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Star Princess Cruise Review by HomelessBear

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Star Princess
Star Princess
Member Name: HomelessBear
Cruise Date: June 2011
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)
Destination: Eastern Mediterranean
Cabin Category: BA
Cabin Number:
Booking Method:
See More About: Star Princess Cruise Reviews | Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews | Princess Cruise Deals
Member Rating   5+ out of 5+
Dining 5+
Public Rooms 5+
Cabins 5.0
Entertainment Not Rated
Spa & Fitness Not Rated
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions 5.0
Embarkation 5.0
Service 5+
Value-for-Money 5.0
Rates Not Rated
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Ship Facts: Star Princess Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Star Princess Deck Plans
Star by name and Star by nature!
Here is my review for my recent Greek Isles and Mediterranean cruise on the lovely Star Princess, from Rome to Venice. I'll try to write it in sections, so feel free to skip the ones that don't interest you!

Background.....

We booked this cruise about 16 months ago, and had a Caribe deck balcony cabin, midships, and chose to do anytime dining. I was with my lovely DH, and we were cruising with two great friends (I will call them Wilma and Fred to protect the innocent!). We had cabins next door, and had the balcony door open so we could share our balconies easily. DH and I are in our very early 50s, and this was our 10th Princess cruise (plus one Celebrity and one NCL). This is our 2nd time on the Star.

Getting there.....

We, and another 195 passengers were on a charter flight from Manchester. Our friends flew from Heathrow on a scheduled flight, but we kept in touch by text messages. This was part of the package that we booked with Princess - they arranged the flight and transfers to the ship. After leaving the house at 3.45am, the flight took off at 7am, but about an hour into the flight, the pilot came on to say that due to a "technical problem", we were returning to Manchester and would be landing in about 20 minutes. My first thought was that the plane was "in trouble", but my sensible side (which doesn't show itself very often!), thought that if there had been an emergency, we would have landed in Paris or at least one of the other airports that we passed over on the way back. Anyway, back in Manchester, the technical staff were presumably working on a solution, but as we were not getting any information, I rang my TA, who rang Princess, as I was aware that the ship was due to depart at 6pm (and Rome was an hour ahead of us), and time was pressing on. Princess said that they were aware of the situation and they would wait for us, "unless it got to a really silly time". Their words not mine!

While I was sitting in Manchester airport, I had this thought.....I'm sure that they do pina colada soup on the first night....yummy....so I text Wilma to ask her to make sure that she got me at least one for when I arrived!

Another thought also ran through my mind, which was a feeling of "de ja vu". We were due to fly to LA last xmas to join the Golden Princess to Hawaii, but our flight was cancelled due to the snow at Heathrow, and so we were gutted to miss that cruise, and I had a horrible feeling that we were also going to miss this one!

The good news was that we eventually landed in Rome, and as DH and I were on the first coach to the ship from the airport, we finally boarded the Star at just gone 10pm! When we checked in, they didn't even take a swipe of the credit card - they were just rushing to get us onboard.

Our cabin steward John, had waited for us to arrive, and was very welcoming, and Wilma and Fred met us with tea and choc chip cookies on the balcony. With all the faff, I completely forgot to ask her for my pina colada soup! Luggage arrived about an hour later, but at least we were on the ship at the start of the cruise. We left the port gone midnight, but we were so pleased that we were actually on the ship as its sailed into the darkness (as opposed to the sunset!). We found out later that the Captain was going to wait until midnight, and then he was going to have to leave, so we feel very fortunate that we made it!

Ports of Call - I'll write a bit about each of the ports before I include my overall thoughts and stuff on the cruise itself.

Day 1 - Monte Carlo (Tender)

The Captain had told us that we would be 3 hours later than scheduled arriving here, but we would also depart 3 hours later too. We did our own thing here, strolling around the town, and people - and car - watching.

There was a horse show on, and it was a bit strange, to see the arena right beside the road, and the stables and some of the viewing seats on the other side of the road! It was a lovely day and I was finally beginning to wind down after the "trauma" of yesterday!

