Gayle, there is still plenty of free coffee to be had. The charge, as I understand it, is for coffee that is made from fresly ground beans as opposed to the syrup that is what we've been drinking for free all along--and that engenders complaints from so many people!
I leave on Sunday-- on the CAribbean Princess. I will try the free coffee in the buffet and the dining room. I am not a coffee snob and can drink any kind of coffee.. If the stuff that is free is not drinkable I will get coffee for a fee.
We sailed on the Star 1/6/07. The coffee is available 24 hrs a day at the Horizon Court and always free. We also ordered a pot of coffee from room service every morning. No charge (other than they like a small tip for room service). My husband drinks a lot of coffee (all day long) and said it was good.
I have posted pictures and my comments/diary on our personal website. If you would like more info on the Star visit
We stayed at the Comfort Inn Airport/Cruise Port South in Hollywood, FL. This worked out very well. They have free shuttle from the airport and to the cruise port. We retrieved our luggage and called the hotel. They arrived within 10 minutes. If you arrive a day early, the have rental cars available in the lobby. There is a shopping mall a block away that has a K-Mart to pick up any last minute items you need. We bought bottled water, soda and snacks. Get your name on the shuttle list to the cruise port ASAP. No one told us that we needed to reserve early and we ended up on one of the last shuttles. Still worked out OK because the check in line at the ship was pretty quick.
We plan to stay at the Comfort Inn you mentioned. However, since booking two nights Oct 25th and 26th we have read some extremely bad comments from guests. How clean did you find the rooms and the hotel in general?
The coffee card is a wonderful idea for those that really enjoy their coffee. Not that coffee in the dining room, buffet, and room service is made from concentrated syrup that in my opinion tastes like coffee that has been left on the burner for many hours. It is bitter too.
The only places you can get fresh BREWED coffee is at the bars. Princess recently started charging $1.00 for each cup as part of a "cost cutting" measure. If you purchase the coffee card you can get unlimited fresh brewed coffee anytime you like. You will also get the 15 servings of some specialty coffees, but not all. At $27 that works out to $1.80 per serving for coffees that generally are priced at $2 to $4. It is a bargain anyway you look at it.
I am up early each morning and go down and have an espresso and several cups of fresh brewed coffee before the DW gets up. I found it to be a great deal.
I purchased the coffee card on Caribbean Princess last week. I had a daily latte and usually a cappucino at dinner. DH had an occasional latte. Most of the bars would only give you a small cappucino with the card but some bartenders gave the large. However I found NO one to give me fresh brewed coffee. I asked at the bars and in the dining rooms and they all looked at me like I was crazy - and brought the syrup coffee. Maybe Caribbean Princess doesn't have fresh brewed? I enjoyed the lattes/cappucinos though and though the price was a good deal.
Savings aside, we found the card to be a great convenience. Our lattes actually cost us more per drink because we didn't utilize all fifteen punches on the card. We still found the card worthwhile because of the convenience. The cost of our card was $27.60; broken down, that is, $24.00 for the fifteen beverages plus $3.60 tip.