We registered early because of a $25 per person dining promotion. Forget that! Was never received. We paid for dine anytime but to do that you need a reservation and apparently you can't dine anytime. The in room services guide says to push the "Dining Line" button for reservations but there was no button on our phone nor was there a phone number listed to make reservations. So you are on your own. Excursion: Advertisement shows you are on your own 4X4 quad. In reality you are in a Kawasaki Mule with seating for 5. Next the Jeep trip - Good jeep trail but overgrowth so dense that you don't see anything. Other tours we took were satisfactory. Be careful of room upgrade promotions. You could end up on another deck with a location that you may not expect or want. The staff was polite. The food was ok and the ship was exceedingly clean and well appointed.
66 year old and knee replacement in Feb . Each time i came on board I was searched because my knee set off alarm. Cabin number was recorded and I was ok with that. when leaving ship for home I was detained with no explanation when card scanned. i was told stand here with all watching and wonder who is this problem It was embarrassing and I had to wait while 2 men in brown suits escorted my wife and I off ship. When asked for reason no one said anything, When off ship they left. Vietnam veteran with only issue knee replacement was treated like terrorist
HUMILIATED EMBARRASSED AND PI$$ED. I WANT EXPLANATION BUT WOULD BET THEY DO NOT CARE THEY ALREADY HAVE MY MONEY IS IT NOT FUNNY HOW CUSTOMER SERVICE CHANGES FROM WHEN THEY ARE SELLING PRODUCT AND AFTER THEY HAVE FINISHED WITH YOU
Princess Cruises -- Air Deviation Fee Scheme This was by far the worst of our many trips (including 15 cruises) all over the world. Princess booked us on a very tight flight connection and would not change it unless we paid hundreds more in "Air Deviation Fees." We declined and suffered the consequences. As feared, we missed our flight and had to make it on our own to South America to catch the Star Princess at her second port of call. We incurred considerable expenses which Princess refused to reimburse us for, claiming it was a "legal" air connection. We did not get our luggage until returning home on the 18th day.
This was our first cruise on Princess and we would not consider using their services again. A quick search of the internet will disclose many of the questionable business practices they employ including the "Air Deviation Fee" scheme they used on us. We believe that their scheme works like this. A customer books a cruise and makes the final payment. About 20-30 days before departure Princess issues the air schedule. The customer notes that they have many short and/or tightconnections and expresses his concern. Princess tells the customer that it is a "legal" connection, but they will change it for an "Air Deviation Fee" (One man we spoke with on the ship paid an additional $1400 to get an acceptable schedule.) Since the customer is now in the penalty phase of the booking, Princess will keep all or most of the customer's money if they cancel.
AVOID THIS COMPANY AT ALL COSTS.
This was the WORST CRUISE OF MY LIFE.
1 -- There was an epidemic on board the Star Princess. A huge number of passengers had severe vomiting and diarrhea accompanied by high fevers. The fact that cruise ships tend to have epidemics of vomiting and diarrhea, and not the much more common cold, tells you that it is not being brought onboard by a sick passenger. These bugs are most likely living in the carpeting, drapes, bedspreads, blankets, or ventilation. They could also be being spread by asymptomatic crew members who are carriers.
2 -- My husband and I are good cooks. It was difficult to find good tasting food at the buffet. We did eat dinners at the restaurant. On some evenings the food was very good. On other evenings, the food was mediocre to bad. I could cook better in my sleep. At the end of the cruise, they were actually trying to sell their cookbook!!!
3 -- The Beagle Channel Wildlife shore excursion (Ushuaia) was really boring. We saw a few seals and some birds. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
4 -- We tried to go to the poolsone night right after dinner, but they were already closed for the night.
5 -- The shore excursion to see the penguins in Punta Arenas was canceled because the penguins had moved on. This was disappointing, but at least they were honest about it.
