38 Princess Star Princess Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

We spent 4 days pre-cruise in Ft Lauderdale at The Cocobelle Resort, which was 5 mins from the beach, great hotel/motel, good value, but a long trek down to the main area of Las Olas. Overall loved the place, great beaches and a really ... Read More
We spent 4 days pre-cruise in Ft Lauderdale at The Cocobelle Resort, which was 5 mins from the beach, great hotel/motel, good value, but a long trek down to the main area of Las Olas. Overall loved the place, great beaches and a really good feel to the place. Make sure you do a boat trip of the 'canals', we went on the Jungle Queen one evening, well worth doing. The drop off point for the car was near the port but the address was VERY difficult to find, I'd suggest doing a print of google maps prior to the holiday so that you can make it easier to find the drop-off point. There was a shuttle to the port which was $6 each (this was private though, Budget may not charge for their shuttle).On arrival at Port Everglades for our 10 night Eastern Caribbean cruise, it was very busy, I think 7 cruise ships were in the same day, apparently very unusual. Shuttle dropped us off at Pier 21 about 12:30, the bags were dropped off and we checked in, which was super efficient. We were impressed - all airlines take note!Unlike Royal Caribbean last year we were allowed to go straight to our cabin. We'd booked a BC Balcony but the upgrade fairy came a-knockin and we managed to get an AB Mini-suite (apparently the cruise was only about 90% full) which was great, extra room and a bath - such decadence. No complaints about the cabin, although on deck 9 your balcony is overlooked by everyone above - still if people want to ogle at my excess flesh that's their concern - I remembered to put clothes on most days before walking out to watch the sea go by ?. The bed was very comfortable, hanging space/storage space and hangers more than ample, though I think they should leave a couple of wine glasses in addition to tumblers.We found the ship harder to get used to than the Voyager of the Seas, for some reason it just didn't seem so easy to navigate around, though they do give you a wee fold up pocket map which was very useful. Very few children on board (bliss).Watched late night moves 'under the stars' - great just for the experience but why they insist on showing 'cartoon' films at 10:30 pm is beyond me. Proper 'adult' films (no I don't mean porn) should be the norm not kids stuff. Food in the Horizon (which is what I'd class as more a posh cafeteria and was open 24hrs) was good and far better quality than RCL in this area. Staff were generally attentive and welcoming, though some of the East European staff could sometimes be a bit dour.Evening meals were very good, we did late dining on a table of eight. Downside was that the beef was disappointing compared to RCL (which was always excellent) however the service was great as were our table mates. Wine prices were reasonable and although you couldn't pre-purchase a wine package they were at least reasonable with letting you bring on a bottle of wine each for your cabin. We brought on 2 bottles each without any issues.Bar prices were as expected, downside especially for us Brits is that the choice of beers is very limited, mostly bland tasteless American lagers, you could get Bass Pale Ale but that was about it. A decent pint of real ale would have been great!Afternoon tea (3:30 to 4:30) in one of the dining rooms was worth a try, although they did serve tea from coffee pots, didn't wear white gloves and served cakes before scones and sandwiches so they're obviously not used the correct 'British' way of doing things!The entertainment was by far the most disappointing area. The cruise director was cheesy to say the least and frankly annoying. The shows were mediocre as were most of the 'guest' entertainers. The only really good show was a group of four acapello singers called Stomp who were excellent, but they were on at really stupid times and really daft venues. The only night they sang in one of the theatres was during the evening meal - fine if you were early dining but us late diners missed out. On VOTS there was a brilliant, funny and entertaining pianist who would do requests and get people singing along to the golden oldies, and letting people sing with him, a real entertainer. On this cruise there was a young lassie who theoretically did the same but she had no charisma and did not really engage with the audience. We'd read about the 'Chefs Table' and decided we'd do this if possible even though it seemed pricey at $75 each (I'm a bit of a tight-a**e). It was advertised in the 1st ships newsletter so we phoned and put our names down but were told we may or may not be chosen due to the amount of people wanting to do it. Anyway a coupe of days later we had a message to say we were invited. On the evening we met up with 4 other couples. We donned white jackets and were shown around the galley by one of the Maitre'd and explained how the dining process works, though because of the way the group was structured, the noise and lack of room, we hardly heard a word of what was being said. We were then introduced to the Head Chef, who looked after us for the rest of the evening. We then were served various superb hor d'oeuvres in the galley, Cold water lobster margarita, Pate de foie gras, Fontina and Emmentaler mini quich with black truffle and bolied new popato with sour cream and caviar, washed down with Champagne. The Sommelier gave a talk on the champagne and wines we would be tasting later. We then were seated at a huge rectangular table near the middle of the dining room, fully kitted out with beautiful flowers, hand made bread baskets and candles (apparently the only place on the ship that you would see candles).The 1st course was a seafood Risotto with lobster tail, which was a meal in itself and superb. Next came a lemon sorbet with mango salw which was then doused in Vodka - absolutely wonderful. EntrEe (or main as we call it) was veal shank, and beef tenderloin, with fresh market veg and creamy mousseline potatoes. Very tasty, although for me the beef should have been much rarer.The dessert was a work of art, everything was edible, even the pink 'plate' which it was served on. It was 'Iced Amaretto parfait, with whisky soaked berries and Florentine tuile. There was an edible coiled spring topping the main area which actually bounced - incredible!.We then had a cheese course but nothing like we've ever had before, Baked brie de mauve with pine nuts. It was warmed in a pastry basked, and drizzled with a port wine reduction, absolutely fantastic. During the entire evening we were served white and red wines, and towards the end a luscious dessert wine, all specifically chosen by the sommelier to go with the food. He was very good at explaining where the wines came from, how the grapes were grown and harvested etc and what sort of tastes we were likely to get - very educational. A group photo was taken prior to the meal by one of the ships photographers and just before the evening ended, each lady was given red rose and each gent was given hard back copy of the Princess recipe book, duly signed and dated by the Head Chef, a great memento of the experience. This experience was only given twice during the 10 day cruise therefore less than 1% of passengers will get to see this. We came away feeling about half a stone heavier but realising that was we'd experienced was fine dining at its best. Forget about the cost and just do it, I'm sure you will think its worth it- we did!We also dined in Sabatinis an Italian restaurant, which was $20 each. You basically ordered an entrEe and they brought you tastes of everything else, 27 different things apparently. We missed out on the soup course, it was too much. If you want a lovely quiet evening with your beloved or a few close friends, this is worth it.We pre-booked 3 excursions prior to leaving the UK, all with the ship - yes you can do it cheaper with the locals portside, but I can't be bothered with all the hassle. One of the trips Harrisons Caves in Barbados, was fully booked by the 1st day on ship, so it pays to book early. This was a worthwhile trip. We also did an army truck tour of St Kitts which was also very good, ending at Cockleshell beach which was magnificent. I also booked Stingray experience in Antigua, what an experience. These a some huge rays, you get to hold one which was about a metre across, but some were 2 metres, and they give you squid to feed them. They can and do bump into you which can be a little unnerving but the water is waist high and in an absolutely stunning setting - definitely worth it although my beloved hated it!We also booked a disembarkation trip (which can't be pre booked in the UK) which took us on a coach around Ft Lauderdale, did a nice boat trip down the canals and towards the open sea then dropped us back at MIA (also dropped off at FLL). Great if your flight leaves late afternoon as it kills some timeEach of the 4 trips were $118 for the two of us, not cheap but not outrageous either, though it does start mounting up the extra costs involved in a cruise. Two of the trips had also gone up in price since I booked, and as you don't pay until you've done the trip (unlike RCL) I'd suggest pre-booking and if necessary cancelling at the last minute. In summary, I have no major gripes, I prefer Princess to RCL overall in terms of meal quality and service but was let down by very poor entertainment aboard. Check in/out was very efficient, the English captain was very informative (and entertaining) throughout and the ship was very clean. There was one minor double charge on the bill which was sorted quickly. With the exception of the open decks, you were rarely left a copy of the bill when you bought drinks etc which was rather annoying, especially if you are trying to keep tabs on your spending - they need to ensure you get a receipt for ALL items signed for. On board we put a £75 per person deposit down which can be used for any cruise in the next 4 years even if you don't know where you're going. It also gives you $100 each on board credit so you can't really lose. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
This was our third cruise, our first on Princess (and the longest one so far). Te other cruises were on Royal Caribbean and Holland America. We thoroughly had a good time on this cruise. By the end of the cruise, we were already ... Read More
This was our third cruise, our first on Princess (and the longest one so far). Te other cruises were on Royal Caribbean and Holland America. We thoroughly had a good time on this cruise. By the end of the cruise, we were already planning our next one - and wouldn't hesitate to cruise on Princess again. In fact, at the end of the cruise, we took advantage of the Future Cruise Program and put a $200 down payment on our next cruise, even though we didn't book a specific cruise. It allows us to book any Princess Cruise in the next year with no additional deposit. We will get a $100 per OBC, and if we choose not to cruise, we get our money back. It's hard to beat that kind of deal.Let me start by telling you a little about us. We are a couple in our late 40's. We usually travel alone, with no kids. When we cruise, we tend to enjoy the ship experience as much, if not more than the ports. We're also pretty low maintenance. Nothing is ever perfect, and we have no problem rolling with the punches. Unless something is really wrong, we're not inclined to make a huge deal about it.Hotel: We arrived one day early and stayed at the Hampton Inn, City Center. It was clean and centrally located. We like Hampton Inns because you know exactly what you will get. We actually flew into Miami and rented a car to get to Ft Lauderdale, so we did not take advantage of the free shuttle. I assume it would take you to the port. We never asked. Just a word of warning, rental cars are very expensive on Easter Weekend. Were it not for a fellow cruise critic person giving us a discount code, we would have paid three times what we paid for a car. The normal rate is about $60 a day.Embarkation: It was a busy day at the port. We were actually moved to pier 29 at the last minute for embarkation. The ship sailed at 5:00. I think we arrived at about 2:30 and had absolutely no problem getting on board. It was nice having immediate access to our room. By the time we got done with the Muster drill, our luggage was already at our door. Cabin: We stayed on the Lido Deck in cabin L234. We had booked a guaranteed balcony (BF). The upgrade fairy visited and we were upgraded to a BA. We had heard that the balconies on the Carib deck (BB) are actually larger, so we tried to get downgraded, but our TA was less than cooperative. We are actually glad. The cabin was in a perfect location. It was in close proximity to the gym, spa, swimming pools, MUTS, and Horizon Court. We only had two concerns. One was the noise from the pool and the other was the motion of the ship (being so high and forward). Neither concern was legitimate. Only once did we hear music from the pool, and that was because we were on our balcony during sail away. We had rough seas on the second day, but the movement was minor. It was not an issue for us. The cabin itself was small, but well appointed (my wife thought the dEcor was a little dated). The biggest plus was the size of the closet. It was a pleasant surprise. There was plenty of storage for the two of us. The bed was comfortable, but we didn't like having the crack running down the middle of the bed.Ship: We were impressed with the cleanliness of the ship. The crew did a good job of maintaining the common areas. We did not have any difficulty finding our way around. About the only thing that I did not like is the fact that the balconies on Carib and Dolphin deck (I believe) are open, and therefore not very private. I was glad we didn't end up with a Carib balcony, but instead were higher up, and therefore we had the privacy that we're used to on balconies.Dining: We only ate in the dining room one night. We had "Anytime Dining" and on the first night, we had a less than positive experience with one of our table mates and opted for the Horizon Court thereafter. There is a reason that sex, religion, and politics is a taboo topic - especially when you are sitting with strangers. We weren't necessarily trying to avoid another negative experience, it's just that the food in the Horizon Court was so good; we chose to avail ourselves of the sips entertainment, rather than spend two hours at dinner. We thought the choice and quality of foods was phenomenal. The service in the Horizon court was also VERY good. As soon as you sat down, someone was asking for your drink order. We saw several of the staff standing by to provide assistance to older passengers who might have problems negotiating the trays.Entertainment: Evidently, Princess as had to cut back on some of its entertainment options. We found this to be a silver lining. What it meant is that some shows were repeated; allowing us more flexibility in planning our schedule. There were three comedians on this cruise. Gary Delana was excellent. We found Ed Katz to be a bit boorish. The last comedian was a magician who we also found to be very funny and engaging. There was an group called Spank that sang acapella music that was VERY good. Their harmony was impeccable. The production shows were also very good. There was literally something for everyone. This is commendable considering the fact that there is a wide age range when it comes to passengers, but we don't think anyone would have felt left out. We loved the Cruise Director, Sammi. She was very engaging and had a good staff of Deputy Cruise Directors. Service: Excellent! The staff seemed to genuinely care about meeting the needs of the passengers. If I had one complaint, it was the fact that the drinks were extremely weak. We didn't like paying an arm and a leg for alcohol, then not being able to taste it.Ports/Excursions: We traveled to six different ports Antigua, St Lucia, St Kitts, Barbados, St Tomas, and Princess Cays. We pretty much played it by ear in each port, except St Lucia. We had heard about James Tours. We booked it, and were not disappointed. He does a great island tour. He provides food and drinks. He checked in with us at least every couple hours to make sure that all of our needs were met. The tour was only $40 per person and well worth it.Disembarkation: The saddest day was the day we had to leave the ship. However, Princess has begun using a silent disembarkation process that is really efficient. They tell you what time to meet at your designated assembly point and then they make announcements only from there as to when to leave. Our color was called almost to the moment of when it was scheduled. All in all, this was our best cruise so far, in spite of some crappy weather. We'd whole heartedly recommend this cruise to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Fifth cruise, first on Princess and we were celebrating our honeymoon. We were looking for a Grand-class ship on a 10-day eastern itinerary. We are in the 40-50 age group and previously sailed Carnival. All of the fellow cruisers we ... Read More
