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I'll start with the embarkation process at the San Pedro port. Very quick, no lines and friendly staff! Overall very easy and straightforward. Only thing I noted was there was no health screening (I recall going through a health screening questionnaire on the last cruise I did) and given the coronavirus risk at the moment I'm surprised this didn't occur. Once on board our cabin was ready for us. Our luggage showed up shortly thereafter. We opted for an interior stateroom with twin beds. It was dated and underwhelming. The ship was built in 2002 and refurbished in 2017 but I feel they didn't do much with the refurbishment as the stateroom had dated finishes, colors, tiles etc. The beds were very comfortable with nice down duvets and pillows. Plenty of storage and a large closet with plenty of hangers. A 40" television with a great variety of movies and tv channels. Being an interior room it was tiny but the layout provided us privacy for getting ready each day and we never felt claustrophobic. Now for the bad stuff... We had a broken toilet, and two leaks in our stateroom throughout the two week period. The toilet was noticed by the steward and he had it fixed while we were out and about the ship during the day - so that wasn't so bad. The first leak was noticed by me around 9:30 pm on a sea day. Called it in right away, but it took almost two hours for them to send a plumber to fix it. It was over my bed. I had to specifically ask the steward for new bedding and a new pillow as it was wet. He had already felt the bedding at this point and was giving no indication he was going to change it. The second leak started around 10 pm on a port day. We were getting ready for bed when we noticed it. This one was in between the two beds. We called it in right away and waited. After an hour I called again and it was after midnight when a plumber showed up. At this point we put the trash can under the leak and were already in bed. He didn't ask if he could come in - he just walked past me when I opened the door and I had to tell him to come back tomorrow as we were sleeping. Luckily when we returned to the room after returning from the port the next day the leak was fixed. After the first leak they sent a complimentary bottle of wine, and after the second they gave us a complimentary dinner in the Italian specialty restaurant. I was not impressed and did ask for a new stateroom but none were available. The ship was dated and underwhelming as well. It shows its age and a lot of rust and leaks in public areas. I'm surprised there wasn't more of an effort on behalf of Princess to keep it in better shape as I know other lines paint the hull while in ports and make more of an effort on the interior as well. Despite the lackluster look, everything was clean. Several pools on the deck and lots of hot tubs on board. Plenty of lounge chairs on the deck as well. Seating in the main piazza (central atrium on decks 5/6/7 had hardly any seating though). Shopping on board was ok - they're big on Effy jewelry and try to sell it to you every chance they get! Duty free alcohol was well priced. Entertainment is very much geared towards an older clientele and also shows the lack of amenities on board as the staff are limited in what they can even do or offer. The production shows were mediocre and pale in comparison to the more Broadway-esque shows on other cruise lines. All the shows were also very short in length. The Voice of the Ocean is one of their highlights and allows the guests on the ship to compete. It's modeled after the TV show. Sadly there wasn't much talent among the guests on board, but this one has potential but is dependent on who's on board. The on board bands play in different venues around the ship but only for 30-45 minutes at a time and then silence (even up on the pool deck). The selection of music played is also dated - lots of 50s/60s/70s music from the bands and the DJ. Otherwise it's classical music in the piazza. Lots of trivia on board but the quality of it was lacking - the PowerPoint presentations for the trivia looked like they were made by a kid and not professional or sleek like I'd expect. Much of the other entertainment were seminars or classes that needed to be attended every day during the cruise (i.e. hula classes or ukelele classes). I think these offerings are spectacular but I did not want to commit to attending every day at the same time - I'm on vacation after all. My favorite thing on board was the movies under the stars each evening. On the pool deck they have a huge