As we were going out for dinner, John saw us and said that he had something for us and rushed off. He came back with 4 glasses of champagne! When Wilma asked him what it was for (we were thinking that perhaps he had given it to the wrong passengers and we were drinking somebody else's champers!), he replied that it was "for yesterday" (to make up in a small way for the delay and the hassle of the day before). Although Wilma and Fred had not been delayed, they were probably just as stressed as we were, wondering whether we would actually get to the ship in time, and it was very nice that John gave us all a glass. A lovely surprise and gratefully received.

Day 2 - 2am

I was awoken from my sleep to hear an announcement for "assessment party" to go to the galley on deck "something" (bear in mind I was still half asleep at this point). My first thought was "fire!" and as I was aware that the Star had a fire before, you can imagine what was going through my mind! I then heard footsteps running down the corridor, but decided the best thing I could do was just lie there until told otherwise! Ten minutes later, the order for the assessment party to "stand down" was given, and another ten minutes later (I was continually looking at my clock for some reason!), the Captain came on to say that they thought they had a fire, but nothing could be found and it was due to an electrical issue. So eventually I got back to sleep!!

Day 2 - Livorno

We prefer to do the Princess Excursions on the med cruises, so had booked the Leaning Tower of Pisa tour.

This was great. It was a bit of a trek from the coach drop off to the Tower itself, which was fine for DH and myself, but it was a struggle for some of those with less mobility. Wilma and Fred did the same trip but on the "little train", which goes from the coach drop off point and returns to the same place....it just saves on the walking. It was another "must do" ticked off my list, seeing the Leaning Tower - and without scaffolding!

I will say at this point, that when we usually arrive on the ship on the first day, DH suddenly develops his "bad hand syndrome", as we wander around the ship getting our bearings and sussing out the best spots (like the IC, dining room, scoops!), but due to the delay in our arrival, there was no chance to do this. However, he made up for it in Pisa! His bad hand managed to record lots of stuff, and he looked far happier now that his was getting his "fix"!

Back at the ship, we chilled - or rather heated - on our balcony in the afternoon. There was the announcement for a number of folks to contact the purser's desk (the ones who hadn't returned to the ship presumably), around the time that all passengers should have been back on board, and little did we know at the time, but we left Livorno minus two passengers!

Day 3 - Naples

As we'd done the full day Capri, Sorento and Pompeii on a previous cruise, we had booked the Princess tour to Herculaneum. This was excellent with such a character of a tour guide!

At one point on the tour, a group of teenagers came into the room we were in, where the guide was talking and explaining about the house, and our guide got really huffy with them. "Are you a professional tour guide?" he asked one of the group, "I am and you should not intrude on my group so please leave" (or words to that effect!). It had the desired effect and they did go out quite sheepishly!

In another room, he was explaining again about the family who had probably lived there and their lifestyle, when two women came in, pushed past some of our group, walked around the room (while we are all standing still and listening), then pushed their way our again talking to each other! I couldn't believe the rudeness of some folks!

Anyway, a great tour and well worth going. Very moving.

It was on this day that we left a few more folks behind! DH lived in Naples for 6 months when he was a student, (I have been trying to get him to say something in Italian to me for years but to no avail!!), and he said that on Sundays, the traffic, especially on the coastal roads, is far worse than in the week. We went down for dinner at our usual time, and were waiting with a pager near to the gangway, which was on deck 6. The now usual suspects were called on again to report to the purser's desk (if you listen closely, the same names come up time and time again!), but this time there were 15 AWOL! All aboard should have been 7.30pm, but at 7.50, one guy raced up the gangway (I prefer to call it the gangplank!), saying the rest of his group (6 of them) were "on the way", including an 85 year old woman. Why would you leave it so late to return, especially with an elderly lady who obviously couldn't "leg it" along the dock? I couldn't hear what the guy was saying to the staff, but he was getting quite stroppy and somewhat aggressive when they wouldn't let him back off the ship to find his group. The rest of the group arrived a few at a time over the next 10 minutes or so, with someone trying to calm the irritable guy down, but they didn't even look sorry as they strolled onboard. It was now gone 8pm, and the gangplank was pulled up. As one of the staff walked past us, we asked if everyone was now on board, and his response was "minus eight"!! So we had left yet more people behind! If I had been in charge, I would have left the whole 15 behind as they were not back at the due time, but the Captain was obviously a lot kinder than I am!

