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46 Princess Golden Princess First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

After a disappointing start with a later embarkation due to extra sanitation onboard and all the negative reports through the media in regards to Norovirus, we ended up having a really good time on the Golden Princess. We have not cruised ... Read More
After a disappointing start with a later embarkation due to extra sanitation onboard and all the negative reports through the media in regards to Norovirus, we ended up having a really good time on the Golden Princess. We have not cruised before so have no idea how this ship compares to others. Service around the ship was consistently attentive other than the rude boffins in the internet lounge. Points to note: * Hats off the staff for the incredible job they do making getting on and off at ports so well organised. and Hats off for putting up with the constant stupid questions and whining from the small minded minority. * Unsure why we are chrged gratuity surcharge on purchases including drinks when ship runs in AUD. Surely we can choose if we wish to pay gratuities?? * Unimpressed with the shops onboard - but I wasnt there to buy things so it didnt bother me. * Room steward was attentive * I have no idea why so many people choose to eat in the buffet as the restaurants were easy to get into and far better service and food quality. We were impressed with the selections. * we were cruising to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary so we did find it hard to socialise on board as most patrons were a lot older. * we found the shows cheesy and aimed at older patrons. We were happy sitting in a bar listening to the houseband or joining in trivia etc * we enjoyed the art auctions and found them informative. All in all we would cruise again with Princess and recommend to others. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I am a 23 year old male, single and a full time student. Decided to treat myself to a little holiday, and started to research cruising. I took the plunge and booked myself on the Golden, for a short row over the Tasman from Auckland to ... Read More
I am a 23 year old male, single and a full time student. Decided to treat myself to a little holiday, and started to research cruising. I took the plunge and booked myself on the Golden, for a short row over the Tasman from Auckland to Melbourne. To be completely honest with you, after experiencing a cruise - I will never go back to land based holiday's. Embarkation in Auckland was fantastic and smooth. I arrived at 11.00, dumped my luggage and proceeded to the passenger area. Filled all my forms in, and sat there with my heart pounding for the next 20 odd minutes, until we were given the all clear to start boarding. The process was smooth and easy, and I was on board, in my cabin by 12. It certainly was overwhelming, travelling on such a big ship as my first cruise. It seemed to take forever to walk from one end to the other down the "never ending corridors" but I didn't mind the long walk - gave you chance to burn off the 15 times you'd eaten during the day. The ship was presented beautifully. I especially fell in love with the Piazza, having my morning coffee at the International Cafe. The Piazza was also host to a lot of social gatherings, and certainly had a lot of fun here. The food I thought was fantastic. I only ate in the MDR on one night, and unfortunately missed out on booking at table at the Crown Grill, so ended up eating in The Horizon Court buffet for the rest of my dinners. I found the food in the buffet to be fantastic - everything was cooked perfectly and seasoned to perfection. I also thought the redesigned layout helped the flow of passengers and having only one entry and one exit kept everyone in an orderly fashion. I also particularly liked Prego's Pizza - traditional American style pizza which was delicious. The Trident Grill, was, OK. The entertainment was, again, fantastic. I enjoyed Pearson & Harvey, who were a comedy duo from Australia. Combining a range of performances from song, to instrumental and of course comedy - contributed to a brilliant show. They performed twice, each time with different material. I also thoroughly enjoyed the International Crew Talent Performance on the last night ... definitely a must see! Unfortunately I didn't get chance to see the production show Motor City. The staff throughout the ship were amazing. Ever so polite, attentive and ready to help you with whatever you needed. My cabin steward, Dindo, was my knight in shining armour during my cruise. I was also impressed that it didn't take long at all for the bar staff to know what you drink! Cruise Director Neil and Assistant Cruise Director Corey ensured we all had a great time. My only gripe is the fact that you get penalized when you travel solo. Having to pay double is ridiculous and quite frankly a rip off, however I am not going to let that discourage my from my next cruise! Overall, a brilliant and fantastic holiday for me. I was so sad when I disembarked, and am thinking about my next cruise while I write this review. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Didn't know what to expect from this cruise as i was a first timer & afterwards would probably not go on this ship again. Not that it was aweful but having to tell staff how to do their job when your trying to relax on vacation; i ... Read More
Didn't know what to expect from this cruise as i was a first timer & afterwards would probably not go on this ship again. Not that it was aweful but having to tell staff how to do their job when your trying to relax on vacation; i would try another ship if i ever do again. I purchased a drink package & wasn't fully expalined what it entailed( a pamphlet would be a good idea) & then being told by a hospitality supervisor i could't have milkshakes when other staff were serving them to me no worries. I nearly had more than one argument with different staff because they were either unaware or too stupid to realise what my drink package sticker meant. The cabin cleaners i must say did a fantastic job & were very polite & professional. The deck attendants also can't fault them along with the Captain & his crew & the directors staff. Didn't even know who this guy was that approached me at the gym but by the way he was acting anyone would have thought he built the ship haha trying to tell me how to use equipment that i already knew how to use & stressing cos i brought my kid along, nvr went back in there after that thanks fella. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
My husband and I are both first time cruisers so were not sure what to expect. We got on in Auckland, we live there so just got dropped off, embarkation was so smooth, we were on the ship in half an hour and our bags delivered within the ... Read More
My husband and I are both first time cruisers so were not sure what to expect. We got on in Auckland, we live there so just got dropped off, embarkation was so smooth, we were on the ship in half an hour and our bags delivered within the hour. We had an interior room in the middle of the ship. Perfect, no rocking. Ours was slightly bigger as we had the wardrobes at the end of the room. Bed made with fresh sheets every day, turned down at night, towels changed 2x day. Service from all the staff was amazing, so polite. One waiter we had was a bit grumpy, think he needed to move on and get off the ship. Photos - if there is a package deal take advantage of it, - we did and ended up with amazing photos, formal and casual. We did anytime dining so got to meet new people every meal. Once we had dinner in the main dining room when it was our anniversary, we got a cake and they sang happy anniversary to us. Excursions, we did our own thing except my husband did the weta workshop tour thru the ship in Wellington. In Dunedin we did do the Larnoch Castle tour which also included a hop on hop off ride around the city. That we went to the information site and booked. Entertainment, we went to a variety. Check your daily patter and highlight what you would like to do or you will miss out on things, We went to the Crown Grill and Crab Shack - both which you pay extra for $25pp and these restaurants are well worth the money. Disemarkation day - again so quick and simple. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Finally after waiting 12 months for this holiday we were on board, first time cruisers. Golden Princes from Melbourne to NZ Jan 2016.Balcony room in Caribe Deck 10 was spacious. Forget the shoe bag over the door idea. There is plenty of ... Read More
Finally after waiting 12 months for this holiday we were on board, first time cruisers. Golden Princes from Melbourne to NZ Jan 2016.Balcony room in Caribe Deck 10 was spacious. Forget the shoe bag over the door idea. There is plenty of shelving hanging space and shelf under basin in bathroom. Clip magnets a good idea, we hung our landyards and important papers on the wall. Bed made morning and during dinner. Nice to come back to a cleanly made room. Room service free including tea and coffee. International cafe is open 24 hrs but coffee and tea you have to pay for. We partook of the food offerings late took them back to our room and ordered room service for the tea and coffee! Entertainment was good. Magician and comedians esp the one from NZ was very funny and had tears running down throughout his performance. Nathan from Hi5 era was excellent. The crew review was funny but get there early as it was standing room only in the Princess Theatre. Not having another ship to compare to it was great though others did say it looked tired. Service was spectacular, waiters get to know you and your preferences fairly early. Could not fault the service. Food was amazing, far too much if anything!! Go on a diet before you cruise otherwise its so easy to put on the kilos, so take the stairs not the elevator, walk the deck on level 7. We have a 15 yr daughter and 17 yr old son. Daughter loved the remix area for teens and have kept in touch with them via social media. 17yr old was not interested. The tender ports are a pain, esp the waiting to return back to boat. Not pleasant if its boiling hot or raining as you wait outside in all types of weather. Excursions we did were Wellington Weta Movie tour. Hubby and daughter loved it. Son and I checked out Wellington. Hobbiton and Rotoroa the Luge. We rented a car from Rite Price rentals in Tauranaga, they collected us from the boat, short trip to their shop and we were quickly on our way to Hobbiton. Organised this on line. Highly recommend them. They then shuttled bus us back to ship. Great day though weather abysmal in Rotoroa. The luge fun though not so much because of the appalling weather. Nice hot chocolate in their shop though! Dunedin is a far way from Port Chalmers, where we docked. I pre organised a 4 hour tour from PC to Dunedin and back via back roads, picturesque scenery. Again booked not through the ship. Most of the time though just happy to walk around the towns. Gisborne a beautiful town. Kids did the Skydeck walk in Auckland, not for the faint hearted. The wharf there is well worth a walk around. But its mostly about the ship. If you want to see a lot of NZ then a cruise isnt they way to see it. Overall we as a family had a fantastic time. It takes a bit to readjust to beds not swaying! We would do it again in a heartbeat. Smooth waters all the way. We also bought the unlimited drinks package for son well worth it as he drank like a fish! Specialty coffee card also good value. Forget Lotus Spa far far too expensive even for a special treat I couldnt justify their prices. But each to their own. Getting a taxi back to the suburbs in Melbourne was a farce. Where are all the taxis when you need them. It took us an 1 and 30 mins to get a stationwagon to get us home. Hats off to Barry who rung the taxi companies tirelessly to try and get more taxis to come to the wharf. Maxi cabs were even more rare. Not the best way to end our time away. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I went on this cruise with my husband, children (12, 15), my parents and my sister. We were in consecutive cabins with interconnecting balconies on the port side, so had a fabulous view as we travelled anti clockwise around NZ. The scenery ... Read More
I went on this cruise with my husband, children (12, 15), my parents and my sister. We were in consecutive cabins with interconnecting balconies on the port side, so had a fabulous view as we travelled anti clockwise around NZ. The scenery was spectacular as you'd expect from NZ. Arriving in a new port was a cause for great excitement. But what made this cruise special were the staff, who were so cheerful and friendly. The cruise director and his assistant were hilarious and set an irreverent tone that delighted the Aussies on board. They were very hardworking too, providing daily updates of all cruise activities on the in-house TV station, as well as hosting many of the shows. The entertainment was often cheesy, but you expect that on a cruise ship and you have to go along with it. There was some great laughs with NZ's best comedian, and the stage show on the final night was hilarious, with various members of staff performing acts. Our kids loved the karaoke and the bingo (they won $90 each!). The food was about 8/10. Lots of variety at the different restaurants on board so you couldn't get bored with the menu. Who could complain about all you can eat and never having to do the dishes! There were only a few moments of boredom for the kids, which they filled with watching favourite movies on the in-room TV. Most of the time on board we spent going from restaurants and bars, to shows, to the gym, and back to the room to sit around and read and rest. What's not to like! If I had to complain I would say the décor is dated - think 90s salmon pink and brass. But it's all very clean and well-maintained. And perhaps the pools could be a bit bigger, but talk about first world problems! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I got to the pier by Public transport , left early to get there early and to cover any possible delay the public transport could have thrown at me , none, I had lunch at a cafe near there and looked at her and how huge she was. at about ... Read More
I got to the pier by Public transport , left early to get there early and to cover any possible delay the public transport could have thrown at me , none, I had lunch at a cafe near there and looked at her and how huge she was. at about 12.50 I decided to line up , my check in was meant to be 1.30 but as i felt that by the time i got to the front it would be that time I didn't see any wrong in lining up at the time i did. it moved nicely , i got to where the truck was for bag pick up and a few of us got told if you don't mind and can do so walk to the next pick up point you are most welcome to do so , so a few of us did just that . Got to the bag pick up point [where people get dropped off in taxi's etc ] and handed my bags over and up i went . I was directed to fill out some forms which I did then lined up in the next Que . that didn't take long and the next thing had my card for my room. next stop was customs and claiming my GST of my purchases . that all went smoothly and then through the photo stops etc i took some pictures as well of the ship and got another photo for my cruise card done then onto the ship i went and up to my room . I met my Steward Ariel , a lovely guy polite and always willing to help , very hard working as well. I then went off and explored . Such a huge ship inside and out , all the staff i met had a smile all said hello they all got to know me and that day i had my cowboy hat on and got called cowgirl/boy by a few all with a smile . Time the ship left port watched and took lots of photos of that happening, then it was dinner time. I had chosen first sitting for my dinning experience as I find i don't always sleep well after late dinners though mind you I probably should not have worried about that with lots to do and see you don't always get to bed early anyway , met my waiters Daniel from Serbia and Phinyo from Thailand , they are Gems , such lovely guys with wonderful smiles and always ready for a chat and a laugh , willing to suggest what meal might be nice and if you could not make your mind up they would give you both choices , happened to me many a time with the entrees , they got to know the drink of choice and you were set for a lovely dinner , my table companions were great always had a chat with them . movies shows what ever you wanted to do fantastic . used the skywalkers disco area a couple of times to read a book though did fall asleep doing that too to wake up in the middle of fog . found the gym and used it a couple of times , walked around the boat when I could . Never ended up at a speciality restaurant as I was enjoying the company at my table . Found a couple of people that did not know the manners of letting people out of lifts before going on and politely let them know about it . other then those couple i didn't encounter many people like that they were all great and looked to be enjoying themselves and most treated the staff great from what i saw as well which is great as well . The Photographers were great , had my favourite who took a great photo of me and he was and is a great guy always polite with a great sense of humor . We got into all ports, we had the wind pick up as the last tender left Akaroa which made it slightly harder to get to the ship but the ship and the crew on the tender did a great job and all got on Golden safely , a poor kayaker got caught by the wind and fell out , a passenger saw this and alerted the crew , they sent a tender to help as well as alerting the authorities, he was wet but ok and was walking on the beach and no longer needed the ships help the authorities were at hand for him if needed . We only missed Dusky sound , the shore tours I did were awesome as and the shuttle buses services where you needed them to get into town were great too . I did the ultimate ship tour and loved it , due to a technical problem that caused Golden to lose power for a little while we missed the bridge at the end of the tour , but they got us to the bridge the next day which was awesome as , warning to those that like sun bathing etc in the nude etc , do remember this the bridge has cameras on either side and are on the bridge like side mirrors , if you are on your balcony with nothing on they will see you and have already seen some um interesting scenes . When the Ship lost power and we stopped in the middle of the cruise back to Melbourne the Captain kept us all informed at all times the weather was good and at the time sea was quite calm which was probably a good thing . when we started off it was at half speed then an hr or so later full speed My Cabin was clean the bed was comfy as the balcony was awesome as . Tim the cruise director was awesome as was his side kick Corry they did a show that was a one off and it was funny as and the tribute shows we had were great I saw the queen one and the beatles one they were fantastic the sand man that did pictures with sand was awesome as the show by the crew at the end of the cruise is worth seeing too. If you see a movie outside you can get more than one blanket as well but do wear worm clothes , missed the star gazing due to clouds sadly. 