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Background: We're platinum level cruisers with Princess, we've sailed with several other lines as well. We were in need of a "Come Back New" cruise and this one fit the bill! Embarkation: it took longer to get to the port from ~15 miles away then it did to check in and board the ship. We left our house around 10ish and with all of the traffic on the Embarcadero due to Giant's fan fest and another ship at Pier 35 we made it to the Pier 27 cruise terminal a little after 11. With all the horror stories we heard about the porters we were pleasantly surprised by how friendly the Porter who assisted us was. Loaded our luggage onto his cart and pointed us in the right direction to check in, no pressure to tip whatsoever (but of course we still did.). There was only one couple ahead of us who ended up going to the general line, we went to the preferred line so there was no waiting. After a short wait, just long enough to have some coffee, they started boarding the BVE participants, then the Suites and Elites, then it was our turn - a little before Noon. The ship: The ship was in decent shape but did show it's age in a few places (some worn carpet, paint, etc.). Also some of the women's restrooms needed more attention, my wife would like to say "ladies, quit squatting over the toilets and not cleaning up your mess!" We've sailed on similar ships so the layout was familiar to us, although the Star and her sister ships have one less passenger deck than the Caribbean, Ruby and other ships of that class so most things felt less crowded. All inclusive drink package: We decided we'd give the "AIP" a try this cruise. It's not cheap, $49 per day plus 15% gratuity but includes every drink (alcoholic, non alcoholic, soda, water, coffee, etc.) under $10 plus a 40% discount off of bottles of wine $100 and less. We tallied all the drinks we had and figured we saved around $100 each - without being drunk the entire cruise. Bottled water at every meal, fresh squeezed OJ, double cappuccinos every morning and after dinner, multiple glasses of wine at dinner, and yes of course a wide range of adult beverages whenever we felt like it. The only small minuses we can think of are: it would be nice if they had more wines by the glass (but somehow we made due :) ) and their was some inconsistencies in how the server would process the card - some would insist on printing separate receipts for each of us, others would look at both cards and put it on one receipt, and some wouldn't ring up water or juices at all. We found only one mistake made - one round of glasses of wine in the dining room made it to our folio with a charge on it, but this was easily corrected at the Passenger's Services Desk. Overall it added a touch of luxury to the cruise, being able to order what we wanted to drink whenever without having to worry about the cost. Dining: Food in the dining room and Sabatini's was excellent, however food in the buffet was only OK. International Cafe was also good for a light meal or snack. We had anytime dining - the first 2 nights there was a wait to get in but it settled down by the 3rd. We ended up eating in the Portofino dining room each night which didn't open to anytime dining until 7:45, and we noticed was never full so if you like to eat later this is a good choice. Some favorites include osso bucco ravioli, fettucine alfredo with always available chicken or salmon, tian of seafood, escargot, cock a leekie soup, and the puff pastry case with chicken and sweetbreads (don't let the sweetbreads scare you, give it a try!). Prime rib, beef wellington and other beef dishes were good as well, but the always available beef tournedos were tough and had a weird flavor. The Norman Love chocolate desserts were yummmmmy! Don't be afraid to order more than one app or soup or skip a course or whatever - cruises are a perfect place to try new foods and if you end up not liking it, order something else. Sabatini's is definitely worth it, the service and food were both outstanding (as were the 4 glasses of wine we had each!). We enjoyed the burrata, artichoke souffle, seafood soup, lobster 3 ways and the veal chop, along with a special they had that nightnight of Veal Saltimbocca which our waiter brought out as well. Spa: Word of warning - confirm with your therapist what treatment you are receiving, wife received and was charged for something different than what was booked. Treatment was just OK...a mani/pedipedipedipedi Disembarkation: Made our way to the platinum/elite disembarkation lounge, we had a later disembark time so we sat and listened to the various colors and numbers being told they can leave. At one point the person announced that all colors and numbers have been called so everyone should be making their way off the ship now. Everyone left in the lounge kinda looked at each other, shrugged, got up and left. Very odd since several groups had not yet been called. Made our way off the ship, through customs, found our luggage and a porter (just as friendly as the one when we embarked) and soon were in a taxi on the way home. Summary: Overall a fun and relaxing cruise. Sure, not everything was perfect but the positives far outweighed the negative. If you want to have a good time you have to take one with you :) Port addendum: Loreto is not available in the port review area, so thought we'd give a little blurb here. Little old town with lots of doggies, didn't feel like typical touristy Mexico town with vendors shoving stuff in your face constantly. Fun looking at the various shops and bars as well as walking along the malecon and watching the birds diving for fish. Oh and for you West Coasters, the beginning of El Camino Real and the first bell marker is here.

A great vacation!

