Star Princess Cruise Review by R**T: Still a Star
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Still a Star
THE CRUISE – The first Alaska cruise of the season. Eleven days. Round-trip from San Francisco. Nice mix of ports and sea days.
THE SHIP – We have cruised on the Star Princess once before and she is still beautiful. Prior to our boarding, there was a flood on part of the Aloha deck and some of the carpeting was replaced during the first few days of the cruise. Also, a leak from the ceiling in the Princess Theater was repaired during the cruise. The MUTS screen had some distortion which was really annoying after dark.
WEATHER – Anyone who has traveled the Inside Passage will not believe that we had beautiful sunny weather in ALL our ports and in San Francisco both before and after the cruise. Sailing out under the Golden Gate Bridge in a blaze of sunshine is amazing.
HEALTH – The ship was healthy! No evidence of any norovirus epidemics. Also, with all the great weather, it was smooth sailing and there was no need for barf bags and More biohazard cleanups.
FELLOW PASSENGERS – Not the usual Princess geriatric set. Most of the passengers were from California, very diverse, and very enjoyable.
CABIN – Our cabin was a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck and our cabin attendant was the best ever. We tend to spend a lot of time in our cabin and these guys are so wonderful and work so hard to make it a sanctuary.
ENTERTAINMENT – The usual games, “Love Boat” reruns and production shows. There were a lot of “lectures” on where and how to spend money. The onboard naturalist, while knowledgeable, was not a good speaker. Does anyone really watch the “Wake Show?”
FOOD – We ate most of our meals in the anytime dining room. This was our 9th cruise on Princess and this was the first time we always had to wait for a table for two. The food and service were worth the wait. I too wish they would keep the dining room open for lunch on port days.
We had one awesome dinner in Sabatini’s (everything was perfect) and one really horrible meal in the Crown Grill (nothing was right).
We didn’t make it up to the Horizon Court.
The International Café makes fantastic coffee. Buy a coffee card and indulge.
PORTS – At all the ports you could just walk off the ship and purchase some kind of excursion or trip.
In Ketchikan, we just walked off the ship and shopped for souvenirs.
In Juneau, we took a Princess shore excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier that also stopped at a salmon hatchery (very interesting) and Glacier Gardens. This would have been a horrible trip if it had been raining.
In Skagway, we took the White Pass & Yukon train straight from the dock and up and down the mountain. Still lots of snow in higher elevations.
In Victoria, we purchased shuttle (port to downtown) tickets for $10 per person and then purchased a trip to Butchart Gardens from a kiosk in front of the Empress Hotel. We loved Butchart Gardens even though the rose garden was not yet in bloom.
If you hate MUTS – It appears that these communities have banned open deck announcements, so there are no MUTS while the ship is in ports.
ABOUT GLACIER BAY – Bundle up and get on deck. Any deck. Certain areas of Glacier Bay were off limits because the seals and their pups were in residence. Later in the summer, the ships can cruise further. But we got to see a glacier calve! What a show! The National Park Services staff members that came onboard for the day were so enthusiastic and so knowledgeable. They really add to the experience.
CUSTOMS AND IMMIGRATION – This was handled onboard the ship. We submitted a customs form during the cruise. Non-U.S. citizens reported to the Vista Lounge for processing when we docked in San Francisco. U.S. citizens didn’t have to do anything but walk off the ship at their scheduled time. No lines. Just grab your luggage and walk to the exit. There was a line of taxis waiting. Less
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