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Star Princess Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,466 Reviews

Too much air conditioning everywhere; library is a joke.

Star Princess Cruise Review by blakeney

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2015
  • Destination: South America
  • Cabin Type: Interior

FOOD:

This is an odd 'complaint' to have, but -- why didn't I gain weight? In fact, once I was back home after this 17 night cruise, I found that I'd lost a bit of weight. Okay, I look better thinner and am hoping to lose a few more pounds, but I recall many years ago taking a 7 nighter on Royal Caribbean and working out a lot daily, and younger with a faster metabolism, that I couldn't help but rapidly put on 8lb that time because the food on that liner was gourmet, several courses, and blew me away.

Not saying that the food on Princess was bad, except their scrambled eggs, just that I'd been spoilt for it long ago in comparison. One time on my Princess cruise, the Horizon buffet had some luscious raspberry mousse pastries that made my tastebuds sing to the heavens! I took seconds, but wish I'd demanded the recipe from the pastry chef, or at least hoarded several more of those delights and kept them in my cabin's fridge to eat daily for breakfast.

ACTIVITIES:

The time just FLEW by each and every day. I loved that we had mailboxes and our cabin stewards delivered a copy of the captain's paper nightly, advising us of the following day's weather, nautical stuff and daily schedule of activities. It made for good bedtime reading and helped me plan the next day's activities. There were shows, movies, karaoke. I don't dance or drink or gamble, but there was plenty of that as well. There were various pools, but it was quite windy and not so warm during my voyage, so I didn't get to spend as much time there as I'd hoped.

I tried to make it to the gym most days, but I found it on par with that of your average YMCA gym (except for the sea view!). Treadmills weren't monitored for maintenance issues by staff. I had to be told by fellow passengers if one was out of order. It's up to staff to put those sorta signs up on the equipment when needed. The women's locker room/showers/sauna/steamroom were also no more impressive than that of a YMCA. What really upset me the most was that on our last night of the voyage, I went up there to use those facilities, (y'know, to warm up from all that air con) expecting to get to stay until 10pm, when they normally closed. As I approached, the staff welcomed me nicely, no sign on the women's locker room door notifying of anything unusual, and then suddenly, I guess around 8 or so, the steamroom was off and I couldn't open my locker.

I told a staff member about it when she came in, and she told me that it was because they were closing early because it was the last night of the voyage. SOME ADVANCE NOTICE WOULD'VE BEEN NICE! Then, she used the master key to unlock my locker, and I told her how long I'd need to shower and dress, but before I could even dry off, 2 maids came in and kicked me out! They wouldn't even let me use the toilet there first; they felt if more important to take the evening off early, so I had to hold it until I got back down to my cabin. Ugh.

Even worse, was the so-called 'library'. It was just pitiful! Maybe unless you play mahjongg...the kind with the actual Chinese tiles. If you read, definintely pack a book, or word game puzzle book!

And I won't even put into words what I think of the extortionist internet usage fees, but then again, I was onboard to unplug anyway.

My biggest complaint though was that throughout the decks - especially at the Vista Lounge - there was just too much air conditioning! I was freezing, and often retreated early to bed just so I could thaw out! Shame, because I'm a night owl.

SERVICE:

Waiters and hosts were super! The perfect balance between acting charming and not fraternizing with passengers. I was very impressed and felt so welcomed at the dining rooms. Even the head waiter at tea time was extra charming yet professional.

I also was impressed with my cabin steward. He made a point to not only not wake us, and keep the cabin tidy and stocked, but he always greeted me by name as I went down the hall. Now, that's service.

Pursers were very helpful everytime I called with a question, which was often.

SAFETY:

On the plus side, each cabin AFAIK is equipped with a safe, unlike the time ages ago, when I went on Royal Caribbean and the cabin stewards had sticky fingers because there were no safes on that ship so I got robbed.

