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958 Los Angeles to Hawaii Cruise Reviews

By way of background, my wife and I are in our mid-fifties, are busy professionals, who take three to four cruises per year and are Elite with Princess. We center our attention on relaxation and we love our leisurely dinners on board, both ... Read More
By way of background, my wife and I are in our mid-fifties, are busy professionals, who take three to four cruises per year and are Elite with Princess. We center our attention on relaxation and we love our leisurely dinners on board, both casual as well as the formal evenings. This cruise we sailed with another couple who we met on another cruise and this was our fourth cruise together. We have also been to Hawaii over twenty times so we don’t do many of the normal tourist activities. One other thing many reviews cover is the condition of a ship - rust, varnish off of railings, etc. One thing we learned many years ago is that ships continually get rusty, and varnish is affected by the salt, etc. What we do see is that Princess continually paints, varnishes, etc to keep the ships in great shape. Conversely, where we saw something that was out of sorts that shouldn’t be, we reviewed it. Embarkation We arrived at the port at 11:45 and were through security in less than 10 minutes. We stopped quickly to show our wine and then on to pick up our keys and being Elite, we luckily bypassed the line and went right up to the desk. Another five minutes and we were on our way to the waiting area! Albeit this was a first for us as we were given a boarding card that stated we were the second group of Elites to board - there were over 250 Elites on this cruise! We were directed to the Preferred Passenger area. This is shared with the Platinum passengers at San Pedro and groups are called, instead of all the Elites at once. As luck would have it the first group of Elites were just being called and we went next, maybe five minutes later. All told we were in our cabin within 45 minutes of port arrival. Dolphin Mini-Suite We always wipe down the room before unpacking and on our last cruise the room was quite dirty (garbage in a couple of drawers and popcorn on the carpet) and we actually wondered if Princess was slipping. Well any fears were quickly put to rest as the room was completely spotless and our room steward Ellie had everything, including some personal preferences we have completed quickly and efficiently. Mini-suites have a great deal of storage space, a full bathroom, a couch, two flat screen televisions, a big closet and lots of drawers. Equipment wise everything was in good working order with the exception of the couch – it was saggy at best. Other issues were immediately fixed when they occurred – a burnt out light as soon as the steward saw it and a slow running drain was quickly cleared. One thing that was different on the Star was the electrical plugs behind the televisions. We usually hook our computer cord to the second plug behind the one and our iPod speaker system up to the second plug behind the other. On the Star, there is only one double plug so this caused us to constantly change plugs – not a real issue but a pain nonetheless. Many people take a power bar for this purpose but we have never found that we needed one. Beds – this is probably one of the most talked about issues on these reviews. To each their own – we like the beds, especially since they have started putting the mattress pads on. Firm but cushiony. Balcony – the Mini-suite balcony was as usual – big and had two chairs, two footstools and a table. We preferred the old furniture as it was more comfortable but things change. Remember that on the Dolphin deck the balconies are all uncovered – some people don’t like that but since we love the sun, we do. Ship Fitness Area – on the Star the fitness area is divided into the class area and then the gym. The treadmills and ellipticals are all in good shape and the weight machines are new since our last trip on the Star. On the new ones you change weights with a flick of a switch which makes it nice. The only problem is that the weights are minimal on some machines like the leg extension. There are some free weights and the regular dumb bells. If there was any complaint – it is that many of the users are not aware of proper gym etiquette. It was common to see one person sit on a machine for twenty minutes and do very little - and in one instance refuse to move and let others use the equipment. Remember – share the equipment and wipe it down if you are covered in sweat. Horizon Court – they have improved the flow by moving the dessert/toast/waffle area outside the buffet area. This makes the area easier to maneuver. Buffet Food of course is subjective – some days it was fantastic and some days not so much. What we did notice is that they are constantly making sure it is fresh and hot when it should be - and cold when those dishes call for it. One area that failed in our view were the theme lunches – they had basically one item and at times it didn’t even fit with the theme. Alternative Food Options include the dining rooms, the Trident Grill, Prego Pizza, Room Service and Vines for tapas. Sundaes Ice Cream of course serves ice cream. Pool Decks – we never had a problem with finding a chair. It didn’t appear that chair hogs were an issue on this itinerary. In the Conservatory they have the big padded loungers/chairs, at the Neptune pool they have the smaller padded loungers, and up top they have the mesh loungers. Princess Theatre is well set up, but we really don’t care for the setup of the Vista Lounge. It is not that great a venue to watch shows. While we frequent Crooners each evening before dinner, Crooners on this ship is a long narrow room which is quite noisy. Again not as good as on some of the other ships. Vines – this is a nice area but rarely used on this itinerary. Passenger Services – EXCELLENT. This was the friendliest group I have seen in many years. Service, Service, Service. Entertainment – I will cover this on a daily basis. One thing that does stand out is Elua. Although we don’t take part in any of their activities, they were very visible and seem to love being on board and interacting with the passengers. Weather and Seas – for the most part we had excellent weather – warm with some sun each day except for the second last. Yes we had some spotty rain showers but for the most part we had great weather. As for the seas – they were mostly calm to moderate – you could tell you were in the ocean but certainly not rough at any time. Day One – March 5th, 2014 - 22 Degrees Celsius or 72 Degrees Fahrenheit with Partly Cloudy Skies The ship quickly filled up and crowds were everywhere as usual. Long lines to Horizon Court and the Trident Grill. We attended Sabatini's at 1:00 pm and met with the Maître d' (Federico Cantos) to discuss dinner and he was very accommodating – especially since we eat late every evening and the restaurants are never busy when we go. He was also very visible throughout the cruise and was quite approachable. We were set up with Giovanni Comes as our Head Waiter, with Jerry as our Waiter and Riki as our Junior Waiter (Table 14 of the Capri Dining Room). We also purchased a wine package. They have 7, 10 and 12 bottle packages available in either silver or gold. With the silver package you pay $21 a bottle and can order any bottle up to $29, and if it exceeds $29, you pay the difference. With the Gold you pay $29 and can order any bottle up to $45, and again anything over $45 you pay the difference. We find the wine packages a great deal. Today and tomorrow is the Treasure Hunt and we have always found it a good way to rediscover the ship and get acquainted with some of the staff. One thing that we were happy to see was that there were no big upsells going on. Staff were available to sell packages but they were not at all aggressive in doing so. This included the Spa Staff who in the recent past have been very aggressive. On the Star they are respectful of the guests and friendly. Princess should let some of the other ships know how it should be done. We attended the Purser’s Desk and signed up for the Ultimate Ship Tour - $150.00 per person. 3:15 pm – We attended the Muster Drill along with all of the rest of the passengers. Princess has this down to a science and it goes quickly and smoothly. You check in by having your cruise card scanned, the demonstration occurs and you are done. 4:00 pm saw us up on deck with a bottle of champagne to celebrate Sail Away. Weather cooperated and it was nice until we got out on the open water and then it cooled considerably. We had before dinner cocktails in Crooners and watched the masses all try to get in for early dinner. Earlier we saw the line to the Anytime Dining was out into the atrium by 4:45 pm. We went at 8 and the restaurants were empty. Dinner was very good, Entertainment today was the usual Welcome Aboard Show and The Way, Way Back was playing on MUTS. Day Two – March 6th, 2014 - 16 Degrees Celsius or 61 Degrees Fahrenheit with Overcast Skies (Sunny breaks at times) – Very windy with Slight Seas Dinner – Smart Casual Some of the things offered today - Zumba, Lei class, Scholarship at Sea (the Big Island, Intro to Ukulele, Bushcraft, Open Bridge Play, Discover the Writer in You), trivia, Treasure Hunt, Table Tennis, Shopping Show, Pictionary, Line Dancing, Princess Pop Star, Bingo Movies Under the Stars: 10:00 – On the Town 3:00 – The Devil Wears Prada 5:15 – A seaside Rendezvous (Concert) 7:00 & 10 – Jobs Princess Theatre - Instrumentalist David Klinkenberg Vista Lounge - Hypnotist Matthew Fallon (Very good) Day Three – March 7th, 2014 - 20 Degrees Celsius or 68 Degrees Fahrenheit with Partly Cloudy Skies – Windy with Slight Seas Dinner – Formal – Champagne Waterfall in the Piazza There were a mix of long and cocktail dresses, along with both tuxedos and suits – most people were dressed up Pub Lunch Offered today in the Crown Grill Horizon Court Theme Lunch – Oriental (not very good) Activities are mostly the same Movies Under the Stars: 10:00 – Big 3:00 – Top Gun 5:00 – Cheryl Crow Live (Concert) 7:00 & 10 – Last Vegas Princess Theatre - Stardust Vista Lounge – Comedian Derrick Cameron (SoSo) Day Four – March 8th, 2014 - 22 Degrees Celsius or 71 Degrees Fahrenheit with Sun and Cloud – Windy with Slight Seas Dinner – Smart Casual Horizon Court Theme Lunch – Latinos Activities are mostly the same Movies Under the Stars: 10:00 – The Princess Bride 3:00 – Pearl Harbour 7:00 & 10 – The Hunger Games – Catching Fire Princess Theatre – David Klinkenberg Vista Lounge – Country Western Night Day Five – March 9th, 2014 - 21 Degrees Celsius or 70 Degrees Fahrenheit with Sun and Cloud – Windy with Slight Seas Dinner – Smart Casual Pub Lunch Offered today in the Crown Grill Horizon Court Theme Lunch – Mediterranean Activities are mostly the same Movies Under the Stars: 10:00 – Forrest Gump 3:00 – Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl 5:00 – Rob Thomas: Live at Red Rock (Concert) 7:00 & 10 – Gravity Princess Theatre – Matthew Fallon Vista Lounge – Motor City (Production Show) Day Six (Hilo), Seven (Maui), Eight (Kauai), and Nine (Oahu) will be the next installment.[/COLOR] Day Six – Hilo, Island of Hawaii – March 10th, 2014 - 24 Degrees Celsius or 74 Degrees Fahrenheit with Overcast Skies and Showers The four of us rented a vehicle (rentals are found at the airport which is quite close to the port) and travelled to Kilauea Volcano National Park (very easy drive). We checked out the Visitor Center, Jagger Museum, the Steam Vents, and the Lava Tubes. It takes about an hour to get there and the cost per vehicle to enter the park is $10.00. If you haven’t seen the Lava Tubes before, they are great. We didn’t go deeper into the park as we didn’t have the time to do so. Of note, the lava is not visible at this time. We back tracked a couple of miles to the town of Volcano. Driving in, you go to the corner store (on your left – in about a half a mile) and just around the corner (attached) is a sandwich shop that is great. Then on to Punalu’u Beach Park, about another hour up the road past the Volcano National Park. This is a black sand beach where sea turtles lay their eggs. It is quite interesting if you like that sort of thing. Limited services though. Then back to Hilo to drop off the car and then to the ship for a 5:30 sailaway. Dinner – Smart Casual Limited Activities on board as it was a port day Movies Under the Stars: 10:00 – Ka’liulani 3:00 – Lilo and Stitch 4:30 – Barry Manilow (Concert) 7:00 & 10 – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Princess Theatre – Derrick Cameron Day Seven – Lahaina, Island of Maui – March 11th, 2014 - 24 Degrees Celsius or 75 Degrees Fahrenheit with Sunny Skies Today we split up and the other couple went to Ka’anapali to Whalers Village and the Beach. We lounged around the ship, went to the gym and then took the tender into Lahaina around 11:00. We have spent many years on Maui and have seen and done everything we want to do – the Crater, the Road to Hana, Ioa Valley, Makena Beach, Upcountry, Deep Sea Fishing, etc. All are good to see though if you haven’t done them. Once we arrived via tender we walked Front Street for a little bit and then stopped at our favorite place – Moose McGillyCutty’s. Great bar with great food. After lunch we met up with the other couple and since they had never been Whale Watching we had pre-reserved a 2:00 pm tour with the Pacific Whale Foundation. It was fantastic!!! We followed a mom, baby and escort for over an hour – they all breached continually and they were coming completely out of the water very close to us. For those who don’t want to take a tour, we saw lots of whales from the ship – you just are not very close to them. Then back to the ship for a 5:00 sailaway. Dinner – Smart Casual Limited Activities as it was a port day Movies Under the Stars: 10:00 – Tora, Tora, Tora 3:00 – 50 First Dates 5:00 – Sail-Away Whale Watching with Nauralist John 7:00 & 10 – Philomena Princess Theatre – “Walk Like a Man” – Tribute to Frankie Valli and the 50’s, 60’s Vista – Eric Stone on the Baby-Grand Day Eight – Nawiliwili, Island of Kauai – March 12th, 2014 – 24 Degrees Celsius or 75 Degrees Fahrenheit with Sunny Skies Today we split up again and the other couple took the Princess Helicopter Tour of Kauai. They absolutely loved it. Again since we have been to Kauai before and haveseen and done what we wanted, we lounged around the ship, went to the gym and then hit the beach beside the ship. The other couple met up with us and we went for lunch and then spent some more time on the beach before returning to the ship. For those of you who haven’t seen Waimea Canyon – you should do so. It is an easy drive from the ship. Then back to the ship for a 4:30 sailaway. Watch during sailaway - there are sea lions during the voyage out of the harbour sitting on the marker bouys. Dinner – Smart Casual Limited Activities as it was a port day Tonight was the first Chef’s Dinner (we saw two) and the other couple with us attended. We have done it several times previously and this trip we decided to take the Ultimate Ship Tour instead. They had a great time and loved the Dinner. Movies Under the Stars: 10:00 – Riding Giants 3:00 – Paniolo ‘O Hawaii: Cowboys of the Far West 7:00 & 10 – Enough Said Princess Theatre: Comedian Scott Harris (Disappointing to say the least) Vista: Words and Music (Production Show) Day Nine – Honolulu, Island of Oahu – March 13th, 2014 – 26 Degrees Celsius or 79 Degrees Fahrenheit with Sunny Skies As with Maui, we have spent a great deal of time on Oahu – thus the normal tourist attractions were not on our agenda. That said, no