screen and show new releases; deck chairs are outfitted with plush cushions, pillows and blankets and popcorn is available! We had a few good meals on this ship, one great meal and then a lot of bland, overcooked food. Princess pushes hard for sharing tables with other cruise passengers. I'm not a fan of small talk so we always asked for a table for 2 and often had to wait for one in the main dining room whether it was for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The menus didn't provide much variety and they lacked in vegetarian options and even poultry. The food in the main dining room is not cooked to order. It's mass produced and kept warm under heat lamps. The wait staff really make it feel as if it's an inconvenience if you ask to alter the menu items at all. The speed of service is great though. No problem to have a three course dinner in under an hour. The Curtis Stone menu options in the main dining room did tend to be better than the other items. The Chocolate Journeys desserts were always fantastic. We did have some particularly bad food - I rarely send my food back but the scallops they served one night were inedible yet they were the top recommendation of the server and he tried to make excuses for them when we indicated they were overcooked and rubbery. The great meal was at Sabatinis Italian Restaurant - this one is not included with the cruise fare and is an additional $25 per person. They offer a 6 course traditional Italian menu. Well worth the extra money! The Crown Grill is the other specialty restaurant but we didn't try it as the menu was pretty much all beef and pork which I don't eat. The other good food we had was at their pub lunches - there were three of them (English, Hawaiian and Mexican) and they were all good! Room service is included and is available 24-7, the room service menu is varied and provides good options for a night in. The pizzeria on board is fantastic and they brag about how they have the best pizza at sea and I just may have to agree! The Trident Grill and Sundaes are up on deck next to the pizzeria and serve burgers, hot dogs, fries and ice cream. All good food and prepared for you right then and there. I tried the buffet one night - the food was bland, limited selection and also not hot enough for my liking. Plenty of bars on board, and a good variety of beverages - service at the bars was always great and never any lines. Plenty of staff floating about the ship both on deck and below to take your drink order as well. Drink prices were quite reasonable (we didn't add the drink package). The international cafe in the piazza offers nice sandwiches, salads and desserts as well as specialty coffee and tea. The internet connection on board was great, I was surprised at how fast it was. The laundromats are also a nice touch as most cruise lines have gotten rid of them. Now onto the formal nights. Princess takes them seriously. Lots of tuxedos and ball gowns and ballroom dancing in the piazza. Not quite my thing - we participated on two of the three formal nights but opted to skip the third and did burgers and a movie up on deck instead. The staff were all fantastic. Absolutely no complaints about any of the staff. They were always pleasant and greeted us as we walked about the ship. Our room steward did a great job keeping our room clean. The nightly chocolates on the pillow are a nice touch! The on board website/app is great. Better than those provided by some other lines. All the info on the daily activities is in there plus the ability to order room service breakfast, check your account etc. Sea sickness was a real thing on this itinerary. There were gale force winds on a couple of the sea days (think drawers flying open in your stateroom and things falling down). From what we heard, there were days when hundreds were confined to bed and unable to do much. Sea sickness is not a nice feeling. And given there's 9 sea days on this itinerary and out in the middle of the Pacific it's a real risk. I've saved the best for last. The highlight of the trip was the ports! We visited 4 islands - The Island of Hawaii, Oahu, Kauai and Maui and also Ensenada, Mexico. It was my first time to Hawaii and I fell in love with it! We rented a car on each island and did a little road trip each day. We didn't partake in any shore excursions so I can't comment on those but from talking to other guests, Princess cancelled several excursions in various ports and left people scrambling trying to arrange something else. I feel like I got to see the highlights on each island and thoroughly enjoyed my time.

