CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Princess Cruises Star Princess by Marion Westerling Western Caribbean January 15, 2006

Having cruised before on a different cruise line, I was a bit skeptical on how Princess and the Star Princess would measure up.

Well, it did. There were so many things to do, from movies to snorkeling classes to computer classes, to ceramics and so on! We had a hard time deciding what do to, there were so many things to choose from.

Our balcony room was fabulous. There was nothing like waking up with the sun, picking up the phone to order coffee and have it arrive less than 5 minutes later, giving you the opportunity to enjoy your coffee on your private balcony.

The food was good and plentiful and outstanding. The only low light was Tequila's - a cover charge restaurant. The service was not good. Princess cruises prides itself on anytime dining, where you can choose several restaurants to eat from and you are not stuck at one table the whole week. That is the route we went and it was wonderful! We only had to wait in line a couple of times and the food in the other restaurants was the same menu as the traditional dining room. The only low point was the coffee in the food court - very bitter. Service in the restaurants was also spectacular. We never wanted for anything and were always well taken care of.

The ports of call were another story. Cozumel was ok. Their port was damaged during Hurricane Wilma and we had to be tendered in on Cozumel's tenders. That was not a pleasant experience. The shore excursion we went on was a dune buggy ride, which was a lot of fun, but it was too windy at the beach. I did hear others speak of their trips to the Mayan ruins and they seemed to enjoy it. Of course, the whole idea was to buy, buy, buy.

We never made it to Grand Cayman. A storm was blowing in and the closed the port for two days, so we sailed on to Jamaica. Originally we were supposed to go to Ocho Rios, but the hurricane changed our trip to Montego Bay. That was a trip that I wish I had stayed on the ship. We went out on the Coral See, a half submarine, supposedly to see the coral reefs. The water was way too choppy and it was hard to see anything. It was a waste of money. The cruise line will suggest that you go to the City center to shop for jewelry and watches. Unless you wished to be constantly hassled by vendors, I suggest that you limit your shopping to the Terminal itself, which was not half as stressful. Inside the terminal is a little tropical bar area. Have a meat pie - they were delicious! All in all, I would not want to go back to Jamaica.

Our last stop was at Princess Cays, their own private island in the Bahamas, and that was the highlight of our trip. The whitest sands, the bluest seas, lots of of fun activities and cabanas if you just want to laze in the sun. Tropical music and a feeling of joy. My husband could have stayed there for a week! The only complaint about it was that we didn't get to stay long enough. At 3pm, we were back on board and sailing for Port Everglades.

Disembarkation was easy. It was smooth and well run and it took us no time to get off the ship. Transfers to the airport were also very smooth.

The ship was large - 2600 passengers, but it was beautiful. Three different pool areas, including one for adults only, which I liked. The staff was wonderful. Many people have mentioned that since Princess now automatically adds gratuities to your bill, that the service would not be as good. I disagree - we had the best staff.

All in all, we can't wait to go again. We'll definitely do it again!!

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