Arrived at Pier 93 in San Pedro at approximately 10:30 am. Plenty of parking at cruise terminal. Cost for parking was $12 per day. Easy walk with luggage to the cruise terminal. Was met by numerous porters wanting to take our luggage. I am a little uncomfortable using porters. I would prefer to handle my own luggage. When I arrived at entrance to the terminal, I was told by a Princess cruise representative that I couldn't proceed until I had used a porter to check in my luggage. So had to turn around and go find a porter. No big deal.
Check in was fast and efficient. The only problem we had was, there was confusion as to what line to put us in. On the Golden Princess there are two Deluxe Ocean View Staterooms located on Deck 15. Our room is located right next to a row of suites. The code for our room which was S704 listed it as a suite. So we were put into a line with other suite passengers. Again no big deal as there were no long lines. The check in rep had to go to another area to find our stateroom keys which took some time to locate.
After check in. We were directed to the waiting area to await boarding that was supposed to start at noon. Boarding didn't start until approximately 12:45 pm. The waiting area was comfortable. The only problem I had with this area is the fact that the gangway is located right in the middle between the check in area and the waiting area. So when the ship boarding process began you had people making there way from there seats to get in line with there group. but you have people entering the waiting area and getting mixed up with the passengers heading to the gangway. caused a lot of confusion.
Once on board we headed straight for our cabin to drop off our carry on's and to call the Dine line and made or reservations to eat at the Crown Grill. Once this was done we headed to get some lunch at one of the Main Dining Rooms. We asked a rep on board which MDR was open. We were told that none were open for lunch that we had to go to the Horizon buffet. Having eaten in the MDR in the past, I questioned the rep about this. and she finally told us which MDR was open. Lunch was wonderful and not very crowded. Hmmm I wonder why.
We loved our room. The bed was comfortable and the floor to ceiling windows were fantastic. The room had crown molding and pictures on the wall. The air conditioning worked great. The bathroom was typical with the small shower. But the sink and counter had upgraded features like tile work and fixtures. The only issues we had were as follows: Overhead speaker in room didn't work so P/A announcements were heard from speakers outside of room. remote for the TV didn't work very well. Our room steward (Frenchy) was pleasant and informative and kept our room clean. However, we never got the robes that we requested and he kept all 3 of his cleaning carts right outside of our room. Which would get banged around every so often and he would have long conversations right outside our door with his assistant. Also our room was directly in line with the elevator hallway so we got a little bit of noise from people waiting on the elevators. This wasn't to bad because there are so few people in this area of the ship.
Surprisingly the make up of passengers on this cruise was mostly older. If I were to guess I would say 85% were age 50 and above. There were only maybe a dozen kids on board.
We dined in the Canaletto Main Dining Room We had originally requested a table of 6. I have a hard time hearing so anything bigger than a 6 person table can be a little hard on me to carry on a conversation. We were put at a 8 person table. Luckily we had wonderful table mates and wonderful servers. Natalia (Head server) and Marina (Asst server) Did a wonderful job and kept us well feed and entertained.
We ate at the Crown Grill, one of two Specialty restaurants on board. The food was great and the service was fantastic. Well worth the $25 cover charge per person.
The Entertainment on the ship was only so so. This time around we managed to see the show The British Invasion. Kind of a college production. The singing and dancing was just ok. We say comedian Phil Tag. He was entertaining and well worth watching and we also attended the Culinary arts show hosted by Maitre d Giuseppe Gelmini with Executive Chef John Convery. Both were very entertaining and put on a great class.
One disappointment I had was there was no Wine Sommelier on board and I never saw the Maitre d during the entire cruise with the exception of the culinary arts class. In the past the Maitre d would make it a habit to at least introduce himself to each table and welcome everybody. Also dining at the Chefs table wasn't offered on this cruise. Another issue was formal night. There was supposed to be one formal night on a 4 day cruise. Many passengers had brought formal wear on board only to find out later that there was no formal night.
Santa Barbra was wonderful. The beaches were pristine and the weather was gorgeous. Had to take tenders ashore. that went nice and smooth.
Ensenada, I could have done without. It was dirty and I don't like dealing with beggars and the children trying to sell Chiclets. In my opinion there should have been more excursions offered besides going on a city tour and going to wineries or two the blow hole. Bought a few cheap gifts and enjoyed some good chips and salsa and beer at Papa's and Beers.
Disembarkation was horrible. received info notice two days before which was a sea day. didn't read notice until the night before. My mistake. On the day the notice was distributed you were supposed to contact passenger service to arrange your luggage to be picked up outside your stateroom the night before. If you didn't it was assumed you were a walk off passenger. Well I would have to say that probably 75% of the passengers were walk off. We were the very last group to be let off the ship. Our meet time was 11:45 am. We had to be out of our stateroom by 8 am. We had to carry all of our luggage and not leave it unattended for 3 hours and 45 min. Also the ship had to do crew emergency drills that also slowed down the disembarkation process. We didn't leave the ship until shortly after noon. No wonder our embarkation process at the beginning of the cruise took so long. Princess you can do a lot better. As a result of our late disembarkation. we got charged for another day of parking.
Room was great! I was impressed with the upgraded interior decor. Crown molding, Tables and counter tops, Pictures on the walls, Bed was very comfortable. Larger than normal flat screen TV. The view from the Ceiling to floor windows was fantastic. Bathroom was typical size but had upgraded decor and fixtures. Only bad thing with room location is right outside the room is where the room steward cleaning locker is located. and our room steward kept his 3 carts outside of our room which would tend to get banged into and hit the wall every now and than. also the room is in line with the lobby to the elevators. so you do get some noise from passengers waiting to use the elevators. but because there are so few passengers in this area the problem was minimal.