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.