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I have just returned from our trip on the wonderful Island Princess last Sunday 5th Dec. To anyone interested in taking this cruise, I must say that the Island is a brilliant ship...good food...great staff & excellent entertainment and we all had a great time.
There were setbacks though. Boarding the ship was a total farce, with no-one in charge to give out information and with 2000 passangers plus wedding parties waiting to board...it was total chaos! Definately the worst I have ever experienced in the many cruises we have taken over the years. Getting off at the end was almost as bad. Again, all 2000 passengers lining up & down the same corridor at 07.00 waiting to see imigration, tempers starting to fray as people appear from the wrong elevators/stairs trying to barge their way in to aviod the long long wait. I was told that things are different when the ship is docked at the other berth in line with the bridge....imigration then takes place ashore and thing are a lot easier. Surely Princess can come up with a better way for people to get on & off the ships without spoiling everyones vacation.
I have not seen so many old & infirm passengers on the one ship at the same time!. I would say that 75-80% were well over the 70 mark and many in wheelchairs. The Island is ideal for wheelchairs as the corridors are all wide enough to accomodate them unlike many other ships. Indeed, there were even quite a few of the very large electric chairs on board & they seemed to get around the ship with no problem at all. Although I have no problem with lots of older people, it does get a bit annoying when the majority decide to leave the theatre before the shows have fully finished & in turn block the aisles for 15-20 mins. We gave in and stayed seated until the place was empty. There were unfortunately a few casualties from falls throughout this trip and I did see one passenger being taken to hospital with broken bones when we reached Hawaii.
Now the big big downside. The weather.....last week it was foul! Bitterly cold & gale force winds, heavy rain and all these beautiful balcony's lying empty all week long. From leaving Los Angeles, the first night was very rough leaving many people suffering the next day. A walk down any corridor revealed the many "Do Not Disturb" signs on display. Things did pick up until Hawaii and then only a couple off the days we spent there were nice. When we left Hawaii after the fifth day around the islands, things just went dowhill right back to Los Angeles, on most days all outdoor activities were cancelled and the pools were closed, even the solarium pool as the water was splashing around everywhere.
I do hope that things improve for everyone due to take this trip in the future as paying all that extra cash for the luxury of a balcony only to have it lying empty for the majority of the trip is really galling. Here's hoping everyone else has better luck with the weather than we did. Still had a good time though. I would recommend the Island to anybody & certainly look forward to another trip on her in the future.
Boarding the ship was a total farce, with no-one in charge to give out information and with 2000 passangers plus wedding parties waiting to board...it was total chaos! Definately the worst I have ever experienced in the many cruises we have taken over the years. Getting off at the end was almost as bad. Again, all 2000 passengers lining up & down the same corridor at 07.00 waiting to see imigration, tempers starting to fray as people appear from the wrong elevators/stairs trying to barge their way in to aviod the long long wait.
Boarding the ship where was no information given? When checking in or once on board directing to rooms? Getting off where did you have to go and see imigration? In a lounge prior to your color tag being called?
Thanks for the claification.
Sorry the weather was "good" to you but think that can happen anywhere this time of year.
Barbara Caribbean Princess - East & West Caribbean (back-back) Oct 27 - Nov 6, 2014
Past cruises: (329 days & adding) PRINCESS Crown Princess--2008 TransAtlantic & Baltic 2009 E. Caribbean Golden Princess-2007-Alaska Sea Princess-2005 Canada/New England Diamond Princess- 2005 Mexican Riviera Star Princess- 2004 x2 Med. Venice to Barcelona/ Barcelona to Rome-2007 TA Rome-FL Dawn Princess - 2004 x3- Southern Caribbean Grand Princess- 2003 x2 W.Caribbean/ 2004 Panama 2013-Alaska Sun Princess- 2003 Mexico Tahitian Princess- 2003 Tahiti & Cook Islands Royal Princess- 2003 x2- British Isles / Norwegian Fjords & Iceland Island Princess- 2003 Panama Canal / 2007 Hawaii Sky Princess- 2000 China & Orient
SITMAR- Fairwind - 1979 x2- Caribbean/Panama Canal
------------------------------------------------- HOLLAND AMERICA Amsterdam- 2004 Alaska Ryndam - 2001 x 2- S. America
------------------------------------------ CELEBRITY- Silhouette 2014 x2 Greek Isles/ Greece/Croatia, Montenegro & Turkey
------------------------------------------ Viking River Cruise- Spirit/Pride -2006 Budapest to Amsterdam
Thanks so much for your review! I've heard so many bad things regarding embarkation... Oh well - We'll just go with a good attitude and a good book! LOL
Can you tell me when the formal nights were? Just curious... We'll be on board December 20th for the holiday sailing...
