Star Princess Cruise Review by Cruzin-K
- Sail Date: August 2011
- Destination: Eastern Mediterranean
We stayed in Venice for two nights pre-cruise and with a 48 hour Vaporetto pass managed to see quite a bit. The overnight on the ship gave us that third day to finish exploring and even though we didn't depart until 2pm, we opted to not go ashore that last morning and just relax on board.
Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the port quite early but that allowed us to be in group #5 to board and once they called our number we were on the ship in just a few minutes time.
We found our cabin, an AC mini-suite almost at the very back of the ship. Our cabin steward was friendly and helpful and got us egg-crate mattress toppers and robes when requested. The first night on the mattress I though I was sleeping in one of those stone beds in Pompeii, but the mattress topper worked wonders and I slept very well the rest of the cruise. The mini-suite was nice and roomy, and it was a nice change to have a tub size shower instead of those tiny little showers in my usual outside cabin.
The food was so-so, but I don't expect gourmet food on a mass-market cruise line with well over 2,000 people to feed at each meal. We never made it to any of the specialty restaurants, although we did go to the afternoon tea (fabulous) and the pub lunch (blah). Service in the dining room was MUCH better when we had a table for two than when we opted to share.
We didn't see too many of the shows, but my Mom seemed to enjoy the ship's singers and dancers. The one show we saw that I didn't like at all, my Mom loved - must be a generational thing :)
All the ports were absolutely fabulous. We did some on our own (Athens, Rhodes, Dubrovnik) and did ship's tours at the rest. The only "bad" day was in Santorini when we were there with eight other ships. It was awful, in fact this was the only tour ever where I have complained and received a partial refund. Unless you are in Santorini with only one or two other ships, do not get off the ship. The port itself was beautiful, but I have never witnessed crowds like that anywhere before.
Passengers services could have been better. We dealt with lukewarm water for almost two days. It took multiple phone calls and visits to passenger services before it got fixed, and even then we endured a maintenance guy in our cabin for several hours changing out the thermostat in the shower.
I loved having self-service laundry on board, and our cabin was just steps away from it. Very nice and convenient.
Disembarkation in Civitavecchia could not have been easier. We were scheduled to leave the ship (according to our luggage tag color) at 7:45. We could have left earlier, but weren't quite ready. So at 7:45 we left the ship, found our luggage, our driver and were on our way to Rome by about 8:00. We had arranged to share a private cab (Rome Cabs) with two people we met through our CC roll call. It worked perfectly and I highly recommend this option for getting into Rome. We paid 75 Euros per couple (150 total) and got dropped off right at our hotel door. We happened to be staying at one of the Princess hotels but it was pure coincidence. We arrived well before the bus load of Princess post-cruise passengers.
We did laundry several times on the cruise. Our cabin (D726) was just steps away from the laundry room. We only had to wait for a machine once and it was nice to have been able to pack less.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Athens (Piraeus)Based on advice on CC, we decided to do this port on our own. Things didn't work exactly as planned and that turned out to be a good thing. We had planned to take the Metro into Athens, but due to maintenance the line to Piraeus was closed. Instead we took a taxi into town. The fare would have been 20 Euros to the Acropolis but our taxi driver talked us into letting him take us on a tour. We spent about four and a half hours with him and it cost us 100 Euros total. He took us to the Acropolis first; we were there before it opened, were almost first to the top and got to see the Parthenon without a crowd. By the time we were leaving, the ship's tours were there and we were happy to be on our way down instead of up.View All 1,107 Athens (Piraeus) Cruise Port Reviews
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CorfuWe did a tour with the ship and visited a church and had a tour of the old town. It was a decent tour, but naturally the sites were all crowded. Once again, we were back on the ship by lunch time.View All 547 Corfu Cruise Port Reviews
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DubrovnikOur first port was Dubrovnik. Mom and I opted to just explore on our own and didn't take a ship's tour. We docked a few miles from the old town and took the Princess shuttle bus ($15 or 10 Euro round trip). We were off the ship early, so we were one of the early birds on the walls. We walked half way round, and then wandered back through the old town. We found our way to the cable car and went to the top of a hill to get fabulous views of the old town and the ships in the bay. We were back on the ship by lunch time. I'm glad we got into town early, because I heard the crowds later on were awful. There were a lot of ships in port with us that day.View All 1,013 Dubrovnik Cruise Port Reviews
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Katakolon (Olympia)The next stop was Katakalon where we took a tour to Olympia. This was an excellent tour, plenty of people there, but lots of room to spread out so it didn't feel as crowded. It was hot though, about 104 degrees that day.View All 474 Katakolon (Olympia) Cruise Port Reviews
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KusadasiIn Kusadasi we took the ship's tour to Ephesus, with the Terrace Houses. It was really crowded, but still it was an interesting tour. At the end we had to sit through a silly carpet making demonstration back in Kusadasi, but we left there as soon as we could, did a little shopping and headed back to the ship.View All 616 Kusadasi Cruise Port Reviews
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MykonosMykonos was my favorite port by far. We took a ship's tour to Delos and after a rather rockin' & rollin' ferry ride we arrived on the island. There were some interesting ruins and it was worth a visit, but the best part of the day was just wandering around the town on Mykonos. After the tour was over, the ferry brought us back to the ship, we ate lunch and then headed out to explore. I just loved the white buildings, the waterfront, all of it. I'd go back in a heartbeat and spend a few days there.View All 893 Mykonos Cruise Port Reviews
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RhodesWe explored Rhodes on our own, were in town before most of the shops opened, and after a little shopping and exploring we were back on the ship by lunch time.View All 418 Rhodes Cruise Port Reviews
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SantoriniSantorini -- Ugh. There were eight ships in port -- way too many. We did a ship's tour to Oia, Fira, a winery, and a church. It was a disaster. Our first stop was to the highest point on the island to see the views, very nice. Next stop was the church which was interesting and in a pretty setting but we were crammed into the building like sardines and there was a rather angry gentleman working there who yelled (yes, yelled loudly) at our tour guide every time someone took a flash photo. You'd think that passengers would know better and I think they probably deserved to get yelled at, but still it was a bit off-putting when I wasn't taking flash photos, but still got an earful of the angry tirade. Next we headed to the other end of the island to Oia where we had an hour to look around. I got some fabulous photos here, but it was really too crowded to do much else. Traffic was awful getting to and from Oia. After this, we drove back through Fira to the winery and our lunch location. By this time it was after 3pm, we were starving, hot, and grumpy. Finally we were taken back to Fira where we should have had 40 minutes to explore but instead had to hustle back to the cable car, wait in an hour long line with people from Celebrity and Aida cruises, and caught the very last tender to the ship. The last tender should have left Santorini at 5:30, but ours left at 6pm thanks to the cable car line, and poorly organized tour that got us back to Fira too late.View All 862 Santorini Cruise Port Reviews
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