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Review of the Island Princess
Cruise Date: November 2011
Booking: Travel Agency
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale
Destination: Panama Canal
Cabin number: E305
Cabin category: (optional)
Island Princess - Panama Canal
Balcony cabin, right at foreward elevators, which is particularly convenient for access to Horizons Court, the Lido Deck's round-the-clock eatery. Note that this venue is almost always in the rear of the ship, but the Island and the Coral are twins with it in the front. I like it there!
More or less "standard" cabin layout and ambience. A wee tad tired; I think she's due for a refit soon.
Production shows would draw huge crowds in Las Vegas. Amazing choreography, and dazzling costuming. The best show was not even in the Princess Theater, but in the Universe Lounge, the night-club-like venue aft on 6. The dancers and singers really exhaust me because their 45-minute non-stop energy is something I probably couldn't have done myself at their age, let alone at an age probably equal to their grandparents!
Comedian highly billed but only moderately funny. An immensely talented guitar player, also in Universe Lounge, brought an immediate standing ovation, rather than the more frequent delayed reaction one!
Hypnotist not seen. Been there, done that, didn'r care for it then!
No connection with kids facilities, but I did ask a parent her opinion. She was "ecstatic" that she could spend 90% of the day not worrying about her six- and eight-year olds!
Dining (Anytime) seemed slower than usual, but food was 99% excellent. I and my travel companion thought that many of the waitstaff were less out-going than on other cruises, and there seemed to be more whose English understanding and speaking were less than ideal!
Cabin steward was older than I've had before (at least 50 years old, I'd guess) and less consistent in quality. He was responsible for 20 cabins (which apparently is "standard" for Island Princess. I'm afraid it stressed him.
That said, he almost always had the cabin done before I came down from breakfast, and never failed to check in during the day. [My clue to tha: the toilet paper seemed always to have a pointy end; something I certainly didn't do, myself! :-)]
I have found that you can't always [or even usually] praise or fault the cruise line for the shore excursions; the kudos and/or blame must go to the on-site operator. Of the five excursions we booked, all went very well and were essentially as written up and worth nearly every penny!
Bottom line is always: "Would I take the same ship/cruise again?" My answer is that I certainly would take the ship again. As to whether I'd do the cruise again, it's much less likely because it was my third Panama Canal itinerary in almost as many years - it's definitely time to research new options!
Location: The Villages, FL
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