Since this was my first cruise, I was extremely happy and excited, having heard so many wonderful cruise experiences. I am sorry to say that the Star Princess did not stand up to this. The entertainment was practically non-existent. Night one: Two acrobats and a unicycle for 20 minutes. Night two: A ventriloquist for 20 minutes. Night three: Crew talent. After that we just didn't go to any shows. I had heard of glorious musicals and costumes; there was none of that. The food at the buffet was okay. Sometimes it appeared to be recycled. For instance, if one night there was apple salad and the next there was tomato salad, the third night there was an apple/tomato concoction. In the Portofino dining room the food was good, although similar to the buffet, but presented beautifully. We had anytime dining so we had varying experiences, but when the waiters realized we weren't purchasing additional drinks they were a bit stand-offish. I had a massage at the spa but afterward she told me I had lactic acid in my muscles and I needed to purchase $525 worth of products, consisting primarily of bath salts. It was high pressure and a bit incongruous to stress a client after a massage. Our room had a third mattress which was hard and uncomfortable. No one wanted to sleep on it and this caused arguments at times. We were told there was no third chair for the balcony so we used the desk chair.
The view in Alaska was AMAZING, the weather was great. We had a wonderful time whale watching in Juneau. The best ever! We bought the whale watch in port at almost half the money with no problem and it was wonderful. So was climbing Mendenhall.
In synopsis, Alaska was five star but the Princess was a 2. I did not feel pampered, but rather that the ship provided food and shelter to get us to port. Stories of other cruise lines convey a great deal more frills, especially in entertainment. We really had to focus on the incredible view because there wasn't much to do on the ship. Customer service was frustrating and when I had a concern about a name misspelling I had to return 5 times to get it corrected. Even getting blankets on deck was a chore. They were only in the front of the ship, at certain times, had to be signed out and in, and if no one was around you were cold. I had to ask multiple crew members to find the one who had the key for the blanket closet. Every time. To get a blanket at the back of the ship I had to walk the length of the ship and hope someone would be there. LOL when I tried to return the blanket a cruise member told me they don't really keep track, they just throw the sign-out sheet away. That was a pretty typical cruise scenario.
My daughter was bitten by a bug while hiking and her foot swelled. I brought her to the doctor on board. That was $76. and he gave her1% hydrocortisone cream for $22 ($6 at home). I asked him if there are lyme ticks in Alaska and if I should do a follow-up with blood test when we get home. He said, "I don't know". Really? Why doesn't he know about Alaska when he's the doctor who treats any health issues? I hope I would have done my research. Why didn't he offer to find out and get back to me?
On the day of embarkation, the staff was incredibly stressed and the dining room seemed frazzled to get the food out, with many dishes running out; one tray and no more. Staff was also stressed the morning we left in getting us fed and off on time. I think transitions are a challenge and Princess needs to provide more staff because they were all working at top speed.
Please understand I am not a very fussy, spoiled person. I worked to earn the money for this cruise, and it was just okay. I am upset about this and wish I had tried a different line.