We travelled southbound from Whittier on 9th June on the Golden, our fourth cruise and first with Princess.
Whilst I never say never, it would take a lot to get me to book on this ship again, and that possibly says a lot for Princess Cruises. I will separate this from the Princess Land Tour which preceded our cruise, which was fantastic in every way.
Simply, the Golden is an old ship. it has no WOW factor at all, and yes it has all sorts of problems with leaks, sewage and distinctly unpleasant odours in various parts of the ship. Dripping ceilings and buckets underneath were an all too frequent sight.
We had a mini suite stateroom, in all honesty a balcony alone would have been acceptable. We got a bath tub and an extra television, plus admittedly some champagne on embarkation. The extra TV was pointless really, the mini suite didn't offer any more space, so seemed to be of negligible benefit.
The food was probably the most unimpressive I've witnessed in four cruises. Bland food, often served lukewarm, and this was in Bernini and/or Canaletto. Absolutely nothing to write home about, and certainly not memorable. Service was similarly cool most of the time with no personality about the waiting staff, all very much seemingly going through the motions. The first night experience in Canaletto was the worst, the waiting staff very obviously giving off the impression he didn't want to be there at all.
The buffet was functional, nothing more. Average fodder would be being kind to what I saw.
The general "couldn't care less" attitude spread to the security staff. Massive queues were building up to exit the ship on port days, with only one staff member scanning the departees. On previous cruises other lines would have had two or even three people doing this in a much more organised fashion. Disappointing.
We did think the shows in the theatre were pretty good. We certainly enjoyed Steve Moris, despite his bronchitis, whilst the singers and dancers were excellent. The British Invasion show was particularly enjoyable. Equally good was the presence of the Ranger team being on board for the whole day in Glacier Bay. Their presentations and insight added a great deal to the day.
Alaska though was fabulous and in general the weather was fantastic which certainly helped, but I can only hope that the Golden is coming to the end of its life as there are so many better options out there. The ship should be retired, maybe the staff would be more enthused in more impressive surroundings?
I wouldn't describe it as a suite. Comfortable bed yes, but two TV's are unncessary, the balcony was the same size as "balcony" cabins and perceived added benefit of a suite was hard to justify. Decent level of storage space though.
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