Song of Norway, 1971, Bahamas
Imagination, 1/1996, W Caribbean
Imagination, 1/1998, W Caribbean
Song of America, 1/1999, Mexican Riviera
Jubilee, 1/2000, Panama Canal/S. America
Inspiration, 1/2001, W Caribbean
Enchantment of the Seas, 11/2002 - Back to back! E/W Caribbean
Carnival Conquest, 9/2003, W Caribbean
Island Princess, 12/2004, Hawaii
Coral Princess, 9/2006, Alaska
Brilliance of the Seas, 12/2007, Transatlantic
Norwegian Spirit, 1/2008, Central America, "Chubby's Party Cruise"
Carnival Legend, 11/2008, C America/W Caribbean
Carnival Conquest, 2/2009, W Caribbean, "Chubby's Party Cruise II"
Carnival Triumph, 1/4/2010, Yukatan Peninsula
Carnival Triumph, 1/9/2010, Bahamas/Key West, "Chubby's Party Cruise III"
Carnival Triumph, 2/2011, C America/W Caribbean, On board w/Grammy winners Chubby & friends
Statendam, 12/2011, Panama Canal
Carnival Miracle, 11/2014, Mexican Riviera
Carnival Miracle, 12/2014, Hawaii
[quote=BJS]Boarding the ship where was no information given? When checking in or once on board directing to rooms? Getting off where did you have to go and see imigration? In a lounge prior to your color tag being called?
The problems were when we arrived at San Pedro Port. Princess staff were siiting around & we asked them where we should go and believe it or not but we were told.."anywhere you like". After an hour or so waiting, the wedding parties had to board first to allow the ceremony's to take place but I really thought they would have seperate lines for wedding guests rather than have them lining up with the rest of us.
Every so often, a porter would appear with a luggage trolley and chaos ensued with lots of people thinking if they didn't get their suitcases on there & then, they would miss the boat! To stand for a couple of hours in a line with suitcases & then have some people try to barge past with their own cases is no fun!!!
Imigration at the end of the cruise took place aboard ship in one of the lounges. Times were published for different nationality's to show up, we went down at 07:30 only to find this huge queue which doubled in length from one end of the ship to the other. At 08:15 we reached the atrium and only then met the end of the queue which went all around the other side....right down the side of the ship & back up again. Goodness knows how long it took for the ones at the end to get through. We were in the second colour tag group to be called which wasn't for another hour or so. It may be that the problems we encountered were a one off & hopefully things get better for everyone from now on.
As for the weather, we did hear that it's been the worst winter for 80 years in Los Angeles so looks like we chose the wrong time to go. Better luck to everyone due to go soon.
You mentioned people falling on the ship. Was this due to the rough seas?
Partly.....although I did witness people falling down the stairs in the theatre and this was just down to being unable to walk without aid. As mentioned before, there were a large amount old & infirm people on-board who really stuggled to walk on the level, never mind down stairs on a ship that is rocking a bit. The woman who had broken her arm looked very very frail when she was carried off the ship but I don't think that happened on the first rough night out as she didn't get off the ship at the first port of call.
Thanks for your review, we're going on March 20. Luckily we don't get seasick, but we do hope it doesn't rain....but if it does, nothing we can do about it!!! Hopefully they'll get the immigration thing straightened out by then.
I was also on the Island Princess trip to Hawaii returning on Dec 5th. I agree with most of Pringles comments. The average age was up there. I'm 62 and felt like a youngster on this trip.
We got to the pier about 1pm and were in our room by 1:40 which wasn't too bad. It may have been congested earlier. We didn't see too much confusion. By 3pm there were no lines at all so maybe it's better to go aboard later.
