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This ship is in dire need of retirement. Embarkation and disembarkation: Boarding the ship went well - no problems here. Disembarkation was also fine until the staff member went to scan our room cards as we were leaving the ship and they had already been deactivated. We then had to queue at a separate desk and check out manually. That was not great. Ship: Dated, in dire need of repairs. I exited my room one evening to find face towels laying in the corridor. I thought someone had spilled a cup of tea or something but it was actually the roof leaking god-knows-what. There was also some sort of issue in the day spa area. It seemed that water from the adjoining pool area overflowed into the spa area saturating the carpet. A large blower fan was brought up to try and dry it out but the stink from wet carpet was intolerable. Smelt like rotting garbage. Everything just looked a bit tired. It's no wonder the thing is being sold off. Stateroom: I had to book an interior room as I was cruising with two other couples (who had nice looking balcony and mini suite rooms) and couldn't afford a balcony room on my own. Once I finally got into my room (the door handle jams and I had to try 4 or 5 times most times to get into my room) the room itself - other than being very old and dated - was fine. HOWEVER - it was located right next to the engine room (B537). Upon booking this room and noticing on the map that it was next to empty space, I just assumed it was a linen closet or similar storage area. How wrong was I! The entire cruise was interrupted with the clanging of pipes (think coke bottle lid flicking around in an aircon vent) from the engine area plus the hum of the engine itself. It was awful and made it difficult to sleep! I reported it and nothing was done. I also lost TV reception every time we docked at a port. Not a huge drama but I enjoy watching a bit of telly before going to sleep and unless I wanted to watch nothing but ship channels (endless ads), there wasn't much to enjoy here. The bed was also in need of replacement - the mattress was uncomfortable as were the pillows that just flattened out as soon as you laid on them. I also struggled at times to get the onboard wifi signal so that I could communicate with my friends on board and make plans to meet etc. There were two USA electrical outlets that were placed so close together that I could never plug in any more than one device at a time. I could have requested a power board but I just made do. Dining: The entire reason I agreed to do a cruise was for the food. My friend and I had done a Carnival cruise last year and the food was absolutely outstanding (specialty restaurant in particular). So, you can imagine my disappointment when the food on the old Golden was really just very average indeed - including the specialty options. The dining room options for breakfast were also very limited in comparison to the Carnival. Most of the food is stuff I would/could have made at home. The Crown Grill had far too many seafood options. I can't eat seafood and was left with only a single option per section of the menu (except for mains). This was greatly disappointing. The lamb chops I ordered also came with a couple of spoons of mint sauce straight from a supermarket jar (see, very average) and the salt options, while a nice touch, were offered in their original plastic supermarket containers making the whole experience very mediocre. Our experience on Carnival was absolutely 5 star so this was a huge fall from grace. We also ate at the Italian specialty restaurant, Sabatini's. Again - nothing to write home about. I have better Italian at my local restaurant here. My friend and I had also done the Chef's Table while on the Carnival cruise. It was organised ahead of time and we simply called up and booked in (additional charge but was absolutely well worth it). Once we boarded the Golden, we immediately went to the service desk to request a Chef's Table booking. I was put on the phone to someone organising the event to be told that they weren't sure if/when the evening was going to happen and that it depended on interest. There were thousands of passengers on board - surely at least 10 people would be keen (they already had us 3 at the counter wanting to book!). The whole thing seemed very disorganised and half-hearted. I was then told that I wouldn't be able to participate because I didn't like seafood (not allergic and I stressed that to the lady on the phone) and they weren't prepared to make any adjustments (Carnival did, and without any problems). I asked her what the menu consisted of; if it was just a couple of dishes with seafood, I could happily give those to my friends. She couldn't tell me - just kept directing me to a head waiter at the dining room. I asked for the menu at the dining room and it never came. The organisers then decided to have the Chef's Table evening on the shore day (normally a sea day) and my friends then had to cancel as we had already booked a late lunch at a fantastic restaurant in Port Lincoln (Line and Label!). Very disappointing. The buffet options seemed fine - pretty standard - but I didn't book a cruise to eat at Sizzler every night. The main dining room food seemed fine (the service was excellent) but I ordered steak from the Crown Grill each night we ate there so didn't actually try it myself. My friends seemed to like it though. The steaks from the Grill were ok - again, nothing to really write home about. In summary - the food is very average so don't get too excited. Entertainment: This seemed pretty stock standard. Not really our thing anyway so hard to comment. We saw a few shows that were good - comedian, dancing, food show... Service: This was pretty standard in most respects. The dining room staff were great as were the bar staff. Ports and excursions: We unfortunately missed our Kangaroo Island stop due to bushfire closures. I was also annoyed by the penguin tour at Phillip Island. The ship's excursion was booked out (and really expensive!) so I decided to get my own way there. I knew the last tender back to the ship was 10pm. The penguins don't typically show (in summer) until around 8.30pm or later. I booked a taxi to take me back to the jetty at 9pm as I knew I might have to wait for the cab as the island was really busy that weekend with other events happening. I got to watch the penguins for about 15 mins before making my way back to the main entrance for my taxi. There were a lot of passengers who had done the same thing. We all arrived back at the tender in plenty of time - around 9.30pm. The official tour didn't bother turning up until well after 10pm and we finally made it back to the ship at around 11pm - when we were due to sail. If we'd have known how lax they were with time expectations, the rest of us could have enjoyed ourselves a little more. No one was impressed with this. Day spa: Well and truly overpriced for what it was. My friend and I purchased a 30 min foot spa treatment. 15 mins of it was us literally sitting with our feet in warm water - we joked about this ahead of time and then the staff member actually told us we'd just soak for 15 mins. We nearly died. It cost us $80 each. We love visiting day spas and decided instead to book a package while we were in Adelaide. It was fantastic and much better value than the spa on board. I recommend looking into places you can visit while ashore. Passengers: It was clear that we were not the standard demographic for this cruise. I think Princess must cater for a much older clientele - approximately 60/70 or older. Not a huge deal but it also then affects the sorts of entertainment on board. There was A LOT of Love Boat stuff. We are all in our late 30's/early 40's and it was just a tad too sedate for us (not that we're party animals). The Sanctuary (adults only retreat): This was one of the only redeeming qualities of this ship. This area - while it costs extra - was well worth the expense. It was so quiet (we were often the only people in there) and anything you wanted was brought to you. Included in your fee were baked goods, lovely snacks, tea, coffee, citrus water, very comfy sunbeds that were made up with towels etc. This was delightful! In summary - I wouldn't book with Princess again if this is the typical standard and I certainly wouldn't be booking this ship! Stay away from anything mid ship that looks like it's near an empty closet or space! Book a nice resort somewhere instead - much better value and flexibility to come and go as you please and eat where you like. This will be the last cruise I ever do.