one should miss visiting the Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbour, the North Shore, and the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve if you get a chance. Instead the four of us hopped “The Bus” to the base of Diamond Head (Diamond Head Road and 18th Avenue) and then walked into the State Monument. It takes about an hour to go up to the top and back down. They have made a lot of improvements and the tunnels, etc are now lit and they have made a circuit at the top which reduces the congestion and makes it nicer to get around. You get a great view from the top of the crater. I believe admission was $2.00 per person. Once down, we walked completely around the crater back into Waikiki (takes about an hour and twenty minutes). Then a nice walk through Kapi’olani Park and the Zoo, and then on to Dukes on the Beach for the best wings and beer in Waikiki!!!! Later we walked around a bit and then grabbed a cab back to the ship. Sail Away was at 11:00 pm and the Ultimate Deck Party was going strong. This was the best deck party we have seen on a Princess ship. Lots of decorations and the crew were reeally into making this an event. Dinner – Smart Casual Special Dinner Buffet: Bierfest Limited Activities on board as it was a port day Movies Under the Stars: 10:00 – Waikiki: In the Wake of Dreams 3:00 – Hawaiian Classics Series: Hawaii 7:00 – Hawaiian Classics Series: From Here to Eternity Princess Theatre – Local Show – Maunalua & Their Lovely Hula Ladies Ultimate Deck Party – 9:45 pm Next Up - The Sea Days, and I will end the review with the Ultimate Ship Tour and Facts of the Ship. Day Ten – March 14th, 2014 - 25 Degrees Celsius or 77 Degrees Fahrenheit with Sunny Skies – Windy with Slight Seas Dinner – Formal Pub Lunch – Crown Grill Horizon Court Theme Lunch – Italian Tratoria Activities are mostly the same Movies Under the Stars: 10:00 – Overboard 3:00 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off 5;00 – Mumford & Sons: The Road to Red Rock (Concert) 7:00 & 10 – Captain Phillips Princess Theatre – Destination Anywhere (Production Show) Vista Lounge – Band Through the Ages Day Eleven – March 15th, 2014 - 25 Degrees Celsius or 76 Degrees Fahrenheit with Sun and Cloud – Windy with Slight Seas Dinner – Smart Casual Horizon Court Theme Lunch – Taste of Asia Activities are mostly the same Movies Under the Stars: 10:00 – Some Like it Hot 3:00 – City Slickers 5;00 – Billy Joel: Live at Shea Stadium (Concert) 7:00 & 10 – Thor: The Dark World Princess Theatre – Tony B (The Great American Songbook) Vista Lounge – 50’s Rock and Roll Night Day Twelve – March 16th, 2014 - 22 Degrees Celsius or 71 Degrees Fahrenheit with Sun and Cloud – Windy with Moderate Seas Dinner – Smart Casual Pub Lunch – Crown Grill Horizon Court Theme Lunch – British Isles Special Dinner Buffet: Indian Activities are mostly the same Movies Under the Stars: 10:00 – The Seven Year Itch 3:00 – Dirty Dancing 5;00 – Tina Turner: One Last Time (Concert) 7:00 & 10 – Captain Phillips Princess Theatre – Illusionist Michael Grasso Vista Lounge – Instrumentalist Bernie Fields Day Thirteen – March 17th, 2014 - 21 Degrees Celsius or 70 Degrees Fahrenheit with Sun and Cloud – Windy with Moderate Seas Ultimate Ship Tour was today – I will review it separately St Patrick’s Day – Decorations up around the ship Dinner – Formal Activities are mostly the same Movies Under the Stars: 10:00 – Darby O’Gill & the Little People 1:00 – Waking Ned Devine 3:00 – PS, I Love You 5;15 – Coldplay: Live 2012 (Concert) 7:00 & 10 – Captain Phillips 7:15 – Officer’s Cocktail Party in the Atrium Princess Theatre – British Invasion (Production Show – it was great) Vista Lounge – Comedian Scott Harris (he was awful…………..) Day Fourteen - March 18th, 2014 - 15 Degrees Celsius or 59 Degrees Fahrenheit with Cloud – Windy with Moderate Seas Dinner – Smart Casual Horizon Court Theme Lunch – Sushi Special Dinner Buffet: American Grill Activities are mostly the same Movies Under the Stars: 10:00 – The Philadelphia Story 3:00 – 9 to 5 5;00 – Pavarotti: The Event Live (Concert) 7:00 & 10 – The Wolverine Princess Theatre – Harmonica Vituoso Bernie Fields Vista Lounge – Illusionist Michael Grasso Day Fifteen – Ensenada, Mexico - March 19th, 2014 - 20 Degrees Celsius or 68 Degrees Fahrenheit with Sunny Skies – Calm Day Sixteen – Los Angeles – March 20th, 2014 – 25 Degrees Celsius or 76 Degrees Fahrenheit. Ultimate Ship Tour This was the first time we have done the Ultimate Ship Tour. For $150 per person it isn’t cheap, but you do get a different perspective, as well as get to ask questions that you may not otherwise ask. Eight of us met at 8:30 am and were chaperoned by one of the Cruise Staff, a ship photographer (you are not allowed to take a camera on the tour) and a Security Officer. First Stop – the Medical Centre. We found out that there are two doctors, four nurses, five techs, and two paramedics on board. The equipment consists of an x-ray machine, which is read remotely by a radiologist in Houston, treatment rooms, a lab and hospital rooms. They can perform minor procedures including casting, some dental work, but do not perform any type of surgery. As the doctor said, would you want someone conducting surgery while the ship is rocking/moving??? As we were leaving the Medical Centre we were also shown the morgue. While not in use, it is usable – apparently some passengers take a last trip with the intention of making a last trip. Kind of made us think – but then again it is their choice. Then to backstage of the Princess Theatre. While I thought that this would be the least interesting part (we have seen lots of stages), it really was pretty neat and provided a new appreciation of what goes into the Production Shows. We found out that pretty much all set movements are automated – they have to be for a couple of reasons. The first is that they don’t have the luxury of having a bunch of stage hands, and the second is that all the workings have to be solid – even when they are being moved during the performance so that they don’t just take off when the ship moves. Thus the sets are locked into tracks and moved via motors, or alternatively, some are moved by the actors. We then were shown the dressing room and also the area where the cast and guest performers cabins are – right behind the stage. We then went up to the very bow where the anchors, etc are deployed. This was fascinating. Just seeing the size of the equipment and how they conduct maintenance on the hull was really something. Next up was the galley where we were met by the Chef who gave the tour of his area. After some snacks and refreshments we saw how the desserts are made from scratch (well everything is made from scratch), the soup area, the food/steam lines, the bakery, down to the prep areas where they were cleaning the vegetables, into the freezers and coolers and also the meat prep areas. Then on to the laundry area. Again while this may not have been on anyone’s bucket list, it was really something to see. There is a machine for everything – one presses the collar, another the sleeves, the body, etc. We always wondered how they got our laundry done without losing anything – well we saw how. We also saw how automated this area is – sheets and towels are pressed and folded automatically. The engine control room is of course the hub of the ship (they don’t actually take you into the engine room), the photo lab, and the printing room. While travelling between all these areas we went past the personnel office and just like any other small city there were advertisements for jobs, how to apply, etc. We finished the tour up on the bridge where we were provided a great overview of the systems and how the ship works. When we were done, we were again provided snacks and drinks. Later that day our gift bags were delivered to our room – containing the deluxe Princess Robes, a Princess apron, personalized stationary, and photos taken throughout the tour by the ship’s photographer. Total time - Just under four hours. Would we do the tour again – probably not, as once is enough. That said, if you are at all interested in the inner workings of a Princess community (you realize that it really is a small city), this is the way to experience it. General Impressions & Interesting Ship Facts Internet: Best Internet we have ever had on a ship. Also the Internet Manager was great – I saw him continually helping people. Production Shows – Princess has obviously put a little more effort and money into their shows. Both on the Star and the Coral (January) the Production Shows were great and we are not fans of Production Shows. This may change now that they have upped their game. Comedians – We usually love the comedians on the ships – this time they failed miserably!!!!! Hypnotist – He was very good. Staff – Great Staff all through the ship. Bar staff couldn’t do enough for you. We usually find the longer the cruise, the better the staff - and this 15 day itinerary was no different. Ports – These are great ports and are easy to get around on your own, with or without a vehicle. All are safe, things are close (not sure about Hilo other than the shuttles though), and you can walk without difficulty. Dining Stats (497 Crew dedicated to providing the onboard dining experience) 1 Maitre d’Hotel, 1 Assistant Maitre d’Hotel, 9 Head Waiters, 9 Buffet Supervisors, 109 Waiters, 40 Assistant Waiters, 116 Buffet Stewards. 1 Chef, 1 Executive Sous Chef, 1 Chief Pastry Chef, 1 Chief Butcher, 1 Chief Baker, 1 Chef Assistant, 22 First Cooks, 3 First Pastry Chefs, 31 Second Cooks, 5 Second Pastry Chefs, 26 Third Cooks, 2 Third Pastry Chefs, 1 Food and Beverage Storekeeper, 2 Ice Carvers, 48 Assistant Cooks, 1 Galley Supervisor, 1 Assistant Galley Supervisor, 5 Assistant Provision, and 56 Galley Helpers. Star Princess Fact Sheet Propulsion Type: Diesel Electric – four D/E Sulzer 16 cylinder ZAV 40 S & two D/E Sulzer 12 cylinder ZAV 40 S (31 feet long by 17 high – weight 132 tons). Each set is turbo-charged, intercooled, air started and runs at a constant speed of 515 rpm. They are direct coupled to a Siemens synchronous generator. Each engine produces 11520 kw Length – 950.2 feet Width – 118 feet deck 8 and below, 132 feet at deck 9, and 165 feet at the bridge Keel Thickness - .74” Anchors – Port is 14 shackles and Starboard is 13 shackles (each shackle weighs 14 tonnes) Maximum Speed – 23.5 knots Cruising Speed – 22 knots Turning Circle – 2300 feet Crash Stop – 6430 ft – 5.5 minutes Passenger Capacity – 3100 Crew – 1060 Staterooms – 1300 – 25 Suites/182 Mini-Suites/710 Balconies/28 ADA Fuel Storage – 750,000 gallons Fresh Water Capacity – 750,000 gallons Propellers – Two off, 6 bladed (18.5 feet) diameter Propeller Shaft – 24” diameter Bow and Stern Thrusters – 8.5 feet in diameter Stabilisers – retractable – two folding fins – length 24 feet, width 10 feet – 18 feet below waterline and are in line with the keel (they are usually deployed - retracted when below 9 knots) Overall We loved this cruise - both the itinerary and the ship/personnel were fabulous. Were there some things that could have been better - definitely. Were they deal breakers for us - absolutely not. Happy Cruising!!! Ray and Ann   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This was my wife and my 12th cruise and second with Princess. The last Princess cruise was the same itinerary but on the Sapphire Princess in early March 2012. Again Princess did not let us down on a great cruise. We enjoyed it immensely ... Read More
This was my wife and my 12th cruise and second with Princess. The last Princess cruise was the same itinerary but on the Sapphire Princess in early March 2012. Again Princess did not let us down on a great cruise. We enjoyed it immensely as we expected since we had a great time on the last one. Embarkation was the slowest I think we have endured on a cruise. We arrived about 10:00 to a very short check in line and then were directed to the auditorium to wait out the boarding. We did enjoy talking to people sitting by us and amazingly the people next to us ended up being our assigned table-mates. We did not get on until about 1:00. The good news was that the cabins were ready upon boarding. If you like sea days you will love this trip. Several relaxing days to unwind from your cares, four eventful days in Hawaii, and then several days relaxing until you reach reality; a perfect itinerary for a great vacation. The first sea day out was windy and cold. The next day was sunny and warm. After that it was hit and miss. Each day had partly cloudy weather with occasional showers. We usually managed to find a sheltered place on the deck under a few hours of sunshine so we were not disappointed. Of course the weather can be different for every cruise but I mention the weather on my cruise (late March -early April) because that is about the best you can expect crossing the Pacific in Spring. When it is cold but you want to be out, try the jucuzzi at the top back of the ship. It is hot and the view is great. Our cabin was A745 which is at the very back of the ship. We had an inside room but within 20 feet was the door to the deck. I loved it. We rarely splurge for a balcony since we are only in the room a short time and I would rather spend the money on more cruises. But having the deck so close was great. Since I usually get ready before my wife I could just walk out the door to the deck rather than wait in the cabin. The Lido deck buffet was really close also. I recommend getting a cabin close to a deck. Of course being at the top back of the ship means you really feel the movement of the ship but we like it. Lots of kids on board and it looked like they had fun. All were well behaved. The food was the same as other cruises; good. I don’t see how people say things have gone downhill. In our 12 cruises over 15 years on five different lines we haven’t noticed much difference. Celebrity is a little better overall in my opinion but Princess was not far behind. Remember if you eat something you did not like on a cruise, it is your fault. There are numerous choices so just keep trying things until you find something you like. The hand-tossed pizza on deck was OK but not great. The grill on deck with burgers, chicken, brats, fries, (and onion rings after 6:00 pm) was really good. The buns were amazing. We ate at the Crown Grill ($25) once. The steak was better than the dinning room but the lobster and sides were the same. Overall probably not worth it. The dining room was good. I think the best things I had were appetizers. Try them all if you can’t decide. I don’t know if it was a good investment but I bought the deluxe soda card which allowed unlimited ice-cream shakes, virgin pina coladas and a lot of other non-alcoholic drinks. It was expensive at $7.50 per day but was a real treat. The servers never minded giving two drinks at a time either ;) Service around the ship was superb. The only objection I had was that the deck hands would put the lounge chairs up starting around 4:30 or 5:00. Just ask for chairs to be brought back if you need them, they will do it. If you want something on a cruise, be sure to ask. They may be able to accommodate you. No fair complaining if you didn’t ask. The ship was older but in very good shape, you really had to look to find anything amiss. Our dining time was late assigned dinner. On this cruise that was scheduled for 7:45. It worked out perfect. There was usually a 30 minute show at 6:30 in one theater and then a 40 minute show at the other theater at 7:00. Unfortunately the theaters are at the opposite ends of the ship but luckily both on the promenade deck. The trick was to walk out doors along the deck to the other theater and bypass all the crowds. So you could see both shows before dinner and then go to watch the Movie under the Stars at 10:00. Our last cruise we saw lots of whales and I heard this year the whale count in Hawaii was high so we hoped to see a lot. We saw several but not that many. I heard they are more active earlier in the year. Or maybe we were just not that lucky. We rented cars on Kauai, Hilo, and Maui through CarRentalHawaii.com They just arranged the rental through regular agencies like Alamo, Thrifty, etc. They were less than half the cost of going to the agency directly. We didn’t rent in Honolulu but I noticed there is an Enterprise rental a couple blocks from the ship and a shuttle service, there may be others too. You do not have to go to the airport to rent as other reviews have said. Renting on the other islands was a hassle because you have to take a shuttle. If you get lucky and catch the shuttle without much waiting you are lucky. In two of the three ports we had to wait about 45 minutes to get the shuttle. So renting and returning a car can knock off almost two hours of port time. Of course it makes the rest of the time more useful but it is a trade-off. I reserved tickets to the Arizona Memorial through Recreation.gov; yes you can now reserve tickets. Unfortunately the boat to the Arizona was shut down that day so the tickets did not help. There was still lots to see at Pearl Harbor though. Debarkation ran about an hour late. It is funny how people can’t wait to get on the ship during embarkation but can’t wait to get off at the end.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We just finished a cruise on Star Princess (3/20/14-4/5/14) and wanted to let travelers know that we had a wonderful experience. This is our 6th Princess cruise, we have also cruised with NCL ( 10/13) and Royal Caribbean. ... Read More