Fifth cruise, first on Princess and we were celebrating our honeymoon. We were looking for a Grand-class ship on a 10-day eastern itinerary. We are in the 40-50 age group and previously sailed Carnival. All of the fellow cruisers we spoke to were very friendly, courteous, and seasoned cruisers/travelers. We did not have any negative experiences on this cruise. Very few children and teenagers and those we did see were extremely well behaved.Hotel: Arrived in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday. Stayed at Riverside Hotel for $90 off Priceline. This hotel does not have an airport transfer but we had family in town who were transporting us from the airport and to the cruise terminal Sunday.Embarkation: Arrived around noon and in our cabin by 12:30pm. Easiest boarding processing I have experienced. First time cruising out of Fort Lauderdale. Previously out of Miami and Tampa.Cabin: Thanks to Cruise Critic members for recommending aft BB cabin C752. Had an aft on prior Carnival Legend cruise and we are hooked. Cabin is very private with a separate hallway. The balcony is unbelievable. Did not hear anything from suite next door or cabins above or below. There is a speaker on the balcony but it was not an issue. You could feel vibration of thrusters as you entered port but that is part of the experience.Ship: Star is beautiful and the flow seemed to work very well. Very clean as well. Having an aft balcony, it was convenient to use the rear elevator bank to quickly access the Horizon Buffet and aft pool. Loved the Piazza and the flow of entertainment areas on decks 5, 6 and 7. I understand the ship was not at full capacity but it never felt crowded. Sea days you did need to get a spot at the pool early but we liked to wait until lunch time and had no problem finding a spot. The pools were large, clean, and nicely layed out.Dining: This is subjective but I found the selections on Princess to be very appealing and plentiful compared to Carnival. We had Anytime Dining and only one night (2nd formal night) did we wait five minutes for a table for two, eating around 6:30-7:30pm in Capri. The selections in the dining room were attractive, service was quick, and I don't think we were ever in there over an hour. Did not utilize room service or the specialty restaurants. The English pub lunch in Crown Grill on the two sea days was very good. Overall Princess does offer more seafood selections on the buffet as well as in the dining room. My DH did miss the deli that Carnival offers but there were similar options on the buffet a few days. And the International Cafe offers pre-made sandwiches which looked enticing as well as side salads and incredible desserts. We loved the grill as well as the pizza. Princess pizza is better than Carnival.Entertainment: We enjoyed the entertainment in the Piazza as well as Explorer's Lounge. We also saw the Stardust show and comedian in the theatre. Yes, the theatre is small so we followed everyone else there at least 30-40 minutes early to get a seat. Carnival does have more impressive shows with an abundance of dancers,more talented singers, and more seating. But it was enjoyable. The pop star karaoke in the Explorer's Lounge was a big hit and there were some very talented fellow cruisers. Did not watch any MUTS but it always seemed to be full and folks were enjoying the popcorn and nearby pizza.Service: Best service, hands down. Cannot say enough positive remarks about our cabin steward, Billy. Every Princess associate at the bars, dining room, lounge, etc. was positive, helpful, and seem to enjoy their job. Many commented on their co-workers as "family" and that was impressive.Ports/Excursions: Visited St. Kitts, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Thomas, and Princess Cays. We loved Antigua (nicest, friendliest people) and Barbados. On Barbados, we took the Sunbury Plantation tour, visiting Gun Hill Signal Station, Orchid World, and Sunbury Plantation. If you like rum, there are some heavy-handed drinks offered at the plantation portion. This was a very good tour, as we normally take catamaran/snorkel trips. Lots of walking and uneven surfaces, though. In St. Thomas we took the St. John Catamaran Champagne Cruise/Snorkel. The snorkeling was okay; crew was very good and it was enjoyable. The views were amazing and St. John is beautiful. Not impressed with St. Lucia as it pertains to the terminal and the immediate downtown area. Princess Cays - a perfect 10. What a beautiful facility and beach with food, shopping, shaded area, water sports. I wish we had more time to stay there.Disembarkation: Had a leisurely breakfast in the Horizon Buffet. Very easy, off the ship by 8:40am, flight at 12:30pm. No announcements, very smooth, easiest disembarkation I have experienced.***few differences we liked on Carnival over Princess but were not deal breakers: deli, coffee, beds, internet service, and using your cabin tv to watch your onboard account and purchase shore excursions.***Summary: This was our honeymoon and it was perfect! We are already looking at another Princess cruise next year. The 10-day cruise was just the right amount of time so we will try to do 10-days again, either Caribbean or Panama Canal. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I'm an equal opportunity cruiser, having experienced many of the Caribbean lines including Carnival, Norweigan, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess. I have stuck with Princess for the last few years because of ... Read More
I'm an equal opportunity cruiser, having experienced many of the Caribbean lines including Carnival, Norweigan, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess. I have stuck with Princess for the last few years because of the multiple evening entertainment options including multiple choices of live music, nightly comedian or unique acts and an overall lively nighttime experience. I have noticed in the last 2 years, both the quality and quantity of entertainment options on Princess has deteriorated. It seems that Princess is choosing to save money by eliminating entertainment options. I just returned from the Star Princess on a 10-day Caribbean cruise, and they did not even have a caribbean band on the ship. Not once did I hear any caribbean music while sailing the caribbean. I cannot express how disappointing this was, as I love to dance to the steel drums and hear Bob Marley. Imagine sailing away from a beautiful caribbean island to the sounds of poolside elevator music.Although there were many passengers in their 30's, 40's and 50's, the live entertainment was clearly designed for the over 60 age group. It appeared that to save money, Princess chose to show movies both on deck and in one of the best venues instead of offering live entertainment. The sad thing was, because the live entertainment was so bad and so "old", the only thing to do was go see the movie. They also had "ballroom dancing" everynight until 8 or 8:30 with piped in music in the best venue on the ship - not even live music. In cruises past, there have been live bands in this venue. Yet another cost cutting technique is to break up parts of the Princess band/orchestra and place them in different venues, calling it "special entertainment".I was also very surprised at the lackadaisical service. My cabin steward was so overworked that she barely touched my room each day. I was left with wet or dirty towels hung back on the rack on several days and had to beg for ice in the bucket each day. In the buffet area where I went for dinner several nights, no one ever asked if I needed water or would like a drink - I think I must have been invisible. I would see the staff huddled around together chatting, but rarely paying any attention to the passengers. I'm not usally bothered by this, but it was so noticable that they just weren't engaged whatesoever.What I love about Princess are the great itineraries. The ports on this cruise were fantastic. But with 3 days at sea and each night on the ship, Princess needs to improve their entertainment offerings if they're interested in attracting any passengers under the age of 60. The ship, the service and the entertainment are how they need to differentiate, and after this cruise, I would say they fall short on all three points. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
As this was a back to back cruise for us we went through the In transit procedures on board. This went smoothly overall and we were finished within 10 minutes. As we were staying in the same Cabin we did not have to pack up our suitcases. ... Read More
As this was a back to back cruise for us we went through the In transit procedures on board. This went smoothly overall and we were finished within 10 minutes. As we were staying in the same Cabin we did not have to pack up our suitcases. Basically we treated Fort Lauderdale as just another stop on the new cruise. It was a busy Sunday morning in Port Everglades and at least 5 or 6 other Cruise ships had arrived as well. We were definitely happy that we were not leaving to fly home that day. We spent the day relaxing in our cabin and sitting on the balcony. There was one annoying aspect. The Carnival Freedom was berthed near us and they played loud repetitive music all afternoon. It was not pleasant sitting out on the balcony. The Ruby Princess was the first to sail at 5 PM and we followed to start the trek to our first port of St Kitts. The first two days at sea were a little rough but nothing that would bother us. The winds and the high speeds made it interesting at times on the upper decks.We had different staff both as the Cabin Stewart and our Two Waiters - all three were professional and fun to be around. They added enjoyment to our voyage. One point to note - we had to ask for all our cabin boarding material for the new cruise - it should be automatic as we had booked this cruise as a separate one. Our dining in all venues was superb as usual but it should be noted that the evening menus were the same as the previous ten days. We had a table for 4 for dining which eventually turned out OK after sitting alone the first night. We have decided that a table for 6 is the minimum we should ask for unless you are travelling with another couple. The staff in the Horizon Court were attentive and polite thoughout the cruise. Many activities were a repeat as well. The entertainment was OK but the production numbers could have been better. We enjoyed the daily activities or entertainment in the Piazza. We enjoyed all the ports even though we had two repeats - Princess Cays and St Thomas. We considered St Thomas a new port though as we berthed at the Crown Bay Terminal, a first for us. Room service continued to provide us with excellent service each morning before sunrise as the staff had not changed from our previuos 10 days. On this cruise it became apparent that pool loungers were being saved but unoccupied much longer than the normal 30 minutes. It is important that the deck staff be more vigilant in this area. I even spoke to one and brought it to is attention but he said he couldn't do anything about it. Overall another great cruise on Princess. Princess Cays turned out to be fun again Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Departed 4/23/11 from Ft Lauderdale. Let me first state that this is my first review on this site, It is also my 20TH+ CRUISE. The Star Princess is impressive while docked but thats where it ends. It is one of the strangest ... Read More
Departed 4/23/11 from Ft Lauderdale. Let me first state that this is my first review on this site, It is also my 20TH+ CRUISE. The Star Princess is impressive while docked but thats where it ends. It is one of the strangest configured ships I have ever been on. There is no deck where one can walk without encountering stairs. Yes that is strange! The Cruise itself was Eastern Caribbean. As always poverty stricken, animal abusing, begging ports. It obviously isn't Princess' fault but it must be stated. The ship is starting to show its age and is you happen to get a room below a pool or hot tub be prepared to not sleep your entire cruise. Obviously insulation was not in the budget while building this ship. Our room was ridiculously LOUD. Back to the cruise.......Be prepared to listen to countless hours of advertising from Princess. It really is crazy how much they try to get you to drink the kool aid. The music on our cruise was absolutely terrible. The cruise director was suspiciously absent. The staff didn't seem to care. On a positive, the dinners were very good. Our servers were excellent. Breakfast was terrible and could no way compare with either Carnival,NCL or Holland America. Should your cruise stop at their private island, Princess Cay, be sure to skip it. Its a manufactured beach that is more commercial than beach. They even have the gall to Charge $25.00 to rent a snorkel. unbelievable!!!!! As you can tell is way less than impressed with Princess and will never travel with them again. Sleepless nights, garbage entertainment and constant advertising make me think they were trying to brainwash me rather than pamper me. i suggest you all do the same. Maybe they will get the message. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I can see why Princess does not keep this ship in any ports long. It's like a traveling tent show. It's good if you haven't experienced better. To start the sailaway party was an advertisement for what services they have ... Read More
I can see why Princess does not keep this ship in any ports long. It's like a traveling tent show. It's good if you haven't experienced better. To start the sailaway party was an advertisement for what services they have and no party, no music and no excitement. The cruise director might have been at other events but we only saw him a four events during the seven day cruise and ywo of those he was late. The servers when we first arrived seemed very interested in us and ready to serve drinks and food, but by the fourth day they looked like they were trying to avoid us. And why show documentries about Europe from Roman times until WWII on the MOVIES UNDER THE STARS screen during at sea pool time? Food was OK but not up to the standards of other cruise ships that we have been on. Princess will not be on the top of my list for any future cruising. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
I'm really sorry for those of you that may not have the best experience on this cruise. I know my DW and I were very much influenced by having our first full suite (B749 Aft) and all the extra benefits involved. We could have been on ... Read More
I'm really sorry for those of you that may not have the best experience on this cruise. I know my DW and I were very much influenced by having our first full suite (B749 Aft) and all the extra benefits involved. We could have been on a seven day cruise to nowhere and we would have had a great time. I will compose this review in an abridged daily log format. Pre-cruise We arrived at FLL on time the afternoon before embarkation and after collecting our luggage used the courtesy phone in the baggage area to call the Days Inn in Hollywood. We booked this hotel because they accept Wyndham reward points and they offer free pickup at the airport and free shuttle to the ship. Also if you have a car, they are one of the few hotels that offer free onsite parking (secure) while you are on your cruise. The van driver picked us up within ten minutes of our call and we were on our way. The hotel was quite new, very clean, and within walking distance of a shopping mall and several restaurants. We immediately made a reservation for the 11am shuttle to the cruise port and received a blue confirmation ticket. We walked to a TGI Friday's and ate dinner while watching the Masters golf tournament on TV. On our walk back we stopped at the new Holiday Inn across the street and took advantage of the two for one happy hour running until 7:00pm. The next morning we had a leisurely complimentary breakfast that even included hot egg and sausage biscuits and relaxed until time to depart for the ship. The nine passage van arrived right on time and towed an enclosed trailer that accommodated everyone's luggage. Day One - Embarkation and First Evening We were fortunate that the Star Princess docked at Pier 29 and was the first stop for our shuttle. With seven ships in port including the Oasis of the Seas, I was worried that the traffic could be a problem but that was not the case. We were dropped off right in front of the terminal and our one large bag was checked with a friendly porter. We carried the remainder of our luggage into the terminal and were directed to the priority boarding line for bag screening and check-in. A few short minutes later we had our cards and were aboard and in our suite. After meeting our steward, Gerald, we departed for lunch. Outside the Capri dining room we asked a staff member if lunch was being served in any of the three dining rooms. Her reply was that no lunches were being served in a dining room and we should go up to the Horizon Buffet. Well, I didn't quite believe her because I knew the new Bon Voyage program was in progress and they were going to have a dining room open for that. Sure enough we went up to the Portofino dining room and were warmly welcomed by the Asst. Maitre 'd and seated for a great lunch. We had our first roll call Meet & Greet immediately following muster at the Outrigger Bar on the Lido deck and had a good turnout. It is always great to meet the people you have been communicating with over the past year. Each night we attended the pre-dinner happy hour held in Skywalker's Lounge for Suite/Elite/and Platinum Card holders. This is held every night from 5 to 7pm except the night of the Captain's Circle party. There is one premium drink offered for $5 and the hors d'oeuvres very much upgraded from the canapEs served at other venues. We