Golden Princess Cruise Review by LXPeterson
- Sail Date: April 2003
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
The crowding problem began with embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale. This was a real cattle call from the time we stepped off the airplane. The rather surly Princess "hostesses" pointed us to an area and told us we had to wait for the buses. Not much of a welcome. We were then herded on the buses for the short ride to the terminal. A huge line was already in place just to enter the terminal. Inside, things were poorly organized and an hour and a half later, we finally boarded. Services very disappointing at this end, especially when contrasted with out Princess sailings.
Our cabin, with its balcony, was lovely. Plenty of closet space and privacy on the balcony. Our cabin steward was cheerful and helpful throughout the week. The Golden Princess is to be commended for its service and many welcoming faces.
We selected Personal Choice dining and, despite the best efforts of the maitre d', found ourselves waiting for a table or not given the sort of table which we requested. If you enjoy meeting new people for dinner conversation, don't expect to always be seated at a large table with Personal Choice. The dining room staff was mostly competent, although a little rough around the edges. The food was more than adequate, with strengths in presentation, appetizers and desserts. Princess engages in shameless wine promoting, but has an uninteresting wine list and servers who are not well-versed in wine.
The pool areas and the buffet area are all appealing and well-designed. The Conservatory is especially pretty, with its retractable roof. The atrium area is also attractive; the many bars and lounges of the Promenade deck comfortable. There is plenty to do on the cruise - expect all the traditional entertainments, games and activities. The Skywalker Lounge is accessed by an escalator, but the decor is early Star Trek. The architectural interest is from the outside only.
The crowds on the ship were particularly evident at the Immigration check, which was needlessly time-consuming and poorly handled. The worst aspect of the crowding was the hoarding of deck chairs by people who would leave chairs unattended for hours, "reserved" by a towel or a book. Some people actually reserved chairs for both sun and shade, leaving politer passengers in the predicament of wandering for hours, looking for a vacant chair. The staff does nothing to prevent this, aside from placing signs which are ignored.
Golden Princess has some relatively tacky aspects - there is evidence of cheesiness with the ubiquitous selling of CDs, add-ons for gym classes, the "wine tastings," paper-packaged toiletries, in addition to the usual photograph-taking and atrium bazaars. Princess should concentrate on the nice touches which usually characterize their cruises.
All in all, however, it was a lovely cruise, despite the crowding and bad behavior of some passengers. The Princess Cay is absolutely delightful - a pristine beach which is beautiful - could have used more time on it.
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