Number of Cruises: 5
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Golden Princess
Sailing Date: July 4th, 2004
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
Sailed on the Golden Princess from San Juan. Nine people in four cabins, two families consiting of Mom, Dad, 12 yr boy and 15 yr old girl plus our father. Each Mom and Dad had own cabin, Girls had their own cabin and the boys stayed with Granddad. Granddad and the boys had an outside cabin with a balcony. I thought the cabins were great, plenty of room and lots of closet space. The showers always had plenty of hot water. Princess will provide robes if you request them, very handy. The balcony was great for watching the ship leave port and for a pre-dinner beverage. We had the Southern Caribbean destinations, 5 islands in 7 days.
We were on the Aloha deck which was ideal. One deck down from the pools and the buffet, important if you have kids (especially boys). The pizza and the burger cafes on the Lido deck were very good and we used them quite a bit. Four pools and many hot tubs for your swimming pleasure. One of the pools had a retractable cover which was handy for the rainy day.
Golden Princess is beautiful ship. Even though the ship was full it never seemed crowded.
We had the first seating for dining. It worked out well with the kids. I thought the menus were varied and the cooking quality was quite good. When you ordered a beef rare or medium rare it was actually cooked to your specifications. The breads, soups and deserts were particularly good. Princess hypes the personal choice options on their TV channel, it seemed to be popular. There was a sign during embarkation that all assigned seating for the dinning was full so maybe you had to try it whether you wanted to or not. We did not try any of the specialty dining options; however other passengers thought it was very good.
The girls used the teen program and had fun. The boys were content to swim or watch the cartoon channel later in the evening. When the boys discovered that they could order room service cookies and brownies they were in heaven.
We enjoyed the shows, the juggler was amazing and the other shows were fine. The lounges are very nice in that they do not have any pillars to block your view. The Afternoon Tea was really good, the cookies were delicious. We also attended the wine tasting and enjoyed the wines. I thought the wine list was fairly reasonable and we enjoyed wine with dinner every night.
There was always plenty to do in the evenings. I have cruised with Royal Caribbean and I thought the Princess experience was more sedate. That is not a complaint, just an observation. The piano player, Brendan Jones was very good and he had a good sized crowd every night.
A couple of tips:
Pack a swimsuit in your carry onboard bag. The pools were open all afternoon in San Juan and it made a good way to kill time waiting for your bags to show up. They provide beach towels in the cabins and exchange them every day.
They had signs everywhere regarding carrying alcohol onboard but in practice if it was not in a carry on cardboard box that screamed BOOZE it sailed right thru security. I carried on rum from the Bacardi tour (highly recommended) in San Juan and they never even looked twice.
Unless it was a specialized tour, you can negotiate as good or better deal with the cab drivers in any of the ports. Having said that we did the Southern Tour in the army truck in St Kitts and enjoyed it. We did the Taste of Grenada tour and I would skip it, the description sounded better than the actual tour. On St Thomas we went to Coki Beach on our own and then went shopping. I have added Aruba to my “return for longer visit” list. Beautiful beaches and very nice people. My wife and daughter took the Beach horseback ride tour and enjoyed it. The guys went to Eagle Beach and rode jet skis, which was a blast.
Go down a few days early and stay in San Juan, the island has lots of good places to visit and it gets your vacation off to a good start. We stayed at the Hampton Inn and it is great for families, suites and free breakfast included. If you are adventurous you can ride the buses in PR for 25 cents. It takes a while to get where you are going but you certainly see a lot of the island.
Please email if you have any questions.