We just finished a cruise on Star Princess (3/20/14-4/5/14) and wanted to let travelers know that we had a wonderful experience. This is our 6th Princess cruise, we have also cruised with NCL ( 10/13) and Royal Caribbean. "Princess" hands down is the best. Servers friendly and go above and beyond. Food was excellent. Ship was clean. Peace of Advise, don't book tours on the ship, their are lots of local trips groups when you get off the ship that are a lot cheaper and you will see a lot more of the island. . We did one in Hilo that I highly recommend is "Ricky's Hawaii" tour, which was excellent. We saw everything in 5.5 hrs and it was a small group. Excellent !. I know if you email Ricky that he will give you connections in the other ports. I found all of the tours on Princess to be expensive and the tour guides just OK, nothing outstanding, in fact a couple were very boring. On one bus, the seats were not secured and moved into us. Another bus had very poor air conditioning ,so all in all we would not go with a ship tour in Hawaii. Don't let people/cruise line scare you with that off ship excursion won't have you back in time. That is crazy, these are the best tours for the price and very considerate of your time. Princess is the only cruise line that we have found that has a self service laundry on board, which for a 15 days cruise allowed us to take less cloths. We did eat in the main restaurant , Horizon court and the international Cafe. All food was excellent. We liked that the Horizon court had different international theme nites ( Asian, German, India, and Pacific). As always the Pizza and grill for hamburgers/hotdogs were excellent. Ships Casino- the worst around. Very outdated and the machines do not pay at all. Save your money! Entertainment on the ship was OK, the shows are all only 30 mins. The production numbers were great but short. Sea days had plenty to do to make the time go fast on the way to Hawaii, coming from Hawaii to LA we found the sea days long, with not a lot to do, so we used the indoor pool. Princess Star had 3 main pools and one children's pool. Endsenda, Mexico - waste of time. No good deals even with bartering, save time and enjoy the ships pool. or just get off the boat and walk around the port area. Hated the port of LA, if we had to do this cruise again, we would leave from another port. LA is very disorganized and we had to wait 45 minutes to get on board. Departure was awful, so disorganized ( at first we thought it was Princess) but it was the port people that were holding up the process. Luggage for pick up is great and very easy to find. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
First, we did enjoy our cruise. We like being at sea, the rocking motion and the noise of the waves at night. Also we went with my wife's two sisters who were fun. We have done many cruises, somewhere in the teens and I am a Platinum ... Read More
First, we did enjoy our cruise. We like being at sea, the rocking motion and the noise of the waves at night. Also we went with my wife's two sisters who were fun. We have done many cruises, somewhere in the teens and I am a Platinum member. I have done the Hawaii cruise 4 or 5 times now. Pros: the gym was great for me. I found going at lunch time was best as there were few people there and I could get a pretty much uninterupted workout. The staff were especially pleasant and helpful. Embarkation took just a few minutes perhaps because we arrived latish, about 1 1/2 hours before sailing. Negatives: the food was the worst I have had on any cruise. There were a number of strange culinary curiosities, one was peas with wilted lettuce cooked in, another with salmon balls in the soup, pea soup I think. The deserts were particularly disappointing some I only ate one or two bites. The entertainment was not the quality I expect and, strangely, they would have two shows that looked good, one in the Vista lounge and an overlapping show in the Princess Theater. In the too small Vista lounge it was so crowded we had to sit so far to the side that we could not see the back half of the stage for a Princess troupe performance. It might have worked if they had a solo perfomer who could be at the front of the stage. The internet cafe was terrible. Most of the expensive minutes going to waiting for pages to load even at logon. Basically we enjoyed what we expect on any cruise line and had a good time in the ports. Not sure I would go Star Princess again unless it was an irresistible deal Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
we stayed the night before at Embassy Suites South close to LAX and were late arriving due to weather all along west coast. We flew in from Oregon. The hotel was nice, same almost as Embassy Suites FLL. We took "Coolride" ... Read More
we stayed the night before at Embassy Suites South close to LAX and were late arriving due to weather all along west coast. We flew in from Oregon. The hotel was nice, same almost as Embassy Suites FLL. We took "Coolride" private car to pier. Great service! We arrived at the pier early (no traffic) at 9:30am and to our surprise their were porters ready to take our luggage right outside. We walked in and very friendly Princess greeters took us to a waiting area. Around 10:45am they called us by Princess Status to go to a line with your deck name on it to get checked in and get cruise card. Then we were directed to security screening and once through to our Elite lounge. This was set up very nice and they had ships staff attending it and answering questions. This was the first time ever seeing this and it was very nice. We were onboard around 12:30pm. I must say the Elite/Suite people were most rude as the greeters tried to get us to go to the ship in rows, however everyone jumped up and seemed to be fighting for position to be first, we sat and watched in amazement as know one cared about adhering to organization-like at this point you are not going to get on the ship! We had an aft covered mini-suite (first time without a full suite) E724 and contrary to reviews and posts that no noise is heard from this cabin we can assure you that you can definitely hear Verizon lounge below. Zumba started at 9am and the evening shows usually ran past midnight. Most of the shows were so loud ear plugs did not work, at least we did not need to attend the show, we only missed seeing the performer(s). So, if you can hear at all or have good hearing beware. I really enjoyed the mini suite, the layout with lots of room, loved the closet (better than full suite except Grand Suite), loved the shower in the tub combo over the full suite shower. Did not miss Sabatini's breakfast-not real fan of it. Did miss nice lounge chair on balcony and being able to order in from dining room, although we did save a lot of money on extra tipping by not having a full suite. We had rough seas, promenade deck closed off, wind and rain, very cool weather going and coming. As soon as we hit Maui (late morning) we saw whales everywhere, they were so close to the ship you could hear them breath. The whales breached in front of us as well. We took a whale watching tour with Pacific Whale Foundation in a zodiac and they have bench seats. This was the highlight of our trip. Then we walked around Lahaina enjoying the warm sun. Hilo we went with friends to Volcano National Park and walked and had lunch at the lodge and made a stop at Mauna Loa for macadamia nuts. Honolulu we went with friends and drove around the island, stopping at "Hawaiian Music" to watch the guys play ukulele's and to see what to buy next. We stopped for shaved ice and everyone was out as it had been pouring rain the past few days of our arrival. We stopped for lunch at a shrimp truck that was awesome and fun. Kauai we walked around by the pier and once onboard it rained and rained all day. Ensenada stayed on ship, it was cool and windy in the morning, warming up by late afternoon. As soon as we docked in Ensenada their were so many seagulls all over the ship!! We enjoyed trivia (and wining) and meeting new friends on this cruise. The food was amazing as good as specialty restaurants in the main dining rooms as well as all venues. The entire staff was great. We saw whales at every port. This is one of my favorite cruises and look forward to another.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We decided to do the Princess package of the hotel and transfers. The hotel was the Marriott. The room was good and the transfers started about noon. I probably could have saved a few $$ by doing the arrangements myself but this was much ... Read More
We decided to do the Princess package of the hotel and transfers. The hotel was the Marriott. The room was good and the transfers started about noon. I probably could have saved a few $$ by doing the arrangements myself but this was much easier. Our flight was delayed by 5 hours due to weather so I am glad I used this package. We had a Caribe deck balcony and now I am totally spoiled, it has a large deck that is half covered.Our Room Steward, Arvin, kept the room very clean. Actually. he made several stops during the day as we noticed the bathroom counter was always wiped clean of any water drops. If he saw us coming down the hall he opened our door for us. He made sure all of our requests were met. The first night I asked for a top sheet, when he came back with it we had already eaten at the Horizon and were in for the night. I said I would take care of it and he seemed flustered. He was very consciences. We had great weather through out the whole trip. It was cool and somewhat choppy the first 2 days but going back it wasn't. The ship looked a little tired but it is scheduled for dry dock. The staff was great, they smiled and greeted you. There were several activities each hour to choose from, it was like a 3 ring circus. There were times I wanted to do 2 things at once. The shows were shorter than the last cruise we were on but they repeated them 2 or 3 times a night. I think this is better because more people can enjoy them plus you could see more per night. We took 2 excursions and rented a car the other 2 islands. The Pearl Harbor/City tour was fine but I wished we could have seen more of Pearl Harbor. On Maui we had a Whale Watching excursion, it was a packed boat and people kept standing up and moving from side to side. If they would have sat still they could have seen more. It would have been better to arrange a private smaller excursion, but I was wary of the weather so I stuck Princess. We ate at the Horizon, the Grill. Pizza, MDR, International Café and once at the Pub lunch. The Horizon was a typical buffet but the food was fresh. There was a server, Nico, that was stationed at the pastry counter in the AM and the vegetarian counter for lunch and dinner. He was always in a good mood. He greeted everyone and asked How you were. If you responded and asked him he said he was "Fantastic" . He made our day.The Grill and Pizza were opened 11-11, they also were good. The International Café was nice but it was hard to find a seat, sometimes we sat at Vines. The Pub lunch was a big disappointment. They only had water or you had to order something from the bar. The MDR was nice. Everywhere were dessert and they were small enough that they didn't look fattening!! The cookies at the International were the best because they baked them right there. My husband took The Ultimate Ship Tour, he was really impressed. Several people backed out so only 4 took the tour. What was slated for 2 hrs became almost 4 hrs. They took them all over the ship, behind the scenes where only the crew can go. The had a picture session with the captain, chef, the bridge staff, etc. It was $150 but that evening a package was delivered that contained a $90 robe, a chef apron, a pad of stationary with his name and the photo session pictures. All and all it was a great trip, the staff hoped we would be back and they would be in Alaska next season.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
First the negative: As an avid reader and book lover, my first stop on any cruise ship is a visit to the ship's library. You call this a library???? I love spending time reading in a ship's library. The library on the Star ... Read More
First the negative: As an avid reader and book lover, my first stop on any cruise ship is a visit to the ship's library. You call this a library???? I love spending time reading in a ship's library. The library on the Star Princess is an afterthought - very few books and about 3 comfortable chairs. I was sorely disappointed - actually appalled. It was very difficult finding a quiet place to read, as something noisy was always going on in the lounges. We always eat in the main dining room. The food was okay, but the desserts were heavenly. Kudos to the dessert chef! The members of the dining room staff were very attentive and accommodating despite being overworked and rushed. Now for the positive: The Jozsef Mezei Trio, a musical ensemble consisting of a violinist, a bass or cello player (I confess in my musical ignorance to note knowing the difference), and a pianist. The trio alternated each day between two of the ship's lounges. Forgive me if I gush. I have been on many cruises, but never have I experienced such gorgeous music, either from lounge performers or the main stage performers. These three young men made the cruise for me, and I couldn't tear myself away from their venue when they were playing; their music was sumptuous, goose-bump inducing, and very moving. I would have gladly missed meals and shore excursions to continue to listen. (My spouse wouldn't cooperate.) We bought both of their CDs are are continuing to enjoy them. Three extremely talented young men, and I long to see them on future cruises. They, and they alone, are responsible for my 5-star rating. Minus their talent, this cruise would have been a 4-star event at best.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We recently completed our twelfth cruise, sixth on Princess and the second on the Star Princess. The ship is actually very nice for its size. The mini-suites are spacious and very comfortable. The cabin staff is well-trained and attentive ... Read More
