This was a week long vacation packed into just three nights. The three night Coastal Getaway was short and sweet. With one sea day and one day docked in Ensenada it was over too soon yet we all felt satisfied.
This was my ninth cruise on Princess and the first time on the Golden. My sister had been on 18 prior Princess cruises and had sailed on the Golden before. My parents had been on 17 prior Princess cruises.
We arrived at the pier before 11:30 a.m. and drove around to get to the drop-off area. We were stopped along the way and handed a paper requesting that we leave and return after 1:00 p.m. due to a semi-annual U.S. Coast Guard inspection of the vessel. Since we had my elderly parents with us we decided that it was best for us to continue on to the terminal and drop them off and then park. They were allowing passengers into the terminal and there were no lines so we were quickly checked in and then waited in the terminal for boarding. BVE and in-transit people were allowed on after 12:45 p.m. Elite and platinum boarding commenced about 1:00 p.m.
My sister and I had an inside cabin. It had enough storage for the short cruise. My parents had a handicap balcony cabin on Baja deck. The room itself was quite large with a lot of additional storage. The balcony was small. Only deep enough for two chairs and a small table. A lounger or footstool would not have fit. Our cabin was quite warm at first but began to cool off once we were underway. We did not have any problems with the temperature throughout the cruise. My parents got the Elite upgraded bathroom amenities. We did not but did not bother to ask for it. My parents and my sister both traded in their complimentary mini bar set up for two coffee cards.
They had a good amount of activities available for such a short cruise.
Zumba was offered two mornings. The first morning the cruise staff announced that it would be just a 30 minute session but it ran for 45 minutes. The second morning (docked in Ensenada) it ran for 40 minutes. The sessions were held in the Vista lounge. It was very crowded the first day. The second day had more room available to move around but was still well attended.
Our travel agent gave us vouchers for Crown Grill. Even though I’m not all that fond of beef, I wanted to try this dining venue based on rave reviews. I found most of the items too salty. I had the sea bass as my entree and it was very tasty.
Sabatini’s was very disappointing. I had eaten at Sabatini’s on the Sapphire six months earlier. At that meal I enjoyed the twice-baked artichoke souffle. It was the best food I had ever eaten on a Princess ship, ever. I ordered it on the Golden and it was totally different and not good at all. My entree of the chicken skewers was just so-so. For the extra charge I would expect the meal to be sublime. It was not (though it was on the Sapphire)
We had one dinner and one lunch in the main dining room. Service was attentive and the food pretty good.
Football games were aired live in lounges and on MUTS. If they conflicted with scheduled activities, football won. There were also other scheduling conflicts that should have been avoided. One activity was planned for the Explorer’s Lounge but the entire lounge was filled with paintings for the art auction later that day. You’d think they’d have a master calendar of locations and activities.
Since this was a very short cruise, there was no Captain’s Circle Party. Vouchers were delivered to our cabin for a free drink at any bar. My sister also received a voucher for herself and a guest at a specialty dining location for being one of the most traveled passengers. That was a very pleasant surprise, even if the dinner at Sabatini’s was disappointing.
I did not like the ship itself. The library was tiny. The gym seemed smaller than the Sapphire’s. The shops seemed smaller too. A movie I had wanted to see was scheduled to be shown on MUTS. We went, got ourselves situated and waited and waited. Turns out they were having technical difficulties and the screening began 25 minutes late, already in progress. Sound and picture quality were poor and no one got to see the beginning, so we left.