Princess Cruises - Cruisemates Reader's Cruise Reviews
CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews
Princess Cruises

Star Princess
by Fabrizzi
Western Caribbean
January 27, 2007

We were three couples all on our second cruise. Flew from Toronto to Philly to Fr. Lauderdale, US Airways. Great flight. No problems getting connecting flight. All our luggage arrived with us. Bonus!

Our Mission: To have a good time and not let anyone or thing disrupt our mission.

EMBARKATION:
Started at 1:00pm. We arrived around 2:30 and were aboard ship at 2:45. It truly pays to do all the pre-registration stuff.

CABINS:
2 OV/ Plaza Deck, Front of ship. More than enough space given the amount of time spent there. Great for sleeping and showering. Bed was comfortable; shower was hot (though we didn't have much cold water in the sink). Lots of closet space. Oceanview was great for that morning sunshine otherwise will from now on opt for inside cabin. (Nothing to see but water, that ½ hour or so in the morning, and will save a few dollars).

Other couple had balcony on Deck 12. Bath & closet same as ours, but maybe a little larger area were the bed was. Nice balcony. Unfortunately, they too spend so little time in their stateroom that the balcony was only a novelty. In my opinion, not worth the extra $400 they paid.

CLEANLINESS:
We could not get over how well kept and clean all the public areas were. Of course that has also a lot to do with the passengers not treating the ship like a floating garbage container, but kudos to the staff.

Our cabin steward, Joyce, was fabulous. I swear she must have been hiding somewhere in our cabin just waiting for that split second we would leave so she could do her "flight like a ninja" routine and keep that room sparkling. I just felt bad for her when she had to clean the cabin next to us where this man kept it like a gas chamber from his cigarette smoking. I'm an ex-smoker and I gagged as the fumes permeated our cabin. Hopefully someday this will not be allowed.

We were very impressed with the cleanliness from stem to stern.

FOOD:
First class! I am somewhat involved in the food industry and have an open mind when it comes to food. The quantity was plentiful. The quality excellent. The presentation pleasing. The variety abundant. What more could one ask for.

We mostly ate buffet breakfast at the Horizon Lounge and never found long lines, impatient guest or unpleasant staff. The selection for a breakfast was more than necessary, but enabled us to try a variety of foods, and please different pallets.

A couple of mornings we ate at Capri. Other than these two mornings we did not have a decent cup of coffee the entire week. It tasted very, very bitter and had a slight burnt taste (just like your drip coffeemaker you would leave warming the entire day). The other disappointment was the "room temperature" juices. I know you could add ice cubes, but they should have been refrigeration temperature. I'm trying not to be picky.

Lunch was always at Horizon. It was great after a shore excursion to walk up and find a large variety, warm and ready for you, even at 3:00pm.

Dinner: We opted for anytime dining but found ourselves eating around 6:00pm. This gave us time to attend some of the early shows as it seemed we were tired out by 10:00 and ready for bed. Only stayed up later one evening. We liked this option as it kept our evening and day plans flexible. We always made sure we sat at a table of 10 never the six of us only. After all, that's one of the best features of a cruise, meeting such interesting people from around the globe. And so we weren't stuck with Fester at our table to bore us with his life story. It was an interesting adventure every meal.

Everyone raved about Sabatini's, so one night we tried it. The wait staff were very friendly and made us feel at home as if with old friends. Food was good, but the whole experience nothing to write home about. Slightly over-rated.

Both Capri & Portofino were very good. The menu changed every evening with some entrées remaining constant. The servers were very polite and knowledgeable of the food being served. The quantity, quality, presentation and flavor excellent. Not what you would be served in a "shi-shi" type 5 star restaurant, but equal to a fine dining experience. Again, it's all in your personal tastes and especially expectations. Back home the meals we ate on a daily basis would be about $80 per person. Based on the total cost of the cruise the food was worth the cost.

The only disappointment was not having a wine expert in the dining room to suggest what types of wine we should be pairing with our meal. Wait staff only suggested, "Oh that's a good wine".

Considering how busy these dining rooms were the whole experience and ambience was excellent.

ENTERTAINMENT:
Fabulous throughout. There is no way anyone on this ship can state that they are bored. There is something for everyone. Great variety. Bands were super. Whether it was a pianist, guitarist or blues or jazz, the musicians in the lounges very pleasant and entertaining.

All the games and activities presented by the Cruise Director and his tireless staff were always well attended and made for some great memories. Every evening we got the itinerary for the next day's activities, and I would suggest that this be your guide as to planning what activities you want to partake in and in many cases arrive early to get seating.

AMMENITIES:
What more would you want. Pools were never crowded (Except I am not a fan of people creeping up to the pool area at 7:00am just to drop off their beach towel so as to reserve their lounger for the day and show up around noon to claim their spot). Great little pool up on the 15th Deck near Lotus Spa. Shallow and was only used by older (over 50). Like me who can't swim.

Great running/walking track.

PORTS of CALL:
As with any cruise, ports are what you make of them and what your expectations are. We are not water activities aficionados and so we tend to do sightseeing tours. On both our cruises we have never take a ships excursion. We've always paid a little less and never had any difficulties. It was a great experience to share a van in Cozumel with four other couples from around North America as we traveled the sites for about 3 hours ($25 each). It's those experiences that make our trips memorable.

Spent a lovely day (burnt my shoulders) on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman. Once we tendered in (which was very pleasant – especially for my wife who doesn't like smaller boats) we took a $4 bus ride to the beach and back. Gorgeous day!

In Jamaica we did the Dunn's River Falls and some sightseeing. Loved the falls and the scenery. Unfortunately, one young woman slipped on the rocks and broke her arm. The brochure claims that this is not that difficult to walk up the falls, I wouldn't do it. Very narrow, uneven rocks with very fast running water – not a good combination. And so we walked the boardwalk down to the bottom. You will find many people within this park to assist you with everything from; taking your picture with your camera to assisting you down the steps to ensuring your trip to the bathroom is safe to handing you toilet paper. Just be prepared to TIP everybody and his brother. Spoke to a few people who did the snorkeling and other water sports who said they had a blast.

DISEMBARKATION:
Our group was called out at 8:15 am and by 9:00 we were at the airport. It was very well organizes and swift. I think this is because of the enormous size of the pier which allows for a large number of people. We were concerned that we paid for transfer to the airport and at the pier we were all herded into a bus with no-one asking to see our transfers. But mostly upset when the buss driver stood at the door with his hand out expecting (demanding) a tip. He didn't get one from me.

All in all the six of us would not hesitate to take this ship again and definitely recommend it to friends. A thoroughly enjoyable and memorable vacation. Just remember that you are there for a good time not to be nit picky about every little thing. Sure nothing is perfect so just enjoy the moment.

Go visit Acheesh in th cigar lounge and enjoy his stories.

Cheers!