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4,931 Hawaii Cruise Reviews

Our very first Princess cruise was 19-night Panama Canal cruise on 3/18/19, and we fell in love with Princess and didn't want to disembark. My husband always wanted to cruise to Hawaii, so we were excited when my cousins wanted the ... Read More
Our very first Princess cruise was 19-night Panama Canal cruise on 3/18/19, and we fell in love with Princess and didn't want to disembark. My husband always wanted to cruise to Hawaii, so we were excited when my cousins wanted the 1/27/20 15-night Grand Princess to Hawaii from San Francisco! Captain JP Bryant is incredibly funny, caring, lighthearted, very personable; his communications were loud, clear, understandable and without an accent! He is a great leader! 1/27/20 Grand Princess cruise activities by the Assistant Cruise Directors Guido, Olivia, Miranda, Mina, Natalie, and Saskia were so fun and hilarious: sail away party dancing, 2 Paper Plane Challenge contests, coloring cards, Discovery at Sea, fresh orchid lei making, Group Renewal of Vows and the certificates delivered to our room; Hawaiian language, Hawaiian Paper Rope artwork, the High Seas Heist Game, Is That Your Final Answer Game, Hula Dancing, line dancing, Majority Rules Gameshow, Marriage Match Gameshow, Mexican face painting, Name that Tune with Rock Hits, Painting in 90 seconds, Princess Pop Choir, ribbon lei making, trivia, True or Moo Game, Valentine card making, and the Yes No Game! Alex Belyy- the Grand Princess House Musician did a super job as he filled in as the Ukulele instructor. I thoroughly enjoyed Musician AJ Clark, Blues Brother Tribute Band; Brian the Hawaiian Ambassador with his beautiful voice and taught us Ukulele lessons; Comedian Impressionist Mike Wilson; Comedian Michael/Miguel Washington; Culinary Show; DJ JaXx playing songs from ABBA and the 70's; the Grand Princess Crew Talent Show; Instrumentalist Doug Cameron; the Love Boat Disco Deck Party; Magician Handsome Jack's variety act; the Martini demonstration by the bar tenders; Naturalist Mark Harris' Bears Everywhere; Production Show British Invasion & Stardust; Vocalist Phillip Brone; the Supersonics band; Leo the Photographer gave an educational photography presentation with very clear words at a nice-and-slow pace so I could understand all his words the first time he said them. My Grand Princess cabin steward Romeo was awesome and always provided what I needed right away. Our clothes were washed and pressed perfectly! My husband and I loved the Grand Princess buffet (especially the Mongolian Stir Fry Station with custom-ordered Asian meal that I became accustomed to from our Panama Canal cruise), the main dining room food, the Salty Dog Grill burgers and fries, and the International Cafe sandwiches, cookies, and salad. Alfredo's Pizzeria was incredible! I usually don't care for pizza but I ate 2 whole pizzas (custom made to my liking) to myself! For the first time in our 9 cruises we've taken in our life time, we played ping pong, and swam in the pool with big waves on the Grand Princess! For the first time I did Tai Chi for many of the mornings. We loved our 2 Grand Princess shore excursions: ITO205 Akaka Falls, and snorkeling in Molokini in which we saw a lot of whales close up and got to swim with turtles! We never feel 15 nights or 19 nights is too long on Princess! We love you Princess and we will cruise you again and again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Chose this because dates lined up perfectly with kids school break. Also a desire to go to Hawaii. It was made much more difficult due to a sick passenger, and returning to Honolulu 2 days after leaving. Add to that very high seas/winds ... Read More
Chose this because dates lined up perfectly with kids school break. Also a desire to go to Hawaii. It was made much more difficult due to a sick passenger, and returning to Honolulu 2 days after leaving. Add to that very high seas/winds and big storms making it difficult to enjoy the ship. Cruise did not stop in mexico as planned, and still returned far later than planned. Absolutely unacceptable to have 2 out of 6 elevators out of service all 15 days and no way to take the stairs from Emerald Deck (8). Service was good. Steward was excellent. Food was ok. Maitre'd best ever resulting in great dinner service. Only 20 kids in all classes of kids clubs so they met together. Kids loved their experience. Very pleased how Princess got us all home after we missed our return flights due to needing to leave a day later. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I understand - - many things are "out of control" when one engages a large cruise. experience On this one for example, a passenger fell sick, the ship aborted a"port of call," and our disembarkment was delayed by ... Read More
I understand - - many things are "out of control" when one engages a large cruise. experience On this one for example, a passenger fell sick, the ship aborted a"port of call," and our disembarkment was delayed by over nine hours. This meant, of course, that over three thousand people missed their planes, hotels and other vacation plans. The staff - mostly Filipinos, Ukrainians and Russians - worked so hard to make this difficult time easier. However, the company offered us nothing. The experience was ripe for customer service; a coupon for a future cruise, an afternoon of "free beverages" - - heck, even a trinket or a gift of sorts would have been appreciated. Instead - and for some odd reason, the company decided to shut down the pools and ban us from some decks. Throughout this entire experience, we weren't offered so much as a complimentary glass of wine. The company gave us "free internet" - and waived our phone charges or one day. This, I guess, was done to make it easier for us to find flights home. It was a nice gesture, but not enough considering the severe inconvenience. Another terrible story - - I fell during an excursion, and tried to secure an "ice pack" for my swollen leg. No one would comply. The medical staff told me to call the kitchen. Room service sent me to the front desk. In the end, I had to put together my own ice bag. . using a plastic bag from the front desk, a bucket of ice (for which I was charged!) for the ice. I kid you not. Nope. Not a good experience. Hard working, desperate and eager staff. Sad, to see them trying so hard - - working or a multi-billion dollar corporation without a soul. Never, never get my business - ever again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We call this the "get out of the snow and cold" trip and did the same cruise.last winter with the same friends. This was a weird one but we enjoyed it greatly. After leaving Hawaii a passenger became critically ill. We doubled ... Read More
We call this the "get out of the snow and cold" trip and did the same cruise.last winter with the same friends. This was a weird one but we enjoyed it greatly. After leaving Hawaii a passenger became critically ill. We doubled back toward Hilo with the thought they could do an emergency evacuation by helicopter. It was determined the patient couldn't tolerate that so we sailed all the way back to Honolulu. This was ABSOLUTELY the correct decision by Capt. JP and Princess. But this put us WAY behind schedule. Princess had to get permission from the US Govt. to not make the stop at Ensenada (Jones Act). Then we hit an extended stretch of rough seas which slowed us down and the ship arrived about nine hours late to SF. We got three separate disembarkation plans as the situation developed. I can't praise the Captain enough. Since we had never left the U.S. (this never happens with ships of a foreign registry as most cruise ships are) we did not have to go through Customs which sped things up getting off the ship. At this point my praise for Princess Ez-Air. Since we booked out flights through Ez-Air we were automatically re-booked, put up at the Hilton Union Square in SF, and given meal allowances all paid for by Princess. Granted the registration at the hotel was a bit chaotic since the hotel had short notice of the arrival of a lot of guests. Princess had a couple people on hand to explain things. Luggage was delivered to our room and then picked up again a few hours later since we had transport to the airport for a VERY early flight out (again paid for by Princess). I know there will be those who'll find fault with this and that. Some people aren't happy unless they're complaining. But I thought overall Princess did an excellent job with this issue. I will have been booking air travel through Princess for quite some time now and after seeing how they handled this will absolutely continue to do so. Kudos to Princess Cruises! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Any time dining was a bit of a hassle if you didn't get to the room in the opening we begrudgingly took a seat in the traditional dining room as they had seats there for us. it was louder and much less of a fun time as it felt like I ... Read More
Any time dining was a bit of a hassle if you didn't get to the room in the opening we begrudgingly took a seat in the traditional dining room as they had seats there for us. it was louder and much less of a fun time as it felt like I had to yell across the table but the food was good even if I didnt like what I ordered and we ordered a lot, we enjoyed that we could experiment and if we didnt like we would find something we did at the MDR or the salty dog or slive or alferdo's or the buffet. FOOD WAS NOT LACKING. the coffee and cones attendants knew me by face lets just say it like that. The princess theatre shows wee well done. 1st - British invasion - Wife loved it, I am not a fan of the music from the invasion so I was bias going in but the dancing and set and production were great. 