Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Star Princess
Sailing Date: October 4th, 2007
This was our first cruise on one of the big ships. We had gone to Alaska on the Sun Princess in 2005 and loved it. It held just under 2000 passengers and the Star holds 2600. Princess does a great job with embarkation. It was very well organized and quick. Our room was great with a large balcony and plenty of storage. We were on the Caribe deck and our balcony was larger than the balconies on all the other the decks, so ask for the Caribe deck if the balcony is important to you. By reading other reviews, we knew that there is little privacy on the balconies and you can see a lot of people and they can see you. Some folks did not remember that fact and I saw a few underdressed people step out to admire the new port each morning and moon the people on other balconies. If you ask your steward for a robe, you can borrow one for the entire cruise. The Aloha deck is the only one where people can't see onto your balcony, but they are smaller balconies.
The itinerary was great. We loved Florence, Athens and the Greek Isles. We went on one Princess shore excursion. It was well organized, but you visit a spot with several hundred others and get a cookie cutter tour. We were a group of 10 and one of folks had time to research and book private tours for us before we left. They ended up being cheaper and we had much better tours. Do this only if you can spend the time to read reviews and contact people who are licensed and recommended. If you don't have that luxury, the Princess trips are just fine and worry free.
My only issues with this cruise were service and the food. We met our steward on the first day and then never saw him again. Our cabin got made up, but it was very slipshod. After a few days, we started seeing a new guy, but he never introduced himself...we don't know what happened. I suggest taking some post-its and if you need something, write it on a post-it and put it on the bathroom mirror. We never got fresh pool towels, water was not replaced, some days a floor mat others no floor mat. The servers in the dining rooms and buffet were pre-occupied and not very friendly. The two premium restaurants (Steak and Italian) had better service. I felt the ship was too big and the servers just couldn't keep up.
The food was plentiful and better in the dining room than the buffet. Maybe I am jaded because I entertain for business and take clients to really high end restaurants. The food was like Olive Garden, Fridays, Carrows, Red Lobster, Applebees, Black Angus, etc. It was good, but certainly not great. The Sterling Steak House was a step up, but don't expect Ruth Chris' or Morton's. The buffet was like at a mid range hotel in Vegas...good, but sometimes things that should have been hot weren't. The Trident Grill and the pizza place by the pool were great lunch options. The brats, burgers and pizza were very good! I wish they had been open a little later so they could have been a dinner option.
We enjoyed the variety of shows, the miniature golf, the bar entertainment, the casino and the activities. We will cruise again. We are looking at a Princess cruise through the Panama Canal in 2009. We will go on a smaller ship...we like a more intimate experience.