This was a rather inexpensive last-minute cruise for us, but we would not do it again.It was our first cruise on the Golden which we find too big, too crowded, very noisy (even in the library) and above all far too cold, we felt we were in ... Read More
This was a rather inexpensive last-minute cruise for us, but we would not do it again.It was our first cruise on the Golden which we find too big, too crowded, very noisy (even in the library) and above all far too cold, we felt we were in a meat-locker. Going to Hawaii, we had packed a light windbreaker and sweater/jacket each. We wore them every single day and needed fleece in the public rooms.
Our "fully obstructed oceanview" cabin was great. The bottom of our large window looked over the top of the lifeboat below, so we had plenty of view and daylight. It was also the only place where we could control the temperature and be comfortable. Emerald Deck amidships was an ideal location on this rather rough and rocky trip, we wonder how much the balconies higher up actually got used. Since we'd been to Hawaii four times before and in fact got married there 22 years ago, we'd hoped for some warm weather but the highest temp we ever reached was 74. It was mostly overcast or cloudy and rained in Maui.
Back to the basics. The food in the dining room ranged from wonderful to inedible, but the service in the Bernini Anytime Dining Room was excellent, although it slipped during the last couple of days. I had requested low-fat/low-cholesterol, but after the first 3 days the head-waiter became unavailable and I was left to my own decisions and that was fine. There was plenty to choose from, I used good judgment and portion-control and neither DH nor I gained an ounce, in fact we lost a couple of pounds, even after the gargantuan feast in Sabatini's.
The shore excursions turned out to be a mixed bunch. The one we on the Big Island visited nice scenery, but the best part was going back to the black sand beach we visited 22 years ago. It's now covered 20 ft deep in glossy lava. The Back Roads of Oahu excursion was the worst. The North Shore was pretty, but a doughnut and a salad served in a styrofoam box for $119 a person (??!!). The guide was not too good either. Kauai was our favorite, as usual, even with partly cloudy weather. We took the Wailua River and Fern Grotto excursion. The river cruise was nice, but the grotto has very few ferns left and the grotto, which had wonderful acoustics in the past has been blocked by a large wooden platform where our boat-load assembled. The Hawaiian Wedding Song was sung, then we went back down to the river boat via a different path. Next load! It had all the romance of a conveyer belt! Maui dawned grey and foggy. The Maui Ocean Center was the best and least expensive of the excursions. Definitely recommended!
The return trip across the Pacific got rougher and even colder. People sat by the sloshing pool, wrapped in their beach towels, shivering. Grey skies day after day and two days before Ensenada the wind reached Gale Force 9 (according to the report from the bridge). By then, construction had begun in various areas of the ship. We were above the wedding chapel, listening to saws, grinding and hammering and when we tried to practice some dance steps on the small floor in the steakhouse, we had to dodge large sheets of plywood being brought through into the now gutted wedding chapel. The casino closed several days early, making gamblers unhappy. We love dancing on cruises, but were not too excited by the bands, although the Canby Trio really made an effort to please the few dancers on their small floor.
The last two days were the rockiest, waves splashing as high as Deck 7. Sleeping was a challenge, what with rolling into the night tables and hangers in the closet banging.
Disembarkation was not great, especially compared with the smooth process of previous Princess cruises we've taken. First, we got the very last disembarkation color tags for an 11:45 am flight (huh?). Got that changed to Orange #2, one of the earlier ones. It was hard to hear colors and numbers being announced over the general loud talking in the lounges. When we finally got off the ship over an hour late, our one suitcase was nowhere. We found it another 45 minutes later in the "late disembarkation" area, under the wrong color and the wrong number. Next time, if there is a next time, we'll do "walk off". Even though we had transfers, we took a taxi to LAX which got us there in less than 30 minutes. We decided enough had gone wrong and wanted to be on our way home ASAP.
Words of advice to whoever cares to read this: Take clothes for all kinds of possibilities, do self-help disembarkation if possible, be prepared for screw-ups and Murphy being at work everywhere! After the previous 14 cruises we thought we had experienced it all. We were wrong. Read Less