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schmoopie17

Golden Princess - Trip Report, Feb 27th

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Just got back yesterday and wanted to write this while the trip was still fresh. Warning...if you lose your concentration when reading a long novel, you might want to skip to the end, where we say it was a great trip. (There, we saved you all that time reading, so now you can go back to the board and read messages about jeans in the dining room or people doing the doc dance). :D

 

PRE-CRUISE

The trip got off to a flying start when Linda announced that she had forgotten her contact lenses and all of her make-up at home. Unfortunately, we were past the point of no return on the way to the airport and she would need to buy make-up at a Walgreen's in San Juan. Replacing the contacts was not so easy...in fact it was impossible without a prescription. Gary had just given Linda a bunch of poop about being so forgetful, when he had to admit that he had forgotten the small bottle of tequila he had purchased to help us ease into the flight in a more relaxed manner. :eek: We arrived a day early and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. Not a bad place, and the price was right. Linda cashed in her award points, so the stay was free. Can't beat that price for a clean room in a good location. Sunday morning headed to Old San Juan and El Morro. Pretty interesting, although if you've seen one fort, you've pretty much seen them all. (Now we've seen them all, I guess. :p) We read comments in other threads that the people in Puerto Rico are not friendly. We can say that from our experience, this is absolutely false. Everyone with whom we came in contact was very friendly and accommodating (unlike the bartenders in St. Thomas...but more on that later).

 

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 27

After an eternity of waiting, planning and anticipating, February 27th finally rolled around. Good thing we didn't book a cruise for February 29th...we'd still be waiting. :confused: Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the port at around 2:30 and there were no ...and we mean NO lines. This is definitely the time to get there. Prior to boarding we stopped into the duty free liquor store at the port. We bought a six pack of beer, a six pack of Diet Coke and two huge bottles of water. OOPS...almost forgot the bottles of Amaretto and Bacardi Vanilla rum. Contrary to what others have written, they didn't blink an eye as we strolled right past the security screeners and went happily to our cabin, beverages in hand. What we didn't have in hand, however, was a bottle opener. The only beer they had was Amstel Light and they don't come with twist-off caps. Oh well, there are always plenty of magnetic bottle openers in every port. On the way to our cabin, we passed 1,000 tables pushing the soda promotion, which we didn't purchase, no matter how hard they tried. Maybe if they had 1,001 tables, we might have stopped at that last one.

 

Stopped into the buffet for a quick bite. Gary was questioning the wisdom of choosing a table by the window as he looked out onto the water below. Being prone to seasickness, he needed to look away from the window as he nervously tried to eat his pasta. This must be why they make blinders for horses. Gary was suddenly glad he had purchased Sea Bands...but not so glad that he hadn't even opened the package yet, which was inside his suitcase. Luckily, our bags arrived shortly thereafter.

 

After getting back to the cabin and tearing open the package of Sea Bands, it only took him about an hour to figure out how to put them on so they hit "the spot". Whatever he did seem to work fine, though. Linda was so impressed, she decided to put hers on, as well. They're not exactly the most fashionable things ever made, but they seemed to do the trick. They are a bit obvious when you wear them and you feel like a weenie, since everyone can see them on your wrists and it tells everyone what a wuss you are. The only thing that would have made them more obvious would have been if they had neon signs attached to them. Gary began to look around for fellow passengers sporting the seasickness-preventing accessory. However, there were NONE to be found. The entire cruise, we think we were the only ones to wear those things. Gary wondered if people who wore the patch (we saw a number of those) had white spots on the backs of their necks when they got home from the sun being blocked by the patch. Maybe the wrist bands aren't so bad, after all. Although, on Day 3 we both decided to take off the Sea Bands and we never put them back on for the rest of the cruise. Hooray for us...we were no longer wusses!

