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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This is a very long review with a lot of detail. Summary: Golden Princess June 9, Inside Passage S/B Whittier AK to Vancouver BC Cabin B737 Aft Starboard Veranda Cabin This is our 4th Princess cruise - Ruby level Captains ... Read More
This is a very long review with a lot of detail. Summary: Golden Princess June 9, Inside Passage S/B Whittier AK to Vancouver BC Cabin B737 Aft Starboard Veranda Cabin This is our 4th Princess cruise - Ruby level Captains Circle. (Our last sailing was a 12 day New Zealand cruise in Feb of 2016) We took a pre-cruise FB4 land tour. Fairbanks River Lodge, Denali Wilderness Lodge, McKinley Princess Lodge, Train from Talkeetna to Whittier. The land portion will be reviewed separately. We chose this cruise because of other family members already booked on this cruise/tour. About Us: We are an active couple in our late 50’s and mid 60’s. My husband and I have sailed on quite a few cruises. Mostly mainstream cruise lines. Our most recent cruise prior to this may have tainted this review because it was on a more upscale cruise line and it was an extended voyage on a very small ship. We got pretty spoiled and our cruise bar has been permanently raised. Nevertheless we had realistic expectations on the Golden Princess. Our last Princess voyage was a 12 night New Zealand on the Diamond Princess - similar in size and passenger/crew ratio and only a slightly newer vessel, but built in Japan and designed with that market in mind. We had a good time on that cruise mainly due to the itinerary but with many similar complaints. It seems Princess is either not listening or they don’t care to improve. This cruise/tour was a first for us. We did an Alaskan land tour combined with a 7 night inside passage southbound cruise. We had never sailed in anything other than warm weather before nor ever taken such an organized tour via any cruise line. This is probably not the place to review the land portion, but I will say that Princess did an excellent job of providing communication, transportation between points, moving luggage and arranging large, but enjoyable land tours in Alaska. The cruise portion was enjoyable. Our intent is always try to make the most of any cruise, even when things go wrong. Bad shows, disappointing food, illness, missed ports .. this will happens to some extent on every cruise at every level. So my motto is: There is no such thing as a bad cruise. Being at sea, being lulled to sleep by the rocking and vibration of the ship, beautiful vistas everywhere, exotic ports of call and being waited by smiling faces. But taking all that into consideration the food and dining experience was painfully disappointing. From menu selections to food quality to presentation. Princess is sliding backwards and seem to be catering only to those who have nothing else to compare to... 1st time cruisers. Cabin: Our stateroom B737 (Baja deck #11) was comfortable and clean. We had an aft starboard balcony stateroom. We had a wonderfully attentive and friendly cabin steward from India named “Tony”. Itinerary: We thought the itinerary was wonderful. Whittier-Hubbard Glacier-Glacier Bay-Skagway-Juneau-Ketchikan-Sea day-Vancouver. No tendering. Ample time over 2 days to meander into Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay with lots of time to take it all in. There were park rangers on board to talk about the glaciers, the people, the local habitat and such and it was quite a new experience for us to be bundled up on deck with puffy coats and blue jeans and boots on drinking an Irish Coffee to warm up! We had the most amazing weather too. The captain and the crew kept saying how we brought the sunshine with us! Dining: The ship boasted several main dining rooms (MDR’s) and 2 specialty dining rooms. Neither of which we could get a reservation for. We waited until we were onboard to book a night or two in one of these “fine dining” upcharge restaurants because we had a large on board credit from our travel agency. When you book dining in advance you must pay for it without using your shipboard credit. But once onboard we found out that there were no reservations for ANY specialty dining restaurants for ANY night - ANY time. (The standard practice is to save some specialty dining table reservations to be booked on board) We had a private conversation with one of the head waiters of the Crown Grill and he was apologetic and stated that “corporate” had allowed too many reservations ahead of time from passengers booking online and from travel agents giving dining perks to their clients. He felt bad but all he could do was put us on a very long waiting list. Even one of our family members who is an Elite Captains Club Member could not secure a reservation for our small group of 4. So we were “stuck” in the MDR. Table #263 in the