Star Princess Cruise Review by SharkieRools

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2015
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
Background: We're platinum level cruisers with Princess, we've sailed with several other lines as well. We were in need of a "Come Back New" cruise and this one fit the bill!
Embarkation: it took longer to get to the port from ~15 miles away then it did to check in and board the ship. We left our house around 10ish and with all of the traffic on the Embarcadero due to Giant's fan fest and another ship at Pier 35 we made it to the Pier 27 cruise terminal a little after 11. With all the horror stories we heard about the porters we were pleasantly surprised by how friendly the Porter who assisted us was. Loaded our luggage onto his cart and pointed us in the right direction to check in, no pressure to tip whatsoever (but of course we still did.). There was only one couple ahead of us who ended up going to the general line, we went to the preferred line so there was no waiting. After a short wait, just long enough to have some coffee, they started boarding the BVE participants, then the Suites and Elites, then it was our turn - a little before Noon.
The ship: The ship was in decent shape but did show it's age in a few places (some worn carpet, paint, etc.). Also some of the women's restrooms needed more attention, my wife would like to say "ladies, quit squatting over the toilets and not cleaning up your mess!" We've sailed on similar ships so the layout was familiar to us, although the Star and her sister ships have one less passenger deck than the Caribbean, Ruby and other ships of that class so most things felt less crowded.
All inclusive drink package: We decided we'd give the "AIP" a try this cruise. It's not cheap, $49 per day plus 15% gratuity but includes every drink (alcoholic, non alcoholic, soda, water, coffee, etc.) under $10 plus a 40% discount off of bottles of wine $100 and less. We tallied all the drinks we had and figured we saved around $100 each - without being drunk the entire cruise. Bottled water at every meal, fresh squeezed OJ, double cappuccinos every morning and after dinner, multiple glasses of wine at dinner, and yes of course a wide range of adult beverages whenever we felt like it. The only small minuses we can think of are: it would be nice if they had more wines by the glass (but somehow we made due :) ) and their was some inconsistencies in how the server would process the card - some would insist on printing separate receipts for each of us, others would look at both cards and put it on one receipt, and some wouldn't ring up water or juices at all. We found only one mistake made - one round of glasses of wine in the dining room made it to our folio with a charge on it, but this was easily corrected at the Passenger's Services Desk. Overall it added a touch of luxury to the cruise, being able to order what we wanted to drink whenever without having to worry about the cost.
Dining: Food in the dining room and Sabatini's was excellent, however food in the buffet was only OK. International Cafe was also good for a light meal or snack. We had anytime dining - the first 2 nights there was a wait to get in but it settled down by the 3rd. We ended up eating in the Portofino dining room each night which didn't open to anytime dining until 7:45, and we noticed was never full so if you like to eat later this is a good choice. Some favorites include osso bucco ravioli, fettucine alfredo with always available chicken or salmon, tian of seafood, escargot, cock a leekie soup, and the puff pastry case with chicken and sweetbreads (don't let the sweetbreads scare you, give it a try!). Prime rib, beef wellington and other beef dishes were good as well, but the always available beef tournedos were tough and had a weird flavor. The Norman Love chocolate desserts were yummmmmy! Don't be afraid to order more than one app or soup or skip a course or whatever - cruises are a perfect place to try new foods and if you end up not liking it, order something else. Sabatini's is definitely worth it, the service and food were both outstanding (as were the 4 glasses of wine we had each!). We enjoyed the burrata, artichoke souffle, seafood soup, lobster 3 ways and the veal chop, along with a special they had that nightnight of Veal Saltimbocca which our waiter brought out as well.
Spa: Word of warning - confirm with your therapist what treatment you are receiving, wife received and was charged for something different than what was booked. Treatment was just OK...a mani/pedipedipedipedi
Disembarkation: Made our way to the platinum/elite disembarkation lounge, we had a later disembark time so we sat and listened to the various colors and numbers being told they can leave. At one point the person announced that all colors and numbers have been called so everyone should be making their way off the ship now. Everyone left in the lounge kinda looked at each other, shrugged, got up and left. Very odd since several groups had not yet been called. Made our way off the ship, through customs, found our luggage and a porter (just as friendly as the one when we embarked) and soon were in a taxi on the way home.
Summary: Overall a fun and relaxing cruise. Sure, not everything was perfect but the positives far outweighed the negative. If you want to have a good time you have to take one with you :)
Port addendum: Loreto is not available in the port review area, so thought we'd give a little blurb here. Little old town with lots of doggies, didn't feel like typical touristy Mexico town with vendors shoving stuff in your face constantly. Fun looking at the various shops and bars as well as walking along the malecon and watching the birds diving for fish. Oh and for you West Coasters, the beginning of El Camino Real and the first bell marker is here.
SharkieRools’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BB C305
Nice size cabin, balconies on this deck are twice as deep as other decks and are half covered/half uncovered. Could have used a few touch ups on the balcony (walls had stains also some weird stains on the railing.). Bathroom was nice and clean with a new shower curtain (still had the folds in it.). Comfy bed with pillow top mattress. Cabin Steward was just OK, nothing outstanding. Sometimes did a sub par job in the evenings.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews