The 1,970-passenger Island Princess is the sister ship of the Coral Princess. She's a Panamax cruise ship, meaning that she was built with the proper dimensions to sail through the locks of the Panama Canal. About 90% of her staterooms have an oceanview, with 700 of them having a balcony. Because of this Island Princess is able to offer a great value in today's cruise market.
Among the most popular features of Island Princess are her state-of-the-art lounges, many dining options (including two upscale specialty restaurants), Vegas-style casino, Broadway-style show room, Lotus Spa, and wrap-around Promenade deck (giving a fabulous view of the ship's often breathtaking surroundings).
Island Princess will be featuring cruises in the following regions (subject to change, based on the cruise line's discretion):
2012: Panama Canal 2013: Alaska, Pacific Coast, Panama Canal
There are a wide array of stateroom types onboard Island Princess. Rooms range from basic interior staterooms to full suites (that are not as big as those offered on the larger Princess ships). In fact, as mentioned above, about 90% of the staterooms onboard Island Princess have either an oceanview or balcony. All of the staterooms onboard Island Princess come with a bathroom (with a shower), closet, refrigerator, TV, hair dryer, safe and phone.
Interior Staterooms: Island Princess' interior staterooms are 156 to 166 square feet (depending on the category room), and feature two twin beds that can be converted into a queen-size bed. Interior categories (in order of usual cost, from least expensive to most expensive) are N, M, L, K, J, JJ, I and II. Category N and J staterooms only can accommodate up to 2 people, while the other categories have select rooms that can accommodate up to 4 people.
Oceanview Staterooms: The oceanview staterooms onboard Island Princess have all of the amenities that an interior stateroom has, plus they have a picture window. Categories HH, G, GG and F have an obstructed view (meaning that there is something on the outside of your window that's blocking your view, such as a lifeboat). Standard oceanview staterooms, called Oceanview Doubles (categories HH, G, GG, F, EE, D and DD), are about 162 square feet. A Deluxe Oceanview stateroom (category C and CC) is about 212 square feet. Category DD, C and CC staterooms only can accommodate up to 2 people, while the other categories have select rooms that can accommodate up to 4 people.
Balcony Staterooms: There are many balconies onboard Island Princess. Because of this, the price of a balcony onboard this ship is usually quite reasonable (relative to the typical prices found elsewhere in the cruising industry). The most basic stateroom with a balcony onboard this ship is called an Oceanview Double with Balcony. Such a stateroom ranges in size from 210 to 248 square feet, including its balcony. Amenities in such a room include everything an oceanview stateroom has, plus a spacious closet, a desk, and patio furniture on the balcony. Categories (in order of usual price, from least expensive to most expensive) are BH, BG, BF, BE, BD, BC, BB and BA. A category BH stateroom has a balcony with a partially obstructed view. Categories BC, BB and BA have select staterooms that can accommodate up to 4 people, while the other categories can only accommodate up to 2 people.
Suites: The most basic suite onboard Island Princess is a Mini-Suite with Balcony (which are categories AF, AD, AC, AB and AA). All of these mini-suites have a balcony, except for the category AF mini-suites, which have a picture window instead (such a stateroom is actually called an Oceanview Mini-Suite). At 280 to 302 square feet (including their balconies), such accommodations are much larger than a standard balcony and feature everything a standard balcony stateroom does, plus a welcome glass of champagne, a separate sitting area, a sofa bed, a luxury mattress and pillows, two TVs, a spacious closet, desk, bathroom tub and massage shower head. All of the mini-suite categories have select staterooms that can accommodate up to 4 people, except category AF (which has select staterooms that can accommodate up to 3 people).
The full suites onboard Island Princess have all the amenities that a mini-suite does, plus luxury balcony furniture, deluxe canapes, fresh flowers, a DVD/CD player, free access to a DVD library, one complimentary mini-bar setup, a roomy walk-in closet, upgraded bathroom amenities and complimentary use of the Lotus Spa's Thermal Suite, laundry and dry cleaning services and web access in the Internet Cafe. Among the full suite categories are a Premium Suite (category PS, which is about 470 square feet, including its balcony) and Vista Suite (category VS, which is also about 470 square feet, including its balcony). Each full suite can only accommodate up to 3 people.