 

Sunday night, the night of departure, we met up with a number of Cruise Critic Roll Callers. It was planned that we would meet in the Calypso Bar at 10:00pm and everyone would wear or carry a bandana as a signal to the others, since we had never met before. However, we don't own bandanas, so we decided to "borrow" a couple of bananas from the buffet, and carry those, instead. They worked, because we all managed to hook up for a drink, then went up to the top deck for the sailaway. Just when Gary was getting all set to have his seasickness kick into high gear at sailaway time (11:00), we waited...and we waited...and we waited some more. Rumor had it that a couple of passengers were late arrivals and the ship was waiting for them. We finally pulled out about 11:40 and we were on our way!

 

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28th

We had signed up for Godfrey's tour. Everything said by others about Godfrey was true. He was knowledgeable about his home island and was a true gentleman. The $20 tour cost was one of the best bargains we found on the trip. We ended up dropping people at all three beaches (Megan's, Coki and Sapphire) because we couldn't come up with a consensus. That was fine because we got to see them all up close and personal. We chose Sapphire, and even though we're not big "beach people", it was fine to lay around for two hours soaking up some rays. We were a bit shocked by the $4.50 price of beer at the beach bar...served up by a not-so-friendly bartender. We also stopped at the top of the mountain overlooking Megan's Bay and had the highly-touted (not to mention not so flavorful and pretty steeply-priced banana daiquiri...$7.50 for a small plastic cup with not a whole lot of rum inside) served by another not-so-friendly bartender. We are convinced that when you go to bartending school in St. Thomas, you're required to take Sneering 101 as a prerequisite to Frowning 102. After passing those two courses, they then teach you how to make the drinks. After a few hours of seeing the sights in town (mostly jewelry stores, followed by even more jewelry stores) we headed back to the ship.

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 29th...(OOPS, that would be March 1st)

St. Kitts was the next stop. Didn't have an excursion here, just did some shopping and wandered around town a bit. Nothing major to report here, although people who took the Nevis trip said it was very good.

 

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2nd

Woke up in Grenada. Took the Grenada Explorer tour offered by Princess. Very knowledgeable and nice tour guide and driver. We were very (pleasantly) surprised at the beauty of the island. It was just so lush and green, almost beyond description. While there were a number of houses that had varying amounts of hurricane damage, the damage didn't appear to be as wide-spread as we had been led to believe. They do seem to be bouncing back pretty well, all things considered. We went to the spice plantation and bought a variety of things. Very good prices and the main attraction seemed to be the pipe-smoking 80 year-old woman, who had her picture taken by more than a few of us.

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 3rd

Right about now, Gary began to worry about everything going on at work back at home. It was also right about this time that Linda slapped him for doing so. Gary quickly began to refocus on the vacation. Today's stop was Isla Margarita. Again, we decided to hang out near the port area to do some shopping. In Linda's opinion, this spot offered the best shopping bargains of anywhere on the trip and she would like to return just for the shopping. At this point, Gary said something about single-handedly keeping the Venezuelan economy flourishing. It was also at this point that Linda slapped him again, causing Gary to refocus on the vacation. After a quick run down to the beach next to the port, we headed back to the ship.

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 4th

"Aruba, Jamaica, oooh I want to take you to Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama..." For those of you who are not familiar with the Beach Boys, this is a portion of their song, "Kokomo". Every time (and I mean EVETY time) Gary heard the word "Aruba", that song kicked into overdrive in his head. Which wasn't a good thing because, being in Aruba, you tend to hear that word quite a bit. In any case, we did the Princess De Palm Island excursion. Not a bad deal...snorkeling, free lunch buffet and open bar. FYI...Gary had never snorkeled before. After a quick lesson from Linda, he somehow managed to flop around for about 15 minutes without drowning or making a total fool of himself. Until, a few minutes later he turned his head (mouth open...without his mask on...get the picture??) precisely at the same time a big wave was approaching. He swallowed enough sea water to exceed his annual allowance of salt. At that point, he called it a day and headed straight for the bar where he ordered a margarita (hold the salt, thank you). It should be said that we did the morning excursion and it was actually a bit nippy. While not as cold as Wisconsin in March, it wasn't quite as warm and sunny as we imagined Aruba to be. However, that would all change shortly. Arriving back in the dock area we decided to check out the quaint city of Oranjestad to do some more (what else??) shopping. Linda got a good deal on an Ammolite pendant...while Gary got a good deal on a beer (free) from the jeweler. Remember how chilly it was earlier on De Palm? Well, somehow the weather took a drastic upward turn as it miraculously became 88 degrees (or was it 188 degrees??) and sunny. This was the Aruba we imagined, only more-so, temperature-wise. We sat down on the bus for the return trip to the ship and Gary noticed that the time was 12:34. The fact that it was 3/4/05 caused Gary to make the astute observation that at that particular moment it was 1-2-3-4 on 3-4-5. (As you can see, Gary is easily amused :p).

