Number of Cruises: 26
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Golden Princess
Sailing Date: December 14th, 2003
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
This is our 26th cruise. My
husband is 62 and I am 56. This is our first on Princess. Our last 5
cruises have been on Celebrity.
Very smooth embarkation, we were on the ship within 45 minutes. Luggage arrived 2 hours later. Fastest ever. One very annoying and unexpected glitch, we were stopped at security because we had a bottle of alcohol in our carry on luggage. This also happened to many people we later found out. When we told the official this was the first time in 26 cruises that this had ever happened he noted our cabin number, we had to sign something and he let us take it on board. We were on Caribe deck, lovely balcony cabin and very friendly room steward. Nice touch, there is a decent sized empty refrigerator for your use in the cabin. The bathroom was very tiny. Lots of closet space for hanging clothes. We chose alternate dining and had about a 15 minute wait. Food was good but a far cry from Celebrity.
At sea. Room steward gave us 2 towels for the pool, very unusual as there are no towels at the poolside. So once the towel is wet you have to bring a wet towel back to your room and leave it on the floor. You can request extra pool towels but you have to ultimately bring them back to your room. This was a first for us.
Had breakfast at the Horizon buffet. There are no trays so you cannot get a drink and food at the same time as you need to be a juggler. The set up of the food line was very poor. People were going in every direction trying to juggle their food, very disorganized and a recipe for dropping food. However the food was decent, again not up to Celebrity standards, no omelet station, juices were already poured in glasses and warm, smoked salmon was only available by request and unless you happened to see someone with a plate of salmon you would never have known that they even had any salmon. They were very stingy with the portions of salmon that they gave out (like gold dust!). This created some very irate campers.
The day at sea was lovely with the exception of the constant hawking of drinks by the swarm of bar personnel. We were constantly interrupted by waiters trying to sell us drinks. Very annoying. The drinks served at the various bars throughout the ship are very meager and expensive. The wine list at dinner is reasonable, no logic to this.
Captain’s cocktail party
was very well done, we had a choice of drinks, champagne or wine and
canapés. This cocktail party was far superior to Celebrity, who has
changed their party to an after dinner desert and champagne. Dined in
alternate dining, had a very experienced and pleasant waiter and
assistant. Had filet mignon and it was excellent. Went to the show after
dinner. Typical average cruise entertainment.
At sea. Learning the system in the Horizon buffet, go during off peak hours. If you want a deck chair in the general pool area, get there before 10am. Tried the pizza today, it was excellent, thin crust, well cooked which we like. Far better than other cruise line pizza which we found to be always undercooked. Today smoked salmon appeared in the Horizon buffet and it continued until the end of the cruise.
St Maarten. Good day of shopping, dinner was excellent, did alternate dining and had the same waiter. Contributed to the casino! Casino smelled exceptionally smoky!
St Thomas. Much like day 4. We took the Kon Tiki tour, average at best. Alternate dining, same waiter. Dinner was excellent had rack of lamb with real mint sauce, Celebrity only had mint jelly.
At sea. Wonderful weather, everything is continuing very nicely. Alternate dining, twin lobster tails were served, they were excellent.
Princess Cays, their private beach. We were tendered in to the beach. Well organized, very pretty location with plenty of beach chairs, bars, music, water sports and a large barbecue courtesy of princess. The water sports were extra. Unfortunately this was the first cloudy day and cool temperatures prevented us from trying them out. If you want some quiet on the beach go over the little bridge to the right as most of the crowds go to the left.
Disembarkation. We were off the ship by 8.45am. They were very well organized. We would advise you to get a porter to clear customs, made it very easy.
Overall we were very happy with the cruise once we learned the system. On board we booked 2 more cruises with Princess in the coming year. No one ship will make everybody 100% happy, Princess compares favorably with Celebrity in almost every area except their smoking policy which allows people to smoke anything anywhere while on open deck. Celebrity divides their ships in half. One side is smoking and one side is non smoking a very easy policy to live with.