Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

pamyla

Golden - May 30th - my review

Recommended Posts

Hi, I first wanted to say thanks to everyone for sharing all their great information. It really helped to make our trip easier. I went on this cruise with my husband. We are 29 and 30. This was my 2nd cruise, although my first one was taken when I was a teen (Carnival), and this was my husband’s 1st cruise. We both had a wonderful time on the Golden, however in this review I will try and note the good and the bad in order to help others. Also, I have some health problems and get fatigued easily, so if anyone has specific questions related to how tiring the tours were let me know.

San Juan Airport
We didn’t have any problems getting in. Our flight was early and our bags came quickly. My one comment is that I could not find a bathroom near baggage claim, so you might want to use one when you first get off the plane. I ended up waiting in that embarkation line for a bit  We had no problem getting a taxi. There are desks both inside and out that will arrange a taxi for you and tell you the price. ($16 to pan am pier, plus .50 cents per bag for 1st 3, $1 per bag after) Then you go outside and stand in a fast moving line that puts you into your taxi. We saw some crazy driving – our taxi driver drove down the shoulder on the opposite side of the street to get us to the pier.

Embarkation
We arrived at the pier around 11:30ish, and almost immediately after we got out of the cab it started pouring rain. We first got into a long line that didn’t seem to be moving. Luckily we were undercover, but it was hot! There was a bit of confusion in this line, most people didn’t realize you needed to bring your bags to the porters up front. Make sure you bring tip $$, my husband was amused at how good the porters were at ignoring you until you flashed some $$. Right around noon we were ushered into an air conditioned room with chairs. There was water in this room, but I still wasn’t seeing a bathroom. Ten or fifteen minutes later we went into another room and yet another line. In this room there are restrooms and a liquor store. I think there was an express checkout lane on the far left of this room. There didn’t seem to be many people making use of this however. Overall it took us about 45 min to an hour to board the ship. Not too terribly bad.

The Ship
The Golden is a beautiful ship! However I highly recommend printing out those deck plans – we still found ourselves getting confused at the end of the week. The service was excellent! People were so friendly and helpful on this ship. Our room steward read my preferences that I had filled out online and made sure we had everything we needed. We stayed in D312, an inside cabin. It was bigger than we expected. We didn’t feel we were missing out not having a balcony as we were hardly ever in our room. We loved the freshwater pools. They don’t dry out your skin like chlorine does. The hot tubs were incredibly hot, I could barely get in. Entertainment I can’t really comment on, we only made it to one show – the magician. That particular show had people standing in the aisles, so I’d advise you to go early. The show was about what I expected – cheesy. I read other reviews talking about smoking. I will say that I am also sensitive to it and I didn’t really notice people smoking on this ship. I was in skywalkers twice, first day during the day and the last night. I had no problem with smoke either time. Princess Patters and port talks – someone else said this but I’ll reiterate - not much useful information. These were basically ads for jewelry stores, which I found kind of annoying.

Dining
We had anytime dining which was wonderful. I don’t think I could stand to have traditional. We loved being able to go to dinner whenever we were hungry. Some days we ate early, some late. We always had great service, and it was fun to meet different waiters. Food was pretty good. Dining room had some great stuff, some not so great. I loved the prime rib and lobster. I had a few soups and desserts that were not so great however. But overall, it was good food. Horizon court I thought was so-so. Maybe I’m picky, my husband kept saying he felt like he was at summer camp [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] I learned on cruise critic to bring a big cup for the pool, and that was the best advice. I continually filled it and even brought it back to my room. (I requested a pitcher of water from room service the first day, the tap water in our cabin was gross) You guys were right, pizza was good! We ate a lot of food, if anything there was too much! Oh, a word of warning, on the last night they had sweetbreads and tripe included on the menu. I love unusual food but even I’m not up to trying that. Sweetbreads were listed but tripe was hidden in one of the soups.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ports

Barbados – From the ship there is a free bus to the terminal. In the terminal you can shop or grab a cab. We grabbed a taxi on this island and took a tour out to Bathsheba. It was cool to see. We also went up on some sort of mountaintop view where we got to see someone’s pet green monkey. Then the taxi took us to the beach for a few hours. We stopped by folkstone, payne’s bay and ultimately ended up at Malibu beach (I think it’s called brighton beach as well). Pretty beaches. If I went to this island again I’d book a tour, cabs were expensive. We thought this island was okay. We may have gotten a bad first impression. We headed to the tourist office when first there to ask about getting to Bathsheba. The people in front of us were asking a question and the man at the desk had to repeat his answer a few times as they didn’t speak English well. The man proceeded to roll his eyes at them right in front of them. Didn’t make me feel too comfortable asking my question….