2nd - I forget the name but it was all about the songs from like doris day nat king cole etc. it was ok... the songs were a bit drab Wife enjoyed it but didnt know most of the songs 3rd. - Born to dance - This was amazing I loved this show as did the wife. They were amazing dancers sets and with the boat a rockin as it was the talent was on display. Voice of the ocean finale was fun... great way to pass the time morning trivia was out of my depth. Afternoon trivia I only scored well at once and Im a decent trivia player Miguel Washington the comedian let me say was a funny guy, as we were the only brave enough to say we were newlyweds he didnt hit us too hard. but he had flow and some funny jokes a few were nice to see he was not afraid of the PC CULTURE police out there. Would recommend if hes on your ship to see. Movies under the stars was more our thing though. a few good ones a few get up and leave from cant complain about anything but their popcorn its crunchy and just bland but since you get it at coffee and cones you just snag a free cone if you dont like popcorn like I did. and a second if your wife wants more popcorn. Hilo - We did the Hilo Highlights princess excursion for being on a cruise for the first time It was the best option my wife fell in love with hilo its a return spot. Honolulu - We had a Luau with the ships excurtion so in the day we got off (we love chinatowns) went to some parts of honolulus it was only a 12 minute walk from the ship saw the city hall the federal court house (my wife is in the law profession so I surprised her) mind you this is all within a 10 minute if not less for walking from the pier (DW walks slower than I) On the second time in hawaii (medical evac) we walked the 5 mins to a wal mart to gear up for personal things and snacks and games Nawiliwili - We (my wife mostly) wanted to go to Kalapaki beach - tip get there early or all the shade will be taken but the other pax and the hotel guests that are right there other wise its a awesome beach and being from california beaches have different levels this one is nice theres a strip of grass there so you dont have to sit in sand if you dont wish to.. the surf was a tad small for that day I would assume but with the breaks out there I cant imagine it being too much bigger there were surfers fishing swimming boogie boarding sand castles and fun to be had also theres a bunch of bars and resturants around the beach a great snow cone place thats the size of your head yes its that big. Lahaina - Oh what to say about the tender port. Tendering is fun if the hatches are open if now it was humid and hot I live in a city where the summers are 100 F plus and I sweat less that the first tender ride. but once on the island I cooled down if you walk like we did its shop aftyer shop they have outlets about 20 mins walking from the ship. we went one direction from the ship and by mid day My wallet and I were tired of shopping. plenty of things to be had. My wife Loved all things pineapple so the Maui Pineapple Store is a great stop they have pineapple foods and nic nacs to buy. Tip for shoping all ABC stores are the same so if you find something at one you will find it at the rest. trust me I was in about 5 of them. also in honolulus china town they carry a lot of the same things as the shops but for cheaper a lot cheaper. those hair flower clips are a buck in china town and 3 dollars out side the only difference on is a plastic clip and one is metal. or just the color of the metal. so if you want smaller things CHINATOWN in honolulu is the place to get them also if you like duck and pork belly they have stands there you can get it cooked. wish I would have known I would have skipped breakfast and nom'd on some Pork belly and duck. Embarkation - SF pier 27 Was a breeze we got to the port early dropped pur bags off at the porters then found I forgot my passport and wallet luckily my in laws to who we parked our car at was only a 40 min drive eachway (1 hour and 30 mins round trip back) and we were checking in at 1226 pst and on the gang way ramp by 1245 (yeah it was crowded but the lines went really really fast expect for the people that kept dropping their bags from having to show the crew their alcohol they rushed and didnt close their bags and wine bottles were dropping and lucky none broke my wisdom slow down) we were at alfredos and done eating and the rooms were ready at 1 pm pst so we had a smooth embarkation.. Debarkation - Well it went fast the group were were in was let off 15 mins ahead of the sheets time. I would go again this is a great cruise for groups 15 days is a lot but hawaii is worth it we unplugged from the wedding and all the stress from planning etc for the past year had tons of fun laughs with the crew and fellow passengers who we would run in to all the time *we also had a medical evacuation on this cruise forcing us to miss Ensenada port, I didnt factor that in to the review as it is not a normal thing and yes it caused us in the long run to be 7 hours late overall which isnt princess' fault nor the ships fault. so I will not fault them for saving a life over my vacation to ensenada which I believe is fair* Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary. The four islands we visited were all beautiful! When asked to pick a favorite, it was very difficult to choose. The ship, on the other hand, is the worst I've ever been on. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary. The four islands we visited were all beautiful! When asked to pick a favorite, it was very difficult to choose. The ship, on the other hand, is the worst I've ever been on. The ambiance, food, and crew were all sub-par. The food left a bitter taste in my mouth ... pun intended. I could literally find better Main Dining Room food in the frozen food section of the local market. The crew is 75% American because it's a US flagged ship. I live in the USA and 80% of the crew could use a course in customer service from McDonalds ... it would be an improvement. Our group nicknamed them the Walking Dead. However, the foreign crew were fantastic. Unfortunately, we had American MDR waiters ... it was a very painful and long process. Our cabin steward (from the Dominican) was absolutely great. We had Balcony Cabin 9550 and it was very small. We've sailed NCL in the past and this is the smallest cabin we've seen. There was adequate space under the bed for suitcase storage. The balcony was small also. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
What’s good; itinerary, no days at sea so maximised sight-seeing. Cleanliness, stateroom staff, Didn’t need internet package as got access to 4g most of the time, even when just off shore. Efficiency of check in and disembarkation, ... Read More
What’s good; itinerary, no days at sea so maximised sight-seeing. Cleanliness, stateroom staff, Didn’t need internet package as got access to 4g most of the time, even when just off shore. Efficiency of check in and disembarkation, daily organisation of shore excursions. Some great shore excursions Not so good; food and restaurant/bar service was average. Too many staff weren’t very interested in making the service personable. Drinks package was expensive. You’d need 6 or 7 drinks per day to make it worthwhile. The buffet had to resort to counter service in the last 2 days due to the concern over the coronavirus. Probably a ship’s worst nightmare to organise, but the staff really didn’t help the situation. They were clearly put out by the whole situation and were less than friendly whilst serving food and drinks The guy running the fitness centre was also disinterested. Found this strange as it’s his only job! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This is an older boat with an update a few years ago. The staff in general is not up to the quality of service we have seen on the 6 ships we have used in the Carribean. The food in the specialty dinning was good, but the buffet and ... Read More
This is an older boat with an update a few years ago. The staff in general is not up to the quality of service we have seen on the 6 ships we have used in the Carribean. The food in the specialty dinning was good, but the buffet and other restaurants were sub-par. We had a lot of minor problems like the toilet wouldn't flush, the patio door wouldn't open. The stop at the big island they canceled because they were afraid the winds were going to build and the tenders would have trouble getting into shore. (it was calm and beautiful all day). if you are just looking for acceptable transportation between the islands it is a good source. I will say that their comedian (vince something) was outstanding. One of the best shows I have seen on a cruise ship. We used four excursions with NCL and three we booked directly (not through NCL) . I would say booking direct saves money and if you look at the reviews you can probably find better excursions. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise for the length (15 Days) and the destination (Hawaii). Boarding the ship in San Diego was extremely organized, once you got through security. The security line was pretty much a free-for-all. I read reviews about ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the length (15 Days) and the destination (Hawaii). Boarding the ship in San Diego was extremely organized, once you got through security. The security line was pretty much a free-for-all. I read reviews about the ship being in bad shape. Yes, it's an older ship that was weeks away from dry dock, but the ship was in great shape! Very clean and all public areas were in excellent condition and working order. We had an interior cabin (it was a casino comp...so we dealt with it! LOL) and made it work. It was very small, but as long as we kept it picked up and used all the drawer/cabinet space , it was fine. The service throughout the ship was wonderful! Very friendly crew everywhere we went, and always greeted with a smile! Our cabin steward, Genjah, kept our cabin in perfect order. It seemed like whenever we left and came back to our room, no matter the time of day, our cabin had been cleaned and organized! The entertainment was okay, not the best, but we enjoyed ourselves. With a total of eight sea days, there's only so much you can do. We brought some games and books along to keep us occupied...and out of the casino! LOL As far as Hawaii goes, our ports of call could not have been better! (Maui, Oahu/Honolulu, Kaua'i, Hilo) The only excursion we booked through Carnival was a snorkeling excursion in Maui. This was advertised as a snorkeling with turtles, which it was not; but the snorkeling was beautiful...and on the way back to the island we saw so many whales! It was a highlight! The rest of our excursions were booked on our own and we had no problems getting back to the ship on time, with all but one of them picking us up right at the ship. The only real disappointment was the food. It was not terrible, but sometimes lacked flavor. The Steakhouse was wonderful, but the Chef's Table was disappointing. We've done other Chef's Tables and the menu and quality was much better. I believe Carnival has cut back on this and would do well to redo the menu. The main dining room was again...just okay; but our service could not have been better. Debarkation was a little long, but that was due to the amount of Platinum and Diamond guests on the ship. We always give ourselves plenty of time to get to the airport, so this is never a big deal to us. Overall, the ship and crew on Carnival Miracle really made this trip special, and we would do it all over again!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Although an older ship due for dry dock, the Miracle was still a lovely, clean, and inviting ship to be on. (I do hope that they replace the mattresses in the cabins, though, during the dry dock. They weren't very comfortable). The ... Read More
Although an older ship due for dry dock, the Miracle was still a lovely, clean, and inviting ship to be on. (I do hope that they replace the mattresses in the cabins, though, during the dry dock. They weren't very comfortable). The crew was amazing--helpful to elderly and disabled and very friendly and accommodating. The activities and entertainment was varied and enjoyable. Some of the comedians were just so-so, but others were great, so evened out. I would not rave about the food. It was just okay in both the Lido and the Dining Room. The best meals were at the Sea Day Brunch. Hawaii ports offered plenty to do, although several of them were not the most scenic - we docked in industrial terminals. I will definitely consider sailing on this ship again after it is refreshed. It was so easy to figure out the layout and get to all the venues with very little crowding and few lines. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Having taken this same cruise 3 years ago by myself, I decided to return with my adult daughter. The weather became a big factor in our trip, though not due to the cruise line. In speaking with fellow travelers who had previously ... Read More
