity (our other lines of choice), you do not have to pay for pre booked tours until you are on the ship and actually take the tour. And change policy was very good for the tour we switched. So a very nice cruise and great ports. And so happy that Princess, the line we cut our cruising teeth on is back in good form. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I loved this cruise. The shore excursions were all amazing. Some better than others, but more of a matter of the hoards of people at some of the destinations ie: The Vatican. The Island Princess' Horizon Court is nicer that any ... Read More
I loved this cruise. The shore excursions were all amazing. Some better than others, but more of a matter of the hoards of people at some of the destinations ie: The Vatican. The Island Princess' Horizon Court is nicer that any I've seen. Newly renovated. The Sanctuary was also new and lovely. The cabanas and the staff were amazing. I ate at all of the restaurants and my favourite was Bayou Steakhouse. I also loved Bordeaux and Sabatinis. All of the staff were very attentive and polite. Service was impeccable. The main dining room as also a highlight. The menus were excellent and desserts fantastic. My stateroom was very nice. Room attendant was very detailed and thorough, everyday. Watching repeats of the Love Boat as also fun! I would recommend the Island Princess as one of the nicest cruise ships I've been on. I would easily return to this ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
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 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
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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