Star Princess Cruise Review by pointpetre
- Sail Date: October 2012
- Destination: Hawaii
- Cabin Type: Balcony
Sorry about leaving in the dark, but I still went up to watch us leave the city and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge. Even at night, the bridge was full of pedestrians cheering our passage. We were close enough to exchange greetings. The city and surroundings were bejeweled by all the lights. Daylight might have been better, but the night did have great appeal.
The Princess Theater. This is a very well designed venue. No obstructing pillars, no haphazardly stacked equipment blocking views. Many nights had three shows, so mostly no struggle to get a seat - and no bad seats. The first night was an exception with one greet and orient the passengers show with a small amount of real entertainment. The theater was packed and the main aisles filled up with people who sat on the stairs. It was possible to exit via the side exits, but this aisle obstruction must have violated lots of rules. We transcended from one team of entertainers to another, and both groups were talented and put on enjoyable shows. Good variety of entertainment. I had good times playing team trivia and our dinner table mates were tops.
Dining: The Portofino Dining room was very good. The Amalfi not as good, but the food was very good in general. Getting coffee with dessert took real effort and hot tea was treated as an unreasonable burden on our wait staff. Yes, potatoes were available in many forms, but so was other produce. No problem eating green vegetables with meals, and the asparagus was abundant. Maybe going out of California had something to do with the great produce.
The Horizon Buffet was terrific. Easy to use and to find seating. Great wait staff. I did notice the carving station once abandoned for a long time.
Room service was very, very good.
Loved the pools. Lounge chairs and other seating always available. Loved the movies under the stars, especially "The Hunger Games." Loved the Piazza and the overworked and terrific string quartet and the other entertainment on board. Some of the activities were too oriented to selling, rather than entertaining and enriching, but there were good enrichment lectures and activities as well.
The library was small but useful. The computers were not as slow as I expected them to be. Since Princess does not provide transportation to the Oakland Airport, we expected some front desk advice for arrangements (just to pick up a reserved rental car for the coming 8 days post-cruise.) My wife decided taking BART would be hard with luggage. Their advice was to take a taxi. We reserved space on a super shuttle via computer, no problem, but I wasn't impressed with the front desk.Our Caribe deck balcony room was good. The TV was good. The deep balcony was lovely to have. The last morning on our balcony, we chatted with Gail and Erik, my favorite trivia partners, who were is the Baja deck room directly above ours. Our room attendant was tops. He could not have been better. The shower, tiny tho is may be, was okay. The shower head was superior, but a hose shower head would be better. The shower needs more than one little shelf, and it needed a liquid soap dispenser or a soap dish that could actually hold one of the little round soaps provided.
We largely sailed on an empty sea. Almost no signs of sea life in the blue, blue water. No other ships, no visible planes or contrails in the sky. The last two days closer to the mainland did bring to view some birds and dolphins. The last day I saw a sea otter swimming in a clump of kelp. Walking before dawn on the upper deck the third day at sea provided some darker than normal deck areas with beautiful constellations and behind the ship to the northeast, Mars rising as a pale red jewel, the brightest object is a luminous black sky. Walking on the Promenade Deck was wonderful.
Our four days in Hawaii were frenetic with tours and on island activities. We took two ship tours, one on Kauai, one on Maui. Both were good. We booked online a long tour out of Hilo. It was very good and very similar to the Volcano Tour offered by Princess.
I even enoyed our four hours in Ensenada and the barking sea lions in the Harbor.
Disembarkation was good, but it is chaotic at curbside with thousands of people coming and going and creating a massive jam in pick up and drop off flows.