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Island Princess

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  • Food

    5
  • Entertainment

    5
  • Cabin

    5
  • Crew

    5
  • Price

    5
  • Value

    5

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Anonymous

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Island Princess

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  • Overall

    4
  • Food

    4
  • Entertainment

    4
  • Cabin

    4
  • Crew

    4
  • Price

    4
  • Value

    4

"The Panama Canal and The Island was a great combination...."

Jul 2011

Cruise Ship: Island Princess Destination: Panama Canal, Central America Cruise Length: 17 days Embarkation: Ft Lauderdale, USA Disembarkation: Vancouver, Canada Cabin: B304, Balcony, Forward Nationality: Aussies (about 23 or so on board) Our Outlook: Make the most of life. Expectations This Cruise: High and pleasantly met. Overall on this cruise: We enjoyed this cruise and loved most of the Ports. We have one regret only. The last 2 days from Los Angeles to Vancouver had a “party feel” as the new guests were making the most of their 2 days on board. We quickly lost that original feeling of being on a relaxing voyage. If we had the choice again, we would have disembarked in Los Angeles. Embarkation: Check in was quick and a breeze. The cruise lines are certainly winning in this area as we do all the work online ahead of time! We had enough time to write emails home before boarding. Fort Lauderdale has free Wi Fi in the terminal if you have your own notebook. Ship: The cruise was sold out however this ship had plenty of hideaways, bars, dining options and recreational areas to help with the crowded sea days. It certainly does not have a smaller ship "feel” and we found areas we could relax in away from the cabin. Cabin: B304, Balcony, Forward Our thoughts before getting on board, was "smaller ship" means "smaller cabin". Not the case here. Our immediate impression was one of “space.” Loads of storage with an open ward robe, several drawers with safe, bedside drawers, table, one chair, one single lounge seat and refrigerator. Our rather big bags went very nicely under the queen bed. Bit tight to move from the end of the bed to either the balcony side or to the cabin door so it was one person at a time. The balcony was a good size with the usual table and chairs. Really took advantage of this during the Canal transit in the heat of the day. OK, nice cabin but... One doesn't live in the shower but if you dropped the soap or anything else then forget picking it up as there is NO bending down without pushing the curtain out. We had a very wet floor a number of times!! Dining Venues: The Horizon Court was our venue of choice the whole trip and we did not visit the "Anytime Dining" room at all. Tried the pub lunches, Sabatini’s for a 50th Birthday celebration and pizza on deck. The Horizon came in handy on port days but the rest of the ship felt that way too. However, we met some very interesting people from all over of the globe and it was never hard to find seating. Dinner was always a table for two and never crowded. We had great service and we were always made welcome. Food: The food was varied and non repetitious except at breakfast time. Often we would skip breakfast and head straight for lunch that kicked off at 1130am. Our only negative has been the same on all Princess cruises. The desserts were usually creamy, looked artistic but sadly very little difference in flavour. There was always a range of fresh fruit available though. I did however, love some of the hot desserts served every lunch and dinner. We had to wait for Formal Nights to have ice cream here that promptly disappeared at 900pm.So if you were late by one minute...you missed out. We made up for it with the free ice cream until 700pm at the inside pool. On Sabatini’.... the food was very good, however we thought you could order from the menu. That was the case with the mains and dessert, however ALL the appetizers were brought out round after round.!!! Way too much food and in the end it became too much. Entertainment: This was very good from all aspects. Port days were quiet but the bars and other venues would have something going on. We hit the casino a couple of times but it was too smoky for us. There is a non-smoking section, however smoke travels on frankly calling it non-smoking means nothing. One of us had a couple lucky wins at the Bingo, which they had on non-port days. As always the games are brief so that you can move onto another activity. The pools were crowded when at sea but we found that if you had a swim while everyone was at dinner then you got the pool to yourselves. It worked for us as we dined at Horizon Court. Ports: We didn't feel crowded when getting on or off in port days. Usually the tours went out early and the rest got off as they pleased. Aruba: The arrival was Sunday. Nothing opens except the diamond and souvenirs shops. Princess had not let that one slip to guests not doing tours. We did some walking. There is no beach area near the ship but the blue of the water was beautiful. The town had a deserted feel but we did find a lovely church open. The supermarket was closed as was all the regular stores. Aloe Vera is grown here and we bought some sunburn cream at the port shops. The Princess schedule couldn’t have been worse if you didn't do a tour here. The local bus did run to the white sandy beaches further into the tourist zone. Cartagena:Columbia This port was a real eye opener for our first time in South America. The city is amazing and it is very old colonial and colourful. We did a walking tour off the ship. Got the feeling we were not given too much time on our own. The people seemed happy to us and we felt welcome. The tour leader gave a great narration of city life and gave us hints on the local people selling goods in the streets. It’s not to discourage from buying but to be selective with prices and quality of goods. There were certainly a lot of them selling the same things. Cigars and silver (if genuine) were the main items. If you politely said no thank you, they would move on to the next person. It’s just the way it is here. The town was a maze of old buildings and an old wall surrounding the city. We tried Columbian coffee in the main plaza and watched the life