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Review Star Princess Vancouver - Sydney Sep 21 - Oct 24 2009 We combined a coastal Vancouver - San Francisco with a Trans Pacific to make this a 32 day cruise. We spent the weekend in Victoria and took the bus from downtown Victoria to Vancouver. Checked our bags at the bus and didn't see them again until they were delivered to our cabin. That is a great service. We arrived in Vancouver around 1:30 and was onboard by 2:00. We had cabin B601 which is a midship standard balcony room. We asked the steward for an eggcrate and it was on the bed that same evening. Our steward was a very quiet young man from The Philipines and even after 32 days we hadn't got to know him. We only said hello in the hallways when we saw him. We started out with Late Traditional Dining but after a few days changed to Anytime Dining as one of our tablemates was intolerable. He drank a bottle of wine by himself every night, and sometimes was drunk when he arrived, and would want to discuss controversial topics. After about 3 nights of this we looked at each other and said we don't have to put up with this for 30 days. We were surprised at how much we enjoyed the anytime dining option. We usually went to the Fifth Floor dining room around 7:30 and never had to wait for a table. We always said we would share and had some delightful company. We have decided that we will chose Anytime dining in the future when there is just the two of us travelling. We had some of the best entertainment on this cruise that we have ever had. We were extremely impressed with the band playing in Explorers Lounge. They were called Liquid Blue and was a very talented group. There were only a couple acts that we didn't like. We liked the soft serve ice cream available all day in the pool area. That is a nice new feature. The hamburgers are always good out there as well. I had one most days for lunch as I really don't enjoy the buffet that much. I think it is just me as I saw many loaded down plates so the food must be good for most people. There were the usual chair hogs at the pool area. One day I was out there and finally snagged a chair near the pool. There were towels on the two chairs beside me with nobody sitting in them for about one hour. They finally came and not only had towels on those two chairs in the sun but also two chairs behind them in the shade. I couldn't help but tell them my view on that. They didn't appreciate it.. Now for the ports and what we did: Hilo: We booked a tour through shore trips.com called KALAPANA VOLCANO ADVENTURE. We have booked with Shoretrips before and wasn't disappointed. We were met by the owner of the Paradise Excursions, Frank, in his SUV. We were the only two guests so it was very personalized service. We had a great day and we even introduced him to geocaching. Since we came home we heard from him that he has introduced a geocaching option to his tours. LaHaina: This was a tender port so we did a Princess shore excursion here. We did the Rainforest and Waterfall Hiking tour. It was very well done and we got to swim in two different waterfalls over the walk. Our guide was a very nice guy and he introduced us to quite a few different Hawaiin foods that can be found in the rainforest . Bora Bora: We went on a private tour here arranged by one of our CC friends. The company we used was www.maohinui.net. This is a company o wned and operated by Patrick. He has had excellent reviews on Cruise Critic and he didn't disappoint us. We had reserved 3 outrigger canoes for our group and I think there were 12 of us in each canoe. We stopped to visit the stingrays first and then we visited sharks. They were harmless reef sharks but it was still kind of daunting to get in the water with sharks around. Some of us just held unto the outrigger and snorkled from there but others braved the open water. After the sharks, we went to a motu where they had a traditional oven built in the sand and was cooking a suckling pig. They opened the oven for us and it had other goodies as well. They also had a BBQ going with lobster on the grill. It was a great meal served with champagne and /or beer. We did a complete circle around the island over the tour so we could see all the hotels with their rooms over the water. On the way back, Patrick dropped some of us off at Bloody Marys where we got a taxi back to the ship for $5.00 each. Papeete: We had planned on taking a private 4x4 excursion with Patrick but he had problems with his vehicle so we decided to take a similar Princess excursion instead. It wasn't all that great of an excursion although we did get to see alot of the interior of Tahiti. It may have been that it was raining quite heavily. All in all, Papeete was our least favourite stop on the entire cruise. After we returned to the ship, we went back out to do a bit of shopping. It is very expensive here. Moorea: This was a great day. I had arranged for a tour with Albert's Transport for our Cruise Critic group (http://www.albert-transport.net/p3_gb.asp). They met us at the dock shortly after we were tendered in. We paid $88.00 per person for all day on their Lagoon Tour. They have two catamarans that hold 60 people and we had 48 booked with us as well as two native musicians.. Our first stop was to swim with the stingrays while the sharks swimming around us. Our driver was Sooky(sp?) and he had fish to feed the stingrays and sharks. We had thought the day in Bora Bora couldn't