St. Lucia – We had an awesome time on this island! I hope to go back someday for longer! The islanders are very friendly, although there are a lot of vendors. A little aggressive at first, but they’ll back off if you say no thanks. We toured the island with Cosol. He charges $30 pp and it’s a full day tour. We saw the waterfall, botanical gardens, snorkeling at anse chastenet, fishing villages, banana plantations, etc. I’ll write more about this trip on the st. lucia board. I highly recommend Cosol, wonderful guide. (and hi to our cruise critic friends that we toured with!)

Antigua – On this island we grabbed a cab to Turner’s Beach. It was $20 each way, kind of expensive. If I went again, I’d take a tour on this island as well. The beach was nice. Clear water, yellowish sand. There are bathrooms and a restaurant. However, plan ahead if you want to eat – they are extremely slow. I think you may need at least an hour and a half. We gave up after we couldn’t even get our order in. Here’s a tip, the cabs got cheaper as you kept walking, so don’t grab the first one you see.

St. Maarten – We didn’t like this island too much. I’ve heard a lot of good things, and I’ll just say it wasn’t my cup of tea. I’m not a big shopper first of all. But, the main thing I didn’t like was the taxis. Expensive, aggressive and not very honest. We took a cab to Dawn Beach. It was interesting, I think we had an entourage of cab drivers all claiming we were riding with them. I guess most people were smart enough to avoid them! Dawn’s beach was pretty but the waves were rough! We went there specifically for snorkeling which we didn’t feel comfortable doing. There were a few snorkelers out there and they told us the fish were amazing. Might have had more fun if we had snorkeled… We ended up ditching our taxi driver to share a cab ride with another couple. We headed back to Phillipsburg where the highlight of our time on this island was the Guavaberry store. Awesome stuff! We took the water taxi to get from pier to main part of city. It was packed, so be prepared for a little waiting if you go that route.

St. Thomas
We really liked this island a lot. We took Godfrey’s tour. It was a great day, we felt like we got a good tour of the island. And you can’t beat it for $20 pp. We did have some confusion meeting up with him though. If you’re on his tour keep in mind that he holds up cards with your first name. We kept looking for Godfrey and somehow missed him at 9 am, luckily caught him at 10 am. Also, he parks to the right of the ship where the row of stores is located. And make sure you try a banana daiquiri! By the way, I had wanted a tanzanite and found that St. Maarten’s prices were better.

San Juan
After disembarking we signed up for the ship’s tour of El Yunque, the rainforest. It was a cool tour although I think everyone on it was just exhausted at this point. But since our flight didn’t depart til after 5 it was a good time killer.


A word about ports – if I had to do it again I’d book a tour on every island. Yes you might save money taking taxis, but it was often stressful. I think next time I’d pay a little more and sign up for as many tours as I could.
That’s about it, if anyone has any questions just ask.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pamyla,
Thanks for the good review. Is there a contact # for Cosol in St Lucia.? On the St Lucia board they mentioned the bad road to Anse Chastenet. Was that a problem for you?

Ann

Until Golden Princess
[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=228b22&cdt=2004;10;3;23;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500[/img]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi "neighbor" [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]! Welcome back, sounds like you had a great time. Nice review with lots of good info. Ready to go again?? [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oops, didn't see your post Auntieann before I broke in. But in response to your question, I'll just say...it probably isn't much worse than the potholes in DC/MD/VA during the winter [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi neighbors! [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img] I'm definitely ready to hit the beaches again - I miss them already!

Here is Cosol's email:
[email]cosol966@hotmail.com[/email]

The first time I contacted him it took a few days for him to get back to me, but after that he responded very quickly.

