Star Princess, Eastern Med and Greek Isles: Star Princess Cruise Review by thmom

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Star Princess, Eastern Med and Greek Isles

Sail Date: June 2011
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)
We were on the Star Princess Eastern Med, Greek Isles cruise from June 23-July 5, 2011. I was traveling with my teenager and tween, and another friend and her daughter. The route was from Civitavecchia near Rome to Venice. 12 day itinerary with 11 days in port, one day at sea.

Summary: We loved the cruise, and it was especially fun for the kids. We found this to be a great way to travel with kids and see many ports without a lot of stress. The staff of the ship were always courteous. Although it's a large ship-I believe we had 2,700 passengers on our cruise-it doesn't feel overly crowded. Food was pretty good and the kids enjoyed the availability of the buffet and snack bars. The itinerary was fantastic. The ship was beautiful and fun to explore. All in all a very positive experience.

Pros: Mini-suite was perfect for our family, ship's design makes it feel less crowded, kids programs were wonderful. Staff was amazing and friendly. Also wanted to note the private More guided tours we loved so much: Unforgettable Tuscany for Florence/Pisa (, Pleasant Travel in Naples (, and Spiros Tours in Athens (

Cons: Felt like I was being nickel and dimed for things which should be included in price of cruise like: sodas, coffee, some of the transfers to shore etc.

In Rome we stayed in the mini-apartment suite at Albergo del Senato right next to the Pantheon. Loved this hotel and our room. Embarkation was a breeze, but we arrived later than most people, about 3:30 to 4:00pm.Our transfers were through Limo in Rome and they did a great job. We also took a tour with Limo in Rome and it was very good except for the ac was broken in our car. After getting settled in the room we went to explore the ship and get some food at the Horizon Court buffet. We checked out the swimming pools and giant movie screen then got the kids checked in to the kids programs. The cruise was delayed 6 hours while waiting for a plane that was delayed getting into Rome. We arrived late at our 1st port, but after that it was pretty much on time.

The mini-suite: We had a mini suite for myself and 2 kids. It was roomy with just enough separation between the sleeping area and the sitting area. My son had a pull down bunk above the sofa, my daughter stayed in the bed w/ me. Great deck outside with a table and 2 chairs. Bathroom had a bath and shower. There was a mini fridge, a desk area and closet space enough for my daughter and I. My son lived out of his suitcase. Our room steward was wonderful, Alberto from the Philippines. We were on Dolphin deck rm. 702.

The ship: The design of the ship is great, loved the atrium with all the shops and cafe around it. There are so many discreet spaces to find privacy or for gatherings of smaller groups that it really didn't feel crowded most of the time. There was even a pool at the back of the ship for adults only that was less crowded than the 2 pools for families. The kids programs were right above the buffet and this was a great idea.

The food: The food was a step up from our previous experience with Disney cruises food, but was not an amazing experience like I was expecting. We did eat at the Steakhouse 1 night and it was very good, but I'm not sure if it was worth the extra cost. (we had coupons so we went for free) I noticed that the specialty restaurants were never crowded. We ate frequently at the buffet and several times in the dining rooms. We had anytime dining and found that we never had to wait, if we were willing to sit with people we didn't know. We met some great people this way. Service in the dining rooms was very good. The buffet gets a bit repetitive but we still liked it for the convenience.

Kids programs: My daughter and her friend were just old enough to check themselves in and out of the kids club, but only when the ship was at sea. This made it more of a choice on their part so it didn't feel like babysitting and they loved that. My daughter always wanted to go to the kids programs, her friend was not so inclined. Her friend could go with her up to the kids area and then check herself out when she got bored. My son loved the teen lounge and he was there all the time he was allowed to be. The kids made friends from all over the U.S. and from all over the world. The itinerary & excursions: This is the reason we booked the cruise-the itinerary was perfect for our family. Ports were: Civitavecchia, Monte Carlo, Florence & Pisa (Livorno), Naples, at sea, Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, Olympia (Katakolon), Corfu, Split and overnight in Venice. We did a combination of private tours and ships excursions. I would have to say that we enjoyed the private tours the most.

Florence/Pisa-We had a private tour with Unforgettable Tuscany and the owner/driver was Paolo. This was a wonderful way to see the countryside and tour the sights with the least amount of hassle. All of our tickets were reserved in advance so we by passed the 2-3 hour lines at the Uffizi and Accademia. We stopped briefly in Pisa and then stopped on the way to Florence at a castle. The owner of the castle is a friend of Paolo's. We did a quick tour of the castle and then stopped at Piazzele Michelangelo overlooking Florence. After lunch we went to the church square, then to the Accademia and then to the Uffizi. Made it back to the ship in plenty of time.

Mykonos-shore excursion to Platis Yialos beach. Loved the beach, had 3 hours to enjoy ourselves here. After the shore excursion the kids stayed on the boat while my friend and I walked around Mykonos Town. Mykonos Town is very picturesque and fun to explore-lots of winding alleyways.

Katakolon-I went into town to shop, the rest of my party stayed on the ship and took a day off.

