Star Princess Report

Nov 1st, 2004, 02:19 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 41
Star Princess Report

Well, I'm back from Star Princess so here are my thoughts. Once we arrived in Fort Lauderdale at noon we waited until 2:30 to be taken to the ship by the Princess shuttle. The reason they gave us was that it was the first time the ship had been in the United States and the Coast Guard had made a surprise inspection. We found out later this was true, but people were allowed on the ship starting at about 1 PM. Some people had been waiting at the airport since 10 AM. My inlaws were waiting in a very long line outside the ship prior to noon and that was the hold up. They had to process all those people before bringing the other 8 busloads over. Once we got to the dock it was comple te and total chaos. Eight busloads of people trying to get their Princess cards. Very disorganized and disappointing. Once we got on the ship we went right to the buffet which was very picked over and not being replenished. We felt the food was average, but as the week went on the late night buffet seemed to go down hill. There was less variety, like they were cleaning out their pantries. There also seemed to be less choices later at night and we felt like we were getting all the left overs of the day. Only a couple of nights did they have chocolate covered strawberries or shrimp cocktail. The ship overall we felt was very loud and noisy. People seem to forget when on a cruise ship that they are still in a public area and should act like it. The kids that we saw on board were much better behaved then many of the adults we saw. The Costa Maya port was just a little shopping stop and a big disappointment. We felt since we lost two ports due to the hurricane that they had no where to take us so we went there. We received an emergency notice before we left that we were going to Nassau, but it didn't happen. We went to Costa Maya, Cozumel and Jamaica. Our cabin was tiny and very difficult to move around in. We should have spent the extra 300 dollars for the balcony but didn't because I 'm uncomfortable with heights and those suites are way up there. Everything is sparkling clean, including the pools and jacuzzis, which is amazing considering all the use they get. Everyone from the waiters to the cabin stewards to bartenders and all other staff are marvelous. Everyone is friendly, helpful, courteous and just can't do enough for you. They were spectacular and deserve much more than the small amount they make from their tips. Also the shows were wonderful. Dance should not be missed and either should Billy Vader. Possibly the funniest comedien I've ever seen. If you're looking for a quiet place to swim or jacuzzi in the early morning or after dinner the pool outside the Lotus Spa is the place to go. Many times at not peak time hours I had them all to myself. That was a minor miracle on this ship. Our only other cruise was on the Celebritiy's Horizon to Bermuda, which was a much different experience so that may reflect my reviews of this trip. It was fun, but I wouldn't do it again. I might add this was a trip with several relatives and my mother-in-law did the planning so it is probably not what I would have selected, but overall we had a good time, but would select a smaller ship and a more interesting itenerary next time. I forgot to add some in our party swam with dolphins (which they said was amazing) and went horseback riding in Jamaica which they said was a blast. Oh might I also add, try the Princess Colada rather than the typical pina colada it's made with Jamaican rum and has two shots in it. Delicious!!!!!
Lambert is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2004, 07:14 AM
  #2  
JJ5
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 16,253
THANKS, Lambert.

I'm taking this cruise in Feb.'05. They say that the Grand Cayman port might be added back on by then. I hope we don't have three days at sea.

Which dining room did you eat in besides buffet? I will take your advice on the shows. Did you do any tours in Jamaica? We are thinking of doing the river rafting one. We probably will. If we end up going to Costa Maya, we are going to go on the ruins tour. We are not shoppers. Did anyone you know go and did they like it, if they did.

Thanks for all your info. We do have a balcony and I will enjoy at least 2 days at sea because of that. But really wanted more activity than a 3 day at sea cruise allows.

We are spending a couple days beforehand in Ft. Lauderdale and taking the water taxi ourselves. Sounds like the transfers from Princess are all extremely hectic/or over-crowded. Anyway, lastly, did many cruisers find their own transportation to airports etc. after leaving the ship for homebound flights. We have tons of time before our flight and don't know which we will do yet.

More thanks!
JJ5 is offline  
Nov 4th, 2004, 01:38 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 686
Hi,

Any cruise line has the possibility of 8 buses arrives at one time. We ran into this with Celebrity and it was a 2 hour wait to check in. This is not specific to Princess - all lines have this issue.

If your parents were not waiting at the airport - they would have been waiting at the pier. It has been a long time since I have been on a ship that lets people start embarking before noon.

The Star had been in the US previously - this was the first time in awhile since the ship was in Europe over the summer. Inspections happen on all ships and they are surprise inspections. The cruise line has no control over this.

I was surprised that you mentioned food on the buffets and not in the dining room. Dining room food on Princess is great. A buffet is just a buffet. Princess ususally does a good job since they are open 24 hours a day, there are times when the selection isn't as great. Many other lines do not have a buffet for 24 hours. I seriously doubt they were cleaning out the pantries. If you wanted good food, you really should have gone to the dining room. I don't expect excellent food on any buffet for that matter.

Children should be behaved - unfortunately, that is the responsbility of their parents.

Costa Maya is a great port but you have to plan to do things there. You can't just get off the ship and then try to find something. The ruins are great and so is the Uvero Beach break. If you stay at the port -you will be disappointed. This is a relatively new port for cruise ships. The water is gorgeous at this port.

Balconies are different than suites and I have yet to hear someone is afraid of heights just being a few decks up.

Port changes happen due to hurricanes - this has happened on all cruise lines. It is difficult to fault the cruise line for this. To switch a port requires a lot of effort by a cruise line and space at the ports to accomodate more ships. Since all lines sailing in the Caribbean are experiencing this - there is a strong demand for docking space in the ports. A ship can't just decide to go to a specific place.