be beat but this was even better. We could stand in the water and Sooky would bring the stingrays up to us for us to pet. The sharks kept their distance but there were lots of them swimming around. We headed to the Motu where the BBQ was heated up. He showed us how to make Poisson Cru and then we had the BBQ'ed chicken and tuna along with several different salads. .We had lots of time to swim and snorkle on the beach. After lunch he showed us how to open a coconut and get the coconut milk out of it. It was an excellent day. There was shopping on the tender dock and the prices were much better than in Papeete. Apia: I had arranged a tour with Mark Bertwistle from Berties B&B http://www.berties.org/tours.html Unfortunately, while we were enroute to the islands, the tsunami hit Samoa and our tour had to be modified somewhat. Mark was at the pier to meet us when we arrived. Our first stop was to visit the Robert Louis Stevensons Museum, which is lovely, then to the Bahaii Temple and then to a beach. This is where we had to change our itinerary as the beach we were scheduled to go was wiped out by the tsunami. He did find another lovely beach for us though and the water was like a bath, it was so warm. Because of the change of venue, our lunch was also changed to BBQed hamburgers and sausages and he had potato salad and coleslaw and bottled water. It was supposed to have been a traditional Samoan lunch menu. He stopped at a store where we could have bought soft drinks. During lunch some people went across the road and found a store to buy beer. The lady who lived there also allowed some of us to use her house to change into dry clothes. It is a beautiful island and we saw little evidence of the tsunami although there were quite a few new graves. Pago Pago: Another CC member had arranged a tour with Tisa of Tisa's Barefoot Bar. http://www.tisasbarefootbar.com/default.aspx She took us on a tour of the island and then ended at her beach bar. This island had also been hit by the tsunami and there was quite a bit of damage to be seen in the town. It is a beautiful island. Her beach bar is quite nice, the beach is a little rocky so beach shoes are needed. I didn't do any snorkling but others did and said there were some nice fish and coral. She served us a meal of chicken and potato salad. Another enjoyable day. Suva, Fiji: I had arranged a day with Discover Fiji Tours http://discoverfijitours.com/jewel_fiji.html We did Tour 1 which was called the Triple Challenge, Canoe,waterfalls and rafting. Unfortunately, the rain was pouring the day we were there and we were all drenched. It didn't dampen our enthusiasm and we had a great time. . We went by bus from the cruise terminal to the village where we were given life jackets and headed to the canoes. They stored our bags for us and gave us plastic ponchos to put over us. They didn't keep us dry but did keep the wind off of us while we went up the river in the motorized canoe. We went up some rapids, which was fun and ended up at a path to go to the waterfalls. The walk to the waterfall could be challenging for some people but most of us did the walk. When we got to the bottom of the waterfall, our guide said that they usually swim there. I decided to go in but nobody else joined me. I thought that since I was already wet, why not. The water temperature was actually warmer than the air temperature so it was quite comfortable. On the way back my husband and the guide jumped into the river from the cliff. We had lunch at the river bank (in the rain) and then took the bamboo rafts down the river part of the way. We transferred over to the canoes and went to meet our bus. There was some kind of misunderstanding about where we were supposed to dock and ended up having to go further down the river to meet the bus. They gave us hot coffee at the end and a place to change into dry clothes. It was a fun day but I think this would have been an awesome day if the weather had been good Auckland, NZ: I had arranged a tour for some of our CC group with Coast2Coast tours http://www.coast2coastnz.com/ Stewart, the owner, met us at the dock shortly after we landed. Our first stop was at a craft shop to look at locally made crafts. There were beautiful things at the store made by many different craftspeople. We then went to a nature habitat. Then to their sheep farm where we were served lunch, and what a lunch it was. We had BBQed lamb, quiche, chutney, honey glazed yam, salad and vegetables. All of it was delicious. There were 14 of us and Donna welcomed us to their home as if we were family. After lunch we went to the opening of a new tourist information centre where we met the New Zealand Prime Minister and had our picture taken with him. From there we went to a winery to do some wine tasting, then to BeesOnLine to taste some honey, to a gannet colony and then back to the farm where Donna had tea and dessert ready for us. After tea, we toured the farm, held a baby lamb, watched Stewart shear a sheep, and planted a tree on our behalf. It was the best tour I have ever taken and we were all sad to leave the farm. It was like leaving home. We didn't leave Auckland until 10 pm so there was time to do some walking around before we sailed. Wellington: We had arranged to a tour with Seal Coast Safari http://www.sealcoast.com/ We took the shuttle to the I Centre to meet the tour which left there at 10 am. It was a cold rainy day which took some of the enjoyment out of the day but the