Sail Date: October 2018
From embarkation to disembarkation and in between, we had an excellent time. Certain employees deserve commendation for their above and beyond duties. One is Anthony, our cabin attendant at P244 always kept our cabin clean and orderly. ... Read More
From embarkation to disembarkation and in between, we had an excellent time. Certain employees deserve commendation for their above and beyond duties. One is Anthony, our cabin attendant at P244 always kept our cabin clean and orderly. The other is Mister Joan, our waiter at Capri Dining Room and his Indonesian beverage waiter (sorry I forgot his name) for keeping our beverage filled - they are a good team. The people manning the International Café also deserve recognition. Keep the International Café open - nice alternative place for snack or a full meal. Maybe if we could have more entertainment at the Piazza. We also enjoyed the entertainment shows at the Princess Theater. They were great broadway shows. Another alternative is the SaltyDog where we usually stop for a hot dog/hamburger/cheeseburger and the fries. Thank you for the complimentary vouchers at the Crown Grill and enjoyed the food immensely. I missed going to the Fitness Gym because I couldn't find extra time. Too bad isn't it? To the other employees who made our excellent cruise, we thank all of them for a job well done! My son-ion-law whom I invited to join us, he loved it so much he signed up for another cruise and invited his father and sister. Like what the Captain says, "Nevertheless, Bye-bye."" Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Alaska was on our bucket list so we did one week land tour and one week ship cruise. Princess did not disappoint! The staff onboard was professional and courteous. Our cabin and all public areas were always clean and neat. We started ... Read More
Alaska was on our bucket list so we did one week land tour and one week ship cruise. Princess did not disappoint! The staff onboard was professional and courteous. Our cabin and all public areas were always clean and neat. We started in Anchorage for the land portion of our tour. The hotel we were in, Hotel Captain Cook was located within easy walking distance to shopping, eating, and park/waterfront trail. -The Star Princess was very nice. The cabins are plain, but are in good repair with plenty of storage space (closet and under bed for suitcases). Plenty of hangers in the closet and a separat area of shelves with a safe. Our steward was very efficient, friendly, and professional (Albert Garcia). He kept our cabin clean and neat, assisted us in timely pressing of our formal night clothes, and he was always mindful of our coming and going in order to take care of our daily cabin cleaning and nightly turndown service. -The cabin was just the right size. We were in L206 and had a balcony (I think a must for an Alaskan cruise). We were on the port side, which is good for a southbound cruise. Our cabin had the basic furniture and was in good repair The A/C could have been colder for us. We slept with the balcony door open and still was not cool enough for us. The bathroom is fine so long as only one person is in it at a time. Above our room was the aerobics room, but we never heard any noise or music from it. -Dining was great. Our service was always efficient and professional (food and drinks served timely). The menu options each night were great (king crab legs, lobster, always a fish dish, vegan dish, etc.). In addition to the dinner option each night, there were the Princess standbys offered every night (i.e. shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad, salmon, fettuccini, cheesecake). -Horizon Court is the buffet option offered for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was open 0600-2300 each night. It had great variety and quality food options. I was pleasantly surprised by the wonderful service here too. Tables were quick turned over (so no long trolling for a table), beverage service was professional and timely. The buffet areas were always clean, which is not easy task with 3000+ guests coming through at least once, if not two, three, or four times a day. There was also the International Café (paninis, sandwiches, desserts), pizza café (pretty good pizza it was), and the burger grill (more than burgers (veggie burger, chicken, hotdogs, brauts). If you can't find food you like onboard...it's YOU, not the ship. Also, on sea days there is afternoon tea, and if you don't like the time of the tea (3:30-4:15), you can get very similar sandwiches, scones, sweets in the Horizon Court. -We did not partake in any of the entertainment (except the married couple game show, always a great laugh on any cruise line). I particularaly enjoyed the Naturalist