I love to travel and work in a luxury service environment myself. A group of 5 singles in their 40's and 50's joined me on this trip and we all have great taste and enjoy nice things. I would rate this cruise, Princess Golden a 4.6 out of 5. I have been on a great many vacations from Italy to adult only all-inclusive resorts all over the world. I was a bit concerned that the ship was an "older" ship and some reviews were a bit harsh. I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise on the Princess Golden for many reasons.
The embarking and debarking process - found it to be extremely efficient and pleasant experience.
The cabin and overall ship - lovely. Did not see the ships age much at all. In fact while we were here they varnished the balconies and put down new carpeting in the entire hallways while we were at port one day. Felt the rooms were spacious (for a cruise) and comfortable in every way. Balcony was a must and enjoyed! We had three balcony cabins next to each other and the fact that the balconies open up to each other made our trip that much more fun and convenient as a group travelling together. Our cabin stewart Chai was amazing and he was there whenever we needed anything. Love him. Our rooms were maintained meticulously throughout the trip. All of us are severe overpackers and we found there to be plenty of room for everything.
The food- we chose the Anytime Dining as it worked better for us as a group. Loved it! There were many sets of serving teams that waited on us throughout the trip and all of them (except maybe one which wasn't awful just not up to the pair of the others) were outstanding. Warm, personable and a great attention to detail. We all found the meals and choices and quality of food to be excellent in the ala carte dining. We also ate in the Fee Crown Grill and it was excellent as well.
Our service pretty much everywhere was friendly, warm, accomodating and just plain lovely.
We went to a few of the shows and although they are not Broadway they were entertaining. The Movies Under the Stars was terrific and we enjoyed that several times throughout the cruise.
The one and only reason I would give it not a 5 out of 5 was there was a constant trying to sell me something. Whether it be Speciality Coffee Card (the specialty coffees are superb by the way and quite reasonable prices as well), a Wine Tasting, Art Auctions.....etc etc etc. I would appreciate a soft sell model. Let me know its there and if I want it I will buy it.
I also had a not so fabulous experience at the spa. I have gone to spas all over the world and at many resorts and places. I live in NY.....prices don;t generally shock me. The prices were exorbitant. When I arrived for my $200 plus 90 minute massage (I am a plus size girl) they gave me a robe which would not even come close to closing in a multi-gender waiting area spa. No warm instructions or welcome given or tour. No one to follow-up with or describe locker situation etc. I had to go back out to the desk embarrassingly to ask if they perhaps robes for larger people. They looked at me and said "perhaps" then proceeded to give me a robe which was even smaller than the last one. I did think of leaving honestly.....even knowing I would be charged for this massage. It was embarrassing and not even close to a luxury spa experience I am used to or would expect......especially when charging those prices. I rigged a towel to cover my private parts so that I may sit in the co-ed waiting area while waiting for my massage. The massage itself was a good one. Not the best....not the worst. The second my massage was over the girl put my table into a upright sitting position and gave me a cup of water. She then proceeded to go right into why I needed all these products that she used on me that were very expensive and why I needed them. I was shocked and frankly it ruined the entire relaxing experience as if the humiliation of being too chubby for my robe to close wasn't enough. In most upscale salons and spas they would never do a hard sell like this. I found it to be distasteful and disrespectful of the $$ I had already spent there. They also started trying to get me to come back for more services while on the ship. No one asked about my experience. It was so unlike every other experience I had on this vacation and on this ship though.
That is simply why it would not get a 5 out of 5.
As far as the overall cruise ship and personnel I found it to be beautiful and comfortable and gracious in every other way. We had an incredible trip and will definitely consider more cruises for future vacations.
Hope this helped someone out there!
Ketchikan - we did the Misty Fjords and Coastal Wildlife Cruise. enjoyed it....not as much as our other two excursions.
Juneau - Whale Watching Cruise and Mendenhall Glacier - spectacular. Worth every dollar. We were very fortunate to have incredibly gorgeous sunny weather. Our boat was surrounded by whales and they were humbling and magnificent!! We even saw three breached which they say never happens. Wondrous in every way.
Skagway - loved this town. Especially beautiful. Mushers Camp and Dog Sledding experience. We loved this excursion as well! People awesome! Mushers camp beautiful and meeting all these people that race the Iditerod and all the prep and work that goes into it. Dogs and ride were incredible even though its not on snow it was fun and enjoyable. The we got to meet the puppies.....OMG!! Incredible. Lucky I didn't try to steal one.
We booked all excursions with Princess once we were on the ship. The booking was efficient and timely. The choices are vast and I would suggest doing as many excursions as you can afford and pick the ones that sing to you. We did....and it truly helped us have such a memorable trip to Alaska. It really was beyond all my expectations and then some. Would recommedn this trip to anybody.