Amid a sea of gargantuan new mega ships, 2,214-passenger Island Princess, part of the Princess Cruises fleet since 2003, sits happily on the borderline of big and mid-sized. This has its benefits, namely being able to transit the existing Panama Canal, the reason Island Princess and its sister Coral Princess were built (although new, wider locks are scheduled to open in mid-2016). If you sail on this ship, you’ll either be cruising the Canal between the Atlantic and Pacific or admiring glaciers in Alaska. Repositioning cruises to either are good deals.
What We Love
The Joie-de-Vivre: A French influence can be found in the dining rooms (Provence and Bordeaux), the Paris-themed casino, La Patisserie, and even in the Bayou Café & Steakhouse, where Cajun dishes and jazz offer a taste of New Orleans.
Pizza by Princess: Many cruisers swear it’s the best slice this side of Naples, and the cruise line is only too happy to endorse the theory. There are frequent lines, but it’s worth the wait.
Best Known For
Atrium Excellence: The glass elevators add a touch of elegance to an atrium already made popular by the complimentary pastries at La Patisserie (Deck 5), which seats 40 and is often filled to capacity on sea days.
Being the Big Sister: It was already slightly larger than Coral Princess when a 2015 refurbishment added another 121 staterooms to push passenger capacity above 2,000.
Private Balconies: With 789 balconies, the varied vistas on Island Princess's itineraries can be enjoyed from the privacy of 80 percent of its staterooms.
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Who It's Best For
Couples Who Like Tradition with a Twist: The nature and length of the ship's itineraries attract more seasoned cruisers who appreciate the old-school cocktails at Crooners Martini Bar and excellent Italian cuisine at Sabatini’s — but with the option to indulge in simpler pleasures such as burgers, pizza, and pastries.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Musical Chairs: Theater-goers have to be on time for nightly shows to get a good seat — or sometimes just to nab one at all.
Nancy Dunn is a Vancouver-based travel writer and a contributor to ShermansCruise.com.
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Island Princess at a Glance
- Line: Princess Cruises
- Class: Coral
- Number of Passengers: 2214
- Ship Size: Large
- Launch Date: 2003
- Refurbish Date: 2015