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How is Island Princess? bucket list cruise


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Looking on going on a bucket list canada new england cruise in 2025. June one is on the island princess and works better for my schedule. I'm concerned as recent reviews on cruise critic aren't good. Would people recommend the island princess? Fall one is on the majestic but doesn't work with my schedule so well. Not sure whether to wait for 2026 but schedule isn't up yet.

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Sorry i see there is quite a recent thread. Maybe these posts are anomalies. It is true that the Canada New England is port intensive. I'll have to check how many sea days there are. Not sure what the international cafe is as people said they missed that.

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I wouldn’t miss booking a bucket list itinerary on the date that works for me. We had a great experience on the Island for an ocean to ocean Panama Canal cruise through the historic locks.

 

The biggest issue I have with the Island Princess is the dungeon-like fitness center, but the gym is a relatively small part of the day for most of us.


I feel the same way about the international Cafe, they are nice, but as long as I can get specialty coffee elsewhere, it’s not a big deal.

 

 

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The Island Princess is our least favorite ship in the fleet due to the butcher job they did to her years ago.

 

With this being said, we are booked on the Island for 54 days in March of 2026.  We book for the itinerary, not the ship.  Any time we are on any ship we are happy campers!

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1 hour ago, latebuyer said:

Sorry i see there is quite a recent thread. Maybe these posts are anomalies. It is true that the Canada New England is port intensive. I'll have to check how many sea days there are. Not sure what the international cafe is as people said they missed that.

The 10 days includes 3 days at sea, 4 stops in Canada, as well as 2 in New England.  The IC is a 24 hour cafe that you can get breakfast sandwiches, pastries, snacks, fruit, coffee etc throughout the day.  The Island doesn't have this and many do miss it when sailing on her.  It boils down to what is important to you.  The ship itself is over 20 years old and holds the second least amount of cruisers.  Only you can decide what is important to you.  If you have to do this itinerary in 2025, then your decision is made.  You can also wait until 2026 schedule comes out to see the time parameters and the ship choice for this itinerary.  You can always put a deposit down on the 2025 sailing and then switch it if a 2026 sailing on a different ship or different date works better for you.

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1 hour ago, Torfamm said:

The biggest issue I have with the Island Princess is the dungeon-like fitness center, but the gym is a relatively small part of the day for most of us.

 

I have responded several times lately on other threads asking about the Island, one of which I think the OP has already found so I'll leave it at that.  Just wanted to comment that while I understand the dislike of the fitness center, the good news is many of the unique itineraries the Island does are port-intensive so using the gym may not be a big deal 🙂  It wasn't for us on our recent cruise -- we were too busy during very long days in port and walking miles on land to worry about working out onboard. 

 

Bottom line we liked our cruise on the Island and wouldn't hesitate to sail again, especially on a bucket list itinerary as stated by the OP. 

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Posted (edited)

I was on the Island this January for the FLL to LAX leg of the world cruise. I have not previously sailed the Island. General notes, thoughts, observations, etc.:

 

  • While onboard, they installed a new MUTS screen.  Quality was excellent.
  • There was also new pool area furniture waiting to deploy after LAX. 
  • Brand new washers and dryers were installed while we were on the ship.
  • It appeared that the carpeting was fairly new, as I didn't see any worn or frayed areas. 
  • Overall, the upholstered furniture was in excellent condition.  Nothing that appeared worn out. 
  • The Piazza is not as large as on the Royal class ships; however, it extends 4 floors versus the typical 3.  Then again, it is narrow enough to go through the old locks of the Panama Canal and the Royal class ships can't.
  • It seemed that the shops were smaller on the Island compared to the Royal ships.
  • The casino is small and isolated.  On the plus side, you don't have to walk through a smoky casino to get anywhere.
  • Horizon Court is forward versus aft.  This means there is no outdoor seating area like you have when it is aft. I wasn't a huge fan of this configuration.
  • No common area at back of ship to sit, relax, have a drink etc.
  • Never, ever had an issue finding a place to sit and relax.  Lots of chairs and love seats available all over.
  • The Wheelhouse is large.  Which is a good thing, because it was a very popular place.
  • The ever-popular Crooners is also large.  Never had an issue finding a place to sit for our pre-dinner cocktail. 
  • I haven't been a fan of the Explorer's Lounge on any of the ships we've been on.  I think that is because it is usually a dark place with a low ceiling. However, I liked this one.  There was a very comfortable seating area next to a window.  
  • No International Cafe.
  • No Vines.
  • No lower-level exit for the Princess Theater. Only exit was at the rear.  
  • Our cabin was aft on 10.  Loved that I could be on the decks below 10 and walk aft and take the last bank of elevators (or stairs) up to 10.  No dining room blocking my way. The aft elevators were never crowded.  Usually rode in them solo.
  • The captain came through the MDR one evening and introduced himself.  That was a nice touch.  We've never experienced that before.

