When you pass through the Panama Canal, considered one of the marvels of modern construction capabilities, you don’t just simply sail through. You stand on the balcony and watch, taking in the scenery and capturing it with your camera. The Island Princess, one of two Princess cruise ships that makes this trip, maximizes such a journey in two ways. One, the ship is built to Panamax standards to easily sail through. Two, all balcony rooms are built at the right angle and level to get a view. Of course, while the Island Princess was specifically built in 2003 to travel along this cruise itinerary, the Panama Canal is just one of many destinations across the world you could view from this mid-sized ship. The same view-enhancing properties prove to be an asset when you depart Vancouver for Alaska, travel up the Mexican Riviera, and explore the stunning coastal cities of the Mediterranean.
Last refurbished in 2010, the Island Princess features an 11-deck design suited for 1,974 passengers. Those on board have a choice of the following living accommodations: • 16 suites with private balconies • 184 mini-suites with private balconies • 8 mini-suites with no balconies • 527 outside cabins with private balconies • 144 standard outside cabins • 108 inside cabins Out of this total, 20 rooms provide wheelchair accessibility. Along with rooms, cruisers have a choice of culinary options. All meals are prepared fresh with local ingredients, but ultimately, the best option comes down to time and atmosphere: Traditional: Multiple formal spaces, including the Provence Dining Rooms, stick with the standard cruise experience of set meal times, table mates, and wait staff. Specialty: Princess’ most in-demand option includes the Bayou Café and Steakhouse on this ship, with New Orleans cuisine and live jazz so popular that reservations are recommended. As well, get a great view with Ultimate Balcony Dining, or savor some Italian at Sabatini’s. Casual: Eating on the go or by the poolside? This is the perfect solution, with grab-and-go, sit-down meals, afternoon tea, and 24-hour room service available during your travels. Simply select from such diverse options as the Horizon Court Buffet, the Patisserie, the ice cream bar, a pizzeria, or The Bar & Grill.
The fun begins as soon as you wake up, no matter where you are in the world. Start your journey off with a fun or relaxing soak in one of the many pools: Lido Pool, which features three hot tubs; Lotus Spa Pool; and the family-oriented Pirate’s View, featuring both a hot tub and splash pool. But just as you do on land, sometimes you start off with an hour or two of cardio or aerobics, and for this, you might want to head over to the Lotus spa, gym, and fitness center, swim in the lap pool, go with your clubs to the nine-range golf course, or start a game up in the Center Court. No matter where you go, you should always be informed about the latest customs and the attractions ahead, so get prepared with the enrichment opportunities through Scholarship@Sea, or explore on your own in the art gallery, the library, or the 24-hour internet café. Or to take advantage of the great deals at sea, get ready to shop in the duty-free boutique, which offers designer merchandise up to 30-percent off. Kids, too, can enjoy themselves, with spaces for three age groups. Drop them off for video games, arts and crafts, and other age-appropriate activities as you explore the rest of the ship. By night, the Island Princess transforms into a multi-faceted entertainment complex. The question shouldn’t be, “What’s there to do?” but rather, “What do I want?” There’s classic entertainment in the Princess Theater and Universe Lounge, known for their professional performances and quality acoustics, while the Wheelhouse Bar, Explorers Lounge, Churchill Lounge, and Crooners combine something low-key with a range of popular beverages. Or if you’re feeling luckier than usual, spend some time in the casino to try out your hand at a few games. From bright vistas and vineyards to stunning glaciers, the world has the perfect view from the Island Princess. See it for yourself after booking an itinerary through Direct Line Cruises.