coming and going. It was great! We didn’t feel unsafe at all. Still it is best to be aware at all times. Panama Canal:Transit In a word.... Outstanding. A perfect day and the highlight of our cruise. We got up at 500am and went straight to Deck 11 forward without eating first.Only a few people there until the first of the locks and then became crowded as the day went on. This is a great viewing area to hear the narration by the guest speaker from the bridge and to see both sides of the canal at once. We came and went as the day went on. The sun was hot and we did get very sunburned even with sun cream, hats and fuller T-shirts etc. There was some time spent anchored in Gatun Lake and we went eat then. It was hard to tear ourselves away in case we missed something. Headed back to our balcony for a different perspective. The day went so quickly but we made the most of it. Fuertes Amador:Panama We anchored off Panama City overnight here. Our tour next day to the old, colonial and modern parts of Panama City was extremely hot and made it hard to walk any great distance. However, the tour guide was very knowledgeable about her city and made the tour so interesting we almost forgot the heat.... almost! It was just enough time to see the main sights. Contrary to current thought,it is a very wealthy country. New high rises are going up everywhere. The colonial buildings are being restored to their former elegance and costing a fortune. There is a large Duty Free store and shops after tendering to the port and a couple of restaurants if not taking a tour. We don’t think we would have attempted the same tour on our own first time. Puntarenas: Costa Rica Went to the Poas Volcano and Sarchi on tour. It was 8 hours with a lovely lunch in the mountains. They had traditional food and their famous strawberry juice. The guide was fantastic and told us all about Costa Rica. He had the time, as it was 3 hours each way. We had some comfort stops in a souvenir store with free, hot local coffee to help keep us awake. The weather was kind to look at the crater then promptly rained. We were very lucky. It was also very cold up there. There were still a few hours to see the port town when we got back. Huetulco: Mexico. Port beach is small but nice, the beach town OK, good bars and shops but our time ran out in the port while we did our tour. Took a bus tour off the ship to a town that is a mile away. The bus took 3 hours to see basically a couple of scenic lookouts, a souvenir shop selling craft from all over Mexico and a VERY quick authentic meal. The bus was old and the air con had trouble with the heat at 40C. Saw a beautiful old church in the town and then wandered round the town square that took five minutes. The rest of the time we were trying to stay cool. On the way back we were told to take just 10 mins to eat a traditional meal as the next buses were lining up behind us. There was also to be a demonstration of making bread that didn't happen.... no time? Couldn't wait to get back to the ship. This port is trying to open up to tourists but didn’t get it right with this tour. Princess should be more on top of quality offered for the money. We complained to Princess and cancelled our next tour in Cabo because of our experience and would have been much better off in port. They gave us back 20 percent of the tour the day after letting them know. Acapulco:Mexico We really enjoyed it here. The views along the bay were outstanding It is a tourist trap everywhere but that didn't take away from our enjoyment. We caught an expensive limo taxi to the other end of the bay from the port and walked the length of the bay back. Very hot and tiring but worth the effort. There are cute VW beetle taxies that ply the area and they would be much cheaper if you know where to go and how much. There are loads of tourist shops, a Wal-Mart, hotels and bars. The beaches are fantastic with lovely blue water. Not a cultural thing in sight except the Cathedral and the old fort. This is a hotel, beach and shopping city. Cabo San Lucas:Mexico Lands End is beautiful and we saw it while the ship was at anchor most of the time here. It’s a tender port and it has lots of souvenir shops and bars. Did not do a tour but wandered the town. Unless you do something that is water related it’s pretty much the shops or the bars. We also found it more expensive here than other Mexican ports. The beaches are much further along into the tourist zone. Overall it was enough time in port to do all the above. It would have been something to be there at night. Los Angeles:USA The Immigration procedure was a nightmare if you were not a US citizen.There were not enough officers to process so many people even those just transiting. It was over 2 hours before we got out of the terminal which took a chunk of our time and the ship left again at 400pm.We spent what time we had left in San Pedro near the port eating wonderful market strawberries and looking at the arts and crafts there.We had great coffee at a little cafe here and it was the best since leaving home. Basically this was the end of the cruise for a high percentage of people.The next part of this cruise was for any guests visiting the north or Canadians coming home again.The new sector was full of happy "new" 2 day party goers which was great for them but a little too noisy for us. Disembarkation:Vancouver Overall Customs here were quicker than Los Angeles. We had an early "non Princess" bus transfer Vancouver to Seattle. The transfers sold by Princess had preference off the ship. At the time we booked we were told that no Princess bus service would run from Vancouver to Seattle so we booked an alternate, non-refundable ticket with Quick Shuttle.Our advice to similar travellers is that due to Customs limitations 'own arrangement' times are hard to get. Once you nominate your time, make any changes as early as possible the day before. We were not given our nominated time and we just made our bus after we changed very late the day before arriving. Princess is not as effective here in this area. Perhaps it's time to allow this procedure online as part of the booking process. As in other cruise lines they are so attentive when you first get on board but dismissive once the bill is finalised and paid. Other than this problem, we had the best time on board the Island Princess. Enjoy your Cruise!!!