had the best service and food that we have ever experienced on a cruise ship. For the first time, we never once entered the buffet line for any meal. We had anytime dining and at the first night's dinner we asked for a table for two and were assigned a great pair of waiters. We had such a great time that we asked the Maitre 'd to give us that table for the rest of the week and he was happy to comply. Several times during the week the head waiter offered dishes not on the menu including one of my favorites, escargot. After dinner we went up to Lido deck to watch Sherlock Holmes on MUTS. We immediately noticed that there is less seating area on the Star than we had last year on the Crown so lounge chairs are at a premium. Wait staff walked around and served popcorn, the movie was good and the sound system worked great. Day Two - Princess Cays We had been looking forward to the one perk reserved solely for suite passengers, breakfast in Sabatini's Italian Restaurant. It met all of our expectations and more and found everything to be very well prepared, especially the French toast. We grew very close to the staff and they treated us like family and never missed one morning. Princess Cays ended up being our favorite stop on this cruise. Partly because of the beautiful weather on this day and partly because of the great facilities that Princess has built on this island. The bungalow we rented was worth every penny IOHO because of the following; 1) a place to lock up our items when we walked about; 2) having an air conditioned place with a private table to eat our BBQ lunch(great ribs); 3) being able to change our clothes in private; 4) receiving very attentive bar service; and 5) having reserved lounges set under the palm trees in front of our unit. Another benefit would have been priority tendering but we get that with booking a suite anyway. After another great happy hour in Skywalker's (sushi and some sort of Japanese Martini) and a great dinner in the Capri dining room (Prime Rib paired with a Pinot Noir wine), we retired to our aft balcony and enjoyed the wonderful sounds of the sea while starting to work on the liquor in our complimentary bar set up. Day Three - Sea Day and First Formal Night We had a relaxing sea day and just walked about and watched some of the demonstrations (vegetable carving and martini making). One of the martini makers dropped a bottle of gin while flipping it behind his back and busted it on the floor. He was embarrassed but it added excitement. Originally when we booked this cruise we were not going to participate in formal nights but had planned on ordering dinner in at suite. However, upon consideration that the complimentary corsage and boutonnière delivered to our cabin would look pretty silly on a t-shirt, we decided to dress up. Another factor was that we were enjoying the food and wait staff in the dining room so much. Our waiter, Coenraad, suggested the baked Cod and paired it with a wonderful Sauvignon Blanc wine. After dinner, we attended the show Destination Anywhere and at the suggestion of a cruise critic member we sat in the first row to get a new perspective. We had seen the show before on the Crown Princess but really enjoyed being up close and personal with the entertainers. The MUTS was Avatar tonight but we had already seen it in 3D at home so again we retired to our cabin to sit on the balcony. Day Four - St. Maarten/ St. Martin We took the Princess excursion "Best of St. Maarten Island & Beach". We were lucky to be assigned to bus #G-19 which the driver called the Jolly Love Bus. He called himself the Jolly Love Man and he was quite a hoot! Not only was he very knowledgeable on the particulars of the Island including the name of every tree we passed by but he had a great singing voice and broke out into song from time to time. He was voted Princess' Best Tour operator of 2009. Unfortunately, we had some spot showers during the time we were in the capitol city of the French half of the Island, Marigot. However, the weather cleared by the time we reached Orient Beach and we enjoyed a couple of Carib beers at a beach bar named BOO BOO's Bar and Grill. We had a wonderful dinner at Sabatini's and then attended the premier performance of Princess's new stage show, Stardust. Again we had seating up close and personal. It was great seeing a new show and we really enjoyed it but it would not be for everyone. The music is from the 40's and 50's. Day Five - St. Thomas and Second Formal Night The strange thing about this itinerary is that the formal nights are scheduled with only one day between. This is because the only remaining sea day is the day before disembarkation and Day 6 (Grand Turk) has a late sail away time. The weather in St. Thomas was wonderful but quite hot in the sun. We had our breakfast in Sabatini's (French Toast again) and then leisurely walked off the ship and caught one of the shuttle cabs to downtown ($4/person). From there we walked around to a few of the shops that we remembered from five years ago and bought two T-shirts at the open air market. We then walked to the Havensight Mall area. This area has really changed from our last trip. The shopping area we remember was pretty much abandoned and a new mall area across the street and a little closer to downtown has taken its place. We walked across the main street to the Paradise Point Tram and went to the top for a famous Baily's Bushwacker which really hit the spot with the heat. After a short time at the top we descended and caught a shuttle cab back to the ship at Crown Bay ($5/person). All of this could be walked if it weren't so hot and humid. There are quite a few very nice shops, restaurants, and pubs within Crown Bay. After some shopping, we reboarded the ship (Iced towels provided at the ramp). Because of the Captain's Circle Reception, there was no happy hour in Skywalker's Lounge. However, after going through the reception line, meeting the captain, and finding a seat we were served our choice of a gimlet or rum punch. Both were rather watered down. However, our regular waiter from Skywalker's saw us and came over and offered us our choice of a full glass of red or white wine. Because we had reservations at Sabatini's for dinner, we passed on any of the canapEs being served at the reception. Dinner at Sabatini's was outstanding and of course we got excellent service from the staff that knew us so well from breakfast each day. Those of you who have experienced this restaurant in the past know that the only choice you need to make is the main entrEe. All other courses you get a sampling of all selections I had the petite lobster tails and my wife had the sea bass. Day Six - Grand Turk (Or so we thought!) We had a second Meet & Greet this morning at 11:00am in Skywalker's Lounge before arriving in Grand Turk. The Cruise Director Richard Joseph printed out invites on a nice Princess Logo card and had them delivered to all the CC member's cabins. Princess provided pastries and coffee and several members of the staff attended. Attending were the Cruise Director Richard Joseph and his Assistant CD Sam (short for Samantha), the Hotel Director Sheila Griffin, and the Captain Circle director Tiago Tavares. It was a great meeting with a lot of great information shared. Soon after our meeting, Captain Kent made the announcement that the winds were too high to make a safe approach to the Grand Turk Pier so we now have another sea day. The winds were gusting to 38 knots and the pier at Grand Turk is not very protected. We got close enough to take a picture and that was about it. Well today was my birthday so I wasn't going to let that get me down. At 5pm we went up to Skywalker's Lounge for the Suite/Elite happy hour and had the best appetizers they had served as yet, beef steak tartare. The featured drink was a Chivas Regal Rob Roy. Our wait staff in the Capri dining room was waiting for us with two bottles of Champagne on ice so we could choose which we preferred for dinner and a birthday card was placed on the table. Lobster & Scampi and Beef Wellington were the two featured entrees. I had the Lobster & Scampi and they turned it into a Surf and Turf by preparing a full order of Sirloin Tips as well. My DW had the Beef Wellington. This was our best experience in the dining room this week and they have all been great. After dinner we returned to the suite drank another bottle of champagne that we had won by answering the Morning Show Question of the day correctly and then had a DVD of the movie Australia delivered to our room. It is a three hour movie so that completed our day. Day Seven - Sea Day The seas have been much calmer since leaving Grand Turk and we had nothing much planned for the day other than relaxing We had our normal Sabatini's breakfast and said goodbye to all our friends. DW had the French toast again (third time) and I tried the Belgian Waffle for the first time. (Very good, but not as good as the French toast) DW went to the Spa for a massage and I just relaxed on the balcony. We then had lunch in the International Cafe, watched the ice carving demonstration, watched a few minutes of the art auction and then went to Vines for their premier red wine "trio selection". Every day they promote three different wines and give you a two ounce pour of each and place them in a metal "tree". We had two of the tapas selections (ribs and shrimp) and one order of sushimi all gratis. Although the plaza area on the Star Princess is smaller than that on our last ship the Crown Princess, the Vines area actually appeared to be larger and is very nicely laid out. At 5pm we went up to Skywalker's Lounge and had some of the best smoked salmon ever. The $5 drink of the day was "The Chairman of the Board". At six we went to our reserved table for two and said goodbye to our friends there. Dinner tonight was outstanding. Again my dinner was turned into a modified surf and turf by combining the New York Strip Steak with a complete side entree of steamed mussels. Coenraad has learned that I like good sorbet and he presented me a double order of black cherry sorbet with cherries placed on top! Sadly we had to return to our cabin and start packing. Princess asks that you have most of your bags out in the hall before dinner and your last bag out before midnight. Since we only had one bag for them to remove from the ship, we placed it out after dinner. Before retiring we ordered a full breakfast from room service for 7:00am delivery. Day Eight - Disembarkation Disembarkation couldn't have been any easier. We arose at 6am, had our breakfast delivered at 7am and at 7:30 went down to the Vista Lounge reserved for Suites/Elites/and Platinum card holders. Princess had fresh coffee and pastries available and a copy of USA Today newspaper for anyone who wished to have one. Soon after 8am our color code was called and we were led to the exit ramp and walked directly off the ship. Upon entering the terminal, we quickly found our bag and went through customs in less than five minutes. We had purchased the Princess airport transfer so it was a very short walk to the bus and within fifteen minutes we were on our way to FLL and our 12:40 flight to Atlanta. While on board we purchased two FCC and have already booked our next year's cruise to the Western Caribbean on the Crown Princess! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Just got off the Star, have sailed 18 times and thought this ship fell a little below princess' normal standards. More on that coming up. Arrived in ft lauderdale on the 9Th. stayed at the holiday inn express and suites . good hotel ... Read More
Just got off the Star, have sailed 18 times and thought this ship fell a little below princess' normal standards. More on that coming up. Arrived in ft lauderdale on the 9Th. stayed at the holiday inn express and suites . good hotel with a great pool and shuttle to airport and cruise terminal. right across the street is a shopping mall with food and grocery store. Also 1/2 block away is Old Heidelberg German restaurant and it has great food . Took shuttle to port arrived around noonish. walked right through no hassles in fact took longer to fill out med form than to check in lol. had 8 people 4 cabins and one in a wheel chair and still no problems. Sailed with my Brother Tony, My sister Sandra( first timer) My brother Bill and his wife Jane, My Mom and a great family friend Marguerite, and my beautiful wife Taha. we had 4 Balcony cabins on Aloha deck and Michelle our steward had opened all balcony doors so we had one big balcony. worked out great. Also Michelle our steward was just great. always a smile and took care of any request for the whole family. Once on board and after finding our rooms , you guessed it FOOD... while there are so many different styles and tastes from different people, I wont get to involved with your opinion of the food. I know how to ask for what i want and usually they provide it. the buffet was good and there was plenty of it. One note though, after being on the Emerald in October and the Crown in January thought that the buffet on the star was less than what i was used to ...too crowded and there were only 2 sides to it compared to 4 or 5 on the emerald and crown. Also lacked the dessert area that the other ships had. But the staff was great and friendly. Every time I asked for a cappachino they were more than happy to get it for me. Another lacking point is that on the other ships the buffet was opened almost around the clock til 4 30 am each night, not on the Star. After 12 o'clock the only place to get food was room service...thought this weird for we really enjoyed the late times on the other ships. Found our spot for the week at the perch overlooking the pool at topsiders bar area... and this is where if you went on this cruise you could find us during daylight hours.... and have you met my brother Tony...I think the cruise line should start a new position, The alcohol entertainment and social butterfly position to which my brother would be the best on any ship ever. we met some great people from our perch and they all joined us for dinner the last night. Which would lead me into dinner; We had anytime dining and i went down to the Capri dining room and spoke to Joseph the head waiter for our party of 10. Joseph is the most delightful head waiter that I have ever met on 18 cruises and should be the head Matrie'd ( who i never saw for 7 days by the way) Joseph made arrangements for our party at one of the large tables and provided us with the best wait staff ever. Valentine and Dejon. They went above and beyond good service catering to every request with a smile. Again meeting so many people that we actually had 3 tables they still made sure that everyone was taken care of. On the first night there was a very good spring roll with a peanut sauce that everyone just loved, I asked if we could get them again and 2 nights latter they brought out a large tray of them. and then again upon request on the last night when we had 28 people at 3 tables. There was always something extra on the table whether it was a cheese plate, escargot specially ordered for us by valentine, fresh scallops etc... They didn't just wait on us they took time to get to know all of us and wanted to be part of our group. Marguerite who is 84 was overwhelmed when they brought over one of the crew who played mandolin and sang to her...made her trip...they also enjoy spending time with our group at st. martin. Joseph set us up for their table for the rest of the cruise and it was always fantastic... If you do go on the star ask for head waiter joseph and ask for Valentine and dejon... it will make your cruise. On to the ship...here's some small problems that we encountered and just want to mention them. FIRST: How do you run out of beer on a cruise ship... the 2ND day the ship was out of Bud Light.. by the 4th day they were out of Bud then out of every domestic beer except for miller high life...and i only saw one guy drinking that...it was fosters or dos equis which they had a special on 14.oo for a bucket of five. They need to fix this problem fast. 2nd: Again i guess i was spoiled by the emerald and the crown, but they close this ship up way to early.. the outrigger bar was closed at 8 pm( other ships 4 am) after the shows were over the bars closed. the only place left opened was skywalker's and after that closed the only place you could get anything from was room service. On the emerald and crown there was always at least one bar opened and food available. The casino shut down at 2 am even when there were still plenty of people sitting and gambling. we had a full 3 card poker table when they told us they were closing. 3rd: Big screen TV on the pool deck. If your going to have it on board please use it. Again I was spoiled by the emerald and crown which all day every day there was movies, cartoons, sports, concerts, etc....and then movies under the stars. I called to see if they could put the masters on the big screen and was told we will check on that... there was nothing on the screen during that time...there was a large group waiting to watch the golf on the pool deck. finally after about 20 different people called the pursers desk they put it on the big screen. next thing you know there was well over 100 people sitting on the pool deck watching it, buying drinks etc... if you play it they will come...after that Sunday it was used very little at all. also there was no music at the pool. yeah the band would come out for a hour but then nothing....again I was spoiled by the other ships and what they provide. we asked on of the musicians who befriended us Sam, if they could put on some music, he went and asked and they told him they were going to start a movie in 20 minutes .. but there was no movie... very disappointed with this as we picked this ship because it had the big screen on the pool deck. This was my 7th princess cruise and compared to the other 6 i was disappointed with the lack of what i am used to getting from this line...but princess still excels in areas that other lines don't. We had a great time regardless and met some wonderful people. One other item of note...we were woken up the 1st night by a loud bonging noise almost sounded like a big bass drum... the second night again by the noise .... at 2 am i called the desk and they sent up Irving from maintenance...we were standing in the hall outside our cabin when the drum sounded and literally scared poor Irving and made him jump.they started trying to find out what was causing this noise and we found out that the previous week when the captain crashed into the pier at grand Turk the ship was damaged and the bulk head broke. Well you can hear this noise on the aloha deck whenever the ship starts moving faster...I.E. when they go faster during the night to get to the next port...the pursers desk investigated this and finally told us that they wanted to upgrade us to a mini suite the last night of the cruise... as we had 4 cabins and i did not feel like moving for one night felt like there should of been something else done... they gave me a report number and I am still waiting to hear from princess... will let you know how that goes...Guess this might be why this captain was reluctant to try to port at grand Turk and decided to skip that island....blamed it on the wind.... Now please don't take my review the wrong way... myself and my family had a fantastic time on this cruise....also met some new friends and the face book group just keeps getting bigger...if I had to be forced(HAHAHAHA) to take this exact same cruise and itinerary i would do it in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
