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AbbyGirl

Golden 9/5-9/12 - My opinions on the cruise

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Well here is my review of the Golden cruise for Sept 5-12. Overall I was very impressed with the cruise, the cruise line and the service. Our original itinerary was changed of course due to our little buddy Ivan. The original itinerary was to leave Sun, sea day Monday, Barbados Tues, St. Lucia Weds, Antigua Thurs, St. Marrten Fri, and St. Thomas Sat. We were changed to Sea Day Mon, Curaco Tues, Isla Margarita Weds, St. Lucia Thurs, Antigua Fri and St. Thomas Sat.

 

 

We chose to go against the odds and fly in on Sunday. We arrived in San Juan at 12:30 and were in our room by 2. Embarkation was good, other than the people that didn’t realize they needed to wait in line for their row to be called to check in.

 

 

The first sea day was good. Nothing exciting happened on Monday, other than the first formal night, which went well.

 

 

Tues – Curaco. We booked a snorkel excursion which was good, but not great. The company that owned the boat were not the friendliest people in the world, but the snorkeling itself was good. The snorkeling was very easy as we were in a cove and the water was very calm. I can’t remember the exact name of the excursion, but I can find out if someone wants to know. The town of Curaco was about a 10-15 minute walk from the ship and the shopping was good. To get to town from the ship there are two ways, one to walk over a bridge or to take the ferry. The ferry of course is pretty slow. The bridge can be a problem however. It moves…Not like a draw bridge that goes up for other boats, but the whole bridge opens. The process is very slow, so make sure you don’t cut it too close when trying to get to the ship, or you may be left.

 

 

Because we docked 4 out of 5 times on our side of the boat, we were entertained each night with the people that had to run to get on the ship before the ramp was raised…Needless to say our side of the boat was very entertaining in cheering and clapping as people made it to the ship just in time.

 

 

Weds – Isla Margarita – NOT GOOD. We were told by the captain of the snorkeling boat that it wasn’t safe. When we pulled into port and we were not surprised by the view. I didn’t take any pictures and we didn’t even step foot off the boat. The choice of tours was not very appealing so we opted for a pool day. The weather wasn’t supposed to be that good, but it turned out to be a beautiful day like every other day. At night we opted for the Magic and Illusion show with Gaetano. It was a good show and very frustrating trying to figure out his tricks…We never could figure them out!

 

 

Thurs – St. Lucia – We also didn’t find any appealing tours, so we did our own thing. Shopped in the morning and then hit the pool in the afternoon. The shopping was o.k, but defiantly not great. There is another side of the island that you can get to to do some shopping and had to get there by a water taxi, $1 each way. At night we went to the comedy/juggling show with Nick Pike. The show was good and he was hilarious! A definite must see, but I wouldn’t suggest taking the kids…He may say a few things that they won’t understand….Because the people I traveled with weren’t up for staying up late, I went to the Island Party by myself. It looked like a lot of fun, but I left early.

 

 

Fri – Antigua – We took the Sail, Snorkel, Beach excursion and it was a BLAST! As we were sitting on the pier waiting for the excursion to begin, I looked down into the water and there were jelly fish all over everywhere…Great we are all going to get stung! We were all o.k., but I can’t speak for everyone else that hit the water. When we got on the excursion we boarded a catamaran with a group of guys that were AWESOME…We all had so much fun and I would HIGHLY suggest that if you want to snorkel in Antigua this is the tour to take. The snorkeling itself was tough as we were dumped into the middle of the ocean. When we got back on the boat, we sailed to Deep Bay and swam for about 45 minutes and then headed back to the ship... There was a guy on the boat that was making things out of palm leaves and my friend and I both bought purses from him for $25 each…They are sooo cute and we had a lot of comments on them already. At night we headed to the Vista lounge to see the comedy show with Rodney Johnson. It sounds as though he travels between Princesses ships, but if you have the chance to see him, you HAVE to see him…Another one I wouldn’t take the kids too, but we were all in tears.

 

 

Sat – St. Thomas – Ahhh, St. Thomas, who couldn’t love to live there…Shopping was awesome as usual and we all spent WAY to much money. The surprise of the day was that the store I had shopped in 3 years ago and thought that it was closed was still open. I was so happy and I got some awesome deals in there and I will continue to shop there every time I make it to the island. In the afternoon we did the Kon Tiki tour…I would give it a 7 out of 10 because the crew were pretty boring. I don’t know if it was because we were tainted from the catamaran guys, for if these guys were just boring. The scenery was awesome. We sailed out to a beach, which I can’t remember which on it was, but it was not on St. Thomas or St. John, but a smaller island that only has 150 residents. The beach was good. On the way back to the ships (it was a combo on Princess and Royal passengers) they kicked up the partying, but we stayed on the top deck as we weren’t interested in the dancing. Sat night we headed back to the Vista to see a combo show of both comedians, as before they both had us crying they were so funny.

