This was our first Princess cruise in a long time after traveling mainly on Celebrity and Crystal. Here are my ratings on a 1 - 5 scale:
I found the layout on the Golden Princess to be unusual and superior to newer ships. There are no less than 4 pools, 3 main dining rooms, 2 theaters and several bars with stages and dance floors. There is even a large outdoor video screen so we could watch football while basking in a warm pool. The net effect was no crowds anywhere and no searching for empty tables or lounges. Despite the ships age everything was quite clean and in good condition. My guess is that some newer ships cut back on public spaces to provide more revenue generating cabins.
More importantly the service all over was excellent perhaps the best service I've ever experienced. I don't' know if the high quality service is common in Princess or unique to this ship. Embarkation and debarkation were smooth and efficient. Even the tender service was quite good.
A wide variety of acts were shown although some were less successful than others. The ship's in-house dancers, singers and band were pretty good but I missed the classic jazz trio and singer found on Crystal and Celebrity. Instead there was a tango group and to my ears all tangos sound alike. Each show was performed several times so a person could catch them all if desired. Unfortunately the lectures were limited to South American geography, animal and plant life. While interesting, I am used to more varied lectures. Shipboard internet service was worse than usual perhaps due to the route. I was surprised that no daily news summaries were available.
The West Coast of South America is an uncommon cruise ship route but I found the ports, especially Lima and Valparaiso to be quite interesting. There is a nice mix of sea and ports days. The ocean was the calmest I have ever seen. We travel with friends so we didn't use the ships tours.
This was the worst part of the trip. I expect cheap ingredients but the cooking itself was bad. Both the meats and vegetables were badly over cooked.I'm no expert but the hard boiled eggs had greenish yolks from over cooking. After a while we learned what was edible and adjusted our orders to match. For some reason good lobster tails were readily available so we ate a lot of those. Even the specialty restaurants were not very good. The coffee bar was OK. The dining room service was excellent however.
I would take this cruise again but I wish they would get a head chef from outside the UK. Even an Australian would be an improvement..