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Back from the Golden - Review

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Hi everyone. It's so funny, I seemed to have more time to e-mail when I was on the cruise. It's been so hectic since i've gotten back with the back to school craziness! Here is my review of this glorious cruise:

 

This was our first Princess cruise and we were so impressed. here is how we rated Princess in terms of food, comparing them to the other lines we have been on:

 

Princess A+

Celebrity A

Disney A / A-

Carnival B +

Royal Caribbean D-

 

The food: We were so impressed with Princess. The food on this cruise was better than any other vacation we have had / land or sea. Was this food similar to mass-cooking catering hall - no way! If it were a restaurant at home would we return - as soon as possible! Here is why Princess had the edge on all others:

 

1) Impressive quality of food, not just in dining room, in Horizon court buffet as well.

2) Variety at buffets - not just the usual suspects like on other lines! We were so impressed by the unique and varied offerings, even at breakfast.

3) Personal choice dining - Let me tell you, every cruise line shoud do this if they are smart. We fell in love with anytime dining. Whenever we were ready, we just want to one of the 2 dining rooms. We never made a reservation. (We had 1 wait of 10 minutes on formal night when we got there at 8:00, no big deal). We did not like to make reservations because to us that was the whole point of anytime dining, you have dinner when you want. Some days we wanted to eat at 7:00, others later if we were watching a movie or wanted to see a show. My husband was saying how he would have trouble getting used to a traditional dining again. By the way those of you who prefer table for 2 like we do, PC dining is the way to go. A table for 2 is never a problem!

 

The shows: We only made 1 show, the "words of broadway" on the second formal night.. We did not particulary like this show because it focused

on the older broadway shows from the 50's that we are not familiar with.

 

Pools / Chair Longue Situation: Great, for all you late sleepers there were always lounge chairs available. Great music & band by the main pool. The port side of the ship was for smokers. The majority of smokers seemed to stay by the solarium pool, closer to the Horizon buffet. We stayed on the port side of the main pool and was never bothered by smoke. There was only 1 sea day on this cruise which was good in a way because there was so much to see, on the bad side, we missed our usual last day at sea towards the end of the cruise to unwind.

 

Service: A+ again, from the room stweards to the PC dining room staff, we were also impressed by the friendly, efficient crew. We met a lot of nice servers in PC dining, some people made standing reservations the first night because they loved their server, but we just went wherever they put us in a table for 2 and met a lot of great servers that way!

 

The room: We had room A227 balcony. What I liked about Aloha is that you are not exposed on your balcony like on lower decks. (The floor right below us was not exposed, but from 2 floors below us on were exposed) We loved this foward cabin, felt very little movement, could not ever hear your neighbor's toilet flushing like on other ships we had been on! (And we all know how loud those toilets are)!

 

Excursions chosen/ports of call:

 

Note: We usually do our on thing on our cruises, but I had a hard time locating independent opertors prior to this cruise and the ones I did charged the same rate as the ship's excursion, so we stuck with the Princess excurions.

 

Barbados: We did the sea turtle and snorkel (that includes snorkeling at a wreck site). We loved this excursion and recommend it highly. Tey even took us to a beautiful beach and had free drinks after snorkeling. Wonderful guides, had a blast.

If shopping, in our opinion stay away from the town here. We had a bad experience in town & were hasseled. The shopping at the port terminal is better & safer in our opinion.

 

S. Lucia : We did the New Waves Snorkel St. Lucia\. We snorkeled at Anse Chasnet marine park (although on the ships tour info. lists it going to Soufrie to snorkel). The snorkeling was terible, I got stung, also riptides, marine life very limited (not counting jellyfish). The only nice thing about this tour is that they sailed us by the Pitons, that was great. We wished we did the whale & dolphin watching excursion here.

The shopping at the pier terminal was great. For a wonderful copy of a designer bag, go to the Oasis shop. I got a magnificant copy of a Gucci there1

 

Antigua: We did the New Waves Antigua snorkel adventure (39.00 pp). Loved it, had a great time. The boat we were on , the Excellence, was beautiful. Crew was great, also it was a great way to see the island, sailing by all the sites on the way to Cades Reef which was very nice.

 

St.Martin: We did our own thing here. We took a cab to Dawn Beach (which was listed as the snorkel beach). Terrible! No sea life and we had to leave within an hour because of sand fleas biting us. Took the water taxi to town & did great shopping there. Town was great.

