By Carrie Loughry, Marketing & Operations Assistant, The Cruise Web, Inc.
When I had the opportunity to sail the California Coast with Princess Cruises aboard Star Princess, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. It’s a destination I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time, and I knew cruising would be a great way to experience a lot of California without having to pack and unpack at each port. Before this trip, my boyfriend had never been on a cruise, and I had only been on a couple three-day Bahamas sailings, so a ten-day sailing was a little intimidating. However, we had no reason to be worried because we had an amazing time. Continue below for some of the highlights from my California Coast cruise with Princess Cruises.
We chose our cruise primarily for the itinerary, and we were definitely not disappointed! Our voyage sailed roundtrip from Vancouver and included two sea days before our first port of call. This didn’t excite me at first, but ended up being a nice way to get accustomed to the ship and relax after the cross-country flight. That being said, we wanted to see California – a state whose coast regularly makes lists of places you must visit, and I can see why. The scenery was some of the most beautiful I have ever seen in person and I honestly didn’t want to leave. My boyfriend, Gary, and I did many fun but varied activities while in each of the ports. In Los Angeles, we took a tour of Beverly Hills. In Santa Barbara, we visited a cat café and enjoyed cappuccinos while playing with some of the sweetest cats I’ve ever seen. Monterey is an adorable seaside town, and we really enjoyed seeing how their bay conservation efforts have paid off. However, the highlight of our trip was definitely the overnight stay in San Francisco. I booked a hop-on, hop-off bus tour for us and would definitely recommend it for anyone visiting a new city. We were able to get a feel of the city and its different neighborhoods, learn about the history and importance of different areas, and have an efficient way to travel around San Francisco.
Of course, we spent a lot of time on Star Princess herself and therefore ate plenty. Everything was delicious – including the buffet! However, the meal I remember the most (and the one I’m still dreaming about) is the meal we had at Sabatini’s, the Italian specialty restaurant onboard. Sabatini’s has a $25 cover charge per person but with the 5-course meal you enjoy, you’ll more than get your money’s worth. Although everything we ate was delicious, the highlights of our meal were the grilled lamb skewers over an arugula salad, the trout rolls over rosemary polenta, and of course, the dessert. We opted for the dessert sampler, which featured six different mini desserts including tiramisu, cheesecake, and lemon meringue.
Princess has teamed up with The Voice to bring The Voice of the Ocean to all Princess ships. Oh a whim, Gary and I decided to audition, and although I didn’t make it, Gary made it to the finals with his rendition of “I Left my Heart in San Francisco” by Tony Bennett. The funny thing is that Gary thought he was auditioning for a simple karaoke competition and had no idea what he was getting into, but it ended up being the defining experience of our trip. After being named one of the finalists, Gary chose his song to perform in the finals, which was “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra, and then had three scheduled rehearsals with the orchestra. On the final night of the cruise, it was show time. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was so surprised at how similar it was to the television show. As he performed, I waited in anticipation for the judges to turn around their chairs – right as he was about to finish his song the third judge turned his seat around. Check out the video below for Gary’s performance. Also, please forgive the blurriness and shakiness of the video, I am both a novice videographer and an excited girlfriend.
When I look back on my trip with Star Princess, I’m always going to remember the time my boyfriend was brave enough to sing in front of 500 people. I’m going to remember a time we were able to get away from the world for a while and reconnect with each other. We loved being able to attend an art auction in the morning, go swimming in the afternoon, sing karaoke in the evening, and then catch a late-night comedy or magic show – all without having to leave the ship. We felt we received a great introduction to California’s coast, and now we can’t wait to explore more. We got to explore four amazing cities while only having to unpack our suitcases once, and we enjoyed the laid back feeling of Princess Cruises, leaving the ship relaxed and refreshed.
From the outside, Gary and I weren’t the demographic for this cruise, but we still had a great time. If we had decided not to go on this sailing because we were younger than most of the other cruisers, we would have missed out on the amazing time we had. We never would have met the fascinating people from all around the world. I never would have seen Gary perform in front of 500 people. We wouldn’t have had the time to reconnect and make memories together. So, if you’re thinking about booking the trip – book the trip!
For more information about upcoming California Coast cruises, and all other sailings with Princess Cruises, please call The Cruise Web today at 1-800-377-9383 to speak with an expert cruise consultant.
The Cruise Web, Inc.