2 and a half laps around deck 7 is 1 mile long they do have childrens club of some sort I did see a room and a youth teenage room or two as well . I had a massage though was not going to as they aren't cheap but decided to as my back was aching , I got a hot stone massage and it worked the aches away , they do a little push at the end to buy a product but you can say no , I thought she was going to give me a free sachet for the bath but thought best to ask how much , and it was from a box of them for sale so I politely said no . There is a pizza and burger place on deck 14 as well as free ice cream and Horizons the buffet . The unlimited drinks card is awesome , loved the mocktails I got it as well as hot chocolate and lemonade drinks etc , the coffee card was good too, I had no need for an alcohol card which would have covered all that as I don't drink that much to warrant that cost . They had a shooter glass that had different coloured bases that you can collect , in the dining area's they cost $3 outside them they were $7.50 each , they have blue , green ,red, orange , yellow and clear glasses . I did Piha Bush & Beach Eco Tour, Tamaki Maori Village, Gisborne Craft Beer Brewery & Lunch, Zealandia Eco Reserve & Otari Wilton Bush, Wildlife Cruise 1 Booked , Scenic Akaroa By Double Decker Bus , Olveston House & Larnach Castle loved them all , they were all great and i would do them again . The service everywhere I went be it a bar or the front desk or the restaurant or bistro or my room attendant or the guys when you go ashore or the photographers was fantastic can not fault any of them . Disembarking from the ship was good though I stressed on the card on what I had to declare etc so if I was unsure i clicked yes , safer that way , if I didn't need to won't matter , I was off the ship I reckon in around 10 minutes if that , was easy as and very smooth running . I caught a tram to the city as I was staying at the Pensione hotel, [Highly Recommend if you want clean cheap accommodation have had no problems with them in the times i have stayed there ], due to seeing a concert that night from ACDC which as awesome and just got home after lunch with all but bags I think I will be sleeping in tomorrow . Had an awesome time , I will cruise again when I save enough money to do so again and if lucky will be on Golden again, she is one lovely ship and the crew are awesome . Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Embarkation and disembarkation were handled very efficiently. We had a mini-suite and were extremely happy with our stateroom. Beds were extremely comfortable. We ate most nights at Traditional dining....great food, the part of ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation were handled very efficiently. We had a mini-suite and were extremely happy with our stateroom. Beds were extremely comfortable. We ate most nights at Traditional dining....great food, the part of the menu that was changed daily was not repeated on any night. Horizon Food Court had so much choice, all fresh....Didn't like their toast, it was under-cooked and dry. Everything else was fab. Due to weather conditions the last port @ Dunedin was cancelled and also the scenic cruising through the Fiordland National Park was cancelled, much to our disappointment. We had also missed out porting at Gisborne. That meant we had a total of 8 sea days with only 4 port days. I found the sea days extremely boring. The day activities were really directed towards our age group. Couldn't wait to get off the ship by the end. Night entertainment was fantastic, whether it was a show or a band. The bar staff were also great in any of the bars. I selected "average" for "Value for money" as we didn't had so many sea days, and you didn't get offered a refund in any way. We were offered discounts (and good ones) for any future cruises we want to book! However, if you don't want to go on another cruise, because no matter when or where you go, you cannot control the weather!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This holiday met all my expectations of a cruise. The entertainment was very good, with a good variety of entertainment types and different shows on offer every day. The only complaint I would have was when a show was in the Vista lounge ... Read More
This holiday met all my expectations of a cruise. The entertainment was very good, with a good variety of entertainment types and different shows on offer every day. The only complaint I would have was when a show was in the Vista lounge some of the seats had no view of the stage so if going to a show there get in early. The food was wonderful, we had the anytime dining in Berlini Dining Room and also ate in the International Cafe and Horizon Court buffet and always found plenty of variety for the different tastes of our group. We did our own thing on shore mainly because we didn't want to be rushed to meet a tour. Each shore excursion offered something different and it is worth researching the ports to have a bit of an idea what to expect, the on board talks which are shown on the cabin TV give a good background if you need some more information. All the ports except Noumea will accept Australian dollars and there is a supermarket with an ATM opposite the shuttle set down in Noumea where you can get CFP. The on board service was always very good in all areas if the ship. All in all a great ship to be introduced to cruising. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was my first cruise. Ever. That said, I don't have other boats or cruise lines to compare with my experience on the Golden Princess, but I can now definitely be counted a definite cruise lover. While my family will always enjoy ... Read More
This was my first cruise. Ever. That said, I don't have other boats or cruise lines to compare with my experience on the Golden Princess, but I can now definitely be counted a definite cruise lover. While my family will always enjoy destination-specific vacations via car or plane, now that we've experienced a cruise, we definitely plan to do them again in the future. My primary concern prior to going on the cruise was a worry about feeling claustrophobic due to being confined on a ship with so many other people. Nothing could have been further from the truth. There were so many different places to sit or lounge, that I rarely felt the presence of 3000 other passenger. We particularly enjoyed hanging out in the Piazza by the International Cafe and Vines Wine Bar (both of which were just a short walk from our room). The decks on the 7th, 14, and 15th floors were terrific for taking in the outdoors with spectacular views. The staff on the Golden were gracious and attentive. We took in an occasional show and they were fun, but spent most of our time engaging in our own activities whether visiting with friends and family in one of the many lounges or sitting with a book and listening to live music in the Piazza. They had a "learning" style lecture at least once a day. These were great and I really wish there had been repeats of the lectures or more planned in a day (as compared to the many shopping or beauty oriented workshops which seemed to be plentiful). I enjoyed my spa massage, but felt I was given a very hard sell at the end of the massage to book another spa treatment and buy products. This left me feeling tense as I left the massage which kind of defeated the purpose. Next time, if I book a massage, I'll do it at the end of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We were on the Golden June 1 - 11 to Alaska. The suite we were in had so many things that needed fixed we spent part of every day trying to get them fixed. For example, our thermostat wouldn't work, so our room temperature was 62 ... Read More
We were on the Golden June 1 - 11 to Alaska. The suite we were in had so many things that needed fixed we spent part of every day trying to get them fixed. For example, our thermostat wouldn't work, so our room temperature was 62 degrees Fahrenheit (I only know this after figuring it from the Celsius only thermostat) in our room for three days. That may be OK for a Mexico trip, but not Alaska! The service was almost good. Maybe it will be better after the work together longer. The time in Victoria, B.C., was useless. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We took a three night cruise from Los Angeles to Ensenada, Mexico round trip. Check in went very smooth with no long line. We actually waited longer to get off the boar when we returned. We had a balcony room which was quite ... Read More
We took a three night cruise from Los Angeles to Ensenada, Mexico round trip. Check in went very smooth with no long line. We actually waited longer to get off the boar when we returned. We had a balcony room which was quite comfortable. We were traveling with another couple and our rooms were next to each other, but there was no adjoining door between the rooms - however the steward was able to open the door between our two balconies which was great. Ensenada was no big deal - but we didn't take the trip to see Ensenada - it was just a bonus (although we did have a nice lunch and some wonderful Churros - and I bought a nice hat!) We found all of the staff we interacted with to be very friendly and helpful. The biggest thing for us though was the FOOD! We were able to find something to eat from the moment we got up until the moment we went to bed - I guess there was even food available all through the night. My favorite were the pastries for afternoon tea and an unforgettable "goat cheese mouse with garlic sabayon" that they served in the dining room one night. The buffet always had some great food offerings till 11:00 PM. The International café also offered some very nice savory and sweet pastries and snacks all day long. We didn't buy the "special" coffees because we were perfectly happy with the "free" coffee available in the buffet all day long. We did spend some time in the Casino and found a set of video poker machines that had reasonable pay schedules. If there was any negative, it was the lack of adequate parking at the port of Los Angeles, but this turn out well because they sent us to an overflow lot that was free! We will be back! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We had such a wonderful time! What a great way to see Alaska, from a cruise ship sailing through the different mountains, always an amazing view!! We loved our cruise. It was our first ever cruise, so we didn't know what to expect and ... Read More