onboard. She was a wealth of information on the wildlife and environment in Alaska. She would take times to point out wildlife over the loudspeaker (public places only, not your cabin). In your cabin you could tune in on TV to hear her. You could be anywhere on the ship and know whether to look port or starhboard for whales, sea otters, Bald eagles, etc. -Anywhere we interacted staff, (dining, guest services, bars) we encountered friendly and professional staff. They even offered a Breast Cancer 5K walk onboard during one of the at sea days. A $15 minimum donation, which Princess matches. The gym looked great. We looked at it the first day with the best of intentions, but never got around to using it :) Ports/Excursions: Lots of great options, but overpriced as any cruise line. All the ports we pulled into were an easy walk into town. No need for a bus or taxi if you are just walking around town. -WHITTIER, AK- This was a transfer, train to ship. We did not visit Whittier and that was fine with us. Not much to see there. HUBBARD GLACIER, AK - Absolutely wonderful. We had a balcony cabin so the Capatain turning the ship from port to starboard and allowing time to view the glacier was wonderful! We kicked back on our balcony with a beer and enjoyed glacier calving and beauty. GLACIER BAY, AK- Great! So many glaciers and wild life to see. The scenery and time spent here was perfect. Appreciated the time spent facing glaciers on port and starboard sides. SKAGWAY, AK- Our zipline shuttle tour guide was great. Zipling was okay (11 lines, not that long). We did one in Cabo years ago that we liked better. It said there was a snack included which equated to marshmellows and water. The town of Skagway was cute with self guided walking tours. Most of the shopping (as in all the towns, was owned by the cruise lines. I prefer the local shops). Loved the Skagway Brewery. We also had time to hike a bit in Skagway...good uphill hike! JUNEAU, AK - We spent most of our time at Mendenhall Glacier (Tongass Nation Park). Great time hiking the trails, visiting the Visitor Center. We also had a beer at The Hangar in town. It was nice to look over the water and watch the bush planes take off and land. KETCHIKAN, AK- My favorite port! We kayaked, walked the town, Creek St. is quaint, and the salmon spawning trail was interesting. We had a beer at the local Fraternity Order of Eagles (FOE) and sat out on their deck on Creek St....watched seals playing with each other. The beers were only $3.50 each and I thought it was very nice of this private club to let us hang out there. VANCOUVER, CA - Did not see, just a transfer. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We really enjoyed this cruise. Quite an adventure for us. Machu Picchu should be on everyone's bucket. The Andes are beautiful. I was a little unsure about the size of this ship I like smaller ones, but I was pleasantly surprised. ... Read More
We really enjoyed this cruise. Quite an adventure for us. Machu Picchu should be on everyone's bucket. The Andes are beautiful. I was a little unsure about the size of this ship I like smaller ones, but I was pleasantly surprised. Somehow we never felt that we were crowded except at the gym. Finally decided to work out mid morning instead of early morning so the gym was less crowded. Food was very good although there were less choices at dinner that we used to have. All of the staff were friendly and spoke excellent English. Princess seems to be trying out a possible new specialty restaurant, Fondu. We went and loved it. On the other hand, we did not think that the Italian restaurant was as good as were remembered. The steak restaurant was excellent and we ate there twice during this cruise. The Star Princess had two speakers who shared a variety of topics with the passengers. The person who spoke about Machu Picchu had been there many times and was really knowledgable. The other person spoke about a variety of topics, my husband enjoyed them all. I wish there had been a bridge professional aboard. Someone directed the games and there were a number of tables, but I would have preferred a professional on a cruise of this length. We are contemplating another cruise not his same ship as we really enjoyed it. All in all the 17 days flew by and we can't wait to cruise again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We loved the cruise. After 5 nights in Santiago, we took turbus for $8 each to Valporaiso for 3 nights before our embarkation. ( hotels were Galerias and Cirilo Armstrong respectively. Wonderful stays) Embarkation was easy, but ... Read More