scenery was beautiful, what we could see of it. Since it was raining, we couldn't see very far at the lookouts. We did see some seals on the beach. We had to return the same way we came as it was a Sunday and the return road is closed on Sundays so locals can walk in the area. We walked back to the ship but we could have taken the shuttle back. We wanted to do some geocaching on the way back and did manage to get two geocaches. Christchurch: We went on a tour that was arranged by another CC member with Indigenous Tours. http://www.itrails.co.nz/Indigenous_Trails/Katoro_Heritage_Trail__IDL=1_IDT=1953_ID=16538_.html We were met on the dock in Lyttleton by the bus. We went over the mountains to Christchurch and it is quite an astounding view from the top. Our first stop was at a Maori Village where we were greeted by fierce looking warriors and after we were determined not to be threatening to the tribe they performed songs and dances for us. We did a tour of the wildlife habitat and got to see kiwis and other birds and animals. Then we went to the river where we rowed the war canoe and weaved flax. They served us a sandwich for lunch. We headed back to Chirstchurch where they dropped us off to do some shopping and then picked us up again to take us to the ship. It was a very nice day. Dunedin: I had arranged a tour with Chris Roberts of Back to Nature Tours http://www.backtonaturetours.co.nz/index.html Chris met us at the dock with a van and our driver was Anthony. He was a very good guide. We toured around the town of Dunedin, then to Lanarch Castle and then headed out to the Otaga Peninsula where we saw lots of birds and then went to a pub for lunch. Anthony even played the piano and sang for us. After lunch we headed to the Penguin Place which is quite neat. We were given a talk about the penguins and then we were driver out to the colony where they have built blinds so we won't disturb the penguins. This is spring and the penguins are nesting so they weren't up and about much but we could see them in their nests. In this area they have Yellow Eyed Penguins and Blue Penguins. After the penguin colony we went to the Albatross Colony where we could see the albatross flying around. From there we headed back to the port and the ship. Sydney: We arrived in Sydney early in the morning. We were scheduled to leave the ship at 9:45 and we left almost exactly on schedule. From there we had arranged our own tours in Australia before flying home.

Star Princess - Ports

Star Princess Cruise Review by catsdinner

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
Review Star Princess Vancouver - Sydney Sep 21 - Oct 24 2009
We combined a coastal Vancouver - San Francisco with a Trans Pacific to make this a 32 day cruise. We spent the weekend in Victoria and took the bus from downtown Victoria to Vancouver. Checked our bags at the bus and didn't see them again until they were delivered to our cabin. That is a great service. We arrived in Vancouver around 1:30 and was onboard by 2:00. We had cabin B601 which is a midship standard balcony room. We asked the steward for an eggcrate and it was on the bed that same evening. Our steward was a very quiet young man from The Philipines and even after 32 days we hadn't got to know him. We only said hello in the hallways when we saw him.
We started out with Late Traditional Dining but after a few days changed to Anytime Dining as one of our tablemates was intolerable. He drank a bottle of wine by himself every night, and sometimes was drunk when he arrived, and would want to discuss controversial topics. After about 3 nights of this we looked at each other and said we don't have to put up with this for 30 days. We were surprised at how much we enjoyed the anytime dining option. We usually went to the Fifth Floor dining room around 7:30 and never had to wait for a table. We always said we would share and had some delightful company. We have decided that we will chose Anytime dining in the future when there is just the two of us travelling.
We had some of the best entertainment on this cruise that we have ever had. We were extremely impressed with the band playing in Explorers Lounge. They were called Liquid Blue and was a very talented group. There were only a couple acts that we didn't like.
We liked the soft serve ice cream available all day in the pool area. That is a nice new feature. The hamburgers are always good out there as well. I had one most days for lunch as I really don't enjoy the buffet that much. I think it is just me as I saw many loaded down plates so the food must be good for most people.
There were the usual chair hogs at the pool area. One day I was out there and finally snagged a chair near the pool. There were towels on the two chairs beside me with nobody sitting in them for about one hour. They finally came and not only had towels on those two chairs in the sun but also two chairs behind them in the shade. I couldn't help but tell them my view on that. They didn't appreciate it..
Now for the ports and what we did:
Hilo: We booked a tour through shore trips.com called KALAPANA VOLCANO ADVENTURE. We have booked with Shoretrips before and wasn't disappointed. We were met by the owner of the Paradise Excursions, Frank, in his SUV. We were the only two guests so it was very personalized service. We had a great day and we even introduced him to geocaching. Since we came home we heard from him that he has introduced a geocaching option to his tours.
