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Eric

Age: n/a

Occupation:n/a

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Star Princess

Sailing Date: December 19th, 2004

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

This was my first cruise ever, and I went with my wife. We went on December 19th, so we experienced Christmas on the ship. I hope this review can help you with planning your cruise.

Pre-cruise:
We booked our trip with cruise.com. They had the best rate we could find, and we liked the extra things they gave to us while on the ship. For excursions, we booked all in advance except for the cruise line’s private island. A couple of weeks before leaving, we noticed that our itinerary had changed. It said that instead of going to Princess Cay, the ship was going to Majahaul, Costa Maya. When we called, the cruise line said that a hurricane had destroyed their island, and we were going to go to Costa Maya instead.

Embarkation:
We arrived at Port Everglades around 10:45. We had to wait in line for 30 minutes, check in, and we were on the boat before 12:00. Our ticket had said to be there after two, but that just takes two and a half hours off of your vacation.

The Ship:
The ship was absolutely beautiful. Christmas trees and other decorations were everywhere, and sometimes dressed up carolers were singing. The crew was constantly washing windows, repainting things, all behind the scenes. The layout of the ship was fantastic, and I didn’t find one thing wrong with it. One thing that I thought was really cool was the scenic elevator. When on them, some levels had fake port holes with bubbles behind them. That was one of many nice details that you found all over the ship. As far as ship movement, you do feel it. I never got sick, but I’m sure some people did.

Stateroom:
We had chosen a guaranteed interior room. We did get upgraded to a higher level, but that turned out to be a mistake. We were given L224, which was right outside the pool area. The room itself was fantastic. It’s way bigger than it looks in the pictures, and the bathroom is fine. It’s perfect for two people, but it would probably be crowded for any more. Now to the bad part. At night, we would hear an extremely annoying mechanical sound coming from below us. We called someone up, and a guy came to check it out. He said he would call if he found out what it was, and he never did. The rest of the nights, we were oblivious to the sound, probably because we were so tired. If your spouse snores, I wouldn’t worry about it since everyone sleeps like a rock on cruises.

Service:
The crew was fantastic. Our room steward was great, and all of our waiters were incredible. Overall, the service had no flaws in it.

Public areas:
The public areas were fine. All the lounges were nice and comfortable, and the pool had more than enough lounge chairs.

Dining rooms and food:
There are three dining rooms, and two are for personal choice dining. We had personal choice, which I would recommend. We met so many great people, while in regular dining you meet only one group. Throughout the week, we switched between the Capri and Portofino dining rooms. They were almost identical, and they had the same food. The food was great, it was everything I expected. Some dishes I just didn’t like, so I easily replaced them with a baked potato. There are absolutely no words to describe the desserts.

Day 1: Fort Lauderdale
We were one of the first people onto the ship. After exploring the ship and calling to brag to family members who were experiencing 3 feet of snow , we headed up to our room. Our luggage was already there, and there were some cookies to greet us. After getting settled in, we headed up to the sail away party. The sunset was amazing, and we met some people enjoying the party.

Day 2: Day At Sea
This was a day of relaxation. We played bingo, attended the art auction, watched ice carvings, and sunbathed. Also, Cuba was visible from the ship.

Day 3: Cozumel
We had planned to do the Dolphin Swim. After getting off the ship, we had a couple of hours until we met for the taxi ride to Chankanaab National Park. Shopping around was fine, although the street was under construction. That didn’t really bother us. Eventually, we met to go to the dolphin swim. After taking a pretty wild taxi ride, we entered the water to have a fabulous time with our dolphin, Ariel. We got to ride, kiss, and play with her. It was a lot of fun. Afterwards, we went to the beach adjacent to the park and snorkeled. Later we went back to the ship to leave Cozumel.

Day 4: Costa Maya
We had not booked any excursions for this location. It was a beautiful place, and we decided to sign up for a snorkeling excursion that wasn’t part of Princess. This was a huge mistake. We had to wait in line for an hour to take a bus to the beach, were taken into the ocean in a rackety boat, and were told to follow the guide in the water. There were big waves, and there was absolutely no organization whatsoever. This was a dangerous situation and I could see how someone could get injured easily. So, always book your excursions through the cruise line, even though it may be a little more expensive.

Day 5: Grand Cayman
This was a wonderful experience. We had signed up for the stingray swim and snorkel, and it was an amazing. After exiting the ship, we took a bus to a dock where we entered a two story boat where we then went to meet the stingrays. Swimming with them was awesome. We got to feed, pet, and hold them. They are 100% nice, and they act like cats, brushing up against you for food. Later, we got back on the excursion boat heading to a coral foundation. There we saw some beautiful fish, and it was very interesting. I would recommend this excursion to anyone, and it was the highlight of our cruise.

Day 6: Ocho Rios, Jamaica
We had signed up for the Highlights of Jamaica excursion. We started by getting on a nice bus towards Coyoba River Gardens. There we saw amazing plants, and it was absolutely beautiful. Our guide there was very informative and interesting. Later, we left to drive through the rain forest towards Dunn’s River Falls. This was also an amazing experience. We started at a beautiful beach where the falls flow into the ocean. Climbing up was very fun. You have to follow the guide, since you can easily fall anywhere else. If you go with the guide, it is totally safe due to some carved in places to put your feet. This excursion was also another highlight of out trip.

Day 7: Day At Sea
This was another day of relaxation. We also packed our luggage that night.

Day 8: Disembarkation
Disembarkation was quite easy. We experienced no problems, and we were off the ship in no time. Driving away from the ship was a quite sad experience since we were leaving pure paradise

Recap:
Always do excursions through your cruise line, since safety is worth the extra money.
The dolphin swim, stingray swim and snorkel, and the highlights of Jamaica excursions are highly recommended
Personal choice seating is the best to meet tons of new people
The 7 day Western Caribbean on the Star Princess was amazing!

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