There are two things to do on a cruise - relax or party, well for this cruise I opted to relax. I brought a great book and had visions of lounging pool side drinking pina coladas until my eyes tired then dozing off. After reading page 1 10 ... Read More
There are two things to do on a cruise - relax or party, well for this cruise I opted to relax. I brought a great book and had visions of lounging pool side drinking pina coladas until my eyes tired then dozing off. After reading page 1 10 times my focus changed. There was too much to do, so lets party.(I wonder where that book is now). Pre-Cruise We joined a cruise critic message board thread before the cruise and shared stories with fellow passengers. This was great fun, you felt like you knew people before you actually met them. We decided to fly down a day early, so to avoid lost luggage, and undue stress with flight delays. We stayed at the Comfort Inn Airport Cruise Port South, which provided transportation from the airport to the hotel, breakfast the next day, and transportation to the ship. This was a great idea, but the transportation to the ship was very unorganized. Pre-packing secrets .Pack a battery operated alarm clock .nite light if in inside cabins (we called ours the cave) .small hi-lighter for the daily activities planner .landyard or wrist key holders (from Walmart car department) to put ship/shore cards on (Purser will punch a hole in your card for you) .Small airfreshener for the small bathrooms .Ziplock bags for many reasons Pre-cruise checklist .Cancel mail and paper .make sure passports are valid .Notify credit card co that you will be out of the country, and foreign charges will be anticipated. .Pre-register to board on the princess personalizer. .pre-print boarding passes, and luggage tags (I took packing tape and covered my luggage tags, punched holes in them and attached twist ties to hold them on. .leave emergency numbers with family. .clean out the refrig. .Cross pack half your cloths with your wife, so you both have cloths if one bag gets lost in transit. Day1 Got to the dock at 11:30 was on by 12:00. We had a meet and greet after the muster drill, and it was fun to finally meet everyone. Had prime rib for dinner. Day2 out island Ate breakfast at the Horizons buffet, it was unorganized and food not so good. Transported to the out island and had a great time. Muts was Shirlock Holmes. Dinner I chose lamb shank, and had the princess dessert (both great). Day3 Sea Day The muts was AVITAR. Ate lunch at the english pub and had bangers and mash. Did the wine tasting (Not worth the 25 dollar fee. You barely get enough to taste). Dinner I chose the filet Mignon, and Chocolate Soufle for dessert. Day4 St Martin Did the orient beach bash, and it was great. The waves were up, so we played in the waves all day. It did rain on us, but the joke was on the weather gods, because we were already wet. Had a few too many rum punches, but that just made it more fun. Had veal for dinner, and took in the magician afterwards. Day5 St Thomas Did the Castaway girls snorkle trip, great time, but I cut back on the rum punches. Lamb chops for dinner, and muts was Blind Sided. Tonight was a formal night with the princess circle captians greet party. Day6 Grand Turk Well because of high winds the Captain did not dock at grand turk, so we had another sea day. I was disappointed, but what can I do. Princess credited us 12 dollars port charges. Lobster night, and the comedian was fantastic. Day 7 Sea Day Finally a relaxing day by the pool, and yes I read past page 1. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Star Princess Review Sailing April 3, 2010 to April 10, 2010 We have just returned from the Easter sailing of the Star Princess. The itinerary was Princess Cay, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Grand Turk with 2 sea days. Let me give you a ... Read More
Star Princess Review Sailing April 3, 2010 to April 10, 2010 We have just returned from the Easter sailing of the Star Princess. The itinerary was Princess Cay, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Grand Turk with 2 sea days. Let me give you a little background. My husband and I are veteran cruisers, having started cruising together in 1987 with our first cruise on Commodore's Caribe. That was the start of a beautiful relationship for us with the sea and with cruising in general. To date, we have been on 31 cruises including this last one. We lived in the Chicago area when we started cruising, moved to Naples FL in 1994 and cruised from there until 2004 when we moved back to Chicago for 5 years. We did cruise from there while we were living there and moved back to Palm City FL in May of 2009 and have been on 3 cruises since moving back to Florida. We have sailed on Commodore, NCL, RCCL, Premier, HAL, Celebrity, Costa, MSC, Carnival and Princess. Our favourite lines are Princess and Celebrity. This cruise was a celebration of my husband's birthday. We booked the Star Princess because we liked the ports and because it is laid out like the Grand and the Golden with a large aft area on Lido deck that is an adult area with lots of deck space and a pool. We booked last minute and got a great deal and our cabin was L207 - an inside cabin on Lido deck forward. The cabin was the standard Princess inside cabin and we liked the location. Plenty of storage for us and our Cabin Attendant, Orlando, was excellent. We were close to the forward stairs, and it was easy to navigate the ship - especially since we are familiar with the layout. We arrived at the port via Cruise Connection bus and boarded the ship about 1:30 pm. Walked in and went right to check in - no crowds or lines - an easy process. We prefer arriving later rather than earlier so we don't have to stand in lines. There was a welcoming lunch being served in the Horizon Cafe as well as Pizza and Grill foods. The Star has three main dining rooms - the Amalfi is traditional dining, the Capri (deck 5) and the Portofino (deck 6) are Anytime Dining, the Horizon Court is pretty much always open and there are two dining venues that are additional cost - Sabatini's and the Crown Grill. We ate breakfast and dinner in the dining room (Capri for dinner and Portofino for breakfast) and had lunch in various places - the International Cafe, the Horizon Court or the Grill. Every meal was excellent and the service from the waiters and their assistants was excellent. We love the International Cafe - you can get pastries and quick breakfast there as well as sandwiches and salads for lunch and wonderful desserts. This is also where you get brewed coffee and special coffees - lattes, cappucinos, expressos, iced and frozen coffees - all wonderful. Take advantage of the coffee card that you can buy - you get unlimited brewed coffee and premium tea and have 15 punches for special coffees. It is a bargain and if you are a coffee drinker you will love it. The frozen carmel mocha coffee was so good we had a number of those - very refreshing in the afternoons. There are also homemade cookies there - and the Piazza is just a great place to hang out - great people watching, music, and demonstrations. For wine lovers, I should mention that Vines is also located there along with sushi and other appetizers being served. Skywalkers on Deck 18 Aft was reserved from 5-7PM for Elite, Suite and Platinum passengers - they served appetizers and had lower pricing on special drinks each day. There was also a Captains Circle cocktail party for all repeaters. There were two formal nights and the rest were resort casual. Many people dressed for formal nights. If you choose not to dress formally, that's OK too. The first day out we were at Princess Cays - a great beach day - weather was perfect. We stayed on the ship since we have been there many times and enjoyed the ship. The second day we were at sea (first formal night) and again great weather - many places to sun and great shade as well - the cruise director's (cruise director was Richard Joseph) staff has lots of activities so you can do as much or as little as you like. The third day was St. Maarten (from 10am to 6:30pm) and the weather was picture perfect. We walked into Phillipsburg and spent the day perusing shops and visiting with friends we have made over the years there. There were many excursions offered and of course you can go to Marigot on the French side as well. This port is the very best in shopping that the Caribbean has to offer - there were 4 ships in port altogether but we didn't feed crowded in Phillipsburg. The fourth day was St. Thomas and we docked at Crown Bay - they have improved that site considerably since we were last there and there are shops right at the port. We did walk into Charlotte Amalie and stayed for a short period. We were to be in St. Thomas from 7am to 3:30 pm and there wasn't enough time for us to take a ferry to St. John's which is what we prefer to do there. This was also the second formal night and the Captain's Circle party. The fifth day was Grand Turk and this was a wonderful beach day. Grand Turk is a great little port with beautiful beaches, lots of palm trees for shade, shopping and Marguaritaville and a freshwater pool right there where you dock. It's also great for snorkeling and diving. We spent the day at the beach and reluctantly went back to the ship - again perfect weather. The next day was a sea day with perfect weather again. Then home to Ft Lauderdale. Debarkation was a little late, but we exited the ship about 10am and were the last Cruise Connection bus to leave. I should mention that the ship left from Pier 4 and came back to Pier 29 - those of you who drive should be aware that this can happen and there is a shuttle to take you to the garage at Pier 4- but it can be a long wait for the shuttle - there was quite a back up of people waiting for those little shuttle busses. I've only touched on some of the things that are available and activities that are on the ship. We don't take excursions anymore since we have been to these ports many times. My only comment about the ports other than what I have already said is that St. Thomas just hasn't put any money into the island that is visible to tourists. And the walk from Crown Bay is not one I would want to make again. If the ship were docked at Havensight, that walk is pleasant and not dangerous. St. Maarten on the other hand has done nothing but improve the docking facilities and Phillipsburg - it is a pleasure to be there. St. Thomas used to be the best for shopping, but no more - St. Maarten has them beat hands down. As this was Easter week, there were many families on board with lots of kids - they all seemed to be well occupied and behaved - and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. The Star has a max passenger capacity of 3100 - the ship was not full to capacity and there were some cabins available. It was a younger passenger mix than we are used to and we enjoyed it thoroughly. I have the Patters from the cruise and if you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at melindakazmer@comcast.net. Please remember that this review is written from our point of view and others on the same cruise may have had much different experiences. We will continue to cruise on Princess and Celebrity and may try Azamara in the future as well as Oceania and HAL - we like smaller ships and those are becoming increasingly harder to find. We have been on three cruises in the past five months (Crown Princess, MSC Poesia, and Star Princess) so will take a break for awhile. Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Our family of three took this as a spring break trip to get some sun from the somewhat gloomy northwest weather. While we had a generally good time it was more from the destinations than the Star Princess and their crew. In that this ship ... Read More
Our family of three took this as a spring break trip to get some sun from the somewhat gloomy northwest weather. While we had a generally good time it was more from the destinations than the Star Princess and their crew. In that this ship is re-positioning from the Caribbean, there is not much point in diving deeply into the details of the ports; suffice it to say the following: Princess Cays: A nice 'private island'; soda cards don't work here; it is a tender port that seems like it takes forever to get off the ship; get your tender card early and go have a coffee and come back later. Also, bring your swimming shoes, it seemed rather rocky. St Maarten: Beautiful island; we split up for mom & daughter going to Orient Beach (Great) and dad doing the America's Cup sailing excursion (fantastic). St Thomas: We did an all day sail & snorkel to Buck Island Bay and then to Honeymoon Beach; the snorkeling wasn't great for fish but to see the sea turtles made the trip great; the crew of the Dancing Dolphin was great too.Grand Turk: Another beautiful island and beach stop. We did a sail & snorkel. Trip which was merely OK. This was on catamaran that had a capacity of over 80 people; way too crowded. The snorkeling was pretty poor by our standards; the only time you saw fish was when the crew got out fish food. The ship itself was nicely decorated, clean and appeared well taken care of. The down side is that the lay out seemed pretty confusing. On any given floor there are bays of elevators that go to different floor ranges; sometimes this makes it tough to get where you want to go (try finding the Amalfi dining room quick on the first day). Our Jr Suite, while kept generally clean, was not kept up as quickly as we have seen on past cruises; the partition between our deck and next door was never 'locked' until we closed it with a clothes hanger. If you are thinking of a Jr Suite for taking a teenager along, make sure they are pretty short. Our daughter is about 5'8" and she hung off the hide a bed. We had to pull the mattress off each night and put it on the floor.We had ordered from Princess 4 bottles of liquor for in our room; that order was fouled up and we didn't get all of them until half way through the cruise; making it tough to finish. The food, as a whole, was not bad. Considering the number of passengers, they do pretty well; our main complaint is that in the dining rooms, the selections each evening sound more 'fancy' than they need to be considering their quality. As often as not, we ate of the optional selections which were good & basic. The Grill seemed pretty good though with some odd selections at times. We didn't try the specialty dining as they didn't look worth the extra cost to us. The staff that we had contact with was reasonably competent, pleasant, and efficient;where they lacked was in 'warmth'. On every other cruise that we have been on (nine total on four different lines) we have been treated in a more friendly manner than on this cruise; it wasn't that they were bad, just not like they cared if they saw you again. All in all, we had a pretty good time; the negatives that are listed above did not ruin the trip at all; however, when we usually come back from a cruise, we are immediately talking about our next one. Nobody is talking about that now though it has only been a day. I doubt we would choose Star Princess again and it will probably be a while before we try Princess again.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