As we were then leaving Italy and the next stop was Greece, I just wondered if the 8 missing folks had their passports with them and a credit card! If not, it would be a tad more difficult to get from one country to another, especially as there was a sea day inbetween!

Day 4 - at sea

A great day to relax on the balcony and catch up on some sleep. Nice sunset too.

Day 5 - Santorini

We did our final Princess excursion here which was the island drive. It was an enjoyable trip, although I was quite surprised that the island was so volcanic and what struck me as "barren". There were vines growing from the ground, and the alcohol content of the wine is apparently much higher than "normal" wine. So bear this in mind if you try it out

Day 6 - Mykonos (Tender)

DH had not had much sleep the night before, so he decided that he would rather catch up on his sleep than go ashore, as we had been to Mykonos before. So I went off the ship with Wilma and Fred, and then wandered around on my own. There were 3 cruise ships in port, so the town was busy. We were docked, while the other ships were tender, but this meant that we were charged 7 euros for the return transfer to town. It could have been walked, but it was quite a way, and in that heat and without a proper pavement for much of the way, the bus transfer was the only real option.

I felt safe just strolling around the town on my own, although I did get some attention from a shop owner in a pink shirt, who danced around me, and said that I looked like "someone on a mission". I smiled politely and carried on walking! When I told DH when I got back, was he insanely jealous that a man in a pink shirt had tried to "chat me up"? Of course not, all he said was "oh, ok". Thinking about it, I must "attract" (and I use the term attract very loosly!) men in pink shirts for some reason - he was the second man who had smiled at me wearing a pink shirt in the past few days!! And DH doesn't possess a pink shirt!!

Day 7 - Piraeus (for Athens)

There had been reports of riots in Athens the day before, but we were kept informed by the Captain, and it was considered that it would be OK to dock here this day. We have done the Acropolis before, so decided to have a day just chilling (or rather heating) on the ship.

Day 8 - Katakolon

This was a nice little port, easy to walk around, with some nice shops. The olive wood shop had some lovely olive wood bowls and other stuff. Good views of the ship from this port. A nice change from busy cities.

Day 9 - Corfu

Although we trundled to the duty free shop, we decided not to venture out any further here but to spend the day enjoying the ship and just doing our own thing, relaxing. Some of the staff were playing "lifeboats", so it was fun to watch. They weren't really "playing" but practicing their skills just in case it is ever needed! It still looked like fun to me though.

You could walk right under the front tip of the ship which I don't think I have ever done before - here is the view looking up.

Day 10 - Split (Tender)

This was a nice port and I can now say that I have been to Croatia!

We walked around the local markets - fish and fruit / veg - and it was really nice getting a feel of local life. There were also stalls with clothes and nic nacs (and some tat!), and although the prices were in Croatian currency, they accepted euros. I also bartered a bit here. I am an arctophile and wanted to get another for the collection, which was 3 euros. I "bartered" and got 2 for 5 euros, so I gave one to Wilma too!

Day 11 - Venice

We had deliberately booked a cabin on the starboard side of the ship, so we could be on the balcony going into Venice. We had previously done the "going into Venice" from the top deck, but as it was early this time when we were due to arrive, we thought being on the balcony would be fine, which it was. It afforded us an excellent view.

There was a shuttle from the ship to the centre, and we were charged $15 per person, which was added onto our account a few days before. They left the shuttle tickets in the cabin (they were pushed under the door in the night!), and if you didn't want them, you just needed to return the tickets to the purser's desk for a refund. I guess that they figured that most people would want to use the shuttle and go into the centre, and this was the best way to do that. Although I thought this was quite expensive, you could use them as many times as you wanted to.

Venice was fab! We wandered around and found places we had not seen before - lovely small open squares and little shops. We even saw a gondola jam - and a taxi came barging through the middle of it! No one was going anywhere!