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 5th

This was our day at sea. Kind of hung out and saw some shows, ate, drank and were merry.Also had to pack up and get the bags in the hall by dinner time. Packing is never a fun thing to do...but realizing the cruise is over the next day makes it doubly hard.

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 6th...DISEMBARKATION DAY

Not much to say about this day, except, "Goodbye, Golden Princess". Although, we did have to wait several hours to say it, since we didn't actually disembark until almost noon.

 

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

What can we say? The ship was beautiful, the crew was great, the food was wonderful, and even the shows were not as bad as we had heard. The comedian was so-so, but the hypnotist Steve Bayner (we'll probably never forget his name because he used it as a post-hypnotic suggestion for a couple of "hypnotees") was entertaining, and the hypnotees were even better. The horse racing was fun and the Australian entertainer was great! Can't remember his name...maybe he should have gotten the hypnotist to use it as a post-hypnotic suggestion. He sang, played the trumpet as well as we've ever heard, told jokes, etc. We'd recommend him, but he said he was going back home next week. We attended two art auctions...didn't buy anything but had fun watching those who did and learning a bit of art information. The dinners in the Bernini dining room were exceptionally good (especially lobster night) and our wait team of Sergio and Anna Maria were absolutely great! We made a point of sitting in Sergio's section six of the seven nights and on our last night we thanked them both for making our dining experience even better. Even the pizza, burgers and fries at the outside grill areas were very good. Breakfast service in the dining room was hit-and-miss...but we had probably been spoiled by Sergio and Anna Maria at dinertime. Overall, we highly recommend Princess and plan to go on another cruise (probably Alaska) in the near future. If you're still awake after reading all of this and have any questions, let us know.

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Great Review!!!

 

I'm still laughing. Sounds like a great trip. We are leaving on the same intinerary April 10th, can you tell me which nights were formal?

 

Thanks again,

Susan

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Tuesday and Friday. Friday is the champagne waterfall thingy...also lobster night. We'd tell you how many we ate, but then we'd have to kill you. Hell, eating all those lobsters almust killed US...:)

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Great review! We'll be sailing on the Golden in December, same itinerary, and your descriptions have really gotten us excited about the trip. Thank you for taking the time to write it all up! And thanks expecially for dispelling some concerns we had after reading about how awful the shows were and how time-consuming boarding was. Did you have Personal Choice dining? We're afraid we might get stuck with it, and people have complained a lot about having to stand in line and wait to get a table. Did you have any trouble with that?

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Thanks for the review. My sister and I are thinking of this cruise in November. I also have Holiday Inn points and could stay at the HI Express for free. How far was it from the port, Old San Juan and the Condado? Just trying to get some information on how convenient it would be to stay there, but you can't beat FREE! Thanks

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This is the best, most amusing and entertaining review ever:D ! Thanks for such a refreshing perspective. I'm on the Golden in a few days, opposite itinerary, and I can't wait!

 

Any comments about the coffee?? One of the most important aspects of the whole cruise for me :rolleyes: :D ;)

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Thanks for such an hilarious review. I'm still laughing. Question, why did it take you so long to disembark -- at noon? We're going on 3/27 and I think some of us plan to do a tour since our flight back doesn't leave till after 5 p.m. Also did you leave St. Kitts around 3 p.m. I heard that Princess have now scheduled departure from Grenada at 5 p.m. Anyway I'm in countdown mode just about now!

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Thanks for taking the time to write it.

