We flew into LA a day early and stayed at the Double Tree in San Pedro since they had a free shuttle to the pier. Getting on the Golden Princess was delayed a bit but very organized once everyone got moving. Had lunch in the dining room and wandered around the ship to get our bearings. The cabin is roomy but the mattresses on the beds need to be replaced. Rodolpho our cabin steward was excellent and kept our cabin in great shape and met our special requests promptly and happily.
Some observations about the ship: the spa is not well laid out in that the saunas and steam rooms are outside by the lap pool and there is window to an outside deck where people walk in the womens changing room. As I discovered later in the cruise the desk staff are also disorganized and don't really listen to you. The promenade deck does wrap around the ship, however, it is not wide enough for chairs to read in while at sea. The atrium is much too small for the size of the crowds, especially when music is happening in the afternoon or people are waiting to get into the anytime dining room. I have been on three voyages (two transatlantics) where we have been in heavier seas than this particular trip, however, the Golden Princess does not take heavy seas well compared to either NCL Jewel or the RCCL Navigator of the Seas. Also, I often had an obstructed view room that looked across a life boat and on this ship we only noticed crew members checking out the lifeboat twice the entire voyage. Every other ship I've seen someone looking after the lifeboats daily.
The waitpersons in the dining rooms, international cafe and the buffet were unfailingly kind and attentive. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the passenger service desk staff. Two out of three times we interacted with them we were met with surliness or indifference. Also, the Princess Patters newsletter was often incorrect about classes in the fitness center, movies and other scheduled activities. The worst was scheduling a Friends of Bill in the Skywalkers Bar.
The food was more often good, sometimes really good and sometimes so so. I didn't loose weight on the trip so clearly they did a good job in the kitchen.
We did not eat in the specialty restaurants or try the pub lunch so I can't comment on them. They do need to work on their anytime dining, however, there were some significant waits, especially on port days, for the evening meal. Again, comparing to other ships, it was not as well run as it could have been.
The library was very disappointing, just a few shelves in the internet area. Lots of complaints about the computers being slow. Loved the laundromats!!! didn't have to pay extra baggage fees for another suitcase.
The naturalist on board was absolutely wonderful. I also enjoyed her port lectures. I tried the fresh flower lei making and was very happy with the experience.
Debarking the ship was a piece of cake: Princess has it's act together there.