Sorry to be critical - but it sounds like you didn't do your research on this trip. You said you didn't like this trip due to the itinerary - you knew that when you booked that. True, a port was switched due to the hurricane but many ships have had to do this. I would not compare food on a line based on their buffet. If I did this on my Celebrity cruise, I would have to say there was no food on the ship since the buffet was only open for limited times.
Theresa is offline  
Nov 4th, 2004, 04:37 AM
  #4  
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 41
Theresa, I don't think you read all of my post. I had nothing to do with the planning as this was a family trip and was coordinated and planned by my mother-in-law. But before I answer JJ5 let me address some of your points. First of all the disorganization was being dicussed by everyone once on board whether they were waiting in the hot florida sun for over an hour (where someone fainted) or back at the airport since 10 a.m. I checked with others in our party last night and all confirmed they had been told it was the first time the ship had been in the US ever. We did go to the dining rooms almost everynight, both to the Portofino and the Capri and the food was fine. Our issues were with the buffet only. Maybe other ships don't have all night buffets but on this one we were paying for it so we expected the same quality and quanity we got in the dining room. As I stated all of the children I saw were wonderful. Many adults were not. In my opinion 2600 people is just too many on a ship. Our neighbors at home went into the town of Costa Maya and hated it. They told us not to bother unless going to the ruins. Also, my brother-in-law's suite was up on one of the upper decks and yes it is an issue if heights are a problem. You are up more than a few stories. Other cruise lines such as Holland were able to substitute much better ports which we found out from a woman on the plane who had just done a similar cruise on Holland. Also, the cruise ports they missed they were creditied 100.00. We got 9 dollars at one and something like 13 dollars at another. Also, we got an emergency notification a day before we left telling us we were going to Nassau (which we were looking forward to) but never happened. Several of my family members have been on all cruise lines and we pretty much all shared the same opinion. We found most of the problem to lie with the size of the ship. Theresa, please remember when responding to someone that it is only their opinion and perhaps take a less lecturing tone.
Lambert is offline  
Nov 4th, 2004, 11:00 AM
  #5  
JJ5
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 16,253
I think it is all in the size of the ship too. Lambert, thanks so much for your explanations and take your time. I think we will have much fun regardless and just wanted to try a really big ship this winter.

By the time I go, it may be the Grand Cayman stop anyway- but I do understand that you might not have wanted an extra day at sea and all your other reasons too. With ship docking size logistics also, I do understand how they just can't "pick" another at the spur of the moment. But I really wonder why they told you that about Nassau and then renegged on it. Things happen. Whenever you answer is fine.

Glad to hear that the dining rooms seemed ok. We are not picky people who want 5 star fine dining cooked "to order" 3 meals a day. Just isn't us. We won't do the buffet more than once or twice at the most. If any one can tell me about shows or if many people dressed on formal nights, I would appreciate it. My guy won't dress.

I think we will be going to the ruins tour if we do go to the second Mexican port instead of Grand Cayman. Did you go to Princess Cays or was that still out of service? My son didn't think much of that stop, but he hates the beach.
JJ5 is offline  
Nov 4th, 2004, 01:57 PM
  #6  
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JJ5, it looked like most people were grabbing the buses back to the airport. They threw our luggages on and off we went. Very quick and efficient. However, there are a lot of taxis if you don't want to bus it. It is a very quick trip between the airport and dock. Also, I might add getting off the ship was great. Very organized as we were called by floor .
Lambert is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 03:27 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,175
Just came off an Eastern Caribbean cruise on Star Princess.

We found the ship to be really big, a bit too big IMO. 3000+ people is a lot.

We had a balcony room on Caribe- deck 10. The baloconies on this deck are about 10' x 10' - larger than the other 2 decks with balconies. We had a table and 2 chairs and 2 lounge chairs with a small footstool. Very nice. Our room was a good size but the bed and pillows were quite uncomfortable.

We ate mainly in the Almalfi dining room at our set time as we were with friends. For the most part the food was good. We also ate at Sabatini's one night ($20 surcharge) and found the service very good. It's a 10 course tasting menu- Italian. Some of the seafood wasn't as fresh as I get at home but all the food was fine.

We only ate at the buffet for lunch as I don't really like them. One day was Italian which was pretty good and once I had sushi which was ok.

Wines were priced very fairly but the selections were limited to the large names that don't really impress me.

We had very rough seas and came into 2 ports late which they didn't really apologize for or try to make up for. That was a bit irksome. The staff was very attentive and polite- nothing but praise for them.

Skipped the shows except for the hypmatist (sp) which was great, otherwise we frequented the casio
Also did their wine tasting classes which were ok but nothing special.

Pool chairs were very tough to come by, if you weren't out by 8am you were out of luck usually.

Went to the spa which is nice- not amazing but had a very good service and again the staff is excellent.

Very few kids on our cruise which was great for us. All in all a very nice vacation, I would just pick a smaller ship next time.

stormygirl is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 05:18 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 686
Stormy girl -

good review except this comment:

"We had very rough seas and came into 2 ports late which they didn't really apologize for or try to make up for. That was a bit irksome.."

I really don't think it is up to the ship's personnel to apologize for the weather.
Theresa is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 09:48 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,175
Theresa, I agree that the crew can't do anything about the weather but the communication about what was going on was really nil. We didn't know we were getting in late until just prior. We arrived in San Juan at 7:30 instead of 4pm. then we still left at midnight. It would have been nice to be given a bit more time or at least have them explain-'sorry folks, we gotta stay on track' or whatever. Does that make sense? Also we were suppose to leave Tortola at 6 but without explaination we left at 4. And again we got to Princess Cays late and then had to leave at 3 giving us only 4 hours where we were originally to have 6 hours.

Maybe this is standard, I've only cruised twice so to me it seemed weird that there wasn't any communication about it.

I heard other people commenting on that also.
stormygirl is offline  

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