CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Princess Cruises Star Princess Far East/Orient March 3, 2004

To our great surprise, the cruise far exceeded expectations. The stateroom was reasonably sized, the ship's service was excellent, and the food was very good. We chose the open seating option, which gave us the choice of three dining rooms in which to take our meals when we wanted and to sit wherever we wanted. In one of the two formal open-seating dining rooms, we found such a terrific waitress at one of the few tables for two, that we reserved this table for the bulk of the cruise, saving breakfasts and lunches to dine with larger groups.

At most of the ports, the Star Princess was able to dock pier-side, and disembarking and embarking was a piece of cake. On those two or three occasions when tenders were necessary, getting 2600 people on and off the ship was a nightmare. For those of us who were able to get on the ship early in Bangkok, getting through the embarkation process went smoothly and quickly. For those poor souls who arrived later in the day, it was a horrendous crush, with people standing in the sun on the pier in 97 degree heat for over an hour.

We had signed up for several of the ship's excursions, but were fortunate one night in meeting a passenger couple who were travel agents and had booked vans (with English-speaking guides) in key ports for trips to Petra, Luxor, and Cairo. In addition, we went with them and took taxis in other ports and canceled all of our Star Princess Excursions. This not only saved us hundred of dollars, but spared us from the disaster awaiting the several hundred passengers who took the Princess buses and had to stand for over an hour waiting to get back on board after returning from a long day's excursion. We would recommend that future passenger try to book their own vans or taxis in port.

Entertainment on the Star Princess seemed to be everywhere in the evening, with music, dancing, and performers in a half-dozen different venues, including two main theaters. One very enjoyable feature was a string quartet which performed in the atrium three times each day, for an hour per performance.

While this was a great cruise, and we would recommend Princess to our friends, our own inclination is to sail on a much smaller ship, with less than 500 passengers.

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