We had such a wonderful time! What a great way to see Alaska, from a cruise ship sailing through the different mountains, always an amazing view!! We loved our cruise. It was our first ever cruise, so we didn't know what to expect and after reading a lot of reviews on here, I have to admit, I was a little concerned. This cruise line blew us away at their organization. Boarding and disembarking exceeded our expectations! They are so organized and things run so smoothly. The food was amazing, both in the buffet and the dining room! I have to admit, the dining room was our favorite! It was so fun to go to dinner, sit down and order four courses off of the menu. The wait staff, 2 per table, were so professional, informative and kind. I have never tried so many different things in my life. There was so much to choose from every night and it very fancy. We felt so privileged to have so many people taking such good care of us. There were so many things to do on the ship, besides just look at how beautiful it was every day! My husband and I took dance classes twice, the cha cha and the salsa. That was a blast! There was plenty of opportunity to practice our new dance moves in the lounges that have live bands playing throughout the ship in the evenings. The staff were amazing everywhere on this ship. Their number one goal was to make sure that we had a good time! I have never met so many kind people in my life! I have no complaints about this cruise and we would do it again in a minute. If I had one suggestion it would be this; we only purchased an interior stateroom, and when we do it again, we will buy the balcony room for sure! We didn't purchase the balcony room, because we thought it would not be worth the extra money. Usually on vacation, we hardly spend any time in our room at all. A cruise is different. When we woke up in the morning we couldn't see where we were at. It would have been worth the extra money for the 24/7 views that those balcony rooms must have had. If we had a balcony room, we would have ordered room service and just hung out and relaxed in our room. It would have been especially nice on the Glacier View tour. The captain turned that entire ship around so that you could see those amazing glaciers from both sides of that ship. Next time. :) Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We have been toying (for a few years) with the idea of booking a family cruise. We finally decided to go ahead with this, and selected Alaska, since my parents enjoyed their Alaskan cruise a few years ago. We selected the Inside Passage, ... Read More
We have been toying (for a few years) with the idea of booking a family cruise. We finally decided to go ahead with this, and selected Alaska, since my parents enjoyed their Alaskan cruise a few years ago. We selected the Inside Passage, since it included Glacier Bay, the highlight of the cruise. We opted to spend a few days in Seattle prior to embarking. We stayed at the Westin Seattle. We chose this location, based on it's central location to everything. It was a wonderful choice! Wonderful restaurants nearby, monorail to the Space needle is 1 block away, and it's 5 blocks from Pike Place market. We experienced some great weather. It was sunny, highs in the 80s. Our rooms were on the 31st floor (north tower) and faced Puget Sound..it was a great view! The hotel was completely full, as it's cruise season in Seattle...and there was a video game convention taking place, so lots of activity in the lobby. NOTE - we spent lots of time waiting for elevators. For some reason, we only noticed two of the four elevators working. This caused lots of problems and complaints...imagine 15 people huddling around, waiting for an elevator. The Golden Princess is a nice ship. It's showing it's age (launched in 2001), but it's still charming. Lots of public spaces, lounges, bars, the piazza etc. There were times when it seemed 2,600 couldn't possibly be aboard, I'm referring to never feeling crowded...but our cruise was sold out. We spent lots of time in the Piazza. I purchased the All inclusive beverage package, which allows one to purchase ANY beverage up to $10. I enjoyed Vines Wine Bar...the bartender Vukman, was a great host and provided wine suggestions. The pool areas are nice too. We did experience a mix of good and bad weather...but mostly sunny, so the pool and upper decks were frequented by passengers. The promenade got crowded at times, when they displayed photos taken during the voyage. The lounges were nice, spacious and provided a great location for some activities. Service was good to great, depending on who you dealt with. Our cabin steward was fantastic. Main dining room waiters and their assistants were also good...as were the bar staff. The passenger service desk personnel need some work on their customer service...and they also were not prompt. For example - at check in, my room card was supposed to have the (pre-paid) all inclusive beverage package sticker affixed to it...well, it was inadvertently placed on someone else in our group's card. They told us we had to ask Passenger services fix this problem. It took over 20 minutes until they sorted this out. We arrived at pier 91 (Seattle) around 11:30am for check in. Check in was a little chaotic....lines not set up well. We are Platinum members with Princess' Captain Circle...but check in took a little longer than we would have liked...our agent was a little slow processing us. We started boarding at noon....by 12:45pm we were having lunch in a dining room. Food - I realize food is an important aspect for many cruisers. For this, I know Princess has a reputation for offering above average quality. This is partly why we selected Princess this time. I was impressed overall, but there were some issues. Horizon Court - This was the most underwhelming part of our dining experience. In all honestly we avoided the buffet, as I'm not a buffet person in general. I was surprised to see only half of the overall area was utilized for lunch. This resulted in long ques of people lining up. It was often crowded, with the get-all-you-can types of people. It seemed impossible to find a vacant table. Since the buffet covers a large part of the 14th deck, you are forced to walk through it to get to the pool area, or forward parts of the ship. Again, I only had one breakfast here...and the options were not all that abundant. The other part of the dining area of the Horizon Court is used for the Crab Shack, a new specialty restaurant...so they really need to figure out how to best utilize the dining space. Main dining room - overall, good quality meals and service. There were days I felt rushed, but overall, not bad. Some of our selections were hit and miss, but overall it was ok. BEWARE - if you have the All inclusive beverage package, you need to check your account folio, as we were mistakenly charged for glasses of wine in the MDR....when it should have been covered buy the package. Some dining room servers seem unaware of this new package. Embarkation lunch was one of the better meals, since not many people know you can eat lunch in the dining room on the 1st day. Then again, it closes at 1:30pm and most people are STILL boarding. Formal nights were good. Generally, steaks were the best part. Pasta was ok...avoid the gnocchi!! The fettuccine alfredo was ok. The beef wellington was good...I ordered a lobster tail with it! Specialty restaurants - if you want to spend $25 per person, you can dine in one of the specialty restaurants aboard. Sabatini's offers Italian food. The Crown Grill is the steakhouse. We ate at both. The service is better and more personalized at the specialty restaurants. Sabatini's was just ok. The pasta was underwhelming but the appetizers were the most enjoyable aspect of the night. Crown Grill was very good! Based on our experience, I would recommend Crown Grill. The International cafe, located in the Piazza, is a great place to grab your morning coffee and pastries. They are open 24 hours, so their offerings will change with the time of day...breakfast items until 11AM, then they switch to desserts, sandwiches, salads, quiche and soup. The pastry chef on the Golden does a great job! The bread and desserts were very good. I do wish to note, coffee service at the International Cafe was SLOW. Our cruise was 100% full, and they should have more locations aboard the ship where you can get a quick espresso drink. The lines were very long and moved at a glacial pace. The staff wasn't motivated to move fast, so it seemed. Many passengers echoed this sentiment too...specially on Glacier Bay day....when everyone wanted to take their coffee out to the desk...thus resulting in long lines. Tident Grill and Prego Pizzeria - located on the 14th deck near the pool are two snack bars. These are obviously geared for the pool crowd and offer pizza by the slice (cheese and pepperoni) and also made to order hamburgers/hot dogs etc. I tried the pizza one day, it wasn't very good and there was too much oregano in the sauce. It reminded me of high school cafeteria pizza. This, along with Sundae's (the soft serve ice cream shop) were full of teenagers and young kids. Entertainment was quite good and varied. They had numerous musicians aboard, ranging in styles from a string quartet, to a pianist and a jazz combo (guitar, saxophone and trombone). There was trivia, karaoke, bingo, culinary demonstrations and dance instruction etc. There were also lectures and wine tasting. Ports/excursions - good. We had great weather in Juneau, Skagway and Victoria. I wish we had longer in Ketchican and Victoria. In fact, 4 hours in Victoria is hardly worth it. Disembarkation was a little chaotic, it took 30 minutes to get off the ship, once they called our name...and then processed through customs. Airport transfers were poorly organized....we pre-paid, and it was not so good.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I am not gonna lie, I totally didn't want to go on a cruise to Alaska. It was a gift from a family member, for everyone in the whole family. I pictured the saying "newly wed, overfed and almost dead" and being trapped on ... Read More
