We looked forward to our Star Princess cruise to Alaska both embarking and disembarking in Seattle, but were very disappointed with most aspects of our 7 day cruise. Embarking was quite slow, but our balcony stateroom was ready when we finally got on board. Our balcony stateroom was quite a bit smaller than a comparable one on Royal Caribbean ships and the balcony was also smaller. Our room attendant introduced herself and did an adequate job although we seldom her and did not get acquainted as we had hoped. One of the things we usually enjoy most is getting acquainted with all the personnel on each cruise ship, but they all seemed too busy on this ship.
The food was very poor in the main dining room and also in the buffet. The menu in the main dining room was not well prepared, quite tasteless, and often not served at the right temperature. Steaks and beef cuts were TOUGH except for the prime rib on our first night, which was tender and tasty. Desserts were next to awful --- the Bananas Foster was a very poor imitation. Service was adequate at best --- our waiter and asst. waiter were very nice, but slow and our table of 8 was usually the last to leave the dining room after our early dining time. Time between courses was LONG. Some evenings we would forego dessert to be able to go to the entertainment for the evening.
The buffet was even worse --- every mail was the SAME --- tasted like leftovers or as though they had cooked the food in advance of the voyage and just heated it up. Breakfast was the worse --- rolls, Danish, etc. were dry and hard and looked as though they had come out of a cellophane package. The French Toast was so hard you could not eat it. Same for the waffles!! The bacon was cooked to the point of no taste at all. The orange juice was GOOD. Table attendants were on the spot with drinks at your individual table, but every morning at least one of the coffee stations was "out of order" if you wanted to get your own coffee to take with you.
The entertainment was certainly not up to par with what we have always enjoyed on our 6 cruises with Royal Caribbean. The ship's singers and dancers were on a par with someone trying out for a high school or college competition. The ventriloquist in the Vista Lounge was VERY good and should have been in the bigger theater. Daniel Oliver, pianist and vocalist, was the BEST on the entire cruise, but they tucked him into a small venue where he had to compete with all the outside noise of activities going on in the main piazza.
We missed two out of four ports due to poor weather and I understand that. But we really thought Princess would give us some compensation before disembarking --- not so. (On one Royal Caribbean cruise, we missed ONE port and they reimbursed everyone $100.) Nice gesture. Our captain was not visible at all --- on Royal Caribbean we always saw him out and about on the ship and even at breakfast in the buffet dining. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.
The drinks in the lounges were less than tasty. I watched the bartenders mix the drinks and they all used "mixes" instead of using everything fresh. Consequently the Mai Tai, Bahama Mama, etc. all tasted like something you would pour from a carton. One bartender did not know how to make a Mai Tai, and had to go get a book with instructions!?!?!
I will have to say disembarking was the best we've ever encountered. We used the Easy Check where they printed our airline boarding passes, checked our luggage through to our final destination in Texas and it was smooth and flawless. Kudos for that service.
But, we have decided we will return to Royal Caribbean for all our subsequent cruises, where we can count on a great cruise experience.