Golden Princess Cruise Review by TravelerRon: Wonderful Time in the South Pacific
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Wonderful Time in the South Pacific
The only bad parts of this cruise on the Golden Princess were the embarkation and the disembarkation. The ship was 2-3 hrs late in getting into port (never knew real reason....bad weather, illness on board, etc.). Therefore, we got to terminal about noon and didn't get to our cabin until about 3:15 pm. Disembarkation was not as bad, but they do herd you around a maze to get you off the ship and over to Customs.
The actual 28 days of sailing and visits to 4 Hawaiian islands, Samoa, Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora were fantastic adventures (bucket list destinations). The many days at sea were relaxing, with only about 2-3 days in and out of LA being a little rough and cooler. All the other days, we sat by the pool, enjoyed the music, the films on the big screen, and just enjoyed the sun and pools (though most days they were really "wave" pools).
The Golden Princess is not the newest of ships, but it was nice enough. It was clean and the staff were very friendly and very More service-oriented. Our waiter and asst. waiter (table 237) were especially enjoyable--as were our four other tablemates. There were a variety of entertainers, some better than the others. I found the shows put on by the ship's song and dance company to be very energetic and entertaining. There were several comedians, Scott Harris impressed us the most. My best times were going to the central Piazza about 4 or 5pm most days, having a specialty coffee, and listening to the string quartet play wonderful music. Very relaxing. (Tip: buy the specialty coffee card for $29 for 15 specialty coffees, and you or your partner get regular tea or coffee for free).
Other entertainers included a professional dance couple (Ryno & Beatrix)--very stylish (and nice on the eye), Hula hope girl (beautiful lady twirling hoops), several singers--all okay, a harmonica player (interesting). There was a passenger and staff talent show....the staff was pretty good (especially cruise director Billy Hygate--great voice and stage presence. Many activities going on that my wife and I did not take advantage of--lectures, art auctions, etc. Only tried the blackjack tournament once...didn't qualify...so only $20 lost.
Food? Well, it was good and not so good. The Crowne Grill was very good the two times we went. A lot of repeat menu items on a 28-day cruise. Overall, the fish dishes were pretty good. Meats varied in flavor.
People on this cruise--as you would expect-- they were mostly the "older" crowd. A lot of "Elite" Princess passengers. A number of people with "walkers," amigos, etc. If you cruised to see fit and tan bodies at the pool, this was not the cruise for you. Though to be fair, a number of the bodies were tan, just not very fit. A very international group of passengers...heard many languages (though, of course, most of the non-Americans could speak English--even some of the English--just kidding).
I won't go through my thoughts on all of the islands, but I would note that we did not take any of the ship's official excursions. We rented a car on Kauai and in Hilo. We took taxis in Somoa, Honululu, and Maui. We took a $5 bus shuttle to the beach in Bora Bora (can also stop at Bloody Marys on this bus). In Moorea, we took a private tour boat to "feed the sharks, swim with the rays, and go to the beach." It was $60 per person and included a pretty good BBQ lunch on the beach). In Apia, we shared a taxi with another couple and went to the Aggie Grey Resort. You can use any of their beautiful facilities (beach, pool, restrooms) for free if you dine at their restaurant. Our lunch came to $50, but it was a wonderful meal, right out on the patio overlooking the ocean. One downer was our day in Pago Pago. We took a taxi to the famous "Tisas." My wife and I were NOT impressed. The "beach" is very narrow and had a lot of debris on it. There were a lot of rocks...need water shoes. We stayed about 30 minutes and hopped a taxi back to the ship (waste of $40 in fares). Heard other beaches on islands were much nicer.
Our balcony cabin, B250, was nice and I would recommend the location (mid-forwad), since we were close to an elevator and also the Princess lounge and the Horizon café/pools above us). We did have to walk the length of the ship for our dinning room, but not bad.
Worse part of the ship experience--the Internet connection. V E R Y S L O W. Elite members get 500 free minutes. I had to buy $99 for 220 minutes--which were used up very quickly. It took him, on average, about 10 minutes to connect and get to my email account (Comcast). On one of the Tahitian islands I found an Internet café and got 30 minutes for $5--thank God!
All in all, a great vacation. Lovely fellow passengers and very friendly crew members. I never felt bored on this long cruise (which we though may have been a problem). Only bad thing we brought back, both my wife and I developed colds the last few days--which I still have. Less
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Cabin review: B250
Great location, mid-forward on port side. Close to an elevator. Two levels up is Horizon café and the pool decks. Down on level 6 & 7 is Princess theater. Not much of a walk to central Piazza (deck 5). Room itself is of adequate size. No couch to sit on, just a chair. Balcony is not the largest, but has two adjustable chairs and a little table. Storage is adequate, can put suitcases under the bed. A few things we didn't like, can't get pitcher of water in room--can only order glasses from room service. Also, Princess does not supply a daily NY Times news summary (as some other cruise lines do). Our room steward, Michael, was friendly and did his daily tasks--though I wouldn't say that he was very talkative. He did his job--which is a hard job to do.