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Old November 15th, 2004, 07:45 AM
KarenB KarenB is offline
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Default Review of my 11/7 Star cruise - long

First thing I have to say is how beautiful the Star is! I will tell you that this perspective is from a newlywed couple in their late 20s early 30s. Also, we are non drinkers and non smokers. This way you can either take it seriously or take it with a grain of salt. =)

Embarkation was very smooth. We didn't have to wait in line for very long at all. We got to our room on the Aloha Deck to find a very nice sized room! I was very worried about the size because I had cruised on another line in a mini suite with a balcony and I thought it was kind of small, but this stateroom with a balcony was actually a little bigger than that mini suite! AND we were able to eat out on the balcony with plenty of room! The ship is very easy to get around and plenty of signs to help you.

Food: I know this is a big topic of concern, but I really can't tell you to much about the dining rooms. We went to the Portofino on our first night for anytime dining. The food was good (top notch not really but still good) , the problem we had was that it took forever to get served each course of the meal. From the next night on - yes even on formal nights - we ate in the Horizon Court buffet. Their food was great and honestly more our style. We aren't fancy diners by nature so we felt more comfortable dining here. We were glad we did because we went and ate at all times of the evening and when we were done we got a nice plate full of goodies and took back to the cabin to eat out on the balcony. How much more romantic can you get? Eating desert with your new spouse on the balcony on the ocean!

Drinks: Another big topic of concern. Since we are avid coke drinkers, we decided to get a duffle bag and put 2 12 packs of soda each in there. We checked the bag at the curb and it showed up at our cabin later. It was great to have them in our fridge just in case we didn't feel like going get one. We also got the coke sticker for our cards. They cost $22.50 per person. They give you a neat little coke container, but as we quickly found, they don't hold alot of soda and you don't have to have them to get your drink! All you have to do is show your card with your sticker and you get a soda. The one thing we did find was that in some of the shows, when you order a soda that you are not paying for, the service seemed a little slow (which I guess I can't blame them since they aren't getting 15% tip on it).

Shows/activities: We saw the comedians and they were hilarious! We didn't see any of the other shows. I played Bingo one time and during this time an all time BONGO record was set during one of the rounds. BONGO is when you call out BINGO when you don't have it and then you have to go up on stage and do the chicken dance. There were 5 BONGOs during one hand. It was alot of fun. $10 for one square and $20 for 3 squares.

I think that is the majority of what is usually asked about the ship. If you have any questions about it I will be happy to answer.

On to the ports. Here is another thing that may make a difference with my review. We booked no excursions thru the ship. We just didn't see the point in paying twice the money to do the same excursions! We rented snorkle gear on the ship for $25 a person for the whole week. Also, we are from Florida and goto the beach alot. Our itinerary was a little crazy though. We were supposed to goto Princess Cay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Ocho Rios. However, we had to substitute Cay for Costa Maya due to the hurricane. Also on the night before going to Ocho Rios we were told that we would not be going there due to pier construction and would instead goto Montego Bay.

Costa Maya: This is a fairly new city in Mexico and really was created for the cruise ships. It is one big Mexican flea market when you walk thru the gates. There are alot of shops that sell silver and liquor. Also alot of Mexican do dad things to bring home as gifts. They will bargin with you to a point. One funny story I have about shopping is when I saw a blanket for $45 dollars and had to tell the guy no 2 or 3 times before he came down to $40 then I told him I saw a similar blanket for $5 on the other side. He told me "go buy $5 blanket you cheapskate!" I thought that was hilarious especially because out of my husband and I -- I am sooo not a cheapskate. I wasn't offended but amused greatly. We also went to Majahual Beach. Took a shuttle for $3 a person. The first stop was a beach called Tequilla Beach (or something to that effect) it was a bar and a beach. Then we went on into the town of Majahual. We stayed at the beach there and snorkled for awhile. They charge you a $1 per chair if you don't eat or drink anything, otherwise it is free. There are restrooms across the street, so so on the clean side. We got some chips and salsa and a few sodas. We had to go out past the barrier where the boats go to get to any of the reefs. It was very beautiful and calm. You definitely have to be careful where you step and what you pick up. There are some things that can be harmful to you if they get picked up -- the black pointy things that look so cool can hurt you if you touch them .. they are called sea anomones (sp) It is best when snorkling to let things on the ocean floor stay on the ocean floor. There are also some more shops and bars in this area, but we didn't look in them. We took a taxi ride back for $2 a person. Total cost for 2 people for this excursion (not including gifts bought) = $10 taxi rides, $15 food and drinks - $25!