Canaletto dining room every night at 7:30. We could have gone to the Donatello “anytime” dining room, but we would have spent time standing in line waiting for a table. Our waitstaff “Jed” from the Philippines and “Sinisha” from Serbia were our team of waiter/assistant waiter. The first few days I felt like we were a chore for them, but as the week progressed, they both delighted us with more personality and time to bond and interact. This is one of the fundamental parts of a great cruise experience. The relationships between passengers and crew. Maybe not everyone feels that way, but we do. We respect them for their choices and are usually interested in their lives and hope to love them so much we want to take them home with us..... (Not really.. but hopefully you understand my meaning). Most people return from their cruises - remembering the people who they interacted with far more than the places they visited. But the food in the dining room was very disappointing. Service was rushed. There were no sommeliers on board. They would just drop the menu on your lap and come back with a quick suggestion for the menu that evening and start round the table taking orders. Most of the courses had decent presentation but were not well prepared. And let me add that my husband and I are adventurous eaters. The staples were not well prepared. In fact there were no staples like a NY steak or onion soup or a fresh piece of grilled fish. In 7 days we never had a steak dinner. We had some “Prince” crab legs. (To call them King would be an injustice). We had lobster tails that were a musty color and mushy texture and would have been sent back in any standalone restaurant. Our first night I ordered prime rib, medium rare. It tasted more like chuck roast and it was medium well with a lot of fat and gravy surrounding the meat. Among our group of extended family at table 263 was someone who worked in the food service industry for over 30 years, marketing dinnerware, linens, food prep equipment and food products, aiding restaurant owners and chef’s to create and design menus that satisfied customers and made profits for the restaurant owners. Her last Princess experience was quite a few years ago and she had expectations of Princess past. She and her companion also felt ... as we did that the quality of the food and the selection of menu had greatly dipped below par. On the final night we managed to get a last minute reservation for Sabatini’s Italian restaurant at 5:30 pm. We have sailed on many cruises offering “specialty dining” for upcharges ranging from $10 to $35. Usually it is worth the extra to have a slow meal with service and food far above the the main dining room experience. In the case of Sabtini’s ($25 cover charge per person) we were very disappointed to see the dining room styled after a Trattoria - without table linens and without a slow dining attitude. The shared appetizer was a wheat bread served in a funnel of parchment paper with prosciutto and a basket of rolls and breadsticks with sides of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The menu actually depicted in writing we were only able to order 1 item from each course and the wait staff also explained this to us at the table. No tableside Caesar salad. No Osso Bucco, No Veal or Chicken Picatta, no Saltimboca, no zuppa di minestrone. And worst of all .... no slow eating experience. It was a longer dining experience from the MDR but not at all what we should have received from the $50 upcharge. My Veal Scallopini .. more like Cordón Blue - cheesy - oily and heavily breaded. My soup was supposed to be a mushroom “fondue” but it was watery. My husbands “fritte” was merely tempura. Our waiter offered to bring me something but nothing appealed to me. While writing this review I wanted to look up the name of the chef. I found a YouTube video of this same restaurant from 2013 where it was set up like the brochure and they panned the menu and took video of the dinner. This is what we expected to pay for.. not a trattoria experience with truly unappetizing food. (I take photos of all my food -I will post what they will allow me to). To end this terrible evening after having them take my entree away we ordered dessert. The presentation of the sampler was beautiful with 4 mini glasses of different desserts. Our waiter took our order which included an espresso and a capuchino .. neither of which came to the table. Afterwards when my husband walked by the restaurant later that night, he stopped in to speak with the head waiter and politely explain our disenchantment - - he offered to remove the charge from our account, but instead of doing that - he billed us another $25. We had to make a trip to the Pursers desk to straighten that out. They should have removed both charges, not just one.. but 1/2 an effort was made. The Horizon Court Buffet was our option for breakfast most mornings. Friendly