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  • Cruise Name: Island Princess
  • Destination: Panama Canal
  • Sailed: April 2010
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Anonymous

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Island Princess

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  • Overall

    4
  • Food

    4
  • Entertainment

    4
  • Cabin

    4
  • Crew

    4
  • Price

    4
  • Value

    4

"Un- touched by the Human Eye!!"

Jun 2011

This cruise was not something I would ever dream could be as beautiful as it was. it is still so surreal when I look at the photo's, as photo's do no justice as the real thing. Every single day you wake up to the most magnificent view and wildlife and everyday it seems so breath taking. The island princess is one of the smaller ships, that hold upto 2100 passengers and up to 1000 crew staff. The food is amazing, and you have a good variety of different food for everyone to be happy, to easy quick meals to fine dining to the snacks to get you through till dinner time. There is always things to do and see while on board the cruise, such a seeing one of the world class live shows with live dancers and many activities to see and do. There are daily activities to also keep you occupied during your cruise, with BINGO, shopping in the boutiques to having a nice relaxing massage and then sipping a cocktail or 2 afterwards to wind down after a big day. There is also a tour desk with plenty tour seminars and information to look forward to, to help you organize the tours that best suit your cruise, ex: whale watching, the train through the beautiful mountains where you get to see wild life that you would never dream of, fishing charters and a wide range of casual activities that you could enjoy. Or you can just take it at your own pas and stroll into town yourself and find other activities that they have to offer you. All in all this was definitely an amazing cruise that I would hope everyone gets to see and do once in a life time opportunity to see an amazing place that is untouched by the human hand and is just pure nature. I truly hope you enjoy as much as i did.

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  • Cruise Name: Island Princess
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Sailed: May 2010
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