Having taken this same cruise 3 years ago by myself, I decided to return with my adult daughter. The weather became a big factor in our trip, though not due to the cruise line. In speaking with fellow travelers who had previously experienced this particular trip, the consensus was it had never been this cold, cloudy and rainy. We had only three full days of sun! I believe the ship has diminished in quality in the area of food. Most meals in the dining room or in the Horizon Court were just okay. Adjusting for personal preference, this seemed to be the case during the entire cruise. The pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs and fries out on deck were the standouts! We did enjoy the British pub lunch and it was very popular! Personally I loved the days at sea with a choice of everything or nothing to do, depending on your mood. The different lei making classes provided a fun and creative outlet during this time. In-port days gave each individual the choice of exploring on their own or joining a tour. Out of the tours booked through Princess, I would highly recommend the Kauai Sip, Savor and Shop. It was a wonderful experience, informative and delicious and well worth the price paid. The Explore Hilo Town Highlights was very disappointing and extremely overpriced! The driver made four stops of exactly 20 minutes each which made it impossible to visit the marketplace. He parked two blocks away which left us no time other than to get there and return. Another seriously overpriced tour was the Maui Ocean Center which consisted of transportation and admission to the Center and was self guided. Now that I know better, I would get a taxi and pay admission on my own. The problem is if you don’t experience it yourself, there is no way to know if it is a good value or not. Here is where reviews are so important before embarking on any type of travel. All in all it was a good cruise, if for nothing more than being waited upon and lowering your stress levels. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this particular cruise based on cost and timing. We wanted to go to Hawaii and this just worked. This was the longest cruise we have ever been on, 15 days. Embarkation and debarkation were both smooth and trouble-free. The ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise based on cost and timing. We wanted to go to Hawaii and this just worked. This was the longest cruise we have ever been on, 15 days. Embarkation and debarkation were both smooth and trouble-free. The Star Princess is older, which gives it some character but also shows its age. There were constantly public restrooms with toilets or urinals out of service and in need of cleaning. We saw several buckets placed in hallways to catch drips from what appeared to be leaking plumbing. There were areas on the ship that were too cold and other areas too hot. There was limited seating in most inside areas. Pool and deck areas had adequate seating, probably due to the weather being colder than we expected. We were somewhat concerned that the pools were not closed for safety reasons. The water was violently sloshing from one end of the pool the other due to rough seas. We normally prefer a balcony cabin but settled for an interior this time due to cost. The cabin was larger than we had experienced in the past with enough storage for our stuff. The temperature was somewhat hard to regulate in the cabin. One light switch quit working after a few days but was fixed without us having to say anything. I assume the cabin steward reported it. We only ate in the dining room three times. We had Anytime Dining so were sat with different guests each time. We prefer sitting on our own, although most guests were good company. The service and food were very good. The Chocolate Journey dessert choices were exceptional. The food in the buffet varied from poor to excellent but mostly just average. There was, for some reason, a German night, which did not fit a Hawaiin cruise. However, this was the best night at the buffet. Otherwise, it was just variations on the same foods each day. I did really enjoy the selection of exotic fruits, dragonfruit, lychees, rambutans, to name a few. The pizzeria was good but not a big variety and not available after 10 PM. It would have been nice to get pizza after the late shows in the theater. The burger and hotdog grill was not up to par with other cruise lines. The quality of the production shows in the main theater was less than we have found on other cruises. That being said, the guest entertainers were all excellent with the exception of the magician, Handsome Jack. He was pretty poor and it seemed all guests had the same opinion. Guest lecturers and entertainers A J Clarke and Craig Richard were excellent in both their presentations and performances. Comedy juggler Randy Cabral was hilarious and the other two comedians on the cruise were funny as well. The Hawaiian Ambassadors onboard, Tiki Dave and his wife Leialoha, were excellent. Dave did presentations on each of the Hawaiian Islands we visited, held ukelele classes, and did performances of Hawaiian music and a more rock-oriented show. Leialoha taught hula classes and lei making. They performed Hawaiian music together as Ellua. The ukelele and hula classes came together for a show in the theater. The cruise director and his assistants were great in their trivia challenges and game shows. Service, in general, was excellent. There were the usual inconsistencies in the quality of drinks from bar to bar. The ports were all good, although we could have done without the stop in Ensenada, MX. With the exception of Lahaina, Maui, there is nothing to do and little to no shopping right at any of the ports. Shore excursions were adequate and accomplished the stated goals but seem over-priced. Visitors can do better searching on their own. I will comment that the average age of guests on this cruise appeared to be about 80, which made us feel younger. We are mid-60's. There were a few kids and teens, but not many. Overall, it was a good cruise. I was initially concerned about having so many days in a row at sea (4 going out and 5 on the return) but it was not a problem. There was enough to do and used the down-time to relax. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this particular cruise to Hawaii to escape the January cold of Idaho and we are loyal to Princess, so on to Star princess we roll. We also did this itinerary in January, 2013 on the Golden, so this voyage was a do-over. We had ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise to Hawaii to escape the January cold of Idaho and we are loyal to Princess, so on to Star princess we roll. We also did this itinerary in January, 2013 on the Golden, so this voyage was a do-over. We had previously been on Star to Mexico in 2016, so we were familiar with this ship. Pre-trip- Spent the night before embarkation at the Best Western Plus in San Pedro. There is a noise problem and cruise shuttle issue at the hotel, so we suggest you find pre-cruise accommodations elsewhere. Embarkation- Smooth as silk. Being in the elite group, we bypassed the general throng at 11:30 am and were on the ship within fifteen minutes of arrival at the port. Ship- Maintenance seems to be slipping on this vessel, compared to what we noticed on our 2016 trip. There is rust on a lot of the balcony railings and exterior nooks/crannies on the ship structure itself, and we think that it needs another drydock schedule to fully get this ship cleaned up. With the Star now 18 years old and counting, we suspect that it may be sold to a second-tier cruise company in the coming years, so perhaps they are backing off on the exterior maintenance for that reason. The interior portions of the ship are kept pristine, with the exceptions of the lounge/theater seat cushions, which are being destroyed by the ever-increasing obese passengers that frequent this type of vacation. Stateroom- We had a balcony stateroom on the Caribe deck, and the balcony space was gigantic, probably 12' x 10'. Half was open to the decks above, and half was very enclosed/private, so this wasn't an issue for us. Stateroom was clean/plenty of room for two passengers. Shower space is smaller than on the Regal/Royal class of ships. Dining- We had traditional dining/2nd seating in the Amalfi DR. Enjoyed good bantering nightly with our staff members ( Melvin and George). Orders were delivered promptly and correctly. Room was not overly loud, and food was very good in here. Specialty dining- we tried both Sabatini's and Crown Grill..... with Sabatini's having a slight nod overall. Buffet- Buffet food was fine.... seating was hard to come by during the popular dining hours. Staff- Friendliest Captain we have ever been around (Christopher Lye). He mingled with the passengers throughout the ship and could be found dining often in the buffet, hanging out with the common folk. He delivered a daily noon update via the PA system, and always had a short explanation on how things work on the ship and the sea. All staff members were friendly, quick to help, with a big smile. The CD could be a little over the top at times, but he definitely ran the show with gusto. Tiki Dave and Leialoha do a fantastic job of running the Hawaii Ambassadors on-board program (and have been doing this for years). The enrichment lectures could put you to sleep pretty quick. Bar staff was attentive without being intrusive. Excursions- We did not do any ship-sponsored tours, instead doing our own thing on each island. Pearl Harbor visit on Oahu (mobbed). Did not care for our luau on Oahu. Did the volcano on big island, bummed around on Kauai, and beach day on Maui. Sea days- Lots of them...… four days westbound, and five days eastbound, so prepare yourself mentally for lots of ocean time. Very few "bumps" on the sea during this trip. Younger passengers might go bonkers on these long runs. Conclusion- We ate well...… well, too much! Star has not adapted yet to the Medallion program, (coming soon) which we really liked on the Regal and does improve the on-board experience. Shipboard activities could be lacking during some of the sea days, forcing you to entertain yourself. Would like to see better ship maintenance. Ship did not sink, nor run out of food, so we consider this another successful cruise! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I wanted to give Princess one more try, and I wanted to get out of town in January. The ship (I was told) is about to be sold to a different cruise line so that was the reason they have not done any major upkeep on it. The seats in the ... Read More
I wanted to give Princess one more try, and I wanted to get out of town in January. The ship (I was told) is about to be sold to a different cruise line so that was the reason they have not done any major upkeep on it. The seats in the theater were frayed and did not sit properly. Some seats made you feel like you were about to slide off because they did not fully stay in the upright position. The bathrooms in the cabins need to be updated and the balcony cabin I had was smaller than I had expected. There was barely enough room on the balcony to put 2 small chairs and a small table. The entertainment was not the quality I have come to expect from other cruise lines and as the cruise progressed the food seemed to lose quality until at the end instead of fresh pineapple on the buffet it looked like a can of Dole pineapple slices. The crew was very nice and helpful and the specialty restaurants were very good. On future cruises they plan to include internet, beverage packages and so on to passengers but of course not on this one. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Wife and I took the Star Princess to Hawaii and offer the following thoughts and observations: Overall the staff and service was excellent. This is where Princess excels. The ship is in need of attention. Living with the dated decor ... Read More
