In a recent article entitled "Three Reasons to Book Your San Francisco Cruise", we wrote about having fun spending some vacations in the famous City by the Bay, and part cruising exciting destinations like Hawaii, Alaska, and the South Pacific. This story is about a cruise we chose to follow on our own tour of San Francisco.
Choosing a cruise
As Mark Twain often noted, it can be a bit chilly in San Francisco regardless of the time of year, so we thought cruising in a warm place would be the perfect second vacation getaway.
We searched the internet and explored all the cruise routes sailing from San Francisco to our travel dates, and Princess Cruise Lines had exactly what we wanted – a one-way voyage from San Francisco to the Hawaiian Islands. We've made the right choice, and here's what to expect if you decide to take the same step.
The day before the cruise
We arrived in San Francisco the day before we went on a cruise to Hawaii. We toured our favorite places in the city, had a great dinner at Scomi's at Pier 47 and checked into our favorite and ever-fashioned San Francisco Hyatt Regency. The hotel is directly across the street from the cult Ferry Building at Embarcadero, and a very short distance from the terminal cruise at Pier 35.
Departure from the Golden Gate
We settled into a cabinet from the harbor, opened a bubble bottle and as the boat pulled away from the dock, we proceeded to our tiled section of the yard to observe the San Francisco sky line in a slow parade. There, Ghirardelli Square is lit up in all its splendor, and the famous Transamerica Pyramid Building – remarkable among its traditional "square" neighbors.
We could see the Golden Gate Bridge rising above the bow, and we said goodbye to old Fort Point as we made our way from San Francisco Bay to the vast blue Pacific. All we could think then was, "What a spectacular way to start a cruise!"
Next stop – Hilo, on the big island of Hawaii. A future article will describe Hawaiian ports of call in Hilo, Nawiliwili, Lahaini, Honolulu and our final stop in Ensenada, Mexico, before returning to San Francisco. Why do cruise ships sailing to Hawaii from US ports have to stop at a foreign port like Ensenada? We will explain in an upcoming article.
This story contains many pleasures while vacationing on a star princess. Note: Grand Princess has now replaced Star Princess on a Hawaiian trip from San Francisco. They are sister ships, so the differences are minimal.
Star Princess has several luxury suites located throughout the ship. The Grand Suite is 1314 square feet of sheer indulgence, with walk-in closets, large bathrooms and a large balcony. These elegant excavations are truly happy among us.
In addition to luxury accommodation, the suites come with extras such as the exclusive Suite Breakfast at the Sabatini Specialist Restaurant – where you can start your day with a free "Mimosa of Good Morning" and choose from the extraordinary breakfast menu. We expected the service to be flawless, and it is.
Did you know that the now famous Mimosa Champagne and Orange Beverage was first created and named at the Paris Ritz in 1925? Its namesake is a mimosa plant that has bright and foamy yellow flowers.
Cocktails are also organized for afternoon afternoons and private parties where the occupants of the apartments socialize and mingle with the passing officers.
Want a quiet dinner for two? The sumptuous room service served in the ship's suite is the height of maritime indulgence and sublime privacy.
Passengers in the suite are also provided priority boarding and departure via the Elite / Suite Deembarktion Lounge. While visiting ports that require take-off to the coast, apartment passengers are provided with maps of the priority landing offer – a nice time-saving touch.
It's time for dinner
Soon it was time for our initial dinner aboard the Star Princess. The first night of boarding a cruise ship is a leisurely affair, so after a little cleaning we made our way down to Portofino Dining Room on Deck 6.
The Maître d & # 39; hôtel was busy organizing the process of displaying the first dining rooms at their assigned tables. Remember when everyone ate either early or late sitting? These days, you can dine in the traditional way, or choose to eat at any time you like at lunch. The benefits of both practices are there – obviously a matter of personal taste.
It's a party
After a lavish dinner, it was time for our introductory evening of entertainment at the Princess Theater on Decks 6 and 7. The first play included the entire cast in the extravaganza. The large two-story theater was crowded but cozy and everyone enjoyed the lavish music production.