We recently completed our twelfth cruise, sixth on Princess and the second on the Star Princess. The ship is actually very nice for its size. The mini-suites are spacious and very comfortable. The cabin staff is well-trained and attentive to our needs. Our negatives are two in number: The crowds around the any times dining rooms as they open, and the cuisine itself. Our past experience with Princess is that the food was better than average - not wonderful out of this world, but good. On our recently completed cruise to Hawaii from LA, we found that the food, both in the dining room and especially in the Horizon Court, had taken a turn for the worse. I tried a seafood dish almost every day for the first week. Without exception we found the seafood dishes to be bland, overcooked and over salted. So we sifted to the meat entrees. The beef medallions were well done to greenness and stringy/tough. The lamb shanks were cooked almost to a crisp and embedded in a brown gooey sauce from which no taste could be discerned but salt.. And so it went. The pies (cherry and apple) were filled with something gelatinous into which a few pieces of fruit were added. I am not a complainer when it comes to food. I like most things, but I had to draw the line on more than half the dishes we ordered, and either not eat them or send them back. I really don't know whether the problem is unique to the Star Princess and its present kitchen staff or it is a general economy drive which is driving down the quality, but I hope it's corrected soon, as we're committed on another Princess cruise this summer Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
For the most part we enjoyed our anniversary celebration cruise. We would have to give positive review on all meals served in the Capri Dining Room. Our dinners were delicious, served beautifully and piping hot. Our cabom was not ... Read More
For the most part we enjoyed our anniversary celebration cruise. We would have to give positive review on all meals served in the Capri Dining Room. Our dinners were delicious, served beautifully and piping hot. Our cabom was not satisfactory. Our air conditioner was turned to the lowest setting and the temperature was very uncomfortable; the hallway was also hot and uncomfortable. Our toilet did not work on 2 occasions. Considering our cruise had 11 days at sea, we found the entertainment to be lacking. The entertainment provided was enjoyable, but a lot of evening there was noting to do; this was disappointing. The highlight of our cruise were the afternoon presentations by Michael Bishay, Esq. His presentations were informative and entertaining. One evening we had dinner at Sabatini's...what a disappointment. We could not have had worse service. The pasta was cold when served and again, we could not had a worse waiter. Priority Embarkation and Carry Off Disembarkation were a dream...well done!!! Captain McBean was marvelous and so complimentary of his crew. Cocktails served during the Platinum Members Cocktail Party (every evening at 5 p.m. in Skywalkers') were the WORSE COCKTAILS we had ever been served. Bartenders serving in that area need many more additional hours of training. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was my first Princess cruise after about 200 days on other cruise lines and ships all quite a bit smaller. First i will confess that I was not keen to go on a ship of 2600 passengers. Embarkation There are quite a few people to ... Read More
This was my first Princess cruise after about 200 days on other cruise lines and ships all quite a bit smaller. First i will confess that I was not keen to go on a ship of 2600 passengers. Embarkation There are quite a few people to board the ship so it was a case of waiting around a fair amount. Once we went through the check-n process that went smoothly, we lucked out and found seats beside a couple of very pleasant ladies to make the wait easier. Once the boarding started it was efficient and well done. We headed to our room dropped off our luggage and grabbed the Patter. I read on Cruise Critic to head to the dining room for lunch as it is a great way to start off the cruise. It was NOT listed in the Princess Patter but i had called the Dining Line to book the Chef's Table so he was able to tell me which dining room. We headed there. Cabin We had a mini-suite on Dolphin. Not being familiar with Princess ships I was unaware when i booked that the balcony is uncovered. Hated that. We book at least a mini-suite size cabin when we travel because i like lots of room. I really like my private space so need a spacious place to relax and read. I would NEVER book a cabin with an uncovered balcony again. One of my greatest joys cruising is to spend time on the balcony reading or looking out at the ocean. With the crappy weather we had, I could only use the balcony part of the time because it had no protection from the elements. The cabin is a good size and the storage is phenomenal. The only better storage I have had is on a ship with a walk-in closet that cost a LOT more money so this is excellent at this price point. The carpeting looked new and the cabin was well maintained except the bathroom. It wasn't bad but it is in need of an update. It is starting to look worn out. It is a reasonable size with a shower/bath combination. I will say the shower head is the best on any ship i have been on. The towels looked new but were like using sand paper. They were so rough. The cabin overall was pretty quiet except in rough seas. There were a few annoying squeaks and rattles. The cabin is located at the end of a section and we never heard any people or TV sounds from the cabins on either side of us. The location was very good with the stairway and elevators close by for easy access to other decks. We rarely took the elevators, really only on formal nights when i was in heels. As i said we had rough seas but you didn't really feel this in our cabin. Neither of us is bothered by seasickness but it was still nice to have little motion. It has 2 TV's which can be handy but the TV selection is crappy. I wanted to hear some of the lectures that i didn't make in person but they offered the repeats during dinner and showtimes so never really got to see many of them. I like to watch movies or lectures in my cabin but it was really difficult to do so. Food Food is subjective but i was unimpressed by the selection or the quality. Nothing we had was bad but except for the specialty restaurant and the Chef's Table dinner the food was just okay. I equate it to going for dinner at a mid-scale chain restaurant. I was disappointed with the Horizon Court. I thought it extremely small and selection indifferent for the size of the ship. For those reasons rarely ate there for anything but picking up a salad. I wouldn't have gone there for that but there was no salad option at the pool grill. I don't eat pizza but i understand it was fantastic. My husband eat there fairly frequently. Most lunches were at the pool grill. We don't like to go to the buffet for dinner so our options were the dining room or specialty restaurants. I object to having to pay extra to get a really good meal but we did so 3 times. The only place we got a really good steak was in the Crown Grill. We didn't try Sabbatini's as the menu was not varied enough for me as i don't eat pasta. The food and service in the Crown Grill were excellent. I had trouble finding something different to eat in the main dining room for dinner. On the other hand my husband said he was happy with the selections offered. The salmon was the exception and it was great. I had the steak a couple of times which was cooked properly but rather tasteless. Kept hoping. The anytime dining was not great as really you could either stand in line to try and get in around 6 pm or you could wait until 7:15 or later. Mostly it was closer to 7:45 when we ate. A little later than what we like. Chef's Table I know this is food but thought it should be reviewed separately. If you can afford it and like a special dining experience then DON'T MISS this if you can avoid it. You have to book the moment you get on-board. They only do 1 per week with 10 passengers so if you really want to do it book early. My only complaint is that they never let us know what was happening. No calls to say we were on the list, no indication at all until 2 days before the event and that was well into the 2nd week. Other than that it was a fantastic evening and we thought worth the $95 pp it cost. We had appetizers in the galley with the executive chef and Maitre d'hotel (he has a wonderful sense of humor). We had a super group, 4 of us traveling together, another group of 4 and a couple. Everyone was friendly and engaging so we had the best time. The food was excellent especially the steak tartare. None of the items are on the regular menu anywhere on the ship. We had a separate table in Portofino with dedicated serving staff including the Executive Chef and Maitre d'hotel. It includes champagne to start and red and white wine paired with the 6 course dinner. Staff I have found that virtually all staff on all cruise ships are wonderful. They are hard working, friendly, helpful people that want to make your vacation wonderful. It was no different on this ship. All the staff we interacted with were great. We especially enjoyed going to Vines wine bar for our pre-dinner drinks. Olena and Jack were super. Entertainment It was good. We enjoyed the comedians, really enjoyed the 4 Seasons tribute band, the ship entertainers were okay, the piano player in Crooners was excellent (venue not so much) so overall we enjoyed the entertainment. Fitness Terrible setup if you like to walk the promenade or top deck to get exercise. The promenade is narrow, made even more so by chairs and inconsiderate fellow passengers. The top deck is hard to maneuver around as you dodge lounge chairs and other obstacles. The fitness room is very small for a ship with this many passengers so after a couple of tries gave up trying to get in there to use the equipment. Tough ship to keep fit. Overall So if you are still reading this missive I will reiterate what i said in the title. It was an okay cruise and that assessment had nothing to do with the crappy weather or missed port. I can deal with any weather conditions and stuff happens on a cruise. I didn't care for the size of the ship, too crowded for me and there was nothing about the experience that would entice me to give up my loyalty perks on other cruise lines to go on Princess again.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We departed Long Beach terminal and though the line took approx. 1hr to process us, it was okay as we were able to visit with other folks in line. We found the common area's of the ship very clean, which we appreciated. Our balcony ... Read More
We departed Long Beach terminal and though the line took approx. 1hr to process us, it was okay as we were able to visit with other folks in line. We found the common area's of the ship very clean, which we appreciated. Our balcony room was comfortable and clean. The gym was great with lots of cardio equipment and adequate free weights with a seperate room for stretching etc. The gym was also kept very clean. We really enjoyed our evening dining experience thanks in large part to our team of waiters who were first class! With respect to weather as we sailed to Hawaii, we had hoped for far more warmth and sunshine. We had lots of wind and found we only had one good day going over to suntan. Wind one day fluctuated between 80-105km/h throughout the night. The return portion of the cruise also had lots of wind and cool weather daily, definitely not great for suntanning on the shipdeck.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was our 5th cruise, 1st time with Princess & all others with Celebrity. We LOVE Celebrity but wanted to try a different cruiseline just to see how it would be & had heard good things about Princess. This was also our 1st ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise, 1st time with Princess & all others with Celebrity. We LOVE Celebrity but wanted to try a different cruiseline just to see how it would be & had heard good things about Princess. This was also our 1st cruise to Hawaii & we were excited for the extra sea days as we usually feel there are never enough with just a 7day cruise. We arrived 1 night before cruise & we stayed at The Renaissance Hotel by LAX. It was nice but didn't blow me away. However, the price was great! Only paid $93. We pre-arranged for Super Shuttle to pick us up in the morning to go to port. They were right on time & very nice. Paid $20pp. Not bad considering we were told that a cab would be $80. We arrived around 11a.m. The lines for checking in were already really long & moved verrry slow. There were many windows but just 2 or 3 employees working. After finally getting checked in we were told to go to the other side of the room & wait. It was very crowded & not enough seats to accommodate everyone so we stood for about an hour & a half. Not pleasant. Once we finally boarded there was no champagne or mimosa greeting like we were used to with Celebrity. In fact, there was really no one to greet you other than the many photographers. The ship was very nice in the public areas but in some other areas it was outdated & worn. It can really use to be refurbished. Our cabin (E701) showed obvious signs of wear such as the carpeting which was stained & discolored. Our room Steward Eddie was fantastic & went above & beyond to make us comfortable. There were a few different pools & hot tubs but unfortunately most of them were closed often due to somewhat rough seas & high winds. The hot tubs were just luke-warm not as hot as they should've been. The movies-under-the-stars is a nice feature but most of the movies were very old & usually it was too chilly & windy to enjoy it. The service throughout the ship was usually very good with a few exceptions. The staff in Horizon was very friendly & helpful but in Capri dining room they were not as friendly & never seemed interested in making conversation, just getting through the dinner quickly. There were a few employees that I would say hello or good morning to & there was no response at all. As far as the food itself, the buffet Horizon was mediocre. Many things were repeated often & I noticed left overs being used in other dishes for a couple of days. In Capri it was very good. Did not eat in Amalfi or Portifino as we could not get in. Once finally getting to HI we did enjoy the ports but since we had been to HI before we opted to rent a car on each island & do our own thing. The Captain made the decision to cancel Maui due to rough seas/ dangerous conditions for tendering. It was very disappointing but I do understand his position. Many passengers did feel as though he could have gone to Kona instead or back to Kauai for the day since they have ports. Instead we were heading back. After 5 more chilly, cloudy days we arrived in Ensenada, Mex. This time we decided to do a tour (through Princess) of the downtown area, old section & a winery. Let's just say we would not do this tour again. It had a lot to be desired. The disembarkation was a bit annoying because they seemed to be running behind or slow. The line was extremely long & moved at a snails pace. In summary, I will still always love Celebrity first as they are a step above Princess in all areas but if I was given a great deal I would sail with Princess again, maybe just a different ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Just a few comments about the ship, not the cruise. There are no tables for two in the Portofini Dining Room, the Traditional Dining venue. The tables in this dining room are bolted to the floor, so there is no flexibility to accommodate ... Read More
