Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Golden Princess
Sailing Date: July 25th, 2004
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
Our cruise on the Golden Princess was our first ocean cruise. Previously, we sailed with Uniworld on a trip down the Volga River. The Golden Princess seemed gigantic and held over 2000 people. The ship was full but except for the first day at sea, never seemed overly crowded, and lounge chairs were fairly easy to find. I would guess that the average age of the passengers were late thirties to early forties. We did not pre book any shore trips and found our own. I would say we saved about 20% by doing so.
Here are some of our positive impressions:
The ship was very clean and seemed to be kept in great shape. The staterooms were comfortably sized, and as we were on the Aloha deck, had a nice balcony. The extra light and view were worth the cost. The crew members were pleasant and helpful, but a bit reserved. They seemed to be a mixture of people from the Philippines as well as from Eastern Europe, especially Poland and Romania.
Embarkation and Disembarkation in San Juan went very smoothly and did not take very long. We stopped in Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas. We especially enjoyed the Turtle swim in Barbados, Island tour of St. Lucia, and Sting Ray City in Antigua. Cokie Beach in St. Thomas had great snorkeling right off the shore! The Divi Divi beach in St. Maarten was beautiful and chairs and an umbrella could be rented for a reasonable cost.
Here are some of our negative impressions:
The mattresses were very uncomfortable and quite cheaply made. My sister in law was able to get an “egg crate” placed on top, but that shouldn’t have to be the case.
The food varied from very good to unacceptable. We had to send back fish twice. The Mahi Mahi was very fishy tasting and my portion of the Tilapia seemed almost spoiled. My wife’s Tilapia was delicious, so quality control seems to be a problem. Service in the dining room was inconsistent. The lunch buffet seemed only of cafeteria quality, and not a lot of variation as the week went on. Fortunately, they had a pizza counter and hamburger stand.
Some of the rooms in the Aloha deck reverberated with a “clunking” noise every morning at around 7:00am. Apparently the crew were placing chairs in position by the pool but dropping them into place as they did so.
The shows varied from fair to excellent. The juggler was good…up until he injured his knee on the last day of the cruise. The illusionist was “full of himself” and in my opinion lacked a polished approach to his show. The ship dancers and singers were quite good and seemed to try very hard to put on a good show.
I believe that you create your own enjoyment, and my wife and I had a great time, along with her sister and brother in law. However, we all felt that we would be reluctant to cruise with Princess again. Actually, most of the people we spoke to who traveled with Royal Caribbean or Disney in the past, felt the same way. The Golden Princess experience was pleasant enough but the negative points would compel us to try another Cruise line in the future.