To start we've only sailed with Princess but they treat us right and we like the older crowd no children. We flew from Dallas to Santiago long flight but arrived in plenty of time to drive the hour and a half to the port. Wish we had more time in Santiago but next time, Chile also looks like a great place to just take a vacation.
Star Princess looks nice not any major changes from the Carribean basically the same layout, made it easy to find things. We had a balcony on the Emerald Deck, it's one of the covered balconies which offers more privacy.
First port was La Serena(Coquimbo), Chile we did the Winery and Petroglyphs, through Princess. I know a lot of people say don't do excursions through Princess but we always do and you hear why. The winery was wonderful very interesting good wine we got two tastings bought some bottles and had a good time. The petroglphs were ok thought they were going to be more but still good. After that we went to lunch, we were told it was empanadas but it ended up being chicken, beef, rice and a vegetable salad, with Pisco sours and wine. It was good and the servers we're really efficient and polite. The view from the restaurant was amazing exactly what you think Chile looks like. So on our way back to the ship, the drive was about an hour and a half each way, our brakes on the bus locked up so we had to pull over at a police station or something, the tour guide was great and called for another bus right away kept us informed. Long story short we sat by the side of the road for 45 min they got the bus limping along and we made it down the road to the next bus got back barely in time but since we were on a Princess excursion they waited for us.
The second port was Lima(Callao),Peru we were suppose to be in port at 6am but there was major fog, so bad that the port was closed, the Captain was great and kept us informed and really pushed to get us in to port. It wasn't until 12:30 when we finally got to port. Princess had rescheduled all the excursions that were through them, another reason we were glad we had booked with Princess. We went to see the Pachacamac Ruins which we interesting, we were a little rushed because we had limited time, we were staying two hours later then we were suppose to but still rushed. Then we went to a hacienda for lunch and Peruvian Prancing horses which were so amazing the lunch was excellent with Pisco sours and wine again. Met some great people at lunch including Danielle who was the child care manager from the ship, she was so much fun. Princess did discount the excursion by $50 each.
The third port was Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Surprisingly Costa Rica was way more hilly the I ever thought our tour guide was great and we had a lot of fun. We went to a coffee plantation got to tour it drink a lot of good coffee, had lunch there with Angela from the ship she was very informative with the questions we had for her, great time. After the coffee plantation we went to a botanical garden it was good, the San Francisco Botanical Garden is way better but it was still good. Our tour guide was very informative and knew so much about his country very impressed.
The fourth port was San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, this is a tender port. We went to Granada to see the Panama hat being made very interesting, then we went to a volcano which was the first national park in Nicaragua it was amazing way bigger then I ever thought it was going to be and it is active so you see the crater with the steam rising and everything very cool. We had lunch then went to Montecristi to go shopping. Again we ran late on this excursion and luckily the ship waited for us.
The fifth port was Manzanillo, Mexico. We were just doing a beach and shopping excursion but it turned into hour city drive 15 min shopping at a local market and then the beach. The tour I could do without it was pretty and all but I just wanted beach. The shopping was kinda pitiful but I'm not a big shopper. The beach was pretty good, we got a free drink and there was a restaurant to buy food from, the only complaint was the beach chairs were more chairs then beach, you couldn't lay down in them but otherwise it was pretty good.
The last port was Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Cabo is very pretty it's a tender port not such a fan of those but what can you do we were just doing a beach excursion again. This one was much better it was at a resort which was very nice we got two free drinks and a free buffet there were only pools to swim in the ocean was dangerous or something but it was ok. The beach was amazing had a great time here would probably go back for a vacation again.
We got to Cabo early because the weather forecast for the day after was putting us in very rough weather so the Captain wanted to speed up before we hit the bed weather so we got to Cabo two hours early then left two hours early. It did get really really rough, they had to empty the pools and for the first time we got seasick. Slept most the day and had to get some medicine to help. It was an experience something new for us.
We got to San Francisco got to go under the Golden Gate Bridge on the ship, it was still dark and kinda cold 39F but there were a lot of people up there to see us go under the bridge. Disembarkment was a fiasco there was some confusion with the passengers some just don't read the papers and we going the wrong places. The crew was confused too because we were suppose to meet in the Capri dining room after we went through immigration but the dining room wasn't open until around 7:20 so there were a lot of people piling up in the piazza. And since you had to get our of your room by 8am everyone was trying to go into the dining room. Second they said there would be refreshments there weren't until about 8:30 and the dining room was so full you couldn't get to them. There was just a lot of delay and the crew didn't seem to know what to do kept saying "we will call each group individually" then "we"ll call B, C, and D together" then you had half the room staying in front of the door and then they would just call B and you would have to fight your way through all the other people. Lastly the express walk off is kinda a joke. We only had one bag each and a book bag, some people had three or four bags each and were trying to carry them off. I'm just saying a think the express walk off should be for people would can carry their luggage off without multiple trips that could make it faster for the rest.
Overall the trip was great. We had a lot of fun Princess treated us very well and we look for to our next cruise.