6 -- The captain took the ship all the way around Cape Horn, which is an island at the tip of South America. We saw Cape Horn about 5 PM. The scenery from that point until it got too dark to see was fabulous.
3 years in a row we have taken this cruise to Hawaii. This year it has gone downhill. Food is terrible. Served pork loin in the buffet 12 out of 15 days. Waiter said there was no butter anymore (asked for some with my lobster). Both of us came home with weight loss. Everyone was complaining. Also, huge outbreak of flu on ship. People coughing everywhere and didn't want to go to infirmary and spend $500. We did and my husband was quarantined. They need to offer something cost effective to people when there is an outbreak of influenza like that. Movies were no longer first-run as before. Cutbacks were obvious everywhere. Very disappointed - we will be trying a different cruise line in the future. Couldn't wait to get back home.
As advertised Princess does have room serve 24/7 but it comes with a charge. There is also a gratuity added for any purchase. The specialty dining was wonderful but had cover charges. As long as you know this going in it is not a problem. Although it feels at times that you are being "nickel and dimed" at every turn. This ship is still well maintained for the most part, but it is showing it's age and even the mini suite bathroom could use an upgrade in the tile. Some patching apparent and discoloration. Would hope for better in a mini suite or any room for that matter.
After booking our next cruise last April (we sail in Novermber) with Princess, a few months later we saw a better price. We called Princess and requested the lower price. Princess said they no longer honor the "low price guarantee." And the more we read, we see more and more cruise lines are following this policy. So, what advantage is there to booking early?
The film "Flying Down to Rio" aired March 11, 2010 on TCM (Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers' first film together) and that same evening we flew American Airlines to Rio de Janeiro. We took it as a good omen, and our trip was a sensational one. For months we had been telling everyone we were flying down to Rio -- something we had been wanting to say for most of our lives. The glamour, the natural beauty, and the excitement of Rio are unparalleled in South America. Vincent bartered and dickered for weeks for a non-stop flight; finally, he changed the date of our departure and this gave us four days in Rio and meant we only had to load our wheelchair and scooter once. He didn't want to take any chances with our equipment. The flight from Miami was overnight from 11:00pm to 9:30am Rio Time. Not bad, we went business class with good food and drinks and a comfortable seat which reclined for sleeping --- all this TLC made the time fly.
In Rio, Vincent had arranged for a mini van to aid our transfer to the Hotel WindsorAsturias. The van was actually a tiny station wagon, so Vincent took another taxi too, and we got to the hotel in separate cars, but with everything in one piece and accounted for. Now, we were truly ready for our Brazilian Adventure. After dinner we went to the 22nd floor Terrace to see Rio. Fantastic! From our hotel we could see most of Rio: Sugar Loaf Mountain with its cable car and Mt. Corcovado with the 125 foot tall statue of Christ the Redeemer whose arms are out stretched embracing the city. It was very exciting seeing the Copa Cabana beach and the famous Maracana` Soccer Stadium. We took a tour to Corcovado to see the Cristos and it was awe inspiring. The face and hands were sculpted in France, but the huge body was constructed in Rio of local sandstone, a soft porous stone which requires frequent upkeep. Unfortunately, at present, there is a chain link scaffold over the statue during this resurfacing. Although the purity of line was marred, the majesty and enormity of the work was still evident.
However, this was one of the few times in all of our world travels that we visited a country in which we could not understand the language at all and very few people we encountered could speak English. Portugese is actually worse than Greek to us, since Vincent understands a bit of Greek. Just ordering dinner was an adventure, we thought that whatever came would be a surprise; so we went with the flow and life was very enjoyable. Our hotel was centrally located and the guests were international. Very interesting.
EMBARKATION Once again Vincent had arranged for a special van to transfer us to the ship. One showed up on time with seats for twelve passengers, but no space for luggage or the wheelchair and scooter. A second call was made and a Mercedes van showed up and we were off to the Port, a distance of about one mile at a cost of $100. A bit expensive but the transfer was a relief to us. Check in was simple, since the ship was staying overnight and there was no specific rush hour or crowds during this time. We were delighted to be back on the Star Princess for the third time.