We loved the cruise. After 5 nights in Santiago, we took turbus for $8 each to Valporaiso for 3 nights before our embarkation. ( hotels were Galerias and Cirilo Armstrong respectively. Wonderful stays) Embarkation was easy, but involves going to the passenger terminal a few miles from the ship. Then once you are checked in, Princess transports you to the ship which is docked at the container port. We were able to enter cabin immediately upon hoarding. Lunch at horizon court and then got to know the ship. Princess Star is very well maintained and beautiful. We had a balcony cabin aft port side on deck 10, caribe. Extra large balcony with 2 chairs that recline with footrests and a table. We enjoyed the balcony to the fullest, even when the weather turned cooler as we went farther south. We just put on our jackets and brought out our coffees our cocktails/ wine. The entertainment was fabulous. Both cultural events and historical lectures were held almost everyday. Tango lessons, tango orchestras, line dancing south of the border style, port lectures, historical/cultural lectures, you name it, these activities abounded. And we went to almost all. The movie entertainment was top notch. Under the stars got chilly a few nights, but blankets were brought out. And movies were also shown in the Vista Lounge. Dancing music was throughout the ship at several venues everyday. We love the Piazza. And the International Cafe. That brings me to food. Delicious!!! We had anytime and were able to get a table for 2 every night. Loved it. Great wait staff throughout. Great choices on the menus. We also used room service frequently for coffee, juice in morning on our balcony. Excursions were enriching and lots of fun. We chose Princess for every stop except Stanley, and Montevideo In Stanley we took the public bus to gypsy cove for $20 each to see a few penguins. In Montevideo we walked the ciudad vieja on our own and had lunch in Puerto Mercado/great grilled steaks. Beautiful beach and we even saw a few emperor penguins. We felt that value wise, Princess delivered a great excursion at every stop. Punto Arenas had to be skipped because of the weather. We disembarked easily, feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and culturally enriched. We remained In Buenos Aires for a week more in a condo I found on flip key. Great place, "Hollywood condo." Then went to Colonia in Uruguay for 3 nights on buquebus. Stayed at Poada Don Antonio and loved every minute. Ended trip with 5 days back in Montevideo at My Suites Boutique hotel in Pocitos. Great little hotel We loved our whole trip and the Princess Star cruise made it all the better. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
First, we did enjoy our cruise. We like being at sea, the rocking motion and the noise of the waves at night. Also we went with my wife's two sisters who were fun. We have done many cruises, somewhere in the teens and I am a Platinum ... Read More
First, we did enjoy our cruise. We like being at sea, the rocking motion and the noise of the waves at night. Also we went with my wife's two sisters who were fun. We have done many cruises, somewhere in the teens and I am a Platinum member. I have done the Hawaii cruise 4 or 5 times now. Pros: the gym was great for me. I found going at lunch time was best as there were few people there and I could get a pretty much uninterupted workout. The staff were especially pleasant and helpful. Embarkation took just a few minutes perhaps because we arrived latish, about 1 1/2 hours before sailing. Negatives: the food was the worst I have had on any cruise. There were a number of strange culinary curiosities, one was peas with wilted lettuce cooked in, another with salmon balls in the soup, pea soup I think. The deserts were particularly disappointing some I only ate one or two bites. The entertainment was not the quality I expect and, strangely, they would have two shows that looked good, one in the Vista lounge and an overlapping show in the Princess Theater. In the too small Vista lounge it was so crowded we had to sit so far to the side that we could not see the back half of the stage for a Princess troupe performance. It might have worked if they had a solo perfomer who could be at the front of the stage. The internet cafe was terrible. Most of the expensive minutes going to waiting for pages to load even at logon. Basically we enjoyed what we expect on any cruise line and had a good time in the ports. Not sure I would go Star Princess again unless it was an irresistible deal Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2014
we stayed the night before at Embassy Suites South close to LAX and were late arriving due to weather all along west coast. We flew in from Oregon. The hotel was nice, same almost as Embassy Suites FLL. We took "Coolride" ... Read More