 

Were considering taking tram to mountaintop shops, etc. Is this the same area you had banana daiquiri? Worth the trip?

 

Confused about formal nights....thought I'd read they were Monday and Friday... Can you confirm the Tuesday/ Friday?

 

Loved your review.:)

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What a great review, I've got tear tracks running down my face from laughter. :D While we were just on the Star we booked the Golden for next year so it was fun to live vicariously through your words.

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Very nicely written and entertaining to boot!

 

Marcia (mmsoko) and I will be on this itinerary NEXT WEEK!

 

KOKOMO, too funny! Now I can't get it outta my head.

 

I had heard through the grapevine that there was a new CD starting your week. Is this true? Do you recall his name? Peter Laughlin perhaps or is it still Omar?

 

Thanks for the great review.

 

~Paul

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Thanks for the great review! My wife and I really enjoy going to the main shows as well as seeing the comedians, hynotists, etc. Did you attend the main shows (Las Vegas type shows)? Was the singing and dancing good? Was is piped in music or live music? Did the singers sing live or lip sync?

 

Also, did you all eat in Sabatini's or the Sterling Steak House? Also, did they reduce spa fees on the port days?

 

Thanks

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To LarryF ..... We did both Sabitini's and the Steakhouse. A word to the wise..... don't eat much or at least eat earlier in the day when you go to Sabitini's.... they serve 14 courses. Also it is all of a 2 1/2 hour dining experience... so if you want to attend a certain activity the same night be sure and book early. It is well worth the $20 per person charge and then some. My group said they would easily pay $30-40 if asked. I enjoyed but I am not as big of an eater as my husband so I got fairly full quickly ... however our waiter quickly caught on and started giving me smaller portions and my husband bigger portions! I really enjoyed the steakhouse -- if you like shrimp cocktail this is the place to order it -- they were JUMBO JUMBO cocktail shrimp! My filet was fantastic -- my husband ordered the porterhouse medium rare and unfortunately it came medium well. He managed to get it down and them some of my filet. I'm sure he could have asked them for another but it's hard to hold up a whole group when you're eating! I recommend them both! Also don't book on the second formal night as that is lobster night if you enjoy seafood!:)

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Oops.... forgot to mention the spa ..... yes they do reduce the fees for the spa on port days and I got a great deal.... a 25 minute massage, 25 minute facial and a scalp massage for $79 (regularly $145 or something like that) plus the bonus was the therapist they had me with was about 20-25 mintues late as she was the deck massage therapist as well and they reduced it to $50! That was nice and I didn't even care she was that late!

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Thanks for all of the nice comments. Let's see if my feeble memory can recall of the questions asked, so far.

 

We did PC dining and always got to the Bernini dining room between 6:30 and 7:00. Absolutely no wait at that time and no problem getting a table for two. It seemed to fill up more after 8:00. But we figured we were on a cruise and wanted to get our money's worth, so we wanted to get a head start and eat before they ran out of food later in the evening. :rolleyes:

 

The Holiday Inn was actually pretty good. The location is in the Condado area and probably about 10 minutes from the port by cab. We took a bus from nearby the hotel into Old San Juan for 25 cents (can you believe it??)...but we took a cab back because the buses don't seem to run on any regular discernable schedule. Actually, our cab driver cut us a deal to take us from OSJ back to the hotel to pick up our bags, then on back to the port. Since Linda is 100% bi (lingual, that is...don't get any ideas :p ) she was able to speak fluently with the cab driver, as well as bargain with the vendors on some of the Spanish speaking islands. So if you don't have a bi (lingual, that is) wife or girlfriend and you plan to visit Spanish-speaking areas, I suggest you find yourself one asap.

 

The coffee seemed fine to me, but what do I know? I think Taster's Choice is gourmet coffee. Linda is a bit fussier than I am about coffee and she also thought it was perfectly fine. After all, the name on the ship is Princess, not Starbucks. I'm sure most people won't have a problem with it if they actually try it and don't just take everyone else's word for how horrible it is.