staff, but nothing really appetizing. Whole fruits were not always ripe. I asked for an omelette most days and special ordered it to be made with fresh eggs (vs the egg mixture they ladle into the omelette pans). I enjoyed those and I enjoyed my daily fix of Congee. An Asian/Indonesian porridge served with green onions, salsa and pickled kimchee. On the glacier days at sea they also offered steaming hot cups of either Miso broth or Chicken broth poolside with some garnishment veggies to help warm you up on deck. This was a very simple treat I thought was a nice touch. They also passed out warm plaid blankets to anyone roaming the decks on glacier days to help stay warm. The coffee in the MDR and especially the buffet was just terrible. Forcing you to go to the International Cafe on deck 5 to purchase an Americano or Capuchino at $4.95 per order. I probably should have pre-purchased a specialty coffee card. I think it is absolutely ludicrous that Princess and most mainstream cruise lines do not offer a decent cup of coffee or bottled water free of charge to their customers. $4.95 bought us a 1/2 gallon of water in our cabin. Since we were traveling to a cold climate for the first time we decided to not purchase a beverage package. Princess wanted $59.95 per person per day. Instead we enjoyed 5 bottles of wine ranging from $33-48 per bottle and cocktails most days ranging from $7.95 - $11.75 and found it made better sense on this trip to buy as-you-go. Entertainment: Here is where I can give the Golden Princess a thumbs up. This ships entertainment was the highlight of the cruise for me. The production singers and dancers were truly all talented dancers and equally wonderful singers. The choreography and sets were clever and anyone with an eye for quality performance could appreciate this. Bravo.!! The crowd however - never rose to their feet as they should have for any of their performances. Our sailing also had a comedian/musician who had bronchitis and was unable to do much of his regular show, but he was entertaining nonetheless. Another headliner did a cheesy Dolly Parton tribute which we didn’t like so we didn’t attend her second show. Skywalkers bar - a nice concept, but the people mover was out of order for several days leading up to it. The windows over the jetway leading to it were unbelievably dirty * (as were most of the windows on the ship - dining rooms - balconies - everywhere). The ship is in general disrepair. We didn’t notice the usual crews painting or lacquering the rails during the voyage. Wheelhouse Bar - was a nice classy little place for a cocktail and on some nights there was a bluesy band in there playing great dance music. Bravo again. Elsewhere on the ship there was a piano man who had a good crowd nightly. There was a duet of gals who played folk music. There was another duet of classical music and a pianist who played some beautiful tunes in the Atrium. There was plenty of music and fun to be had on this ship as well as trivia, moose racing, bingo, art auctions, casino tournaments, shopping events. We got together with other bridge players on one day for non-hosted social bridge. The cruise director John was - so typical of a mainstream cruise line. He was everywhere and always smiling and getting others to participate in different activities on board. We just get a little tired of hearing the same thing from them with the same tone of voice and choice of words. They also tend to work too hard to try and make us “appreciate” all the hard work being done for us on the ship by all the personnel. I can’t imagine anyone on board not seeing this for themselves. All I can say is that it will take a pretty unique itinerary for us to ever book another Princess cruise based on this last experience. We are only Ruby level Captains Club members.. it looks like that will never change. Food is too much of a highlight on a cruise where you are sequestered for all your meals. Good food is essential. We know you cannot have it all, but we have learned that a smaller more intimate ship albeit fewer activities but a higher level of customer service and a truely exquisite dining experience is more our style. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
because this cruise departed auckland and returned to auckland first to melbourne down to the south island of new zealand travelling via milford sound , dusky sounds port chalmers ( dunedin), akoroa ,wellington, gisbourne ,tauranga , ... Read More
