Number of Cruises: 7
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Star Princess
Sailing Date: March 6th, 2005
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
We are just back from a wonderful Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the Star Princess. One of our daughters, was married on board the ship, on the first "at Sea" day.. Everything was relaxed and well done, with no angst or pressures. thanks to the good people at Princess and the wedding planners. The only negative we had that day, was that the "wedding cam" was not up and running, despite the fact that I went to check on it myself, before the wedding took place.. Unfortunately, we had many relatives and friends back home in Canada, that were anxiously awaiting the wedding, which they never got to see. We aren't sure why this happened, and were told that the satellite could have been down, but the Bridge Cam's were working just fine.. If you are planning on getting married on board, and the folks at home want to see it on the Wedding Cam, make sure that you mention it to those in charge, so your people won't be disappointed, as ours were.
Other than that, the Star was a big and beautiful ship, very clean and well laid out.. Despite the fact that we were sold out, and were traveling with 2600 passengers, we never felt crowded, even in the buffet lines, as we thought might be the case.
On the days at sea, it was understandably, a little more difficult to find seating, especially when some passengers would "save" their chairs all day long, so that others could not use them. On some ships, this is discouraged and after 1/2 hour, the deck attendants remove the towels that are covering the chairs, giving everyone a chance at the sun.. Another point I took note of, was the smoking on board.. Some ships have designated smoking areas, and folks that do smoke must abide by the rules...however on this ship, people seemed to be smoking almost everywhere, except in the dining areas.. We did see people smoking in the halls, the elevator corridors, Atrium etc.. and all over the place outside... For those of us non-smokers, this can be annoying, but Princess did not seem to "police" this policy, at least on this Ship, at this time.
Our room stewards were great as usual, and worked very hard to keep us happy, as were our table attendants in the Amalfi dining room.. They were very friendly, efficient, and courteous. One fellow learned our names the first day, and remembered them all, despite the fact that there were 21 of us in our party.
The Captain was very nice and he actually officiated at the marriage of my daughter and son-in-law. There were many weddings on board the ship on this particular trip, and the wedding chapel was a lovely and intimate setting for the vows.
There were 4 pools, and lots of hot tubs on board the ship.. The covered pool was great in the evening, when the breeze was cooler, and was usually not too populated. We didn't take in any shows this cruise, because we were busy with the family, but in the past they have proven to be good.
Princess has the best embarkation/disembarkation practices in our books. Last year we left on a Celebrity from New York to Bermuda, and we stood in line for an hour or so, until we boarded.. but Princess has everything set up, to keep the lines moving and the passengers happily boarding quickly..
The disembarkation was handled with ease as well.
The port stops were good.. St. Thomas is always a busy port with lots of shopping and beaches nearby.
We didn't see much of Puerto Rico, since we arrived at about 4:30, and by the time we ate and got off the ship, it was around 6PM. We did have a wonderful taxi driver named Hector, who took our large group around old and new San Juan.. He was quite personable and a comedian as well.. He made our brief visit to the Island worth while. We walked around old San Juan following the tour, doing some shopping and had a Pina Colada in the place where they were invented.. mmmm Very good!
Tortola is a relatively new stop for cruise ships from what I understand, and since we knew someone living in Virgin Gorda, we hopped on a Ferry and headed there for the day. Virgin Gorda is lovely, with great beaches and interesting rock formations, and I only wish that we had more time to explore the Island, especially the Baths.. There were lots of people there, so my best suggestion would be to go early... and wear some good shoes.. There is some climbing involved, and your feet will get wet, but it is worth the effort.. Give yourselves enough time however, to do justice to the Baths.
Unfortunately our last stop on the itinerary, to Princess Cays, was cancelled due to high winds and too much wave action in the marina. They could not safely off-load all 2600 passengers + crew, due to the weather conditions, that were expected to last for most of the day. We were all greatly disappointed that we did not have our BBQ and beach day, but Princess came up with a few alternative solutions. Next time I guess.. Princess Cays is lovely and very relaxing, and provides a lot of fun in the sun!
That's about it, and I hope that this has helped others who may be planning either a cruise or a wedding cruise on board the Princess lines.. We were all quite pleased with the results of our ship trip..
I did not mention much about the food as others do, because I am not a fussy eater, and I am the type that would be happy to eat a hot dog everyday, as long as I didn't have to buy it and cook it, and clean up afterwards. Let's face it, the food was great in my books, because it was there, it was good and plentiful, and I didn't have to prepare it! I'm a happy camper and would go back on the Star Princess again.
p.s. FYI.. the hot dogs and hamburgers on board the ship were great!