As first time cruisers and flyers, I did a lot of pre-cruise research,after reading many reviews, I was nervous about a few things, flying,embarkation and disembarkation etc...but I have to tell you my fears were unfounded as the staff and crew of Alaska air and Star Princess were friendly,kind and helpful. From the porter at the airport to the last crew member of the princess.
With that being said, allow me to share our Alaska experience. First: The ship, our mini-suite was a pleasant surprise, after reading many mixed reviews, I was not sure what to expect, but the room was spacious, clean,and comfortable, as was the bathroom. Our room steward Lowell DeLeon was great always nearby if needed but never under foot. We are in our "young fifties" and traveled with another couple, who were being funny when the used the supplies from Lowells cart to "decorate" our cabin door in honor of my Birthday, I was afraid Lowell would get in trouble or get mad, but he laughed and kept the decorations intact the entire cruise.
The food was hit or miss in the buffet, mostly good, plenty of choices, the two dinning rooms capri and portofino were always very good, we used anytime dinning and made reservations we never waited and the dining room staff were so attentive we were compelled to tip well every meal, watching them serve with the expertise they display was impressive. These folks work very hard. On the Lido deck is the famous pizza and it too lived up to it's reputation (yummy)!
Bought the international coffee card for $31 for 15 coffees was well worth it if you are into cappuccinos, lattes and frappes, which I am. always good pastries and little sandwiches there too, loved getting a coffee and enjoying the music in the piazza with the orchestra, p.s. the drummer(Aundrea from Rome) is exceptional!All of the theater shows and the random activities on board were fun, I participated in a game called "peer Factor" our team won, and we all got cute tee-shirts (what-a-blast) the cruise director Martyn Moss is hysterical,as funny as the comedian.(AND)... The pictures from our two formal nights were spectacular (bought 3 of them for $25. ea) totally worth it.
Oh yea, Alaska was cool too, took a wild life tour in Ketchican saw bear cub and bald eagle and totem poles and went to Lumber Jack show (corny, but fun) and shopped of course. Juneau rained all day which cancelled our glacier heli-flight and tram ride, but all is well, we did the heli-ride in Skagway with Temsco, great people, beautiful, awe-inspiring scenery.
We had a great cruise and will do it again, with the new Royal Princess in 2013.
Every single crew member from the wait staff to the performers were so genuinely friendly and nice, we were left with the impression that they all liked being there and making our cruise a special experience was their ultimate goal. Who could ask for more?