The dining setup onboard all Princess ships is known as Personal Choice Dining. This gives you the choice of traditional or anytime dining. Traditional dining means that you have to select between an early (at 6:00 pm) or late (at 8:15 pm) seating time, where you will have dinner at the same table each night, with the same people and same wait staff. Anytime dining is where you do not have an assigned table or wait staff for dinner. In such a setup you would just show up when you want to (within the appropriate dinner hours, which are 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm) and would be seated at the next available table. Breakfast (served from 7:30 am to 9:30 am) and Lunch (served from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm) are at the same time each day of the cruise, regardless of the type of dining you've selected. You will be assigned a specific dining room, regardless of which dining setup you choose. The menus are the same at each dining room, so it doesn't really matter which one you're assigned to.
Island Princess has two main dining rooms: Provence Dining Room (located on the Fiesta deck; used for traditional dining) and Bordeaux Dining Room (located on the Plaza deck; used for anytime dining).
Sabatini's is Island Princess' Italian specialty restaurant, with a great menu and attentive staff. This upscale venue is open for lunch (from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm), on select sea days, and dinner (from 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm). Bayou Cafe & Steakhouse, an upscale (New Orleans-style, Cajun and Creole) steakhouse specialty restaurant onboard Island Princess that features top-quality cooked to order meats, is only open for dinner (from 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm). Each specialty restaurant is located on the Promenade deck and has a per person cover charge ($20 per person for Sabatini's and $15 per person for Bayou Cafe).
There are many casual dining options onboard Island Princess. Among them are the Burger and Hot Dog Grill (open from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm), the Horizon Court (a casual buffet that's open 24 hours), a poolside pizzeria (open from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm), a patisserie (a French-style bakery, open from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm) and an ice cream bar (open from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, but there is a charge for the ice cream). Besides those options, afternoon tea is served from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm on each day of the cruise, and there is an evening bistro available from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am.
Ultimate Balcony Dining is a special option offered onboard Island Princess. Breakfast is available from 7:00 am to 11:00 am on select days at sea, while dinner is available from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm on any day of your cruise. Of course, this is only available to guests whose stateroom has a balcony and does have a per person cover charge (the cost of which depends on the specific meal you choose). An example of an entree you can enjoy for dinner is fresh lobster or steak.
Don't forget that 24 hour room service is available for all passengers. There is a basic complimentary menu, but it's an excellent option for a late night snack, or for when you're feeling a little lazy and would rather the food come to you. There are a few items on the menu that you can order at an additional cost, such as bar drinks.
There's a wide range of things to do onboard Island Princess, including many entertainment options. Among them is the two-story Princess Theater, located on the Promenade and Fiesta decks. Nightly shows are performed at this venue, including Broadway-style production shows, comedians, singers, dancers, magicians and acrobats. Another popular venue onboard Island Princess is the aft-located Universe Lounge, a high-tech two-story entertainment venue. The Princess Casino is located Fiesta deck, and can get quite busy (especially after one of the nightly shows ends each night). Princess Links, a miniature golf course with a golf simulator, is located on the Sun deck. The Sports deck (the highest deck onboard Island Princess) features shuffleboard, a deck chess set and the Splash Pool. There's even a swim-against-the-current lap pool onboard Island Princess.
Island Princess features many bars and lounges. Among them are the Wheelhouse Bar (a relaxed nautical-themed bar), Crooners Bar (a martini bar), the Churchill Lounge (a cigar lounge and sports bar) and the Explorers Lounge (featuring nightclub-style performances).
One of the most popular decks onboard Island Princess is the Lido deck. This is because on this deck you'll find a couple of pools (the Lido Pool and Lotus Pool, both of which have hot tubs next to them), as well as a ton of outdoor lounge seating for you to relax and catch some rays in. Right by each pool is a bar, and right by the Lido Pool is Princess Pizzeria. Sundaes, an ice cream bar that is not complimentary, is located right by the Lotus Pool. Also on the Lido deck is the Horizon Court (open 24-hours, serving a bistro menu), a great casual option for a full meal or quick snack.
The luxurious Lotus Spa is also located on this deck. Within this area of the ship you'll find a fitness center (with an aerobics section), a beauty salon, massage tables, separate changing rooms for men and women (each with its own steam room and sauna) and The Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is a private outdoor spa-inspired area where you can enjoy private cabanas, plush outdoor furniture, special massages, yoga sessions, healthy snacks and beverages, and more. The Sanctuary actually continues down one deck (to the Aloha deck), where there is a pool. The Sanctuary is adults-only and has a $10 per person charge per period (a period is usually either from 8:00 am to 12:00pm or from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm or later).
