We have sailed on 2 other cruise lines but this was our first time on Princess, and we were very pleased with our overall experience!
We sailed out of Seattle on The Sept. 8th sailing. We were traveling with 2 other couples and were a party of 6.We booked a shuttle from SeaTac to Pier 91 with Seattle Airport Express. It was a great deal as they offered a Cruise special of $12 per person each way. They were on time and gave us great service.We were in a Cadillac Escalade. Very Nice!
We were aware of Princess' assigned boarding times, but due to timing we knew we were arriving early. We planned to drop off our luggage and then wait. We were scheduled for 12:30 boarding. We arrived at 11am, dropped off our luggage and then was automatically in line for security. That went fairly quickly then we were in line for check in. No one ever mentioned anything about boarding times. The whole process took less than 1/2 hour. Then we went to an area of chairs to wait to board. I noticed that the lines were quickly getting long, and that most people had to stand in line to wait for boarding. At 12pm they started boarding, allowing those of us waiting in the sitting area to go first. I did not notice, but I am sure that this was all after priority boarding. The whole process was very efficient and pleasant.
We went to our staterooms, which were ready for us. Our Cabin Steward Jensel greeted us warmly. We slipped him an advance tip, which usually ensures us excellent service. We asked him for a mattress topper, as we had heard the beds are fairly firm. When we arrived back later to prepare for dinner it was already in place. We had chose an inside room and was very pleased with the layout. It was roomy enough and had plenty of storage. There was plenty of drawer space and plenty of room in the closet. It was bigger than we have had on other cruise lines. There was a tall cabinet that had shelves that worked great for storing jeans, sweaters, etc... It also held the safe. The bathroom although small, was efficient. We had plenty of storage for our toiletries on the wall shelves and the large shelf below the sink.
We then went to tour the ship. first stop was to Crown Grill to make a reservation for later in the week. We then went to International Café and purchased a coffee card and a Beverage Plus card. (this proved to be a great deal! Includes all the sodas, shakes and Mocktails that you can drink & We had plenty of virgin Mojitos & virgin Margaritas). ; ) Contrary to some reviews that I had read, We found the ship to be in great condition considering her age. We thought that the Golden Was Beautiful!
The food was very good. I also had read mixed reviews regarding the food, so was unsure what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised. The menus had a good variety and the food all very tasty as well as artfully prepared. Our servers, Silvano & Marco, did an excellent job. Our dining experience in the Crown grill was Fabulous! The steaks were perfectly cooked to order. An Awesome Choice!!! We went to several different buffets that were held out by the pool. We enjoyed the sushi buffet and the Dessert Extravaganza.
The pub lunch held on sea days is not to missed! Really good fish & Chips! We only ate at the buffet a couple of times. We prefer the slow paced, pampering of being served in the dining room for both breakfast and lunch as well as dinner.
The Entertainment was all good. We enjoyed the illusionist and Sarge the comedian was great, although I felt some of his content should have been saved for a "late night" show when children were not present. He had a bit too much swearing for our taste! The Adgio Duo were awesome! The princess Singers and Dancers also were very good, although we really did not enjoy "British Invasion" that much. We attended many game shows held in the explorers Lounge and Karaoke, loved them all. We thought the entertainment staff did an excellent job!
This was our 2nd time to Alaska in Sept. and we got lucky with great weather on both trips. We were fully prepared for cool & rainy weather, but was so thrilled to have sunshine!!! We enjoyed our time in the ports; Ketchikan, Juneau & Skagway. Tracy Arm was beautiful!!! We enjoyed the naturalist on board, Kathy Slamp. She was very knowledgeable.
Disembarking was very organized and pleasant. We knew that on the morning of disembarkation, the Buffet would be packed, so we were so thrilled to find out that they were serving breakfast in the main dining room. We had to be out of our cabin by 8am then went for a nice leisurely breakfast as our meeting time for disembarkation was not until 9:10am. Really nice experience!
Overall we really enjoyed our cruise on the Golden Princess and will definitely cruise with princess again.