My husband and I have cruised on Princess lines four times. In July of 2009 we sailed to Alaska on the Star Princess and had the time of our lives. We were excited that the Star would be sailing on this trip over Spring Break. Embarkation ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised on Princess lines four times. In July of 2009 we sailed to Alaska on the Star Princess and had the time of our lives. We were excited that the Star would be sailing on this trip over Spring Break. Embarkation went smoothly and it wasn't long before we were enjoying lunch and our usual bon voyage beverage by 12:30. On the other hand this was not like the trip on Star Princess we had in Alaska. Our steward was competent and was the one person I believe did a little more than we expected. It was difficult to get waited on around the pool. Usually I am approached very often to see if I would like something to drink. I think I was asked once during the week. We always eat dinner in the dining room and the food was good but not the quality we have become accustomed to enjoying. I also enjoy formal nights mostly because I do not get the chance to dress up for dinner very often. While it is clearly printed in the Princess Patter that T shirts are not allowed we noticed that the head waiters were letting it slide. We were told later that they do not want to upset passengers. But then... I thought I was also a passenger. There were many children and teenagers on board as you would expect for spring break. Most were between the ages of 5-17 or 18. There were many of these kids that were unsupervised and down right rude. My husband and I went to the Skywalkers lounge one night. When the elevator opened there were about ten teens sitting on the floor so that we were unable to get off the elevator until a couple of them moved. We told the security men at the entrance to the lounge that they were sitting there and it could be a fire hazard; they just laughed. Toward the end of our cruise I was at the aft Terrace Pool which is an adult only pool. I heard a loud splash and saw there were a couple of teenage boys racing back and forth across the pool. A passenger came down from another level to tell them it was an adult pool and they needed to go. They just stared at her and remained in the pool. After a few mins. and seeing they were not going to leave I called the passenger services desk and asked that someone come to tell them to leave. No one from security showed up or any deck attendant. My husband and I eventually asked to speak with someone directly. A man did come to speak with us. I think he was an assistant hotel manager. He explained that the wait staff and other deck attendants do not like to confront these people because it might escalate or they may upset the passengers. Fortunately we did have a good time and wonderful weather. We will probably sail with Princess again....just not during spring break. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We have sailed on Princess about 30 times, each time we have a great experiance. This was no exception! Emabarkation was quick; we never waited anywhere, were onboard within 15 minutes of getting to port. We carried our luggage on and had ... Read More
We have sailed on Princess about 30 times, each time we have a great experiance. This was no exception! Emabarkation was quick; we never waited anywhere, were onboard within 15 minutes of getting to port. We carried our luggage on and had no problems. Once on board and after finding our rooms, went upstairs to the FOOD... The buffet was good and there was plenty of it. I found this time that the deserts (my weakness) were way better at the buffet and international cafe than the ones offered in the main dining rooms. So each night after dinner we went upstairs to the buffett for desert. We had a great chef (Norbert Sommerhalter) and I think these were the best deserts I've ever had on Princess. We never felt the buffet was crowdwd because we went either very early (before 7:15a.m.) for breakfast and after dinner around 8:30p.m.. Lunch we prefered to have in the main dining room as this helped with portion control and the meals were more to our liking than the buffet. Every afternoon Dh would go to the international cafe and get his cookie, I always got some type of pastry, they were always great. The staff was great and very friendly. The entertainment was not as good as other ships. We usually watch the comedians, magicians, and movies under the stars instead of the production shows; but this time the "stardust show" was the worst ever and there was only one comedian that we found to be "very good" all the others were subpar to what we have gotten used to on Princess. Also there was limited room for the MUTS so you need to get there early to get a lounge chair for the more popular movies. Of al the entertainment aboard, on this trip we enjoyed the live music performances in the piazza each day the most. We noticed that even on formal night most people were very casual in the main dining room which doesn't bother us, but next time we will definatley save the space and not pack a suit for dh and cocktail dress for myself. One drawback was that the gym was not open until 8 a.m. and that created a long line of people wating to get in, it should be openend a lot earlier. Disembarkation was quick and easy, we asked for early dismbarkation and walked off with our luggage by 8:15. Customs took about 10 minutes in line. Couldn't have been any easier. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We arrived the night before our cruise and stayed at the Fort Lauderdale grand. Nice hotel with a great (but expensive) outdoor bar. Booked it on priceline for 75.00 - GREAT rate!!! Right across the street from the port. Embarkation was ... Read More
We arrived the night before our cruise and stayed at the Fort Lauderdale grand. Nice hotel with a great (but expensive) outdoor bar. Booked it on priceline for 75.00 - GREAT rate!!! Right across the street from the port. Embarkation was the smoothest I have ever had. We walked right in at around 12:00 - no lines!!!! I had requested birthday balloons for my husband and they were not there - neither were the robes and fruit I had requested. I was disappointed in the service overall but especially our cabin steward. We never had the special touches I have had on previous cruises and had to request wine glasses multiple times. The mini suites are wonderful - very roomy. Ocho Rios - I wish I had not gotten off the ship. We did not have an excursion booked and in hindsight I wish we had. We found a taxi who took us around - 4 of us for 100.00 which wasn't bad. We had the most fun in the little shopping area! Grand Cayman - beautiful island. We rented mopeds directly across the street from the pier and had fun. Went to 7 mile beach, tortuga rum cake factory and just tooled around. The mopeds were in awful shape and kept stalling. The mirror fell off of mine and they tried to charge us for it - I recommend the mopeds - but not the place we rented!!! Cozumel - loved it!!! What a beautiful island! We did the cooking excursion and I can't say enough about it. The only downer is - I thought it was an all day excursion but you had to be back at the bus at 1:15. We opted to stay and take a cab back later. After cooking a terrific meal we got to enjoy Play Mia Beach. What a great place. there was hardly anyone there and the pool and beach are beautiful (the unlimited margaritas that came with our package weren't bad either!!! Princess Cays - we had been there before and opted to stay on the shop this time - had a nice relaxing day. Dining rooms - nothing special as far as service. I think the waiters were over booked with tables and you never felt like they really cared. I think part of the problem is the automatic charge for tips - they get the 10.00 PP per day unless you change it so no one really works any harder for the personal tips like on RCL!!! The pizza is great but I bet they start charging per slice in the future like they do for icecream!!! Disembarkation was a breeze also - we had late flights home so we were the last ones off the ship - 10:00 am!!! I have never had it go so smoothly!!! Overall - we had fun but the service level was just not there. Did the Caribbean Princess 2 years ago and RCL last year so we have recent experiences to compare it to. I will probably do princess again some time in the future but if I have a choice - it will be with RCL!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
The cruise started with a big disappointment. Princess changed our pre-cruise package hotel to the Grand Yacht Club, which is under total construction. I had read about it, so I called Princess about it, and they claimed that we have no ... Read More
The cruise started with a big disappointment. Princess changed our pre-cruise package hotel to the Grand Yacht Club, which is under total construction. I had read about it, so I called Princess about it, and they claimed that we have no record of the hotel undergoing construction. Well, even the hotel web page said it! They refused to do anything about it then. So we ended up there and the hotel was ok at best. The location is nice, but the room we were in was in dire need of a renovation (mold, baseboards falling off, toilet seat broken, etc.). The main tower is under construction and we had jackhammers and concrete drilling the entire morning that we spend at the pool. During breakfast, they were drilling right above out heads and plaster fell down from the ceiling on the table next to us. Embarkation was fairly smooth. However, I had filled out everything online and their system had lost all the data, so the lady had to enter everything again! The cabin was fine, mostly clean (although there was still sand and hair from the previous occupants), but the carpets and the sofa were heavily stained. The shows were quite good. We had a couple named Komika, Kamika, whatever and they were really great. However, they were British so their humor was a bit different and not for everyone from the US (people here get offended way too fast&). The dancers/production shows were also great. The food was also very good, not outstanding, but good enough for us to be happy. The service was excellent every time! What we found in general was that the Eastern European waiters were a lot less friendly and attentive than the waiters from Mexico/Asia (other people we talked to said the same thing). We had a great duo Rey/Juan in the Portofino room and we requested them every night. There was a wait for dinner (anytime dining) every night that started ~ 7 pm. Come before 6.30 pm and there is no wait. The foodcourt was at best so/so, but then I am not a fast food / food court guy anyway. Btw., I did not see anyone sell coffee stickers (since this has been a topic here). Ports: Ocho Rios was awful (for us). We are not the I am going on vacation mainly for shopping type people. The dock is a bauxite factory and ~ 20 min from town. People were very aggressive in trying to sell stuff and we heard that 5 people got busted for drug purchases (I have no proof for it). We did the plantation tour, which was interesting, but unfortunately included Dunns River Falls, a huge tourist trap. However, it was quite amazing to watch hundreds of overweight tourists struggling up the falls in the water. We just stood there for an hour laughing Cayman: nice, but VERY crowded (6 ships that day). Very expensive, though. We did the turtle farm, which was very nice for our daughter. Hell is a total joke, a tourist trap in need of a clean-up and new paint. Cozumel: well, we didn't get there because of wind. They just cancelled the port without waiting or even trying to get close. The ship then proceeded directly to Princess Cays, where we did not arrive any earlier although we had an extra 10 hours to get there. They definitely saved some fuel there.. Princess Cays: very nice facilities, very very very expensive stores (go outside to the local vendors, they sell T-shirts for 30% of what you pay inside), ok beach, but lots of stones in the water. Not child friendly at all (for them to go into the ocean). Take rubber / beach shoes with you. Food there was ok, nothing special. The NCL island in comparison has a much nicer beach, but not so good facilities. Some other random observations: I already described the smell. Its there, but not too bad or annoying, and they vehemently and immediately completely deny its existence. The indoor pool was broken twice, which led to much disappointment from my daughter. They charge for ice cream, what a joke. The art auction, spa package etc. selling is out of hand. We got tons of advertising material in out cabin. My wife did an eye treatment and they were trying very hard to sell her more stuff. The childcare was great. Out 5 year old loved it. The soda stickers do not work on Princess Cays, what a ripoff. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
I am a teacher and have used a traditional grading system to organize my thoughts. This was my fifth Princess cruise, I have taken 10 other cruises, and it was the first time in an inside cabin. We were on Aloha 728 and enjoyed this ... Read More
I am a teacher and have used a traditional grading system to organize my thoughts. This was my fifth Princess cruise, I have taken 10 other cruises, and it was the first time in an inside cabin. We were on Aloha 728 and enjoyed this location near the Terrace Pool and Horizon. I usually travel with my husband but this time went for a short getaway with some girlfriends. We are all in our mid 50's. The seas were a bit rough and we experienced quite a lot of motion at night, maybe it was just the room location but it is the most motion I have experienced. Embarkation: D We arrived at FLL at 10:30 AM and had a Princess transfers since there were three of us. We felt it would be easier then a taxi, what a mistake!! They kept us at the airport until almost 12:30 with a weak explanation of having to clear the ship. When we finally got to the pier the lines were very long. Express Check In was a joke-there was no such thing. We finally got to our room around 1:30. This is very unlike most of my previous experiences with Princess. Stateroom: B+ It was an inside stateroom and we got what we expected. I think a balcony is worth every cent of the cost. I will choose a balcony from now on. Not only for the room but the extra chair. Ship: A I love this ship. I have been on Star before the fire for a Med cruise and she looks just as wonderful. I have also been on the Golden and will be cruising on the Grand in the future. These ships are laid out so well. You never notice the crowds. Food: A- We thought the food was almost excellent. We ate Traditional seating at a table for 8. We like the service and convenience of the same time, place, waiter and tablemates each night.  (Our table mates wee fun and interesting.) The soups were excellent and hot (except maybe once); the salads were wonderful. I never had the Caesar salad but enjoyed the recommended salad each night. There was always a low fat dressing available, not sure about Fat Free. The dressing was so good I have a hard time believing it was really LOW fat! The Lobster tails and King Crab Legs were excellent- cooked just right. Each night a sugar free dessert was offered. We never used room service. We ate a few breakfasts at Horizon and the fresh fruit, yogurt, granola were great. We had a few sit down breakfasts too with great Eggs Benedict and Tortilla with Eggs and Salsa that we really enjoyed. Each afternoon we went to the Horizon and got a snack to have on the Terrace pool with our wine. They had different cheeses and fruit available each day. Drinks were good and only once was I pushed to have a double. I bought the soda card and enjoyed many club sodas with lime each day. I do not like the ice tea available, it is much too strong and I don't like all that caffeine. Service: A- Our waiter and assistant waiter were very efficient and went out of their way to remember our simple requests. Cabin steward was great also- filled all requests. Headwaiter only gave us a quick hello each night, seemed more interested in others ordering more wine. Bar servers on whole were friendly and efficient. Around the pool, waiters were just as quick and polite with my club soda as to those ordering another drink. Entertainment. B+ Enjoyed Sarge, this is the third time I have seen him and he is quite funny. I have heard many of the jokes before though. I especially liked the music medley he did from songs people called out. This really showed his musical talent. Saw Motor City also and it was energetic and had some good talent. The finals of Princess Pop Star were fun and the girl who won was very talented. We went to Skywalkers and danced to 60's music one night. The DJ was less then friendly. Activities: NA We did not attend any activities but spent our days reading, relaxing, playing cards. We did go to the gym and it was fine. There was a little mix up with signing up for the treadmills but it was soon straightened out. Ports of Call: B Nassau is not my favorite port but, of course, we knew that when choosing the itinerary. We spent the day at the Nassau British Hilton and for $15 had a lounge chair, towel and relaxing day by the beach and pool. We had an OK lunch here and drinks that were good. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to just relax nearby. It was a 5-10 minute walk. We stopped at the Straw Market on the way back to ship and bought some cute straw purses. The prices were cheaper here then in cruise port complex. We loved Grand Turk. We spent several hours there. The pool complex was lovely and very clean. Even with two ships in port, it did not become overly crowded. We had comfortable lounge chairs far enough away from all the noise of Margaritaville. If we wanted to enjoy watching some contest, we went to the swim-up bar for a Margarita. It was a fun afternoon. The shops really have nothing different to offer and we couldn't find anything to buy here. Princess Cays was a fun day also. We rented floats and stayed in the water most of the day. The barbecue lunch was just OK but drinks were good. It seems like we like the drinks everywhere!! Onboard Shopping: C Shopping is one of our favorite pastimes and we could not find anything to buy. Perhaps we have all the watches, purses and Sworski crystal, we need but we literally could not find anything we wanted. We somehow missed the day where there were items for sale in one of the dining rooms. that is usually a positive experience. Disembarkation: B- We were given Red tags and were the second group off the ship. We were told this would be around 8 but it was closer to 9. Finding our luggage was the easiest ever because they only let a few groups of people go get their luggage at a time. We were on our bus at 9:30 but had to wait over a half hour for the bus to fill up to go to the airport. A taxi would have been much better. We had a 1:45 flight but could not change our time off to later. It worked out find because it took almost two hours to check-in and go through security at FLL. On more thing: Major complaint was smoking by the Terrace Pool. It seemed the first few days there were not any smoking prohibited signs. People were smoking everywhere. I asked if it was only allowed on one side of the ship but was told No this was a smoking area. By the last two days smoking prohibited signs mysteriously appeared on tables on one side of the ship. I don't care if people want to smoke but it would be considerate to allow some area out back for us non-smokers. The cigar smoke was the worse and was really over powering. I was a bit surprised cigar smoking was permitted here. I thought there was a bar reserved for cigars? It was a very nice getaway. I know Star Princess begins a different itinerary this week. I think alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean. This was a transitional cruise. It was very nice to be able to cruise on Princess for such a short get away. Kathy Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