We had a balcony on the starboard side so we were in the shade all the way over. The return trip was better. And yes, there were a couple of days with gale force winds. There were also some rough days with 12 to 16 foot swells but I thought the ship handled them very well. The stabilizers do work.
I think the people who left early during the evening shows were very rude to the rest of us who were enjoying the productions. It was also dangerous because the stairs were not well lit and they could have fallen and injured themselves. I don't understand their rush to get out. It's not like they had anywhere to go.
The ship was beautiful and the crew was great and the food fantastic. Because we booked late, we had anytime dining. I was a liitle concerned before the trip but it worked out well. I would definately book anytime dining again. We went to dinner each night about 7 and were seated within just a few minutes providing we would sit with others which I didn't mind. All of our tablemates were interesting and pleasant. The only night we had to wait was the gala dinner at the end and that was about a 15 minute wait. One night we ate a Sabatini's. I highly recomment it. Just allow about 2+ hours.
Debarkation was a bit of a mess. They could have been more organized since they do this every two weeks.
Hi neighbor, I am watching these posts on "Hawaii on the Island", actually any Hawaii threads. I think that will be my next cruise. I think I will book for late Spring, maybe it will be a bit warmer. Thanks for the hint on booking a port side cabin.
Last edited by twocats; December 9th, 2004 at 01:07 AM.
Thanks for the review!
We are going on the Island Princess Oct 23 2005 and I was wondering if the age range you spoke of may be the norm. Basically I chose the Island Princess to Hawaii because I thought since it was 15 days that not too many people would be willing to take their kids out of school for THAT long and so close to the school year start. I am 41 and will be celebrating my big 42 on this upcpming trip and my troops with me range in age from 30's to over 40 (politically correct term).
As for the weather - it cant get worse than it did for our Adventure of the Seas journey last month to the Southern Caribbean! We had some 14-16 foot seas and that HUGE ship was moving around a lot!
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Emerald Seas 81 (Bahamas)
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Norwegian Sea 99 (Western Caribbean)
Carnival Destiny 01 (Southern Caribbean)
Voyager of the Seas 03 (Western Caribbean)
Adventure of the Seas 04 (Southern Caribbean)
Island Princess 05 (Hawaii)
HAL Zuiderdam 06 (Caribbean)
Golden Princess 07 (Mexican Riviera)
Norwegian Epic 10 (Eastern Caribbean)
Grandeur of the Seas 12 (Mediterranean)
Oasis of the Seas (Eastern Caribbean) 15 Nov 2014
I don't the the age is a major factor for us. Our group had a blast last month on the AOS and I am sure we will have a blast in Oct 2005 on the Island Princess. I am sailing with Bobby from above. Thank you for sharing the review.. I loved reading about it and hope the embarkation and debarkation isn't the norm.
Carnival Splendor 9/27/2014 (New England/Canada)
Carnival Breeze 1/4/2014 (S. Caribbean)
Carnival Legend 9/13/2013 (Norway, Ireland, Scotland, France, London)
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Carnival Freedom 2/25/12 (E. Caribbean)
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Island Princess 10/23/05 (Hawaii)
RCCL Adventure of the Seas 11/14/04 (Southern Caribbean)
RCCL Voyager of the Seas 10/26/03 (Western Caribbean)
Carnival Pride 11/9/02 (Western Caribbean)
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Joe, our cabin is E625, starboard side. So we'll have sun on the way back, right?? We like the shade anyway. And bobbyd, we booked the cruise cause we thought there would be hardly any kids!!! We've already met a bunch of nice people on our roll call board, so I'm not worried about the age thing....
Pringle - Thank you for the review. I am so sorry to hear of your problems with embarkation and the weather, but you sounded as though you just got on with it and enjoyed yourself regardless.
We sail on the Island 2/18 and I am hoping for better weather. I think we are the only ship in port on that day so may be we will have a more organized departure. But when we return the Diamond is in port. With that being a much larger ship and probably taking priority at the pier, it sounds as though we may also have problems disembarking. What time did you clear the ship and did you have a flight to catch? Did different nationalities report to different immigration points, or was it one long queue for all? Thank you.
Bahamas, Sovereign May 00
Eastern Caribbean, Enchantment Dec 00
Western Caribbean, Voyager Dec 02
Hawaii, Island Princess Feb 05