 

 

Sunday was the sad day of course, leaving the ship, the process was a little slow waiting for our tags to be called, but unfortuanatly our time came and we had to leave the ship. The cab ride back to the airport was horrible, and the airport is a bit bad because they are renovating it, but over all, it was fine.

 

 

I would rank everything in the following way:

 

(1= lowest and 10= highest)

 

Embarkation 9

Cabin 7 – Very disappointed with the size of the room, but our steward Arnoldo was great

Fellow Passengers 9 (too many fat, hairy men in Speedo’s)

Ship design 10

Ship features 10

Entertainment 10 (for what I saw)

Bars/disco I didn’t really hit the bars

Teen activities N/A no kids in our group

Poolside 10 (LOVED the fresh water pools and the shallow part to be able to lay out in)

Crew 10 (I would say that 90% of the crew was from Romania)

Cruise Director 9 (He was a bit corny at times)

Bar Staff 10

Room Service We didn’t use room service

Main dining room 10 – Our service was awesome!

Casual Dining N/Awe ate in the DR every night but one

Upcharge dining 9 – The food was good at Desert Rose, but the service could have been just a tad bit better

Itinerary 9 (Except for Isla Margarita)

Gaming/Casino 9 (I only lost $4 in nickels, what can I say I am a tight a$$)

Disembarkation 9 (unfortunately it HAD to happen)

 

 

OVERALL – I would rank the entire experience a 9. The things that I didn’t give 10’s on were just for personal reasons, but nothing bad happened on the entire trip, except the end. I would go back on the Golden any day and I did schedule an open booking for the future.

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Weds – Isla Margarita – NOT GOOD. We were told by the captain of the snorkeling boat that it wasn’t safe. When we pulled into port and we were not surprised by the view. I didn’t take any pictures and we didn’t even step foot off the boat. The choice of tours was not very appealing so we opted for a pool day. The weather wasn’t supposed to be that good, but it turned out to be a beautiful day like every other day. ![/size][/font]

 

 

 

It is a shame you chose to rate an island poorly without even stepping foot on it. I had a nice time at the beach there and the local vendors were very nice. I'm sure there are areas that aren't safe just like any of the islands.

 

It isn't the best stop I've ever made but it was a nice relaxing day at the beach.

 

Scott

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Casual Dining N/Awe ate in the DR every night but one

.

You never ate in the Horizon court, nor pizza, nor burgers on deck even once??

Lunch?? breakfast?

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What was the name of the shop in St. Thomas?

 

And do you know the name of the water taxi in St. Lucia?

Thanks,

The name of the store in St. Thomas is Solitare. It is almost all the way to the end of the main drag on the left hand side. It is a small store, but I think they have really good prices and if you are loyal to them, they will be loyal to you.

 

I don't remember the name of the water taxi, but it is right at the back end of the boat and takes you out of the port and over to another cove on a different area of the island.

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Could you tell me the price of the "COKE" card? Does the price include juices also? Thanks

The price of the card was $22.50 and it included a cup, but a small one. It doesn't hold much, but you don't have to use it and you can ask for any size of pop at the bars or any of the wait staff. For me, it was a good deal. As far as I know, but I'm not a juice drinker, the only juice that I saw being served was during lunch. I know that Ginger Ale and Tonic Water were also part of the card.

 

Hope that helps

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It is a shame you chose to rate an island poorly without even stepping foot on it. I had a nice time at the beach there and the local vendors were very nice. I'm sure there are areas that aren't safe just like any of the islands.

 

It isn't the best stop I've ever made but it was a nice relaxing day at the beach.

 

Scott

Thanks Scott, like I said this was only my opinion and I am glad that someone had a good time on the island.:rolleyes:

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You never ate in the Horizon court, nor pizza, nor burgers on deck even once??

Lunch?? breakfast?

You are correct, I goofed. I did eat every other meal in the locations you mentioned, but we never hit the other PC dining rooms.

 

The pizza was good, the hamburgers and hotdogs were good and the french fries were AWESOME, hit them too often!

 

The buffet for the most part was good, but I am kind of a picky eater, but everything I had was good. But what I didn't like was the way the buffet was set up as at times it was difficult to manuever through the lines.

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What room did you have??

I was in room C502 which is set up for 3 or 4. I used the one fold down bed from the ceiling and it was perfectly fine and it had rails, which I thought was a great idea for children espcially!

 

My parents were in C602 which was set up exactly like ours, but it only slept two.

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Abbygirl, I have to agree with ahracer. We had a great time at Isla Margarita. The little shops at the pier were great and the bar and beach at the end , while small and nothing spectacular were really alot of fun. Most people that we spoke to later agreed that they would have liked to spend more time there.

 

Thanks for the review. It brought back memories of our Golden Cruise. Glad you had a great time.