 

We didn't see the main production shows (Caribbean Caliente or the big 1st night extravaganza). We did see the comedian twice, the hypnotist twice and the Australian entertainer, who was outstanding (no lip syncing). We also attended the muster drill in the theater if that counts, and they didn't lip sync there, either. Although, a portion of it was recorded, not live. We also attended a cooking demo by the head chef and Maitre 'd, followed by a tour of the galley. Very interesting. Purchased a cookbook for $28 containing recipes for every meal served in the dining room on our cruise. The spicy shrimp dish was tremendous...now we can make it at home.

 

Disembarkation took until noon-ish for us because we were on the Plaza deck. Since the ship disembarks from the top decks downward, we were the last to get off, since Plaza is one of the lowest decks with cabins. It was nice on the Plaza Deck, (cabin 329, for those of you keeping score at home), because there was very little movement, especially since we were not only lower, but near the middle of the ship, as well.

 

The cruise director is Paul O'Laughlin. I said in another thread that he reminds me of an Irish Merv Griffin. I wonder if anyone else had that thought.

 

I know we left Grenada at 5:00, but don't recall the St. Kitts departure time. Although 3:00 sounds about right.

 

We took Godfrey's tour in St. Thomas and that's how we got to the top of the mountain where we got the banana daiquiri. Didn't do the tram...not into hanging by a thread going up a mountainside.

 

I do believe the formal nights were Tuesday and Friday. Someone from our cruise can correct me if I'm off base here.

 

I think that answers all of the questions, so far. Keep 'em coming...

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Thank you for the wonderful review of the Golden. I can't hardly wait until October :D :D Did you or Linda do any shopping aboard the ship :eek:

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We have a 12:40pm flight departure out of San Juan. Do they allow passengers with early flights to disembark the ship early?

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Yes, we did some minor shopping on the ship. Linda bought a shirt for her dad, as well as some (ahem) personal items. Although I guess they're not too personal now. Also, the ship seemed to have nightly specials in the atrium area on jewelry, watches, etc.

 

From what we understand, the ship makes accommodations for people who have early flights, without regard for which deck you're on. Since our flight didn't leave until 2:15, the late disembark time wasn't an issue.

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Forgot to mention one very important item, especially for the ladies in the audience: Even though it may be 85 degrees outside, it is often freezing inside. One day the Explorer Lounge was so cold they were serving drinks without ice. Okay, maybe not that cold, but very close to a typical meat locker. Even the art auctioneer commented about how cold it was...especially since he could see his own breath. Seriously, bring a sweater or something similar. You'll be glad you did and you'll thank us later. Linda went almost no place on the ship without one...

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hi gary! great review, thanks for the giggles! we also had a great time. the service was by far some of the best we have ever had on any of our 8 other cruises. we will definitely do princess again, in fact we booked one for jan 2006 while we were onboard!!:) something to look forward to. we got another 12 inches of snow since we have been home:eek: and we thought coming home in march would be a breeze!! p.s. it was great meeting some of the folks we "talked" to on here! till the next voyage.............susan

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What time was the muster Drill? We have late seating dinner...do they follow this schedule the first night while docked in San Juan! Do they have a show the first night while in San Juan? Thanks for the info...

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Gary and Linda, Thanks for all the great information. I just booked one night at the Holiday Inn Express based on your experience. I also cashed in some priority points. Just a couple of questions, please. I've asked on the Hotel thread, but didn't get any responses. My sister and I will be staying there one night and it is our first time in San Juan. Are there any restaurants within walking distance? Any you would recommend? Is it safe for two ladies to walk around alone at night? Sure would hate to get mugged. Just trying to get an idea how close it is to other hotels and casinos in the area. Thanks in advance.

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Great Review!!!

 

I'm still laughing. Sounds like a great trip. We are leaving on the same intinerary April 10th, can you tell me which nights were formal?