If the itinerary was right, we would board the Island again.

Edited by Aggie83
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1 hour ago, Aggie83 said:

I was on the Island this January for the FLL to LAX leg of the world cruise. I have not previously sailed the Island. General notes, thoughts, observations, etc.:

 

  • While onboard, they installed a new MUTS screen.  Quality was excellent.
  • There was also new pool area furniture waiting to deploy after LAX. 
  • Brand new washers and dryers were installed while we were on the ship.
  • It appeared that the carpeting was fairly new, as I didn't see any worn or frayed areas. 
  • Overall, the upholstered furniture was in excellent condition.  Nothing that appeared worn out. 
  • The Piazza is not as large as on the Royal class ships; however, it extends 4 floors versus the typical 3.  Then again, it is narrow enough to go through the old locks of the Panama Canal and the Royal class ships can't.
  • It seemed that the shops were smaller on the Island compared to the Royal ships.
  • The casino is small and isolated.  On the plus side, you don't have to walk through a smoky casino to get anywhere.
  • Horizon Court is forward versus aft.  This means there is no outdoor seating area like you have when it is aft. I wasn't a huge fan of this configuration.
  • No common area at back of ship to sit, relax, have a drink etc.
  • Never, ever had an issue finding a place to sit and relax.  Lots of chairs and love seats available all over.
  • The Wheelhouse is large.  Which is a good thing, because it was a very popular place.
  • The ever-popular Crooners is also large.  Never had an issue finding a place to sit for our pre-dinner cocktail. 
  • I haven't been a fan of the Explorer's Lounge on any of the ships we've been on.  I think that is because it is usually a dark place with a low ceiling. However, I liked this one.  There was a very comfortable seating area next to a window.  
  • No International Cafe.
  • No Vines.
  • No lower-level exit for the Princess Theater. Only exit was at the rear.  
  • Our cabin was aft on 10.  Loved that I could be on the decks below 10 and walk aft and take the last bank of elevators (or stairs) up to 10.  No dining room blocking my way. The aft elevators were never crowded.  Usually rode in them solo.
  • The captain came through the MDR one evening and introduced himself.  That was a nice touch.  We've never experienced that before.

If the itinerary was right, we would board the Island again.

An excellent summary.  As a first time Island cruiser next month this gives me more information on what to expect.  Thank you

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Island Princess is my favorite ship.  I like the size, and the decor -- old-timey classy, not brassy and glitzy.  Understated elegance instead of wretched excess like in the newer ships.  We did 15 days HI, round-trip from Los Angeles.  Then we did a Panama cruise, also 15 days.  

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Thanks everyone for replying. I'm feeling better about it now. I'm also a bit nervous as first time on princess, i've only been on royal caribbean and holland america. I do like its a smaller ship.

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7 hours ago, latebuyer said:

Thanks everyone for replying. I'm feeling better about it now. I'm also a bit nervous as first time on princess, i've only been on royal caribbean and holland america. I do like its a smaller ship.

We too have been a little nervous about sailing on Princess and the Island.  Having sailed on several other lines don't really know what to expect and all the negative comments had worried us.

However, posts like these have helped make us feel better.  This cruise just fits perfectly what we were looking for after having not been able to cruise for over 2 1/2 years.

I actually think this sounds more like the kind of ship we initially sailed on and fell in love with cruising back in 1999.

Can't wait till next month to get back on the ocean.