The Star Princess is a beautiful stately ship on the sea. Cabin - E731 - The back of the ship balcony was very private with little sun. It was fairly spacious, somewhat resembling bargelike surroundings with a steel overhang and no floor ... Read More
The Star Princess is a beautiful stately ship on the sea. Cabin - E731 - The back of the ship balcony was very private with little sun. It was fairly spacious, somewhat resembling bargelike surroundings with a steel overhang and no floor covering - sort of a wet damp metal space with small pools of water upon arrival. Thank goodness for at least 2 loungers, 2 chairs and a small table. The refrigerator was barely operable. The ice bucket was filled once a day unlike other cruises I have been on when it was filled 3 times a day. I had to step out of the shower to shampoo my hair (by the way - the eucalyptus shampoo and conditioner is horrid - so please bring your own) - just a bit too small. The rooms were in need of fresh redecorating - the beds and pillows the worse?! (There was nothing comforting or relaxing bout this bed). Dining Whenever or wherever - forget about it! This was the worse service ever experienced cruising. We tried to transfer to the formal seating. The ceo and his side kick of the dining room admonished our desire for a table for 2 - 2nd seating dinning claiming there were only tables for 4 or larger. He assured us we would be quite pleased with open dining in the Portofino or another choice. Rude, rude, rude - we were constantly placed next to loud serving stations with smashing of silverware. This constant scenario sent us to Tequila Steakhouse one night. Here you pay $15.00 a person, but it was well worth it. The food in general on this cruise was not at all delicious. The breakfast buffet did not include fresh omelette and egg stations. The Danish might have been baked fresh the first day of the cruise. It all was often cold. Although some may like pot roast and rabbit - I didn't care for those 2 choices on the same night. Prime rib was not at all tasty, however lobster night was excellent. One night, when we asked us for a change in tables - it took approximately 2.5 hours to get served. The pool areas were very nice. Unfortunately, we did not take the lifeboats to Princess Cay. It seems to me a more organized timely manner of transferring the cruisers to the island is recommended. Why not issue tickets to the cruisers with their original ticket - and post departing times. The slot machines are tight. This cruise deserves no more than a 3 star rating and needs a lot of work. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
Review of Star Princess November 6-11, 2006 Captain: Tony Herriott Cruise Director: Kelvin Joy Maitre d Hotel: Elia Tinonin Itinerary (5-nights): Sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau, At Sea, Grand Turk, Princess Cays This was our ... Read More
Review of Star Princess November 6-11, 2006 Captain: Tony Herriott Cruise Director: Kelvin Joy Maitre d Hotel: Elia Tinonin Itinerary (5-nights): Sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau, At Sea, Grand Turk, Princess Cays This was our sixth Princess cruise, second time on the Star, first time doing less than a 7-night voyage, first time in an inside stateroom. This review is a joint effort with DH (GoBlueCruiser). As a former educator, I will use a traditional grading system for each category. Embarkation: A- The ship was late arriving from New York. Boarding was delayed 30 minutes, but once embarkation commenced, it was very efficient. We were onboard within 15 minutes. When our number (1) was called, we proceeded to the Platinum/Elite line but noted that there was actually faster service at the Baja counter. Luggage was delivered within one hour. Stateroom: B+ As this was an extra cruise for us this year, we opted for an inside stateroom and found it adequate but smaller than we'd anticipated. The large mirror above the desk enhances the size of the cabin, storage space is sufficient, the bathroom is fine for us but we missed having an easy chair in which to relax. We had one balky drawer and a slow shower drain but the stateroom was essentially in good condition. No upscale designer bedding but we slept comfortably. Ship: A The Star is as beautiful as when we sailed her in March, 2002. There is no evidence of the fire, the ship is clean and well-maintained and shows no signs of wear. We appreciate the understated elegance of Princess vessels. Having most recently sailed on the Caribbean Princess (2005 and 2006), we've determined that Vista Lounge is a more desirable venue than Club Fusion. Food: B We enjoy breakfast in the dining room and are happy to sit at a large table with other passengers. The menu offers eggs and omelets cooked-to-order along with the usual breakfast accompaniments. There is a daily special that is usually worth trying - Eggs Benedict to die for! Coffee in the dining room is fine and we didn't have it in Horizon Court. We don't do lunch and rarely visit the buffet but stopped by Horizon Court at least once daily for purposes of this review. Quite frankly, the selection was limited and unappetizing. At lunchtime there was a beverage cart that offered wine splits, beer, soda and bottled water. We never had anything from Trident Grill, but the pizza at Prego is awesome! We had room service only once - our late-night order of chips/guacamole/salsa arrived promptly and was very good. The spicy snack mix served in the bars is fabulous! We like anytime dining and always request a table for two. Most dinners were very good with a few outstanding items including Eggplant Parmesan, French Onion Soup, Creamy Asparagus Soup, and Minestrone. The Caesar Salad was wimpy but Princess' Rack of Lamb is absolutely exquisite. DH liked some of the flavorful fruit sorbets while I enjoyed the nightly selection of cheeses. Head Waiters recommended some very fine wines. Service: C+ Our stateroom steward was friendly and efficient. Special requests received immediate attention. Dining Room service (Capri) was not up to previous Princess standards and was often slow, disorganized, and understaffed. Breakfast service in Portofino was similarly slow and disorganized. We interacted with several excellent Head Waiters who recommended wines and appreciated our comments regarding food and service. Miglena from Bulgaria is a fabulous bartender. Besides being fluent in four languages and a nurse, Maggie makes the meanest Margarita on the high seas and created a knockout Bulgarian Cocoa especially for us - the recipe remains our secret. Maggie is now sporting a Detroit Tigers cap that DH gave her prior to departure. Bar waiters were available in lounges and near pools but were never aggressive. Our limited contact with Purser's Staff was fast, friendly, and helpful. Entertainment: B+ We like watching fellow passengers perform and are more likely to attend these shows than lounge or production shows. So You Want To Be a Rock Star and the finals of Princess Pop Star were especially enjoyable and an outlet for some fine onboard talent. Motor City was energetic and entertaining, and Sarge doesn't disappoint. Good pre-dinner piano/keyboard in the Atrium. Activities: A Princess ships offer a myriad of choices and something for everyone. We like intellectual challenges like Trivia, Jeopardy!, and Scavenger Hunt. These daytime activities are always fun and an opportunity to meet wonderful fellow passengers. The Star Cruise Staff was energetic, enthusiastic, hard-working; we enjoyed our chats with Adrian and ACD Kristen. Ports of Call: B The ship is our destination, and we don't choose a cruise based on itinerary. We didn't participate in any ship-sponsored shore excursions. We had visited Nassau previously and disembarked for less than an hour. Many passengers were very impressed with Atlantis, so if we visit Nassau again, we'll be sure to visit the impressive resort. The pier at Grand Turk and Margaritaville is new and beautiful with a lovely beach, massive shallow pool, shops, restaurant, swim-up bar. We stayed for about 90 minutes that was long enough to visit the shops, have a Margarita (me), a Corona (DH), chips & salsa  breakfast of champions! We left before the Zuiderdam docked; Margaritaville would be overly crowded with two ships in port. We always enjoy a day of fun in the sun at Princess Cays and were happy to find the water temperature about 10* higher at this time of year (we usually visit there in late January). There are many more clamshells than on our visit in January actually looks a bit cluttered. We didn't see the new bungalows but were able to get information from a passenger who rented one of these 8x8 air-conditioned structures ($200) that includes priority tendering and bar service but no mini-fridge as has been reported. We waited about 40 minutes for a tender to the private island but had no wait for the return trip. Onboard Shopping: B+ On this cruise, there was no pushing of soda cards, coffee cards, photos, cookbooks, after-dinner drinks. No garage sale or tee-shirt blowout. I received helpful service for a watch purchase in Facets. Shopping venues are somewhat limited compared to the Caribbean Princess. Disembarkation: A Easy and efficient. Platinum/Elite disembarkation lounge a nice perk. Please be advised that passengers who opt for Express disembarkation (carrying off luggage on their own) are not first off. They are given Navy Blue tags and must wait for their color to be announced before they can leave the ship. General Comments - Taxis readily available at airport and pier. - Internet painfully slow & continually locking. $.50 per minute. - Dining room attire loose; jeans, shorts, tees at dinner. Little formal attire on formal night. - No Captain's Circle Cocktail Party on this short voyage. - Alcohol openly carried onboard in FLL and in port. - Waits for anytime dining and reservations necessary during peak times. - We left the Discretionary Hotel Charge in place and tipped stateroom steward and bartender additionally. Please feel free to ask questions if we haven't covered something that you'd like to know. Either I or DH will do our best to provide further information or details. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
This March we travelled on our third Princess cruise. The first on the Golden Princess, which was great. The second on the Dawn Princess, which we were very dissatisfied with, especially the room location. We gave Princess a final try on ... Read More
This March we travelled on our third Princess cruise. The first on the Golden Princess, which was great. The second on the Dawn Princess, which we were very dissatisfied with, especially the room location. We gave Princess a final try on the Star Princess that left Fort Lauderdale on March 5, 2006. Embarkation was very fast and easy. This is usually the case with Princess. After getting to our rooms,we immediately asked our room attendant to make our room a little cooler. She explained that once the door to the ship closed, it would cool down. Once we were asail, we asked three more times during the week to make it cooler and it was never done. The room, however, was the usual and our room steward very good otherwise. Get up early to reserve your pool chair as there is chaos up there by noon time. They say not to serve pool chairs, however, I never saw them stop anyone. We ended up with Personal Choice Dining. The first night we ate in the dining room. There was only a fifteen minute wait. My advise is to call in the morning and reserve your time so you don't have a wait. The menu did not seem appetizing to us, therefore, we ordered off the anytime menu. I order New York Sirloin, which was thin and tough. The service was mediocre. The following day, our friends got engaged, therefore, because it was a formal night we ordered champagne to celebrate. After the initial pour, the waiter never came back. After waiting a while, I got the bottle and started to pour myself which caught the attention of the maitre d', which cause the waiter to rip it from my hands and pour it himself. I once again ordered the steak off the anytime menu and once again it was thin and tough. I guess with the Sterling Steak House onboard, they don't want you to order steak in the main dining rooms. We did send these steaks back and ordered something else. We never received the desserts we ordered that night, even though the waiter went to great pains to explain them. Absolutely go to Sabatini's and Sterling. They were both excellent in food and particularly in service. The waitstaff at the pool bars and cigar bar were excellent. Always knowing what to bring and when you're ready. The bartenders were friendly and courteous. The buffet was very small. There was really no direction, as people were coming from both ends and fighting for their position once inside. Seating was difficult during lunch times. The selection was mediocre. On the other hand, Trident's Grill was consistent, if it's burgers and pizza you like. The Cruise Director and Asst. Cruise Directors were great. Join in, it makes it more fun. After the bad dinner experiences, we opted to have the gratuities removed from our bill and took care of them ourselves. We tipped the deserving staff very well and the others not at all. I feel having personal choice makes it harder for cruisers to form a relationship with waitstaff. They are considerably more rushed and the service lacks because of it. The people that are in the scheduled sittings get their full attention and we felt like we were bothering them. The ports were great. We always have a wonderful time in the Jamaican ports and like Princess Cays. It's a great way to relax if it's your last day at a port. We've been to the other ports many time, therefore, we choose to do a quick run around town and then return to the boat where it is very quiet. Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
We are a fifty-something couple who enjoy cruising. We have been on Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess. We love Princess and though we talk about trying another line we keep coming back to Princess because of their prices, service, and ... Read More