LaHaina: This was a tender port so we did a Princess shore excursion here. We did the Rainforest and Waterfall Hiking tour. It was very well done and we got to swim in two different waterfalls over the walk. Our guide was a very nice guy and he introduced us to quite a few different Hawaiin foods that can be found in the rainforest .
Bora Bora: We went on a private tour here arranged by one of our CC friends. The company we used was www.maohinui.net. This is a company o wned and operated by Patrick. He has had excellent reviews on Cruise Critic and he didn't disappoint us. We had reserved 3 outrigger canoes for our group and I think there were 12 of us in each canoe. We stopped to visit the stingrays first and then we visited sharks. They were harmless reef sharks but it was still kind of daunting to get in the water with sharks around. Some of us just held unto the outrigger and snorkled from there but others braved the open water. After the sharks, we went to a motu where they had a traditional oven built in the sand and was cooking a suckling pig. They opened the oven for us and it had other goodies as well. They also had a BBQ going with lobster on the grill. It was a great meal served with champagne and /or beer. We did a complete circle around the island over the tour so we could see all the hotels with their rooms over the water. On the way back, Patrick dropped some of us off at Bloody Marys where we got a taxi back to the ship for $5.00 each.
Papeete: We had planned on taking a private 4x4 excursion with Patrick but he had problems with his vehicle so we decided to take a similar Princess excursion instead. It wasn't all that great of an excursion although we did get to see alot of the interior of Tahiti. It may have been that it was raining quite heavily. All in all, Papeete was our least favourite stop on the entire cruise. After we returned to the ship, we went back out to do a bit of shopping. It is very expensive here.
Moorea: This was a great day. I had arranged for a tour with Albert's Transport for our Cruise Critic group (http://www.albert-transport.net/p3_gb.asp). They met us at the dock shortly after we were tendered in. We paid $88.00 per person for all day on their Lagoon Tour. They have two catamarans that hold 60 people and we had 48 booked with us as well as two native musicians.. Our first stop was to swim with the stingrays while the sharks swimming around us. Our driver was Sooky(sp?) and he had fish to feed the stingrays and sharks. We had thought the day in Bora Bora couldn't be beat but this was even better. We could stand in the water and Sooky would bring the stingrays up to us for us to pet. The sharks kept their distance but there were lots of them swimming around. We headed to the Motu where the BBQ was heated up. He showed us how to make Poisson Cru and then we had the BBQ'ed chicken and tuna along with several different salads. .We had lots of time to swim and snorkle on the beach. After lunch he showed us how to open a coconut and get the coconut milk out of it. It was an excellent day. There was shopping on the tender dock and the prices were much better than in Papeete.
Apia: I had arranged a tour with Mark Bertwistle from Berties B&B http://www.berties.org/tours.html Unfortunately, while we were enroute to the islands, the tsunami hit Samoa and our tour had to be modified somewhat. Mark was at the pier to meet us when we arrived. Our first stop was to visit the Robert Louis Stevensons Museum, which is lovely, then to the Bahaii Temple and then to a beach. This is where we had to change our itinerary as the beach we were scheduled to go was wiped out by the tsunami. He did find another lovely beach for us though and the water was like a bath, it was so warm. Because of the change of venue, our lunch was also changed to BBQed hamburgers and sausages and he had potato salad and coleslaw and bottled water. It was supposed to have been a traditional Samoan lunch menu. He stopped at a store where we could have bought soft drinks. During lunch some people went across the road and found a store to buy beer. The lady who lived there also allowed some of us to use her house to change into dry clothes. It is a beautiful island and we saw little evidence of the tsunami although there were quite a few new graves.
Pago Pago: Another CC member had arranged a tour with Tisa of Tisa's Barefoot Bar. http://www.tisasbarefootbar.com/default.aspx She took us on a tour of the island and then ended at her beach bar. This island had also been hit by the tsunami and there was quite a bit of damage to be seen in the town. It is a beautiful island. Her beach bar is quite nice, the beach is a little rocky so beach shoes are needed. I didn't do any snorkling but others did and said there were some nice fish and coral. She served us a meal of chicken and potato salad. Another enjoyable day.