because this cruise departed auckland and returned to auckland first to melbourne down to the south island of new zealand travelling via milford sound , dusky sounds port chalmers ( dunedin), akoroa ,wellington, gisbourne ,tauranga , auckland travelled alone on this voyage on the golden princess cabin chosen was inside due to economics but next time would choose balcony small but well appointed and comfortable quality bedding clean and tidy cabinets showing some signs of wear ( drawer knobs loose ) Dining : a truly remarkable experience -- wide variety of styles and and top notch food , attentive staff , nice ambiance , Entertainment : broadway production quality well staged - fantasic audio system crystal clear although could do with turned down a notch Activities : endless and varied no one could be bored changing daily Service : your wish is our command type deal nothing too much trouble 24hrs a day attentive obliging friendly staff Shore excursions : well organised , syncronised, knowledgable staff very hot day in akoroa tenders used to take to shore on return at jetty while waiting for tender chilled facecloths and chilled water served ( nice touch ) overall a gratifying experience - top chefs very attentive staff international cuisine and a very clean tidy ship with accent on hygene Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This is the third time I have cruised on Golden Princess and brings my total number of nights on this ship to 36 nights. Overall for me it was good to see the ship again and they really know how to look after you. Upon boarding I had ... Read More
This is the third time I have cruised on Golden Princess and brings my total number of nights on this ship to 36 nights. Overall for me it was good to see the ship again and they really know how to look after you. Upon boarding I had my allocated balcony cabin on Lido deck and the steward welcomed me back with delivery of the elite mini bar set up as per usual. Each night I was given complimentary passes to the alternate dining venues like Crown Grill and Sabatini's. I got a letter saying that I was on the most traveled list and that this was to thank me for my continued loyalty. I was able to decide on each night which restaurant I wanted to eat in and they would accommodate me. I think part of this has to do with the fact I also currently have 3 future cruises booked with Princess On the second afternoon I received a 75 minute Swedish massage paid for with the extra on board credit I was issued. The spa was quite busy that evening but I was given a time without any problems at short notice. The staff are mostly Chinese in the spa who give the massages and this was apparently because in Asia the majority of the passengers are now Chinese and this is becoming a big passenger group for Princess now. The ship had previously come through Asia. The cabin was in relatively good condition. The beds were pushed together to make a double however I felt one of the beds the mattress was completely deflated and indented into a weird crater type position. The balcony furniture was in excellent condition and the railings appeared to have a new coat of varnish. The cabin was very clean. I also got to spend the remaining credit on some clothing in the boutiques on board thanks to great booking deals given. I also got the usual wine tasting invitation for the 1st day at sea. Overall I was happy with the experience I received. Passenger mix was different. Some clearly regular cruisers, others clearly first timers and others who looked like they did not belong. Some of the funny things I noticed was the queues on one side of the buffet line that I walked straight past only to find no queues at the open serving line on the other side. I guess some people are sheep and enjoy joining long queues opposed to walking a few more meters to find out if there is less people on the other side! Same thing when departing the ship there were long queues of people waiting to use the lifts. I walked straight past these people to find an empty and perfectly satisfactory escalator. The only real issue I have with Princess operating out of Australia is that they tend to remove their usual wine and drink menus and replace them with an Australian version. To some it may seem a good idea but to me it takes away that home away from home feel that Princess offers when you board one of their ships. It was disappointing not to be able to order my favourite wines from past sailings or have certain drinks that I always enjoy on Princess ships. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This was my 8th Princess cruise and probably my worst one. Embarkation was a bit hopeless but that was nothing unusual, Princess contractors and Chinese officialdom are not a good combination. My cabin was clean and the cabin steward, ... Read More