we stayed the night before at Embassy Suites South close to LAX and were late arriving due to weather all along west coast. We flew in from Oregon. The hotel was nice, same almost as Embassy Suites FLL. We took "Coolride" private car to pier. Great service! We arrived at the pier early (no traffic) at 9:30am and to our surprise their were porters ready to take our luggage right outside. We walked in and very friendly Princess greeters took us to a waiting area. Around 10:45am they called us by Princess Status to go to a line with your deck name on it to get checked in and get cruise card. Then we were directed to security screening and once through to our Elite lounge. This was set up very nice and they had ships staff attending it and answering questions. This was the first time ever seeing this and it was very nice. We were onboard around 12:30pm. I must say the Elite/Suite people were most rude as the greeters tried to get us to go to the ship in rows, however everyone jumped up and seemed to be fighting for position to be first, we sat and watched in amazement as know one cared about adhering to organization-like at this point you are not going to get on the ship! We had an aft covered mini-suite (first time without a full suite) E724 and contrary to reviews and posts that no noise is heard from this cabin we can assure you that you can definitely hear Verizon lounge below. Zumba started at 9am and the evening shows usually ran past midnight. Most of the shows were so loud ear plugs did not work, at least we did not need to attend the show, we only missed seeing the performer(s). So, if you can hear at all or have good hearing beware. I really enjoyed the mini suite, the layout with lots of room, loved the closet (better than full suite except Grand Suite), loved the shower in the tub combo over the full suite shower. Did not miss Sabatini's breakfast-not real fan of it. Did miss nice lounge chair on balcony and being able to order in from dining room, although we did save a lot of money on extra tipping by not having a full suite. We had rough seas, promenade deck closed off, wind and rain, very cool weather going and coming. As soon as we hit Maui (late morning) we saw whales everywhere, they were so close to the ship you could hear them breath. The whales breached in front of us as well. We took a whale watching tour with Pacific Whale Foundation in a zodiac and they have bench seats. This was the highlight of our trip. Then we walked around Lahaina enjoying the warm sun. Hilo we went with friends to Volcano National Park and walked and had lunch at the lodge and made a stop at Mauna Loa for macadamia nuts. Honolulu we went with friends and drove around the island, stopping at "Hawaiian Music" to watch the guys play ukulele's and to see what to buy next. We stopped for shaved ice and everyone was out as it had been pouring rain the past few days of our arrival. We stopped for lunch at a shrimp truck that was awesome and fun. Kauai we walked around by the pier and once onboard it rained and rained all day. Ensenada stayed on ship, it was cool and windy in the morning, warming up by late afternoon. As soon as we docked in Ensenada their were so many seagulls all over the ship!! We enjoyed trivia (and wining) and meeting new friends on this cruise. The food was amazing as good as specialty restaurants in the main dining rooms as well as all venues. The entire staff was great. We saw whales at every port. This is one of my favorite cruises and look forward to another.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
The muster drill was a preview of coming attractions. Not a single other couple under 50... and that's being generous. We met 2 other couples our age (around 30) and saw a handful of others. The onboard entertainment catered to the ... Read More
The muster drill was a preview of coming attractions. Not a single other couple under 50... and that's being generous. We met 2 other couples our age (around 30) and saw a handful of others. The onboard entertainment catered to the target demographic (majong, knitting, etc). After the stage shows, the director was literally begging people to go up to the night club. We went once and saw 5 people in there. I really brushed up on my ping pong. The worst part were the days at sea. 10 or so of them. The weather was not great, and I think we only had 1 day of sun on the way back. Then, when you actually get to the islands, you're arriving at around 8 and have to be back on by 4 usually. Hardly any time for anything. Even on Kauai, which is dinky, you have time to go one way or the other, snorkel or hang out at a beach for a couple hours, then head back. Customer service was also horrible. The wait staff and room service were great, but the pursers were awful. We brought on 2 bottles of port wine because the agreement stated 1 750ml bottle per passenger of wine. They confiscated it and told us it's because it's fortified. They then went on to say that they've had this problem or misunderstanding before and that it's a "gray area" in the policy. Why as the customer am I being penalized for a gray area in your corporate policy? After going to the purser 3 separate days and speaking to manager upon manager, they offered a credit which did not cover the cost of the 2 bottles but I still don't see why that was such a battle. If you want to cruise the islands, fly and cruise from there. Don't waste all your time out in the middle of the Pacific. I'll not be cruising Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