The ship stayed overnight in Venice, and the last shuttle back to the ship was 12.45am, so anyone wanting to return in the evening, had plenty of time to enjoy it.

At 3am, I woke up to a flashing light in the cabin. My first thought was that I had left my epilator charging! (Just in case you are wondering and thinking that I am a bit obscene, an epilator is a razor type thing that removes the hairs from my legs!) Considering that I hadn't even brought my epilator with me on the cruise, and as everything had already been packed and both big bags were in the bowels of the ship somewhere, I suddenly realised (when I woke up properly), that it must be something else. Then I noticed that it wasn't even coming from the cabin but from outside. A peek through the curtains showed sheet and fork lightening that lit up the entire sky! By morning it was throwing it down with rain (reminded me of being at home!). Still, we were going home that day so it didn't really matter. In fact it made it a bit easier to actually leave when the weather was so horrible.

Return flight....

No delays this time fortunately, although some turbulence. Home by mid afternoon, and Wilma and Fred arrived home later than us, having gone through Heathrow in London. Back to reality is not a nice experience!

My Cruise thoughts.....let me start with one of the really important features of a cruise.....

Food!!.....

When we returned to the ship from shore, for some very strange reason, my legs just would not go any further than deck 5, either via the lift or the stairs! No matter how much I tried to move them, they would just go as far as the IC! So we just had to stop there, where miraculously, I got the use back in my legs after a tasty chicken sandwich, or chicken waldorf salad, and a pastry (or two!). I must admit that I was a little disappointed when I first visited the IC though - I had got used to the IC on the Crown last July, where they had cheesecake and usually a mousse or vanilla cream type desert every day. Here they didn't have these on every day (which was far better for my waistline though!) - instead there were more cake type deserts, that I personally am not so keen on (my hips were thankful though!). However when they did have my favourite deserts in the cabinet, they didn't stay in the cabinet for long and they were gorgeous! On Canada day and Independence Day (4th July), they decorated the IC with balloons and flags, which was a nice touch.

Anytime Dining.....

As we prefer to eat around 7.30 - 8pm and have a table just or the 4 of us (we don't get to see our friends on a regular basis at home as we live so far apart geographically, so this gives us a chance to catch up with each other and enjoy each other's company). We have always done AD so know what to expect, including having to wait with a pager.

We went to the Portfofino restaurant for dinner on the first night - well it was really the second night as we had missed dinner the first night due to the "bit of a delay" we had getting there. We had great wait staff on this first night, Lana and Pamela. There was also an assistant waiter - Sergie - who was "looking after" that section of the restaurant. They said that this was something that only the Star was doing - having assistant waiters in sections, who "floated" and helped out where needed. All 3 of them were great!

On this night, my brain was still addled due to the events of the day before, and I had completely forgotten to ask Wilma where my pina colada soup was! It was only when Sergie was talking about the menu that I suddenly remembered and asked Wilma where my PC soup was? Sergie overheard and admitted that it had been on the menu the evening before!! Where was mine then - I demanded to know from Wilma!! As her and Fred had been so shattered - from their early morning flight and probably from all the worry of whether we would be joining them on the cruise or not - they had eaten at the buffet and not the restaurant, so I had missed out on the special soup! Some friend!! I said I would not speak to her again for the rest of the cruise!! LOL! Sergie overheard all this, and I thought he said that he would make the soup especially for us, but then I was sure that my ears were not hearing right!

We enjoyed our time at that table so much that we tried to reserve it for the cruise, but they didn't accept reservations (I guess we could have got it for when they first opened but that was too early for us), so we just decided to take our chances. The Maitre d' was at the door generally every other night (I guess he was at the other AD restaurant on the other nights), and so got used to us arriving around 7.30pm. We generally waited for between 10 and 30 minutes, but that was fine for us. We preferred to wait and get the table than we enjoyed being at. The other thing that was a consideration for me was that I have a serious allergy to mango and DH to melon. Although we can obviously avoid dishes that clearly state they have mango or melon in them, I have found that they sometimes put a mango sauce on the side of desserts like cheesecake, so I am careful. Our wait staff were aware of this and made sure that we were "looked after" in this respect. We managed to get the same table every evening except one.