Cozumel: Cozumel was a blast for us. We started out just going to a beach to snorkle. We took a taxi to a beach called Dzul Ha. Now let me tell you this is not a beach with sand! The waters are a little rougher than that of Costa Maya, but there was also a little storm coming in. They do rent snorkle gear and a locker there at the beach. There is a restroom across the street that is very clean. When you go into the water, you have to go down rock steps and into the water. There are alot of beautiful fish to see here. We swam out to a reef (same place as the catamaran stopped) and took tons of pictures. There were a few jellyfish there, but it wasn't to bad. When we were tired of snorkling, we sat up on a deck area overlooking the ocean and decided what to do with the rest of the day. We decided to go back into town and rent a jeep! We caught a taxi back into town and rented a jeep to take around the island. This was so much fun! My husband finally got to drive like a maniac and didn't look any different from the people who lived there! They drive crazy there! They gave us a map and showed us that there was one road around the whole island so we had no chance of getting lost (yea right!) We drove past Chakanaab, but decided to go on because we didn't want to pay $12 a person to get in. Drove past Paradise Beach -- it looked very crowded. We stopped at Pointe Sur and went up to the observatory there. They wanted to take us on a tour of the Mayan ruins for $15 a person, but we were more interested in driving around. We took some pretty pictures though. We drove on around the island and saw some rough, but beautiful water. We also stopped at a Tequillaria to see how they make tequilla (we don't drink, but are still interested). They showed up how they grow the blue agave plants and offered a tour for $15 per person. We continued to drive on .. saw where the Tulum Mayan ruins were... saw alot of the outskirts of the island. We finally made it around the island and into town. This is where it got fun! We kinda got turned around until we asked a local how to get back to the pier. He spoke English (like many of them did) and we pushed our way thru the crazy traffic and back to the ship. Absolutely a blast. Total cost = $20 taxi ride to and back from beach, $5 locker rental at beach, $70 (on credit card) for jeep rental and full coverage insurance = $95!

Grand Cayman: When we arrived in GC we thought we were back in FL! We saw all these blue tarps and bare trees! I really don't think that GC was fully ready for tourists again. I know they needed the money though. We were tendered in from the ship and came into town. We walked around the stores a little, then decided to take a tour. We went back where we came off the tender and found a lady giving tours for $15 a person to the Turtle farm and Hell. So we hopped on. She gave us a history of the island. Showed us where the Gov. lived. We arrived at the Turtle Farm where she explained to us the reason for the Turtle Farm (not gonna tell you .. you have to go yourself =D ). It cost $4 to get in and she spent approx 30 min there. We chose not to go in because we see sea turtles all the time here in FL, but others liked it. We walked over to the Tortuga Rum Company but it was closed down still. Many places on the island don't have power yet and/or still have major damage. After that we continued on to Hell. She gave us a story about how Hell got its name and dropped us off in Hell for about 30 min. There is a post office and a little shop that sells shirts and post cards that you are able to mail from Hell with that post mark and all. We came back to town after that, some people were dropped off at Cemetary Beach on the way back. We went back to the shopping area for a bit. Total Cost= $30 for a tour

Jamaica: This is were we were disappointed. We SO wanted to goto Ocho Rios so we could goto Dunn RIver Falls, but we were detoured =( We had to goto Montego Bay instead. We took a shuttle into town for $3 per person and walked around the stores. We hated it because the people were so pushy that we couldn't enjoy it. When you came out of the stores, the drivers were pushy wanting you to go on a tour with them. Finally we were tired of going in stores and being around pushy people that we decided to go back to the ship. We had a driver follow us from store to store until we were ready to leave so we just went with him. He offered to take us on a tour for $30 per hour so we agreed. He took us up Richmond Hill and showed us the country side where the poor people live and where the rich people live. He also showed us where they grow pot. We drove by a house that was being raided by the military looking for guns. We went by Margaritaville and back to the ship. We were not impressed at all with any part of Montego Bay. This is the ONLY port that we wished we had done an excursion thru the ship. We are in no hurry to go back to Jamaica. Total cost = $6 for taxi into town, $30 tour for hour = $36 total.

