Boarded in Yokohama. Took the Princess transfer from the airport. Confusion at the terminal. Boarded about 12:45 pm. Our luggage arrived very quickly. We went to the dining room for lunch (per recommendation) as it is a lot less crowded than the Horizon Court on embarkation day. Staff will not tell you this. It is open until 1:30 pm.
Ship: The ship is just out of dry dock. She looks well but still has some issues. Temperature is uneven on ship. Freezing in some areas especially the Horizon Court. Some plumbing issues. International Cafe is very crowded. 15 minute wait for coffee at times. Vines has very good service. Look for Dragan and Aris. They are exceptional and extremely hardworking. Also have tapas for free such as sushi (on Japan cruise). Sabatini’s was updated on the dry dock and has the new menu. Skywalker’s still there.
Cabin: We had a mini suite on the Dolphin deck. The new Princess beds are very nice. The sofa in our cabin also looked new. Carpet in good shape. The first day we only had hot water but a plumber was sent to fix this. Flat screen TV’s installed in cabins but no on demand movies. Toilet not functioning one evening but fixed promptly. Talked to people on our deck who were in staterooms that were really cold. Plumbing issues for others.
Dining: This was the biggest area of contention for us. A lot of people unhappy the first night. There was a problem with our table which I won’t go into. It was resolved somewhat the next day. We had long waits between courses and have noticed this since club class dining was introduced. Food quality in dining room has gone downhill in my opinion. I think sometimes the Horizon Grill is a better choice. No, you won’t go hungry but it is about a decline in quality. Some chicken dishes such as coq au vin had some very grizzly meat and steak Diane needed a hatchet. The best meal we had in the dining room was chateaubriand. Our wait staff were very nice.
Princess singers and dancers put on a good show.
Enjoyed enrichment lectures. For those going to Alaska we had some very good programs. I think the park rangers come on in Alaska and do an excellent job. We disembarked in Whittier and if you have the chance to drive from Whittier to Anchorage it is truly beautiful.
Do not care for the time change of one hour forward at noon instead of during the night.
Did not enjoy that so many people were coughing on the ship. I know that the flu was onboard from someone that caught it. There really is not much that Princess can do. It’s an honor system signing a form that you are not sick and some people have paid and are just going to go. There are washbasins on the entries to Horizon Court as well as purell. We both came back with colds.
We went to Alaska on the Golden in 2014. I think she is a fine ship if they iron out the plumbing and temperature controls problems. If you have an Alaskan cruise coming up you should be fine. Issues like the crowding in the International Cafe and Piazza should not be such a problem on a 7 day cruise. We were on for 16 days and seven of these days were at sea. I very much enjoy that the Golden still has Skywalkers which is great for Alaska and also some very nice staff. We enjoyed seeing Japan and this was a good way to do it.
Nice mini suite. Deck larger than the newer ships but open as on Dolphin deck.