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Sheila Shaffer

Age: 48


Number of Cruises: 6

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Star Princess

Sailing Date: March 15th, 2003

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

Wow is the word that keeps coming to mind about our cruise. Here I go a complete review. My husband and I took his 70 something parents on this cruise and Dad was in a wheelchair.

We left Friday Morning and when we arrived in L.A. it was the middle of rush hour traffic so the hotel was a very welcome sight. We stayed at the Holiday Inn San Pedro 111 S. Gaffey Street San Pedro. Wow what a surprise. For 89.00 ( 101.46 total price) a night I was just hoping for a clean bedroom. This hotel is Victorian in style and we were given a two room suite with a balcony. The folk's room was a non-smoking room not as big but just as nice. It accommodated the wheelchair no problem. It is not stuffy, but really nice and the personnel were very friendly. An example of this was at the restaurant on the premises. The folks ordered an entree to split. They brought out the salad already split in two bowls, and the dinner split equal on two plates. At breakfast they did the same thing so I think this must be a regular practice. We checked out at 11:30 a.m. and left for the pier.

My husband dropped us off at the door, and a porter was right there to help unload luggage. I know they are working for tips but this porter was exceptional and very handy helping with the wheelchair. As it was raining he worked very fast to get Dad and the luggage out of the weather asap. He took care of us while Rick, my husband, parked the car. A very simple process. Lots of room to park your car in a secure area. I had read lots of complaints about check-in, but Princess must have read the reviews too. We were upstairs and checked in, in under 15 minutes. A note to fellow passengers here, take the time to get a passport it really helps expedite the process both going and coming. They passed out numbers to board, but since Dad was in a wheelchair they took us on board first. They started boarding at noon and we were in our room by 12:30 and at the buffet by 12:45. Our luggage was in our room by the time we finished with lunch and had gone back to our room to read the first Princess Patter. The rest of the cruise was just like the first day. Princess cruise line is the best at dealing with wheelchairs. Everyone on staff was helpful and we never felt that we were in the way or putting someone out. They always had someone waiting to help us leave the ship for the shore tours, and just as if they had stood waiting for us were right there to get us back on the ship. The tour operators were just as helpful. Dad has just started using the wheelchair and we were very worried on how he would react. The staff made it very special by treating him in a most respectful manner.

After reading some reviews here are my responses to the concerns in other reviews.

The food was exceptional and the coffee was very drinkable. We had assigned dining at a table for four. We checked just like our travel agent had suggested, but everything was in place.

The entertainment was very high quality. we would highly recommend the ship shows Da Beat, On Broadway, and Dance.

Our balcony was one that was half underneath and half in the open. It was great. Shade if it was hot and sun when we wanted.

The room was exceptional also. we will always sail in a balcony room from now on. Storage everywhere. My only suggestion is to put the TV down lower, but we may not have watched any except they had CNN on so Rick watched the newscasts. Also one of the movies was My Big Fat Greek Wedding Mom and I watched it twice in the afternoon while we were resting. It gets funnier every time you watch it. The activities are so you can doing something every minute or just sit and relax. We did a little of both.

The wait staff and the room stewardess were exceptional. They all went out of their way to make the trip unforgettable. Even the head waiter was very involved with his tables and shared recipes with us that he made at the table side. In the past the head waiter showed up the last night to ask about the food and secure his tip.

The shore trips were good. Matzalan was the best. On the down side do not take the shore drive in Cabo. It reminded me of the condo sales tours you get in the states. Only we paided 37.00 dollars per person and it lasted three hours. In the states it would have only been 90 minutes and we would have gotten the tour for free. The only good part of the tour was the 10 minutes at the glass factory. That place is fabulous! If we had it to do over again we would have paid a taxi and just visited there.

The ship is elegant but not stuffy. Dad dressed for dinner but just could not stand a tie. No one noticed or cared. The pictures were still just as nice and while there were photos taken, not once was the photographer pushy. Nor was anything else pushed on us. The bar staff was attentive but not in your face to buy. The shopping on ship was limited but more than enough to secure something for everyone.

The shops at the pier of each port were great so you really did not have to go in town if your whole idea of the perfect cruise was to shop. Every tour we went on though ended in front of Pacific Diamonds or International Diamonds. Maybe the ship should just offer a tour for those places as that is about all the shopping guide talked about. Then the rest of us could just tour and not shop. I may be weird but I would have liked to have seen more culture and less diamonds.

At the end of the cruise you did not get that, 'we are done with you now' feeling. Again the staff was attentive in getting people organized and placed so getting off the ship was not a cattle call. Also, the ship provided free coffee and iced tea all morning. we were in line at customs by 10:30 (having our passports got us in the short line) and on our way out of L.A. by 11:30. Again the porter was wonderful. Rick picked up the car, paid $70.00 (10.00 dollars a day) and off we went.

It was the perfect trip. My husband and I will be booking with Princess again. Of the four cruise lines we have traveled Princess is the best.

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