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11 hours ago, Aggie83 said:

I was on the Island this January for the FLL to LAX leg of the world cruise. I have not previously sailed the Island. General notes, thoughts, observations, etc.:

 

  • While onboard, they installed a new MUTS screen.  Quality was excellent.
  • There was also new pool area furniture waiting to deploy after LAX. 
  • Brand new washers and dryers were installed while we were on the ship.
  • It appeared that the carpeting was fairly new, as I didn't see any worn or frayed areas. 
  • Overall, the upholstered furniture was in excellent condition.  Nothing that appeared worn out. 
  • The Piazza is not as large as on the Royal class ships; however, it extends 4 floors versus the typical 3.  Then again, it is narrow enough to go through the old locks of the Panama Canal and the Royal class ships can't.
  • It seemed that the shops were smaller on the Island compared to the Royal ships.
  • The casino is small and isolated.  On the plus side, you don't have to walk through a smoky casino to get anywhere.
  • Horizon Court is forward versus aft.  This means there is no outdoor seating area like you have when it is aft. I wasn't a huge fan of this configuration.
  • No common area at back of ship to sit, relax, have a drink etc.
  • Never, ever had an issue finding a place to sit and relax.  Lots of chairs and love seats available all over.
  • The Wheelhouse is large.  Which is a good thing, because it was a very popular place.
  • The ever-popular Crooners is also large.  Never had an issue finding a place to sit for our pre-dinner cocktail. 
  • I haven't been a fan of the Explorer's Lounge on any of the ships we've been on.  I think that is because it is usually a dark place with a low ceiling. However, I liked this one.  There was a very comfortable seating area next to a window.  
  • No International Cafe.
  • No Vines.
  • No lower-level exit for the Princess Theater. Only exit was at the rear.  
  • Our cabin was aft on 10.  Loved that I could be on the decks below 10 and walk aft and take the last bank of elevators (or stairs) up to 10.  No dining room blocking my way. The aft elevators were never crowded.  Usually rode in them solo.
  • The captain came through the MDR one evening and introduced himself.  That was a nice touch.  We've never experienced that before.

If the itinerary was right, we would board the Island again.

Very nice break down. We are booked next May for 18 days LA to NYC. I learned on the Sapphire last year I could get my morning Latte at the pool bar so unless it was before 6:00 I would not need to go to the IC. Would you know if this holds true on Island? Do some bar areas have the specialty coffees early mornings? We are in an aft suite for this trip so know everything is a hike.

Thanks for the nice job with this list.

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The best thing about a forward buffet is the view going through the Panama Canal. I did 28 days on the Island last December and wouldn't hesitate to book it again..............I did for the Panama Canal next year. 

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1 hour ago, latebloomer56 said:

Very nice break down. We are booked next May for 18 days LA to NYC. I learned on the Sapphire last year I could get my morning Latte at the pool bar so unless it was before 6:00 I would not need to go to the IC. Would you know if this holds true on Island? Do some bar areas have the specialty coffees early mornings? We are in an aft suite for this trip so know everything is a hike.

Thanks for the nice job with this list.

 

Yes, some bars have specialty coffee in the morning. I think Explorer's on 6 was one of them. Check the Patter for hours/locations. Most mornings we went to Good Spirits on deck 5 for a latte after breakfast. Nice location with good window seats. It was also a pretty quiet location in the mornings. Never had a problem getting a seat. There was also a small selection of pastries available. Personally I would try to avoid Horizons in the morning for a latte. It was typically a madhouse. Plus it is at the front of the ship, much more of a hike.

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4 hours ago, Aggie83 said:

 

Yes, some bars have specialty coffee in the morning. I think Explorer's on 6 was one of them. Check the Patter for hours/locations. Most mornings we went to Good Spirits on deck 5 for a latte after breakfast. Nice location with good window seats. It was also a pretty quiet location in the mornings. Never had a problem getting a seat. There was also a small selection of pastries available. Personally I would try to avoid Horizons in the morning for a latte. It was typically a madhouse. Plus it is at the front of the ship, much more of a hike.

Thank you.

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17 hours ago, ecs66 said:

Island Princess is my favorite ship.  I like the size, and the decor -- old-timey classy, not brassy and glitzy.  Understated elegance instead of wretched excess like in the newer ships.  We did 15 days HI, round-trip from Los Angeles.  Then we did a Panama cruise, also 15 days.  

As a Carnival Corporation stock holder, I wish to thank you and all of the other old time Princess cruisers that enjoy  what you consider as old time classy and I consider as old time rust bucket.  