The only night we didn't get the same table was the next to last evening, as when we got there (the Maitre d' hadn't been around when the table had been allocated), we were told that a couple who only spoke Russian had been given that table, as the waitress spoke the language. Fair enough, but as they were only on their soup course when we arrived, we decided it would be too long a wait, and so had to have a different table. However, both Sergie and Lana came over to see and chat to us (and we were at the complete opposite side of the restaurant), and we heard Sergie telling the waiter to look after us!!

At this point, it's probably the time to mention the soup again! Much to my delight, we had pina colada soup not just once, but twice during the cruise! Although I love the PC soup, my very favourite is strawberry soup! I mentioned this to Sergie and the little sweetie even arranged for us to have this twice during the cruise too! I felt completely spoiled and the staff went way above and beyond what we expected of them. Fantastic - although my waistline was telling me otherwise!

We had 2 formal evenings - although some folks obviously didn't understand the idea of "formal dress"

and I did notice that on the smart casual nights, although most folks adhered to the dress code, there were some adults wearing shorts and t shirts. I guess it depends on who is "on the door", but I can't say that it particularly bothered me. I just wish that as a courtesy for other diners and the staff who make the effort, those who don't want to adhere to the dress code of the venue should go elsewhere.

The food I found was generally very good. I know that it's very subjective anyway, but I always found something to eat (in addition to my yummy special soups) from the menu. I don't eat fish, lamb, veal or pork, but the beef, chicken and turkey were good. There was always the "always available" beef medallions if I got stuck, and the fettuchine alfredo (no idea if that's how its spelt!), was as gorgeous as ever as a starter. I also had a couple of "volcanoes" as desserts over the cruise.

I was worried when I got home that I would struggle to fit into my jeans, but they fit just fine! We didn't really over indulge and did a lot of walking in the ports, and the portions were not that big, so we did quite well in that respect. I am still putting us on a healthy eating regime though for at least a few weeks!

Birthday Celebrations.....

Both Wilma and I are celebrating our birthdays in the next few days, so we filled out the request on the cruise personaliser beforehand. On the day we had chosen to celebrate, our cabin steward put balloons outside our cabin and a lovely "happy birthday" picture stuck to the door. I also saw anniversary ones around too. We also got a chocolate cake in the dining room, which was lovely, apart from the fact that after so much food, we could only manage a part of it, so the staff very kindly wrapped what was left of my cake in foil, I put it in our fridge overnight, and I gave it to John (our cabin steward) the next day. I think he appreciated it by the look on his face. Hope he did. Wilma's balloons disappeared after a few days, so I took mine in the day after they went up. We expect that it was kids, as we did hear them running up and down the corridor at times.

Cabin and sea sickness.....

As I said, we had a balcony cabin, starboard side, midships, on the caribe deck. We spend a lot of time on the balcony, so the larger size is great. We always book early to ensure that we have a bigger caribe deck balcony (depending on which ship we are on of course), as it is important to us. In my texts to Wilma from Manchester airport, I had asked her to ask our steward for an egg crate and bathrobes. The egg crate was on the bed when we arrived and the robes arrived the next day after they had been laundered. We had a couple of minor faults with the bathroom - the door didn't close properly as the hinge was hanging off, and one of the bulbs died, but they were easily and quickly rectified when we let John know. I did notice that some of the balcony furniture had been "painted" white - they had all been blue on my previous cruises - and some cabins still had the blue ones. Just an observation.

John looked after us very well throughout the cruise. He got used to us getting up "late" and when he had got used to our "habits" of breakfast and dinner, he obviously worked around this and he often cleaned our cabin when we were at breakfast - I should really say brunch at that time! We are not messy folks but John was very tidy. I used to leave my sandals by the fridge in the evening when we went for dinner - or at least I thought that's where I had left them, but at some point in the cruise, I was getting worried that I was doing things without remembering that I'd done them. It took a while for me to work out that John was putting my sandals in the dressing area with my other shoes! I thought I was going mad! He was lovely and did a great job.