We are a fifty-something couple who enjoy cruising. We have been on Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess. We love Princess and though we talk about trying another line we keep coming back to Princess because of their prices, service, and their perks to past passengers. We have never had a bad cruise, though some are better than others. Our vacation was off to a good start when Delta offered us $200 credit each if we would take a different flight out of Salt Lake City and arrive in Fort Lauderdale a little over two hours later than our booked flight. We were flying in a day early, so we took that and Ill apply the credit to my ticket to Hawaii this summer. We even had a bit of excitement when we were on the runway waiting our turn for take off and the pilot turned back and went back to the terminal because there was a highly intoxicated passenger on board who was causing some problems. He was removed by the police. We stayed at the Holiday Inn on the Beach. It was nothing special, but the rooms were clean and there was a good restaurant less than a block away. We had read that it was in a bad part of town, but we felt safe when we went out that night. We got this room for $52 on Priceline, so absolutely got our moneys worth! I wouldnt want to stay here for more than a night, but it was fine for us. The next day we walked to a strip mall just across the bridge and picked up some diet Coke, beer, and that very necessary coffee pot. I am a coffee fanatic and use it two or three times each day. We were at the port around 11, too early as the doors didnt open until nearly noon, but then we were right on board and in our room. Princess does a great job here! This was our first time as Elite, and we enjoyed the special treatment from everyone. The best part was the priority tendering, as we tendered at Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and (of course) Princess Cays. It was nice to just walk down and get on a tender instead of getting tickets and waiting for our number to be called, especially since we had booked independent tours. We were on the Star in 2002 and booked the same mini-suite, E728, covered and an extended balcony. We love this cabin; the only thing better is an aft. Our cabin steward was excellent and met our every request. We had second seating traditional dining and had a great waiter (Tiger) and fun people to share our dinners with. Tiger always brought an extra entrEe to share and usually an extra dessert. Needless to say, we never left hungry. I actually thought the food on this cruise was much improved over our last few cruises. The staff on this ship is very friendly and nice. We never passed one without them giving us a smile and friendly greeting. Monday was a sea day. We didnt do much other than relax on our balcony. That night was the first formal night, but we didnt have to dress up as we had the Ultimate Balcony dinner. There are many reviews on this so I wont go into details except to say that it is well worth the $100 per couple. We will definitely book it again. We dont enjoy the formal nights, so had it on the perfect night for us! We were just talking about our cruise this morning, and the dinner was one of the highlights for us. Tuesday we were at Cozumel. They used tenders that hold 500 passengers, so it was very slow to load and unload. The first tender was for the ruins tours on the mainland. It took over an hour to get them loaded and get the second tender there. This is where we really did appreciate the priority tendering as we were on the second tender. I have read many complaints about the tendering process, and I would have to agree with them. Hopefully there will be some repairs made to the docks very soon. We had booked a private tour with Adrian. Our plan was to deep sea fish, then snorkel, and then take a drive through town. We met Adrian, and since the weather was perfect and the seas calm, we headed out to fish. Gary caught a nice mahi mahi, probably 50# although by the time he tells the story a few more times itll probably weigh closer to 100#! We could see that it was raining between us and the shore, but only got a brief shower. Even though Coz is one of my favorite places to snorkel we decided to skip it this day as the water was too rough. Adrian was most interesting to talk to, and he had many stories to tell about the hurricane. His family owns a restaurant in Cozumel. It was a great day! Wednesday was Grand Cayman. We had booked a tour with Moby Dick for a snorkeling and stingray trip. The waves were very rough, but we did snorkel and saw some beautiful fish. Next we went to Stingray City and the stingrays were awesome! We have been in Grand Cayman several times but had never done that tour before. We made a stop at a shop for rum samples (poured by our bus driver) and also sampled rum cake. The rum cake is cheaper in the ships gift shop, so we decided to wait and get it there. That night we went to the steakhouse for dinner. It was good, but I didnt think it was anything special. The service was not as good as in the regular dining room. I was disappointed as wed read so many good things about it. Well probably try this again on another ship to see if we just hit on an off night. Thursday was Jamaica. We had booked an independent tour with Barrett Adventures. It was rainy and very windy and the captain was unable to dock at Ocho Rios in the morning as planned, so went on to Montego Bay. We docked there at noon. We were disappointed as our phone hadnt worked from that port so we werent able to contact our tour to let them know of the change. We got off the ship and there was our driver standing with a Barrett Adventures sign. He had gone to Ochee, then driven for two hours to get to Montego Bay to take us on our tour. Now that is service!! We wanted to get away from the crowds and see the countryside, so he took us out to see a coffee plantation and showed us the other crops that are raised there. It was very interesting and just what we had hoped to do. We stopped and had some great jerk at a local restaurant, then made a quick shopping stop. We found the rum cakes were less expensive than on the ship, so bought some of them to bring home. Then we still had time for a quick city tour. The guide was good about keeping all of the vendors away from us. He was knowledgeable and very proud of his country. The tour was great and one that we will long remember. Friday was a sea day so we got some badly needed R&R! We were invited to the Captains lunch which was a first for us. It was a very nice lunch with plenty of wine. We got our picture taken with the Captain when we went into the dining room, and it was given to us at the end of our lunch. We also were given our personalized menus at a souvenir. That night was the second formal dinner. This time we dressed up and went to the dining room. The lobster was great and our waiter made sure everyone had their fill! Saturday was Princess Cays. The weather was gorgeous. We got off the ship early, did some snorkeling and then just sat in the shade, drank some pina coladas, and read our books. Princess Cays just gets nicer each time we are there. We were back onboard in time for a quick shower and to go to the dining room for lunch. Our dinner companions had done many cruises on Royal Caribbean; they said they were diamond level. They fell in love with Princess, did an onboard booking, and were already planning a cruise on the Grand Princess. We didnt go to many shows, just to see the two comedians. They were both excellent, and we laughed ourselves silly. There is too much to do and too little time! We enjoyed the ports, but actually prefer just three ports on a seven day cruise. One thing we missed was playing duplicate bridge. For some reason there was no bridge director on this cruise. There was golf pro and there were many who were taking lessons and going to the golf tours with him. All too soon it was Sunday and it was time to get back to the real world. We had a late flight out, so took a city tour offered by Princess. We still got to the airport way too early. We should have just rented a car and driven up the coast, had a late lunch, and returned the car two hours before our flight. We have done this in the past and it is a much nicer way to spend the day. We had a fantastic cruise and are now looking forward to the Caribbean Princess next November. We did not hear any complaints (or whining!) from anyone. This was a first, as we have always run into some unhappy passenger in an elevator, line, at lunch, or somewhere! Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
The Star is a beautiful ship and spending Christmas with family on a 10 day cruise is the best vacation anyone can ask for. Here is a review. Embarkation was a breeze. It was one of the best and easiest ones we've been involved in. ... Read More
The Star is a beautiful ship and spending Christmas with family on a 10 day cruise is the best vacation anyone can ask for. Here is a review. Embarkation was a breeze. It was one of the best and easiest ones we've been involved in. Cabin: E 716 is a special J category cabin that is a mini suite. It was very spacious with a sofa that opened up as a bed for my 14 yo daughter. We later found out that it is a handicap cabin. We were quite happy to get such a cabin. Ports: St Vincent is dirty, poor and not ready for tourists at all. We got a taxi driver and he took us up to the fort and to the botanical gardens. In Grenada, we again got a taxi driver to take us all over the island. He gave us a spice tour, took us around the island and dropped us off at the beach. He came and picked us up at the designated time. In St Lucia we took the Princess catamaran tour to the Pitons which wasn't worth the money. Our own tour in the afternoon was more educational. Martinique was a tender port and we walked around town ourselves. In St. Thomas we shopped and then went to Sapphire Beach. Princess Cays was our last stop. Food: I've had better in other ships and other cruise lines. Thought the food was hit or miss. Cheese pizzas and hot dogs and fries by the pool were great, Service: Our cabin steward Gorge was absolutely wonderful! The dining room service was efficient in the Amalfi room where we dined. There were a few bar staff who were friendly but most had long faces. The Purser's desk was abrupt but efficient. Entertainment: OK, shows were good, same cruise ship fare. Ventriloquist Mike Zieglar and Comedian James Kidd?? was pretty good. Karaoke was fun because they have made it into an American Idol type of a competition. The Culinary show was really funny. Disembarkation was awful. No organization. A Lot of people didn't pay attention to the tags and left without their tags being called because they were not checking tags at disembarkation. Also once out of the ship, we were held back again until the bottleneck at the customs desks alleviated. Overall we had a wonderful cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
STAR PRINCESS Eastern Caribbean Cruise Oct. 23 - 30, 2005 By Mary & Vincent Finelli One week prior to departure, all eyes were on Hurricane Wilma, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Caribbean. At first it was thought Wilma ... Read More
STAR PRINCESS Eastern Caribbean Cruise Oct. 23 - 30, 2005 By Mary & Vincent Finelli One week prior to departure, all eyes were on Hurricane Wilma, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Caribbean. At first it was thought Wilma would pass over South Florida on Friday morning the Oct. 21st. However, unfortunately for those living in Cozumel and Cancun Wilma, a category 5 hurricane, stalled and pounded both of these resort areas for two days. Finally, she made a hairpin turn and headed straight for Florida and the Keys. She was not downgraded to a tropical storm as predicted, but rather on Monday the 24th she crossed over the width of South Florida and struck directly everywhere from Miami north to West Palm Beach, as a Category 2 or 3. We were lucky, the Star Princess sailed into Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday the 23rd and disembarked her passengers just in time. We embarked at noon (even though our ticket suggested 2:00pm as the optimum embarkation time). We felt with Wilma breathing down our necks, we should anticipate the boarding time, and we were right. Star Princess anticipated sailing time by an hour and a half. We sailed at 3:30pm, since Port Everglades was shutting down for hurricane safety reasons. This cruise was to become an exercise in flexibility; at first most of the passengers were just happy that it was not canceled due to the weather. However, Commodore Cesare Ditel made welcomed itinerary changes; after all, safety comes first! He is the Senior Commander on the Princess Lines and we were happy to place ourselves in his very capable hands. Sunday we set sail for Ocho Rios, Jamaica; then Monday at 3:30pm it was announced that our course was changed to San Juan, Puerto Rico. We berthed there at 5:30pm on Tuesday. The new itinerary included St. Thomas USVI, Tortola BVI, and Princess Cays, Bahamas. EMBARKATION -- Embarkation was speedy and orderly; we had wheelchair assistance from the moment we entered the port terminal straight through to our stateroom on Caribe Deck 10. We were located by the forward lifts (elevators) and had been assigned to the Amalfi Dining Room which was aft, a long walk from our cabin. We immediately went to see the 2nd Maitre D' Vincenzo Petrucci, who kindly changed us to the Portofino Dining Room Midship. We had a table for two by the window --- Excellent. We heard comments about first night dining experiences. With "Personal Choice Dining," it is always better to speak with the Maitre D' when arriving on board, rather than waiting for dinner time and ending up in a crowd of passengers attempting to make changes. All set, we headed for the Welcome Aboard Buffet. It was ample and delicious, but a bit rushed for some, since the Boat Drill had been moved up an hour earlier to accommodate early sailing. We started our cruise with Hurricane Wilma nipping at our heels. We learned that the hurricane eye passed directly over our home in Boca Raton, FL and did major redecorating of our trees and landscaping while blowing out our pool screen structure. We saw the devastation in Ft. Lauderdale on our way home. High rises in both Miami and Ft. Lauderdale had most of their windows blown out and South Floridians would remain without electricity and traffic lights for weeks. Miami was closed to non residents for over one week. Nature's fury was evident all around. THE SHIP -- The Star Princess is one of four of the Grand Class Ships: The Grand Princess, the Golden Princess, and the Sapphire Princess are her sister ships. The bronze plaque on board the Star states she was built in the Fincantieri Monfalcone Shipyard, Cantieri Navali, Italy. She is hull #6051 launched in 2002 at a cost of $450 million, and she is exquisite. Her length is 951 feet; beam is 159 feet including the bridge wing; her tonnage is 109,000 and her draft only 26 feet. Her maximum speed is 24 knots and she has Bermuda registry. The Star has 18 decks, 1,301 cabins and eighty percent of her outside cabins have balconies. She has 28 wheelchair accessible cabins (18 outside, 10 inside). There were 2,800 passengers on board with a crew of 1,200 which is a great passenger to crew ratio. Her crew is listed as British and Italian reflecting the origins of Princess --- The merger of Sitmar Italian Line and P&O British lines. Star Princess has the same elegant all white exterior of her sister ships. There are four swimming pools and nine whirlpool spas; there are three main dining rooms: the Amalfi, the Capri and the Portofino (all in the same lustrous maple wood paneling with brass and etched glass wall sconces. The ceilings are studded with tiny twinkling star lights. There are gold gilt ceiling moldings, elegant draperies of blue and gold and all table linens are the lovely "Fili d'Oro." There are seven other dining venues including the Horizon Court Buffet (24 hour service) Tequila's (southwestern style with reservations and a nominal charge) Sabatini's Trattoria (fine upscale Italian dining, reservations required and a nominal fee) and Prego's Poolside Pizzeria and the Trident Grille. The Star Princess, like her sister ships, is easily spotted in port or on the seas, due to the unique rear "spoiler" high over her stern, which houses the Skywalkers Night Club (deck 17) accessible by a moving walkway (Skywalk). This vision of space has a raised dance floor and lots of chrome trim. The ceiling is starred and the carpeting has planets comets and asteroids. From up here in the day time cruisers can look down on the Sports Deck and the ocean. Gala Deck 4 has the medical center. Plaza Deck 5 forward has a Laundromat and cabins. Midship are the Art Gallery, Reception and Tour offices, the Lobby Bar, Library and Card Room and on board shops. Toward aft is the Capri Dining Room and the Galley. Fiesta Deck 6 forward is the Princess Theater (with stairs to the theater), Shooters Bar, the Video Arcade, the Grand Casino, the Reception Desk, Boutiques and the Portofino Dining Room, the Galley and the Amalfi Dining Room aft. Promenade Deck 7 forward is the Princess theater balcony with wheelchair access ramps and the last three rows reserved for passengers with limited mobility. The last row had room for wheelchairs and seats for companions. Excellent! When going toward midship there is the Promenade Bar, the Internet Cafe, Tequila's alternative dining, the lovely wedding chapel and the Boutiques. These venues are arranged along a serpentine corridor. Toward aft is the Explorers Showroom, the Wheelhouse Bar, Sabatini's Trattoria and the Photo Shop (there is excellent photography on board with formal and black and white sittings available). All the way aft is the Vista Lounge with an intimate design and stage. All seats here have a great view of the stage. Emerald Deck 8, Dolphin Deck 9, Caribe Deck 10, Baja Deck 11 and Aloha Deck 12 are all staterooms and there are Laundromats on every deck. Lido Deck 14 has staterooms forward. Toward midship are Neptune's Reef and pool area, Mermaid's Tail Bar, Prego Pizza, Trident Grill and the Conservatory. Midship are the Calypso Reef and Pool. Aft are the Horizon Food Court & Terrace and the Outrigger Bar. Sun Deck 15 forward has the Gymnasium with many types of exercise machines, the Oriental Lotus Spa and Current Pool. Here Vincent enjoyed the whirlpool and Mary the current pool, whose temperature was perfect! This area is decorated with an Asian theme with murals, a statue in lotus position and a huge gong resembling a bell. It is very