We are from the Greater Seattle area so this was our 6th trip to Alaska. We got an e-mail from Princess indicating some great discounted prices on balcony staterooms. The price was right $499 plus $150 in fees. With vacation time coming up ... Read More
We are from the Greater Seattle area so this was our 6th trip to Alaska. We got an e-mail from Princess indicating some great discounted prices on balcony staterooms. The price was right $499 plus $150 in fees. With vacation time coming up we tried to book on the internet. This would not work so we called Princess and got a very helpful man who booked us but we had to wait several days to get our cabin number. My girl friend is a Princess Platinum member. She got a personal phone call from a hostess who gave us the room details and arranged for our friend ( who drove us to the ship ) to have a ship tour on embarkation day. We parked in the very large parking area and soon caught the shuttle to the terminal. Very straight forward, left our luggage with a bag guy and up the stairs to clear security. Being with a platinum member we went right to the platinum check in, and were on the ship shortly. Our friend got his own card and a special badge. He had to be off the ship by 3pm. Since this was our third straight trip on the Star Princess we showed him around and then took him to the buffet. Once he left we had the muster drill and sailed away under cloudy and cool Seattle weather. I had been checking the weather and was optimistic that we would be seeing some Alaskan Sun. All of our other cruises have been in August and once in September. Since cloudy and showers is the normal summer weather in SE Alaska you can only hope for the best. We sailed on Sat. 5/18 and arrived in sunny Juneau on Monday 5/20. We had no shore excursions planned so walked north thru downtown towards the capitol. We found a nice coffee shop and ordered our lattes. We then headed to the State capital building. After our tour we head up the hill to the house of Wickersham for a free tour. We made our way down the west slope of the hill and ended up at the Governors mansion. The weather was gorgeous and spring blooms were in full force. Lots of snow still on the surrounding mountains. The next day Tues. 5/21 we arrived in Sunny but cool Skagway. Again no excursions. We walked into town and found another local latte shop. I then found a bakery that had $1 day old cupcakes. Wed. 5/22 found us in Sunny Tracy arms. Tons of ice in the water so we could not get too close to the glaciers. Waterfalls were going crazy with all the melting snow. Thurs 5/23 found us in Ketchikan on a very rare sunny day. We walked to Creek Street and the back to town to do some trinket shopping. We left mid afternoon. Lots of people on deck to enjoy the sun and marvel at the scenery. Friday evening found us in Victoria B.C. Under partly cloudy skies and cool weather we walked into town to take some photos. Saturday was back in Seattle under of course Cloudy skies. Disembarkation went smoothly but initially I could not find our bags. Next time I will use some big colorful ribbons. I carried off 2 bottles of liquor but could have bought more as there is not one to check your purchases. Our stateroom B702 was in a perfect location. Near the stairs but not noisy. Just 2 decks below the buffet. The room was very quiet and of course we loved the balcony and I remembered to bring my binoculars. All rooms and balconies are now non-smoking. However I could smell smoke on several occasions when on the balcony. Hard to tell where it was coming from, though. Parts of the casino were too smoky and it tends drift into the Princess Theater. We had first seating in the Amalfi dining room. Our table mates were from Texas and we had a wonderful time with them. Service was good, however on a couple nights the entrees were somewhat slow in arriving. Also, the serving sizes seemed a tad smaller than previous years. That being said you could order extra anything and get it with a smile. You can check your folio charges on stand alone printers. I would do this daily as one drink charge did not show up until 3 days later. I do keep a notepad on what I order so there are no surprises. Everything I spent was either beverages or the nightly room fees. We did no excursions this trip and no Spa trips for my girl friend.In summary, this last minute trip was the most relaxing with the best weather yet. I will definitely be watching for those Princess specials! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