Wife and I took the Star Princess to Hawaii and offer the following thoughts and observations: Overall the staff and service was excellent. This is where Princess excels. The ship is in need of attention. Living with the dated decor is not a problem, but the water leaks; scruffy, dirty and much too low to the ground furniture; dirty and out-of order bathrooms are a big deal. Entertainment—comedians were great, production shows so-so. Almost no live music in Crooners or the piazza. The cruise director reminded us of a used car salesman with his over dramatic presentation and attitude of insincerity. Trivia gatherings were boring. Dining room food and service were both very good. International Cafe, burger grill, and pizza fair. Buffet horrible. Bar service on the pool deck was slow. Drinks were usually good. Getting on and off the ship was efficient and smooth. Hilo,Maui and Kauai were fantastic. Honolulu is what it is, a big city crowded beach. It’s a cruise so of course we had an enjoyable time. Like the itinerary very much. The ship not so much. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The Princess Sea of Cortez Cruise was outstanding! The ports of La Paz and Loreto are not visited often and remind me of what Puerto Vallarta and Cabo were like decades ago. We chose to make this a relaxing cruise and did not take any ... Read More
The Princess Sea of Cortez Cruise was outstanding! The ports of La Paz and Loreto are not visited often and remind me of what Puerto Vallarta and Cabo were like decades ago. We chose to make this a relaxing cruise and did not take any excursions, but we walked around all 4 ports and loved doing that. The Star Princess is an older ship but it is well maintained and a perfect size, not too big or small. The production shows were underwhelming, but the smaller venue entertainers were excellent. Cruise Director Gary Golding is one of the best on the seas, and his staff was fun and omni-present. And there was not a single crew member that we interacted with that wasn’t helpful and friendly! Dining room food was outstanding. Enjoyed the pizzeria, hamburger grill and ice cream bar. The buffet food was acceptable and had a nice variety. Highly recommended! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Great way to see the islands of Hawaii, but this cruise catesr to the large proportion of OVER 55+ in activities, music & entertainment. We are in our 40's and traveled with a 16yr son from Australia and found the onboard ... Read More
Great way to see the islands of Hawaii, but this cruise catesr to the large proportion of OVER 55+ in activities, music & entertainment. We are in our 40's and traveled with a 16yr son from Australia and found the onboard activities lacking and boring. But we were there to see the islands and you are so busy getting off each day to explore that it did not matter to much. It is not a kids or party cruise. My advice for each port and what we did follows: We booked with Tombarefoot tours and probly saved $100 per person on any tour rather than through the ship. However you risk the chance if the ship can't go into port due to weather etc. I am not sure about obtaining refunds if that happens. Your call. Port Maui- Book a TOUR- there is nothing to see where they come into this port (some pretty average shops) or hire a car and do the trip to Hana(beautiful), there for 2 days. We met Richard who drove us all day and over to Lahaina (small fishing town-is a must) for $100 per person which is a cheap all day. His email is kekaukike@msn.com. Port Hilo- Helicopter flight over where the volcano had erupted and destroyed homes. Was super interesting. Taxi to airport and taxi back.Or hire a car to look around but do a tour or activity here, as not much else to do. Port Kona is beautiful with MANY shops to walk through and sit and relax looking out to the ocean- a great day to not tour and enjoy.Kauai we hired a car and drove to the Waimea Canyon, then did the Kipu Ranch ATV on the way back to ship. Would of been difficult to get to and back if we had not hired the car. Park car on street overnight close to ship and then explored next morning up North East side of island. Back by lunch because ship leaves at 2pm. Then that afternoon cruise along the Napali coast which is amazing to look at so grab a drink and get a good seat with your camera for the afternoon. Buffet food and diner food was fine. Lots of selections and dietry options with the flexibility of eating when suits. Our room configuration was a queen bed and fold out sofa (for 6ft son). His bed did not have foam to soften it and they put two doona inserts under the bottom sheet to fluff it up.Not comfortable and we did expect more comfort than that. Staff were average in comparison to my other cruise experiences. Coming from Australia the tipping is hard to get your head around but we included our gratuities in cruise payment and then tipped any better service if found (20%). They do tend to look after you a little better if you do so tip early in the cruise. The decor was not fashionable to our tastes but again you are there to see the islands and that out weighs everything, plus you need to make your own fun. I think its a do it once cruise to really see the islands. We had two nights in Waikiki before the cruise that allowed us to get over jet lag, then 5 nights when we got back to do Pearl Harbour, North Shore (hire car) and around the entire island of Oahu & Diamond Head. We felt it was enough time to see and do everything we wanted too without rushing and still relaxing on the beach at Waikiki...Was a fantastic holiday.TIP: Australians take a jar of instant coffee with you and some Vegemite!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Hawaii has been on a bucket list for years and having sailed on Azamara Journey before and liked the small friendly ship, this looked like a great trip. It was a lot of sea days, 11 out of the 18 on board. It was rough weather coming out ... Read More
Hawaii has been on a bucket list for years and having sailed on Azamara Journey before and liked the small friendly ship, this looked like a great trip. It was a lot of sea days, 11 out of the 18 on board. It was rough weather coming out of LA, high winds and high seas, but on the whole Journey handled it well, even if sleeping was somewhat like dozing off on a roller coaster. The staff are really friendly, officers stop and chat, waiters go the extra mile and stewards keep the cabins ship shape. Staterooms are on the small size compared to other ships we have been on, especially the shower/WC. Bedding is excellent. There is no theatre so evening entertainment is in the cabaret lounge and therefore very much “up close”. Band was great, singers and dancers - excellent, cruise director and assistant, both of whom performed solo evenings were first class. (Eric left is in Hawaii leaving Danny and Emily to run the show). The guest speaker, Dr. Jay was fantastic, so interesting and making his subjects so accessible. The weather in Hawaii was not kind to us, a lot of rain. A number of sea days were also wet so one had to make the most of the interior spaces which despite this never seemed very crowded. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
In a nutshell: Consistently best food we’ve had on a cruise ship. Special events were well above most other cruise lines. Service was good, but lacked the “sparkle” of other high end (and more expensive) cruise lines that try ... Read More
In a nutshell: Consistently best food we’ve had on a cruise ship. Special events were well above most other cruise lines. Service was good, but lacked the “sparkle” of other high end (and more expensive) cruise lines that try harder to exceed your expectations. We took this cruise because it was my mother-in-law’s 82nd birthday and Tahiti has been on her bucket list since she was a child. We’ve been looking for a good itinerary to visit Tahiti and this cruise through Hawaii fit the bill. ----- Ship Review ----- Embarkation. Standard and quick. The only delay was waiting for a wheelchair for my mother-in-law to board the ship. We waited over 20 minutes and another couple tried to walk in after waiting 30 minutes. It really took much longer than it should have and was not a good first impression of ship services. As we were boarding the ship about 1230 the announcement was made that the cabins were available, so that allowed us to drop luggage in our cabin and go to lunch. There was a table at the entrance to the buffet to buy multi-night packages and make reservations at Prime C or Aqualina. Service. Not quite as impressive as our last cruise on Azamara 12 years ago, it was a bit of a mixed bag this time. Some waiters seemed particularly eager to serve. Others were less enthusiastic. We were surprised by the lack of a “can do” attitude from room service and also surprised (as in woken up from a deep sleep) when they showed up 30 minutes early for breakfast (EVERY TIME). All room service waiters just dropped the trays on our table and ran. No attempt was ever made to set the table or inventory the food. Perhaps they were just extremely busy, but it was a shocking lack of service compared with the apparent standard for this ship. Our room steward was adequate, but not impressive. (As we were packing at the end of the cruise and checking to make sure we didn’t leave anything, we found an old pair of somebody else’s underwear behind the nightstand.) Clientele. 80% have cruised Azamara before. 