THE SHIP The Star Princess is Hull #6051 built by the Fincantieri Monfalcone Shipyards of Italy and launched in 2002 at a cost of $450 million. Like her sister ships in the Grand Class, Grand, Golden and Sapphire Princesses, she has the distinctive "spoiler" in the upper stern, which holds the Skywalker Nightclub. She is 951 feet long with a beam of 159 feet (including the Bridge Wing) and a gross tonnage of 109,000 with a draft of a mere 26 feet. Her maximum speed is 24 knots and her registry is Hamilton, Bermuda. Average passenger capacity is 2,600 and her crew numbers 1,150 -- an excellent passenger to crew ratio.
She has 28 wheelchair-accessible cabins, which are not reserved for wheelchair only guests. It is a pity to see physically challenged people struggling with equipment, while able bodied passengers are using facilities they do not need. The ADA needs to be made aware of this. Our Travel Agent Skyscraper Tours keep medical certificates on hand in order to avoid this very dilemma -- all agents should be required to do so.
In our review of our first sailing on the Star Princess 2005, we did a detailed deck-by-deck description of the Star, so we refer the reader to this same site for that. Here, we will note some tricks to getting around the Star. Vincent's Scooter got hung up on several too steep entrances and exits-- for example the nearest route to the Lido Deck 14 could not be used. However, if we took the elevator down to Promenade Deck 7, then went aft to the central lifts (elevators) and then up to Deck 14 and voila` there was no obstruction. The Promenade is also too difficult to enter because of sharply angled ramps. Mary's wheelchair could handle them, but it was a bumpy ride (don't try this while carrying a drink or food!)
The Star's unique Centrum (Decks 5, 6, and 7) is a hub of activity, due to neatly clustered venues. Deck 5 is the lovely Piazza with its mosaic floor, on which the Argentinian Tango dancers Fernando and Cecilia executed their precise and fluid movements. This was not just a series of poses like on "Dancing With the Stars;" rather this was delightfully staccato and rhythmic steps. Bravissimi! So beautiful that Mary went to see them daily at 1, 2 and 3pm.
Deck 5 also has the Internet Cafe` and the Library, Vines Shop and Bar (with wine tastings and cheese pairings. Most important of all, here is located the International Cafe` serving wonderful coffees, espresso, pastries, delicate sandwiches, bigne and doughnuts. Starting at 11:00am they also have hot cookies for which passengers line up. The Centrum on Deck 5 is a busy place.
On Deck 6 are the Boutiques, the Passenger Services Desk and the Grand Casino. On Deck 7 are the Wheelhouse Bar, the Explorers Lounge, the Vista Lounge, the Tour Office and the Wedding Chapel. The Centrum is the Hub of many activities and a great meeting place.
Our old friend Hotel General Manager Gianfranco Sampiero told us of the logistical inconveniences which occurred at Valparaiso because of the Chilean Earthquake. There were passengers with travel problems and difficulties loading supplies. But, all were accommodated with patience. Of course, there are always those people unwilling to allow an act of nature to cause them inconvenience. We say go with the flow and everyone will be happier. Under Sampiero the ship is run beautifully and she remains lovely. Captain Edward Perrin keeps to his schedule. At one time he was First Officer of the Love Boat, what a recommendation!
FOOD & SERVICE Captain Perrin's cocktail parties are well attended and during this cruise there were three formal nights to remember. Service on board always filters down from above and Captain Perrin has set a high standard for all to follow. Service is top notch.
Food is where Princess excels; whenever we are asked which cruise line we prefer, we always respond that for food we suggest Princess, because most of her Executive Chefs are Italian and now we will add that the Corporate Culinary Ambassador and Master Chef is Commendatore Alfredo Marzi; His resume mentions that he has directed and supervised official banquets in honor of many famous guests including the following: Queen Elizabeth II, Diana, Princess of Wales, Former King Umberto of Italy, U.S. President George Bush, Italian President Ciampi, etc. --- (How's that for name dropping?)