Just a few comments about the ship, not the cruise. There are no tables for two in the Portofini Dining Room, the Traditional Dining venue. The tables in this dining room are bolted to the floor, so there is no flexibility to accommodate other seating arrangements. If you want a table for two, you need to choose Anytime Dining in the Capri Dining Room and reserve every night (or take your chances and just show up). The beds in our cabin had noticeable sags in them, and felt that way. I have never seen this issue with beds on any other Princess ship. There was a light out in the bathroom the entire trip. The tissue holder didn't, and dropped the tissue box onto the shelf under the sink anytime you pulled a tissue out. The onboard internet strength was terrible, even in the public areas. I couldn't upload pictures to my blog at all. Time for refurbishing, I think! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We had a great time sailing to Hawaii on the Miracle for 15 days. We did encounter some rough seas which did prevent us from tendering in the port of Kona and caused us to be late into Maui, but Carnival doesn’t have the ability to ... Read More
We had a great time sailing to Hawaii on the Miracle for 15 days. We did encounter some rough seas which did prevent us from tendering in the port of Kona and caused us to be late into Maui, but Carnival doesn’t have the ability to control the weather just yet! We had cruised on the Miracle before and were able to book the cabin right next to our previous cabin. We had an Aft Ext cabin 8277 and enjoyed all aspects of having a Aft cabin. Our Steward was good, not great, but always kept our ice full and the room very clean, along with great towel animals every night! We chose Late dining and John Heald helped us with getting a table for 2, and boy did we hit the jackpot! We had the best wait staff, every night they happily welcomed us and made dinner one of the highlights of the cruise. They would bring us dishes the felt were the best and every one was a hit, since this was a 15 days cruise the normal Carnival MDR menus were changed around so this made it so much fun to have surprises all the time. Every dish was hot and fresh and tasted great! Hawaii was spectacular, despite the wide range of weather from port to port. On Maui we went up to Haleakala and froze! It was an awesome experience looking at the crater and scenery but the weather did diminish it a bit. Our trip to Hilo was the best! We did the Gourmet Volcano Excursion and it was great. Our guide Nathan really made it a fun day, he was so personable and I helped that it was a small group of 11 very nice people. Every aspect of this tour was better than anticipated. On Kauai we went to Waimea Canyon and had a real adventure, our bus blew a tire which led to a long delay until a replacement bus showed up. To make up the time the driver went up the hill at full speed and scared a lot of people! By the time we got to the top it was raining and foggy, so it did impact the ability to see very much. The problems with the tour could not have been controlled by Carnival. In Honolulu we packed in a side trip to Waikiki, Whale Watching!, and a Luau. It was raining a little during the Whale trip, but we did see quite a few Whales and did enjoy the trip. The Paradise Cove Luau was a lot of fun. We were disappointed to miss Kona, but watching the seas it was easy to see why Carnival did not want to chance tendering. The staffs throughout the trip were always friendly and happy to help with anything. We had to change a couple of tours due to the issues with the seas but the Excursion desk was happy to help and promptly refunded for missed tours. The only somewhat negative thing I would say is that we did wish that the Entertainment staff would have more activity with so many sea days. We won 3 Ships on a Stick during trivia, but we would have liked to see other things planned, especially in the afternoon. The CD Troy was very good, he did not flood us with announcements and was not over the top, his staff could use some work, but they were all very friendly, maybe just a little too young. We were the first people to talk to the Future Cruise Advisor, and booked a B2B on the Dream for 2015. The process was very simple, Kent was very competent was very happy to see that we had all our documentation printed out and researched beforehand. Booking both cruises took about 30 minutes total, mainly due to slow speeds being at sea. Embarkation was very slow, mainly due to the way Long Beach is setup, We have Platinum Embarkation and actually were the first 2 people on after the wedding groups! I put the fault of the slowness on the port and not on Carnival. We did self assist debarkation and were off the ship and at LAX by 9AM. Overall we had a great and very relaxing trip, we had some memorable experiences. The night before heading into Maui we had the roughest seas and we had glasses fly off the counter and smash all over the floor! We called Housekeeping and they showed up within 10 minutes and vacuumed and cleaned everything up. The staff said they were very busy with a lot of glasses breaking all over the ship. All of our encounters with staff on the ship was awesome, they were always pleasant and happy to help.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
1. I was in the restroom by the Onboard Outlet Sale...Someone had obviously been very sick. I walked out where there were three girls standing (not busy mind you) and told them what I had found. The one girl told me to go up to the pursers ... Read More
1. I was in the restroom by the Onboard Outlet Sale...Someone had obviously been very sick. I walked out where there were three girls standing (not busy mind you) and told them what I had found. The one girl told me to go up to the pursers desk and report it. Really? The other two crew members didn't say a word. I did go up and the gal at the pursers desk was dumbfounded that they would send me up there. Seriously, the bathroom was gross without going into detail...it was being tracked throughout the bathroom area. 2. We witnessed two seperate falls. The first by the pool area where a woman fell down the steps flat on her back. The response time was terrible. Family members were frantic. Not one crew member to be seen for at least 10 minutes! 3. Second fall on the steps by the pizzazz..She could not move with her leg twisted...another 10 minutes..no staff intervention. A family member went to the pursers desk complaining and I and two other people were right behind her. Response time was terrible. We had first seating in Amais..The food was..ok..not up to Princess standards. Believe me when I say I am not fussy, but if I closed my eyes when eating prime rib I would have thought it was ham. Our servers worked so very very hard. We were always late getting out of the dining room because they seemed to be so short handed. We saw the matradee twice..the second being last night. The waiters were just way to busy to interact with the passengers. Two of our tablemates left the table for the remainder of the cruise. Several of us went to the Horizon Court so we could make the shows we wanted to see. The quality of the food on Star was poor. Is it because they want you to use the speciality restaurants and pay an additional $50? The $200 credit that appeared on our statement for missing Maui has nothing to do with our experience. I understand that mistakes happen. But TWO DAYS to let the passengers know that there was an error? You have to wonder why? We all got a $2.00 credit. The captain was one of the best I have ever encountered. He was in the Horizon Court one morning and stopped to speak with us at our table and several others. He was very personable and kept us informed of weather conditions and had a bit of history every day. Food in the International Cafe was great and Horizon Court was "ok". The pizza at Pregos is wonderful and the pool waiters were great. The coffee card is a great value...although I did not use many punches for speciality coffee, my husband loved their cocoa! The casino is pretty good the first couple of days. I am not much of a gambler, but the first machine you see (Chinese I believe) pays well. I was told by the attendent at the Internet Cafe that they just started using a new service and were having all kinds of problems with it. Fortunately, they were refunding minutes like crazy for those that had to buy packages. You would get on and start composing and then all of a sudden it woud kick you out and you would lose everything. Hopefully that will be resolved for future travelers. The cabin (deck 10 balcony) was fine but dated and the bathroom could use some Tilex. The bed was hard and lumpy even with a topper. Our room steward was wonderful. All in all we had a good cruise..not great, but good. We met wonderful people and had many many laughs with our friends. We have traveled Princess many many times..this one just didn't seem to connect. Perhaps it was a fluke..perhaps they were all new on this ship, but it just didn't measure up to the other ships we have traveled. Several people we spoke with noticed the same thing. The weather could have been better, but when you travel you have no guarantees. If this was my first Princess cruise it would be my last. It is obvious that Princess is shall I say, cutting back. It is time to move on! One more comment. It seems the only way you can get the attention of Princess is to write them a letter. My friend just did this and finally got a call from Princess two weeks later. While "Andy" listened to her, he reply was scripted. She basically was told thank you, but there is nothing we can do. She didn't "want" anything, but sadly the conversation ended with her asking to be taken off of their mailing list. They don't care..bottom line. Hope this gets the attention of the right people at Princess. There are a lot of other options out there. Wishing all of you safe travels, smooth seas and good memories... Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Five days over to Hawaii, five days there, visiting four islands, and five sea days back. The ideal cruise for me. Embarkation in Long Beach was a little confused, The pier people seemed unsure of how to treat the "Platinum" ... Read More
Five days over to Hawaii, five days there, visiting four islands, and five sea days back. The ideal cruise for me. Embarkation in Long Beach was a little confused, The pier people seemed unsure of how to treat the "Platinum" cruisers since most of the passengers were Platinum, that is frequent Carnival cruisers, but once it got underway, the embarkation procedure was quick. The ship itself has been spared much of the stereotypical Carnival "Vegas neon" glitz. The decoration theme seemed to be literature and paintings of Rubenesque nudes in the Classical style. The Lido was named Horatio's and reflected the Hornblower novels. Large drawings of literary figures were displayed in the cabin area hallways. The public rooms also reflected the literary theme. There were major shows twice a night and everyone seemed happy with the m. I didn't see any except one of the several comedians on board. They were good- that had family and adults only shows. The trip over to Hawaii was a bit rough, but most of the passengers were experienced cruisers. There didn't seem to be many seasick persons. Dining was the traditional scheduled meal times with assigned tables- that's the way I like it. You could also do the "freestyle" system if you wanted to . The food was very good with all the usual- escargot, duck, lobster, veal and steak. There was one menu of comfort food each day and one unique menu each night. Brunch served on at-sea days was excellent, with open seating. The Nick and Nora premium steakhouse charged $35 each but it was very good- well worth the premium. Hawaii was beautiful and the ship offered a number of interesting shore excursions. We went on three and found them well handled by competent and entertaining staff. We didn't get to complete our visit to Kona, because the seas were too choppy to run the lifeboat tenders. Excursion tickets were refunded automatically. There was no other compensation for the missed port. On the sea days there was no shortage of things to do. We played several Trivia sessions and came home with nine of the Carnival trophy- the "ship-on-a-stick" Much coveted as well as two medals on a ribbon for various wins. The game and activity staff was very good. There was a very good enrichment program featuring an expert on Hawaiian culture and lore, flora and fauna and especially whales. We saw several whales off Maui. The service staff was flawless in their work, especially the wait staff and bar servers. The cabin stewards were efficient and friendly. Cabins on Miracle are pretty spacious. We had an ocean-view on the No. 1, Riviera deck, but since the entertainment decks are No 2 and 3, we had a bit of music come thru our ceiling from the Jazz club above. It didn't last long as the elderly cruisers turned in pretty early, usually. Disembarkation was smooth and more orderly. All in all a nice cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
What a fantastic cruise. This word should sound familiar to those of you who have already sailed this season to Hawaii onboard the Star Princess. But more on that later. This cruise was the most enjoyable trip we have been on. We worried ... Read More