200 of the almost 686 passengers were continuing on the next leg (apparently a record). Over 90 Cruise Critic members aboard. Azamara prides itself on listening to customer feedback and that breeds high loyalty. The length of this cruise was not well suited for those still working, so the crowd was quite senior. I think we only saw two children onboard. Captain. It is clear that Azamara is hiring captains for their personalities and technical expertise. Most have been with Azamara for years. He went out of his way to be involved with guests and anything important happening on the ship. The two most outstanding captains we’ve ever experienced were both masters of the Azamara Journey. Cruise Director. We started with Eric and he was fantastic—in a league of his own. His show was spectacular and filled the theater to maximum capacity. He’s a hard act to follow, but he left mid-cruise for vacation. Danny took over and while he did a fine job, the cruise just wasn’t quite the same after that. Hotel Director. Heike was very involved, especially with serving during special events. I enjoyed her presentation during a sea day. While I believe she is doing a good job, her enthusiasm isn’t filtering down like it should. The service doesn’t quite have the sparkle I thought it would. Entertainment. The show lounge is quite small, so that limits the entertainment options. However, it was very good for small ship entertainment fare—guest singers, comedians, small production cast, etc. The tango show was outstanding. Food. This is the category where Azamara really excelled this cruise. They said their food budget was higher than anything else in the RCCL fleet and it shows. We were very impressed with the overall food quality. The main dining room has local and chef specials every night that adds variety to the otherwise standard rotation of menu items. We have critiqued many ships for not having local specialties. Azamara is the only line we’ve sailed that has been responsive to that customer request. Our four experiences at the specialty restaurants were excellent, but we had friends who were less impressed with their steaks in Prime C. I have mixed feelings about charging a premium to eat in the restaurants and then providing a bill with a place to add a tip at the end of the meal. Seems like a mixed message to the guests. Here’s a tip I learned the hard way. They will give you a wine list with bottles you can buy for an extra cost, but all the house wines are also available for free if you ask. I still love the panini and smoothie bars at the buffet! The Windows evening buffet changes themes every night which provides a lot of variety. They frequently have specialty buffets with crew officers serving and they were outstanding. The Polynesian dinner buffet and German lunch buffet were especially well done. They also had a late night chocolate buffet in the midship lounge area that was quite impressive and very well attended! Dress code. Every night was “country club casual.” Wear what you would wear to a nice restaurant and you’ll be fine. My wife actually saw the dress code being enforced on a few occasions, which makes it nicer for everybody. You might want to dress up slightly for the specialty restaurants—many people do. Internet. Like most ship-based internet, it was slow and expensive. I usually burned up more than 10 minutes every time I wanted to sync just two email accounts. Unlimited package pricing was outrageous. I had some free minutes because of our status and used cell phone connectivity while at the ports in Hawaii. Here’s another tip. The price of the unlimited package is per day, so wait until the last possible day to sign up. Expend all your free minutes first. With 50% off (due to our status), I got the unlimited package for only $69 for the last 9 days of the cruise. Photographic services. Available, but not in your face—except at the premium restaurants, where they really want to “capture that special moment” for you. I bought a USB with the destination photos and a video of the AzAmazing evening. The photos were not that professional and they never had a chance to produce the White Night video. Ship Décor. We love the classic R-class styling. We’ve been on many R-class ships by now, so this feels like home. It could really use some updating and time in dry dock that it will get this fall. Fitness Center. Pretty good for a small ship. Gift Shop selection. Why does everybody think a ship is the place to buy jewelry? I don’t get it. I’d rather have a much better selection of branded merchandise that can only be purchased aboard to remember my cruise. Special Events. This review would not be complete if I didn’t take time to mention some of the special events that set Azamara above their competition. We saw something like an AzAmazing Evening with Regent, but the 40’s themed night at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum was much better executed than anything we’ve seen before. Azamara’s signature deck party “white nights” was in Bora Bora. Unfortunately, we missed all but the show because we had reservations in Prime C. The Polynesian cultural show was fantastic and it was a wonderful event until the skies opened up and soaked almost everybody. Crossing the equator celebration was fun and well done. All inclusive? I need to spend a few lines to discuss this issue because it is a source of great confusion among guests. “No tipping?” What were people doing tipping their waiters at dinner last night? Sometimes drinks are included, but the beer at the German buffet was an extra charge. How much? Don’t know. Didn’t see a price posted or on the ticket I signed. There are two levels of wine packages and two levels of spirits packages, but some of both are included, particularly at some events. There is a priced menu of drinks at the shows. Two thirds through the cruise I was told by a friend that there is a back page of the menu that has all the complementary drinks listed. It’s a fairly comprehensive list—I just wish I had known about it sooner. Thank goodness all sodas and sparkling water are included. Well, to be more precise, Costco brand and Mexican sparkling water were included. Perrier and Pellegrino are both extra. While we enjoy wine with dinner, we are not big drinkers. When I heard Azamara made a change to their “all-inclusive” policy to include tips and wine with dinner, I liked the concept. It appeared to match our needs to have wine included with dinner (even if it is a limited selection), while charging for other alcohol, but the implementation seems very schizophrenic. How do you keep track of what is or is not included? Critiques. We got an early cruise feedback form for us to identify any issues we saw so they could be fixed immediately, instead of waiting for the end-of-cruise feedback. About midway through the cruise we filled out the form to identify service issues in the observation lounge. We got a phone call and personal visit about the issues we observed and they were fixed the very next day. Azamara is trying to be resource conscious, so they send a link to an online critique rating form instead of giving you the traditional paper survey. Head’s up. That link expires in one week! When we finally got time to sit down and do the survey after we got home, the link had already expired by a few days. That’s unfortunate because we really wanted to recognize a couple of waiters that were going above and beyond. I completely understand what they are trying to do by keeping everything electronic. Unfortunately, we missed the opportunity to provide our feedback. In summary, we enjoyed this cruise. We always enjoy the ambiance of R-Class ships. Based on our previous experience with Azamara, we had very high expectations. I think the cruise leadership was doing everything they could to meet those expectations and were very responsive to guest input. However, not everyone on the crew was as enthusiastic about their job so we were not as AzAmazed as we expected we would be. ----- Port Calls ----- Azamara prides itself on being port intensive, but that wasn’t exactly true for this cruise because it was more about repositioning toward Australia. We spent 11 of our 18 days at sea crossing the Pacific. I’m not going to try to review the individual ports or offerings. I’ll try to keep my comments more generic. Azamara has two critical things I look for from high end cruise lines during port calls--shuttle busses to downtown areas of interest and local experts onboard in port who provide maps and ideas about what to see if you want to explore on your own. Sometimes you don’t want to spend a fortune on shore excursions to see a port. I like having the low cost option and flexibility to come and go as you please. I also like to see water, juice, and cold towel stations on the dock (tender or port). We may have missed them, but those services were available at some, but not all, port calls. Some of the shore excursions were expensive and others were just outrageous! Arrangements for private vehicles at over a thousand dollars for a few hours just seems absurd to me. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Our family of 12 sailed on Norwegian's Pride of America on the 12/28/19 cruise. We had a wonderful trip and I can't say enough about this ship, crew and itinerary. Our family was 6 adults (ages 39 through 64) and 6 kids (ages 4 ... Read More
Our family of 12 sailed on Norwegian's Pride of America on the 12/28/19 cruise. We had a wonderful trip and I can't say enough about this ship, crew and itinerary. Our family was 6 adults (ages 39 through 64) and 6 kids (ages 4 through 12). Our vacation package included 1 night pre-cruise at the Hawaiian Hilton Village, pre-paid gratuities, specialty restaurants, and $50 per port excursion discount. We used the Norwegian Master Card prior to the cruise and had some onboard credit to use on the ship. We arrived in Hawaii on 12/27 our flight landed in Honolulu at noon and we were in our rooms with our luggage at the Hawaiian Hilton Village by 3:30pm. We had pre-scheduled Roberts Hawaii airport shuttle for transportation from the airport to the hotel. They met us at baggage claim with a sign and helped with all of the luggage. Registration at the hotel was easy, although we did wait in line. Norwegian had a booth at the hotel and we checked in with them too, they offered us extra luggage tags and answered our questions. They were so sweet and helpful, they got our vacation off to a great start. The complex was massive and interesting, there were shops everywhere and pools and a beautiful beach. We wandered around the shops, had sushi and shaved ice. That evening we sat in the sand on the beach and watched the fireworks. We were exhausted from travel so we ordered pizzas for dinner and ate in our rooms. We were all just so excited to be in Hawaii. On Saturday we had a 1/2 day Pearl Harbor tour booked through Viator. They picked us up from the hotel at 7am and we arrived at Pearl Harbor by 0830. We had time to tour the USS Bowfin and go through the museum before the movie and boat ride to the USS Arizona. This was a powerful and sobering tour, the movie was so well done. We were so glad that we did this excursion before our cruise At 11:30 we were picked up and the tour driver took us to the port. NCL transferred our luggage from the hotel to the ship and we never even had to go back there. We arrived at the port around 12:30, check-in was easy; there was a lounge for suite guests that we hardly had time to enjoy, we were on the ship and having lunch at Cagney's by 1pm. While we were eating they announced that our cabins were ready. We were in suites, 12008 (starboard), 12058 (port) and 13012 (starboard), and these suites were great! Roomy, beautiful, lots of room to unpack, an attendant (Larry) an a butler (Georgia). 