We're an active couple in our early 30's with five cruises under our belt, three with Princess. This is the second time we've sailed out of SF, and have been to Mexico on multiple occasions. Embarkation: The Embarcadero ... Read More
We're an active couple in our early 30's with five cruises under our belt, three with Princess. This is the second time we've sailed out of SF, and have been to Mexico on multiple occasions. Embarkation: The Embarcadero was backed up with traffic, as usual. On our last trip, the taxi driver used the side streets to get up to the terminal and dropped us off across the street. We wheeled our baggage (carry-on) right into the terminal. This time, our town car driver drove us up Embarcadero, and it was slow going. When we arrived, Pier 35 was a hot mess. A line of cruisers snaked around the sidewalk. It took about 30-40 minutes just to get inside. Once inside, we filled out the requisite health form and stepped into yet another line for check-in. Unfortunately, we don't have Platinum/Elite or suite status, so we couldn't get into the special (shorter) line. One day. After making it through check-in, getting on board was fairly quick. We flew through security screening, then a picture for ship security before stepping on board. Stateroom: We stayed in a standard interior room on the Caribe deck, far forward on the starboard side. We have heard others complain about noise from the Princess theater below, but we didn't have any noise issues. The closet had plenty of hangers and the room was clean. No complaints about our room steward. Dining: By the time we got on board and schlepped our carry-on bags to our room, lunch in the dining room was over. Horizon Court is not our favorite place to eat, but we head up anyway. The food is typical buffet fare, but the service (or lack thereof) is what stood out most. No one offered us a drink, and we had to retrieve our own silverware. The staff seemed rather harried. Luckily, this is the only time we experienced poor service from dining staff or drink servers. I will chalk it up to turnaround day craziness. We opted for fixed dining (2nd seating) after having a poor Anytime experience on our first Princess cruise. Our waitress and assistant waiter were superb. Also, the beverage service was great in the lounges and theater. We ate mostly in the dining room and once in the Crown Grill. I often followed the dinner recommendations of our waitress, and was never disappointed. Since food taste is rather subjective, I won't go into details. But I was more than pleased with the dining room food. However, I noted a lack of "extras" -- no dessert buffet or Mexican-themed night. This didn't diminish my experience in the least, but my husband did miss his favorite chocolate-covered strawberries usually served on dessert night. Service: Except for some minor hiccups -- long embarkation lines, long tender wait in Cabo, and not-so-chipper service at the purser's desk the night before disembarkation -- I was in 7th heaven. I had heard that the ship was fully booked, so a few minor issues on a ship with thousands of passengers won't deter me from sailing with Princess again. Entertainment: Production shows have been shorted to about 30-40 minutes in order to accommodate 3 shows each night. Most were pretty good. We weren't impressed with either of the comedians, though. Rootberry, a juggling duo, was good fun. Ports (we have been to all of them before): Catalina -- We spent more time waiting for the tender than we did on the island. It may not have been Princess's fault, because the Catalina pier didn't look like it could accommodate very many tender boats. We walked around a bit just to stretch our legs. Others recommend renting a golf cart to explore, but this didn't interest us. Puerto Vallarta -- Walked off, took a cab ($6US) to the Malecon, explored a bit and had lunch at one of the beach restaurants. Purchased some small watercolor paintings from a street artist and headed back to the ship via cab. Cabo overnight -- Easy tender compared to Catalina. We walked around town and negotiated a parasailing trip while on the dock. Parasailing was great fun; better scenery in Cabo than in Puerto Vallarta. Then, lunch on the beach at The Office. The food wasn't as good as what we had in PV, but