Golden Princess Cruise Review by Bahmexpan: Fantastic Holiday in Hawaii!
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Fantastic Holiday in Hawaii!
My boyfriend and I took the holiday cruise to Hawaii. We'd taken the Panama Canal cruise the Christmas before and really enjoyed getting away for the holiday! This cruise seemed extra special in that it covered both Christmas and New Year's. It was about $1,000 more, but since my business is closed for the holidays - I didn't need to use much vacation. Since we live near LA, it was also great not to have the luggage limits the folks who flew experienced.
Our start was a bit rocky! Literally! Shortly after we took off, we encountered VERY high winds and waves. Even though the cruise was sold out, so many people were sick that the dining rooms were very sparsely populated.
This leads to my first piece of advice. The BEST cure for seasickness is Ginger pills. I was first offered them on a catamaran on the Great Barrier Reef. I didn't feel sick at all and NO side effects. They sell them in the gift shop - but next year I'll buy them ahead of time. I did feel a bit More scared the first night. The ship tossed and shuddered something awful. I kept waking my boyfriend because it felt like the ship would turn over.
There were a lot of Brits, Scots and Canadians on this tour. It was a nice change from the South American crowd on the Panama Canal tour. South American travelers do not seem to discipline their children at all. We had so many experiences with rude children talking and playing noisy videogames during the performances with them. The kids on this trip were a lot more well-mannered.
The biggest negative was something I noted the first few days - and officers on the ship seemed to know what I was saying. I'm not sure why, but the staff serving in the 6th floor Personal Choice dining room are FAR SUPERIOR to the staff on the 5th floor. We ate on the 5th two evening meals and one lunch. All three times the waiters were slow and rude.
I wondered if a cruise where you're on the ship so long would get boring. It didn't (but do bring lots of reading materials and crossword puzzles, etc.) It was so nice to really relax. There were also lots of activities and good entertainment - lecturers, movies. My only gripe was that a lot of the Trivia and games were in the Wheelhouse Bar. It is a smoking bar and reeks! I took a class in how to make a lei (on the way back). If you think it would be interesting buy a skein of eyelash yarn and another of decorative (nubby) yarn.
The four ports were wonderful. Second suggestion. In each port I booked a rental car. It was way cheaper than taking the tours and we got to see what we wanted to see and at the pace we wanted to see it. Here's an example. In Kauai, we decided to tour Waimea Canyon. The shore excursion was $59 each. Our rental car was $67. When we got to the canyon (and we made a fun stop at a suspension bridge in a little town on the way) we saw the Princess shore excursion bus and the people we'd dined with the night before. They looked really bummed. The whole canyon was obscured with clouds and fog. They left. My friend and I hung out a little longer. Twenty minutes later the clouds and fog cleared an we had amazing views and rainbows. Later we stopped at a blowhole and a little restaurant on the shore. Our friends returned to the ship in disappointment.
We had similar experiences in Oahu and on the Big Island. We'd reserved a car in Maui, but since we hadn't paid in advance we canceled it and went on a whale watch. We saw 18 whales. (this was the tour by the Whale study group - not a commercial group. Really great.
The holiday celebration for Christmas was pleasant. Not too over the top. On New Year's eve it looked like it might be disappointing. The atrium area was so crowded you couldn't move and they were planning to drop balloons on our heads. Whoopee! However, when that was over, we were told to go outside. We were sailing by the Aloha Tower in Honolulu! We could see fireworks all over the entire island. It was beyond belief. The tower had a huge display and there was another huge one at Diamond Head. But, there were dozens of smaller displays that went on for 40 minutes or so. We had a front rail seat. It was breathtaking and I was impressed at the organization that it took to have us there at precisely the right time. If this tour is repeated next year = GO.
We lounged around on the way back. The entertainment was mostly fantastic. They had musicians who played all kinds of music and a juggler that solved a Rubik's cube while juggling in under 5 minutes. A lecturer from NOAA was really interesting and had great slides. One comedian was a little poor - but hey, its free, so we went back to the room.
We could have lived without Mexico, but it was nice to touch land again.
I'm trying to book an Alaska Cruisetour for this summer. This cruise on the Golden Princess is really fantastic. Less
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Cabin review: BAL214
L214 - Good location. Under the massage room so no noise upstairs. Close to dining and pool. I'd do it again.