13012 was bigger than the other 2 suites and worked well for a family of 6. It has a huge balcony! There was sparkling wine and flowers in the suites as we checked in. Having lunch at Cagney's and the gifts in the room set the stage for the entire vacation. We went to the Welcome Aboard show, to dinner in the Skyline and to bed early. The next morning we woke up in Maui. 2 of us scheduled a helicopter tour of the road to Hana (we knew we couldn't drive it with 6 kids). The tour was spectacular! We aw caverns, the coastline, multiple waterfalls, Jurassic Rock and George Harrison's home. This tour was through NCL and the $50 immediately showed up on our account. We were back on the ship by noon, had lunch and then went off to the beach to catch up with the family. They were at, Kihei, Kamaole Beach Park II (a 30 minute Uber ride) and it was a great beach; we swam in the warm water until about 3 then headed back to the ship. The next morning at 2:30am we were up and ready for the sunrise Haleakala Crater tour. Nettie was our driver and she got us to the top of the crater by 5:45, so we had a great viewing spot by the rail, sunrise wasn't until 6:50. It was crowded up there! It was pitch dark when we arrived and the night sky was amazing. I saw 4 shooting stars! We had about an hour of standing in windy 30 degree weather before the sun came up. Even though we dressed warmly, it was freezing! I wore a long sleeved t-shirt, a heavy sweater, my North Face jacket, hat and gloves, but only my sneakers. By the time we were back in the bus, my feet felt like frozen blocks. Despite the cold this was an experience that we will remember the rest of our lives. Only 2 adults went, I think it would have been difficult for the kids. We were back on the ship by 9:30, in time for breakfast. Then we got an Uber to meet the family in Lahaina. A beautiful little town (full of interesting shops) and the Uber ride to the town was great too! That evening we used our restaurant perk and had a wonderful dinner at La Cucina and saw the Lights, Camera, Action show. We enjoyed all the shows, our surprise was there were always seats in the theater (even for 12), it wasn't crowded like other cruises we've been on. The next day was New Years Eve and we woke up at Hilo. We had the Volcano National Park tour for all 12 us, our guide's name was John and we all enjoyed it. We saw steam vents, a lava flow from the 70's and on the way back we stopped at a orchid nursery. They had an orchid that smelled like chocolate. That evening in the Gold Rush Saloon they did the New Year's Eve count down for every time zone. We are from the East coast so we got to scream happy new year at 7pm! Then we went to Liberty Dining Room for dinner with our cruise supplied New Year's Eve swag. The show that evening was Wonders! A Magical Experience... it was fantastic! We were meant to be in Kona the next day and had a kayaking tour scheduled. We were up and ready to go when the captain announced that we were leaving because the tender service was cancelled because of rocky seas. We had an unexpected sea day to enjoy the ship. We sailed by the Molokai sea cliffs and saw whales and dolphins from our balcony. The men in our party when to the Whiskey tasting in the Napa Wine bar. They had fun! Dinner in Jefferson Bistro that evening....also wonderful.. We loved all of the specialty restaurants..so glad we had that perk. On Thursday in Kauai, we had a beach day at Poipu Beach Park The best beach ever! There were giant sea turtle sleeping on the beach. We all snorkeled and saw the most beautiful fish, probably 30 different varieties.. Plus the water was warm and calm. We spent about 6 hours at this beach. When we got back to the ship we had massages scheduled at the Mandarin Spa. Fantastic experience! Dinner at Cagney's, with a delicious chocolate cake for dessert. Kauai was our favorite island and this was such a memorable day.... perfect really. On our final cruise day we had the tubing experience with/Kauai Backcountry Adventures scheduled, only 10 of us could go, because you have to be at least 5. This tubing experience is through caves and the kids loved it. On the trip up the mountain we saw some of the settings for the Jurassic Park movies. We had to get back on the ship early and my Grand daughter who took 3 hula dancing classes on the ship was in the pool side hula show. We also all went to the lei making classes, don't miss them, they were surprisingly fun and we all still have the leis we made. As we sailed by the Napali, there were double rainbows in the sky. I know I've said this a lot but the coast and the rainbows were absolutely incredible! We saw this from my son's baloney while sipping a lovely red wine. I don't know how this could have been more perfect. Dinner at Tappanyaki that evening. It's a show and the chefs were awesome! We had our luggage in the hallway by midnight, had breakfast at Cagney's the next morning and were off the ship by 09. We had one more day in Honolulu, we stayed at the Hyatt Regency Beach Club, went to the aquarium (it's run by the University of Hawaii) and had an impressive display of Sea Horses and then we hiked up Diamond Head. 9 of us made it to the top. We were seriously proud of this accomplishment. This was easily the best cruise we've ever been on. It all exceeded our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We loved the chance to sail out of our home town (San Francisco). The embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and pretty fast. Onboard entertainment was a disappointment to say the least. On a 15-day cruise there were only 2 production ... Read More
We loved the chance to sail out of our home town (San Francisco). The embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and pretty fast. Onboard entertainment was a disappointment to say the least. On a 15-day cruise there were only 2 production shows and they were not great. The magician was awful and I think someone's grandkid could have done better. We walked out. We felt that Princess sis not want to pump any money into real good shows and most of the "entertainment" was a terrible deceptive ploy to get you to shop and spend your money. We've already spent THOUSANDS of dollars on this cruise in hopes of having great entertainment. It was just not there. Sales. sales, sales, sales, sales, sales, sale. It was just overwhelming to look at the Princess Patter and try to figure out where the deceptive "entertainment was. Then with the "craft" projects, they limited the participants to 24 people!!! 24 people on a ship of over 3,000!!! That's absurd. All the other "craft" programs were an additional $$$$$$. These soft sell practices just disgusted us and left us feeling like we did not get our money's worth. Mu husband and I discussed what we would rate the cruise on a 1-10 scale and we both said "5". Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My family and friends took the Grand Princess on a 15 night New Years cruise. The idea of leaving out of our home port (San Francisco) and visiting Hawaii was quite enticing. My ten-year-old is a Love Boat freak (really), so when my travel ... Read More
My family and friends took the Grand Princess on a 15 night New Years cruise. The idea of leaving out of our home port (San Francisco) and visiting Hawaii was quite enticing. My ten-year-old is a Love Boat freak (really), so when my travel agent called and said there was a sale on this itinerary, we jumped on it. Unfortunately, we had the worst cruise that we have ever experienced. However, I am never one to judge anything by the first go, so despite what you read below, we put in a future cruise deposit and will be trying a 10-day Alaska cruise with Princess next year. The first day was not bad. We arrived early and the embarkation was by far the easiest we have ever experienced. We showed up around 11:00 am and essentially went directly on the ship. They were great about the soda policy and allowed my kids to carry on a 24 pack of their favorites. One downside was that I have one child that is on a restrictive diet. We checked his beverages and they arrived half gone in our stateroom. I chalked that up to it probably falling and breaking open, so no big deal. He still had enough to keep him supplied for the cruise. The views from the ship on the first day were great. We explored the ship and found that unlike many of the other cruises that we were on, this ship's layout made it Very easy to get lost. Some of the stair cases do not go all the way up/down and you need to take the elevator or else walk to another stair case. We also discovered that you cannot traverse the ship on both sides due to various lounges and restaurants. The only path that goes from front to rear is on the starboard side of the ship. We were excited for the sail away party on the top deck,and while several people turned out, the crew canceled the sail away deck party. The muster drill was actually the best we've seen. This was partly due to the cast of the Love Boat doing the safety video, but it was also extremely well organized and done in a timely manner. Our muster station was in the Princess Theater. The theater is substantially smaller that what we are used to seeing and this made for limitations on the kind of productions they could present on the ship. We had several sea days before reaching Hawaii. Normally, I love sea days. There is generally so much to do on board. I was looking forward to the cultural ambassadors' lectures and on this sailing they had a forensic scientist I was looking forward to hearing as well. On other cruises, I've been a trivia champion, winning a "ship on a stick" for every cruise we've been on (well, Carnival anyhow), so I was looking forward to the trivia as well. I was even interested in some of the more relaxed offerings such as the book club and star gazing. I was so excited I even signed up for the behind the ship tour. After only two sea days, it was clear that this cruise would not be meeting my expectations. The first production show was horrid and the comedian told mostly bad puns (okay my son loved the puns) but then all the jokes he told were catered for a very old crowd and we simply didn't get any of it. On formal night, we donned our tuxedos and my children and I opted to share a table. We were sat with a wonderful two 75 year old couples, They lamented that the cruise seemed tailored for cruisers older than themselves. As they put it - “there’s more canes, walkers, and mobility scooters than actual passengers on this cruise.” This was something that we noticed as well, but I was already expecting this based on other cruise critic reviews. We just were expecting that the ship would offer something for everyone as it was voted "best multinational cruise line." That just was not the case. The entertainment wasn’t just bad, it was outright offensive! A 30-minute production show to Motown done by an entirely white cast that changed the key of several songs. This time, my table mates were two African American women who said, “you can teach them moves, but they have no energy and no rhythm; just awful.” I actually Booed for the first time (ever) during any production show called “The British Invasion.” It was so bad at one point, I was embarrassed for the performers. The “born to dance” production was their best and the production and the guy next to me summed it up perfectly when he said, “I’ve seen better performances at six flags and at least they have snoopy!” Decor seemed dated and I heard one person ask when the ship was last in for refurbishment. I however, really liked the style of the ship. It did appear older and dated, but I felt it gave the ship a type of elegance that I have not seen on other ships. I do know that some people complained about carpet and caulking issues, but that seemed minor to me. Others were complaining about water leaks, and that was more of an issue. In fact, six cabins were flooded by a water leak during our cruise and I was speaking to one of the crew about this. They did a great job accommodating people despite being completely sold-out. One thing I have to say is that, but for a few very notable exceptions, the staff was extremely friendly and provided excellent service. I found myself tipping several of them on top of the mandatory gratuities on a daily basis. I wish I could tip the captain. He was definitely the best captain