Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Golden Princess
Sailing Date: August 8th, 2002
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
I would like to tell other possible cruise passengers about the experience my family and I had on our recent cruise on the Golden Princess.
Once we got on the cruise, we were bombarded by people trying to sell us an unlimited amount of soda for $22.50. I was under the impression the soda, about a six cent cost to the cruise line (all from the fountain), was included in the cost of the cruise. The cost of a soda was not included.
When we check into our room, my family met our cabin steward. I found out in the first few minutes that he did not have a great command of the English language. I asked him about any special places I should not miss on the cruise. He told to look in the catalog. He was very good on getting us the things we needed for our stateroom, but that was all he was good at. You could not ask him a lot of questions about the ship. He always met us with a smile and a thank you.
We had a minor problem with our room keys. We went to the purser’s desk to get the keys straightened out. The purser was very helpful. When I asked her where the sports bar was on the ship, she told me that there were four bars on the ship, but she did not know which one was the sports bar. I had to find where the sports bar was on my own. I thought, incorrectly, that the purser should know where thing are on the ship. As it turns out there are at least 10 bars on the ship.
The first night after we set sail, my wife and I went to the Skywalkers' Bar. It was about 11:45PM. Our 15 year old daughter walked up to us. Passengers under the age of 18 are not allowed into the Skywalkers' Bar after 11:00 PM. She told us that she was there with three of her friends all under the age of 18. She told us that she just walked past the two people supposedly checking the age of the passengers going into the bar. They weren't even asked for their ID. A few nights later, she told us that she was in the bar before 11 PM. No one came around after 11 PM to check to see if the passengers were over or under the age of 18. She could stay there as late as she wanted to. Our 15 year old watched one of her 20 year old friends get drinks at the Skywalker’s Bar without the bartender asking for his ID. It was after 11 PM when this happened. I can only suppose that the bartender just assumed that any passengers in the bar after 11PM must be over the age of 21.
After a few nights, my wife and I started to here stories from our 13 year old about how underage kids, 13 to 16, were getting drunk on the ship. On a few occasions, they had to help other teenagers back to their rooms, because they were so drunk they could not walk. There was even one incident when one of the kids was so drunk that they fell off a balcony onto another. If there had not been another balcony underneath, the kid would have fallen into the water. The ship had control over all of the alcohol. If you bring alcohol on the ship, they hold it for you until the last night of the cruise. So the only other place to get alcohol is at the bars. Where are the kids getting the alcohol? I understand that the alcohol sale on the ship is a major profit center for the cruise company.
One night my wife and I decided to go to the midnight buffet. After we got our food, we sat down to eat. A group of twenty kids came roaring into the buffet yelling and screaming. There was NO security around at the time to try to calm the kids down. I know that the ship should not be a babysitter, but there should be some security around to try to stop this at night. The only time I did see security was when we embarked and disembarked the ship. I NEVER saw any security on the ship.
We ate at the Bernini and Donatello restaurants, personal choice seating. The food in the restaurants was good. After a while, it got to be very boring. The service in the restaurants was always good. One night my family and I went to Sabatini's. We had to pay an additional $20 a person to dine there. When our 13 year old daughter wanted to order a cola, they asked to see if she had prepaid for the soda. When you are paying an additional charge to dine, I would think that all non-alcoholic beverages would be included. I don’t know who the brain at Princess cruises that thought this one up. This was just one of the many things that ruined our dining experience that night. The food at times was uneatable. I would not pay the extra $20 for this.
The buffet for breakfast was the best, although the food was almost exactly the same every day. One day we ate at Berninis’ for breakfast. We all agreed that the buffet was better.
If you play craps, the game is very slow at the casino. I had one of the people running the game ask me where the nine was on the table. It takes the crap people a while to figure out the payoffs at the table. It ruins the rhythm of the game. If you do play, just be patient. Vegas this is not.
The three best excursions that we took were at Barbados, the sea turtle snorkel, very fun, the rain forest hike and swim in St. Lucia and the Trunk Bay swim at St. Thomas.
I was told by the purser to call the company to when we got back to tell them about the alcohol drinking by the underage passengers and about the lack of security on the ship. When I called the company, they told me to wait on the phone for twenty or thirty minutes. This is how concerned they are about getting you a better cruise experience.
In conclusion, with all that was right, there was so much more that was wrong with the Golden Princess and Princess cruises in general. I know that you can get to the same island with other cruise companies. My advice is to LOOK ELSWHERE!! This was my first cruise and it may be my last.