 

Judy

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Abby Girl,

 

Thanks for taking time to post a great review. They still have Desert Rose? I thought they were going to put in Sterling Steak House on the last dry dock.

Was the food worth the upcharge?

 

Thanks

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There are two things on a cruise ship that should be decided on by a comittee... Women in thongs and men in Speedos.. If you don't pass you don't wear.. OH MY GOSH! I am sitting here watching TV while I am reading the boards (pathetic, I know) and they just showed a picture from space of Ivan!! HUGE!!!

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Hi Ann,

We were on the Golden the week before Abby Girl, so I can help you with the Desert Rose.

 

It was well worth the surcharge in my opinion. Really great service, the night we were there (the last night of the cruise) it wasnt too busy, so we were very well looked after. Book as soon as you can, it tends to fill up, as does Sabatini's.

 

Dont bother with the 8oz filet mignon, go 10oz. Its a baseball sized piece of heaven, and was grilled to perfection. For an option, the rib steak was very nicely marbled, and again, cooked to my wife's perfection - blue rare. Charred on the outside, warm on the inside.

Feeling adventurous? Step up to the 22oz porterhouse. Not for the faint of appetite.

 

Sides included a few mushroom caps, a nice baked tater (loaded!) and a creamed spinach that was really tasty as well.

 

I can also recommend the raspberry creme brulee, I might have had a second one if the steak wasnt so filling.

 

Order a nice Merlot to go with your meal, I think you'll be very pleased with the experience.

 

Pete

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Hi Ann,

We were on the Golden the week before Abby Girl, so I can help you with the Desert Rose.

 

It was well worth the surcharge in my opinion. Really great service, the night we were there (the last night of the cruise) it wasnt too busy, so we were very well looked after. Book as soon as you can, it tends to fill up, as does Sabatini's.

 

Dont bother with the 8oz filet mignon, go 10oz. Its a baseball sized piece of heaven, and was grilled to perfection. For an option, the rib steak was very nicely marbled, and again, cooked to my wife's perfection - blue rare. Charred on the outside, warm on the inside.

Feeling adventurous? Step up to the 22oz porterhouse. Not for the faint of appetite.

 

Sides included a few mushroom caps, a nice baked tater (loaded!) and a creamed spinach that was really tasty as well.

 

I can also recommend the raspberry creme brulee, I might have had a second one if the steak wasnt so filling.

 

Order a nice Merlot to go with your meal, I think you'll be very pleased with the experience.

 

Pete

Thanks MacPete. I'm ready to go this very minute instead sitting here with my tuna sandwich.:D

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Abby Girl,

 

Thanks for taking time to post a great review. They still have Desert Rose? I thought they were going to put in Sterling Steak House on the last dry dock.

Was the food worth the upcharge?

 

Thanks

Yes it was still called the Desert Rose (unless I am just an idiot) and the food was great and the service was pretty good, but maybe we were just spoiled with our wait staff in the main dining room...I would suggest it....I also ordered the Ribeye and it was AWESOME...Cooked just as I requested. I didn't order desert but everyone else did and they also loved the creme brule (or however you spell it)

 

We did not go to Sabatini's, so I can't give you any info there.

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The cab ride back to the airport was horrible, and the airport is a bit bad because they are renovating it, but over all, it was fine.

AbbyGirl--Why was the cab ride horrible & the airport bad? Was the airport just a mess or were there specific problems? Anything one can do to avoid the problems you experienced?

 

Thanks for doing the review--the Golden sounds wonderful!

 

PS Your dog is soooo adorable! I have two cavalier king charles spaniels--love spaniels.

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It is a shame you chose to rate an island poorly without even stepping foot on it. I had a nice time at the beach there and the local vendors were very nice. I'm sure there are areas that aren't safe just like any of the islands.

 

 

Scott

I was on the Sept 5th sailing on the Golden and my mother, sister, and I agree that this was the worst stop on the cruise.

 

The taxi stand raised the prices to 20pp to travel to the shopping area. We met a husband and wife at dinner and decided to share a cab (5 people), and they would not budge from a $100.00 fare to go into town.

 

I went back to the ship changed my clothes and went swimming. I cut my toe on something less than 10 feet from the shore

 

The we selling bannana boat ride, where the tow boat was taking on water (they would scoop it overboard), and it appeared to have a lawnmower engine(people where jumping up and down trying to make waves[very slow])

 

While swimming I met two gentleman from England. It was there second week on the Golden the previous week they visted the island and were robbed when they went down town. Another passenger on their cruise had their camara stolen.

