Island Princess Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Contributor Level: Purser

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

3 out of 5

Mixed review

Sail Date: March 04, 2016

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Suite

Please see the comments below.  We had a mixed experience with Princess.  This was our first Princess experience, and will probably be our last.  The outstanding feature on the Island Princess was the Sanctuary, which we used quite a bit.

Cabin / Stateroom
Nikki, our attendant, was great.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
My husband needed wheel chair assistance which we registered for when we booked the cruise. We only used the wheel chair assistance for embarkation and disembarkation, and on one excursion to get from the ship to the bus. We talked to the service desk 2 days in advance, and were instructed to call for a wheel chair 20-30 minutes before the excursion departure time. We called the service desk well in advance of our excursion in Columbia, and were told a wheel chair attendant would be "right up". We waited and waited until 5 minutes before we were to be on the bus. I finally went to the service desk, and was asked by a very unhelpful attendant if we had received "permission" to use a wheel chair. When we finally got to the bus, we - and the entire bus - were 20 minutes late to depart, and there were many unpleasant looks on the faces of the other excursion participants who obviously didn't appreciate being kept waiting. It was not a good scene. We came on the cruise to see 2 things - Columbia and the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, our Columbia experience was lacking due to the inefficiency and rudeness of the staff.
Ship Quality
Destinations and Excursions
Onboard Activities
We felt "nickel and dimed" by Princess. After paying $40 to play Bingo, we were charged $2 for a marking pencil.
The Spa seemed to be intent on selling products. Aggressively so. Even the acupuncturist - supposedly a medical professional - charged a 15% tip. Unbelievably unprofessional.
After winning a $50 credit at the Spa, I got several different answers from different attendants regarding the use of the credit. I finally realized that my winnings only applied to the most expensive treatments - and only on port days. I never used the credit. Princess Cruises are too hungry for my taste.
Service and Staff
Our cabin attendant, Nikki, was excellent, attentive and responsive. Some of the service desk personnel left much to be desired. Not responsive. Not friendly. Even rude in one instance. Smiles were few and far between. Very disappointed on that front.
Food and Dining
The service and the food for the most part were the saving grace of the cruise. Jordan, our waiter, was excellent. The food was good for the most part.


The ship was freezing. We were unprepared for "cold weather", with little or no protection. Consequently we stayed in our stateroom more than we have on other cruises. This was our first Princess cruise. It may be the last.

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