Your children and teens are sure to have a good time onboard Island Princess. There's a great program onboard for children ages 3 to 17 (see below for more details). The teen center and youth center (featuring an outdoor play area and splash pool) are both located on the Aloha deck.
The 24-hour internet cafe (with wireless access), library and card room are all located on the Emerald deck. The Hearts & Minds Wedding Chapel is on the Promenade deck. The photo gallery and duty-free boutiques are located on the Fiesta deck. The shore excursions desk, future cruise sales office, Captain's Circle desk (for past passengers) and passenger services desk are all located on the Plaza deck.
In the case of an emergency, or even if you just don't feel good and need to see a doctor, there is a medical center located on the Gala deck. Please be aware that Princess will charge you for any medical attention you receive from their onboard doctor. That's why it's always a great idea to purchase traveler's insurance. The Gala deck is also where you get on and off of the ship when tenders are necessary.
For dinner, there is a certain dress code in place on a Princess cruise. Depending on the night, there may be a smart casual or formal dress code. The number of formal nights on your cruise depends on the length of your cruise (see the chart below for details). Please be aware that the number of formal nights on your cruise is subject to change at the ship's discretion. Princess considers smart casual to be the same as what you'd wear if you were going to a nice restaurant at home. Formal night clothing is considered by Princess Cruises to be tuxedos, dark suits or dinner jackets for men, and evening gowns, cocktail dresses or elegant pant suits for women.
Here's a general guideline (subject to change) that Princess Cruises provides for its nightly dining types:
# of Formal Evenings
# of Smart Casual Evenings
3 to 6 Days
7 to 13 Days
14 to 20 Days
21 to 28 Days
The youth & teen program onboard each Princess ship is for 3 to 17 year olds. Children under 3 are allowed to visit the youth program if they're with a parent at all times.
Fun Zone Activities are available for children 3 to 12 years old. This program is divided into two age-based groups, Princess Pelicans (ages 3 to 7) and Shockwaves (ages 8 to 12). This program offers activities that may include arts & crafts, discos, movies, cartoons, scavenger hunts, educational programs, t-shirt coloring, theme parties, pajama parties and video games.
The Teen Center onboard each ship (except Pacific Princess and Ocean Princess) features a Playstation 2, new movies and music, giant screen TVs, card games and board games. Activities for teens include teens-only dance parties, t-shirt painting, mocktails, pizza parties, hip hop dance classes and teen dinners. Onboard the Grand Princess and Golden Princess there is a separate Jacuzzi and sun deck just for teens.
Group kidsitting is available for children ages 3 to 12 and is available on all Princess ships, except for Royal Princess, Ocean Princess and Pacific Princess. It's available from 10 pm to 1 am and costs $5 per hour per child.
Princess will only operate a youth & teen program onboard Pacific Princess and Ocean if 20 or more children ages 3 to 17 are onboard that particular sailing. Those ships do not have the youth & teen facilities that the rest of the fleet has. The age groups listed above may vary onboard the Diamond Princess, Caribbean Princess, Sapphire Princess and Star Princess.
Princess automatically charges your onboard account $10.50 per person per day ($11 per person per day for mini-suites and suites) for a Hotel and Dining charge. This fee is shared amongst the staff, including the wait staff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, galley staff and laundry staff. The casino and spa staff do not get any of this money. If you feel that this fee is too high or low it is at your discretion (before the cruise ends) to go to the passenger services desk to ask them to adjust it to an amount that you are comfortable with. A 15% charge is added to any bar charges (including drinks ordered in the dining room). This is shared amongst the beverage staff (and their support staff).
Because of these automatic charges you don't really have to worry about tipping, unless you find that a staff member that deserves something extra (or if you'd like to tip a casino or spa employee, since they don't get a share of the standard charges).
The official minimum drinking age on all Princess cruise ships is 21. You may bring one bottle of wine and/or champagne onboard the ship to celebrate a special occasion, all of which will be subject to a $15 per bottle corkage fee (subject to change). Alcohol purchased at any port of call cannot be consumed onboard. It will be collected at the gangway by the staff and returned to you on the last day of your cruise.
The gambling age onboard all Princess cruise ships is 21 years of age.