If you've been reading my previous ramblings, you may remember that I mention being an artcophile. That's a teddy bear collector if you are wondering! We had a few of our family with us - one bear is a rucksack who went into port with me everyday, and the other is a little red bear who also goes on all of our holidays with us. We managed to get 3 little bears (from Croatia, Pisa and Santorini), and most evenings when we came back from dinner, John had lined the bears up on the bed and had left them (as well as us) chocolates! As a thanks and in return, they left John some sweeties.

We managed to get a pin badge for the bear from most of the ports that we went to, so if we were overweight with the luggage on the way home, I was going to blame the bear for the excess weight. It is a good job that they didn't weigh ME on the way out, after all the strawberry and pina colada soup that I had had, as I would definitely have been over the weight limit!!

We had a couple of nights when the ship battled with a strong wind, but I can't say that I really felt sea sick, just a bit queezy. I had taken an anti-emetic with me as a precaution, so took that, but this was not a problem for either myself or DH. At other times it was as if the ship wasn't even moving (which it obviously wasn't in port!, but you know what I mean!!).

Other passengers.....

There was a mixture of nationalities on board and about 200 - 250 children. This week there will be 450 kids on board apparently! I didn't really see more than about 20 or 30 in all, and they were generally well behaved, apart from the few who ran down the corridors occasionally. It was good to have the mix, and as in life, there were rude passengers who barged their way to the front of any queue, but also some really nice people who were great to chat to.

There was a Sheik and family on board (total 45) and they had cabins just for their clothes! On turnaround day, I saw John taking clothes rails out of one room, with the bed frames waiting in the corridor to go back in! At least they were in inside cabins and not balconies!

Staff.....

The thing that I noticed above all else about the Star this time, was the staff. Ignoring the one or two who appeared miserable and not happy in their job (and it was only one or two), I would say that all of the staff were so friendly and welcoming. They would always say hello, and one of the waitresses at the IC used to ask me whenever we were there on our return from shore, what badge I'd got for the bear from the port we were in! The buffet staff in the Horizon Court were always willing to get you anything you wanted, and were a delight to talk to.

Entertainment.....

DH and I don't "do" the entertainment, but Fred went to some of the shows. He commented that they were generally not very good (I also heard others talking about how poor the entertainment was in general). The comedian though had a lasting impression on him, as Fred repeated some of the content of the show. Passengers had asked..

"How will I know which photographs are mine?"

"Which lift goes to the front of the ship?"

"Do the crew travel in a ship behind?"

Weather.....

We couldn't have wished for anything better! It was in the high 70s /early 80s Degrees C, every day and the sun shined constantly. It was great to wake up every morning and peer outside, to see blue sky and sunshine! It not only warms the skin but also the heart.

Other bits and pieces.....

Wilma and I went to afternoon tea on day. The tea is far better than the stuff in the buffet or from room service. It was so good that I had 3 cups! The scone with cream and jam and the cakes (I only had one small cake honest!), were really nice. Wilma had decaf coffee, so you don't have to drink tea to enjoy the white gloved service with sandwiches and cakes. Just don't eat too much otherwise there will be no room left for dinner!

The two of us also had a game of Princess Links (or crazy golf as I know it). That was fun, although I'm sure that Wilma cheated - I never would! Much!

I was stunned to discover that the carpet is the same colour on both sides of the ship - no looking for either the blue or red strip in the carpet to know which side of the ship your cabin is on!! I went the wrong way just a few times, but i saw many others doing the same!

I wanted to do MUTS after dinner but there was nothing that I wanted to see. The only film I fancied watching was the Black Swan, shown in the theatre, on the sea day afternoon, but I have to admit I forgot to go! I think by that time, I had "escaped completely"! The thing I noticed about MUTS, was that during the day, there was "background music" playing rather than a film or anything really loud. This was different from what we had experienced before. Made it more pleasant being out on the deck. I think the films or tennis etc started in the middle to late afternoon on MUTS.

