Having cruised Sun Princess previously and enjoyed it immensely we decided on Star Princess for our Alaskan trip. The scenery was overwhelming and well worth seeing and we had several interesting optional trips but the ship did not fully meet the standards we expected. We are not over demanding cruisers but the whole purpose of Princess seemed to be to extract every cent possible at every opportunity possible.
Complaint number one was the half hour it took for the safety drill in the theatre and it was given with several unexplained delays. The speaker really spoke down to us eg " hand up all those from USA"
and "what do you think of our wonderful ship" etc when we just wanted to get back to unpack.
Our mini suite was fine, spacious, clean and well furnished. We had contacted Princess prior to departure to explain that it was to be our honeymoon and were delighted to be informed that a complimentary honeymoon package would be provided with additional add-ons if required at extra cost. We only accepted the complimentary package as funds were a consideration. Our package consisted of two balloons at the cabin door, six chocolates on a plate and a voucher for a "surprise" in the dining room which turned out to be a small cake about four inches square between us !! We were not exactly overwhelmed at the generosity. This really reflects the whole ethos of the ship - the extraction of cash. The drinks were quite pricey and a gratuity was added to everything . On top of this a daily gratuity was included in the on board spend. Our cabin steward was very pleasant and attentive which was more than could be said of many other staff some of which were a bit short on ability to speak English and were often really sour. We would rather have given out our own gratuities and let Princess pay the staff a living wage instead of relying on passengers to subsidise their meagre wages which, let's face it, is a way to make the cruise costs appear to be very reasonable. Our on board spend for 7 days came to well over $1000 for a few excursions and we drink very little.
The catering was, however, very good and the waiters pleasant. An exception was a German themed buffet which was not too appealing and this was voiced by several people. The staff, once again, were not very friendly.The buffet choice is not nearly as good as Cunard. We were surprised to see so many scruffy diners in the main restaurants with shorts/trainers evident at lunchtimes.we had breakfast in the cabin a few times which was good and well presented.
Now the excursions. The highlight for us was the zip line outing which probably would not appeal so much to older cruisers but which we thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend. The water rafting to see the bald eagles was also very good but we found the totem pole trip to be quite boring and had to be at the dockside by 7.30 in the morning for a two hour excursion !! These trips are readily available by private firms at the dockside at a fraction of the price however.
The ship was full with 2700 passengers which is too many for the size of ship.
All in all a disappointing experience but almost made up for by the impressive scenery. We will probably stay with the Queens in future.