We walked around the Lido deck before returning to our state room. Not quite ready for bed, we turned on the TV and watched our first movie from the closed-circuit movie library. It was an old one, – The Memories Affair, starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr – motionless tear gas with a plot to begin on a cruise. What could be more appropriate for the setting?
Days at sea
Four days passed to reach our first port in Hilo. We traveled 2,003 nautical miles (2,303 miles of highway) from San Francisco. Time passed quickly.
Days at sea can be peaceful or exciting – it's your choice. You can shop endlessly in the countless Boutique Ships. You can visit the Internet Café to find emails, listen to live chamber music and attend live art auctions. How about exercising in an extensive gym, a seminar at sea, eating pizza, hot dogs or hamburgers or trying your luck at the Casino?
Tooth whitening is another option, as you enjoy a variety of spa bliss, sniff at one of the pools and chat while enjoying a party of your choice from many bars and lounges. There is also the opportunity to watch movies outdoors or indoors, browse the library, read and of course – eat.
One day at sea we had the opportunity to interview the ship's captain. At the time of our voyage, the lord of the Star Princess was Edward Perrin, who came from Dorset, England. As is usually the case, Captain Perrin was most concious and very willing to share stories about his ship and experiences at sea.
We always ask sea captains what works best for them. Captain Perrin has revealed that he enjoys most the potential for a positive impact on people's lives – both crew and passengers. He gave the example of an elderly couple who saved their entire lives on a cruise. They approached him with the problem of not having more money to spend while on a cruise. Captain Perrin summarized the list of "free" things a couple could do on their cruise vacation. They were delighted, and the good captain was equally pleased – his day was made, and he never forgot the feeling that he could help.
As far as travel services are concerned, an important member of the crew is the general manager of the hotel. About the Star Princess, it was Terri Lynn Cybuliak, and she greatly contributed to our fun discussion.
As we mentioned in previous cruise articles, it is agreed for the captains of ships to be in command for months rather than years, so they switch from ship to ship quite often. Watch out – you may find Captain Perrin at the forefront of your next Princess cruise very soon.
Attention on the bridge
After our meeting, Captain Perrin invited us to join him on the bridge. The ship's bridge is always supplied 24 hours a day by two officers working four-hour shifts in the three-guard system. It is interesting to witness the vast array of sophisticated systems that operate these mega ships in a controlled and peaceful atmosphere. We remain fascinated by the fact that the steering wheel of a traditional ship has been replaced by a small joystick on the table top.
Meals at specialty restaurants
All the food on the Star Princess, like most other cruise ships for that matter, is pretty tasty. It's amazing that seafood cooks can prepare thousands of different meals a day and do it with such finesse.
People always ask themselves, "If all the small meals are included in the price of the cruise, why would anyone pay extra for eating in a special dining room?" The answer is very simple – intimacy – and something very special for an important occasion.
Each specialty restaurant has its own kitchen, so only a little more attention is paid to the details in the preparation and presentation of the food. The waiters have fewer tables to visit and the overall experience is to eat at a really fine restaurant. The extra is never extravagant, and the experience is worth it.
Avoid disappointments, book your specialty restaurants early.
We have enjoyed many cruises through the years, and Princess Cruises is one of our favorite lines. It provides cruise ships for the first time with a comfortable get-to-know cruise and offers experienced cruisers a nice selection of accommodations and amenities. Whatever your wallet dictates, Princess Cruises will give you good value for your vacation.
If you go
San Francisco International Airport is about 20 miles away and a taxi ride up to $ 65 to Cruise Terminal or Hyatt Regency. Your travel agent or Princess Cruises can also arrange transfers to and from the airport, however, if two passengers are involved, we recommend that you take a taxi, much less hassle.
The San Francisco Cruise Terminal is currently located at dock 35. That will change when the US Cup headquarters withdraws stakes from Bridge 27 sometime around September 2013 – after the US (hopefully) wins the Cup.
After a quick facelift and the addition of a new on-site park, the significantly improved Cruise Terminal at Pier 27 will be able to handle larger ships and will have expansive views of the city, including Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower, the Ferry Building, and the Bay Bridge.