What a fantastic cruise. This word should sound familiar to those of you who have already sailed this season to Hawaii onboard the Star Princess. But more on that later. This cruise was the most enjoyable trip we have been on. We worried about the number of days at sea. But as the cruise director told us at the beginning of the cruise, if we brought books or knitting, we might not get to do that as there were so many activities onboard and a wide variety. Embarkation: Los Angeles. We booked the Princess shuttle bus from the airport to the cruise port. This went very smooth. A Princess rep met us at the baggage carousel at the airport. We gathered our luggage and handed the luggage over to rep’s and we boarded the bus – that easy. The trip took about ½ hour, the bus was modern clean and comfortable. We arrived at the cruise port went to the check in area, we were given a group number and waited about ½ hour. Our group number was called we went to the check in to get our room keys and other paper work and continued thru security. This process took about 1 hour. Very smooth and organized. We dropped off our carryon bags in our room and went for late lunch in the Horizon court. The Princess Patter (newsletter) was in our room and directed us to eat lunch in the Horizon Court on embarkation day and the restaurant locations and times are listed on the back page of the Patter. Safety: Most impressed with the safety orientation, but at the same time it was way too long. We stood for a long time, in a hot room. There was a recorded message and it covered every safety aspect imaginable, including what not to flush down the toilet. During one of the announcements the Captain said if it is not safe they don’t do it. Our Room: Our balcony room was perfect, our room steward Ian Japy Rez always made sure our towels were fresh , ice in the fridge, the room was always clean and chocolates on our pillow every night. The bed was very comfortable, pillows were rather flat, so we asked for 2 fluffy pillows. There was a hair dryer in the room, so no need to take one of your own. There is also a safe to keep your valuables like your passport and wallet etc. The shower and toilet were working good no problems or overflows, if you RV then you will be very comfortable with the size of the bathroom. Some people on the ship put things down the toilet that cause a lot of problems, so please make sure you use common sense, only TP goes down the toilet nothing else. The towels in our room were great, soft and smelled fresh. I think that there were more TV programs offered on this cruise than in the past. Food: We chose anytime dining and ate most of our meals in the Horizon Court. But we did eat in the anytime dining room, if you want to eat early (5:30PM) then arrive at the dining room about 5:10. There will be a line up, but once the doors open the line goes thru quickly. We also ate burgers, by the pool deck, had pizza, and ice cream. The dining room menu is posted everyday for lunch and dinner. The menu is varied but it also has some standard meals that are always offered on the menu. There were many theme dinners in the Horizon court, such as Indian, Mexican, Filipino, American Grill. There was always a good selection and variety of foods such as beef, chicken, pork, lamb, turkey, cold meats, fish, salads, soups, vegetables, buns and pastries. Breakfasts were delicious, again a huge variety. I presume The Chef knows the ethnicity of the passengers and incorporates some ethnic foods into the menu on a daily basis. Dining service, - we always had prompt and courteous service, dishes were removed from our tables and refills were offered for water and coffee. The only beverages included with the cruise fare are water, milk, coffee and tea and lemonade. Orange juice and cranberry juice in the morning are free. For all other drinks there will be an extra charge, such as soda pop and specialty coffees and of course alcohol drinks. Afternoon tea is served in the dining room at 3:30 everday. Entertainment – second to none. Thanks to David Cole, CD and his staff. Also to his talented musical duo Dave and Leialoha known as “Elua”- Fabulous entertainers. Some of the Other Entertainers onboard and not to be missed include Craig Richard –saxophone ( soprano and alto) instrumentalist. – Phenomenal & outstanding Joszef Mezel Trio – classical Alan Shiels – piano, singer, he knows all the tunes, such a smooth voice. Jerome – Comedian – lots of laughs, good clean jokes, things you can relate to and even laugh at yourself. Heather Sullivan – piano singer “Walk like a Man – a tribute to the 60’s & 70’s – a great show Mathew Fallon – hypnotist – amazing and respectful. Productions Shows, with the Princess Dancers and Princess Orchestra - we didn’t miss one, all are a must see. Things to Do Groups and Get togethers. There is something for everyone, you name it. Get togethers for Veterans, RVers, service clubs, knitters and needleworkers, LGBT,Red Hatters, Friends of Dr. Bob & Bill W., Bible study, etc. Games . There is Trivia everyday, sometimes twice a day usually in the Explorers lounge. There is WII, cards such as bridge, horse racing, mah jongg, Texas holdem, Casino, Blackjack,. Everyday at the entrance to the internet room, sitting on a shelf is a Sudoko quiz and a trivia type quiz. Sports & Fitness – Table Tennis, Basketball, Zumba Bocce Balls, croquet, golf putting, Line Dancing, Hula Dancing and ball room dancing lessons Music Lessons – The highlight of our trip was the Ukulele lessons, (ukulele’s provided). This culminated with a Aloha Oe passenger participation show at the end (optional) Music – Princess Pop Choir, Karoke, Dancing every night in the lounges. Day Trips -Hilo – We took a free shuttle bus to & from the Farmers Market, the standard jewelry, trinkets, and clothing. There is also a quilt shop “Fabric Impressions” just around the corner with a fabulous selection of Hawaiian material – just ask one of the locals to point you in the right direction. If you forgot a crochet hook or knitting needles you can pick some up at a Thrift shop nearby. We also went to the Ukulele store ( opens at 10AM) around the corner and bought 2 Ukulele’s. In the afternoon we took the free shuttle to Hilo Hatties and a shopping centre. We picked up some provisions at Walmart and had lunch at KFC. We also took bus tours in Nawiliwili and Honolulu. The bus drivers provided a narrated tour, lots of humour along with history and interesting facts. The best scenery was Waimea Canyon, and loved boat ride up to Fern Grotto. We were not able to dock at Lahaina due to bad weather and choppy seas. Instead the Captain headed south in the evening and provided a good view of the orange glow from the active volcano. That certainly made up for not getting into Lahaina! TIPS: Take an extension cord so you can plug in your electronics, as there is only one outlet. Take a small travel clock, as there is no clock in the room, you can check the read out on the phone, or wait about 10 to 15 minutes for the ship channel on the TV to display the time. Drinks – we took empty water bottles and juice crystals and filled our bottles up daily. Disabilities? The cruise ship is easy to navigate, and you can rent scooters and have them delivered on board. We saw people with walkers, canes, crutches, wheelchairs and someone with a service dog. The staff are well trained if they think someone needs assistance they discreetly ask passengers if they need help. Disembarkation: We are Canadian citizens and needed to go thru the customs & immigration line. All of the people that were not US Citizens had to wait and stand one hour in the line up. Customs decided they were going to finger print everyone coming off the ship. Luckily we had already gone thru this process when we registered for Nexus, but we still had to wait 1 hour. This is not the fault of Princess they have no control over US Customs. But perhaps they can use their influence on them. Also make the passengers aware of this ahead of time so we are better prepared. One Final Note – A big huge thank you to “Mr Fantastic” aka Niko in the Horizon Court. He greeted everyone, everyday, while he manned the serving line in the Horizon Court. Everyone knew him and asked how he was doing today. He answer was always “Fantastic Madame Sir”. What a great to start to our day. He had everyone saying that they were fantastic as well. All in all, a fun filled, busy trip. Hopefully we are going to book the same itinerary next year, with the same cruise director and Elua.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We gave this as a Christmas gift to our children who are 14 and 8. Its been a couple years since our last big vacation and two weeks in the Hawaiian sun sounded like a great idea. We have cruised five time in the past and we have always ... Read More
We gave this as a Christmas gift to our children who are 14 and 8. Its been a couple years since our last big vacation and two weeks in the Hawaiian sun sounded like a great idea. We have cruised five time in the past and we have always traveled on carnival. We the kids on board they always have had a great time and we are were super excited for this adventure after all its a 15 day cruise to Hawaii! YAY! We were traveling with my parents who are both in their 70's and they get around well despite the fact my mother has stage 4 cancer and just went through her first treatments before this vacation. It has been her dream to go to Hawaii so why not now. We left the could north a day early and stayed on the Queen Mary the night before debarkation. This is a lovely way to enjoy the history and rest up before the long day of getting on the boat. I'll let you in on a little secret but don't tell anyone. If you stay on the Queen Mary you just get up walk right across the parking lot and register on the Carnival ship about 9:30 and you'll be in boarding group 1. It works out perfect. We swiftly went through the line and were on the ship about 1pm. Not bad at all. The ship is exactly what we have come to love about carnival ships. It looks like Disneyland and Las Vegas had a baby or exploded I'm not sure which. We went to our balcony cabin and settled in. Your not supposed to go there until later in the day but if the room is ready the help lets you go right in. The room help is pleasant enough but they sure weren't as friendly as the other ships we had been on. My wife and I both noticed it right away. I feel I am getting way to detailed with this review so I will just cut to the chase. We all really enjoyed the food. We ate at the seated dinner every night and it still amazes me how good the food is when they prepare it for so many people. Well done chefs and cooking team. Our head waiter was Darnell. If you get his table ask to be switched he was awful. The first night we were sitting for over two hours and all of the tables around us had left and they were set for the next dinner and we were never served dessert. I brought it up to the Matre'd who said he would fix it. It never really got better and our server never spoke to us or would look us in the eye for the rest of the trip. I told my son it was my goal to be friends with him. I tried to talk to him, ask him questions to no avail. The last night he punished us and made us wait and wait and wait for everything. The buffets are limited for breakfast and lunches but there is always something to eat. Its hard to find Tabasco that's for sure. When I could find a server to ask for Tabasco when it sometimes would arrive in the mornings my daughter would say "its gonna be a good day today dad!" It always brought a smile to my face as my little ones noticed the lack of service. Hawaii- The weather unfortunately for us sucked. It rained and stormed pretty much the whole time we were there. The last Hawaii day in Hilo we were so excited as the sun was out and the wind was calm and the beaches from the ship looked delightful only to be told the tenders could take us to shore because of safety. We ran up to the ships pool which we had not had the opportunity to use as the wind while the ship was moving made it unbearably cold. We all found some seats and jumped in the pool happy to finally be in some sun and warmth. The ship stated moving and with 15 minutes the captain took us straight into a cold rain shower storm. Out of the pool and back in the ship : ( I was told they needed to go out to sea so they could open the casino$ One of the pools has a retractable roof which always stayed open the whole trip and I never could get a straight answer as to why they wouldn't close it. When your sailing at around twenty knots and the wind is blowing at twenty knots that makes the wind on deck is around 40 miles an hour. So nothing on deck during our 9 at sea days were useable. No pools no mini golf no ping pong no sun no water slide, nope nothing. The people- We met some truly wonderful people on this cruise, people I will never forget and they really made the trip tolerable. The one big unfortunate thing was there we no other children on the ship. Our kids have always loved carnival ships because the make friends quickly and we can hardly pry them away from their friends on the ship. This time was way different. It was a floating old folks home. There was only one girl our daughters age and she didn't speak a bit of English. Being only 8 they tried their best to communicate but I think they both found it to exasperating. We did enjoy the shows Now we have been to Ensenada many times on carnival and really were thinking of not getting off the ship. We'll. that was until we were stuck on it for six straight day, INSIDE. We all felt as though we were in the movie groundhog day. Ensenada was nice. The sun was out the shops were open and the local people are fun to barter with as well as talk with. At this point we all had cabin fever and could not wait to get home. Last night when we arrived home our kids were the happiest I had seen them in two weeks. I was happy to get back to work and that just not how a two week Hawaiian vacation should end but it did. If you like to eat, get bad service and do absolutely nothing take the cruise. If you like good service while enjoying a ships amenities skip this cruise, sure wish we had. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Sailing dates: Fri. Jan. 17 - Mon. Feb. 3, 2014 (15 days) Travel company: Interline Overall experience: Good Good points: - Horizon Court brighter, nicer than past cruises (A.K.A.: Lido Deck Buffet) - Warm cookies and milk served in ... Read More
Sailing dates: Fri. Jan. 17 - Mon. Feb. 3, 2014 (15 days) Travel company: Interline Overall experience: Good Good points: - Horizon Court brighter, nicer than past cruises (A.K.A.: Lido Deck Buffet) - Warm cookies and milk served in the afternoon by attendants - Abundance of deck chairs available on Sun Deck - Wine tasting classes - Shampoo & shower gel dispensers in stateroom bathroom shower - Cruise directors Dave & Chris (hilarious duo!) - Pub-style lunches at Crown Grill - Cool face towels handed out upon arriving back on ship at ports of call Bad points: - All pools and hot tubs opened/closed on random days - Promenade Deck (outdoor deck) closed for several consecutive days - Weak hot tub jets, water not that hot - Severe lack of 2-man tables @ Lido buffet - The library - Attendants during embarkation (check-in hall) were VERY controlling - Paper towel dispensers in public washrooms - Longer than average wait times for ALL elevators To date, this was my 5th cruise altogether and my second time sailing with Princess Cruises. I will admit, the cruise itself was very relaxing and enjoyable. Unfortunately, the weather could have been much better for the second week of the cruise (VERY LITTLE sun and lots of high winds). Of course, as we all know, this is an aspect of the trip that the cruise line has no have control over. As a result, our stop in Honolulu was rainy and our following port of call, Lahaina, was cancelled (deep swells, too dangerous to be tendered in). As always, the crew members were very friendly and the food was excellent all around. As for the entertainment on board, the guest performers were excellent. I really enjoyed the stand up comedians, JeROME & Derrick Cameron, as well as the magician/comedian Jean Boucher. We also had a Hypnotist, who was very entertaining as well. The Princess Dancers were good, although I found some of their choreography in their shows slightly off-key (out of sync with each other). And unlike past cruises, finding a deck chair was never a problem when it came to sun bathing on the Sun Deck. The audio track during Movies Under The Stars at night was better than past Princess cruises. Embarkation The embarkation process at the port of Los Angeles (San Pedro) was long, but that was only due to the fact that we got there a little early. For some unknown reason, the embarkation attendants would not allow us to check in as a group (I was traveling with my Father, his Sister and Mother). We could only check in separately. Myself, along with my Dad at one counter, and my Aunt and Grandmother somewhere else. We got separated for a long time, due to the fact that my Grandmother uses a walker and required special assistance. I found certain attendants very pushy and rude at times. At one point, I got separated from my Father just after clearing security. I wanted to sit in the waiting area and by accident, I was making my way towards the "Wheelchair only waiting area" (which, as you may have guessed, was piss poorly indicated). Instead of acting professional and being kind, the attendant 'guarding' that area, barked at me to, "just