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Star Princess Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
1378 reviews
2 Awards

10 night Caribbean cruise from Ft Lauderdale - April 3rd 201

Review for Star Princess to the Eastern Caribbean
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First Time Cruiser • Age 60s

Rating by category

Public Rooms

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Sail Date: Apr 2011

We spent 4 days pre-cruise in Ft Lauderdale at The Cocobelle Resort, which was 5 mins from the beach, great hotel/motel, good value, but a long trek down to the main area of Las Olas. Overall loved the place, great beaches and a really good feel to the place. Make sure you do a boat trip of the 'canals', we went on the Jungle Queen one evening, well worth doing. The drop off point for the car was near the port but the address was VERY difficult to find, I'd suggest doing a print of google maps prior to the holiday so that you can make it easier to find the drop-off point. There was a shuttle to the port which was $6 each (this was private though, Budget may not charge for their shuttle).On arrival at Port Everglades for our 10 night Eastern Caribbean cruise, it was very busy, I think 7 cruise ships were in the same day, apparently very unusual. Shuttle dropped us off at Pier 21 about 12:30, the bags were dropped off and we checked in, which was super efficient. We were impressed - all airlines take note!Unlike Royal Caribbean last year we were allowed to go straight to our cabin. We'd booked a BC Balcony but the upgrade fairy came a-knockin and we managed to get an AB Mini-suite (apparently the cruise was only about 90% full) which was great, extra room and a bath - such decadence. No complaints about the cabin, although on deck 9 your balcony is overlooked by everyone above - still if people want to ogle at my excess flesh that's their concern - I remembered to put clothes on most days before walking out to watch the sea go by ?. The bed was very comfortable, hanging space/storage space and hangers more than ample, though I think they should leave a couple of wine glasses in addition to tumblers.We found the ship harder to get used to than the Voyager of the Seas, for some reason it just didn't seem so easy to navigate around, though they do give you a wee fold up pocket map which was very useful. Very few children on board (bliss).Watched late night moves 'under the stars' - great just for the experience but why they insist on showing 'cartoon' films at 10:30 pm is beyond me. Proper 'adult' films (no I don't mean porn) should be the norm not kids stuff. Food in the Horizon (which is what I'd class as more a posh cafeteria and was open 24hrs) was good and far better quality than RCL in this area. Staff were generally attentive and welcoming, though some of the East European staff could sometimes be a bit dour.Evening meals were very good, we did late dining on a table of eight. Downside was that the beef was disappointing compared to RCL (which was always excellent) however the service was great as were our table mates. Wine prices were reasonable and although you couldn't pre-purchase a wine package they were at least reasonable with letting you bring on a bottle of wine each for your cabin. We brought on 2 bottles each without any issues.Bar prices were as expected, downside especially for us Brits is that the choice of beers is very limited, mostly bland tasteless American lagers, you could get Bass Pale Ale but that was about it. A decent pint of real ale would have been great!Afternoon tea (3:30 to 4:30) in one of the dining rooms was worth a try, although they did serve tea from coffee pots, didn't wear white gloves and served cakes before scones and sandwiches so they're obviously not used the correct 'British' way of doing things!The entertainment was by far the most disappointing area. The cruise director was cheesy to say the least and frankly annoying. The shows were mediocre as were most of the 'guest' entertainers. The only really good show was a group of four acapello singers called Stomp who were excellent, but they were on at really stupid times and really daft venues. The only night they sang in one of the theatres was during the evening meal - fine if you were early dining but us late diners missed out. On VOTS there was a brilliant, funny and entertaining pianist who would do requests and get people singing along to the golden oldies, and letting people sing with him, a real entertainer. On this cruise there was a young lassie who theoretically did the same but she had no charisma and did not really engage with the audience. We'd read about the 'Chefs Table' and decided we'd do this if possible even though it seemed pricey at $75 each (I'm a bit of a tight-a**e). It was advertised in the 1st ships newsletter so we phoned and put our names down but were told we may or may not be chosen due to the amount of people wanting to do it. Anyway a coupe of days later we had a message to say we were invited. On the evening we met up with 4 other couples. We donned white jackets and were shown around the galley by one of the Maitre'd and explained how the dining process works, though because of the way the group was structured, the noise and lack of room, we hardly heard a word