Have never been on this ship but am sailing on the Coral which is the sister ship next month. Have been doing lots of research and that other site gives great review of both ships. They seem to come out as the favourites of the whole fleet.
We sailed on the Island Princess last April (19 days Exotic Panama Canal - round trip Los Angeles/Los Angeles). We did a partial transit of the canal, transiting the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks, then sailing to Gatun Lake. The ship then sailed back out into the Pacific. We chose this particular cruise because we had not previously visited any of the places in the itinerary.
The Island Princess is a lovely ship and the crew are first class. We chose 'Anytime Dining' as we like to choose when and where we eat. We only had to wait for a table on a couple of occasions, but no longer than 10 minutes. You can, however, reserve a table if you so wish. The waiters and the bar staff are very friendly and always made us feel welcome in the restaurants and bars. The food in both the main restaurants and in the Horizon buffet was good. We ate in the buffet at breakfast and lunch and the main restaurants for dinner. The only downside was that it could be difficult to get a table in the Horizon buffet at busy times, but I think this is a problem on many ships.
There were plenty of sun beds for those days at sea for relaxation and reading a good book. Entertainment was good although the ship lacked atmosphere in the evening, probably due to the age group on the cruise who seemed to retire early. However, it being Christmas you probably won't experience this problem.
We always choose a balcony cabin and on this cruise we were on Caribe Deck (deck 10). The cabins on this deck are larger than balcony cabins on other decks. For the transit of the Panama Canal, the balcony was a bonus. Our stateroom steward, Noel, kept our room immaculately and nothing was too much trouble for him. The whole ship is well maintained and extremely clean.
I am sure you will enjoy your cruise and look forward to reading your review. We are off to the Caribbean in March (for the third time) on Grand Princess - can't wait!!
Sorry, meant to say that the balconies on Caribe deck are larger. Similar size as mini-suites.
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