I've ever come across. Captain J.P. handled a medivac emergency on board with extreme professionalism and dealt well with those lookieloos who refused to follow crew instructions. Now on to some of the negative aspects of the cruise: Despite the excellent crew, the trip was not great due to a few bad and very visible members of the crew as well as poor planning by the Cruise Director staff. For example, there was absolutely no thought given to crowd control on this cruise. Do to their ship design, it is only possible to traverse the promenade deck on one side - so let’s go right in the middle of that through way and register people for the art auctions, completely blocking the ability for anyone to get by each day. Brilliant, just brilliant. The cruise director was nearly impossible to find. It’ was like playing “where’s Waldo” he only appears at the end of production shows and on rare occasion you might find him at a “game” show. The assistant cruise director was everywhere but she is snarky, rude, insulting to passengers and should not be in front of people - ever. If someone from princess reads this -PLEASE for your own good, replace her she is just awful! Many of the other cruise director staff were fantastic and any of them would make a welcome change. The trivia caters to teams of six so forget about winning a prize if you are a single player (in my case I always was one question behind the teams of six and I was just one person but they only award to the teams) when I suggested they do an award for teams and award for single players, I was told to just join a team. Well done, however; there will always be those that don’t want to be on a team and considering the grand prize is a coaster (no ships on sticks here) it seemed trivial (pun intended) to give out one extra coaster. While it's certainly not the fault of the cruiseline, given the weather, EVERY on-deck activity (sail away, disco party, star gazing, shuffleboard, etc.) were all cancelled. Some were rescheduled and moved indoors but were not advertised on the computer app. When I asked why not, I was told that most of the passengers were older and only read the printed patter. Again, it essentially costs nothing to put it into the app and everyone in our group never read the printed patter, we relied 100% on the phone app because we always had it with us. It truly seemed like they didn’t plan very well/at all for alternative activities. Then there was the Ensenada incident. The ship was supposed to arrive at 4:00 pm and leave at 7:30 pm, but due to weather, it was announced several days in advance that we would not arrive until 7:30 and depart at 9:30. On the day we arrived, the ship activities had absolutely nothing to do from 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm and then had all the activates starting at 7:30. In other words, despite having DAYS to plan and reschedule the activities, they kept to the original schedule assuming we would be in port at the original 4:30-7:30 timeframe. What a joke! The food on the ship was not what I expected. The buffet was pretty bad. It had pretty much the same foods each day, but occasionally they had a build your burger bar, a ramen bar, and a nacho bar.The main dinning room food was actually very good in general and we spent most of our time eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the anytime dinning halls. The wait staff were all very friendly as well, except on our last night, the waiter was just plain rude! I figured he was having a bad night, so I purchased a bottle of wine for him. He loved that and everything was much better thereafter. The food venues around the ship were okay, but definitely not great, with one exception. The Salty Dog is a winner! Everything they offer was top notch, and while it may not be healthy for you, those bacon cheese fries are AMAZING! The street tacos were my second favorite, and the bacon Princess burger with swiss - oooh soo good. Not quite up to Guy's burgers on Carnival, but really good. The Alfredo's Pizzaria which boasts "best pizza at sea" really wasn't. In fact, I actually preferred the pizza at Slices on deck 14. The International Cafe was also a major disappointment. We were told they rotate their selection throughout the day, but really, it just looked the same no matter when we passed by. A note to first time cruisers: Most of the food at the international cafe is FREE and they are open 24/7. Also, the specialty restaurants were all exceptionally good, more on that in a bit. One more complaint I witnessed "food" related... I saw another passenger in the “tea library” have a complete meltdown. He went up and walked to the wall of drawers of tea leaves and opened several and found minimal leaves there to make his tea. There were several tea kettles available on shelves on the wall and he grabbed one. There is a large water spigot on the counter with a big red warning sign that said “Caution: Hot Water”. Except, it was all FAKE. When the guy realized this, he came undone and went out and walked around the ship ten times (he came back in just to tell me this before finally calming down enough to confront the customer service desk). Customer service attempted to satiate the situation by offering him chocolate covered strawberries. He was not amused. There were two other similar issues that I experienced myself. The first - there is NO mini-golf. Despite the website clearly showing that it is there, it was removed. My kids were disappointed at this. In it's place is a flat golfing green for putting or croquet. We chose to play croquet (despite all the mallets being horribly bent), and the kids loved it! The second, the website advertised an escape room for $8. That also did not exist on this sailing. When I asked a crew member, she said that they do offer the escape room for free on the Grand Princess, but only when they are not sold-out because they just repupose one of the staterooms. On the first day, I went to the spa raffle and they had a really good deal where you could get a massage and several other services for only $99. I took advantage of the special and I was not overly impressed with he spa. It was okay, but not great and the up sell was unforgivable. Despite telling the staff before my massage that I didn't want the product sale at the end, they did so anyway - relentlessly. They also signed me up for a shave, a weight loss program, and another massage - all without my permission! I had to cancel them at a later time because she literally would not let me leave the room without saying it was okay and she made me late for my meeting with my family. My older teen sons enjoyed the gym. It was well served with cardio machines, weight machines, and free weights. I also did one of the yoga classes as I was experiencing leg cramps at night and thought the yoga could help - it did. The casino was the typical Carnival brand casino - horrible odds (worse than Indian casinos). I'll give one tip for those who've read this whole review this far... For you video poker players out there, if you play the spin poker machine in the non-smoking section, you can set the bet to 5 quarters, single line and get 7/5 odds without affecting the game variance due to the "spin poker" nature of the game. While that's still an awful pay scale, it's the highest odds on the ship. The lady I ate lunch with appreciated my tip as she played that machine with three lines and was dealt a Royal Flush on her first hand - winning 12k quarters or $3,000.00 from $1.25 bet! On the first day, I tried asking the cashier staff how many points I'd need to get any kind of comp and they said they had no idea, that it was at least several thousand and it would just show up when I got it. Not very helpful. Despite the negative, there were some highlights and we cannot forget those. As I mentioned at the start, we don't consider one bad experience the end of things. My family put down a future cruise deposit for a 10-day Alaska cruise with Princess next year. The Hawaii ports were great. It would have been nice to have a little more time in Oahu and Maui, but the time spent on the other islands (Kilo, Kauai) was appropriate. The choice of shore excursions was excellent, although we chose to do all of ours independently. A few times I did speak to the shore excursions desk and they seemed quite knowledgeable about the various options. As mentioned above,we also really enjoyed the specialty restaurants and we went to all three. Yes three (well, four if you count the British Pub lunch). While not well advertised, the Grand Princess does a Crab Shack on selected days. They alternate the crab shack between the Horizon buffet and the Crowne Grill for the location. We chose to go on a day when it was hosted in the Crowne Grill. The food was excellent and plentiful. In fact, I think at Sabatini's it was almost too much food. But it was out of this world good. Oddly, the only restaurant that seemed a bit not up to expectations was the Crowne Grill itself. Oh, and despite others complaining about the decor in the English Pub, I found the fish and chips to be the best I've ever had - including those that I've had in pubs in London. One thing that we liked more than other cruises were the pools. The Grand Princess has several and they are both larger and deeper than what we've seen elsewhere. We also really liked that one of the pools/hot tubs is indoors, while others are outdoors. I actually rather enjoy going in a nice steamy hot tub when it is windy, cold, and raining. Plus, the outdoor hot tubs aren't crowded at those times. My son enjoyed swimming in the indoor pool when it was cold outside. One request for Princess though - put in revolving doors! revolving doors are designed to prevent wind from entering a doorway. On our sailing, there were times when we had very high winds that would rip from the outside pool, through the inside pool, and right into the Horizon court! A revolving door would have kept each area climate controlled. The other thing that bumbed me out was that the back of the ship with the aft adult pool and hot tubs were closed for several days due to a maintenance issue with the ship's stacks (apparently, cowling and other material was falling free). We did enjoy the lounge approach to various areas. As a secret for those who took the time to read all of this... while the tea leaf library is a great place to play board games, it is often full, has smallerish tables, and can be noisy as it is an open area near the Piazza. The secret is to take your game to the Wheelhouse Bar. It is a wonderful, quiet, relaxing location, is almost always empty or nearly so (even when they are doing presentations in it), and has a wonderful view of the water. Plus the tables are larger and the chairs are more comfortable. My ten-year-old raved about the kids club. It is up on deck 15 near the spa. He said it was the best one that he's ever been at. I really liked the fact that it was themed with the Discovery channel. They kids even had a chance to do Junior Chef at sea and decorate a cake! Wow. They had a dance party just to themselves up in the club One5 and the kids all seemed to have a lot of fun. He made several friends and we would eat with the other families and play games as well. It was a great way for both him and our whole family to meet new people. Every day he brought a new craft project back to the room and he really liked his kids club T-shirt