As a graduate of L'Ecole Culinare Francaise August Escoffier, Marzi is esteemed world wide and sets all the menus and recipes for the Princess ships. He is the original "Love Boat" Chef and now visits all the Princess ships in rotation. We were lucky that he was on board this cruise. His potato gnocchi are incredibly light and served in a delicate cheese sauce.
The Star Princess' Executive Chef is Paolo Merio, a jovial master chef who apprenticed under Senior Exec. Chef Antonio Cereda and it shows. Born in Como, Italy, he is the product of a family steeped in fine food for generations. He attended the Hotel School of Bellaggio and began his Princess career at the age of 17, as the youngest employee in the Princess Fleet. From galley helper in 1986 to Executive Chef in 2000 – a 14-year meteoric rise.
Enough about personalities, now the food.
The Chef's Dinner: Quail & venison terrine with mesclun salad; Twice baked goat's cheese Souffle` with garlic Sabayon; Wild mushroom cream soup with Madeira sun-blushed tomatoes; Boston bib lettuce salad with shallot dressing; Palate cleanser of strawberry and thyme infused lemon Sorbet.
Choice of Entree: Griddled sea bass with Champagne risotto; Seared scallops in citrus butter, red bliss potatoes and vegetables Julienne; Pork tenderloin with cocoa spice rub, natural au jus and ratatouille; Pink roasted superior rack of lamb with rosemary and Boulangere potatoes; or Vegan English Stilton with crisp leek hay and Port wine glaze.
Or you may try the roasted Portobello, or fettucine Alfredo which are always available daily, as are shrimp cocktail, classic Caesar's salad, seared salmon, broiled chicken breast au jus, beef medallions with Bearnaise sauce, and southern fried chicken with French fries and coleslaw.
Now for dessert, try the Menage a Trois (Mini raspberry panna cotta, an Opera Gatteau and a Honey hazelnut semifreddo with Nutella Twist), or maybe a sugar free mint chocolate cake, or the "Always Available" Princess Love Boat Dream (Mousse on Brownie), traditional NY cheesecake, fruit or cheese plates, or a variety of homemade ice creams: Amaretto, Butter Toffee, Rum Raisin, Blueberry Sorbet or many others. Coffee or tea with made on board Mignardises. The best dessert was the Chef's concoction of an Amaretto Mousse, with a starfish cookie with strawberries tumbling out and all arranged in front of a spun sugar Red Coral Reef Sea Fan (beautiful to look at and taste).
Dinner on board the Star Princess is always an occasion with Maitre D' Giuseppe "Beppe" Castino orchestrating it. Our Head Waiters Andras and Wolfgang Pauer made meals interesting. They prepared specialities in the Portofino Dining Room tableside such as the following: Pastas, and desserts like Bananas Foster, Cherries Jubilee and on St. Patrick's Day, Irish Coffee.
Our waiters were Edgar and his Assistant Rodel, who were very attentive and helpful: One evening when Mary was ill, Vincent went down to say we would not dine in the dining room and in five minutes Maitre D`Beppe called our stateroom to say dinner would be brought to our cabin. And what a dinner it was: Soup, baked gnocchi, Chocolate Mousse, sorbets and a bottle of Verdicchio to wash it down!
Every morning we used the Bell Box (Room Service) for Continental Breakfast in our cabin --- it was always on time and coffee and chocolate were hot. Lunch time was always interesting and a special treat, since Chef Merio did many special features poolside on Deck 14 such as the following: Sushi displays, Mexican buffets, Italian trattoria spreads, tapas, etc.... Needless, to say our South America cruise was a gastronomic tour. We try to avoid the buffet because of the wheelchair, but buffet server, Gerry, helped us every time we ventured forth and gave us courage to return.
