This was a back to back cruise at the end of the Alaska season for the Golden Princess. We left Vancouver for Ketchikan, back to Vancouver, then sailed on to Victoria and San Francisco in a second 3 day cruise. End of season cruises are the best! After spending months on the Alaska run, the crew was heading to Hawaii and then on to Australia and they were in high spirits. The entertainment crew was able to shed their Alaska lumberjack costumes for Hawaiian shirts. Because these were short cruises (4 day and then 3 day) the schedule was packed with activities. It was a delightful experience on this lovely ship.
The Golden is an older ship with a passenger capacity under 3000. It has been refurbished and was in really excellent condition even after months on the family-packed Alaska itinerary. It has a lovely atrium around which there are numerous restaurants and bars. The lower floor Vines is a favorite and this one did not disappoint with an excellent selection of wines and superior service. Don't miss the wine and chocolate pairing. This level also has the International Cafe that offers a selection of included sandwiches, soup, salads and desserts in addition to a full bar and coffees. Upstairs is Crooners bar that was always busy and featured a good piano player. From Crooners, one wanders toward the back of the ship to the Explorers Lounge with a stage and frequent entertainment then the Wheelhouse bar for quieter enjoyment and finally on to the Vista Lounge.
Centrally located are the Italian Restaurant and Steak House that are available for a small additional charge. Not being red meat fans, we chose the Italian restaurant and found the food and service to be excellent, well worth the extra charge. This ship had a really excellent wine list and we were able to enjoy a favorite bottle of Central California red wine with our dinner at a very reasonable price.
I switched cabins between these two short cruises from a balcony to a mini-suite because a family member joined me for the 3 night cruise to San Francisco. The balcony was a standard, well appointed cabin. I was cruising solo and there was plenty of storage, a very comfortable bed, ample bathroom space, and a large enough balcony to sit and relax and enjoy the sun. For an older ship, it was in very good condition. The mini-suite had a separate sitting area, couch and coffee table. It was very spacious and allowed two of us to have plenty of space. The two large flat screened televisions seemed like overkill. We appreciate that Princess ships include a mini-fridge and usually remove enough of the for-sale beverages to the counter to fit in our own beverages. It worked out fine.