I am not gonna lie, I totally didn't want to go on a cruise to Alaska. It was a gift from a family member, for everyone in the whole family. I pictured the saying "newly wed, overfed and almost dead" and being trapped on some vegas-faux-everything type boat. It was going to smell bad and be crowded and I wasn't going to have fun. (I'm neat and my husband is a lucky guy, right?) So, to say the cruise had a long way to go to win me over is an understatement. But lo and behold, the ship was gorgeous, sparkling, and everything shone. The service was as good as I've had- anywhere, and it was constant. I guarantee you there is no where else on Earth where more people care about what it is you want, need, or might want later, than on this Princess Cruise ship. The staff was everywhere, and no where. Magically, things were just done for you. We have a violent peanut allergy person in our group and the maître d', David (from Mexico) fell all over himself to make sure that he had special bread every night, and sought him out each night. This is for a kid, who is embarrassed about this issue, and instead of feeling bad, he felt great and he and David took a bunch of pics together on the last night in the 'fancy' dining room. I'm a huge food snob, but there was so much good food to choose from. And back to the first point, at 44, I am not starving to death, so while the food was often very good.... what I really loved, was the service. When I would order, I'd say 'this or this, you choose" and either our waiter, Chris (Phillapines) would shake his head 'no' if it wasn't the best item on the menu or if they were both excellent, he'd order both for me. I have a special needs teenager who really just likes burgers for dinner, and our head waiter would just say to him, "Good evening, Mr. Colin, would you like a hamburger tonight?" Nevermind there was no burger on the menu some nights. The cabins we had were a balcony cabin on the 11th floor and an interior cabin across the hall. Both were spotless and smelled clean and fresh. (I am super picky about these things.) Linens were posh and snow white. This was our first cruise, so the whole 'free' room-service thing was a revelation to my three teenagers who discovered the joys of 3am croque monsieurs. That and the random poolside service of cold milk and warm cookies made it a winner for the kids. If I seem food-obsessed, it is because I spend a goodly amount of time in my 'real' life, trying to keep three kids fed with their many interests, special desires and sleeping patterns. To NOT have to give it a thought, was a vacation unto itself. We lucked out and had fabulous weather, which is not a reflection of the cruiseline, but made the trip even a little better. We took dance classes, exercised while whale-watching, swam in the aft pool watching our wake in the ocean. It was amazing. You should cruise and you should do it with Princess. Oh... Alaska was pretty nice too. : ) Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was the first cruise for my husband and me, so we approached cruising with some trepidation. Would we be bored? Would our room be clean? Is the food good? Were the staff eager to please? Princess is trying the new routes of 3- and ... Read More
This was the first cruise for my husband and me, so we approached cruising with some trepidation. Would we be bored? Would our room be clean? Is the food good? Were the staff eager to please? Princess is trying the new routes of 3- and 4-day cruises in and out of Los Angeles. We booked a mini-suite on the Emerald Deck for an October 24 sailing. We were also sailing with six friends with cabins scattered across the ship We headed to the Port of Los Angeles and had no problems finding a porter to take our bags. The car was parked in the lot ($12.00 per day) and we made our way to check in. Unfortunately, the escalator was broken, so we waited for the elevator which also had its own problems. Still, we made it to a check in station and then through security and were seated in the "Group 2" section. We were told we would be embarking around 1 PM. At 11:30 AM they started calling the Elite group to head to the ship. About 15 minutes later, our group was called and we were in our mini-suite about 15 minutes later. As we got settled, our steward knocked and walked us through the cabin and gave us various information. We made a few requests and he then returned minutes later with two glasses of champagne. We went out onto the balcony and toasted our cruise before meeting our friends for lunch. Our cabin was a nice size and was very clean. The closet space was ample, the bed comfortable (note: the bed is very firm which was great for us), the room clean, and the balcony spacious. Our only complaint was the bathroom tile and grout that needed a complete overhaul. The grout was dingy and the tile looked like what you would find in an old 1950's motel along Route 66. One plus, though, was the space under the bed for storing our empty luggage. It was time to head to lunch and we opted to skip the madness of the buffet and headed to the open dining room. The eight of us were seated quickly and our staff and food were very good. Thus, we began our cruise... With the exception of a couple of minor issues, we very much enjoyed the food. There were plenty of options on the menus in the dining rooms or the buffet or Trident Grill had other items as well. If we didn't like something, we simply requested something else and it was delivered with a smile. Our glasses were kept full and we had no complaints about the service in the dining rooms. We did visit the buffet and it suited our needs. Breakfast was good except for the scrambled eggs which seemed overly processed. Everything else was hot, fresh and kept us happy. The Trident Grill and Pizzeria were great. We especially liked the pizza which was outstanding. The International Cafe had lots of nice items. Some were creative and some were comforting. All was decent and fresh. We did, however, notice continual service problems at the International Cafe and we never quite figured out who was serving us. Sometimes it was a dedicated person and other times the staff making specialty coffees. We often had to wait to get service. One evening, we decided to take in the Crown Grill, one of the specialty restaurants on board. There was a cover charge of $25.00 per person which we thought was well spent. Our meal was excellent on ever level. The interior is dark woods and a nautical theme. We were seated at a comfortable table and feasted on steak and lobster. The one down side is that when we called for reservations, the reservation clerk noted that we were onboard for our anniversary, and that was noted on the reservation, but nothing came of it when we were having dinner. However, that was made up for the next night in the main dining room where they gave us a luscious chocolate cake and wished us a happy anniversary. The bars were plentiful and it was easy enough to fine a cocktail or beverage wherever we went (hint: get the soda package). The entertainment was sufficient. Live music was plentiful and we caught the last few minutes of the magic show and the karaoke. We didn't attend too much of the entertainment because we wanted to relax on our balcony and read or just enjoy the view. Activities, on the other hand, were ongoing from early morning until the Movie Under the Stars and then the dancing at Skywalkers. The Princess Patter had something for everyone and we saw plenty to do if we wanted to seek it out. If a person was bored on the ship, it was because they wanted to be bored. Our port stops were Santa Barbara and Ensenada. Santa Barbara was gorgeous but Ensenada did not suit us (although we did have some great margaritas and tacos while on land). The ship itself was clean, spacious and we always saw staff cleaning or tidying up. Service was excellent. We didn't encounter anyone on staff who wasn't helpful and happy that we were on the ship. There were a couple of things that we did not like while on board. First, we were a bit uncomfortable with the first day's push to get us to buy the wine tasting package. It was incessant for the first few hours we were on board, but it subsided after that. Also, while we appreciated some of the photos taken, it seemed to be a lot of waste to have all of the photos printed out and then put on display boards for a view. We were told they were converting to digital in the future, which we appreciated, but the amount of photo paper wasted was astonishing. Disembarkation was straight forward and quick. Because my husband is a Canadian citizen, we were able to go through customs and immigration in the non-U.S. side which had about five people in line compared to the hundred deep line for U.S. citizens. The time from when our group was called to disembark until we were curbside with our luggage was about 30 minutes. All in all, we were very happy with our cruise and we are planning another one for next year. Princess surpassed our expectations and gave us a wonderful anniversary vacation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Just arrived back from Seattle/Alaska and wanted to review the Golden while it was still fresh in my mind. I traveled with my 80 year old mother [wheelchair used at times] and my 15 year old daughter. The ship was very helpful with the ... Read More