As for the roads, surfnsun is right, not that bad. Just unpaved with some potholes and a bit curvy. Cosol is a good driver though and makes that drive daily, so no worries.

I'll hopefully be posting some pictures by next week [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks Pamyla and Surfnsun too! I'm sure, as Surfnsun said, the pot holes can't be any worse than the ones in the DC area [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img] Is there a lot of walking on this tour? Heard someplace he needs minimum number of people.

Looking forward to your pictures [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

Later neighbor.

Ann

Until Golden Princess
[img]http://escati.linkopp.net/cgi-bin/countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=228b22&cdt=2004;10;3;23;00;00&timezone=GMT-0500[/img]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for taking the time to write such a great review. Informative and helpful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't think there is a minimum. We had 4 people on our tour, although 4 other people showed up about 30 min late and we were already gone. Make sure you're on time [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] I think there is a maximum of 10 people for the tour however and you're probably more in danger of it filling up.

As for walking, no it's not too bad. I have a heart problem and I did fine. The longest walking part is to the waterfall and that takes about 2 minutes. There is a slight slope, but I still found it very manageable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
Thanks for all the good info.
You mentioned that some nights the food was good, some not so good. Do you happen to remember what cuisines were served on which nights? I ask because I want to make reservations for the alternative restaurants asap, and would prefer to make them on nights where the food in the dining room is not so good.
Any suggestions?

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey Pam! [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] Did you happen to notice if there was a paying video game arcade still on the Golden? It's good to read a positive review! Thanks!

--------------------------
'05-Golden Princess, West. European Capitals, '04-2 wk. land cruise to Wash. State, '04-Monarch of the Seas, '04-Coral Princess, '03-Monarch of the Seas, '02-Ecstasy, '02-Adventure of the Seas, '01-Radiance of the Seas, '01-Grand Princess, '00-Grand Princess, '99-Viking Serenade, '98-Elation

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On the video games, yes there is a paying game room. We walked through once or twice, both times it was practically empty.

For the food, the only night I thought was not so great was the last night. I swear they were using up what they had left as the dishes were interesting [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] Other than that night I thought the entrees were good on all the nights, although on french night the dining room seemed emptier than usual. I believe french night was the night we went to st. lucia, tues was it? Formal nights were monday and friday, don't miss those. I think I recall having prime rib on our first night, which was delicious. Oh, wed night may have been italian, although I'm not 100% sure on that one. It's not that any particular night was bad, just an occasional item that was so-so. Am I helping or just confusing you more [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img]

Did I talk about desserts yet? I adore apple pie, so I tried 2 apple desserts. Both were yucky, don't waste your time. If you're doubting the desserts, go with the cheesecake - yum yum and it's offered every night. The ice cream had a weird taste to it. I can't explain it, but my husband tried it 2 or 3 times and it just wasn't that great. (this included the free ice cream in horizon court unfortunately)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks! [img]http://messages.cruisecritic.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

--------------------------
'05-Golden Princess, West. European Capitals, '04-2 wk. land cruise to Wash. State, '04-Monarch of the Seas, '04-Coral Princess, '03-Monarch of the Seas, '02-Ecstasy, '02-Adventure of the Seas, '01-Radiance of the Seas, '01-Grand Princess, '00-Grand Princess, '99-Viking Serenade, '98-Elation

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just thought of one other thing I wanted to mention to the ladies. On the first night when you go to muster drill make sure you're wearing pants. I was wearing a sundress and they had us sitting on the life jackets in the hallway. Quite challenging with a skirt!

Also, to help you navigate to your room, the hallways had red carpet for the even numbered rooms and blue for the odd ones. I didn't even notice this for the first day or two (doh!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Another option is to rent a car. It is really cheap and easy to do.

Next: #23 Dawn Princess 10/04
Photos: [url="http://community.webshots.com/user/kkorman"]http://community.webshots.com/user/kkorman[/url]
[url="http://community.webshots.com/user/kkorman1"]http://community.webshots.com/user/kkorman1[/url]
Last Few: Coral Princess 6/04 (AK-South), Coral Princess 4/04, (Canal-FLL-VAN), Conquest 12/03 -New Years, Norwegian Sky b2b 12/03

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...