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Sargent_Schultz

A (mostly) Carnival Cruiser Tries Princess - a b2b on Golden Princess

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Actually I have cruised on Princess before, but not for years. The short cruises were a means for me to get to Platinum and were a bargain to boot. That the price of the cruises are now available for me to apply to a future cruise is bonus.

 

Along the way I'll try to point out what some of the differences are that I noticed.

 

The cruises were the Oct 28th (4 day) and Nov 1 (3 day) sailings of the Golden Princess out of Los Angeles (San Pedro).

 

One of my first mistakes was flying into Long Beach with having arranged in advance for transportation to the cruise ship. Oh well, that was solved by a $45 cab ride (flat rate) from the airport to the ship.

 

Embarkation is a little different on Princess. Initially all of the check-in stations are for the Preferred passengers and then after the initial rush, only some were reserved for Preferred and the rest of us could check-in. The same was true when actually boarding the ship.

 

Carnival has stations reserved for Priority passengers, but also let others check in at the remainder. The actual boarding of the ship is handled approximately the same.

 

 

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Edited by Sargent_Schultz

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Embarkation is a little different on Princess. Initially all of the check-in stations are for the Preferred passengers and then after the initial rush, only some were reserved for Preferred and the rest of us could check-in. The same was true when actually boarding the ship.

 

Carnival has stations reserved for Priority passengers, but also let others check in at the remainder. The actual boarding of the ship is handled approximately the same.

Interesting. I've never, ever seen this at a Princess check-in... ever. Including San Pedro. Usually, there's Priority check-in in one section, general check-in by deck(s) in another.

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Interesting. I've never, ever seen this at a Princess check-in... ever. Including San Pedro. Usually, there's Priority check-in in one section, general check-in by deck(s) in another.

 

There was a section reserved for Priority and the rest were by deck, but when check-in first started, all were "reserved" for Priority. After the initial rush, it went back to as you described. Perhaps this is unique to the Coastal cruises?

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Carnival typically will say staterooms aren't ready until 1:30pm and Princess will let you go to your stateroom as soon as you board. Usually I am on the ship before noon on Carnival and my stateroom is as ready as it is going to get, but I do think they have gotten the Platinum and above rooms ready first.

 

On Princess, boarding the ship didn't begin until noonish and I suspect is more similar than different at boarding, stateroom readiness, etc.

 

Having checked in before 11am, I then got to wait until 12:15 before boarding, but hey, I was number 1! Group, that is.

 

 

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While killing time, I noticed some were actually purchasing snacks. Before getting on a cruise ship ?!?!?!

 

 

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There was a section reserved for Priority and the rest were by deck, but when check-in first started, all were "reserved" for Priority. After the initial rush, it went back to as you described. Perhaps this is unique to the Coastal cruises?
Possible. But again, I've boarded in San Pedro many times, even on BVE's, and the general boarding by deck was always available. My last BVE boarding, just a few months ago in San Pedro, we were directed to the Aloha deck line at 11am even though I'm Elite.

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Looking forward to reading more of your B2B cruises on the Golden Princess out of San Pedro. I've mostly cruised Carnival and were trying Princess for the first time in 6 days, also on the Golden/San Pedro.

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Possible. But again, I've boarded in San Pedro many times, even on BVE's, and the general boarding by deck was always available. My last BVE boarding, just a few months ago in San Pedro, we were directed to the Aloha deck line at 11am even though I'm Elite.

 

Don't know what to say other than it wasn't that way this cruise or the one after.

 

I was at the cruise terminal about 10:15 and they started by checking in Preferred first, instructing the cattle to remain seated. My turn came at 10:40am and by 10:45am I was done with checking in.

 

Then it was through security and the liquor check.

 

The told us boarding would begin around 12:30pm but around 11:50am they started boarding Elite (A), around 12 noon, Elite (B), 12:03 Preferred (E), and 12:10 Preferred (F&G).

 

Anyway, check-in and boarding did go relatively smoothly.

