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Star Princess Cruise Review by cruisequeengoddess67: Old Friends and New Faces on the High Seas


cruisequeengoddess67
3 Reviews
0 Post

Member Rating

Cabin 4.0
Dining 5.0
Embarkation 3.0
Enrichment Activities 4.0
Entertainment 4.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Fitness & Recreation 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0
Rates 5.0
Service 5.0
Shore Excursions 3.0
Value for Money 5.0

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Old Friends and New Faces on the High Seas

Sail Date: April 2010
Destination: Transatlantic
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

As this was my 27th cruise and 12th on Princess I feel I have a little bit of cruising background for my review. This was our (hubby and me) second transatlantic, the first being two years ago on Celebrity Century to Amsterdam from Miami for 14 days.

Embarking was a surprising bit of a pain as we were stuck out in berth 18 (an older terminal that wasn't very traveler friendly)so getting on took a bit longer than it usually does in the terminals in Port Everglades. The Star (which I have been on before) is a larger ship than the Century (2600 passengers versus 1800)and therefore, you are dealing with more people and a little more wait time for certain things. I personally prefer a smaller ship, but the itinerary was our main interest on this cruise,and we have always had good experiences on Princess. Princess has managed to have numerous and large public areas numerous and therefore, people do get spread out a lot during most of the day. They offer lots of outdoor deck space More and chairs, unlike some of the other lines.

Unfortunately, their theaters had a tendency to get full rather quickly on this cruise, and often there was no seating left well before a show began. The production shows in the Vista Lounge were better than in the Princess Theater, mainly because it was a smaller venue and it felt more personal. I think a lot of this overcrowding is due to the anytime dining option. With early and late seating, people usually went to the shows that corresponded to their dining times. Now, with the buffet in the Horizon Court and the two anytime dining rooms, plus the two specialty restaurants, a large number of people are able to attend the shows whenever thereby causing the big influx for the 8-8:30 shows.

One area that was under-used was Skywalkers. I went up there to read, relax, knit, and with the exception of the 2pm hour when there was a group of us getting together for knitting and crocheting, the place remained pretty much empty. At 5pm there was a lovely happy hour offered to Platinum and Elite passengers with lower priced drinks and wonderful appetizers.

We used the ship's excursions for most of our ports mainly because we didn't want to have to deal with a lot of foreign currencies and frankly we get a bit nervous in countries where the language can be a problem and we don't want to return to the ship on an independent tour only to realize the ship has sailed without us. Many others I know did their own thing and had no problems. Unfortunately, ship tours are always crowded and it is more of a herd-like atmosphere which is a negative.

The entire staff on this ship were the best I have ever encountered. They couldn't do enough for you and made the trip that much more pleasant. The food was very good - nothing fabulous - but then you aren't paying five star prices for your fare. I mean the transatlantic is really a good bang for your buck and very affordable. There was always plenty of food, and you pretty much could have as much of it as you wanted all day long. Double, triple lobster tails, turf and surf - you name it. A few meals were clunkers, but then you just get something else - no big deal. Captain Kent was extremely personable and actually quite funny. The Capt Circle party was a bit of a disappointment as drinks were hard to get and when you did get one there wasn't much alcohol in it. Richard, the cruise director, is a very personable fellow with lots of great experience and knowledge and gave great talks.

There were some problems with long lines getting back onto the ship in a few ports but that wasn't the fault of Princess, but the port itself as they didn't have enough staff on hand to accommodate the tons of people returning from tours all at the same time - and to stagger the tours wasn't something that could have been easily done due to time constraints. There were four of us and we had a great time. You can always find something wrong with, but then you just suck it up and make the best of it. I mean waiting for elevators during dinner hour and then being run over by rude passengers to get to the elevator before you even though you had been there before them isn't fun - but you work with it and eventually learn how to deal with those kinds of folks. They are on every cruise line - trust me.

Alcohol and soft drink prices have also gotten a bit out of control over the years on all cruise ships (I realize they make most of their profit on this and on the excursions.) After 8pm every night, though, the beers, some mixed drinks and some of the hard liquors were all priced at $2.99.

The movies under the stars was fun - cold, but fun. Love that new feature and the popcorn was great. So were the hot cookies and cold milk in the afternoons around 3pm.

I do think the picture prices (on all lines) has also gotten a bit out of control. They make them larger, fancier, and thereby more costly - old prices were around $6-$7 - now they run $19.95. I think someone needs to look at this.

The one and only big complaint we have is with regard to disembarking in Copenhagen. We have never made it off a ship at the end of a cruise before 9am. We went down to the Portofino Dining Room where Platinum members were to meet - we got there about 7:15 and basically were told we had already been called and leave the ship. No, you can wait in here for awhile if you like. Simply GO. It was the fastest I have ever been removed from a ship. The only problem was we were now stuck under an outdoor tent area where our bags had been placed and had to stand there and wait until 8:45am when our bus was to pick us up for our transfer to our hotel in Copenhagen. It was pouring down rain and freezing cold and there were 44 of us who would much rather have waited somewhere on the ship in one of the public rooms where it was dry and warm - but no - we were told to get off the ship - period. Had we known that getting everyone off that fast was a big priority, the bus pick up would have been arranged for an earlier time and we would have hidden somewhere.