We cruise for the ship and would only consider the Royal and Sphere Classes since we have 35 days booked on the Enchanted, 28 booked on the Sun and another 28 booked on the Star. 

And one final thought, if you think the Royal Class on Princess looks like "wretched excess", it's obvious that you have never sailed on one of the Joe Farcus designed ships on Carnival, which resembled a Pepto Bismol theme at times.

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8 hours ago, Goofyisme said:

I actually think this sounds more like the kind of ship we initially sailed on and fell in love with cruising back in 1999.

The Island was built in 2003 and is 92 K tons so it could possibly be similar to the first ship you sailed on back in the day.

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The Island was the ship we sailed on for our first cruise, Panama Canal in 2015. We loved it. This was before they did that botch job on the rear end.


We did a Transatlantic in May, 2022, on the Island, and were disappointed. At that time everything seemed old, carpets were frayed, the extra added cabins made the ship feel crowded, and I missed the Int’l Cafe which we enjoyed on the Ruby. We do use the fitness center almost every day, and it was a dungeon.

 

I personally wouldn’t choose the Island again, although apparently some things have improved. We’ve booked a 10 day Canada /NE on the Emerald. FWIW.

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We are on the Island next year, looking forward to the LA to NYC trip on this ship. We are on the Grand this year for Hawaii. Haven't been on either ship in many years. We do like the smaller older ships, however I did love the Regal both times. Think it's just what you enjoy don't care about the bells and whistles. It's you holiday sail how you enjoy the most.

Happy sailing!

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We are on the Island June 4-14 for a cockamamie cruise with only 4 ports- Boston, Halifax, Norfolk and Charleston. We were on her the first year she sailed. Any cruise is great. This will be our 35th on Princess. We love the entertainment especially the nighttime games and quizzes. Plenty on time on this cruise. Not happy about the small casino although I heard they added more slots in the music venue next to the casino. Wish they’d do away with the smoking. Food is just fine.

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Posted (edited)

The Island ismy least favorite Princess ship--we're Platinum so have sailed Princess a lot.  But, if it truly is a bucket list cruise, I would book her again--meaning a place I really, really want to book and nothing else works itinerary and price wise.

 

  I mostly hate that they don't have an International Cafe and took out too many public spaces to add more cabins.

Edited by Nebr.cruiser
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We love the Island but have you also checked out Cunard.  The QM2 has a wonderful RT from New York if the timing works.  Of course you have to love dressup after 6 pm.  

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Thanks ill check out cunard. I’ve been waffling between island princess and emerald princess departing from quebec city and returning from boston. But round trip new york like on island is really more convenient. Good to see this thread still going!

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Nebr.cruiser said:

I mostly hate that they don't have an International Cafe and took out too many public spaces to add more cabins.

I agree it's unfortunate there's no IC on Island.  However, I find it interesting that some people consistently refer to taking out public spaces to add cabins.  We were on the Island for 12 days last fall and then the Regal a couple months later.  It was our 3rd time on the Regal, but having just come off the Island we decided we had a better time by far on the Island!  The public spaces on Island were so much better than the Regal in our opinion.  The Regal has a tiny Wheelhouse space cobbled onto the front of the Crown Grill, open to the walkway, with very little seating, no dedicated musician space, and the line for the Crown Grill essentially cut off access to the Wheelhouse bar.  On the Island the Wheelhouse is very large, with lots of comfy seating, dedicated musician space with a small dance floor, and had lots of great entertainment on our cruise.  The Island also has a great Explorers lounge with lots of comfy seating, a large dance floor, and great entertainment (comedians, bands, magician).  The Regal has the horrible Princess Live venue with uncomfortable seating, and mostly trivia-type events, instead of Explorers.  On the Island Crooners was a lively venue every night with great entertainment and ample seating.  On the Regal there was no live music at all in Crooners during the entire cruise.  The Regal has the Vista lounge but it was woefully underutilized during our cruise, with no live music at all, and mostly afternoon trivia and evening movies.  Those are just a few examples of better public spaces and use of space on Island vs Regal for us.  We didn't feel crowded on the Island but the Regal felt consistently crowded to us.  

 

YMMV.  

Edited by Paula_MacFan
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