If you have any questions on specific things we saw or might have done, please ask and I will be happy to tell all.

Karen
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  #2  
Old November 15th, 2004, 02:58 PM
bmiller423 bmiller423 is offline
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Default Re: Review of my 11/7 Star cruise - long

We are booked on the Star Princess for 1-2-05. Our stops are basically the same as what you were scheduled for. I was wondering if you were able to stop in Princess Cay. My wife and I were looking at some information last night on Princess Cay's and you can rent equipment (paddle boats, etc.) and it seemed kind of pricey, like $22 per half an hour per person. Was wondering what your thoughts were or if you rented anything while you were there.

We are booked in an outside double w/balcony on the Lido Deck. This is the same deck as Neptunes Reef and Pool. How were the crowds on this deck and was it very loud.

Thanks,
Brad
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Old November 15th, 2004, 03:27 PM
Martin Martin is offline
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Default Re: Review of my 11/7 Star cruise - long

I am going on 1/2/05 too and I am concered about Pricess Cays.
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Old November 15th, 2004, 10:21 PM
pg
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Default Re: Review of my 11/7 Star cruise - long

Brad we too had a balcony cabin on the Lido deck, ( on the Golden which is the same as the Star) . Don't worry it is not noisey, there are double doors that seperate you from the pool areas, and not much traffic comes that way as you are in the very front of ship. We enjoyed the location very much, it was nice to be able to run back to the cabin to grab a book or wahtever when at the pool, also it is close the buffet, so easy to grab snacks to bring back to enjoy on the balcony.
Have fun!
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Old November 16th, 2004, 12:22 AM
Deedi Deedi is offline
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Default Re: Review of my 11/7 Star cruise - long

Karen, can't believe we never caught up with you on board! That was a great summary of the trip. We ate in the Portofino or Capri restaraunts every night and they were great. We had anytime dining and that worked out for us. We met three couples from Canada and ate with them each evening. I had escargot and it was great! Our room was an inside cabin and it was just fine. The formal nights were great and the champagne cascade and celebration was a blast.

We snorkeled in Majahual as well and that was fun. I got a massage on the beach, $15 for at least 30 minutes. The shopping mall at the pier was funky, but Mahajual was very primitive and authentic.

In Cozumel we did Chankanaab Park. It was awesome. Tons of fish. I took cereal to feed them and they attacked me. That was a great day!

Grand Caymans were very touristy at the port. The ship excursion to Sting Ray City was canceled due to rough seas. Well, that didn't stop us. We took a private trip out there through rough seas and it was great! We were the ONLY boat out there and the stingrays were hungry! Can't wait to get my film back. The boat ride was a little harry but we came back alive.

Jamaica was scary. We too were disappointed that Ocho Rios was canceled. I really was looking forward to the Falls and tubing. We took a cab to Doctors Cave beach and snorkeled a little. It was a beach full of Princess Star cruisers like us with nothing better to do. I did have Conch at the bar and grill, it was great.

So, I'm addicted and can't wait to save up for another cruise. Fortunately my DH loved it too, so I know we will do this again. I agree with Karen re: embarkation and disembarkation was just as easy. The hard part for us was the flight home and the time change. I went to work today and couldn't get the ship to stop rocking

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Old November 16th, 2004, 06:39 AM
KarenB KarenB is offline
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Default Re: Review of my 11/7 Star cruise - long

bmiller -- no unfortunately we did not stop at Princess Cay. I am not sure if there is anything non princess you can do there or not. We have never been. Don't worry one bit about the noise or the cabin you are going to have. If you are further down the aisle from the Horizon Court you definitely won't hear anything. If you are the few doors closer to it then you may occassionally hear someone talking. Other than that you will love it. I miss our balcony and our steward... it was hard to make my own bed again!! There was alot of people but I could always find a chair to sit in no matter when I went to the pool. If it was to crowded for me at one pool then I would goto another.