 

Thanks again,

Susan

 

We just sailed the Golden on Feb. 27th too. The formal nights were Tues and Friday - and on Friday they had a Champagne Glass piramid which you can pour the bubbly while getting your picture taken. Don't miss it - Great fun! Wonderful snorkeling on St. Thomas (we booked Coki Beach) and St. Kitts (Princess tour). Grenada - rented a van and driver- that was wonderful. He took us all over. Bought nutmegs in sealed pouches from Margaret in booth number "7". No one questioned me and I sailed through customs even after I told them about the nutmegs - they were more interested in these go-go lites I bought in Aruba. Buy nutmeg, cloves and vanilla! Booth "7" - it's the only one with sealed pouches. The two capitals of nutmeg are Indonesia and Grenada - both devestated - if you like nutmeg - get some! You can't go wrong. We didn't go to Caracus - Princess changed at the last minute to Isle of Margarita - charged us all an extra $1.50 - which we thought was a bit cheesy! There only 4 hours. Who knows. Aruba was HOT - too hot for me. You really need a hat there! This is our Second Golden cruise - first in 2002. Boarding was horrible at that time - this time was wonderful! Smooth - fast - can't say enough! Got our luggage within 2 hours - a sea record! We took a cab from the plane to the ship - not the transfer - and prefer that way - worked out great. A great Cruise Critic tip - ask for an "eggcrate topper" ... our travel agent requested it, but when we got to our room - no topper - I asked our room steward for one and he returned with one and on our bed within an hour. So even if you forget ahead - ask for it there - not a problem. The food was good - lacked seasoning, but with that number of people - it's hard to please everyone - and the lobster tails were wonderful! Our waiters - Ernesto and Antonio were the best!! We were an odd group - a 2nd seating in a Personal Choice dinning room. There must have been an overflow. Our cabin steward was great also. We had a fantastic trip. Only one thing I can warn you about - look where you cabin is in relationship to the long elevators. We were concerned that they would make our area noisy ... they didn't! But what we hadn't counted on was .... the gangway ... that first morning landing on St. Thomas - we thought the room would explode. Looking out the window - right below was the canopy and gangplank jutting out. We tried to change, but ship was full. Luck was with us though, and for the rest of the cruise - they exited from the other side of the ship. I feel sorry for the other people. I know what they heard! Next time, I will take more note of those elevators - but for a different reason. We were on Plaza Deck 5 - room P301. If you're there - try and move now! Tips = If you like eating outside - take your breakfast platter to the back of the ship - it's just at the end of the Horizon room - doors will open - walk over to the circular bar and stool area which looks over the pool and the back of the ship. Gaze at all the beauty before you and enjoy the Caribbean breezes. If you like salmon and cream cheese and you don't want to go to the breakfast dining room - ask for it in the cafe - they bring it out towards the end of the week - but will get it for you if you ask. It was a wonderful trip. Everyone was so nice and friendly - I don't know how they keep smiling all the time - but they do. I know I went way beyond your question - guess I'm re-living it. If you take only one thing from this - take the "eggcrate" - espically if you are having twins put together. And if you are in P301 - good luck!:) Ventnorgirl

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Great review! We'll be sailing on the Golden in December, same itinerary, and your descriptions have really gotten us excited about the trip. Thank you for taking the time to write it all up! And thanks expecially for dispelling some concerns we had after reading about how awful the shows were and how time-consuming boarding was. Did you have Personal Choice dining? We're afraid we might get stuck with it, and people have complained a lot about having to stand in line and wait to get a table. Did you have any trouble with that?

 

