Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Star Princess
Sailing Date: March 13th, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
After I booked this cruise, I came to this site and read a host of negative reviews that made me really apprehensive. So much so, I tried to cancel my cruise, but it was too late. I'm glad it was...we had a wonderful time.
Compared to Celebrity, the service was not as good. What this really means is that they don't carry your trays for you in the buffet and your state room is cleaned twice a day instead of three or four. Other than that, it was pretty much the same. Everyone was nice and accommodating, and you always felt like a cherished guest.
The dining room service was excellent, and the food was great. I've never eaten five lobster tails at one time before. We couldn't get fixed seating in the main dining room, but a visit to the maitre'd got us a fixed table in one of their other (mostly identical) dining rooms. We had the same waiter every night and sat next to the same people, just like traditional cruising. The food was delicious and well varied, and the waiters were just dying to dump extra shrimp and lobster tails on our plates.
The ship was beautiful, and it never felt crowded. There are at least four pools that I know of, one of which is covered by a glass roof and is air conditioned. Other than being larger and having more pools, the ship was extremely similar to the Celebrity Constellation, which is also an amazing ship. The Star Princess was very stable, even though our mini suite was towards the front of the ship.
Speaking of mini suites...people complained that the balcony has no privacy, that the upper decks can see you. While this is true in theory, it is not the case in practice. The reviews here made is seem that the second you step out onto your balcony, a throng of passengers will be standing above you staring at you and throwing cigarettes on your head. This is just not so. We did see other people out on their balconies, and a couple of people on the top deck, but it was not a negative thing. Sure, you probably shouldn't go out on your balcony naked, but other than that, having an open sky above was great, and well worth the partial loss of privacy. The mini suite itself is a very large and functional cabin, with a very well shaped bathtub and a large sitting area with fold out sofa bed.
The best part about the Star Princess is their kids program. Our daughter is two and a half, and even though she was two young to leave with the counselors, they welcomed her and allowed her to participate in all the kids activities as long as one of us was there to supervise. This is something Celebrity would not do. This may not sound like much to someone who just wants to dump their kids and go party, for us it was great. Seeing our daughter enjoying herself with other children was one of the highlights of our vacation.
We had a great time last year with Celebrity, and now we had a great time with Princess as well. I would cruise either line again in a heartbeat, and would heartily recommend either to a friend.
If you've booked a cruise on the Star Princess, relax, you're in for a great time.