 

St. Thomas: We had vacationed here before so we knew what we wanted to do. We took one of those cute trolley taxis to Coki Beach & snorkeled there. The snorkeling was great & the beach very nice. Did shopping in town & got nice things (Took a cab to town).

 

Disembark: Great, had a 12:15 flight, had over 3 hours to kill at the airport. Wish we had an earlier flight, had NO problems at all at this airport.

 

) : The only problem we experienced was at the gift shop. On ever cruise we go on, I always buy a model of the ship we are sailing on. I have a whole little fleet. They were out of the golden princess model and the only way to buy this is at the ship's gift shop. I'm hoping to get in touch with someone sailing on her soon who I can mail a money order to who can pick it up for me & mail it to me.

 

Vibe of ship: I have read in other reviews that cruises that leave from San Juan have a very latin vibe, and that spanish is spoken more than English. That was not true at all on this cruise, all the other passengers we met were from US or Canada, we did not meet any passengers from San Juan. The only people we got to meet from San Juan was the people at the airport and our taxi drivers, who were very nice.

 

If anyone has any further questions, feel free to e-mail me.

 

Marina (oceanmarina@aol.com)

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Sounds like a wonderful cruise :) I enjoyed reading your reports from at sea.

 

Like you - I have tried several lines and was really impressed with Princess when I sailed on my first Princess cruise. I hope someone can buy you a "ship". I have a friend who collects the model ships also and I bought him a Golden Princess one last Thanksgiving because he was unable to buy his also.

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Great review, thanks so much for taking the time to tell us all about it. We too had a wonderful cruise on the Golden.

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Enjoyed your review particularly about the food. We are headed on a B2B on the Golden Princess 11/28 - 12/12 though we opted for a mini-suite. Heard about the sand flies on other postings... did you here if they were at all the beaches or should we stay away from the one?

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) :.............. The only problem we experienced was at the gift shop. On ever cruise we go on, I always buy a model of the ship we are sailing on. I have a whole little fleet. They were out of the golden princess model and the only way to buy this is at the ship's gift shop. I'm hoping to get in touch with someone sailing on her soon who I can mail a money order to who can pick it up for me & mail it to me.

 

 

 

Vibe of ship: I have read in other reviews that cruises that leave from San Juan have a very latin vibe, and that spanish is spoken more than English. That was not true at all on this cruise, all the other passengers we met were from US or Canada, we did not meet any passengers from San Juan. The only people we got to meet from San Juan was the people at the airport and our taxi drivers, who were very nice.

 

 

 

If anyone has any further questions, feel free to e-mail me.

 

 

Marina (oceanmarina@aol.com)

 

I will be on the Golden in two weeks. I will be happy to check the gift shop for your ship's model and mail it to you.:D

 

 

I think that in the past, when the ship is not full they have offered last minute deals to Puerto Rico residents. Most, if not all of the recent and soon to come cruises are SOLD out.

 

 

Was there alot of kids on your cruise? I suppose in August there would have been more then a few. I will be bringing mine (5 year old) with us in two weeks

 

 

Jami

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The Golden was our first cruise and the only thing that bit us was the cruise bug!:D :D Glad you had a great time. We are ready to go again too!

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O Cruise,

Thanks for the wonderful report and also for your live reports on board. You gave me some wonderful information.

Was the Barbados excursion through Princess?

 

I will be glad to check on a model of the Golden when I'm on board.

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Quick questions..

When did you board?

How early will embarkment begin?

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Thanks for the wonderful info. We will be on this cruise on October 31. May I ask a couple questions?

 

* Did you hear any feedback from folks who went on the dolphin/whale watch? We were considering this but were afraid that in November it might be too early to see many whales.

 

* Did you hear anything from anyone who took other excursions on St Lucia?

 

Appreciate any info you can provide.

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Thanks for the great review. How does the $10/day/pp thing work when you are on PC dining??? I think we are still #43 for late dining when we leave on 9/19.

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"The $10/day/pp thing" is a question about tipping?

 

The tip is automatically added to your shipboard bill and Princess distributes it to all the wait staff.

It seems strange not handing the tip to the waiter. Last year we did PC dining but on the second night found a table and waiters we were very pleased with...so we requested that table each night. Our group gave them an additional tip on the last night.

 

Hope that's what you were asking.

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