Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 18 - All Aboard the Star


I am so confused on what day it is when my eyes open.  Then it dawns on me it is Saturday and today we board the lovely Star Princess.  It has been a few years since we have been on her and I am looking forward to getting back on.  Our very first cruise with Princess was the original Star in 1998 so we always have a soft spot for the Star, even though this is the second Star.

We arranged for a shuttle with ShuttleRio for 15 R each.  The van arrived promptly at 11:45 and the four of us got on.  We then stopped at another hotel and more people got on and now we are loaded down with people and bags, to the point that we were suppose to pick up one more couple but there was no room for them and the driver arranged for them to get a taxi to the pier.

Traffic was busy in Copacabana and Impenema because of Carnival but once we got out of there we made good time.  In total it took about an hour to get to the pier.  There were a lot of ships in port, and I can’t really say how many because well I was just so happy to see the Star and didn’t count.  But I do know that at least one ship was in town overnight. 

I will preface this next piece with prior to leaving home we received an email from Princess asking us to stagger our boarding because the pier can not accommodate large crowds.  We were told to arrive between 1 and 2, but when we arrived it was obvious that not many listened to this.  We were dropped off at the pier at around 12:45 and right away a porter came and collected our bags.  Now this is not Fort Lauderdale, there are numerous ships and different lines all in one area, make sure you have your luggage tags on your bags so the porters (we tipped and the gentleman was very happy – and said he would take care of the bags immediately).  They loaded our bags onto carts and we later saw they take them right to ship!

The line up was very very long and we knew we were only a block or so from the city so we headed in to get a coffee, well mine was a latte because those of you who know me know I need my latte and we each got a lovely warm croissant.  I also needed some conditioner and was able to pick some up right there.  We were gone for only about 45 minutes and made our way back to the ship.

We inquired where to go and were directed with our preferred status to this line and we were inside the building right away and getting our cards within 15 minutes.  We got to our cabin and our bags were there, guess that porter did take care of our bags.

We are in B619, our friends are right next door.  Our cabin steward Mae introduces herself right away, a lovely lady from the Phillipines.  She takes care of requests, top sheet, extra pillow, wine glasses, extra towels.  We notice the chair on our balcony is in need of repair because of a tear and our balcony door lock is not working, we let her know and the chair is fixed when we come back from coffee later on and she lets us know the door will be fixed soon.  No problem, she has been wonderful and I think we are going to be very happy with her, well we have always been happy with our stewards but some have been superior and I bet she is going to be one of them. 

We unload all our stuff, we place our masks on the lights on our bedsides which reminds us of where we started.  We decorate our door with our map that I created and I already can see that numerous cruisecritic people have done the same, and it is nice to see some have personalized it too. 

Time for coffee in the International CafĂ©, our favorite place on board during the day.  We finally run into Alice, we sailed with her last January and talked her into this voyage and we are so happy to see her again.  We meet Bonnie and a few others and we sit and chat for about an hour.  Oh I got the coffee card (no coupon for the mug in the coupon book – there was one in Dec but not now, oh well that is fine it is the latte I need not the mug).

Alice and Bernie

Muster is set for 17:15 and we get back to the cabin in time to grab the life jackets and head to the Promenade deck for muster station C.  They did not swipe our cards, which surprised me since they had been doing it on the last three cruises we had been on. 

We are now up on deck for sail away and I bring my Carnival Mask and we meet up with a bunch of the Cruise Critic gang.  I have to say that I find sailing from  Vancouver to be the most beautiful port to I have ever left from but Rio has to be the second.  There was someone doing the commentary but we could not make it out very well from the Sun deck.  Got some great shots of the city and a most beautiful sunset.

Once again we are anytime dining and we meet up with friends to eat in the Capri dining room at 8 pm.  Tonight is Sailaway dinner theme and I am not hungry but had one of the spring roll appetizers, the mushroom soup and the barramundi fish dish but could only eat half of it.  We had a lot of fun at the table and laughed our heads off with many new friends.

We wander around the atrium after the meal and get to meet Terri our Hotel General Manager.  We have never sailed with her but Deidre told us how nice she is and that she is from Vancouver, we have brought her something from home for her and she will be at the meet and greet tomorrow so we will give it to her then.  We also had the pleasure of meeting Captain Perrin who is from England and very nice. 

The officers as per the Patter are:  Captain Perrin, Staff Captain Rikard Lorentzen, Chief Engineer Francesco Villella, Hotel General Manager Terri Cybuliak, Cruise Director Sammi Conneen-Baker, Senior Doctor Dylan Belton, Food & Beverage Director Oliver Neuburger, Customer Services Director Nickie Shells, Executive Chef Paolo Merio, Maitre d’Hotel Mario Propato, Executive Housekeeper Jose Almeida.

Bernie get his watch in the stores, he wanted one in December but I suggested he wait till this voyage (motive it is for his birthday which was in January) he picks out a lovely Tissot Touch watch. 

Back in the cabin and we are tired and so glad that we have two sea days to rest, we LOVE sea days

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