We debarked the boat at 2 p.m. and got on a bus which took us to the airport. The airport was on strike so we were actually lucky our plane took off at all. We flew to Barcelona, Spain and stayed there for a week and then flew home. We all enjoyed the Princess Cruise very much and the kids can't wait to take another one. Less

Published 10/06/11
Helpful? Thank thmom

Cabin review: ACD702

The mini-suite: We had a mini suite for myself and 2 kids. It was roomy with just enough separation between the sleeping area and the sitting area. My son had a pull down bunk above the sofa, my daughter stayed in the bed w/ me. Great deck outside with a table and 2 chairs. Bathroom had a bath and shower. There was a mini fridge, a desk area and closet space enough for my daughter and I. My son lived out of his suitcase. Our room steward was wonderful, Alberto from the Philippines. We were on Dolphin deck rm. 702.

Port and Shore Excursions

Athens-Private tour w/ Petros of Spiros Tours. We arrived here the day after some intense rioting. It was very crowded because other cruise ships that diverted because of the riots were back in port, now that the riots were over. It was touch and go as to whether we would stop here at all. Petros made sure we only viewed sites which were safe from potential riots. There were hundreds of police by the side of the road, waiting to see if they would be called on to stop rioters. Most of the government buildings were closed off because of the riots. We went to the Acropolis which was packed with people and then the new archaeological museum which was an excellent museum. We went to the Temple of Zeus, Lycabettus Hill for a view of the whole city. Then we went to a local restaurant for lunch-no tourists there only locals. The other diners at the end of their lunch got up and spontaneously started dancing. They graciously invited us to join them which we did. It was one of those magical moments. I heard from someone who went on the Princess shore excursion that they went to the Plaka and got a snoot full of tear gas. We were very happy to have a private tour guide.

Corfu-shore excursion to the Dassia Resort on the beach. We spent another lazy day at the beach. The kids went up parasailing-all 3 at once. They loved that. My friend and the kids went back to the ship. I got a taxi and went to my favorite beach on Corfu-Paleokastritsa on the far side of the island. The beach here is a series of coves with pebble beaches and the most incredible blue, turquoise and aqua water. There is a monastery next to the coves. I have been to Corfu twice before and love this island.

Read 510 Corfu Reviews

Monte Carlo-we arrived late because of the delay in leaving Rome. We had a shore excursion to Eze and a perfumery in France. Because of the delayed arrival all of the shore excursions had to meet in the Princess Theater at the same time and it was overcrowded and hectic. We ended up waiting an hour and a half to get off the boat. The whole system was messed up because we arrived late; usually the different shore excursions meet in different areas of the ship at staggered times and it runs smoothly. This day was the exception to that. The tour was in a tour bus, up to the top of a hill with great views. We visited the perfume factory 1st, got a quick tour and then into the gift shop. Then we walked up through the medieval walled city of Eze to the gardens at the top of the city. Amazing views. Then we were on our own to eat lunch or shop for 2 hours. Back at the dock, I decided to go explore Monte Carlo while my friend took the kids back to the ship. Checked out the yachts and the Ferrari's etc.

Naples-Private tour w/ Mariano of Pleasant Travel tour of the Amalfi Coast. We stopped at a cheese factory briefly and had a snack. Went up the winding roads to the Amalfi coast. Stopped at the Emerald Grotto-similar to the Blue Grotto but less well known. Then we went to Positano which is a beautiful town set in the hills next to the sea. We walked around Positano, Then for the highlight of the tour we went to Mariano's family farm near Sorrento to eat lunch. The food was amazing, home cooked Italian food and then their homemade Limoncello liqueur. It was great to see how his family lives and how everybody pitches in to keep the farm running. After lunch we stopped briefly in Sorrento and then back to Naples to see Herculaneum. Herculaneum is smaller than Pompeii and better preserved. We made it back to the boat, but there were about 20 people who got stuck in traffic and missed the boat that day.

Read 1173 Naples Reviews

Santorini-we toured by ourselves. Took the cable car up to the top where the town is, and took a taxi to the beach. At the beach we swam and ate lunch at a little beacside family restaurant. Many of the beaches we went to in Greece charge you for a chair and umbrella but will put that money toward your bill if you eat at their restaurant. We did a little shopping on our way back to the boat. The town (Fira) is incredibly picturesque. Would have liked more time here.

Split, Croatia-we just toured around by ourselves. Walked on the promenade, went to the castle, found an outdoor market. Beautiful little town on the Adriatic. This was my son's favorite port. Split is not using the Euro, so you have to change money here or use a credit card for everything. Prices were cheap at the open air market.

Read 295 Split Reviews

Venice-shore excursion to Murano, church of San Giorgio and gondola ride. At Murano you go into 1 of the glass foundries and watch a glass-making demo. Then they take you up to the "gallery" which is where they sell the more expensive pieces of glass. There is also a showroom downstairs for the more affordable sales. The demo was great to watch and some of the glass in the gallery was truly amazing. Then we toured the Church of San Giorgio which is right across the grand canal from St. Mark's Square. The church was beautiful and it was a good tour. Then the gondola ride. We again by passed huge lines because we were on a tour. The gondola ride was fun and great to see Venice from the water. After the gondola we chose to stay in Venice and eat lunch. After lunch we went and bought masks for the kids and adults. The mask shop , Ca del Sol, was incredible with hundreds of masks on display on the walls. We went back to the boat, got kids settled in at the kids area and my friend and I went back out shopping. The next day our group didn't debark until 2 p.m., which gave us time to go back into Venice and explore some more. My daughter and I loved Venice, and enjoyed walking by the canals.
Read 1151 Venice Reviews

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