We chose to visit Kinderdjik where all of those windmills sit out in the middle of a field. We had already been to Amsterdam and Kuekenhof. The walk from the bus park to the windmills was a bit of a stretch for some folks, but I think that was the only way it could be done. We then returned to Rotterdam and got to tour the old part of the city which was interesting. Again there were some lines upon returning to the port, but they moved rather quickly compared to Lisbon.

While preparing to leave port a wonderful band played great songs for us for about 20 minutes - they were actually quite humorous at times and it was a lot of fun. Inside the port terminal they had a lovely bar serving Grolsch beer which made our husbands quite happy - and the beers were reasonably priced. It did take us a lonnnng time to get out of the channel going through the port - it is quite large and long. Less


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Cabin review: Star Princess Baja

Cabin wasn't tremendously big, but adequate. The mattress could have been a little more comfy (like the ones on Royal Caribbean). The closet was quite large and there was ample storage. Liked you could fit your suitcases under the bed unlike on some other lines. Bathroom small but also adequate. Our location was very convenient on Baja deck about mid ship.

Port and Shore Excursions


To say this was our favorite stop would be an understatement - and I do believe that the majority of the ship's passengers would agree. What a charming and beautiful little medieval city. We hired a taxi (via email) months prior to the cruise and it worked out wonderfully. The van dropped us off in the heart of the town and picked us up promptly at our scheduled return. The shops are wonderful, the canal cruise wonderful, the candy wonderful, the architecture wonderful, the food and beer wonderful. It was just wonderful, wonderful! Again Euros was the currency. I would go back there and stay a week.


We were in Dover our last transatlantic and thought the sail in past the white cliffs was really magnificent. They are surprisingly quite breathtaking. I chose to go into London and visit the Tower, Covent Gardens and Harrods as I have been there before and visited all of the other sites. The downside was, of course, the two hour drive, but I got to see a lot of beautiful countryside.

My husband and friends took the ship offered transfer into Dover and visited the castle - which is wonderful and full of great World War II history. Then they visited a lovely church and frequented one of the local British pubs - not necessarily in that order. Of course, Euros are not this country's money, so pounds were needed but that worked out fine as there was an ATM right in the terminal when you got off the ship. Also, I had brought some along with us.

Read 22 Dover Reviews

We were also in LeHavre last trip and did the extensive Normandy tour, so this go round we decided just to go into the city and see what it had to offer. Paris is a three hour ride and having been there several times we didn't care make the long trip in. You need days to visit Paris properly, but I had suggested to several folks who wanted to go because they had never been there that the best way to see Paris in a short time is by the river cruise - and they heartily agreed when they got back. Anyway, LeHavre is very modern and quite nice and we enjoyed our short visit there.


Actually we visited nine ports, the first being Ponta Delgado in the Azores, which was not on your list. This is a lovely island - very clean and lush (reminded us of Ireland). Unfortunately, we could not see the main thing on our tour, which was the twin lakes due to being fogged in - and apparently this is the case more often than not. We just had to use our imaginations but were disappointed. The tour was only 1-1/2 hours long which was just right for this small island.

Our next port was Lisbon, Portugal. This is a lovely, vibrant city and has lots of history. We enjoyed our tour but the hour and a half wait to get into the customs area of the port just to get to the ship's gang plank was to say the least annoying and tiresome. The port only had one person checking passports and then we had to go through x ray machines and metal detectors and there were only 2 being used. We arrived at our 5:45 dining room time after 6:45, but they fed us anyway and never rushed us one bit. Lisbon needs to work on this if they want to continue to have ships visit them.

Read 281 Lisbon Reviews

We chose to visit Kinderdjik with all of its windmills since we had already been to Amsterdam and Kuekenhof. The walk from the bus park to the windmills was a bit of a stretch for some folks, but I think that was the only way it could be done. We then returned to Rotterdam and got to tour the old part of the city which was interesting.

Again there were some lines upon returning to the port, but they moved rather quickly. While preparing to leave port a wonderful band played great songs for us for about 20 minutes - they were actually quite humorous at times and it was a lot of fun. Inside the port terminal they had a lovely bar serving Grolsch beer which made our husbands quite happy - and the beers were reasonably priced. It did take us a lonnnng time to get out of the channel going through the port - it is quite large and long.

Other ports visited but : Oslo, Norway - we had to dock way outside the city as the Queen Mary was in the spot close to town. We did a ship tour to the Viking Museum and the ski area way up high. The tour was long but good and we enjoyed it very much. I would give it a 4.

Our last port before Copenhagen was Gotenburg, Sweden. Again we were docked way outside the city as our ship was too large to get in close. We were greeted with a fire boat water spray as we came into port and as we left. Quite nice.

We took a tour of the city which included a canal tour. This was a great way to see this lovely city but unfortunately it was freezing cold so being on the water at such a close level was a bit bone-chilling. All in all it was fun though and a good tour. I would give it a 4.


(3)
We chose not to do an excursion in Vigo but were able to walk into the city as we were docked very close by. This is a lovely place - very clean and very, very pretty. Actually we actually enjoyed it as much as Lisbon, if not more. Granted, it doesn't have the sailing background that Lisbon has, but it certainly was very nice. As in most European countries - a lot of the local shops lock up midday and stay closed for a long siesta. That was manageable though. Talked to some folks who did the wine excursion and said they loved it. Others did their own thing by hiring a car, taking a train, etc. and had no problems. Fortunately (or unfortunately lately), Vigo as well as Lisbon are on the Euro.

Read 205 Vigo Reviews

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