Mediocre Cruise on a Dated Ship but worth it for Hawaii!

Star Princess Cruise Review by FCI_Holly

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2020
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Interior
I'll start with the embarkation process at the San Pedro port. Very quick, no lines and friendly staff! Overall very easy and straightforward. Only thing I noted was there was no health screening (I recall going through a health screening questionnaire on the last cruise I did) and given the coronavirus risk at the moment I'm surprised this didn't occur.

Once on board our cabin was ready for us. Our luggage showed up shortly thereafter.

We opted for an interior stateroom with twin beds. It was dated and underwhelming. The ship was built in 2002 and refurbished in 2017 but I feel they didn't do much with the refurbishment as the stateroom had dated finishes, colors, tiles etc. The beds were very comfortable with nice down duvets and pillows. Plenty of storage and a large closet with plenty of hangers. A 40" television with a great variety of movies and tv channels. Being an interior room it was tiny but the layout provided us privacy for getting ready each day and we never felt claustrophobic. Now for the bad stuff... We had a broken toilet, and two leaks in our stateroom throughout the two week period. The toilet was noticed by the steward and he had it fixed while we were out and about the ship during the day - so that wasn't so bad. The first leak was noticed by me around 9:30 pm on a sea day. Called it in right away, but it took almost two hours for them to send a plumber to fix it. It was over my bed. I had to specifically ask the steward for new bedding and a new pillow as it was wet. He had already felt the bedding at this point and was giving no indication he was going to change it. The second leak started around 10 pm on a port day. We were getting ready for bed when we noticed it. This one was in between the two beds. We called it in right away and waited. After an hour I called again and it was after midnight when a plumber showed up. At this point we put the trash can under the leak and were already in bed. He didn't ask if he could come in - he just walked past me when I opened the door and I had to tell him to come back tomorrow as we were sleeping. Luckily when we returned to the room after returning from the port the next day the leak was fixed. After the first leak they sent a complimentary bottle of wine, and after the second they gave us a complimentary dinner in the Italian specialty restaurant. I was not impressed and did ask for a new stateroom but none were available.

The ship was dated and underwhelming as well. It shows its age and a lot of rust and leaks in public areas. I'm surprised there wasn't more of an effort on behalf of Princess to keep it in better shape as I know other lines paint the hull while in ports and make more of an effort on the interior as well. Despite the lackluster look, everything was clean. Several pools on the deck and lots of hot tubs on board. Plenty of lounge chairs on the deck as well. Seating in the main piazza (central atrium on decks 5/6/7 had hardly any seating though). Shopping on board was ok - they're big on Effy jewelry and try to sell it to you every chance they get! Duty free alcohol was well priced.

Entertainment is very much geared towards an older clientele and also shows the lack of amenities on board as the staff are limited in what they can even do or offer. The production shows were mediocre and pale in comparison to the more Broadway-esque shows on other cruise lines. All the shows were also very short in length. The Voice of the Ocean is one of their highlights and allows the guests on the ship to compete. It's modeled after the TV show. Sadly there wasn't much talent among the guests on board, but this one has potential but is dependent on who's on board. The on board bands play in different venues around the ship but only for 30-45 minutes at a time and then silence (even up on the pool deck). The selection of music played is also dated - lots of 50s/60s/70s music from the bands and the DJ. Otherwise it's classical music in the piazza. Lots of trivia on board but the quality of it was lacking - the PowerPoint presentations for the trivia looked like they were made by a kid and not professional or sleek like I'd expect. Much of the other entertainment were seminars or classes that needed to be attended every day during the cruise (i.e. hula classes or ukelele classes). I think these offerings are spectacular but I did not want to commit to attending every day at the same time - I'm on vacation after all. My favorite thing on board was the movies under the stars each evening. On the pool deck they have a huge screen and show new releases; deck chairs are outfitted with plush cushions, pillows and blankets and popcorn is available!

We had a few good meals on this ship, one great meal and then a lot of bland, overcooked food. Princess pushes hard for sharing tables with other cruise passengers. I'm not a fan of small talk so we always asked for a table for 2 and often had to wait for one in the main dining room whether it was for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The menus didn't provide much variety and they lacked in vegetarian options and even poultry. The food in the main dining room is not cooked to order. It's mass produced and kept warm under heat lamps. The wait staff really make it feel as if it's an inconvenience if you ask to alter the menu items at all. The speed of service is great though. No problem to have a three course dinner in under an hour. The Curtis Stone menu options in the main dining room did tend to be better than the other items. The Chocolate Journeys desserts were always fantastic. We did have some particularly bad food - I rarely send my food back but the scallops they served one night were inedible yet they were the top recommendation of the server and he tried to make excuses for them when we indicated they were overcooked and rubbery. The great meal was at Sabatinis Italian Restaurant - this one is not included with the cruise fare and is an additional $25 per person. They offer a 6 course traditional Italian menu. Well worth the extra money! The Crown Grill is the other specialty restaurant but we didn't try it as the menu was pretty much all beef and pork which I don't eat. The other good food we had was at their pub lunches - there were three of them (English, Hawaiian and Mexican) and they were all good! Room service is included and is available 24-7, the room service menu is varied and provides good options for a night in. The pizzeria on board is fantastic and they brag about how they have the best pizza at sea and I just may have to agree! The Trident Grill and Sundaes are up on deck next to the pizzeria and serve burgers, hot dogs, fries and ice cream. All good food and prepared for you right then and there. I tried the buffet one night - the food was bland, limited selection and also not hot enough for my liking. Plenty of bars on board, and a good variety of beverages - service at the bars was always great and never any lines. Plenty of staff floating about the ship both on deck and below to take your drink order as well. Drink prices were quite reasonable (we didn't add the drink package). The international cafe in the piazza offers nice sandwiches, salads and desserts as well as specialty coffee and tea.