stand over there..." pointing to a vending machine. The least she could have done was point me in the right direction to an area where I could sit down. I was extremely irate at this point and quickly loosing my patience. I understand this is a CONTROLLED process (with assigned groups being called). However, the system is flawed when you loose or forget your group number or letter and because we were separated, my Father was the one carrying our group number. At one point, my Father lost his wind breaker somewhere between the hotel we were staying at and the cruise terminal. However, there was one attendant who went to great lengths in helping us find the jacket, sadly to no avail. We thanked her for the trouble she went through. The Library The only one area of the ship that I found deplorable was The Internet Cafe & Library. Both shared the same area of the ship, which wasn't very big to begin with. To add insult to injury, there were VERY few books to choose from, practically NOWHRE to sit (just 3 chairs) and the area was constantly busy with people, making it hard to manoeuvre. Princess Cruises needs to address this issue in future ship designs (HINT: Take a page from Holland America Line, no pun intended). On the MS Eurodam by HAL, for example, the library had many, many places to sit and read (comfortable couches and several sofa chairs. They even had attendants periodically offering you something to drink. This library had none of that. On the upside, I did find a very interesting book, which I did manage to read elsewhere on the ship. Horizon Court I liked the fact that Horizon Court was very well lit up and had a very clean look to it. I found the food at the Lido Buffet to be very good, as always. The pre-made sandwiches and pastas were the best The only downside to the Lido buffet were the seating arrangements. There was a significant lack of 2-man only tables. This was extremely irritating, considering that most of the tables were 4-man tables, and only 2 people would be occupying them during peak hours. Princess Cruises needs to address this: Get more 2-man tables! That way, your party of 3 or 4 can simply push the two tables together to make a 4-man table. Why not? Pools/Hot tubs The size of the pools and the temperature of the waters were decent. I will admit, for several days at sea (especially heading to Hawaii), they were closed. When I inquired at the front desk why this was the case, the woman said it was due to "bad weather" (it was sunny that day, and I even mentioned that to her). I wasn't impressed with the answer she gave me. We were at sea that day and there was SOME movement to the ship, but I've had worse in the past (and yes, ALL pools were open during those past cruises). As for the hot tubs, the water wasn't all that hot (at least for one of them at the Lotus Spa). Again, half the hot tubs on the ship would be open, the remaining ones would be closed (again, on random days at sea and at ports of call). The pressure in the jets were very weak. Only on a few days, you'd be lucky to see ALL hot tubs open and fully operational. Public Washrooms The restrooms were nicely designed. The pressure in ALL water faucets were not consistent with each other (the water would come out as a small trickle at half the faucets). The paper towel dispensers need to be improved. Most of the time, because your hands are still wet from washing them, the paper would shred as you attempted to pull the paper out (I blame the dispenser, and not the quality of the paper). As for the dispensers themselves, some of them were placed in bad locations (out of view and hard to see). And lastly, half the time I would be washing my hands, there was NO SOAP. The crew members tending to the soap dispensers need to be more vigilant. Ports of call/Excursions I liked the fact that Princess Cruises now offers cold face towels upon re-boarding the ship after visiting a port of call. I will admit, the face towel was a bit dry, but this is still a nice feature to have. This feature was non existent on the last Princess Cruise I was on. My Father and I went on an excursion in Hilo (Pana'ewa Rainforest/Akaka Falls and the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory). It was very well done! Our tour guide, Nicole, didn't speak too fast and her knowledge of Hawaii was very extensive (she even gave us a quiz at the end - only as a joke). She was very friendly! The only downside was the Macadamia Nut factory itself was closed (we were there on a Saturday, and they were usually closed on weekends). But we did get to see inside the factory through the windows, and the visitor centre was open (to buy gifts and receive free samples). Keep this in mind when booking your excursions. Elevators Like past cruises, the wait times for the elevators were long. On this particular cruise, the wait times felt even longer (sometimes up to 3-4 minutes, no joke). As an extra annoyance, at each bank of elevators, there was ALWAYS one elevator that was out of service. I had zero patience for this non-sense and took the stairs 95% of the time. After all, I got to where I was going faster and I got plenty of exercise out it. The other 5% of the time, I took the elevator, but this was only due to the fact that I was with my Grandmother who, as I mentioned earlier, uses a walker to get around. Pub Style Lunch I love the Fish 'n Chips at the Crown Grill! Also, to my grand surprise, there was a wide variety of beers to choose from (Heinekin, Bottingtons, Bass, Guinness just to name a few). There was a long wait time to be seated during the first pub lunch and the service was slow (especially ordering beers, since they had to be shuttled in from another bar elsewhere on the ship). However, the following 2 pub lunches I went to was much better. I got a table right away and was served almost immediately (I got my order in a matter of no time). I can't understand why the cruise industry insists on using the old school Heinz Ketchup glass bottles (I HATE THOES THINGS!!). During the first pub lunch when I used one, no ketchup came out at all. This was the only downside. Tip: If you get the Fish 'n Chips, get extra tartar sauce, if you like that stuff (the one they give you is small and simply not enough). The desserts were also very good. Advice to those going: - The weather out on the Pacific Ocean at any given time of year can be very unpredictable (as I mentioned before, we were very un-lucky with the weather) - To all the smokers: Even though the smoking laws on board the ship have gotten more strict, just look out for the groups of smokers, all huddled together (usually this was on the Sun Deck, mid ship next to the bar, opposite the "Movies Under The Stars" screen). Smoking is also permitted in Shooters Bar and the Casino. The Casino had "non-smoking" days, in consideration for the other passengers. - Don't bother getting an Internet package. The connection is excessively slow and the rates are over-priced. I never used the Internet on board (this is what I heard from others who have used Internet on board). Save your surfing needs for the free Wi-Fi hotspots off the ship at the ports of call, where available. - The retractable roof over the second pool was ALWAYS closed. Don't ever expect it to be open (it's meant to be an indoor pool) - If you drink a lot of wine at dinner (like we did) or drink soft drinks, get a program card at the beginning of the trip. You'll save some money. You're also allowed to bring a bottle of wine with you upon embarkation.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
In many ways, a most enjoyable cruise ship and cruise. Excellent, personable Captain, Todd McBain, and very personable staff around the ship. Great lecturers for the "enrichment" lectures and the best cruise director and ... Read More
In many ways, a most enjoyable cruise ship and cruise. Excellent, personable Captain, Todd McBain, and very personable staff around the ship. Great lecturers for the "enrichment" lectures and the best cruise director and assistant cruise director(s) of any Princess cruise I've ever taken. Shore excursions were very good and so was the on-board entertainment. The food on the ship was very good to excellent, depending on the meal and the day. The wine list had a good selection at very reasonable prices. My only complaint is with "anytime dining". This cruise ship uses the two "anytime" dining rooms to accommodate "early" diners, and even reserves tables for groups in the anytime dining room FOR THE ENTIRE CRUISE. The only time available to dine in the dining rooms is either 5:30 PM or after 7:45 PM. The Horizon Court, the main cafeteria-style buffet also has issues. They offered several "specialty buffets" for lunch but opened only half of the Horizon Court. This meant that one had to stand in a long line (cue) that extended almost to the door of the Horizon Court to enjoy lunch. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was our first cruise on Princess and my husband and I had a great time. We had cruised previously to Tahiti on a much more expensive line and were told that we'd be spoiled for anything else after THAT cruise. Well, Princess ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Princess and my husband and I had a great time. We had cruised previously to Tahiti on a much more expensive line and were told that we'd be spoiled for anything else after THAT cruise. Well, Princess proved that theory wrong! We were celebrating our 50th anniversary and were totally enchanted with every aspect of the Star Princess cruise to Hawaii. Staff on board was so friendly. Our mini-suite was just right and we had no problems. Our cabin steward was very helpful and met our every need. The public rooms were all very clean and well kept. There were so many interesting things to do that we almost couldn't relax because of our self-imposed schedule. We enjoyed the great entertainment, events and trivia. When we got to Hawaii we went tubing in Kauai, swimming at the beach on the Big Island, shopping in Maui and a beautiful drive around the North Shore on Oahu with a visit to the Cultural Center. The food on the ship was fantastic! Loved the Cooking demonstration and tour of the Galley. We were even treated to a special dinner in our room for our anniversary. (Thanks to George for the specialized service). We liked being able to grab a pizza, go to the buffet or enjoy a relaxed sit-down breakfast at our leisure. Our only negative was that it was hard to get a cup of coffee or glass of iced-tea unless we went up to the buffet or paid for the specialty drinks, which we really didn't need. Disembarkation went quickly, and very smoothly, although we were sad to have to leave. Our cruise will be forever in our memories as one of the high points of our lives. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
The one word that describes this cruise is disappointing, which is too bad because my family and I were really looking forward to this cruise despite some of the negative reviews we had read. We had also sailed with Carnival on the ... Read More
The one word that describes this cruise is disappointing, which is too bad because my family and I were really looking forward to this cruise despite some of the negative reviews we had read. We had also sailed with Carnival on the Paradise some years ago and were very happy with our experience. Unfortunately I allowed our previous cruise to influence my decision instead of doing my due research. Our trip to Hawaii on the Miracle will be our last with Carnival. This is not entirely Carnivals fault, it is just that the service they provide is not a good match for our particular family. For people who are looking for a bargain cruise for 2 it is probably a good deal, but for a family of 4 this cruise is not particularly cheap, at more that $6K by the time all port charges and tips are accounted for it is a better decision to pay a little more and go with a luxury cruise line. Embarking was not too bad, but did entail about 15 to 20 minutes of standing in lines. Once on the ship the luggage was delivered to the room fairly quickly. After settling in we headed out to explore the ship. My first impression was that it looked as if an assisted care facility had been invaded by the people of Wal-Mart. There was an abundance of motorized scooters and walkers competing for limited walking space with people in a wide variety of attire ranging from ill advised swim suits, to pajamas to burkas. This was also the first cruise I ever saw crew members who would not yield to passengers when there was not enough room for 2 people to pass. The crew seemed to lack both training and enthusiasm, and appeared to all be overworked to the point where it affected their attitudes. The food on this cruise overall was substandard. It is easier to list what is good than bad so I will do that. In the main dining room, the best bet is to stick with beef. They seem to be able to cook a steak consistently without messing it up. Most of their attempts at gourmet dishes fail miserably. Overall if the main dining room could raise the quality of their food to match a Denny's or Coco's it would be a definite improvement. The waiters however are great, although extremely overworked which gives them little time to give the passengers much individual service. Entertainment was kind of hit and miss, with a few good shows and some you just endure. Carnival does not put a lot of investment in entertaining the passengers which leaves many just sitting around in common areas or reading a book. Unless you are into trivia games or bad karaoke, you will spend a lot of time in your cabin trying to pull something in on the tiny TV in vain because they will not re-adjust their satellite antenna from the Puerto Rico and New York satellites. Forget about getting any football on Sunday or Monday night even in the Sports Bar, not that I take a cruise to watch TV, but like I said, with the overall lack of entertainment, it would be nice to have something to do to fill the time at sea. The ports of call were great, although Carnival scheduled them poorly resulting in short port days. I suspect they do this intentionally to reduce their hours in port to save money. Disembarking from the ship is painful due to the fact that they try to disembark all the passengers thru one exit making for long lines. Keeping passengers in lines and herding them like cattle seems to be the theme of the Miracle. They also do a poor job of coordinating transportation at the ports unless you book shore excursions through them. To be fair, the rental car companies need to share in the blame for the poor service with the cruise line but there is plenty of blame to go around for them both. Kona is a tender port, and the Miracles tender process is terrible. Again they disembark the entire ship from one exit and it takes several hours. Getting back on the ship is even more painful because the line to get back on the ship without exaggeration can stretch across town more than half a mile! In Honolulu, you can figure on spending 2 hours of your already too short stay in bumper to bumper traffic being shuttled from the dock to the airport rent a car facility. In Kona, the service was so bad that the rent a car companies would only take the drivers on their shuttle leaving their families on the dock in confusion and separated without any plan. This resulted in my returning to the dock to find my family gone, and having to return to the airport to search for them. Again this fiasco ate up a couple of hours from an already too short port day. Hawaii is a great destination and we enjoyed our time there greatly, but Carnival did a poor job of respecting their passengers time and as a result it made this cruse a poor way to see the islands.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We used Princess transfers from the airport for the first time and was pleasantly surprised. They were easy to locate and other than waiting for the bus to fill up as others took longer to get their luggage, we were under way within about ... Read More