This was my 8th Princess cruise and probably my worst one. Embarkation was a bit hopeless but that was nothing unusual, Princess contractors and Chinese officialdom are not a good combination. My cabin was clean and the cabin steward, Sanny, was excellent as were all other staff on the ship. Some people didn't prefer the CD, Tim Donovan, but I found him OK. Anybody is better than Billy London. The ship was spotless but it does have some issues which I put down to poor or lack of, maintenance. Princess will eventually learn that maintenance does not consist of re-varnishing hand rails or dabbing paint over rust. From my obstructed view cabin I could see 5 easily fixable defects on the bow of the tender outside the window. Chances of these being addressed:- Nil. Compared to a cruise in Feb this year on Dawn Princess (and that ship doesn't get rave reviews) the food on this cruise was mediocre at best. Some dishes were good and others quite poor. It is not rocket science cooking lamb shanks, low and slow till the meat falls off the bone. The majority were uneaten because they were tough and under-cooked. The buffet was similar with some really good food served but there were some dud offerings. Typical Princess entertainment with some good acts and some that were excruciatingly bad, bad enough to sit through to see how bad they could get. As usual some of the staff in The Crew Show were better than the paid acts. Like a lot of things the ports visited are a personal thing and for me they are the alternate to sea days which I prefer. The weather was pretty good and the seas were as flat as a pancake. It could have been a better cruise all up but it is what you make it and I met some fabulous new friends which is what it is all about. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Just completed a South East Asia cruise on Golden Princess - not as good as SUN but better than Dawn - overall in reasonable condition - trying out Emerald and Coral next. Cabin needed some minor maintenance - entertainment just ... Read More
Just completed a South East Asia cruise on Golden Princess - not as good as SUN but better than Dawn - overall in reasonable condition - trying out Emerald and Coral next. Cabin needed some minor maintenance - entertainment just average - dining was satisfactory but meal variety seemed to be less - most annoying aspect was changeover of staff in Singapore who were going to cater for Asian passengers after Hong Kong - spoke limited English and looked lost - went to a bar once to get a lemonade (sprite) and staff didn't know where they were stored - had to tell him second draw below till. Normal amount of activities but sometimes conflicts in Patter. Could have hamdled processing of passengers back to ship in Bali much better - having people out in Sun for up to 1/2 hour is not acceptable. If Princess is going to advertise passengers to shop using passport book and get 4 stamps to enter a draw for $150 obc - and advertsie in Patter then conduct a draw -otherwise false advertising. Didn't feel shopping was value for money given it was in US dollars. Also some shops were under construction and didn't open for several days into cruise. Too many people attended first show - many people having to stand - had to arrive up to 1/2 hour early to get a seat - needs review so that late dinners go to first show and earlier diners go to second show - admin hard but something needs to be done if theatre can't be expanded Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Decided to go on this cruise only 4 weeks before departure. Good price on a Princess ship I had not been on before because I mainly cruise out of Sydney because I don't like flying. The overseas terminal at Circular Quay was no worse ... Read More
Decided to go on this cruise only 4 weeks before departure. Good price on a Princess ship I had not been on before because I mainly cruise out of Sydney because I don't like flying. The overseas terminal at Circular Quay was no worse than I expected. White Bay is much better for boarding but the newer big ships can't get under the bridge. I was very pleased to be upgraded 2 days before leaving - note to those using travel agents, don't rely on them to keep looking at your cruise personaliser on the Princess website. You must do it yourself and print out your luggage tickets the day before you are leaving. My cabin was a balcony cabin on deck 12, upgraded from partial obstructed view on Deck 8. A bit of a downgrade upgrade because I like to be on lower decks for easy access and use of stairs for dining room, entertainment etc. However it was nice to get a balcony. I do not like the television being up high and was also disappointed not to have movies etc on demand that is now a feature of Sun Princess. I hope it is installed during Golden's facelift. I do not usually go to Horizon but I did use it on port days for lunches. Reminded me why I do not use it. Salads ok, people pushy. Dining Room - excellent choice of dining companions for a group of 8 solos, thank you Maitre D. We had good food, good service and good fun at dinner every night. I only went to one show in the Princess Theatre, which was ok. Trivia each day was well run and there were fun theme trivias at night in the Vista Lounge and Explorers. When you found the musicians you liked, as usual they were good. Disembarkation was well organised and speedy. Only problem is whoever picking you up at the overseas terminal has problems, not Princess fault. Overall a lovely relaxing cruise (I don't get off at tender ports, have seen them all before) up to Princess standard. Golden Princess nice change and will enjoy her facelift next year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2011