Just arrived back from Seattle/Alaska and wanted to review the Golden while it was still fresh in my mind. I traveled with my 80 year old mother [wheelchair used at times] and my 15 year old daughter. The ship was very helpful with the getting on and off the ship - pushers for my mom in her wheelchair were provided. The first day on the ship my daughter and I took a grand tour of the ship - we had a great time exploring but it was a bit overwhelming figuring out the layout but great fun! My daughter used the spa services that first day and said they were very nice. My mother wanted to visit the spa when my daughter and I were zip lining so I asked if someone would be able to accompany my mother to and from spa to help her get there - they said NO Problem!! Well YES there is a problem NO ONE would come help her so she never did get to the spa! We enjoyed our time on the ship. The staff were very nice and smiling. We loved Lester our assistant waiter in the traditional dining room! He was just great. Our steward - very nice!!! The food in the dining very good - just ate too much. The buffet - meh! Ice cream soft serve! Yum Our mini suite was nice the beds were okay - liked my robe - honestly, I brought enough "dress cloths" next time I would bring more sweats/casual cloths to hang around in..Comfort was a must - the weather was wonderful!!! In Victoria the ship has a silent docking so no sound for MUTS [movies under the stars] that annoyed me why even show a movie without sound or captioned!! Ugh! All in All Alaska is rugged, beautiful and something to see. The ship and crew - solid. the excursions - you should do excursions!!!!!!! do not pass them up! Cheers, Cathy   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We flew to Seattle on Saturday, July 13. We purchased the Princess transfer package and stayed at the Double Tree hotel that night. The staff at the hotel was very helpful and arranged a taxi and info for us to sightsee and enjoy dinner ... Read More
We flew to Seattle on Saturday, July 13. We purchased the Princess transfer package and stayed at the Double Tree hotel that night. The staff at the hotel was very helpful and arranged a taxi and info for us to sightsee and enjoy dinner that night. The next morning we were taken to the ship by a pleasant, informative driver that pointed out points of interest along the way. Embarkment went as smoothly as possible while loading thousands of people young and old on to the ship. This was the only time I felt that I was in a huge crowd. My husband and I were amazed by the open feeling on the ship after seeing all the people boarding. Even the Horizon Court, where lunch was served on embarkment day didn't have a horrible line. Once on the ship on Sunday we went to our room and left our backpacks and then toured the ship. I was amazed had how well our cabin was laid out. We were on deck 10, cabin c504. I t was setup with a queen bed and upper berth for our 14 year old daughter. The only complaint was the upper berth's mattress was too hard so we asked our cabin steward for a topper. This solved that problem. There was plenty storage space for hanging our clothes and a cabinet with several shelves for other items. There was the bathroom dressing area and a mirror over the desk area with a blow dryer so we were not on top of each other while dressing. We chose anytime dinning so we would have flexibility. We ate at Bernini's 3 of the nights on board and enjoyed each meal although some were better than others. (Lobster tails & Prawns was our favorite.) The Horizon Court was adequate with some items being better than other. I enjoyed the fresh fruit that was on every buffet. We also enjoyed the hamburgers and hot dogs that were grilled fresh on deck 14. The first day on the ship we purchased a soda package that more than paid for itself. ( i.e. we could all use it) The production shows that we saw had 4 wonderful lead singers that had beautiful voices. ( I took the tour of the Princess Theater on the last day at sea and found it very informative.) The Naturalist Kathy Slamp give wonderful lectures on the area and even if you miss one of them you could catch them on TV in your cabin. My husband went to a lecture by some of the ship officers and loved it since he loves boats of all sizes. There was so much to do and not enough time to do it. We went on 4 excursions and enjoyed everyone. The weather was sunny and pleasant(70-low 80s daily) Disembarkment was clearly detailed in a newsletter left the day before. We placed our luggage with the colored tags outside our cabin before dinner Saturday evening. Sunday morning we gathered in the Vista Lounge and waited for our color group to be called. We then left the ship and quickly found our bags, proceeded through customs and on to the transfer bus to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
July 14, 2013 This is my husbands and my first cruise. It was for my retirement and what a way to start a new chapter in life!!. We sailed round trip from Seattle. Arrived in Seattle Saturday, July 13th, which gave us time to settle ... Read More
July 14, 2013 This is my husbands and my first cruise. It was for my retirement and what a way to start a new chapter in life!!. We sailed round trip from Seattle. Arrived in Seattle Saturday, July 13th, which gave us time to settle down before the cruise. (we traveled by Amtrak from Rochester, NY to Seattle in 3.5 days) Never being on a previous cruise, I don't have anything to compare it to, but being on the Golden Princess was to me pure luxury. You are waited on in every eating area of the ship. The food was delicious in all the restaurants. If you drink a lot of soda or coffee, it is worth paying one price for all the soda or coffee all week. There were may activities on the ship, and the show we went to, British Invasion, was excellent. Everyone that worked on the ship went out-of-their way to please you. We did not book excursions through Princess, but through private excursion companies. They were less expensive and still very enjoyable. The excursions meet you right at the docks. Boarding and Disembarkation went very well also. I am just amazed how everything is so organized. We paid for the EZ luggage service, which sends your luggage from your room on the ship to your home airport. That made less worry. We would definitely sail on the Princess Cruise Line again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
This was the first cruise for our party of five: The in-laws, husband, daughter, and myself. Being the nerd that I am I spent a lot of time on CC before the cruise and I have to say I am so glad I did. Do your homework and you will be well ... Read More
This was the first cruise for our party of five: The in-laws, husband, daughter, and myself. Being the nerd that I am I spent a lot of time on CC before the cruise and I have to say I am so glad I did. Do your homework and you will be well prepared. I am also really glad that I kept an open mind despite having read some negative reviews on here. The Golden was very good to us! Yes you can tell that the ship is a little older but the public areas are all very well maintained. Yes there were rusts, paint chips, and stains - but it was mostly on the balcony and other open air spots and they are barely noticeable! Because I read all about the "worn down" look of the Golden on here I was specifically looking for these blemishes and really it did not bother us at all. The piazza and the lounges and the dining rooms are beautiful. The pools were all heated and the hot tubs plenty. As for the service - it was as good as I could have possibly asked for. Sure there were a very small handful of less-than-enthusiastic crew but the majority are friendly and helpful. Our waiter and junior waiter were amazing and I would absolutely recommend doing traditional dining if you could manage it. I loved developing a bond with them and the one day that we had to go to anytime dining it just didn't feel quite right - it was more rushed and the ambiance was not there. The food was also better than I expected. I don't know what food is like on other cruises but this was way better food than what we had on our honeymoon at a Sandals resort (the closest thing I can compare it to). No it wasn't super innovative or inspiring but it was always well prepared and well seasoned. And soooo much seafood! The alcoholic beverages were also reasonably priced and the blended drinks (e.g. Strawberry daiquiri) were huge! I would also say that it was absolutely worth it to have a balcony room. It was a little chilly at times but sitting on your own balcony watching icebergs float by and eagles fly by while sipping room service coffee was quite amazing. I think the only reason why I could not bring myself to give the Golden 5 stars is because of the entertainment. The live music was always really good - everything from the string quartet, the piano singer, to the few bands that played were all very good quality. The shows however I was disappointed with. The sound mix was always a little off and the dancers not super coordinated. The singers were average and altogether just not the kind of shows I was hoping for. Being used to seeing musicals on Broadway in NY and in SF I think I've been spoiled. The best entertainment was actually the comedian Sarge and I am not even a fan of standup comedy. All in all we were all VERY pleased with the cruise. I came home and started looking at cruise sales and so Princess has definitely turned me into a cruiser! If you are going on the Golden you will have a good time - and if you are going on the Golden to Alaska you will have an AMAZING time! Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
