We picked up a great last minute deal for a quick trip on the Star Princess to Alaska. The embarkation port of San Francisco made it an easy decision since we have a home in the bay area. We are 4 Star Mariners with Holland America and have take several Celebrity cruises. We like smaller ship cruising with a good dining experience. The itinerary and embarkation in San Francisco were the major draw to this cruise.
We selected an inside cabin on the 10th deck. This was our first time booking an inside cabin and we found it was okay for a short cruise. Our cabin was C728 and it was small. The sound proofing between the inside cabins was lacking. I could hear the guy in the next cabin snore all night! The shower was very small and there were few amenities. However the bed was comfortable and had nice linens.
The elevators on the ship were a frustration to me. With very long waits, I ended up taking the stairs which is healthy for me. I found that once an elevator would More
get to my floor it was filled with scooters and walkers making no room for others. I found the scooters on the ship annoying when they were placed in the hallways to charge. I have to admit that happens on HAL and X too!
The weather was cold on our cruise. We had thick fog, rain and overcast on most days. This made the outside decks of the ship useless. In fact, this was the first cruise in 20+ itineraries that I was not able to swim. When you cannot use the outside public spaces, it makes for a very crowded interior. Finding a place to sit in many of the public areas was difficult.
We purchased the beverage package and were very happy with the Vino Bar. The wine selection was good and the bartenders Donn and Chris made it an enjoyable place. Due to the weather, the plaza was always crowded and this included the wine bar. The Vino Bar serves sushi and tapas in the afternoon. We enjoyed this very much.
We had a fixed dinning in the Portofino dining room. I was pleased that I could order appetizers in a "dinner entry" portion. I did this often because I didn't always want the main dinner offerings. Our waiter was very friendly and accommodated us very well.
I liked the Skywalker bar in the stern of the ship. It was a great place for sail aways. We were asked to leave the area a couple of times because from 5 to 7 pm it is reserved for Elite and Platinum cruises. The place was not crowded and this practice made for wasted space! Which brings up my last point that I really don't understand with cruise lines under the Carnival umbrella. Why would we be treated as a first time cruiser and allowed any of the perks? We have over 275 days with HAL a sister lines with Princess. I will never sail Princess again unless there is some awesome itinerary that is not available to HAL because there just wasn't any benefit to doing so! I also enjoy the layout of most HAL ships better than Princess. The promenade deck on Princess is VERY difficult to walk around and was closed often on our cruise. I utilize that deck on HAL ships and missed it dearly on this cruise.
Production shows were short and not very glamorous. The Vista lounge was used for many of the evening entertainment venues and was very crowded. The shopping was pushed on every day as well as "gold chain by the inch". Less