The internet connection on board was great, I was surprised at how fast it was. The laundromats are also a nice touch as most cruise lines have gotten rid of them.

Now onto the formal nights. Princess takes them seriously. Lots of tuxedos and ball gowns and ballroom dancing in the piazza. Not quite my thing - we participated on two of the three formal nights but opted to skip the third and did burgers and a movie up on deck instead.

The staff were all fantastic. Absolutely no complaints about any of the staff. They were always pleasant and greeted us as we walked about the ship. Our room steward did a great job keeping our room clean. The nightly chocolates on the pillow are a nice touch!

The on board website/app is great. Better than those provided by some other lines. All the info on the daily activities is in there plus the ability to order room service breakfast, check your account etc.

Sea sickness was a real thing on this itinerary. There were gale force winds on a couple of the sea days (think drawers flying open in your stateroom and things falling down). From what we heard, there were days when hundreds were confined to bed and unable to do much. Sea sickness is not a nice feeling. And given there's 9 sea days on this itinerary and out in the middle of the Pacific it's a real risk.

I've saved the best for last. The highlight of the trip was the ports! We visited 4 islands - The Island of Hawaii, Oahu, Kauai and Maui and also Ensenada, Mexico. It was my first time to Hawaii and I fell in love with it! We rented a car on each island and did a little road trip each day. We didn't partake in any shore excursions so I can't comment on those but from talking to other guests, Princess cancelled several excursions in various ports and left people scrambling trying to arrange something else. I feel like I got to see the highlights on each island and thoroughly enjoyed my time.
FCI_Holly’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin IF
We opted for an interior stateroom with twin beds. It was dated and underwhelming. The ship was built in 2002 and refurbished in 2017 but I feel they didn't do much with the refurbishment as the stateroom had dated finishes, colors, tiles etc. The beds were very comfortable with nice down duvets and pillows. Plenty of storage and a large closet with plenty of hangers. A 40" television with a great variety of movies and tv channels. Being an interior room it was tiny but the layout provided us privacy for getting ready each day and we never felt claustrophobic. Now for the bad stuff... We had a broken toilet, and two leaks in our stateroom throughout the two week period. The toilet was noticed by the steward and he had it fixed while we were out and about the ship during the day - so that wasn't so bad. The first leak was noticed by me around 9:30 pm on a sea day. Called it in right away, but it took almost two hours for them to send a plumber to fix it. It was over my bed. I had to specifically ask the steward for new bedding and a new pillow as it was wet. He had already felt the bedding at this point and was giving no indication he was going to change it. The second leak started around 10 pm on a port day. We were getting ready for bed when we noticed it. This one was in between the two beds. We called it in right away and waited. After an hour I called again and it was after midnight when a plumber showed up. At this point we put the trash can under the leak and were already in bed. He didn't ask if he could come in - he just walked past me when I opened the door and I had to tell him to come back tomorrow as we were sleeping. Luckily when we returned to the room after returning from the port the next day the leak was fixed. After the first leak they sent a complimentary bottle of wine, and after the second they gave us a complimentary dinner in the Italian specialty restaurant. I was not impressed and did ask for a new stateroom but none were available.
Lido Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins