We spent 2 days pre cruise in Seattle. Stayed at the Hampton Inn Downtown which I recommend as it was very clean with friendly and helpful employees. Side trips in Seattle, I recommend the Hirem Chittenden Locks, a lovely spot. Had lunch at the Sky City restaurant atop the Space Needle and the food was quite good. Don't waste your time with Pikes Place Market. Very crowded and unless you're buying food, nothing there.
Embarkation: We arrived at Pier 91 about 11:30. The lines moved slowly, but at least they moved and we were on the ship about 12:45. We asked what dining room was open for lunch and it was Portofino. Highly recommend doing lunch here on embarkation day. It was probably the best meal of the week and very few people were taking advantage of this dining option.
Star Princess is in good shape throughout. It was too cold on this voyage to take advantage of the pools or MUTS. We did have some issues in our cabin B711, the toilet water kept running and overflowed onto the bathroom floor twice. After a call to maintenance, it was fixed. Then we had a light in the bathroom start strobing and again had to call maintenance. Our cabin steward, Fidel, was ok but not outstanding.
We felt that the staff was very friendly overall. Most always had a smile and exchanged a hello etc. Our wait staff in the Portofino dining room were good, but as with all cruises these days, they are not given enough time to converse with the passengers. We felt the food in the dining room was good and could always find something tasty. Have to say though that the deserts in the dining room were not that good and much better deserts could be found in the IC or Horizon Court. The other food in the Horizon Court was just so-so, some things ok, others things bad. We had no problem finding seats here or getting drinks.
The activities could have been better especially given that passengers were mainly indoors due to weather. The Princess shows were pretty bad, we only attended one and left before it was over. The comedian, Rodney Johnson was pretty good. The ventriloquist, Dan Horn was just ok. The entertainment highlight was the naturalist lecturer, Michael Modzelewski. He was a wonderful speaker and very passionate about his subject matter. I was very sorry to miss Libby Riddles presentation as I'm sure it was also good.
Ports: Juneau: We went whale watching with Orca Enterprises. Their boat was full and we only saw one whale meandering about. Much better whale watching in Maui. Also went to Mendenhall glacier and hiked to Nugget Falls. This was spectacular.
Skagway: We took the 7.5 hour train/bus tour with Chilkoot. Again, the bus and train car were full and this tour was a bit long. After leaving the train, we drove north to Carcross to a major tourist trap. The scenery for miles and miles was basically the same. Would just do the round trip train trip to save time for other things in Skagway.
Ketchikan: There is NOT enough time in this port. This is perhaps the most Alaskan like town and time is too short here. We did the bear creek zipline, which was fun, but then no time for anything else.
Glacier Bay National Park: This was nice and we had a very clear day, but having been to Hubbard Glacier before, the glaciers here were not as spectacular. We did see many whales while cruising out of Glacier Bay, which made for much better whale watching than we paid for in Juneau.
Victoria: Beautiful town but again time here was too short. We just walked around downtown and the harbor area.
Spa: Some of those in our group used the spa services and as on all ships these days were presented with a hard sell for products after their treatment. Not cool and due to this policy I will never use a ship's spa again and I personally didn't this time.
Out of our group of 15, 7 are seasoned cruises and the rest first timers. I think everyone enjoyed the trip but we did make our own fun. The weather wasn't the best this week, very cool, overcast with rain for Juneau and Skagway.
We used self disembarkation and it was a breeze. Off the ship by 7:50 and at the airport by 8:20 and we all made our just before or just after noon flights.