We took this Pacific coastal repositioning cruise because of the convenient schedule. We flew to San Francisco and Napa Valley for three days of dining and wine tasting. It was natural to take a relaxing cruise back. In addition we could bring back wine in our carry-on luggage.
the port of San Francisco was not equipped to handle big cruise ships, especially three on the same day (Star, Sea and Island Princess). The traffic around the port area was so congested that it took two hours to get to Pier 35. with two Princess boats leaving from the same pier, the facilities were really taxed. We left for the port in downtown SF at 11:15 a.m. and didn't get to the Pier until 1:30 p.m. We got on the boat near 3:00 p.m. and nearly missed the buffet lunch. The staggered embarkation instituted by Princess really didn't work as there was a long line-up to get into the Pier anyway.
This was my third cruise on the Star Princess and everything was very familiar. The cabin steward was very helpful in spite of the short duration of the cruise. The buffet lunch at the Horizon Court was a bit dry and stale by the time I got on and I had to rush to finish lunch to participate in the safety drill at 3:30 p.m.
I went to Sabatini's Italian restaurant on the first night and the experience was most satisfying. There was lots of food and the preparation was excellent. Service was also out-standing. I asked for a bottle of the Luce Toscana 2007 and the manager and server managed to get me the last bottle from the cellar (they had lots of the 2006 vintage).
There were a lot of tour groups from Vancouver on this cruise and I ran into a number of friends.
The dinner service at the Capri restaurant (anytime dining) on the second night was a bit slow, especially the delivery of the main course and the dessert. It took me two-and-a-half hours to finish the dinner where normally it would take one-and-a-half hours.
The cruise featured two production shows (British Invasion and Destination Anywhere) but I did not attend either since I have seen them on a previous cruise. I did see most of Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol on Movies Under the Stars. It was too windy for me to finish the whole movie. There would be a second cruise on the Golden Princess one week later and the weather may be more favourable for watching movies outdoors.
Disembarkation was smooth in light of the number of passengers. The boat was half an hour late in docking, so we had to spend more time in the lounge since all guests had to vacate their cabins by 8:00 a.m.
All in all it was a pleasant two day cruise that was very popular with the Vancouver people.