beautiful especially in the morning. Midship are the Tradewinds Bar and Princess Links with Putting Green and Golf Course Simulator. Aft is the Fun Zone and Off Limits the teen area. Sports Deck 16 forward is Center Court, the Jogging Track and the top deck of Fun Zone and Off Limits. Sky Deck 17 is the Skywalkers Night Club suspended high above the ship. This ship has very simple, clean lines of design and lovely unique art work. There is interesting original art work in every stairwell, but the ship itself is a design jewel or STAR. FOOD SERVICE -- Here is where Star Princess shines. The service under Passenger Services Director Gianfranco Sampiero is excellent. The ship is in pristine condition and her crew is on its toes. We were impressed by Executive Chef Mario Rotti and his exquisite dishes. The Senior Maitre D' Mario Propato is assisted by three other Maitre D's. In the Amalfi was Vincenzo, and in the Capri was Roberto and in the Portofino, where we dined, was Rodel De Leon. These accomplished men kept the dining room staff humming. Assistant Maitre D' Antonio Mesquita, our Waiter Jon Dumitrescu and his assistant Preecha Homsombath made sure that everything was perfect. The service was impeccable. The meals were always nicely paced each evening. Food temperature was perfect. All items were varied, innovative, fresh and plated to please the eye and the palate. We had each morning Continental breakfast in our stateroom: juice, coffee, tea, milk, cold cereals, rolls, Danish and croissants. It was always on time and served by the crew in their formal white "Bell Hop" jackets. Lunch was always available in the Dining Room or the Buffet on Deck 14. At lunch we were served wonderfully by Jansud Thammarat, Jindapong Niwat and their assistant Aji. We like the Dining Room best with appetizers like Roast Beef Andalouse (Spanish Style), Fried Calamari, Vitello Tonnato (thinly sliced veal with tuna sauce and capers), Bresaola (air cured beef with arugula and sliced Parmesan cheese, broiled mushroom and eggplant, etc.. Soups included hot ones like minestrone, French onion, cream of mushroom or asparagus, split pea, chicken broth with matzo balls, and cold ones like gaspacho. Salads were varied and included iceberg, Romaine, endive, and watercress etc. and were combined with fruits and nuts. Every day the noon menu had two pasta selections such as the following: spaghetti aglio olio and peperoncino; lasagna; fusilli with tomato and eggplant; rigatoni carbonara (with eggs, bacon, and cream sauce). Entrees included Salad Nicoise, chili, Chicken Oriental, Blintzes, fish and chips, Cobb Salad and London Mixed Grill (beef, lamb, and English banger), Red snapper, and Savory Short Ribs. Desserts were terrific cakes, pies, ice cream, yogurts and sherbets, all made fresh on board, plus fresh fruits and cheese plates of famous international varieties (Edam, Brie, Ricotta, Parmigiano, etc.). Dinner was the same as above only more irresistible dishes. Chef Rotti definitely believes in variety and each evening in the Portofino was a feast. We have to mention the table for twelve next to ours was the Oldani Family Reunion: The rightfully proud mother was radiant every night seated at the head of her beautiful family. As our three year old grandson Nicolas says when the family is all together "It's just like a party!" Mrs. Oldani-Asensio celebrated all week with her four sons and daughter and their spouses. They even had their own Captain USN, so it was dinner with the Captain every night! A typical dinner menu had at least twenty selections, not including the Dessert Menu which usually had upwards of ten offerings. Appetizers included Lobster Terrine, Antipasti of Prosciutto and Cantaloupe, Shrimp Cocktail (always available) and Eggplant Parmigiana, etc. Soups were the classics bisques, onion etc., plus cold fantasies like Pina Colada, cream with rum, etc. Salads were fresh and included radicchio, Boston Bib, baby spinach, watercress and arugula combined with various nuts and fruits. Entrees had a different unique pasta course each night: i.e., Pasta with lemon chicken and broccoli in a tomato sauce. Unique items like filet of Zander fish, or a lobster turnover demand tasting. Yet, there was also standard holiday fare like Smoked Virginia Ham, Nebraska Prime Rib, Roasted Turkey, Pot Roast with Polenta, Rock Cornish Hen, Roasted Leg of Lamb and Shrimp Fra Diavolo or Boneless Chicken Kiev. Each menu was nicely balanced with an "Always Available" selection: Salmon Filet, Beef Filet, Chicken Breast, Fettuccine Alfredo, or vegetarian and healthy alternatives. Desserts each evening were so tantalizing, that even when Vincent said no dessert tonight, he failed to stick to it. There were SoufflEs, Tiramisu, Pear tart, Creme Brulees, Yam Pie, Black Forest Torte, a Duet of White and Dark Chocolate Mousses, Ice cream Bombes, Cheesecakes, and not to mention Swan Puffs swimming on a chocolate lake. The only way to survive a culinary cruise like this one is to ask for appetizer portions, we did, and it was wonderful to sample so many delicacies. We also dined at Sabatini's Trattoria where "pranzo" Italian dinner is served with impeccable style. Food and Beverage Manager David Montes is in charge with Asst. Maitre D' Roberto Casula. Our two waiters were Gabriel Albu and Francesco Szeasz, both of whom spoke Italian to Vincent. Excellent! Pizzaiolo Demetrio Sobremonte especially makes and bakes focaccia and individual pizzas and garlic breads. They are wonderful and made to the patron's taste. When we asked for extra crispy, Demetrios responded "A La Commodore Cesare." A meal in Sabatini's is an event: three hours of twenty or so courses, music and endless attention. It truly brings Italian food and service on board to the zenith. For the main entree Mary had the Lobster Tails and Vincent the Sea Scallops. The meal begins with an endless series of appetizers including Caviar, and deep fried Camembert cheese; then, a medley of pastas including Spaghetti and Vongole, Cannelloni and the lightest Ricotta Gnocchi ever. Chef Rotti's specially prepared Lucullus was superb (pasta and mozzarella sealed in a packet of eggplant and baked). Entrees are excellent, Mary had the Lobster Tails and Vincent the Sea Scallops. The dinner ended with limoncello, a Neapolitan liquor made on board with lemons. This dinner could be called "Sapori d'Italia" (flavors of Italy), an excellent gourmet tour of Italy! CABIN -- Stateroom C304 on Deck 10 Caribe is wheelchair accessible. When entering on the left is a huge bathroom with safety rails all around and an oversized 5'x5' shower. There is a single sink with a triple mirror with shelves for toiletries. Then there is a double bed flanked by two bureaus (six drawers in each and reading lamps). The far wall is all floor to ceiling windows to the large 10'x16' balcony, which held two chairs, two chaises a foot stool and a small table. When entering on the right there is a wide foyer, a triple armoire with hangers and shelves and a personal mini safe. Next, there is a mini bar, small refrigerator, and a TV. There is a large desk/vanity with three large drawers and a thin paper drawer and a hair dryer. The room also has a coffee table and two upholstered barrel chairs. The colors are restful and our Steward Miguel Pineda was terrific. Gratuities are automatically charged to your sea pass card --- unlike some other lines where you must sign a request. There was a mix-up and gratuities were not charged. Vincent noticed the error when our final account statement arrived and the lovely Jr. Asst. Purser Yolanda Mills Rosati made the adjustment. It is very important to check your final statement for discrepancies. The hard working staff deserves proper recompense! ENTERTAINMENT -- Cruise Director Tim Donovan is an engaging MC for the week's many activities: quiz and game shows, dance classes, Pilates, Yoga, port lectures, Scholarship at Sea Program, galley tour and a cooking show (which was a hilarious comedy involving the Chefs, Maitre D's and the audience) pottery classes, etc. There is something for all, but one may just stroll on the Promenade, sit in a deck chair and watch the sea or read a book. The Las Vegas Style shows each evening were very entertaining. The Princess Fun Zone has three categories: Princess Pelicans ages 3 to 7 yrs. (enroll from morning to night if you like); Princess Pirateers ages 8 to 12 yrs., with activities such as arts and crafts, sports tournaments, ship board Olympics, Scavenger Hunts, and "Edutainment"); The Off Limits, for ages 13 to 17 yrs., has a teen center with video games, movies, giant screen TV, ping pong, and jukeboxes. There are Teen Only Disco and Dinner Parties, Sports Tournaments and Shipboard Olympics. We have noticed on cruises that the youngsters, like the adults, soon find each other and have a great time. PORTS OF CALL -- Day 1. Ft. Lauderdale Depart 3:30pm Day 2. At Sea Day 3. San Juan, Puerto Rico Arrive 5:30pm Depart Midnight Day 4. St. Thomas, USVI Arrive 7:30am Depart 5:30pm Day 5. Tortola, BVI Arrive 7:15am Depart 5:50pm We had an excellent tour of Tortola by bus. We enjoyed spectacular views of the island's high peaks and beautiful crystal clear waters and beaches. Some of the ride had elements of a roller coaster. This Island is the play ground of the rich and famous like Virgin Airlines owner Brandson, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby, etc. There is great wealth here and abject poverty living side by side. Day 6. At Sea Day 7. Princess Cays, Bahamas We sailed near Princess Cays where the ship had planned a Barbecue, shore and water fun, but unfortunately the sea was too rough to tender ashore safely, so the stop was canceled. Thus the day was spent on board with great fun and of course more casino and shopping time. Day 8. Ft. Lauderdale Arrive 6:30am The Port Everglades we returned to was vastly different than the one we sailed out of just one week before. Hurricane Wilma had left her mark every where. DEBARKATION -- Princess does not rush passengers out of their stateroom or off the ship. Passengers are advised to wait in their staterooms or in the public lounges, and not in the gangway area, until their luggage tag colors are called, so that an orderly exit can be achieved. However, as usual some passengers do not comply. We hated to say good-bye to our new friends and especially our old one: PSD Gianfranco Sampiero. We had wheelchair assistance from our stateroom through passport check and customs right out to the curb. No problem. CONCLUSION -- The change of the itinerary did not affect our enjoyment of this cruise, even though we heard some people manifesting their disappointment when the Commodore announced it from the bridge. We have cruised many times in the Caribbean, so it does not matter which ports we visit. We now cruise for the enjoyment of the ship, service and, most of all, the delicious cuisine, which on Princess ships is one of the best at sea. Moreover, STAR PRINCESS Eastern Caribbean Cruise Oct. 23 - 30, 2005.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
I guess this won't be to hard to write because it was mine and my sister's first cruise but, boy howdy did we have fun. I could not believe the SIZE of the ship, the embarkation stage went off with out a hitch, we got in line ... Read More
I guess this won't be to hard to write because it was mine and my sister's first cruise but, boy howdy did we have fun. I could not believe the SIZE of the ship, the embarkation stage went off with out a hitch, we got in line about 11:15 and we stepped into our cabin at 12:00 noon sharp! I was so excited I didn't know what to do first. So I called my son, at home....WE're here on the ship!!! After we unpacked we met out brother and sister-in-law and rest of our cruise group at the back of the ship for sail away with the rain pouring down but it didn't last for long and we didn't care we were on a cruise. The first nite out was a little rough but then things got better from there on out. Our first stop was San Juan, what can I say except it was okay. Next stop was St Thomas I really enjoyed this stop, for one we got the BEST tour from Godfrey Tours which we booked right thru them not the ship and it was half the price, 25.00 per person I highly recommend this tour. Our next stop was Tortola and this was another great stop. Now both islands seemed a little dirty but I have to remember I'm in a different culture from home. I think my favorite stop was Prin. Cays, I LOVED this stop and I wish they would make the stop a little longer. Anyway great trip, can't wait till the next one. Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
Background: We used Star Princess for our honeymoon, which was our very first cruise! Travel to port: After the wedding in Tampa, we dropped off our car rental and went to the hotel. Caught the Princess shuttle that morning, which was ... Read More
Background: We used Star Princess for our honeymoon, which was our very first cruise! Travel to port: After the wedding in Tampa, we dropped off our car rental and went to the hotel. Caught the Princess shuttle that morning, which was painless and the driver was very nice. Hotel: Very basic, don't even remember the name, but we could see the ship from our location. Not very memorable as you can well imagine. But great springboard to embarkation Stateroom: We had a balcony room, which was very much larger than I imagined it would be. Large closet, 3 drawers in each night stand (which was sufficient), moderate bathroom. The balcony was smaller than we thought, but we were not out there long. Ship info: They got my name wrong, it was my pre-marriage (ex-husband's) name, which was not so hot. Husband was sweet about it though. I asked them to change it and now we're Mr. and Mrs. Walters instead of Waters. HAHAH... we still joke about being the Walters. The ship was huge, clean, and we never had a problem, ever! Everyone was so friendly and thoughtful. Every time we asked for something, we got it. Dining: We frequented the buffet area most of all, out of convenience. We loved the pizza place by the pools and the grill too. We were surprised you had to BUY ice cream, as my mother in law said that was not the case on Royal Caribbean (unless you wanted Ben & Jerry's). The food was great and the buffet dinners were the med (Germany/Bavaria, etc). I ate so much, even in the dining room. The courses just kept coming. They had lamb, lobster bisque, pastas, etc. We split a dessert. All alcohol, even in the dining room is a charge, but we don't drink much. I think I had 2 whiskey sours the whole week. We did have a bottle of wine the first formal night. OK, maybe I drink a little bit :) Activities/Excursions: We didn't do an excursion in Puerto Rico because it was an evening trip. It rained the whole time, which stunk but at least we didn't waste the $80 per person doing something while cold and wet. Instead, we went to Senor Frogs and had a blast. We kept our yard glasses, which are not free but the waiter even gave us clean ones and wished us the best with no charge. HA! We did a Champagne Catamaran in BVI. It was AWESOME. Captain Rocco did a great job at entertaining us. We didn't see much life, but it was a lot of fun and our first excursion. We had drinks and snacks afterward. In AVI we did snorkeling at this Indian Island spot and saw AMAZING life. Someone even saw an octopus, which I did not. I did see a zillion parrot fish, a trumpet fish, and a bunch of other things I won't be able to identify as long as I live. No sharks. Princess Cays was kind of a letdown in comparison. There were no real excursions because it was a private island. We did lay out and had a great lunch. We went in the water a bit, but it was "cold" compared to the Virgin Islands. I use that term relatively. If I went there first, it would have been much better. You can rent snorkel equipment and floats, etc. We didn't, but will certainly bring our own next time. Heck, I'll be SCUBA certified next time so the adventures will be magnified. I did take yoga and my husband exercised, which was fun. You just have to take the tour of the facilities to sign up, which stunk. It was a total sales pitch. The yoga class was good except for the balance thing when you're cruising at sea. Service: As I said before, anything I wanted I got. My husband was IN LOVE with the cookies from room service. I think we ordered them 6 of the 7 nights. Entertainment: Good movies made available. They had a cooking show with the staff that was kind of fun. The stand up routine we saw stunk, but we wanted to leave early to get a good seat for the hypnotist anyway. No harm, no foul. The hypnotist was TOPS and was for adults only. I am kicking myself for not going to both shows he did. It was phenomenal. I would love to see him again, truly an entertainer. They had Princess Idol, but we were always at a show or too zonked out to sit through it. We took naps everyday, so self-inflicted "entertainment" was tops too! The pool was never overly crowded, but we didn't use it much. Hot tubs were never empty, which we would have enjoyed more if they were. Hey, with 3000 people on board, we're not complaining. Embarkation: Amazing it was so fast. 110% satisfaction. Disembarkation: Took much longer, but I found my bags right away once I was "allowed" to look for them. Lots of standing around waiting for our turn. Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
Star Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.7
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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