We boarded the Star Princess after the worst embarkation we have ever experienced. We arrived at the time recommended and stood in line for three hours. This seemed to be more the fault of the port organization, because three ships were boarding at the same time and the lines seemed to be equally long for all of them.
We had booked an inside cabin as we often do when we do not expect the weather to be suitable for using a balcony, and we were happy with our choice. The cabin was small but functional, and our cabin steward kept it immaculately clean. He rarely spoke to us, but did his job efficiently.
We had Anytime Dining, and never had to wait more than a few minutes for a table. Dinner the first night was poor. We both chose prime rib, and it was very tough, and accompanied by under cooked baked potatoes. Our fish on the second night was overcooked and dry, so we were not feeling very positive about dining. However, from then on the food improved, or maybe we More
were luckier with our choices. We had no more disappointing meals, although some were better than others.
Our favourite place for lunch was the International Cafe, and we made good use of the coffee card during the cruise. Since we had several sea days in chilly weather it was often difficult to find a seat in this, or any other area. The ship seemed crowded when everyone was inside.
We were rather disappointed that there were not many activities on sea days. The port lecturer, Joe May, was excellent, providing many hints for independent touring, but there were no other lectures. We are not bridge players, so the lessons did not appeal and neither did the multitude of trivia games. We did however enjoy the Pop Choir.
Disembarkation in Valparaiso was trouble free, and we were in a taxi to our hotel by 9:30.
Overall we enjoyed the cruise, but more for the itinerary and the people we met than because of the ship. Less
We found a mini bus excursion as we left the port area. It took us to the rapids and to Emerald Lake as well as to the town of roses. It was a damp day but we enjoyed the tour which was guided by a very enthusiastic University student who spoke excellent English. We were ahead of the crowds at all the places. Just as we were leaving the area around the rapids, the tour buses were bringing crowds of people.
This was the least appealing port on our cruise. We had already seen Magellanic Penguins on a tour from Puerto Madryn, so we just walked into town. There was a small market in the square and we looked around there and listened to musicians playing. By the time we moved on from there, the cathedral and museums were closed, so we found an internet cafe, then went back to the ship.
We loved this port, it was such a beautiful setting with snow capped mountains behind the town. We were able to book a catamaran ride on the Elizabetta along the Beagle Channel when we got off the ship, and I would highly recommend it. We saw sea lions and cormorants and landed on a small island with beautiful views of the mountains. Friends took the same trip with a ships' tour in the afternoon and had very rough seas. Our guide told us we were wise to go in the morning because the wind comes up in the afternoon.