This was our first cruise ever so we went in with eyes wide open not knowing what to expect. We booked our cruise through a local TA over a year and half ago and kindly forgot about it until February of this year when we paid for the ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever so we went in with eyes wide open not knowing what to expect. We booked our cruise through a local TA over a year and half ago and kindly forgot about it until February of this year when we paid for the cruise in full with our tax return. After some searching I found CC and began the quest for all things Princess. After finding all the great threads and reviews on this site I had somewhat of an idea of what to expect. We live in Northern California so we decided to make the 10 hr drive to Seattle. Weute were traveling with my parents who were cruising to celebrate their anniversary. Saturday morning arrives bright and early and we leave, 4 am! We arrive in Seattle at about 5 pm and after checking into our motel we decide to drive to the pier and do some recon for the next day. The pier is easy to find and it is impressive to these massive ships for the first time (I believe the Star was docked when we were there on Sat)! Sunday finally arrives and we head to the pier about 9:30 in the morning. We get to the pier and drop off our luggage and go to park. We thought we were going to park at the terminal in the lots there but we were directed to another lot on armory way. We left my wife and my mother with the bags at the terminal thinking it would just be a minute, after about 20 minutes we get parked and Dad and I hop the shuttle back to the pier, couldn't be easier. We used Seattle Cruise and Park. Checking in and embarkation are run very well. We were through security and had our sail cards in hand in about a half hour. After reading on here that staggered boarding times are not really enforced we wanted to be in line and ready to board at 11 am. They started boarding at noon we snaked our way through the lines and walked the gang way on board in about 15 minutes. Once on board I was immediately struck by how grand the ship is. Beautiful hardwood accents, marble flooring in the piazza, live music just gorgeous! We decided to skip our embarkation picture and head straight to our state room. We booked an inside room an the Aloha deck (12). I was concerned because it is right next to the panoramic lift and right under the Calypso pool on Lido. There was no noise from the lift what so ever, but we did hear running and chairs being moved above us. The noise lasted until about 11 pm when things start to shut down on Lido. It never woke us up once we were asleep. The room itself was bigger than I expected and clean. My wife and I are big people and that shower was a tight squeeze! Our room Steward met us in our cabin and introduced herself to us and let us know how the door tag worked for turn down service. She did an awesome job of keeping our room nice and tidy for us all week long. A note about the beds here: they are hard as a rock! If you don't like sleeping on a sheet of plywood then ask for an eggcrate topper right away. We waited and although I was fine with the bed my wife had a hard time getting rest until about the third night when our steward was able to put one on her side of the bed. Our first meal was at the International Cafe. We got a sandwich and some salad, all very good. We met up with my parents and toured the ship for a little while. The Golden is in great shape. I had heard that she was starting to show some wear and tear but I couldn't really find any. I think that it needs to be recognized that she is a sea going vessel with no downtime. There will be rust, areas of chipped paint. I think the crew does a great job of keeping her clean and "ship shape". After a few hours of wandering and getting familiar with our surroundings we headed back to our room. Our bags were in our cabin waiting for us when we got there. We unpacked and had to as for extra hangers which were promptly delivered to us. It was then time for Muster! This kinda got my wife a little freaked out because she has never been on the ocean and because Titanic! The drill couldn't be easier, once they call for muster just grab your life vest and follow the signs. All muster stations are on deck 7, ours was in the explores lounge. There are plenty of crew in hats that say muster on them and wearing a life vest that will direct you where to go. After the drill its time for sail away! We headed back to our room to stow the vests and headed up to the sun deck to watch us leave! When we got up there the Oosterdam was docked next to us and was leaving just as we got up there, kinda neat to see another ship leave the dock. After they clear and start north, it's our turn. Due to noise regs in Seattle there is no loud fanfair, just a quiet push off the dock and away you go. Our first sit down meal was in the horizon court. I was not overly impressed by the selection, but it's a buffet and serves its purpose. We decide to eat on the terrace aft of the ship. I was told to wait and purchase soda cards until after sail away to avoid taxes in port, so we purchased ours from the bar in the terrace. This turned out not to be true as my parents purchased theirs first thing and were not charged any tax. No big deal just putting it out there. After a while more we decide we're hungry again and decide to check out the MDR. I got the prime rib It is good but not great. The service was excellent and prompt. The next day is a sea day and also the first formal night. The dress code was not strictly enforced but in no way was it let down for our good time. We did run into a guy later in the cruise who was denied entry to the dining room because of his dress, he was wearing shorts and a tee shirt. I wore a suit for formal and anything from khakis to jeans any other night. I never felt out of place and was never the least dressed one for dinner. Food was good for the most part but the wife and I agreed that it just seemed to lacking something. We could never pinpoint any one "bad" thing but I guess it was just a little bland. There are plenty of pics and reviews of the food on this site so I'll just leave this to others to debate about. We never had a bad meal but nothing really spectacular either. The staff on board were always friendly and greeted us throughout the whole of our voyage. Our steward always greeted us by name and had the room made up and turned down while we were out. toiletries were well stocked and we never had to ask for more. The ports of call were Ketchican, Juneau, and Skagway with a few hours in Victoria. It rained every day we were in port but that was ok by us. Where we live was 115 when we left and 115 when we got back! All of the ports were pretty, but all of them pretty much had the same stores selling the same stuff. We didn't do any excursions so can't comment on that. We saw all of the animals on our list in Ketchican, eagles, a bear and we saw whales while at sea. Creek street in Ketchican is very picturesque and is not to be missed. Our favorite was Victoria, very awesome city I thin we would trade Juneau for more time in Victoria to be honest. Towards the end of the cruise we did start to see some maintenance issues creep up. A lot of the elevators were not working and we could smell raw sewage when out on the promenade deck. All in all it was a great cruise on a great ship. We had the time of our lives and would do it again tomorrow. Along with the maintenance issues described above I would also like to add a note about selling on board the ship. Princess was constantly trying to sell something to us the whole journey. I understand that's how the keep fares low but it's a little much to be honest. They even have sales in the MDR during off hours. We went to a couple and were surprised to see dollar store items! We thought it was a little ridiculous. The entertainment on board was good. We went to British Invasion, we thought it was a good show and were pleased with it. We also saw the comedian, Sarge. he was hilarious. Get to the show early because it fills up fast! There is always something to do so check your patters! Disembarkation was a breeze. We opted for walk-off so we could get an early start to our drive. We had all our luggage packed and were off the ship by 7:45 am. No fuss no muss. Caught our shuttle back to the parking lot and were off!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
First off - WELL DONE PRINCESS!! Fantastic cruise. We did the suite, on the sun deck, and it was well worth the extra money! Flowers in the room, free champagne on embarkation, canapes every day, free this, upgrade that - WOW. I'll ... Read More
