Overall, a great cruise, with a lot of fun stops, in San Fran and Victoria especially. We started it off with a few days in LA before boarding, which was a busy few days, so were ready to relax.
We didn't know when boarding that some people were doing B2B or B2B2B even, from Ft Lauderdale to LA and then off to Alaska after Vancouver, so that was interesting talking to people who had been on for 20 days already.
The Island Princess is a nice ship, with a cool look and feel. I love the 'cafe' type setup they have outside the Bayou Cafe for example, and the overall sense of the insides not just being corridors but actual places themselves that link you to more.
The food was delicious overall, with the Bayou as the standout star. We didn't eat much in in the MDR but the little we had was tasty. Buffet was hit and miss as always, with some items great and others passable.
We did feel there was a staffing issue in the buffet. Often there would be 6 staff assigned to clear tables in a section, which I grant is important. But then only one person was staffed to handle drink orders for 40+ guests in that section. At breakfast this was especially noticeable, as they'd start at and end, get grabbed, have to go back and refill and then not make it more then another table in before repeating. I watched one girl do this nine times before she got to our area. I started to go get our drinks ourselves near the end. The glasses were also very small for juice, which I found silly.
The omelette bar also had issues, where you'd place your order and then sit down but the waiters were so busy, often I'd see my order sitting out for 10 minutes before it got brought to me. Again, just an issue with staffing allocation.
Another oddity I found was there is only one section, at one entrance, that you can get plates and the person there must hand them to you. Since they demand you use a new plate all the time, if I was at the other end of the sitting area and just wanted another bowl of fruit, I had to navigate all the way to the other end, ask for a bowl and work my way back. Maybe this is to ensure you get enough exercise with the food :) But as someone with nerve damage in my leg, it was annoying on a few occasions.
We also had an issue with our beverage package. Long and short, I bought two premium packages but somehow both were assigned to my account. And their systems don't make much sense, which the officer I dealt with admitted, but they can't just transfer things. So we ended up having to be charged a third time for another package, which was then refunded, as they couldn't just transfer a second one from mine to her account.
Some other minor (and one not so minor) issues with the food service, but a talk with the head maître d resolved them, and some compensation was offered, which though not requested, was appreciated. And the finance manager helped address the issues with the package. So though some of the service wasn't great, the officers recognized when it failed and stepped in and apologized and owned it, which I appreciated.
Our room (Balcony, Caribe deck) was great as always and our Steward spot on. First day a few mistakes but I expect that with the chaos and from then on, he never missed a request or change. The shower though, meh, not great. The water pressure and heat were amazing, but it was very small. I'm a bigger guy but not huge and I found it tight. I can't imagine how larger people would function in there. And the curtain doesn't even have weights in it to anchor it against the floor or walls.
Environmental controls weren't great, but again, like last cruise, I suspect it may be due to the majority older guests. Even at max cool, the room was never truly cool.
Entertainment I found a mixed bag. The fist showing was standing room only, which I found odd, not seen that before. It was good but not our cup of tea. It could be our imagination, but it really seemed as the cruise went on, fewer and fewer events were going on. Other cruises the daily listing were full of dozens of things but come Astoria it really seemed to die off. Not sure, maybe just me, but that was my sense.
The casino is small, same as the Caribbean Princess and I'm beginning to think it's a Princess thing. Perhaps they don't focus on it much? Still, it's serviceable if you're looking for a quick game.
Overall though, a great cruise, 4.5/5 I'd rate it and we put down a deposit for another.