Take your money elsewhere!

Golden Princess Cruise Review by emptycar

Trip Details
This ship is in dire need of retirement.

Embarkation and disembarkation: Boarding the ship went well - no problems here. Disembarkation was also fine until the staff member went to scan our room cards as we were leaving the ship and they had already been deactivated. We then had to queue at a separate desk and check out manually. That was not great.

Ship: Dated, in dire need of repairs. I exited my room one evening to find face towels laying in the corridor. I thought someone had spilled a cup of tea or something but it was actually the roof leaking god-knows-what. There was also some sort of issue in the day spa area. It seemed that water from the adjoining pool area overflowed into the spa area saturating the carpet. A large blower fan was brought up to try and dry it out but the stink from wet carpet was intolerable. Smelt like rotting garbage. Everything just looked a bit tired. It's no wonder the thing is being sold off.

Stateroom: I had to book an interior room as I was cruising with two other couples (who had nice looking balcony and mini suite rooms) and couldn't afford a balcony room on my own. Once I finally got into my room (the door handle jams and I had to try 4 or 5 times most times to get into my room) the room itself - other than being very old and dated - was fine. HOWEVER - it was located right next to the engine room (B537). Upon booking this room and noticing on the map that it was next to empty space, I just assumed it was a linen closet or similar storage area. How wrong was I! The entire cruise was interrupted with the clanging of pipes (think coke bottle lid flicking around in an aircon vent) from the engine area plus the hum of the engine itself. It was awful and made it difficult to sleep! I reported it and nothing was done. I also lost TV reception every time we docked at a port. Not a huge drama but I enjoy watching a bit of telly before going to sleep and unless I wanted to watch nothing but ship channels (endless ads), there wasn't much to enjoy here. The bed was also in need of replacement - the mattress was uncomfortable as were the pillows that just flattened out as soon as you laid on them. I also struggled at times to get the onboard wifi signal so that I could communicate with my friends on board and make plans to meet etc. There were two USA electrical outlets that were placed so close together that I could never plug in any more than one device at a time. I could have requested a power board but I just made do.