still satisfying. It was their seasonal re-opening (they are closed in Sept) and the tab was half off, which was a nice surprise. We had planned to jet ski on the 2nd day, but got lazy and stayed on the ship. San Diego -- Everyone on the ship had to disembark and go through customs, which was relatively fast for US Citizens (the other line was much longer). Walked to the bus stop and hopped on the 7 line to Balboa Park. Explored a bit but bored quickly and headed back downtown. We stopped at the USS Midway, which was a stone's throw from our ship. Great museum with an audio tour included. Disembarkation: Fast. Ridiculously fast. If you can, walk off with your luggage. I was up at 6:30am and grabbed a small breakfast from Horizon Court to bring to our room. Our meeting time was 8:10am, but we were at the assigned lounge by 7:30am. We were in a cab to BART by 8:30am. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
I've cruised multiple lines in the past and on my last cruise I thought I'd try a Princess ship after viewing them across the ports of call (most people check out the other ships, right?). They looked like good ships and indeed ... Read More
I've cruised multiple lines in the past and on my last cruise I thought I'd try a Princess ship after viewing them across the ports of call (most people check out the other ships, right?). They looked like good ships and indeed they are. The Star Princess with a few exceptions is pretty well laid out (I'll get to the exceptions in a moment). The Star Princess was clean and in good repair. It was not uncommon to see maintenance crews cleaning and painting. The mini-suite had more than enough storage and the large suitcases easily slid under the bed. The mattress was full-size; not two beds pushed together (a very nice surprise). The buffet wait staff was quick and friendly. The tables were rapidly bussed as soon as people vacated; very well done. We ate breakfast and lunch in the dining room as often as time allowed and never had a problem getting a table for two. We opted for traditional dining, second seating, and our table was always ready when we arrived. On formal nights, there were multiple photo stations with multiple photo backgrounds (not everyone wants a Titanic staircase scene) so the lines were relatively short for those wishing to get photos taken. I also want to mention the pasta dishes. The Italian chef prepared some of the best pasta dishes I have ever tasted; kudos! These were some of the high points. Now to the things which weren't so great. One of the reasons we chose to sail with Princes was their smoking policy which prohibits smoking in staterooms and on balconies. Being strongly anti-smoking, we wanted to cruise without being assaulted by cigarette or cigar smoke. Imagine our distaste when we smelled cigarette smoke very strongly as we boarded the ship and went to the central elevators. The cruise staff responded the smell was coming from the cigar lounge. Well, it was always present when we were in the central area and on the mid-ship and forward stairs (the lounge is on the sixth floor forward-ship and the doors are left open so the smell freely enters the central part of the ship). Now we expect to avoid the casino at all costs due to the smoke smell, but to have it be that pervasive was a real issue. Furthermore, we often had to come in from the balcony due to the smoke smell (we assumed it was from nearby balconies). Many times you could smell smoke as you passed cabin doors (so much for the policy). There also seemed to be a liberal number of places where smoking was allowed. That made it pretty difficult to avoid second hand smoke. One of these days, I hope the cruise lines will get the message that this is not just a personal preference, but is a significant health issue and ban tobacco from ships. Smoking is not something you can "escape completely" from on a Princess ship. Be forewarned. One of the things I've most enjoyed while cruising has been the relationship with the room steward. It's always been a high point of service, but not this time. Although the room was kept clean, the steward lacked people-skills. He addressed me by my title, but usually ignored my companion to the point where it seemed rude. He would not respond to her even with a simple hello. In addition, he never brought us any ice, did not do towel sculptures, and did not bring any wine glasses until the last day even though we had bottles sitting out. At one point, the top sheet on the bed was not being replaced (a note to him remedied the issue). My goodbye to him was not the usual exuberant parting. I wonder if this is a result of an automatic gratuity. There is no incentive to provide service beyond the basics. Another issue revolves around