First off - WELL DONE PRINCESS!! Fantastic cruise. We did the suite, on the sun deck, and it was well worth the extra money! Flowers in the room, free champagne on embarkation, canapes every day, free this, upgrade that - WOW. I'll never cruise again unless we can afford a suite - they spoiled us. We never waited in a line, just said "suite" and were taken to the front - very cool. Age of the cruisers was all over the place - so I don't understand why other complained - and there was lots to do each and every day (and night). The ship is immaculate, clean, and modern. People were always walking around cleaning something and everyone on the crew seemed to genuinely want to please us.And the food - wow!! Since we had a suite, we got to eat in Sabatini's for breakfast, and they even made stuff that wasn't on the menu for us! We also got to order anything off the dinner menu for room service (suite perk) and had lobsters while watching the world go by. We booked everything thru Princess and got big savings on the Air fare and went non stop. We also arrived a day prior and stayed 3 days after in Seattle and the Westin (booked thru princess) gave us a free upgraded deluxe room with a view of the water. The transfers were also thru Princess, and they were all on time and professional.Only issue was with the Lotus spa - I'd wait to book things till I got to the boat, vice in advance like we did - they offer specials. We did excursions thru princess, while some seemed pricey, we enjoyed each one. Dog sled in Juneau was the best, and they still didn't notice my wife stole one of the puppies (kidding!!).And the last port of Victoria was rushed, so we just partied on the boat!I can't say enough good - Princess won us over! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
My hubby and I took our first cruise ever for our 30th wedding anniversary. We decided to head to Alaska since we had always wanted to go. We were not disappointed with any part of the cruise.The food was great whether we ate in the ... Read More
My hubby and I took our first cruise ever for our 30th wedding anniversary. We decided to head to Alaska since we had always wanted to go. We were not disappointed with any part of the cruise.The food was great whether we ate in the Horizon Court or in Bernini's restaurant or the international cafe. We chose anytime dining and only had to wait one night for a table. All of the waiters were excellent and made us feel like royalty. We purchased a coffee card on the first day and really enjoyed the specialty coffees. They also have several virgin drinks available in any of the lounges, and since we really don't drink much it was a real treat.The entertainment was top notch! We made a point to catch all of the shows taking place in the theatre and were impressed with all of the productions that the princess singers and dancers put on. We also spent time in the lounges, kind of hopped around between them and got a chance to hear some great entertainment and kick up our heels! Wow! What a great time we had burning off some calories!I had researched anything and everything about the ship for several months in advance, however nothing can compare to our first glimpse of the Piazza! So beautiful! We spent as much time as we could in the area, taking in the entertainment and relaxing with coffee or drink from the bar, or just people watching. I have to say that when Princess talks about the Piazza being the heart of the ship, in my opinion, it truly is! I can't think of a better way to relax and unwind. It is my favorite part of the ship. We had such a great time in each of the ports. We were not disappointed with any of the excursions we chose. We went to the Totem State Park and Lumberjack show in Ketchikan. We went to the Mendenhall Glacier, Museum, and Rain Forest Garden in Juneau. Our favorite was the White Hill Summit railroad trip in Skagway. We also took a city tour while in port and then did some shopping downtown before returning to the ship. Victoria is such an gorgeous place! We took a tour of the area and went to see the Craigdarroch castle. What a treat! The Tracy Arm Fjord is a absolutely beautiful place! We live in Wyoming and spend time in the mountains, but there is something special about being so close to such magnificence! The water was pristine, and the water falls were innumerable. I remember telling my husband, since we did not want to purchase a whale watching tour, due to the expense, that the only thing that could top everything we had already seen and done, was to see some whales. Well we got our wish on the sea travel between Skagway and Victoria. We were on the port side of the ship on our balcony and we were traveling in a channel that is well known for Humpback Whale. We spent about an hour watching with our eyes and our binoculars about 15 or 20 humpbacks. They showed us their dorsal fins and their tales! We also saw Orca earlier in the voyage. They are awesome creatures.I have to say that this will not be our only cruise! We would like to go back to Alaska, but we have already reserved a cruise on the Royal Princess in October 2014 to Canada/New England. I so wish I could go on another cruise between now and then, but have to thankful I can go again at all.I have read other reviews making comments on the age of the Golden Princess. I think she is beautiful! They have taken very good care of her. I would like to cruise on her again, it would feel like home!Princess cruises really takes care of you, the cruiser, and would not hesitate to recommend them or an Alaska cruise to anyone that will listen! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We flew from Canada to L.A. the day before embarkation,I would recommend doing this as it cuts down on the stress of last minute arrival. We had to go from our hotel back to the airport to get our prepaid shuttle to the Cruise Center. I ... Read More
We flew from Canada to L.A. the day before embarkation,I would recommend doing this as it cuts down on the stress of last minute arrival. We had to go from our hotel back to the airport to get our prepaid shuttle to the Cruise Center. I probably wouldn't do that again as the hotel has a shuttle to the Cruise Center. that way you wouldn't have to drag your luggage back and forth. They were efficient getting us onto the buses but we did have to stand in line for 30 to 40 minutes. Once at the Cruise Center there was more waiting in line, a total of about 90 minutes. then we were on board and our luggage was delivered in about 60 minutes then the stress was off. The stateroom was very nice, we had a balcony stateroom and we wouldn't have a room without. The room was clean and neat it had a large closet a very comfortable bed, an in room safe,and all the amenities of a regular hotel room. We were near the center of the ship so there wasn't much motion or noise. We used the balcony alot even though the weather wasn't the greatest. There was a great diversity of things to do on board, they were at different times off the day so that one could get to see most things. The service by anyone we dealt with was excellent, they were all friendly and smiling and very helpful. Our excursions were a bit of a disappointment as it rained and blew alot. There wasn't much sunshine so it was always cool and when one got wet it wasn't very comfortable. the trip from Ensenada to L.A. was so smooth that we didn't know that we were on a ship. Disembarkation was quick and stress free. We traded our pass to the airport for one that took us to Long Beach for the afternoon and then to the air port,as we had a late flight. We got on the plane and headed back to winter. We will cruise again, I don't know when or where,but we enjoyed this one very much. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Arrived at the pier at 11:30 and we were on the ship by 12:40 there was a line but it moved fairly quick. Our cabin was ready so we went there first to check it out. It was not overly big but it was nice. The bed was hard and so we asked ... Read More
Arrived at the pier at 11:30 and we were on the ship by 12:40 there was a line but it moved fairly quick. Our cabin was ready so we went there first to check it out. It was not overly big but it was nice. The bed was hard and so we asked for and got a egg crate type pad put on and I guess it helped a little. They need to replace the mattress, it was just worn out. The size of the bathroom was pretty small but okay for a week. The Balcony was wonderful. I am so glad we had it. None stop views!!!!!! Alaska is beautiful. We went to a few shows on the ship and decided that the show from our balcony was better. The weather was wonderful so we had Sunsets that were awesome. The Mountains,Waterfalls,Eagles,Whales etc...so much beauty to take in. We had Anytime dining and made reservations each night to fit with our plans for the day. The food was for the most part was good, some meals better than other. We did the Horizon Buffet one time and found it very chaotic with people going all directions and one lady tasting food with her fingers before putting it on her plate so we had the rest of our meals in the dining room or at the International Cafe. Both were pretty good. The service on board was great. Everyone from our room steward to the dinning staff were friendly and made us feel so special like they were there just for us. Those are some very hard working people on that ship. This was our first Cruise and it was wonderful.We would have had to been in a Coma to be any more relaxed and are already talking about our next one. Princess does a great job! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Golden Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 3.0 4.1

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