Neither DH nor I go in the pools or sunbathe on deck, but Wilma and Fred did both and didn't have a problem getting a sunbed. As it was such a port intensive cruise, many folks would have been off the ship most days anyway. We preferred to make use of our balcony. I wouldn't say that it was a real problem, but there were smokers next door to Wilma and Fred, and we could often smell their smoke. Fortunately they seemed to be out of the cabin most of the day, so it didn't bother us too much, but we did have to go in while they were smoking, as smoke can set off my asthma. It was a small irritant (excuse the pun), but something we put up with.

DH and I don't generally get up early on cruises, so we didn't generally surface until around 9.30, so we were never up in time for dining room breakfast, so can't comment on that. As we had a late breakfast, we didn't use the buffet at lunchtime, so can't comment on the range of food available.

What I did notice this time was that the Horizon Court, which used to be open 24 hours, now closes for food at midnight, although the drinks stations are still available. If you wanted to eat, room service I guess would be available, although we didn't need to use this at night - I was still full from dinner and the yummy cold special soups!

The library was with the internet cafe. It didn't have such as good a range of books as I've seen on other ships, but there was still enough choice for me to find something to read. The ones that appealed to me most were the ones that previous passengers had left behind. I spent a lot of time relaxing on the balcony and reading - something I just don't get the time to do at home (besides I don't have a balcony at home!). On other cruises, I have signed out the books I've borrowed from the ship library, but when I tried to sign them out this time, I was told just to take whatever I wanted. No limit and no check on who was taking what! I noticed towards the end of the cruise, there was a sheet for folks to fill in what they were borrowing, but there were not many names on it and it didn't appear until quite late in the cruise!

I had always used my cruise card before to sign out books. Strange! Still, I read 3 fairly good books and DH read 6 - he reads quicker than me. I made sure that they all went back before the end of the cruise for others to enjoy.

Cabin check.....

You know how, on the last morning, you do a double, then triple check on every drawer and cupboard in the room, and expect to find nothing? Well I also did a check under the bed - just in case something had rolled under it that I would miss when I got home. I was surprised to find a suitcase! What instantly struck me was that it had no labels on it, an outside zip was open, and the main zip was half opened, showing clothes that were not neatly packed. It was as though someone had rummaged through the case rather than opening it up and finding whatever they wanted. It was only when DH and I were discussing it later, that we wondered if the case had been stolen, and someone had put their hand in to see if they could feel anything they wanted, and had then "got rid of it". On changeover day, the cabins are often left with the door propped open while the stewards do everything they need to do, so I guess it could have been possible that someone went into that cabin and pushed the case under the bed before leaving. No idea how long it had been under the bed in our cabin - I guess it could have been there for quite a few cruises before us! It had been pushed up towards the headboard end, which is why I hadn't noticed it when I pushed our bag under. I gave the case to John, but I do wonder whether someone just left their case in the cabin by accident, or if it had actually been stolen. It was just that it seemed so strange not to have any label of any kind on the outside, especially on this med cruise, where it is very likely that passengers would be either going to a hotel following the cruise or catching a flight or train. I'll never know!

You'll probably think I'm mad but.....a strange event happened in Venice.....

My lovely mum passed away nearly 5 years ago (I think she would have loved to have gone on a cruise), and when I think of her, I often see white feathers around, which some people believe are of our loved ones or angels. As DH and I were walking through a small quiet square in Venice, I was thinking of my mum and how she would have loved this, when a white feather suddenly fell out of the sky and landed at my feet! Fact is often stranger than fiction.

My final thoughts.....

Overall, I had a brilliant cruise. The friendliness of the staff and what they did for us made the cruise for me, so I would say that its probably one of the best - if not the best - cruise I have done so far. That is if you obviously ignore the delays of getting there - but these things happen. It was lovely to spend time with my DH and our friends, and seeing some wonderful places and sights. I wish I was back there now and hope that everyone who follows in my footsteps has a wonderful cruise, just like I did.

Happy Cruising on the Star - Star by name and Star by nature.


Publication Date: 07/16/11
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