Dining: The entire reason I agreed to do a cruise was for the food. My friend and I had done a Carnival cruise last year and the food was absolutely outstanding (specialty restaurant in particular). So, you can imagine my disappointment when the food on the old Golden was really just very average indeed - including the specialty options. The dining room options for breakfast were also very limited in comparison to the Carnival. Most of the food is stuff I would/could have made at home. The Crown Grill had far too many seafood options. I can't eat seafood and was left with only a single option per section of the menu (except for mains). This was greatly disappointing. The lamb chops I ordered also came with a couple of spoons of mint sauce straight from a supermarket jar (see, very average) and the salt options, while a nice touch, were offered in their original plastic supermarket containers making the whole experience very mediocre. Our experience on Carnival was absolutely 5 star so this was a huge fall from grace. We also ate at the Italian specialty restaurant, Sabatini's. Again - nothing to write home about. I have better Italian at my local restaurant here. My friend and I had also done the Chef's Table while on the Carnival cruise. It was organised ahead of time and we simply called up and booked in (additional charge but was absolutely well worth it). Once we boarded the Golden, we immediately went to the service desk to request a Chef's Table booking. I was put on the phone to someone organising the event to be told that they weren't sure if/when the evening was going to happen and that it depended on interest. There were thousands of passengers on board - surely at least 10 people would be keen (they already had us 3 at the counter wanting to book!). The whole thing seemed very disorganised and half-hearted. I was then told that I wouldn't be able to participate because I didn't like seafood (not allergic and I stressed that to the lady on the phone) and they weren't prepared to make any adjustments (Carnival did, and without any problems). I asked her what the menu consisted of; if it was just a couple of dishes with seafood, I could happily give those to my friends. She couldn't tell me - just kept directing me to a head waiter at the dining room. I asked for the menu at the dining room and it never came. The organisers then decided to have the Chef's Table evening on the shore day (normally a sea day) and my friends then had to cancel as we had already booked a late lunch at a fantastic restaurant in Port Lincoln (Line and Label!). Very disappointing. The buffet options seemed fine - pretty standard - but I didn't book a cruise to eat at Sizzler every night. The main dining room food seemed fine (the service was excellent) but I ordered steak from the Crown Grill each night we ate there so didn't actually try it myself. My friends seemed to like it though. The steaks from the Grill were ok - again, nothing to really write home about. In summary - the food is very average so don't get too excited.

Entertainment: This seemed pretty stock standard. Not really our thing anyway so hard to comment. We saw a few shows that were good - comedian, dancing, food show...

Service: This was pretty standard in most respects. The dining room staff were great as were the bar staff.

Ports and excursions: We unfortunately missed our Kangaroo Island stop due to bushfire closures. I was also annoyed by the penguin tour at Phillip Island. The ship's excursion was booked out (and really expensive!) so I decided to get my own way there. I knew the last tender back to the ship was 10pm. The penguins don't typically show (in summer) until around 8.30pm or later. I booked a taxi to take me back to the jetty at 9pm as I knew I might have to wait for the cab as the island was really busy that weekend with other events happening. I got to watch the penguins for about 15 mins before making my way back to the main entrance for my taxi. There were a lot of passengers who had done the same thing. We all arrived back at the tender in plenty of time - around 9.30pm. The official tour didn't bother turning up until well after 10pm and we finally made it back to the ship at around 11pm - when we were due to sail. If we'd have known how lax they were with time expectations, the rest of us could have enjoyed ourselves a little more. No one was impressed with this.

Day spa: Well and truly overpriced for what it was. My friend and I purchased a 30 min foot spa treatment. 15 mins of it was us literally sitting with our feet in warm water - we joked about this ahead of time and then the staff member actually told us we'd just soak for 15 mins. We nearly died. It cost us $80 each. We love visiting day spas and decided instead to book a package while we were in Adelaide. It was fantastic and much better value than the spa on board. I recommend looking into places you can visit while ashore.

Passengers: It was clear that we were not the standard demographic for this cruise. I think Princess must cater for a much older clientele - approximately 60/70 or older. Not a huge deal but it also then affects the sorts of entertainment on board. There was A LOT of Love Boat stuff. We are all in our late 30's/early 40's and it was just a tad too sedate for us (not that we're party animals).

The Sanctuary (adults only retreat): This was one of the only redeeming qualities of this ship. This area - while it costs extra - was well worth the expense. It was so quiet (we were often the only people in there) and anything you wanted was brought to you. Included in your fee were baked goods, lovely snacks, tea, coffee, citrus water, very comfy sunbeds that were made up with towels etc. This was delightful!

In summary - I wouldn't book with Princess again if this is the typical standard and I certainly wouldn't be booking this ship! Stay away from anything mid ship that looks like it's near an empty closet or space! Book a nice resort somewhere instead - much better value and flexibility to come and go as you please and eat where you like. This will be the last cruise I ever do.
emptycar’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin IB
Stateroom: I had to book an interior room as I was cruising with two other couples (who had nice looking balcony and mini suite rooms) and couldn't afford a balcony room on my own. Once I finally got into my room (the door handle jams and I had to try 4 or 5 times most times to get into my room) the room itself - other than being very old and dated - was fine. HOWEVER - it was located right next to the engine room (B537). Upon booking this room and noticing on the map that it was next to empty space, I just assumed it was a linen closet or similar storage area. How wrong was I! The entire cruise was interrupted with the clanging of pipes (think coke bottle lid flicking around in an aircon vent) from the engine area plus the hum of the engine itself. It was awful and made it difficult to sleep! I reported it and nothing was done. I also lost TV reception every time we docked at a port. Not a huge drama but I enjoy watching a bit of telly before going to sleep and unless I wanted to watch nothing but ship channels (endless ads), there wasn't much to enjoy here. The bed was also in need of replacement - the mattress was uncomfortable as were the pillows that just flattened out as soon as you laid on them. I also struggled at times to get the onboard wifi signal so that I could communicate with my friends on board and make plans to meet etc. There were two USA electrical outlets that were placed so close together that I could never plug in any more than one device at a time. I could have requested a power board but I just made do.
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