Caution to women, especially non-seniors: there isn't any security in the halls of the cabins, especially late at night after our stewards' shift was over, so it can be unsafe or unpleasant if having to deal with admirers (young men looking to just hit it and quit it) who get carried away. One such brawny fellow picked me up off my feet and carried me to his room, and I had to literally hold onto the door frame to prevent him from forcing me into his cabin, and had to push myself away. I guess I should've screamed. It was late at night and I imagine his neighbors were asleep though. There was another young man staying a few doors down from me, who I'd been spending time with for several days on deck and at events and meals, who disrespected my Do Not Disturb sign and woke me from an hour or 2 of sleep by continuously knocking on my door and calling my name. I had to get up and answer it before he'd stop. Note to facilities/maintenance: A chain-type deadbolt would be a nice addition for this type of situation if the ship won't hire a hallway patrolman to make sure all stays well and peaceful overnight. So I cracked open the door and this big hulking jock just plodded right into my room uninvited. He woke me again a few nights later in the same manner, drunk as a skunk feeling terrible and upset that his brother locked him out of their cabin because he had a woman in there with him. Again, at least he came bearing some snowflake artwork. His brother apologized to me, and he did the next day and never bothered me again.

Yep, the ship needs some hallway late nighttime guard detail.

Other than that, geeze, although most passengers were friendly enough, most of them were always boasting and bragging about their wealth. How tacky. But that's not the ship's fault, just the type of passenger they seem to attract. I kinda wish I'd insisted to the hosts on sitting alone more often in the dining rooms, so I could be catered to in style and not have to hear all that.

On the plus side, I got much-needed sleep and have been sleeping well so far since. It was good to get away from my problems at home for a while.


blakeney's Full Rating Summary
Cabin
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Interior

I had an inner stateroom. The floor popped under me like a pounding bubble in some spots. I did complain to the maintenance supervisor and on a form in the suggestion box. Some sort of supporting construction pin may have been needed for that flimsy floor. I felt sorry for my downstairs neighbors. I'm under 90lbs and don't walk heavily, wore soft slippers inside, and it was only lil' ol' me in the cabin.

Also, one day, there was this horrible loud violent disturbing knocking going on above my cabin several times per minute, all day long! I'd also complained about that one to the right outlets. My cabin steward tried blaming it on particularly choppy waters, but I didn't buy that.

The carpet was stained even before my stay.

I had reserved for a twin bed, but it was 2 twins pushed together, plus a twin bunk on each side (I had to watch my head not to bump into them). So although it was just myself, the cabin acommodated 4 people.

Other than that, it wasn't as cramped and claustrophobic as I'd anticipated. A bonus to not having a porthole or balcony was that I USUALLY got to sleep and sleep and sleep with no light seeping in, save for the peephole on my door and the gap under it.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Los Angeles

Looked and felt like a cattle-call experience embarking, but the staff tried to be courteous while strict. Since I don't drink, I didn't have to worry about bringing alcohol aboard. Luckily, my multiple controlled meds didn't get over-scrutinized, but I packed them sensibly just in case.

Cabo San Lucas

I got scammed by a doctor in Cabo who didn't stamp my prescription for a controlled med as the pharmacy required. As if I knew the law about that in the first place? I guess he knew I didn't.

Most pharmacies there were very poorly stocked and didn't even have what I was scripted.

Everyone spoke English, but I'm nearly fluent in Spanish anyway, so no biggie.

Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera)

It was hot, but I wanted to escape the cold back home and aboard the ship anyway. But there really wasn't much to do here, because it's small.

I suspect that a postwoman there scammed me out of $1 by not sending off the postcard and its postage that I bought there to its proper destination. I had the address right. The purser did not have stamps onboard as advertised and did not accept U.S. postage to send a postcard from the ship's location.

I had a bicycle cab or whatever guide me around, and he even admitted that there wasn't much to see or do.

I had my swimsuit on under my clothes, so after that, I went into the water, but it was so muddy that I couldn't wait to hurry back onto the ship to shower it off. So I didn't feel like spending much time there at all.

Lima

A so-called 'friend' talked me into taking this one. I wish I hadn't. Too much concrete jungle, crowds, rat-race, fast pace, etc. Y'know, the stuff I already have at home and needed to escape. I wish I could've afforded Macchu Pichu, I suppose, and if I could handle the altitude and have better balance to handle it.

I complained to the excursion dept our who seemed to be just "phoning it in".

Maipo Valley and Vineyards

The guide was hard-working and enthusiastic, but my afformentioned ex-friend was so selfish that she didn't get back on the bus at the appointed time and the guide and driver were worried and calling the authorities and we waited an extra hour for her before taking us to the airport to return home. Turned out, she got a cab to the airport. Everyone in our group gave her a good tongue-lashing. So selfish of her, and I felt like a fool for having befriended her in the first place.

View All 5 Maipo Valley and Vineyards Reviews

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blakeney
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