that he got to decorate himself. My older teens also really enjoyed the Beach house that was just for them. My 16-year-old said the thing he liked most was how many kids there were from foreign countries. Apparently, they enjoyed exchanging stories of how to misbehave in several countries. On one of our shore excursions, some of his friends and their family came along and it made for a wonderful day in Maui. They also enjoyed the free basketball hoop machine and ping pong on the upper deck above the indoor pool. The only issue here was that often times when relaxing at the indoor pool there was always several unattended smaller kids on that level hitting ping pong balls down at people in the pool. They were also very loud, but that is mostly because it was indoors. I could tolerate this as I have several kids of my own, but several older guests were openly complaining about this at dinner time on several days. One thing that I did notice was that the Sanctuary (adults only paid lounge area on deck 16) went completely unused the entire trip. Often when I went by, it was simply closed due to weather, and when the weather was nice, the ship was in port and I did not see anyone in the Sanctuary. It's too bad because I was looking forward to trying it out. It may have been a mistake for Princess to devote so much ship space to such a large area if no one can use it. The other odd thing about the ship is that the kiddie splash pool is located just in front of the Sanctuary in a location that is nearly impossible to locate. Unfortunately, it too was closed every time my son came by. All in all, It was the worst cruise we've ever been on, but it had a lot of positive experiences as well. We will definitely give Princess another go before discontinuing to cruise with them. The embarkation/disembarkation was smooth as could be, there were many very positive crew members, the captain was the best, and we met many nice people. On the flip side, the entertainment was the worst we ever encountered, the activities were lacking, there was very poor planning on behalf of the cruise director and staff, the food was not good except in specialty restaurants, and the ship itself had a few maintenance issues: flooding of six cabins and the cowling falling off the smoke stacks causing them to close the aft section of the ship for a few days). There were many passengers complaining throughout the cruise. All in all, I gave it two stars because the bad slightly outweighed the good on this sailing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Our Granddaughter wanted to visit HI on a cruise having loved it the last time she visited the big island with her parents. She enjoyed the cruise much, having made a few good friends in the kids discovery club. She was happy to be on the ... Read More
Our Granddaughter wanted to visit HI on a cruise having loved it the last time she visited the big island with her parents. She enjoyed the cruise much, having made a few good friends in the kids discovery club. She was happy to be on the Grand Princess as this is her second cruise on the same ship. She felt like she knew all the areas of the ship and wanted to walk around by herself like most other children which we prohibited. She liked the buffet for the ease of helping herself but, disliked the food. Loved the dining room for the service and food but, thought she was wasting her precious time that could be spent with friends. Later on her friends started to join us for lunch and dinner!! We loved the service on the small ship, friendliness of the crew and staff, mainly the Captain for his transparency, willingness to mingle with the guests on all levels, handling of emergency situations that arose when a guest got ill and had to be air lifted. We appreciated his openness and strict but, gentle manner of managing the disobedient and unruly guests. Entertainment would have been superb if we had not already seen the same production shows on prior cruise. The magician of awful, X rated during early show with children watching. The musicians were good. Games were all well played as always and enjoyed both by the players and the audience. Ports are superb in HI but, the time spent is so little in a city so large as Honolulu with much to see and do. We were there only till 10 p.m. Maui also was very little time to be able to really enjoy. One of the ocean liners MUST add 2 extra days with overnight stay in both Honolulu and Maui that will attract a larger crowd. Shore excursions are not as good as our last cruise to HI a couple of years ago. We covered a lot of sight seeing in 5-6 hours. This time the excursions offered were mostly half day or less, each one covering half of the sight seeing stops. As such we catered only to our granddaughter's enjoyment. We had never been to Ensenada and were looking forward to visiting. Due to unforeseeable situations of bad weather accompanied by high waves in the ocean from the winds, we arrived quite late when the sun had set. All the shore excursions were cancelled. It was quite cold on the pier and we decided to stay on the ship, since the time on the port was also cut short. We perhaps would have enjoyed eating out if it wasn't for my diet requirement of allergies to garlic. All in all it could have been better had my back pain not occurred from the discomfort of bed that I am still nursing. Watch out for that firm bed with sags on one side! I ended up cancelling my shore excursion tickets, though my husband and granddaughter enjoyed theirs. The weather in Honolulu was rainy and our beach stop of the shore excursion got cancelled. That was also a bummer for my family for no fault of the ship. Yes, we would cruise again with Princess but, not in a balcony room if there is a third person with us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Grand Princess is 21 years old and still in good shape with many attractive public rooms. The multinational crew is well trained and friendly, the food and dining room service is fine, the entertainment is varied and well presented. ... Read More
Grand Princess is 21 years old and still in good shape with many attractive public rooms. The multinational crew is well trained and friendly, the food and dining room service is fine, the entertainment is varied and well presented. There are many sea days on this itinerary and lots of activities to fill your days. The Hawaiian Cultural team was excellent with talks, music, dance, arts and crafts, ukulele and hula lessons . The ports were easy to access on your own, tho we did do a whale watching tour in Maui that was excellent, a ship’s tour that was good value. Weather was mostly good, a little windy and rocky a few days, but not bad. We did this itinerary once before from Seattle, this cruise was very convenient since we live near SF. Embarking and disembarking was fast, easy and efficient. The balcony cabin was nicely appointed and our steward was friendly and efficient. The bathroom is a little small and there is a shower curtain not a glass door. there is enough storage. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our 22nd cruise with Princess since 2008. We have been loyal to Princess because we like the itineraries, and (in the past) have had great service. We have filled out the post-cruise online survey and would like to include the ... Read More
This was our 22nd cruise with Princess since 2008. We have been loyal to Princess because we like the itineraries, and (in the past) have had great service. We have filled out the post-cruise online survey and would like to include the following comments: Condition of the ship: We enjoy the format of the older ships, primarily the promenade decks. However, because a ship is old does not mean it should be rundown. The Grand Princess was in terrible shape. I have never seen so much rust on a cruise ship as this one. Many scuppers on the promenade deck were plugged causing small local puddles on the deck. I would guess about 10% of the deck caulking was rotted away. Carpeting in many places on the ship (including our stateroom) was coming up in places. There were too many water(?) leaks from the ceilings on almost all decks to count. Crew had to place towels, buckets and yellow caution wet floor signs. As a result of the leaks, the ceilings showed much water damage and warpage. Two nights in a row, the aft elevators that service the Botticelli dining room on deck 6 and the Elite Lounge on deck 15 were not working properly in the late afternoon/early evening. This is the time when those elevators are most needed. We had to mention this to the customer service desk both nights before they were fixed. We very nearly had to cancel our dinner plans because being partially disabled, we couldn't get to deck 6 using the stairs. Wait Staff: With the exception of the excellent service in the Botticelli Dining Room at dinner, and the Club Class Dining Room at Breakfast, the wait service in all other areas was terrible. All the bars were grossly understaffed throughout the day. In one case, in the Elite Lounge (OneFive) I ordered a glass of wine and for 25 minutes, I watched the waitress who took my order stop and chat with customers at three different tables. I finally left without ever having the order filled. There was a noticeable decline in service since even our last voyage. The staff that was there showed an aloof and disinterested attitude towards the customers. We have noticed a decline in bar staff service over the last two to three years, but this cruise was exceptionally bad. I think this is a result of the changes over the years to automatic gratuities. I would rather see an increase in cruise fare in order to better pay the staff and increase the number of staff and go back to the traditional method for gratuities. Twice on this cruise I was tempted to opt-out of the automatic gratuities charged to my account. I didn’t do so because, quite honestly, I believed the word would get out to the staff and, as a result, I would get no service at all. Onboard experience: We have taken this cruise twice in the past and really enjoyed the Ukulele lessons and were looking forward to more of that on this trip. Unfortunately, the “Hawaiian Ambassadors” seemed more interested in selling the goods they brought with them on board (ukuleles &c) than actually teaching the ukulele. Classes were disorganized, materials were not ready at the beginning of class, classes would not start on time because the instructor or the sound equipment was not ready. There was a travel group on board for this trip. I found it really tacky that Princess allowed them to set up their reception tables in the Piazza. Not only on embarkation day, but on many other days throughout the trip. Why not use the Hearts and Minds room for this? It seems as though the onboard activities have been reduced to Trivia, Ballroom Dancing, and Zumba. All other daytime activities are centered around Shopping, Bingo, and Art Auctions. All of which is there to generate revenue for Princess. In conclusion, We have decided we are through with Princess Cruises and most likely, any brand under the Carnival umbrella. We had two cruises planned for 2020 and I have cancelled them both. We will be looking at other cruise lines and, no doubt, it will cost more. But, as always, you get what you pay for. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019

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