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Jim Gunther

Age: 59

Occupation:Executive Recruiter

Number of Cruises: 8

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Golden Princess

Sailing Date: November 28th, 2004

Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

Recently returned from a very nice cruise (11/28-12/5/04) on Golden Princess sailing out of San Juan to Barbados, Antigua, St Lucia, St Martin, and St Thomas.
I just want to post a couple tips and impressions others might profit from. I don’t want/mean this to sound negative because we had a great time. Overall, I would give 4-1/2 stars on a 5 star scale or 85 on a 100 scale.

I wouldn’t book transfers through Princess next time. Our plane was delayed due to bad weather and when we arrived, the transportation people were overwhelmed. It would have been quicker and (for a couple) I think cost of a taxi would have been the same. Returning to the airport on the bus, pretty much, locked us in to getting there too early.

We had a traditional early dining arrangement in the Caneletto Room. Lovely people at our regular table and each of our lunches at the Donatello (or was it Bernini?) Dining Room. Food and service was very good. Not one bad meal. Only miscue was wine service. They had a really tough time finding our bottle each dinner-time. We also had special dinners at the Desert Rose Steak House and Sabatinis and they had a problem finding our wine too. One would think, open bottles would all be kept at a central repository.

As mentioned, we ate at the Special Italian Restaurant and the Steak House and found both of good value. Being from an Italian area, we are spoiled by some of the best Italian Restaurants in the country. We found Sabatini very good, but not, great. Similarly steak was good but not great.

We went to all the shows. Comedian (“Something” Ace) was a hoot. The musical kids at each of the stage shows were really good and energetic. (The first night they used taped music backup  but the other 2 or 3 shows utilized the very competent ships orchestra.)

Only Antigua required tenders and that went O.K. – We did our own taxi tours so can’t say much about Princess arranged deals. Like most ships they seem expensive.

Only downer was wireless Internet access was a real P.I.T.A. I had only a couple e-mails that I HAD to exchange and it seemed few crew people could direct me to the Hot Spot. When I finally logged-on and sent my short note, I was unable to properly log out, so, was charged for the entire 30 minute ration when I only used 5 minutes. Under protest, I had to purchase another 30 minute chunk at $10.50 to send and receive the other small e-mail note.

My REAL complaint, however, is that the Purser’s Desk was very unhelpful. I had to escalate my complaint 3 levels before they gave me a lousy Ten Dollar credit. I really wanted some knowledgeable support. In any event, It’s hard to imagine any hospitality business today that wouldn’t empower their front desk person to make a Ten Dollar adjustment to satisfy a customer.

BTW: I was never able to get more than a –very low- signal. I’m not sure I’d schlep my Laptop again.

We’ve enjoyed Cunard, Carnival, and Celebrity in the past and would rank Princess #1 among that group. Best all time cruise was on the small Clipper Cruise ship but, that’s really an entirely different experience.

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