of what was being said. We were then introduced to the Head Chef, who looked after us for the rest of the evening. We then were served various superb hor d'oeuvres in the galley, Cold water lobster margarita, Pate de foie gras, Fontina and Emmentaler mini quich with black truffle and bolied new popato with sour cream and caviar, washed down with Champagne. The Sommelier gave a talk on the champagne and wines we would be tasting later. We then were seated at a huge rectangular table near the middle of the dining room, fully kitted out with beautiful flowers, hand made bread baskets and candles (apparently the only place on the ship that you would see candles).The 1st course was a seafood Risotto with lobster tail, which was a meal in itself and superb. Next came a lemon sorbet with mango salw which was then doused in Vodka - absolutely wonderful. EntrEe (or main as we call it) was veal shank, and beef tenderloin, with fresh market veg and creamy mousseline potatoes. Very tasty, although for me the beef should have been much rarer.The dessert was a work of art, everything was edible, even the pink 'plate' which it was served on. It was 'Iced Amaretto parfait, with whisky soaked berries and Florentine tuile. There was an edible coiled spring topping the main area which actually bounced - incredible!.We then had a cheese course but nothing like we've ever had before, Baked brie de mauve with pine nuts. It was warmed in a pastry basked, and drizzled with a port wine reduction, absolutely fantastic. During the entire evening we were served white and red wines, and towards the end a luscious dessert wine, all specifically chosen by the sommelier to go with the food. He was very good at explaining where the wines came from, how the grapes were grown and harvested etc and what sort of tastes we were likely to get - very educational. A group photo was taken prior to the meal by one of the ships photographers and just before the evening ended, each lady was given red rose and each gent was given hard back copy of the Princess recipe book, duly signed and dated by the Head Chef, a great memento of the experience. This experience was only given twice during the 10 day cruise therefore less than 1% of passengers will get to see this. We came away feeling about half a stone heavier but realising that was we'd experienced was fine dining at its best. Forget about the cost and just do it, I'm sure you will think its worth it- we did!We also dined in Sabatinis an Italian restaurant, which was $20 each. You basically ordered an entrEe and they brought you tastes of everything else, 27 different things apparently. We missed out on the soup course, it was too much. If you want a lovely quiet evening with your beloved or a few close friends, this is worth it.We pre-booked 3 excursions prior to leaving the UK, all with the ship - yes you can do it cheaper with the locals portside, but I can't be bothered with all the hassle. One of the trips Harrisons Caves in Barbados, was fully booked by the 1st day on ship, so it pays to book early. This was a worthwhile trip. We also did an army truck tour of St Kitts which was also very good, ending at Cockleshell beach which was magnificent. I also booked Stingray experience in Antigua, what an experience. These a some huge rays, you get to hold one which was about a metre across, but some were 2 metres, and they give you squid to feed them. They can and do bump into you which can be a little unnerving but the water is waist high and in an absolutely stunning setting - definitely worth it although my beloved hated it!We also booked a disembarkation trip (which can't be pre booked in the UK) which took us on a coach around Ft Lauderdale, did a nice boat trip down the canals and towards the open sea then dropped us back at MIA (also dropped off at FLL). Great if your flight leaves late afternoon as it kills some timeEach of the 4 trips were $118 for the two of us, not cheap but not outrageous either, though it does start mounting up the extra costs involved in a cruise. Two of the trips had also gone up in price since I booked, and as you don't pay until you've done the trip (unlike RCL) I'd suggest pre-booking and if necessary cancelling at the last minute. In summary, I have no major gripes, I prefer Princess to RCL overall in terms of meal quality and service but was let down by very poor entertainment aboard. Check in/out was very efficient, the English captain was very informative (and entertaining) throughout and the ship was very clean. There was one minor double charge on the bill which was sorted quickly. With the exception of the open decks, you were rarely left a copy of the bill when you bought drinks etc which was rather annoying, especially if you are trying to keep tabs on your spending - they need to ensure you get a receipt for ALL items signed for. On board we put a £75 per person deposit down which can be used for any cruise in the next 4 years even if you don't know where you're going. It also gives you $100 each on board credit so you can't really lose.

Cabin Review

Cabin AB

Very quiet although fairly close to lifts.

Door to balcony very stiff, would be difficult for older passengers to open.

Ample storage space - no real complaints

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