We used Princess transfers from the airport for the first time and was pleasantly surprised. They were easy to locate and other than waiting for the bus to fill up as others took longer to get their luggage, we were under way within about 45 minutes to an hour. Once there, embarkation was a breeze, there may have been 10 people in line ahead of us. The room itself was great, it was a minisuite on Dolphin deck and was spacious. Never felt cramped or crowded. Having the tub is a great perk of the minisuite, as is the extra sitting area. It was located very close to the elevators/stairs which would have been nice, except for it's location right outside the casino 3 decks below. As there is smoking in the casino, every time we opened our door we were hit with the smell of smoke that rose up through the staircases. The ship itself is not laid out that well, even towards the end of the 15 days I was getting lost on decks that didn't traverse the length of the ship. That being said, my more geographically strong room mate had no problem navigating the ship, so I may be in the minority that found it confusing. The casino is on deck 6 and cannot be avoided if you are walking on that deck. The smoking there is foul (in the opinion of a non smoker) and pollutes most of the ship. In a discussion with a crew member about the smoke, he said that it was kind of like having a peeing and non peeing area of a pool which describes it exactly. It doesn't matter that the rest of the ship is non smoking when there is a large smoking area that you must transit and that keeps its doors open the entire time. The library, which is usually my favourite spot on the entire ship is almost unusable on this ship for a non smoker. It is located right outside the doors to the casino and the smell in there is as powerful as being in the casino itself. The staff were good, but no real standouts, either bad or good, except for the entertainment staff. At the dance parties where I am very practised at remaining at the edges and just observing, the staff had me participating and having great fun. Callie is amazing as Deputy cruise director, probably the highlight of the cruise. The shows itself were not that great, they have reduced the length of them. The history of dance used to be much longer, but none of the production shows now seem to exceed 30 minutes. Also maybe I cruise with Princess too much, but all the production shows are the same. There hasn't been one I haven't seen in quite a few years. I was really looking forward to this cruise as I haven't been to Hawaii before other than one trip to Maui and sea days appeal to me. The weather was incredible, I think in the entire 15 days we only had a couple days of rain, though a lot of the sea days were quite cool, sometimes too cool to be out on deck. Inside there are not enough seating areas and most people ended up congregating in the buffet dining room for their cards, games or reading. The ports were nice, but it felt like there was not enough time in each. Hilo poured rain which is common there, perhaps Kihei would have been a better option there. (for me, as it rains at home a lot, not something overly enjoyed on vacation, other people may enjoy the wet lushness there) The tours in Hawaii are more consistently more expensive than other cruises I have been on. Next time I think investigating private tours might be a better option. Lahaina was incredibly beautiful, there are tons of things to do without a tour, just in walking along the areas close to the port. Nawilliwili was beautiful, we rented a car there for less than $50 and ended up just driving around and looking at things we wanted to see. Gorgeous island. Honolulu was spent at the Arizona memorial and City tour and while in the beginning was not all that convinced about seeing, I was glad we went. It is a sacred experience that makes one more grateful for what we have and helps to recognize the sacrifices that went into providing it for us. The 5 sea days heading back from Hawaii towards LA were very long. The weather cooled off the closer we got and there seemed less to do. Towards the end of the cruise, they started repeating the Movies under the Stars which seems strange. It wasn't a back to back, it was 15 days roundtrip and after the movies were on the big screen, they were played the next day in your room. So towards the end of the trip when you have done most things onboard that you want to, why would they also repeat the movies? We watched the Movies under the Stars almost every night until they started repeating them. After that the days got a bit boring towards the end and we were just kind of looking forward to it being over. Ensenada was a great stop. Wasn't really expecting it to be, but it was stunningly gorgeous weather, the wine tour was good and just walking around close to the port was good shopping. We used the first self walk off as we had an early flight and it was completely painless with very little waiting. Not sure how it was later into the process, but as we were one of the first groups off, it was very smooth. One thing to note, Princess has never really enforced their alcohol polices before, (in my experience) but one couple we met on board had alcohol poured out from their suitcases before it arrived on ship. It seems like they are now enforcing them, so adhere to it so you don't lose your alcohol. All in all I enjoyed this trip, mostly because of the stops. I wouldn't sail on the Smoky Sapphire Princess again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We cruised on the Carnival Miracle from Long Beach, CA on December 7th of this year. This was our 7th cruise with Carnival. Because we drive from Arkansas to California once a year to visit friends, we decided to drive to Long Beach for ... Read More
We cruised on the Carnival Miracle from Long Beach, CA on December 7th of this year. This was our 7th cruise with Carnival. Because we drive from Arkansas to California once a year to visit friends, we decided to drive to Long Beach for our cruise. We left home on December 4th just 1 day ahead of an ice storm at home and a snow storm in Albuquerque, NM. We stayed at the Hotel Current in Long Beach the night before the cruise. We got a great deal, $149.00 plus tax for 1 night stay, breakfast (very good), parking for all 15 days of the cruise and transportation to and from the port. The room was very nice and all of the employees were friendly and helpful. Once we got to the port it was a little confusing finding out where we needed to go, but we finally found a carnival employee who pointed us in the right direction. We got there just before they closed the early boarding area on the Queen Mary. After we got checked in they directed us to the dome and there were 2 lines, one for people who had checked in and the other (really long) for those who had not. We went right through after going through security and got on the ship. It was about 1 hour from getting off the shuttle to getting on the ship. We went right to the buffet and had lunch, then went to our stateroom. I really loved the colors and the “Fiction” theme of the ship. Gatsby’s Garden was very interesting and quiet. It you want to find a place to be alone, there are places to sit there. There were places to sit all over the place on the Miracle and that was different from the other ships we had been on. We were assigned to Early Dining, which we had requested and had been on a waitlist for, and we sat with 2 wonderful couples. Our head waiter was Simona from Romania. She was the first woman we had as a head waiter and she was amazing. Imade and Juliarta (both from Indonesia) were also awesome as her assistants. Simona even hugged us goodbye after our last dinner. Most of the trip was smooth sailing and warm weather with the exception of some rough seas on the first 2 1/2 days and the 2 days before we got to Ensenada. We were in an ocean view room on Deck 1, but we were at mid ship and that made it a bit better in our cabin than in the dining room or the Phantom Lounge, where we watched the shows. There were 3 shows we really liked: “Generations” on the first full sea day; “Singing with the Big Band” on the 6th sea day (on the return trip); and “Ticket to Ride” on the very last night of the cruise. There were actually 4 shows we liked because there was a variety show that Troy Linton, our wonderful cruise director put together because the sea was too rough for “Ticket to Ride” on the evening of the 8th sea day. They had each of the musicians who had played throughout the trip on the ship perform a song or 2 then they did a finale that was hilarious with several members of the entertainment staff. It was called something like “If I were not upon the sea, this is what I’d be.” Now, about Hawaii: Prior to the cruise I found the Pacific Whale Foundation online and booked us a Whale watching excursion for Maui. We rented a car and drove there. It was incredible. We saw 3 whales and a few flying fish. The drive was beautiful and we still got back to the ship by 7 pm. My husband was born on December 7th, 6 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, so on Oahu we went to Pearl Harbor and while it was a somber experience, it is one I am very glad we did not miss. On Kauai we took the shuttle to Hilo Hattie’s and Wal-mart and walked around town. We took the tender to Kona and walked around a big fair like event with lots of booths set up. We stopped at Scandinavian Shaved Ice and each enjoyed a small shaved ice (small was huge!) It was a beautiful day but the waves were really high which made it difficult for the tenders and they were behind about an hour and a half. I heard some people complaining, but I don’t believe Carnival could have done any better with the conditions that day. Our last stop was Hilo. We took a shuttle to the farmers market, walked around, sat in a park, and then got on the City bus ($3.00 for both of us) to Hilo Hattie’s then walked around that area for a while then took the shuttle back to the ship. We did not get off the ship in Ensenada. Obviously we don’t do a lot of excursions, but we had a wonderful time. Our cabin steward, Benjapol, was wonderful. On the first day we had to ask him for ice, but after that it was filled twice a day every day. The towel animals were great as usual. I always line up the animals in the window until I run out of room. On the last night we found 2 towel swans in the window making a heart shape in the middle of them. I had not seen that one before. We really loved all the sea days and the talks given by the Naturalist, Michele. The serenity deck was awesome and we spent a lot of time there. There were trivia games and music all over the ship. We also spent some time in the casino and I won $120.00 on the 3rd day of the cruise and used that for the rest of the trip for my gambling. I ended up with $40.00 left from my winnings at the end of the cruise. The shows I mentioned previously were great but we kind of wished there were a couple more production shows. That variety show was awesome and I would suggest they add that as a permanent show. The food in the dining room was great. The buffet and room service were really good too. We went to the Seaday Brunch once and it was good, but not great. The menu is good, but they don’t seem to be able to keep up with all of the people that come to the brunch. My food was the last to come to our table and it was cold. The waiter forgot my dessert and after I reminded him he brought it, after everyone else was done eating. I got to tea time once and it was very nice. The food was great and the recorded music was nice, but it was not well attended. I went to the internet café 3 separate times during the cruise to try to go to the Carnival website to check on another cruise, but I was never able to look up what I wanted. I got to the carnival website a couple of times but it took so long I gave up. I realize it is hard to get internet at sea and I would not consider spending money on internet service on board because you pay by the minute and it is slower than dial-up. Overall, this was our absolute favorite cruise and I would recommend it to anyone. We will do it again someday.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Sailed from Los Angeles. Embarkation went fine, no complaints and went as one would expect. Got on the ship Star Princess-this is a beautiful ship. Stateroom clean; ship is very clean. Personnel/staff from Captain to stateroom ... Read More
Sailed from Los Angeles. Embarkation went fine, no complaints and went as one would expect. Got on the ship Star Princess-this is a beautiful ship. Stateroom clean; ship is very clean. Personnel/staff from Captain to stateroom attendants/dining room staff; most staff very warm, welcoming, and helpful. Loved the Cruise Director, David (you can tell he has passion for his job and that was serving the passengers). Did not care as much for the shopping coordinator (Paul) not very helpful. Stateroom attendant was OK - there was difficulty when asking for things (I seldom did, but when I did, she was not very accomadating; felt as though we had to work around what she had to do instead of asking what we wanted. Room was clean, but linen was changed about every day; I do not need a new, clean towel every day and I told the attendant also, but she continued to provide new fresh linen (we are not that dirty and would like to see the cruise line save money on a "save the waves" program and be more efficient. About the dining room in anytime dining; out of that 15 day cruise, we tried the dining room once; food was unsatisfactory (too cold or bland, salad dressing watered down); sent my food back. The waiter too pushy about selling me the wine tasting class (he saw I liked wine); I said I would think about it but he continued to badger me while I was eating my dinner. Then that was the last night we used the dining room; we ate in the buffet for the remainder dinners, lunches, and breakfasts; food here very flavorful, warm and cold foods were at their correct temperature. Buffet dining attendants helpful and they always cleared off the tables when you were done eating (other cruise lines the buffet dining areas had accumulated dirty dishes all over lots of tables). Visiting Kauai, Maui, and the big island was great; really like these destinations (swimming, water sports, scenery just awesome, and snorkeling, yes these islands are beautiful); Oahu stinks; Honolulu stinks; people are nasty, never smile or warm or helpful; vendors/stores, including Maui Divers extremely pushy and very rude. Did not like Ensenada, Mexico; this is an unnecessary stop. The ship in of itself is great; a lot of swimming pools; liked Movie Under Stars. Lots to do on ship. Liked the fact that this ship recognized peoples' faiths and made time/space for Catholic mass, Jewish Sabbath services, Bible studies, and a non-denomination service. Overall I would recommend this cruise to anyone (SHIP IS ALSO FAMILY FRIENDLY); also the entertainment is very good like the ship singers and dancers, Steven Scott (hilarious) , Power Party Band. I almost forgot about the International Café; coffee/food and staff above average; always polite service; sandwiches and snacks tasty, they even have breakfast sandwiches. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013

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