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Copyright © 1995-2004 
Linda Coffman


Princess Cruises Star Princess Cruise ReviewStar Princess
Mediterranean ~ July 2004

by Davýd Hunter

We just returned from the Star Princess. I learned so much that helped my trip from reading Internet posts before I left, that I want to pass on the favor. If you are booked on this cruise, you are in for trip of a lifetime!

My wife and I traveled with our 16-year-old son, and our travel agent got us a last minute upgrade to a mini suite, D424. We loved the ship and our room, and lived on the balcony, even though it is true, that everyone from above can see you. We got used to it. 

ROOM SERVICE. If you are in a mini suite, you can order room service from the restaurant menu, but they keep this quite. You have to know about it, and say “Hello, I’d like to order from the Restaurant Menu”. To know what to order, get a copy of the room service menu or have the room service person read it to you. The food from the restaurant menu was great, but the food from the regular room service menu-- that they tell you about in the maroon book-- is sometimes inedible. Cold fries, dry cake, bad sandwiches. Order a lot, so that if one thing is bad, you have choices. 

It was HOT, so be prepared for bringing water to every port. We spent a lot of money on incidentals on our last cruise, so we went on this one determined not to get nickel and dimed, and we spent much less than we expected--a nice surprise. You can buy bottled water from the ship every day, or you can bring your own water bottle and fill it up. We bought three 99 cent plastic bottles of water before we left, and emptied them to pack them. It worked great. And we saved much $. A word on the tap water on the ship. It is VILE. I only met a couple of people who could drink it. The water in the Horizon Court is bottled water so you can fill up bottles there. Or you can buy a bottle in your room for about $3 each. ($3 for 3 people for 12 days is $108! It adds up) 

Coffee is bad if you are a “coffee snob”, so bring a small coffee pot, (it will plug into the ship outlet with no converter or plug extras). Espresso is free after dinner, so you can get your fix there, too. 

Washer and Dryer are great. $1.00 per wash and 50 cents per dry. 50 cents for soap. Bring your own Bounce sheets (they act as great smell fresheners in the suitcases). We used the laundry room 2 times and it was a lifesaver, even though we thought we had packed enough clothes. Iron and ironing board are free. 

THE PORTS: I called Princess before the trip to see which ports you really need to get a tour from, and which you can walk to. They weren’t sure. If at all possible book your own tour. If you go with the Princess trips, you'll waste a very significant amount of time waiting for fellow passengers who can't be bothered to be on time, and you'll spend a lot more money than you have to. If food is included it will be horrible. Don't even think of securing a driver with a car or van through the excursion desk -- you'll pay many times more than if you booked it yourself. 

ATHENS: You need a tour or a taxi. we enjoyed George, "the best taxidriver in Greece." George is not a licensed guide, but he is delightful, a great driver, very accommodating: 
GEORGE Kokkotos Cell: 011 309 322 05887 Fax: 011-301-502-4482

KUSADASI: You can walk off the ship to the town. You need a taxi or tour for Ephesus, which is a few miles away. We booked a private tour from a local tour opeartor. Young, personable, knowledgeable, and very accommodating staff. Nice website, too:  
Highly satisfied from their services for this port.. 

VENICE: You can walk right off the boat to the shore (or get the free water taxi to the shore if the boat has to park farther away.) Our boat docked right into Venice. It was the highlight of the cruise for us. My husband took 7 rolls of us just coming in to Venice!

Saint Mark’s Square alert: Our tour guide warned us that if you sit at the outdoor cafes, you pay extra for music. We were hot and figured cokes couldn’t be that much. So we ordered 4 cokes for the three of us and the bill was $34.00! ($6 each for the cokes and about $4 each for the music surcharge!) In Venice, the shops are behind the bell tower in St Mark’s Square. It was great, but a maze, and we actually used my husband’s compass to find our way out! 

NAPLES: We docked 3/4 mile from the city center. You could walk or taxi to Naples, but need a tour to Pompeii, or other places. 

LIVORNO: Princess has a shuttle bus for $4 each way to the city center, 2 miles away. Tour or other transport needed to Florence and Pisa. 

MONTE CARLO: You can walk up to the city and the Casino. (The casino is the building with the green roof--use the elevator behind the souvenir shop to get to it.) 

BARCELONA: Need taxi or tour. 

TENNIS SHOES: I am NOT a tennis shoe person, unless I am exercising. I shuddered at the thought of walking around Europe in tennis shoes, but I bought some, and am SO glad I did. The Acropolis, for example is lots of steps on slippery marble. (I saw lots of cute- sandal-wearers with band-aids.) 

PHONE CALLS HOME: It is easy from your stateroom and is $5 a minute. (Watch out, 58 seconds is $5 and 62 seconds is counted as 2 minutes $10.) 

CLOTHES: 3 Formal, which is what you would wear to a fancy New Year’s Eve party, and the “smart casual” which is what you would normally wear to a nice restaurant. 

LUGGAGE: Put a florescent color on all of your bags (we used bright pink plastic tape on the handles) and you will be so much less stressed at baggage claim. We talked to a couple people who’s luggage was lost by the airlines, so bring something to wear in your carry on bag just in case. (Though they got reunited w/ luggage soon.) 

$$$CHANGING: There is a state-of-the-art money changer at the Purser’s desk. Just put in $ and it will give you the currency for the next port. Easy and hassle-free. 

PICTURES: You can walk around to the various picture taking areas and get your picture taken more than once so you can choose the best ones! 

Even with all of the WONDERFUL ports, the view of the moonlight shimmering on the sea from our balcony was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.

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