We found this ship to be quite well managed, with a polished crew.
Across the board, we found the staff of Star Princess to be polished, engaged and appealing. From our check-in attendant to cabin attendant and waiters in restaurants and bars, service levels were well honed. We would happily sail with this crew again.
One exception was the ship’s staff of photographers. While all were probably doing exactly the job they were hired to do—meeting a designated quota of passenger photos per day—they were particularly distracting on one scenic morning. While cruising through Tracy Arm, when the view was most definitely looking out from the ship (and not at paparazzi), the photographers asked guests to pose for photos, over and over. While some guests may have happy to have a few pricey shots to take home (or been flattered for the attention), we found that the photographers took away from the most scenic portion of the cruise.
Princess adds a tip of $11.50 per day, per guest for crewmember services, other than bartenders ($12 per day for guests in Mini-Suites and Suites). The charge is automatically added to the statement during the cruise.
For bar service a 15 percent service charge is automatically added onto all beverage tabs. Tips for spa and casino staff are left to the discretion of guests.
Princess Cruises’ dress code encouraged sports wear and casual attire by day, with swimwear discouraged from public rooms and lounges. After 5:30 p.m., suggested eveningwear was Smart Casual—open-neck shirt and slacks for gents; and dress, skirt and blouse or trouser suit for ladies. On formal nights (there were two on our seven-day cruise), suggested attire was tux, slacks with dinner jacket or suit and tie for men; and evening gown, cocktail dress or trouser suit for women. Shorts, tank tops and T-shirts were not permitted in the dining rooms.
While there were plenty of passengers on board who dressed to the nines, there were just as many (especially teens) who kept their attire fairly casual.
Princess Cruises’ policy regarding alcohol at check-in allows one bottle of wine or champagne per adult per voyage. A $15 corkage fee per bottle is charged for any personal wines opened in public areas of the ship.
The frequent-cruiser program Princess Cruises’ Captain’s Circle has an ardent following. The top 40 most-traveled cruisers aboard were invited to a private lunch with the captain, and the top three most traveled were heralded at a members’ cocktail party and awarded crystal trophies.
Passengers become Gold Level members following their first cruise, which avails some preferential pricing, launch savings and a members-only cocktail reception. Following the fifth cruise, passengers are awarded Platinum status, which includes preferred check-in and onboard internet credits. After the 15th cruise, Elite Level benefits kick in, including free laundry, 10-percent boutique discounts, upgraded cabin amenities, complimentary minibar setup, and more.
Self-service, coin-operated laundry facilities were available on all decks with cabins, except Deck 14; irons and ironing boards were available here as well.