We chose Princess because we have sailed with them before and loved the ship, but the Golden is definitely not so golden anymore. Princess really needs to renovate this ship. What a shame! The embarkation in Seattle is a nightmare. First you have to get in line to drop off your luggage to ONE guy that picks it up and throws it on a conveyor belt. Then you have to walk to another area and get in line to go through security. Once you do that you stand in line to go up some stairs. Once you go up the stairs you need to get in line, then you see a table with papers and pencils all over it and people trying to get over each other to get the health form. Once you get through this area, you get in line to check in. After you check in then you get in line to board the ships. Lines Lines Lines! Not very organized.
We had a balcony cabin that was very comfortable, but it was hard not to notice how outdated the cabin was and even the sheets looked like they have been used A LOT. It was wonderful to sit outside and look at the beautiful snow covered mountains, but again it was hard not to notice that the chairs were all chipped and not very comfortable.
We have cruised more than a dozen times before in different lines and this was the first time that we had to wait 40 mins in line to eat at the horizon cafe when we boarded the ship. Once we got to the food area we realized why. The area is very small and crowded. Every single time we ate there we had to stand in line and once you are in the food area, the choices are very limited due to the lack of space and you bump into everyone else around you that is trying to make the best of the space. The food was not very good so we chose to eat at one of the restaurants for lunch for the rest of the cruise.
The food at the restaurants was good and the choices were very good. The staff we encountered were very friendly except for one night. We returned from our shore excursion at 8:35pm and were told that the Bernini restaurant was open until 9:30pm so we thought best to grab a bite before going to bed. We rushed to our cabin, changed clothes and got there by 9:00pm. We asked for a table for two and were taken to one by the window. All of the sudden we see a very angry look on the waiter's face who came over and hardly said hello. For the rest of the night we got very short communication and had to listen to him throw the door of the cabinet over and over. We felt bad because maybe he expected to be out of there early, but then we saw them bring another couple to his area so we realized it was him not us.
We did not see the same friendly attitude that we have seen on other cruise staff, most of the time we were the ones saying hello or good morning. I don't know why the staff is so unhappy, but definitely that needs to change. We got passed it and enjoyed the beautiful scenery in Alaska.
The entertainment was terrible. The 45 mins you have to sit in the outdated theater is not worth it at all. All the activities felt rushed, as if they were trying to get it over with, so we chose to look at the beautiful views outside.
The other thing that was very disappointing was the length of time in each port. It felt rushed especially in Victoria. We arrived there at 7pm and had to be back at 11:30pm. Our shore excursion to the Butchart Gardens took 40 mins to get there so we were only allowed 2 hrs. By the end of the first hour it was dark so there was no point. Princess needs to rethink their excursions.