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Star Princess Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,466 Reviews

Christmas Cruise

Star Princess Cruise Review by katisdale

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2019
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Interior

We chose this cruise as a way to celebrate the holidays with our daughter and adult grandchildren. We had a wonderful experience. The ship was beautifully decorated with trees, garland, and ginger bread houses. Each mailbox at the entrance to the cabins had a small ornament placed on it. We loved the covered pool area. We had never been on a ship with a conservatory before. The promenade deck was also lovely although we didn't get to spend much time there as the seas were rough and it was frequently closed.

We left our home in North Carolina early on the day of the cruise. I don't recommend this as I think it increases the chance you could miss the cruise. However, we had to do this as our grandchildren had their college final exams the prior day. Our plane was on time. We took the cruise line shuttle from LAX to the pier. This worked well. We did not have to wait long until we were on our way. Check-in was quick and easy. We were soon on our way to our cabins. My husband and I were on Emerald deck in an accessible IA cabin. I had polio as a child and use a wheelchair. This was the BEST cabin I have ever stay in. Especially important, the bath had sufficient turn around space. The room area itself was surprising. We had two TV's, a chair, a sofa and a sleeping area as well as a wet bar and refrigerator. There was a tight turn to enter the room from the hallway. There was a marble foyer which led directly to the closets and desk. There was also a desk chair which we never used. Our cabin was well located for access being near the aft elevators. This is important to me as it makes getting around the ship easier. Our steward typically placed his carts so that I didn't have to pass them to reach the elevators. Our cabin had good temperature controls and we were able to keep the room comfortable. This ship has the "new" Princess beds which we find comfortable. However, the big fluffy pillows are not our cup of tea. We are both side sleepers and the pillows do not support our heads well. The pillows allow one's head to bend down toward the mattress and then the pillows fall inward toward one's head. Princess should provide a firm pillow on request. Also, the duvet is too heavy. Amazingly that was our only disappointment on the entire cruise. I did learn one important lesson about choosing a cabin. One should never accept a room under the pool. Although this did not affect us directly, we had a very rough crossing and one of the pools developed a crack allowing the water to flood the cabins beneath it. The ship's welder(s) were able to fix this.

We chose "Anytime" dining and were quite pleased. We are most breakfast and lunches at the Horizon Court. For dinner, we arrived at the Capri dining room between 5:30 and 6 PM most evenings. We requested a table for five with no steps which was granted each evening. One chair was removed from the table so I was able to use my wheelchair easily. Occasionally, the path to our table was obstructed by another wheelchair or scooter but one of the waiters quickly moved it to make my access easy. We found the food tasty with lots of different choices. Most of the time we had the same waiter, named Petro from the Ukraine. He was personable and gave us good recommendations on what to choose. We especially loved the chocolate journey desserts.

Of particular note, the entertainment on this cruise combined both Christmas/New Years and Hawaiian activities. We had a lot of fun! We especially enjoyed the duo Elua. The husband "Tiki Dave" sang, gave enrichment lectures about our ports, and taught ukulele classes. His wife did lei and hula classes. Regular entertainment included a naturalist, trivia, production shows, music venues including the piazza, and at an extra cost and escape room experience among other things. We really enjoyed the progressive trivia run by the assistant cruise director Oz and the "melodramatic mystery" play put on by the assistant cruise director Mollie. Our fellow guests did an excellent show presenting their newly acquired ukulele and hula skills. The Christmas activities included carols, a visit from Santa, and a themed production show.

We did not meet any less than helpful employees. We had so few problems we never even visited the passenger services desk except to get different luggage tags so our entire family could have the same disembark timing. We did note a few grumpy guests around the ship. However, I would definitely have been less than happy if my cabin had flooded.

After our rough crossing of the Pacific, we arrived in Honolulu on time and enjoyed our tour of the city and Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, we were not able to dock in Kauai due to weather and stayed overnight in Honolulu. This disappointed many people but we enjoyed the extra time there on Christmas day. It was nice to see the difference in the holiday decorating there. We went to all the other ports. Our crossing back to California was also rough, encountering class 8 winds and high waves. We made a final stop in Ensenada Mexico which was satisfactory. Our main focus was the Hawaiian islands and they were excellent stops.

Disembarkation was efficient and we did not feel we were being thrown off the ship. Overall, this was an excellent cruise and we would happily travel on this ship, this itinerary, and with Princess again.

katisdale's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review


This is an accessible inside cabin. There was plenty of room in both the bath and the sleeping area to allow easy use of my wheelchair. The room had an unexpected sitting area, wet bar, and sofa.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Pearl Harbor

We appreciated this tour very much. It is hard to imagine how much the attack at Pearl Harbor changed our country. This was handled very well giving us ample time to view the exhibits and also take the shuttle to the Arizona memorial.

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Nani-Mau Gardens

This was a bus tour of the area around Hilo. It was nice but not greatly accessible. I primarily stayed on the bus.

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