Two days before Ft. Lauderdale Commendatore Marzi made a spectacular Easter display of huge chocolate eggs (12 t0 24 inches tall) all uniquely decorated. We'll just call him the Michelangelo of Edible Sculpture; he is truly an artist. The huge displays had all the usual suspects: bunnies, chickens, hens, ducks, geese, flowers and even a "Tweetie" bird. We are positive that the cruisers on the next week were flabbergasted by this wonderland of art.
CABIN Stateroom Baja 303 on Deck 11 is wheelchair accessible. When entering on the left is a parking space for the wheelchair; a triple armoire with two sections for hanging and one with a set of shelves and the personal safe. Next, there is a TV, a refrigerator and a long desk/vanity with a lighted mirror and four drawers, a desk chair and an upholstered chair. When entering on the right, there is the large bathroom with 4'X4' shower with a fold-up seat, sink a mirror and nice shelves for amenities. The beds were two cot size bunks. When we asked that they be made into one, the response was that "As singles you will have more room in the cabin." Next time (May 9, 2010 on the Emerald Princess) we will insist on our request, since we were not happy with the configuration!
The far wall had all windows and the sliding door to the balcony, which held a chaise lounge, two other chairs and a large table. Alas, there was no automatic door opener which makes it difficult to enter and exit the cabin. Each time, it was a logistical event.
ENTERTAINMENT Cruise Director J.J. Ullrich has personality, pep and leads the fun aboard the Star with enthusiasm. The best show was the folkloric "Brasileirissimo Samba Show" Costumes were fantastic; featured were Capoeira Maculele and Samba --- WOW! --- This ship had new release movies in several venues: The Princess Theatre, the Vista Lounge and the Pool Deck Gigantic Screen which featured Cirque Du Soleil "Delirium." The production shows in the Theatre were "Ports of Call" and "Cinematastic." The Star Princess had something always going on from the top Deck 17 "Skywalkers" to Deck 5 Piazza. No one should go away bored. There is also the Scholarship at Sea Program: with computer courses, photography, ceramics, ballroom dancing, culinary arts and wine tasting. There are also gym, swimming, golf, trivia, bingo, the Casino tournaments, etc.PORTS OF CALL
Day 1. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Embarkation suggested after 2pm. Overnight in Rio to facilitate tours of this beautiful city. Tours organized by Princess: Best of Rio, visit to Sugarloaf and Christ the Redeemer (8hrs. $199); Christ the Redeemer, visit the 125-ft-tall statue on top of Corcovado Mountain (4hrs. $89).
Day 2. Rio De Janeiro Depart 5:00pm
Day 3. Santos, Brazil Arrive 7:00am Depart 7:00pm Tours by Princess: Highlights Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city with barbecue lunch at a traditional Churrascaria (8hrs. $149); Tour of Santos & Guaruja`, a coastal resort (4hrs. $69).
Days 4. and 5. Sea Days
Day 6. Salvador, Brazil Arrive 8:00am Depart 5:00pm Tours by Princess: Salvador Highlights, bus ride through modern Salvador, visit craft shops, artisan studios and cafes (4hrs. $55); A Walk Through Historic Salvador, a guided tour including two beautiful Baroque churches (4hrs. $45).
Day 7. Sea Day
Day 8. Recife, Brazil Arrive 8am Depart 5:00pm We visited our local friends Alessandra & Eduardo and toured the city by car. We enjoyed Olinda, Brazil's old colonial capital, with the many varicolored houses and historical churches. That morning on the Pier we saw from the ship a group of dancers, in colorful costumes, with small umbrellas, doing the "Frevo", a local characteristic dance. With a very energetic "Crescendo"!
Day 9. Sea Day
Day 10. Fortaleza, Brazil Arrive 7:00am Depart 4:00pm Tours available: Introduction to Fortaleza, a narrated drive through the city with visits to the Neo-Gothic Cathedral, the Central Market, etc. (4 hrs. $49); Cumbuco Beach Tour, a 45-minute drive to this famous beach (4hrs. $79).
