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December 20, 2004

STAR PRINCESS - Review

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STAR PRINCESS

I took a 3 night coastal cruise on board the Star Princess from Vancouver, BC to Los Angeles, CA on September 18th. I was expecting the weather to be rough and cold, but was pleasantly surprised it wasn't!

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SPA
During the two full days at sea I spent most of my time at the spa. I did the Asian Lotus Ritual, the Ocean Ritual, the Exotic Hand Treatment (manicure), Foot Treatment (pedicure), and a scalp, neck & shoulder massage (I can't remember the name). I really enjoyed all of these treatments and would definitely do the Ocean Ritual again! I would not do the scalp, neck & shoulder massage again. The girl in the salon did this for me and it took me 3 days and 7 shampoos to get the oil out of my hair.

What bothered me was the heavy sales pitch at the end or during each treatment. They made me feel like I was doing bad things to my body and that I needed their products, so I ended up buying two different things. One of which I wanted to return a few hours later and was told the spa has a no-refund policy and that I'd have to contact Elemis directly when I got home. Well I did that and they will only give an 85% refund for the product even though it hasn't been used!

The gym was great...although at certain times during the day (especially around 4pm) it was busy and there wasn't enough equipment for everyone. Most of the classes (yoga, pilates, spinning, etc.) had a charge of $10 US pp.

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LAYOUT
The ship itself is beautiful. I found the area on Deck 7 where the photos are displayed to be the busy part of the ship. Its right outside of the Wheelhouse Bar, Sabatini's Restaurant, the Explorer's Lounge and the Vista Lounge. Everynight something was happening at the Explorer's Lounge and it would get loud and fill with people. The most exciting and loudest night was when Karoke was offered in this lounge at 10pm...everyone showed up!

Most of the outside areas are on Deck 14. There is one outdoor pool, one indoor pool and one small pool hidden at the front of the ship by the spa. There were always people in the pools and the hot tubs had people coming and going, but there was always room to join.

DINING
Personal Choice Dining is great! There is one restaurant (Amalfi) that is for traditional dining and two restaurants (Portofino & Capri) for personal choice dining. I found that it was always best to make a reservation in either of personal choice dining rooms because otherwise you could wait up to 20 minutes for a table.

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The Horizon Court (buffet) was good. They always had at least one side open with food. The variety of food changed every few hours, but it seemed like the breakfast offered each morning was the same. If it were a longer cruise I probably would have tried one of the dining rooms for some breakfasts.

There was a grill area by the outdoor pool that has pizza, hot dogs, hamburger, vegi burgers, chicken burgers and more. The made to order food was good, but I found the pizza got cold really fast.

Tequilla's restaurant is good. The cost is $8 US per person, but you receive a free lime margarita with dinner. It was good, but if you don't like spicy stuff watch out! The salsa that comes with the taco chips is hot. I found the ceaser salad and tequilla prawns were great!

Sabatini's I couldn't get into. They only take reservations for the day/night of and each time it was full. I heard from other passengers that it was good.

Room service was 24 hours but limited. Breakfast, for example, was only continental. We didn't use it at all.

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ENTERTAINMENT
The only show we went to see was Dance. It was great! The rest of the time we would go to the Skywalkers nightclub for entertainment. The DJ was good, offering a selection of music for the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s and took requests. The only disappointment was that it closed at 3am.

DAILY ACTIVITIES
There were a wide variety of daily activities offered, however I found the Princess Patter (guide sheet) hard to read. It seems that I always missed something on the sheet and it never talked about dining areas. There was a separate yellow sheet with all the dining information and we lost it the second day!

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STATEROOM
We were booked into a Category F Oceanview Stateroom with fully obstructed view. They should have called it an Inside Stateroom. We looked directly at a lifeboat and could not see anything. No light came in so it really felt like an Inside Stateroom. The layout of the room was good, there was a small sitting area and the closet was big. But the biggest disappointment for me was the bathroom. There was little storage for a make-up bag and toothbrush. But the biggest problem was the shower. It was so small! I'm tall and thin and had a real problem trying to shave. The shower curtain grabs you and I almost slipped twice. They really need to add a foot or more in the shower.

My traveling companions and I really made our own fun on the ship. I think to a certain extent this was more of a party cruise because of its length and therefore the nightclub was busier than usual. And that's why I think its best suited for families. So many of the activities were for them and I think a longer cruise is geared more toward them.

The ship itself it very big and I could feel it. From standing out on deck watching the ship sail away and being able to see people on their balconies below to trying to look at photos on deck 7 and having masses of people trying to walk by.

Written By Denise Blackmore, ACC

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Posted by Denise at December 20, 2004 09:07 AM
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