As soon as we boarded I was thrilled with the small ship atmosphere, even with 2600 passengers milling about. From the first day in the Promenade lounge and meeting Paul our waiter who from that day on remembered our names (we were only in there 4 times), to Martin our room steward who responded every time with ice within one minute after our request, and finally our fun attentive waiters, Russell and Heljun at Anytime Dining in the Donatello restaurant, we felt like we were treated like friends - not customers. All ages were taken care of. We didn't even realize how many children were on board until our third day of the cruise. Their decks with activities were 14 and 15, which we did not go to until late in the evening (Great Disco!).
The music, either a full band or select musicians, in the Atrium area every evening was beautiful, Ray Coussins pianist in the Promenade lounge from 9-12 was so relaxing with great singing and stories about his career, and the shows - magician, juggler, and the Princess players were terrific. We tried Sabatinis for our Anniversary celebrations - delicious and worth $20 a person. (Don't eat that day until that meal because it is at least 9 courses!).
I only had two problems - the pizza which I heard such rave reviews about it and was disappointed. And the fact that people on our corridor were smoking cigars in their room so that every time their door opened the smoke spilled out onto the corridor. Evidently they did not use their balcony for smoking - just their room.
This was my first experience with the Princess line (Cunard, Carnival, Royal Caribbean) and if all the ships are as great as the Golden Princess, I am sold on Princess!