Days 11, 12 and 13. At Sea On day 11, on March 26, at 10:30am we crossed the Equator. On that occasion a traditional ceremony was performed by "King Neptune" and his court on Deck 14 (Neptune's Reef & Pool)
Day 14. Barbados Arrive 7:00am Depart 5:00pm A variety of tours are offered by Princess, from snorkeling to sailing and golfing, to scenic rides and safari adventures, etc....
Day 15. Antigua Arrive 9:00am Depart 5:30pm As for Barbados the same can be said for Antigua, more than twenty Tours are offered by Princess. Check the list on Princess' website.
Day 16. St. Thomas, USVI Arrive 7:00am Depart 5:30pm US Passport Check. This island is a great place for tax-free shopping.
Day 17. At Sea
Day 18. At Sea and Captain Perrin's Farewell Cocktail Party
Day 19. Ft. Lauderdale, FL. USA Arrive 7:00am
DEBARKATION This was a simple and speedy affair, since we had already done our passport check in St. Thomas. All those in wheelchairs met in the Casino and were escorted from there to baggage pick up and Customs. We were in our van and headed home on I-95 at 9:45am. Excellent.
SUGGESTIONS We strongly feel that wheelchair cabins should be available to those who need them and not to opportunists. A simple directive to travel agents should be made to inform them that the cruise line's policy will be to move those who ignore the rules to another cabin and it may not be one of their selection. Moreover, the cruise line should not assign the wheelchair accessible cabins to anyone without proper medical documentation until the last days of booking, when all the disabled passengers have been accommodated.
We are ready for another cruise! We have booked our next cruise on the Emerald Princess for May 9, 2010 and look forward to see again our old friends, Hotel Manager Peter Hollinson and Maitre d' Nicola Furlan. Happy Cruising!
We cruised out of Seattle on June 28, 2009 for the Inside Passage. We took this same trip last year at almost the same week and on the same ship.
I have to say that this year was even better than last year. The weather was perfect, the company good and the food was fantastic.
Our cabin on the Caribe deck was nice with the larger balcony. We traveled with 2 other couples and had the balconies all open to each other. Made for great happy hours and was nice sharing the scenic glacier viewing of Tracy Endicott Arm.
Our room stewardess went way beyond expectations and everywhere on the ship the entire crew was pleasant. Our waiters were awesome at dinner service too.
The newly renovated Star Princess was nicely done. The bed was a bit lumpy, and I would have thought with the renovations recently done they would have changed the mattresses out.
We found the embarkation and disembarkation very organized and efficient. We used the Princess airport transfers and those too were very well organized.
The shows were entertaining and upbeat and very colorful. We went to several other activities throughout theship too, and those were also very entertaining. There was no lack of things to do. I only wish that some of the activities didn't overlap into the times of other activities. I would have liked to have done more.
Cruising is truly the best way to vacation. You have your lodging, entertainment and food all right there. You don't have to live out of a suitcase or worry about drinking and driving. All of this and visiting fabulous destinations too. What more could you ask for? Princess Cruise Lines know how to make traveling fun.
On May 11, 2008, we embarked on our 1st cruise with Princess cruise lines. We sailed The Star Princess 7 day cruise to Alaska round trip from Seattle. We are Mother and Daughter age 41 and 17, and we have traveled on cruises many times in the past. We took a town car service to and from the airport to the port for $40.00 each way and that's per car, not passenger. The car holds approx 3-4 people.
Embarkation Embarkation was out of Seattle. It was the most disorganized embarkation we've ever experienced. We arrived at the port at 10:45 am; we boarded the ship at 1200 pm. We had booked the penthouse suite for my daughter's graduation and were to have priority check-in; however they started checking in everyone but priority which I felt was rude, and they were very focused on a wedding party that took precedence over everyone else.