 

I headed straight for my cabin, an inside on Baja deck, and it appeared ready enough, so I shut the door and started moving in.

 

 

 

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There were lots of mirrors in the stateroom. Boggles the mind and imagination. They were aligned well so you could get that almost mirror in a mirror look forever.

 

 

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Lots of room left in the fridge, if I had anything to put in it.

 

 

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Looking forward to reading more of your B2B cruises on the Golden Princess out of San Pedro. I've mostly cruised Carnival and were trying Princess for the first time in 6 days, also on the Golden/San Pedro.

 

I think you'll enjoy it. I had made some notes on some of the differences and maybe I'll try to summarize before you depart.

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Sargent-loving your photos and wit. Just waiting for more.

 

Norris

in Chicago

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Okay, some of the differences I noticed -

 

I think the beef in the MDR is better on Princess.

 

I thought the showers on Princess were small. The showerhead was good, but was fixed to the wall. Hand held was not an option. Given the size of the shower, probably a good thing.

 

The bathrobe in the cabin (inside) was of the waffle weave variety. The standard robe on Carnival is better. One the first cruise the One Size robe would fit most people. On the 2nd cruise, the robe, even though the labels say One Size, was too small to fit most people. The cabin steward did find me a larger robe in the more luxurious style, about the same as Carnival.

 

I thought the cabin temperature was more consistent throughout the cruise than on Carnival.

 

No dancing waiters or singing maitre d's, but there was music playing in the MDR.

 

Bought a coke while the ship was in port in San Diego and was charged tax in addition to the standard 15% gratuity.

 

Ship models in the gift shop cost less on Princess, but the models are also smaller.

 

There were noticeably fewer announcements over the PA system on Princess - a really good thing.

 

Even on Princess, there are door slammers.

 

Alcohol Drink prices on Princess are less. Sodas were the same.

 

Drink service in the MDR is different on Princess. No waiting for a bar server to make the rounds. Your waiter and/or assistant waiter takes the drink orders. The down side is it seems like every night they are asking if you want to purchase some fancy water or cocktails. Or after dinner coffee drink.

 

No charger plates in the MDR.

 

I'll probably remember some more.

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Sargent-loving your photos and wit. Just waiting for more.

 

Norris

in Chicago

 

Thank you. Glad you like the photos because I won't run out of those.

 

Thank you for taking the time to post a review. I have been looking forward to reading it!

 

You're welcome. Enjoy!

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Hi Sarge,

 

The last review of yours I enjoyed was Carnival Sunshine just after she came out of refit. You always do a remarkable job and I appreciate the time and effort you are taking in this one as well. Keep up the excellent work, and I'm loving all the pictures. :D

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Excellent! I've gone to your wonderful website many times in the past. You always take the most amazing photos. I'm really enjoying your tour of the Golden Princess, one of my favorite ships.

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Hi Sarge,

 

The last review of yours I enjoyed was Carnival Sunshine just after she came out of refit. You always do a remarkable job and I appreciate the time and effort you are taking in this one as well. Keep up the excellent work, and I'm loving all the pictures. :D

 

Thank you!

 

Excellent! I've gone to your wonderful website many times in the past. You always take the most amazing photos. I'm really enjoying your tour of the Golden Princess, one of my favorite ships.

 

Thank you!

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Interesting. I've never, ever seen this at a Princess check-in... ever. Including San Pedro. Usually, there's Priority check-in in one section, general check-in by deck(s) in another.

 

We saw this on the Oct. 24th sailing. We boarded with the disabled and we were on by 11:45. I could see a bunch of people waiting in another area.

Sarge your photos are great. We were on the cruise before yours.

Pat

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Enough of that nonsense, time to eat!

 

Donetello Dining Room

 

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They were pretty slammed and there was a line to get in, but I made it before closing time. No private table "available" and they were trying to get everyone in, so mostly shared tables for everyone at that point.

