The Islands of Love
Princess cruise ships sail all over the world with people from all over the world.
My ‘bucket list’ was overflowing as we set foot on the Star Princess in Los Angeles for our trip to the Hawaiian Islands. I have wanted to visit the islands since I was a young woman when Elvis Presley sang in the film Blue Hawaii. Drinking Mai Tai and enjoying a Pina Colada on the Pacific Islands, was a dream come true.
The Star Princess, launched in 2002, keeps up the high standards of the Princess fleet. Our cabin was clean and very comfortable but rather amazing how this smaller space (unless you have a suite of course!) becomes your ‘home from home’ for the next two weeks.
When you are on a ship you are removed from domestic daily chores. Your beds are made, your bathroom cleaned, someone does the shopping and the meals are ready and prepared for you. All you have to do is unpack and enjoy yourself. The ‘Princess Patter’ is your on-board schedule to tell you what is happening almost every minute of your cruise, but the choice is yours, play or rest whatever you wish, this is your time.
Food, glorious food and there is an abundance of it on the Princess ships. Whether you go for set dining (the same table and same time each evening) or anytime dining, excellent food and service are on the menu. The Star Princess also has the Horizon Restaurant for buffet style dining but if you want to push ‘the boat out’ financially of course then why not try the specialty restaurants, the Crown Grill or Sabatini’s for a different experience.
‘Come Back New’ is the Princess Logo – ‘New,’ I am exhausted but also ‘New’ with all the wonderful things to do on the cruise ships. I can now do the Hula after spending a delightful hour every sea day, dancing the hula with our teacher Leialoha of the band Elua. This was good exercise and fun.
My husband can now play a decent tune on ukulele after attending the progressive ukulele class run by Tiki Dave of Elua. Well, we were going to the Hawaiian Islands and you have to get into the spirit of it all and have such fun. We did lots of practice which enabled us to put on a terrific show on the last sea day for all our fellow passengers and it was brilliant.
The Central Piazza was the hub of the ship and many activities took place at this versatile area, which also housed the shops, bars and coffee areas plus the entertainment area. This amazing space is where you will find the reception and internet café, both very important areas for any queries that you may have about the cruise or the internet. The staff are helpful and multilingual and can calmly sort out any problems you may have.
The Star Princess has a theatre at the front (the bow) of the ship, which is large and comfortable enough for the productions and entertainment provided by Princess Cruises. From comedians to a ventriloquist the entertainment is very varied. The Star Princess singers, dancers and orchestra put on terrific shows. At the back (aft) of the ship is the Vista Lounge, which has more of a night club feel to it and the shows here are equally as good.
For the fitness enthusiasts, there is a well-equipped Spa and Fitness Centre so whether you want to cycle, do tai chi or yoga then this is the place to be. However, the spa is where you go to relax and be pampered. Have your hair done or treat yourself to acupuncture or a massage the spa has a list of treatments that will suit you.
The interests and activities range from lectures about the ports we were to visit or the flora and fauna of the islands to card games, quizzes, basketball, knit and natter get togethers, Spanish lessons, art auctions and of course the hula dancing and ukulele class. I did miss the table napkin folding due to line dancing, things do often clash, and I couldn’t be everywhere, so many choices.
You can even book your future cruises on board for a nominal price, even if you don’t know where you want to go! This deposit is a holding booking with a few added ‘perks’ for you to pick up when you decided which future cruise you will be going on and lasts for two years.
Going it alone, well, Princess have a solos group for you to meet and maybe have dinner with newfound friends. The LGBTQ group also meet up for people to get to know one another and make friends on this friendly ship.
The casino and of course a game of bingo are on the cards if you fancy a flutter, but the quiz evenings won for me with the wonderful DJ Lovely doing the quiz in her inimitable fashion. This was the place to be each evening for fun and brain teasing.
Glyn’s Tip: The Star Princess cruise from Los Angeles to the Hawaiian Islands is a long way and takes four days to get there and five to get back, so you must love sea days. Not everyone does, and you can soon get bored with the same routine unless you learn something or rest or play cards or read, it is your choice, but it doesn’t suit everyone.
As we approached the Hawaiian Islands the excitement grew, the lei garlands were out, the colourful shirts and dresses were the ‘norm’ to go ashore. Princess Cruises organise shore excursions for you to indulge the culture of the islands. These can be booked on board or through your agent before you set off on your cruise, whether you want to go swimming on the fabulous beaches or zip lining or a jeep safari, the cruise passengers were raring to go ashore to experience the islands of love.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Princess Cruises.