Deedi -- I am sorry we didn't get to meet up!! I was looking around and listening for anyone to call your name. I am glad that you had a blast like us. Brian is already talking about booking another cruise. I saw a guy holding a Peat Taylor sign at Montego Bay but we had decided that it was to much of a drive to goto the falls so we just stayed around the port.
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Old November 16th, 2004, 10:03 AM
bmiller423 bmiller423 is offline
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Default Re: Review of my 11/7 Star cruise - long

Karen and pg,

Thanks for your response. It helps to hear from someone who has been there and done that. I think the only thing we are going to pre-book is the swim with the dolphin excursion and just wing everything else at the other ports.
Thanks again.

Brad
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Old November 16th, 2004, 04:59 PM
Rene Morris
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Default Re: Review of my 11/7 Star cruise - long

Karen my husband and I will be on the aloha deck on star 12/12/04. What category room did you have?
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Old November 16th, 2004, 06:49 PM
KarenB KarenB is offline
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Default Re: Review of my 11/7 Star cruise - long

We were in room A227. I can't remember what category it is .. BA I think. It was a balcony stateroom. You will love it. If you get a steward named Kris he is great!
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Old November 23rd, 2004, 01:28 PM
gab
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Default Re: Review of my 11/7 Star cruise - long

thank you karen for you review as I am getting kind of worried about haivng booked the Star after all of the reviews about the bad food etc. We have sailed Carnival 3 times and ahve been more than satisfied. however, we are celbrating my son graduating from college and his grandmother's 80th birthdays. So I thought Princess might be a step up for the older follds one who has never cruised. Also being non drinkers and smokers, I am curious about the food in the dining rooms. this has always been one of the highlights of the cruise but reveiws are pretty negative about the quality. they also say the Horizon food is terrible.. On Carnaval the food on the Lido deck has always been very tasty and good quality. Were you satisfied with the quality and variety in the Horizon? Did you eat your lunches and breakfast there also? If so , any good? Since we have the grandparents, we do not have to be fancy but they might prefer it, but I prefer to go where the best food is and do not want any disappointments. Lastly, did you have any trouble with seating for the shows. We are leaving on 12-12-04 for the Eastern adn look forward to your reply. thank you
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Old November 23rd, 2004, 10:50 PM
Deedi Deedi is offline
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Default Re: Review of my 11/7 Star cruise - long

gab - I was also just on the Star. The food in the PC (anytime dining) restaraunts was excellent! We had great service, and the food was high quality. The waiters were great at suggesting the best options as well. We also ate breakfast in the restaraunts twice and that was great too! The Horizon Court was fair, Chinese theme was great food, breakfasts were OK. The pizza bar was good, too spicy for me though. The line for the hamburgers was always long, so I guess that was good as well. We enjoyed the comedians, never any trouble getting seated. I would suggest you get there before the show starts to assure more options. We are in our 40's if that helps. I would definitely cruise the Star again!

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Old November 24th, 2004, 08:50 AM
gab
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Default Re: Re: Review of my 11/7 Star cruise - long

Thanks for the info Deedi - puts my fears at ease...
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Old November 25th, 2004, 10:44 AM
KarenB KarenB is offline
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Default Re: Review of my 11/7 Star cruise - long

The food in the dining room that we ate in was good, but 4 and 5 course meals just aren't our style. We had a long wait on our food, but that's not what sent us to the Horizon. We found that the food in the Horizon was very good. We ate there for breakfast and dinner and late night snacks to take back to our balcony. Usually for lunch we ate at the pizza place or hamburger/hotdog place. We both loved the pizza and the hamburgers and hotdogs. The line can be long if you go around noon but we never had to wait to long. They give you fries along with it and will make it however you want. They also have veggie burgers (uck my opinion). Definitely get to the shows early. We always got to the comedian shows about 30 minutes early just so we could get the pick of seats. If you wait to close it is very hard to find a good seat. They always had to bring out chairs to seat in the aisle. You will have a great time and won't go hungry. The food and comedians are excellent. Grandparents will enjoy it as well.

=) Karen
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