Hi - this is our 2nd Golden - 1st was PC, this time 2nd Seating. There are pros and cons to both. 8:30 is a bit late, but you know you have a table and with 8 of us, it's nice to know you have a seat. You can make reservations for the PC and I think request an area ahead. 1st time was PC as I said and only the 2 of us. If just 2 of you, they will ask you if you want to share a table - we always said yes - great way to meet people. But we finally found a wonderful waiter and said we'd wait for "Johnny's area", and we'd gladly share. This time - 2005 - was a bit odd - we were 2nd 8:30pm seaters in the Bernini Room - a PC dinning room - we had to be overflow! We saw the long lines each night - and we just walked in to our table. I would say that from 8-9pm, it was tight - it's a restaurant -- and people do the same things they do back home. Most eat between 7:30-9pm. So if you do get PC - go earlier - or try to make reservations. As to shows = The "Welcome Aboard" show was very lively and got you into the cruise mood. Friday's "Caribbean Caliente" was great fun! - same night as the Champagne Waterfall, but that was at 11pm - so we did it all! Their "Words and Music" show was OK, but too long and it seemed very familiar - think we saw it in '02. Steve Bayner, the hyponotist, was hysterical - he has two shows - make at least one of them. You will enjoy your curise no matter what seating you get. Remember, you can make reservations if PC - look around and notice other waiters - if you find one that you like - ask his/her name and request them for the next night. Say yes when asked if you want to share. It's fun! If you like them enough - see if they want to joion you for the next night - You'll end up creating your own Seating! Well - this is my first time on Cruise Critic and I've got to sign off for now. It's a great way to re-live a wonderful ship - a wonderful time. Good luck! Ventnorgirl:)

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Thanks for all of the nice comments. Let's see if my feeble memory can recall of the questions asked, so far.

 

We did PC dining and always got to the Bernini dining room between 6:30 and 7:00. Absolutely no wait at that time and no problem getting a table for two. It seemed to fill up more after 8:00. But we figured we were on a cruise and wanted to get our money's worth, so we wanted to get a head start and eat before they ran out of food later in the evening. :rolleyes:

 

The Holiday Inn was actually pretty good. The location is in the Condado area and probably about 10 minutes from the port by cab. We took a bus from nearby the hotel into Old San Juan for 25 cents (can you believe it??)...but we took a cab back because the buses don't seem to run on any regular discernable schedule. Actually, our cab driver cut us a deal to take us from OSJ back to the hotel to pick up our bags, then on back to the port. Since Linda is 100% bi (lingual, that is...don't get any ideas :p ) she was able to speak fluently with the cab driver, as well as bargain with the vendors on some of the Spanish speaking islands. So if you don't have a bi (lingual, that is) wife or girlfriend and you plan to visit Spanish-speaking areas, I suggest you find yourself one asap.

 

The coffee seemed fine to me, but what do I know? I think Taster's Choice is gourmet coffee. Linda is a bit fussier than I am about coffee and she also thought it was perfectly fine. After all, the name on the ship is Princess, not Starbucks. I'm sure most people won't have a problem with it if they actually try it and don't just take everyone else's word for how horrible it is.

 

We didn't see the main production shows (Caribbean Caliente or the big 1st night extravaganza). We did see the comedian twice, the hypnotist twice and the Australian entertainer, who was outstanding (no lip syncing). We also attended the muster drill in the theater if that counts, and they didn't lip sync there, either. Although, a portion of it was recorded, not live. We also attended a cooking demo by the head chef and Maitre 'd, followed by a tour of the galley. Very interesting. Purchased a cookbook for $28 containing recipes for every meal served in the dining room on our cruise. The spicy shrimp dish was tremendous...now we can make it at home.

 

Disembarkation took until noon-ish for us because we were on the Plaza deck. Since the ship disembarks from the top decks downward, we were the last to get off, since Plaza is one of the lowest decks with cabins. It was nice on the Plaza Deck, (cabin 329, for those of you keeping score at home), because there was very little movement, especially since we were not only lower, but near the middle of the ship, as well.

 

The cruise director is Paul O'Laughlin. I said in another thread that he reminds me of an Irish Merv Griffin. I wonder if anyone else had that thought.

 

I know we left Grenada at 5:00, but don't recall the St. Kitts departure time. Although 3:00 sounds about right.

 

We took Godfrey's tour in St. Thomas and that's how we got to the top of the mountain where we got the banana daiquiri. Didn't do the tram...not into hanging by a thread going up a mountainside.

 

I do believe the formal nights were Tuesday and Friday. Someone from our cruise can correct me if I'm off base here.

 

I think that answers all of the questions, so far. Keep 'em coming...

=========================

 

Another Plaza Deck Buddy - I bet I saw you every day - Ha! We were in P301. You don't EVER want that room! It's right above the Gangway exit! I'll try for somewhere around 329 next time!

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