This was our first time cruising on a Princess ship and we were very impressed overall. Having sailed with RCCL, HAL MSC and several others over the past 16 years we decided that the crew members on the Golden Princess were the friendliest we have ever encountered. It seemed that each and every crew member we had contact with had a genuine smile and a gracious "hello" for us every time they saw us.
EMBARKATION: This was the only bad part of our entire experience. Leaving from the Poland Terrace dock was a mess. The entire procedure was held in a tent, it was hot and muggy and the process took a long time. There was absolutely no direction from the staff and the lines for checking in and security became intermingled at one point making the process even longer.
THE SHIP: Once onboard we made our way to our cabin which was on the Aloha Deck towards the stern. Even though we were situated towards the rear of the ship, we were surprised that the ship's movement and vibrations were very minimal in our cabin. The ship itself was showing some age but otherwise was very clean and comfortable. There was a very good mix of ages among the passengers on our cruise and everyone we spoke with seemed to be very pleased with their own experiences onboard. One nice feature I'd like to mention which we especially enjoyed was the cell phone service that Princess provided to the cabin areas. It was fun calling our friends back home and more or less "rubbing it in" about the wonderful time we were having.
OUR CABIN: Our cabin was nice, not extremely large but certainly not small, we found it to be very comfortable especially with the balcony. Our Cabin Stewart (Stewardess) MAGDA who hailed from Poland was an absolute angel. Not only did she keep our cabin spotless and well stocked with everything but she was also very well informed on just about everything concerning the ship. She also never failed to let us know when she was about to go off duty and always asked us if there was anything we needed before she left. We would definitely give her 5 Stars for her service and great attitude.
THE FOOD: We primarily ate in the Horizon Court Buffet during our voyage and found the food to be excellent in almost all respects. Even though it was a buffet, it was good enough to deserve a 4 Star rating. Our experience in the dining room was wonderful. Although we had decided to use the "open seating" option we found the wait staff we encountered were very attentive. The food itself was very good and we would give it 4 Stars.
PORTS OF CALL: The ports were very typical for a Western Caribbean cruise, Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. We did not avail ourselves of any on-shore excursions since we were already very familiar with all the ports. In Montego Bay we rented a car, went shopping and visited the Half Moon Resort which is one of my wife's favorite places on the island.
ENTERTAINMENT: I can't comment on the quality or variety of the entertainment in the theatre since we did not attend any of the shows. However, the Atlantis Casino onboard was excellent and again we found the staff to be extremely friendly. One drink waitress in particular named OLEANA from the Ukraine always made us feel at very much at home whenever we patronized the casino. NATALIE from the UK who worked in the cashiers cage also impressed us with her smiles and her questions about how we were doing in the casino that evening.
DISEMBARKATION: We must say that the disembarkation process we was the best we had ever experienced. It was relaxed, smooth, and quick. Even the passengers luggage left in the passageways to be collected on the last night of the cruise were removed almost immediately. On previous cruises we were always left with such a sad feeling (cruisers will understand) as were walked down the passageway from our cabin to go somewhere the last night. Not seeing all that luggage sitting there made the sad feeling of having to leave our ship the following day just a little bit easier to take. It's funny how little things like that do seem to make a difference. Kudos to Princess!
OUR OVERALL EXPERIENCE: On a scale from 1 Star to 5 Stars we would definitely give our experience aboard the Golden Princes a 4 1/2 Star rating and we are very "conservative" when it comes to rating any ship we have sailed on in the past. We would definitely sail on the Golden Princess again in the future and would not hesitate to recommend her to our friends who cruise.
CONTACT US: If anyone wishes to contact us with specific questions about the ship or our experience onboard please feel free to do so. We would enjoy hearing from you. My name is Patrick and my wife's is Patricia. Our e-mail address is NuHomes@aol.com.
HAPPY CRUISING TO ALL!!