Stateroom We opted for a penthouse suite and we were located on Deck 10 (Caribe Deck). The stateroom was great. We had a walk-in closet, a large bathroom with full-size jetted tub, as well as large shower, a small sittingroom with a loveseat, and a nice double balcony with a partial roof covering. I did like some of the suite amenities complimentary such as thermal spa since Alaska is COLD. The downside to the thermal spa is that everyone is sneaking in. Access needs to be better controlled to preserve the experience. Laundry and dry cleaning was free, and daily menus that you can order food from the dinning room to your room were provided. Downside of this is that since Alaska is COLD we ordered hot chocolate off the breakfast menu and they charged us for it daily which, when we were in the dining room, they did not.
Dining We had requested the early traditional dining table for two, however we had a table for four and they were unable to accommodate our request made one year in advance. Therefore we were placed in the Capri dining room with anytime dinning with a set table (#22) for 5:45 every night. This was a table for two. We were very pleased with the food and our wait staff (Bruno and Ricardo, and Alex when Bruno was out sick). We liked several of the meals at dinner such as Alaskan King Crab Legs, Fresh Ketchikan Silver Salmon and dill butter sauce, Pappardelle al Sugo di Lepre (braised rabbit), Gamberi alla Fra Diavolo (flambéed shrimp). The best dessert was the cheese cake.
All three dining rooms are small and none of them are grand. The positives are that the dining rooms don't get noisy, and it works well with accommodating traditional and open seating passengers. The negatives are that there is no large, grand dining room that you find on non-Princess ships.
Lunch was open seating in the Portofino Dining Room. Our waiters, for the most part, were fast and efficient. Again, the food was good, not great.
Specialty restaurant Sabatini's was terrible -- 8 courses and nothing was good or great. I felt like I spent $40.00 on cheese cake since that was the only food I really enjoyed there.
Afternoon Tea was excellent, and I did like the fact that Princess has this daily.
Drinks were the worst ever; I would rank RC as the best, Carnival 2nd, and Princess as the worst.
Ports Ketchichen: We did the zip line tour and it was great.
Juneau: We did a whale watching tour with ORCA enterprises (1-888-733-6722 -- adult $109.00 each). It is an excellent tour and you can book this online and it is well worth it. The boat is new, with inside bathroom and seating. There are large windows that can be opened to take pictures and then closed again to keep warm. They also provide snacks, and hot and cold drinks which are included with the tour. We saw up close and personal a pod of 7 Orcas, Sea lions, bald eagles, and hump back whales.
Tracy Arm: The was spectacular -- a great morning to spend enjoying the open decks or hanging out on one's balcony.
Skagway: This port involved a boring long walk into town. Take the blue buses into town for $1.50 each way.
Victoria, BC: This is a beautiful city, however, the ship arrives at 5pm at night and leaves at 12 midnight. I would love for this to be a full day port and do away with Skagway if necessary to make up the time.
Entertainment The Star Princess Production Cast are not the most talented group. We had two comedians and they were very good. They had a very talented man named Greg Bonham who was the best I have ever seen on a cruise ship. He sang, danced, and played the trumpet like no other, so all the cruise lines should be booking him.
The casino on this ship was pretty dead.
Disembarkation We decided to haul off our own luggage. With that said we felt that the Captain's Circle and Priority members should have been allowed to leave the ship first with their luggage, which was not the case. There were crowds of people disembarking, not waiting in their areas and it was very difficult to move your luggage off the ship. I feel that Princess needs to address this issue.
Other Comments This cruise did not have a lot of activities compared to other cruise lines. It seemed geared toward the older generations 65 and older. I would have loved to see the indoor pool opened, and it was not. If you are going to Alaska, go around the 3rd week in June to see the salmon run and bears. For the best shopping, go at the end of the season in September since all the shops want to sell off the clothes and gifts since the towns are mostly closed during the winter months.