 

 

 

On Princess, lunch us served in a MDR on embarkation day and sea days only. Seems to me that in the good old days, lunch was served everyday, but that could be another cruise line. Of course, on Carnival, the MDR isn't open on embarkation day and Carnival is also moving to a brunch on sea days, instead of a breakfast and lunch.

 

 

 

One difference apparent is the minimal place setting

 

 

 

 

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On the Carnival ships that still have lunch, more than you will likely use

 

 

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Even at brunch

 

 

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not a complaint, just an observation

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We saw this on the Oct. 24th sailing. We boarded with the disabled and we were on by 11:45. I could see a bunch of people waiting in another area.

 

Sarge your photos are great. We were on the cruise before yours.

 

Pat

 

Thank you.

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One thing that was unexpected, and somewhat annoying was at the embarkation lunch, they seemed to expect me to reuse utensils. That could well have been because of the time and also the many people still being served. I don't recall that happening again, although this was the only time I had embarkation lunch in the MDR.

 

On the subject of bread, there seems to be a wider variety on Princess, and better, although I still have a favorite or two on Carnival. Butter was served in individual pats, balls, whatever.

 

 

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I chose the soup, salad, sandwich combo, which in my case came out salad, soup, sandwich. It was all very good, but a sandwich is approximately a sandwich.

 

 

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On my last Princess cruise (Grand, 2005), and okay, a Christmas cruise, embarkation lunch was a little different, but similar enough. Don't remember what this was, but London Broil was available on the current cruise.

 

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After lunch, it was time for more exploring

 

There is more live music on Princess.

 

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International Cafe (Part of Piazza) - Food was complementary but not specialty coffees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Discovered the Princess Fine Arts Gallery - didn't realize there was a connection between Wyland and the ship, but that was interesting and nice.

 

 

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The Vines Shop

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and more of Piazza

 

 

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Vines Bar area - sushi and stuff. Think they expected you to make a drink purchase for the complementary food. I don't do sushi anyway.

 

 

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Internet Cafe and Library

 

 

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Loving every minute of this! The Golden was my first Princess cruise and the photos bring back such fond memories. Thank you for sharing...:)

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There was a section reserved for Priority and the rest were by deck, but when check-in first started, all were "reserved" for Priority. After the initial rush, it went back to as you described. Perhaps this is unique to the Coastal cruises?

 

I noticed this also this time (as opposed to April when we were last in San Pedro), and wondered if it was because of the huge numbers of priority pax on these "free" cruises.

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Okay, some of the differences I noticed -

 

 

Drink service in the MDR is different on Princess. No waiting for a bar server to make the rounds. Your waiter and/or assistant waiter takes the drink orders. The down side is it seems like every night they are asking if you want to purchase some fancy water or cocktails. Or after dinner coffee drink.

 

No charger plates in the MDR.

 

I'll probably remember some more.

 

What is a charger plate please?

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Great start to your review, Sarge. I usually sail Carnival(we are Platinum), but in 3 1/2 weeks, I will be leaving on my first Princess cruise (my travel companions have sailed Princess previously). I am looking forward to more of your review.

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What is a charger plate please?

 

A charger is a plate that is part of the place-setting that "holds a space" for the plates that come from the kitchen. Sometimes, a charger remains on the table during apps (the app plate is placed on the charger). Sometimes it is removed when you are seated. Typically, no food ever touches the charger.

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Love the photos!!!! I was on this ship right after her dry dock. It was a magical cruise!:)

 

Thank you.

 

Loving every minute of this! The Golden was my first Princess cruise and the photos bring back such fond memories. Thank you for sharing...:)

 

 

Thank you and you're welcome!

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Thanks for the review, and the pictures. Have enjoyed both !!

 

You're welcome and thank you. :)

 

I noticed this also this time (as opposed to April when we were last in San Pedro), and wondered if it was because of the huge numbers of priority pax on these "free" cruises.

 

Maybe. It seemed well organized, so it wasn't the first time they had done it like that.

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