This was our first time on Princess and first time doing a Pacific Coastal Cruise. We have cruised with Celebrity three times and six times with Holland America. The Star Princess is an older ship, a little tired, but overall very nice. The atrium was lovely.
Embarkation was not great. They had an outbreak of Noro Virus on the previous cruise, so were doing a thorough sanitizing of the ship, which delayed our embarkation. We would go through security and have to sit in chairs, then go through customs and sit in chairs, and finally we got to boarding. It felt like it took forever. We discovered when checking in they had changed our Early Dining time from 6 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., which meant we had time to go to our stateroom, unpack, go to the Emergency Drill, get a drink and take it with us to dinner. No chance of going to the Sail Away Party...there wasn't time.
We had a lovely table in the Amalfi Dining Room each evening for dinner and were seated with a couple from Illinois. Our waiter and assistant waiter were great, very attentive and thoughtful. The food was very good and the desserts outstanding. We did go to the Pub Lunch that was held twice in the Crown Grill during our 10 day cruise. It was casual and the food good. Breakfast in the dining room wasn't anything special, so we did that once and the rest of the mornings either went to the Horizon Court or International Cafe.
The entertainment was excellent on the ship. We would say the best we've experienced on all of our cruises. The Princess Singers and Dancers were very good, the costumes and scenery incredible! and Frankie Moreno was amazing! We saw all four of his shows. The Culinary Arts Show with the Head Chef and Hotel Manager was fabulous...so funny and entertaining. The Cruise Director and his staff were good, we took part in many of the trivia sessions and enjoyed them.
The bar staff were great, very friendly and pretty impressive how they could remember what we drink. We finished off most evenings in Sky Walkers Night Club with a few drinks and dancing.
The ports were good: Long Beach - we took the city bus from the Port of San Pedro and visited the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach and had lunch at Bubba Gumps...enjoyed it very much! Catalina Island - we tendered in and wandered through the town. Santa Barbara - tendered in and took the trolley into downtown. We enjoyed Santa Barbara a lot and would love to go back. Lunch was at Joe's Cafe...great food and service! San Francisco - fabulous, but very crowded. It was Fleet Week and there were an extra 800,000 people in the downtown area, plus President Obama was in town. The cable cars were shut down, so no rides for us. We wandered Fisherman's Wharf and visited Ghirardelli Square the first day. We were thrilled to see the Blue Angels perform over San Francisco Bay and that evening to see fireworks. Absolutely beautiful! The second day, we had booked our own tour to Alcatraz two months in advance online. It is a short walk from where our ship was docked. This was well worth the money and very interesting.
We cruised our way home to Vancouver over the next two days.
I would definitely recommend Princess Cruises and this itinerary, but it you are prone to seasickness be forewarned and take medication with you. My husband and I don't get seasick, but we did have a couple of pretty rocky days and nights on the ship.
Typical interior cabin, loved the layout, no closet doors to deal with and lots of room for storage. This cabin is considered a forward location, but we had no problems with motion. My only thought is that we were on Deck 12 and most activities were on Deck 7, so several flights of stairs to deal with if you don't want to use the elevators. On the other hand, it's only one deck below the Horizon Court and pools, so if that's what you enjoy the location is perfect.
We live near Vancouver, B.C., so no need for a shore excursion. It's a beautiful city!
We took the city bus from the Port of San Pedro to Long Beach. We visited the Aquarium of the Pacific, walked along the boardwalk and had lunch at Bubba Gumps. It was a fun day.
Catalina Island was lovely, very quiet, lots of shops and restaurants. We can understand why people who live in Los Angeles might want a second home there.
San Francisco is a beautiful city. We enjoyed Fisherman's Wharf and Ghirardelli Square. It was Fleet Week, so an extra 800,000 people in the city and I'm sure they were all down at the waterfront. We did enjoy seeing the Blue Angels perform and the fireworks at night. The trip to Alcatraz was very good, but be sure to book it well in advance. We booked two months ahead. We would love to go back to San Francisco some day.