the buffet. Considering the frequency of norovirus outbreaks, everything should be done to avoid cross-contamination of food utensils. Why any ship would allow unrestricted touching of the serving spoons by the passengers is beyond me. Yes, they had a monitor by the Purell dispenser, but once you were past that, anything could happen and did. I purposely avoided several selections after seeing the person in front of me contaminate their hands (sneezing etc) and then touch the spoons. There was also an additional serving line which had no Purell and no monitoring. In my opinion (as a doctor), all serving should be done by the staff. This would be much more hygienic than splashing a little sanitizer on people and hoping for the best. About mid-cruise, the salt, pepper, and sweeteners disappeared from the tables. We were informed it was due to passenger illness and a desire to avoid spreading germs (I rest my case). People waiting in line to touch the Purell also created a single-file bottleneck which doesn't make sense when trying to get thousands of patrons through a line. On the subject of buffet food, the "hot" selections were usually lukewarm at best. The selection and variety of offerings was very good. Now, I rarely get even faintly seasick. My companion, however, was not so furtunate. There were two sea days which had her feeling nauseated. When we tried to move to a calmer part of the boat, though, we quickly discovered how few common restrooms are available. On many floors, there are none. Fortunately, there was a service cart in one of the hallways and I was able to grab a towel and avert disaster during one episode. Had I not found a quick remedy, there would have been a carpet cleaning issue and a very embarrassed companion to console. A few more points: Don't opt for the expanded soft drink package. The shakes and malts were terrible. They looked great, but lacked flavor. Take your own seasickness medications. The cheapest ones on the ship were about 90 cents a pill. There were no drink specials at all on alcohol. The cost for drinks was 7.95 plus a 15% gratuity. The math on that stinks. How about a 2 for 1 deal or a happy hour? Wouldn't the ship make up in volume what it lost in price? Speaking of gratuities, if you order room service, there is a line on the receipt for the tip and it seems to be expected. I ordered room service one time, and yes I tipped even though the order was incorrect, but did not use the service again. The ship has an adult only area which is a great feature. Unfortunately, it is a fee-for-use area. There is no way to escape the kids without an extra charge. The mini-suite balconies are not covered and can be viewed from above. That means there is no shelter from the rain or prying eyes. Know before you book. There were several art auctions and I usually like to attend these. On this cruise, I only went to one. The reserve prices were outrageous (including an item for $70,000) and the few items that did sell only had a single bid. The majority of items were priced between $500 and $2000. Auctions should be fun and play on our impulsive nature. At those prices, most people seemed to pause. After every purchase using my cruise card, it would no longer work to open my stateroom door. After waiting in the customer service line for a new card once, I decided it wasn't worth the wait to get another card. I just never went to the room without my companion. I don't know why the problem wasn't corrected the first time. We had 2 television sets in the mini-suite. Unfortunately, almost every channel was either blank or running advertisements for the ship's offerings (spa services, etc). It would have been great to have a little more selection. Some shipboard announcements relate to activities and others offer important news. Unfortunately, we were not able to hear the announcements without opening the stateroom door. Since the muster announcement was given over the room PA speaker, couldn't there be a way to opt for the announcements in the room when desired? We did discover that some of the announcements could be heard on the ships forward camera channel, but this did not always work. Finally, the design and workings of every cruise ship is a balance of compromises; some will work out and some won't. My comments about things which could have been better should be framed in that light. I offer these observations as a help to others seeking to learn about a ship before spending their hard earned money. It's my way of paying back those who've done the same for me. I love to cruise and will do so again. Despite the drawbacks, it is a great way to travel. Read Less
Star Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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