Suva, Fiji: I had arranged a day with Discover Fiji Tours http://discoverfijitours.com/jewel_fiji.html We did Tour 1 which was called the Triple Challenge, Canoe,waterfalls and rafting. Unfortunately, the rain was pouring the day we were there and we were all drenched. It didn't dampen our enthusiasm and we had a great time. . We went by bus from the cruise terminal to the village where we were given life jackets and headed to the canoes. They stored our bags for us and gave us plastic ponchos to put over us. They didn't keep us dry but did keep the wind off of us while we went up the river in the motorized canoe. We went up some rapids, which was fun and ended up at a path to go to the waterfalls. The walk to the waterfall could be challenging for some people but most of us did the walk. When we got to the bottom of the waterfall, our guide said that they usually swim there. I decided to go in but nobody else joined me. I thought that since I was already wet, why not. The water temperature was actually warmer than the air temperature so it was quite comfortable. On the way back my husband and the guide jumped into the river from the cliff. We had lunch at the river bank (in the rain) and then took the bamboo rafts down the river part of the way. We transferred over to the canoes and went to meet our bus. There was some kind of misunderstanding about where we were supposed to dock and ended up having to go further down the river to meet the bus. They gave us hot coffee at the end and a place to change into dry clothes. It was a fun day but I think this would have been an awesome day if the weather had been good Auckland, NZ: I had arranged a tour for some of our CC group with Coast2Coast tours http://www.coast2coastnz.com/ Stewart, the owner, met us at the dock shortly after we landed. Our first stop was at a craft shop to look at locally made crafts. There were beautiful things at the store made by many different craftspeople. We then went to a nature habitat. Then to their sheep farm where we were served lunch, and what a lunch it was. We had BBQed lamb, quiche, chutney, honey glazed yam, salad and vegetables. All of it was delicious. There were 14 of us and Donna welcomed us to their home as if we were family. After lunch we went to the opening of a new tourist information centre where we met the New Zealand Prime Minister and had our picture taken with him. From there we went to a winery to do some wine tasting, then to BeesOnLine to taste some honey, to a gannet colony and then back to the farm where Donna had tea and dessert ready for us. After tea, we toured the farm, held a baby lamb, watched Stewart shear a sheep, and planted a tree on our behalf. It was the best tour I have ever taken and we were all sad to leave the farm. It was like leaving home. We didn't leave Auckland until 10 pm so there was time to do some walking around before we sailed.
Wellington: We had arranged to a tour with Seal Coast Safari http://www.sealcoast.com/ We took the shuttle to the I Centre to meet the tour which left there at 10 am. It was a cold rainy day which took some of the enjoyment out of the day but the scenery was beautiful, what we could see of it. Since it was raining, we couldn't see very far at the lookouts. We did see some seals on the beach. We had to return the same way we came as it was a Sunday and the return road is closed on Sundays so locals can walk in the area. We walked back to the ship but we could have taken the shuttle back. We wanted to do some geocaching on the way back and did manage to get two geocaches.
Christchurch: We went on a tour that was arranged by another CC member with Indigenous Tours. http://www.itrails.co.nz/Indigenous_Trails/Katoro_Heritage_Trail__IDL=1_IDT=1953_ID=16538_.html We were met on the dock in Lyttleton by the bus. We went over the mountains to Christchurch and it is quite an astounding view from the top. Our first stop was at a Maori Village where we were greeted by fierce looking warriors and after we were determined not to be threatening to the tribe they performed songs and dances for us. We did a tour of the wildlife habitat and got to see kiwis and other birds and animals. Then we went to the river where we rowed the war canoe and weaved flax. They served us a sandwich for lunch. We headed back to Chirstchurch where they dropped us off to do some shopping and then picked us up again to take us to the ship. It was a very nice day.
Dunedin: I had arranged a tour with Chris Roberts of Back to Nature Tours http://www.backtonaturetours.co.nz/index.html Chris met us at the dock with a van and our driver was Anthony. He was a very good guide. We toured around the town of Dunedin, then to Lanarch Castle and then headed out to the Otaga Peninsula where we saw lots of birds and then went to a pub for lunch. Anthony even played the piano and sang for us. After lunch we headed to the Penguin Place which is quite neat. We were given a talk about the penguins and then we were driver out to the colony where they have built blinds so we won't disturb the penguins. This is spring and the penguins are nesting so they weren't up and about much but we could see them in their nests. In this area they have Yellow Eyed Penguins and Blue Penguins. After the penguin colony we went to the Albatross Colony where we could see the albatross flying around. From there we headed back to the port and the ship.
Sydney: We arrived in Sydney early in the morning. We were scheduled to leave the ship at 9:45 and we left almost exactly on schedule. From there we had arranged our own tours in Australia before flying home.
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BC B601
Very nice cabin with a small balcony. Comfortable.
Lido Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins