The Golden Princess was in the worst shape we've ever encountered in over 25 years of cruising. Rust was abundant everywhere and railing's varnish was extremely weathered leaving bare wood in many areas. Up on the sports deck the deck covering was torn in several places and was definitely a hazard. The ship went into dry dock in Singapore, but that's no excuse for not properly maintaining it. Also it was difficult to believe it was refurbished in 2015; there were none of the fixes and upgrades Princess normally makes. It almost seemed that this ship was destined to be transferred to P&O, but Princess decided to keep it instead.
We chose this cruise for it's itinerary, unfortunately we were unable to complete it as published. Weather was a factor and crossing the Great Australian Bight was very rough with waves up to 6 meters (18 feet). We suspect there was also some mechanical problems as even in smooth seas we were not able to achieve more than 19 knots. This put the published itinerary at the maximum capability of the ship, leaving no room for error. Crossing the Bight we were forced to reduce speed to 15 knots for a better ride and so we missed the port stop at Margaret River. We also had to leave Freemantle early, a large disappointment. In Bali, a tender port, Princess sub-contracted some of the tender service with a substandard operator, delaying our departure over 2 hours. They were unable to make up the time over the next 2 days and had to adjust our stay in Kuala Lampur accordingly.
The crew was friendly enough and the entertainment was some of the best we've seen. The enrichment speaker was excellent, but the port and excursion briefings were marginal. The menus continue to degrade as Princess is trying to push their specialty restaurants and their new Club Dining option. We ate at both specialty restaurants; the Crown Grill was excellent, but Sabatini's suffered from bad design and location, and a degraded menu. Sabatini's is located right next to the Wheel House Bar and so it's impossible to establish any kind of atmosphere as the bands next door bleed through. The restaurant layout also only allows for one window booth even though there are 3 windows. These problems Princess normally fixes during refurbishment, but failed to do so in this case.
Nice cabin with a large balcony. However, balcony railing varnish was nearly completely peeled off. Also paint chips and rust were abundant. Air conditioning struggled to keep a comfortable temperature. Otherwise the bed was comfortable.
Adelaide is the gateway to the Claire and Barossa Vallies and McLaren Vale wine regions - wonderful experiences await you there. The public transportation is excellent and you can visit the city directly from the pier without any trouble. Renting a car, especially on the weekend, is a little difficult, but possible and worth it.
Outstanding city! Excellent public transit is easy to navigate, inexpensive, and will take you just about anywhere you want to go. Otherwise taxi's are abundant and reasonable. The Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, and Singapore Zoo, are all must see. You can easily spend 3 or 4 days here either pre or post cruise.