Ok, it wasn't quite perfect. Close but no cigar. From my viewpoint, the food was great. I had one bad meal (Duck-very tough) and that was it. All the desserts were great, the meals were very good to excellent. There was usually a ... Read More
Ok, it wasn't quite perfect. Close but no cigar. From my viewpoint, the food was great. I had one bad meal (Duck-very tough) and that was it. All the desserts were great, the meals were very good to excellent. There was usually a bit of a wait for 5:30 seating in the Non traditional dining room, but it went fast. A smile and a thank you went a long way with the Maitre D. He was a bit harassed. The ship was great too. Lots of places to go and relax or not. That's what I love about cruising, the choices are yours to make. Not sure I got my money's worth with the soda package, but it was fine. I didn't get the coffee package because I drink one cup of coffee in the morning and I'm not a gourmet about it. I most often got coffee from room service and had it on my balcony. The bed wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great. A bit hard for me, but not that bad. The Trident Grill was nothing to write home about nor was the Pizza parlor. The ports were fine, although I have no comparison, since this is my first trip to Hawaii. I loved the way they organized the departures for the excursions. It was really well done and absolutely no waiting on a dock to find out where you were going. You waited in the Princess Theater until your group was called, went to the disembarkation deck and got right on the bus or van. It was truly great. They do need more seating in the Princess Theater. I only got to see one show because there was no seating. The 10:30 was too late for me because I get up at 6 am, without an alarm clock. I'm not sure what I missed, but everyone said the shows were great. My only issue was my flight home. When I left, I was flying out on US Air 6344, but when I got to the airport, they said there was no such flight. Finally, I got on a 10:10 flight that took me to Philadelphia. Not my first choice, but at that point I didn't have any choice. I'd have liked to know about the change before I left the ship. I spent money trying to check-in on line. It was frustrating. Can I blame Princess for that snafu? I don't think so, but they should have let me know about the change. US Air's people were great. They helped me all the way along. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2010
This was my first time on a cruise ship. I always wanted to go to Hawaii so I decided to go. I paid for 2 people but I was the only one in my inside cabin because I did not find someone to go with me. My cabin was at the very rear of the ... Read More
This was my first time on a cruise ship. I always wanted to go to Hawaii so I decided to go. I paid for 2 people but I was the only one in my inside cabin because I did not find someone to go with me. My cabin was at the very rear of the ship on deck 12. The motion of the ship at sea was noticeable but not uncomfortable. The weather to and from Hawaii was sunny for the most part. Movies Under The Stars is a great attraction on the ship. On the Golden Princess the movies is on deck 14, midships. Some other ships have it at the very rear. Also on deck 14 was the Horizon Court buffet so that was nice as well. I did not do any specialty dining but I could have. The food in the buffet was good with a good variety depending on the day. That means everyday was not the same food. There were a lot of sea days so if you go, be prepared for that. After the ship left Los Angeles, it takes the rest of that day and 4 more to get to Hilo, Hawaii which is the first stop out of 4 stops. The sport deck is nice, lots of sports to do. The newsletter you get everyday tells you about all the activities so that was helpful. Inside cabin on deck 12 very near the rear of the ship. The safe in the closet is small but very secure. Good water pressure in the cabin. Lots of hot water available. The bed was okay in comfort but the covers where very good. Pillows where fine and comfortable. Lots of lighting in the room should you like that. The TV was up high, wish it could be lowered. Lots of mirrors in the room, did not care for that too much. Room service available all day everyday. And only 1 level from the Horizon Court 24 hour buffet area. Read Less
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 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
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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