Star Princess - Mexico Sept 26 - Oct 6, 2012: Star Princess Cruise Review by travelinggal2012
Overall Member Rating
Star Princess - Mexico Sept 26 - Oct 6, 2012
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Embarkation: San Francisco
The Star Princess offered convenient round trip sailing from San Francisco - not far from home so did not require air travel or overnight accommodations before or after the cruise. It was a great over-all experience - the ship was relatively clean and well maintained for it's age. Our cabin was clean and our steward took care of us.
We choose "Any Time Dining" and so glad that we did. Never had a problem getting a table in the restaurants. Any Time Dining offers the same menus but with the flexibility to eat when you are hungry and not have to rush off to the dining room because it was your seating.
The food in the main dining room was just okay --- not the selections we have had on other Princess cruises. Horizon Court was usually "picked over" and sometimes less than appealing --- very cafeteria-like with a chlorine smell drifting in from the pool area. The best place to eat More after getting your food in the Horizon Court is to go all the way through the seating area towards the back of the ship --- there is another dining area inside (less smelly there) and a bar and outside seating at the very back of the ship. Really enjoyed having breakfast in the main dining room - relaxed and elegant (but don't sleep in because they stop serving in there at 9:00 am). Pub lunch and afternoon tea were fun too.
The best food on the ship was in the Crown Grill and Sabatini's --- definitely worth the extra fee. The Crown Grill fillet was probably the best piece of meat I have ever had -- the salts they serve on the side are wonderful and the Au gratin potatoes awesome. The service was great too - very attentive.
Our goal was quiet, relaxed and no pressure --- lots of time to read, sit on deck or on the balcony of our cabin and enjoy not having to do anything we didn't want too! There were plenty of activities on board but If you are looking for lots of high energy stuff to do this probably wouldn't have been the cruise for you - probably due to the time of year. Not many families or younger folks on this cruise.
Ports were fine -- It was extremely hot and humid in Mexico but we had fun shopping, found some fun restaurants and just wandered around. The excursions are pretty expensive, we preferred to check with the locals and booked some activities on our own in each port. We didn't choose this itinerary for the ports - we chose it because of the time of year, we wanted a 10 day cruise and we wanted to depart from a west coast port.
My only complaint is that the customer service appears to be lacking. Just little annoying things but they add up --- few of the staff seemed to want to give that little bit extra that makes a huge difference. We had a problem at the end of the cruise with some very rude crew members but over all we were pretty low maintenance travelers.
We would probably cruise with Princess again. Less
Cabin review: BB419 Balcony
Aloha 419. midship, deck 12. There is some "sway" but it isn't bad. Balcony cabin with standard size room, closet and bath. You do hear some chair movement from the Lido Deck above during the day - but we didn't hear it in the room only when we were on the balcony. There is a pool at the aft end of deck and the coin-laundry and ironing boards/irons were not far down the hall -- which was helpful on a 10 day cruise. Our room was a few doors down from the mid-ship elevators which I thought might be noisy but it wasn't a problem at all - in fact it was nice not to have to trek to far down the hallway.The room was kept cool, which I like but while at sea I would have liked an extra blanket some nights -- didn't see that the extra was stored under the bed until I checked there at the end to be sure nothing had slipped under the bed --- moral of the story -- if you need a blanket, pillow, extra towel etc.... just ask!Plenty of drawers, closet space and a cupboard with shelving and the safe.Read All Balcony (BB) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
Overnight in Cabo -- which was fun. It was so hot that we didn't spend more than a few hours in town during the day but the option was there to go into Cabo for some night life. Monday night NFL football is big in Mexico -- every bar and restaurant was showing the game and beer is cheap! Shopping is fun especially if you are interested in watches and fine jewelry -- be sure and check with the shopping host/hostess for VIP cards and take advantage of the on board seminars to find out where the deals are.
Cabo is a tender port. You can walk to the main tourist shopping area or take a cab. A lot of passengers booked their own excursions when they arrived in Cabo rather than use the Princess ones (which were rather pricey)
Lived in California most of my life - never been to Catalina. It's a basic little seaport village --- fudge shops and souvenirs. Weather was lovely and we enjoyed a nice lunch at a beach-side restaurant. Tender port.
Surprisingly pretty and clean port. This was a docking port which is nice and easier to get on and off the ship. Had to take a shuttle van ($3.00 USD per person) to the "down town". The beach is not a swimming beach - not very clean water but the beach and the boardwalk was pretty. You would have to go out of town to get to the snorkeling, swimming beaches.
Put on your sunglasses and keep walking -- you will get someone in your face every few feet trying to sell you all kinds of stuff!
San Diego is a wonderful place. We skipped the Princess excursions and booked a harbor cruise on our own -- much less expensive and available right next to the cruise ship docks. Great tour of the harbor with interesting narration about the Naval ships and operations. We had been to Sea World and the Zoo in the past but those would have been great choices. Quick 10 minute walk to an outdoor "mall" --- Seaport Village for some shopping and a variety of restaurants.
Since San Diego was the first US port of entry after Mexico everyone has to get off the ship and clear immigration -- no big deal - easy off and easy on in San Diego.