With much anticipation, we were finally on our long awaited cruise to Hawaii. We stayed the night in San Pedro where we had a park and sail deal and took their complimentary shuttle to the ship where embarkation was smooth and fast.
We had a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck and the cabin was fabulous, what a treat to have a larger bathroom and sitting area! Although we knew that this deck is uncovered and can be viewed from above, we didn't realize how much we would miss our privacy (the lady above us commented on our breakfast each morning!). It also got soaked during a few rain showers...but was a large and mostly sunny balcony. We made the best of it but would trade down to a smaller cabin for a covered, private balcony!
The service on the ship was excellent and the food was very good, from the dining room to the buffet to the room service. Food is subjective but we're easy to please in that area, and having said that, we enjoyed it all. The seas were a little rough the first few days out of LA but was smooth sailing after that except for a few showers, and then mostly sunny skies. The ports were wonderful, we took some tours and did some adventuring on our own....it was our first time to Hawaii and we enjoyed every minute of it.
Now for the negative. We've been on the Golden twice before an although it isn't our favorite ship we were looking forward to seeing the improvements after the dry dock renovations, particuarly the MUTS system which we thought would be great. And yes, Movies under the Stars IS a great idea....however, Movies under the Sun is really a really bad idea. It looked to us that it was a babysitter or just a poor replacement for the expense of pool entertainment. Like others, our favorite sea day thing to do is hang around the main pool, watching the corny pool games, enjoying the bands and having fun with friends. Not on this ship. There were maybe 10 minutes of pool games everyday, no fun bands except a short daily dose of a depressed Hawaiian 'band'. The movies played all the time (Gidget Goes Hawaiian...three times!) and comatose passengers everywhere in loungers of which a few actually shushed anyone who talked. Hardly anyone used the pool but maybe they were afraid to make any noise! Also, we were told that major sport events would be broadcast on the MUTS screen, and we did enjoy Monday Night Football...but they failed to broadcast the World Series and we heard quite a few angry passengers complaining. Funny, they said the satellite was down but everyone could get it on their cabin tv's.
The Golden is a beautiful ship but after a dozen cruises on different cruise lines, this was the first that we considered to be dull. We knew that this would be an older crowd, (we're in our mid-50's) but we even overheard several 70 year olds complain that it was a bit boring. Princess seems to have gone a little overboard (no pun intended) on the tranquil side...with the new spas and mellow music. Too bad.
Would we go on this cruise again? In a heartbeat...as soon as we find a livelier ship.
We didn't book a tour at this port, thinking that we would explore on our own which was a mistake. It's an industrial port with nothing nearby, and with long lines for cabs...we took the shuttle which only delivered us to a shopping area and back so we really didn't get to see much of the island....I highly recommend making definite plans or booking a tour!
We took the Pearl Harbor tour which was incredible and then a long tour through the mountains and city highlights. We usually don't care for bus tours but this one was fun and interesting, not to mention the beautiful scenery and upbeat guide. Wonderful!
Took the tubing trip which was great. We were driven into the back country by fun and interesting guides and had a blast on the tubing trip....two thumbs up! Since this was a morning tour, we had the afternoon to explore on our own. There's a trolley from the ship to the village and beaches...we had an excellent time!
Lahaina is a beautiful port town with all the touristy things within walking distance, the harbor, beaches, shopping and really good restaurants and pubs, and that beautiful huge banyon tree. So much to do...submarine tours, surfing lesson...everything close to the dock. Wonderful port!