November 2015 - 19 Night Venetian Passage (Venice To Ft. Lauderdale) Cruise on Island Princess
Restructuring of Island Princess leaves much to be desired
Our 19 night VENETIAN CROSSING was compromised by the many structural changes on board a ship we thought we knew well. Like many other passengers on board, we were very disappointed by the elimination of The International Cafe, the reconfiguration of the gym in a tiny area without windows, the absence of the VISTA lounge stern and the absence of seating and gathering spots in the ATRIUM. Several dozen new cabins may add to the profit margin forf Princess but were a negative factor for almost every passenger on board.
Service from the staff was smiley and wonderful. Our room steward Marlin was a friendly and ever helpful presence. Entertainment was good and the Shows were excellent. But Princess Theatre has only 2 narrow aisles in and out and makes for the feeling of crowding (and even danger in the face of emergency) for anything more than a few score attending passengers. Movies under the Stars were fun when the weather allowed, but I don't believe I ever experienced the Horizon Court closing before the end of the movie!
That said, the Buffet is the one grand improvement. While almost everyone was confused by it being at the FORE of the ship, it is indeed brighter, roomier, more pleasant and less chaotic than almost ever before. In 19 days I never stood on line for any meal and could always secure a comfortable seat within a few seconds. Efficient and hard working staff added to the pleasant surroundings.
Let me add a word about FOOD IDENTIFICATION. As a vegetarian, I was especially thankful for the careful marking of food choices with CAPITAL V to make my choices easier and more reassuring. And any questions I had were dealt with promptly and respectfully by staff.
Smaller suggestions I WOULD MAKE INCLUDE: more than 4 easy chairs for reading in the Library: separating the ever-noisy game rooms from the reading area; better signage for toilets on board and once or twice daily messages from the Bridge to be broadcast into the state rooms