 

It just appeared to be a seedy stop, and did not compare to the others

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Hi, my daughter and I just returned from the Sept 5th-12th Golden Princess. We had a good time even though there were very few single young adults(she is 21) for her to buddy with. As stated earlier we had fine weather and generally calm seas. I found the beach at the dock in Isla Margarita acceptable, but not up to the beaches on the other islands. We were unable to get a taxi for the 45 minute taxi ride to the town. 2600 people and very few taxis available. Many of the hastily arranged tours (this was not on original itinerary) were cancelled and there just was not enough local transportation .(which was why the pp $ was so high) Perhaps the shore excursion people could have helped out. The taxi area at the dock was chaos. So we had an easy beach day. Yes there were hidden plant stumps in the sand. Our favorite island was Antigua. We had arranged our own Ecotour. The weather,water, snorkling,beaches etc were beautiful. Overall the snorkling was not as good as usual on any of the islands because of hurricane turbulence. We easily took the ferry from Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas to St. John and had a stunning morning in Trunk Bay before the cruise ship tours arrived. We took the short kayak excursion on St. Lucia. This was very short, 30 minutes tops. Fun but could have been much longer for the price.

The ship is lovely. We kept discovering new pools and nooks and crannies. The ship was full but we never felt crowded (exception disembarkation discussed later) We enjoyed the Personal Choice dining and met lots of interesting people. As expected, the coffee was so-so. A fellow cruiser from Costa Rica was in shock. I particularly liked the cold soups. Try them, you might be surprised.

I found the disembarkation process the most irritating aspect of the cruise. I have been on over 20 cruises on all sizes and kinds of ships and this was the longest disembarkation process I have ever experianced. We were staying an extra day in San Juan so we did not expect to be off the ship first. However, we dutifully vacated our room at 8am, expecting a 10am exit. We finally were let off the ship at Noon! And we were not the last! I know all the rationales for delayed disembarkation, but 3+ hours!. I started to think we were going to be able to stay on for a second week.

Once off the ship we easily got a taxi to Old San Juan. The short distance takes a long time to travel because of construction of a mass transit system. We stayed at the Hotel El Convento. WOW! Very atmospheric, great location for walking everywhere, free internet, rooftop pool. We took pictures of the GP pulling out of San Juan at 11pm from the pool terrace. The downside of staying at the big resorts is the traveling time to get to Old San Juan. The distance isnt great but the traffic is snarled. We were very happy with the El Convento.We were able to maximize our time. Just a note. While I usually dont do much shopping on cruises, the Fossil leather handbags on the ship were about 40% less than we have found stateside. I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions. Shirley

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AbbyGirl--Why was the cab ride horrible & the airport bad? Was the airport just a mess or were there specific problems? Anything one can do to avoid the problems you experienced?

 

Thanks for doing the review--the Golden sounds wonderful!

 

PS Your dog is soooo adorable! I have two cavalier king charles spaniels--love spaniels.

THe cab ride was horrible because we had 3 people with 7 pieces of luggage and they would not give us a van like we had when we were going to the port, so it was very crowded in that 2 of the suit cases were inside the car because she couldn't get it all in the trunk....

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Hi all,

I too was on the Sept 5th sailing.

Curacao- Did an early walk into town for shopping then took a local bus to a beach that was recommended. The trip back from the beach was an excusion in it's self. The bus stop going was near the beach but the stop back to town was 2 miles away! We were able to catch a ride with a bakery truck driver who probably doubled as the comedian onboard, lots of laughs.

Isla Margarita we enjoied alot but only because of the tour we booked. We did the dolphin swim at 10am. There weren't may people so we got extra time in the tank with the "fishies".

St. Lucia-did and eco-hike and kayak with a local Scout unit (contacted them before going on cruise) and crossed paths with the tour from the ship. Had a great time with the kids.

Antigua- did the shopping and beach tour. Was disappointed in the beach resort they took us to.

St. Thomas- Yup, us too. Spent too much! Attended the 9/11 ceremony with the Scouts there. Had a great time talking with them and sharing experiences. They invited my scout unit for a visit.

Disembarkation-We didn't have any trouble. We booked a tour since our flights weren't until 5:30pm. We got off at about 9am and was dropped off right at the airport where our luggage was waiting for us.

 

dining we did the Anytime Seating or Open Dining with the exception of booking Sabatini's. Sabatini's was good but coming from a predominately Italian-American part of the US it wasn't great. We liked Benini's mainly for two of the servers there, Alex and Igor, whom we did tip extra!

 

This was my first pleasure cruise (26 yrs US Navy) and would do it again in a heart beat. We are already looking at a Med land/sea tour.

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We are booked in the exact same room for our European Western Capitals cruise on the Golden in July. We have our 9 year old son with us so the upper birth sounds great. How was the balcony? Any privacy or was it exposed to the upper decks? Do you have an pictures of the room?

 

Thanks, Frederick

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has anyone stayed in cabins A247&A251 on The Golden Princess? Is the balcony completely covered? Do the balcony dividers open? Any pictures would be greatly appreciated. Dlon

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