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shana 06-02-2008 10:37 AM

Hello, I have booked a cruise to Hawaii on the golden princess and the only vista suite they had left were on the rear of the ship on the dolphin deck room 737 and my question is this a quiet area? Is it a good area on the ship? Does anyone have comments about the vista suite that have been in one before? Any comments appreciated. Shana

f-mattox 06-02-2008 11:14 AM

Hello, shana;

I have not had a Vista Suite but I have been in a mini-suite just a couple of doors down the hall from you; and yes, we found it to be very quiet and pleasant. There is no foot traffiic past your cabin and there are cabins above and below you. And you only have a neighbor on one side.

We love the location; two decks down to the Promenade; three down to the dining room; and it's very close to the aft stairs and elevators which go right to my favorite part of the ship--the Horizon Terrace, with the buffet, pool and Outrigger Bar.

The only noise or vibration we ever noticed was from the thrusters when docking; and that only lasts a couple of minutes.

We went to Hawaii last year (on Island Princess) and really loved it--especially the long, lazy days at sea. Have a wonderful cruise and please stay in touch.


TrvlPro 06-02-2008 11:44 AM

Hi Shana,

My only concern is that in a previous post you mentioned the need for a wheelchair accessible cabin. In looking at the deck plan at your cabin, it does not appear to be HC accessible.

If it turns out not to be suitable, you may want to ask about availability of a suite compatible with your needs. Actually none of the suites I looked at had the designation for HC accessible.

Aloha deck has Cat BB balconies A301,302,303 and 304. Baja deck has B301,302,303 and 304 in Cat BC. Caribe deck has BA balonies C301,302,303 and 304. These are the only HC accessible cabins with a balcony I see on Golden. Perhaps they have suites as well but didn't indicate which ones on the legend of the deck plan.

Cheers, Neil

Dave 06-02-2008 11:47 AM

Well Shana, that didn't take long! You made a great choice. Aft cabins are my favorites since the view from the balcony is better than those along the side of the ship.

As Rick said, since you have cabins above and below you, and you are in a corner, it will be a very quiet area. I've not been in a Vista Suite but a well-traveled friend of mine has, and he enjoyed it immensely.

f-mattox 06-02-2008 12:53 PM

Good point, Neil; I didn't remember shana needing a wheelchair- accessible cabin.

shana, there will certainly be room enough in the suite, but if you are confined to the wheelchair, access to the cabin and bathroom could be a problem.

The last two mini-suites on Dolphin Deck, D732 and D733 are accessible and have the large shower in the bathroom.


Dave 06-02-2008 12:56 PM

But isn't it true that they don't allow the scooters in the cabin? They always leave them in the passageways to charge.

TrvlPro 06-02-2008 01:10 PM

If it's truely a scooter, yes they do charge them outside the cabin unless someone is permanently confined to the chair like some of the power chairs. Then they charge them inside the cabin so they're available if needed through the night. Some modern ships have charging stations in a type of closet on the decks so they're out of the traffic. You just call an ext they provide and they retrieve it for you. My main concern with the suite she's chosen is if a chair will fit through the doorway of the cabin and things like turning radius in the bathroom with grab bars, shower seats and things that may be needed.

Cheers, Neil

shana 06-02-2008 02:44 PM

Wow,thank you all for all your responses. I called the medical cordinator for princess cruiselines and she said I am able to request a shower chair to go in the shower or tub and am able to get a raised toilet seat and wedges for use in the bed since I am in a hospital bed at home, I just have to send in my request about 6 months prior to sailing and they will take care of things but I think my dr. has to fill out some information as well and that's fine. I need to call the cruiselines to check wether the scooter can go in the cabin if not we will also have a collapsable regular wheelchair that we will be taking with but thank you for raising the question as to wether the scooter can get in the room or not, thank goodness I can walk some in the cabin with my cane and get on the balcony with the cane as long as it is not more than a 1 step on to it. I have this cruise on a courtesy hold and have to make partial payment by june 8th so I thought if I can do investigating and find out information from you all to make sure I am asking and doing everything I need to be doing so I so appreciate all of your help and suggestions. Dave, Lol, no it didn't take long cause I was fixed on going to Hawaii granted I did want a 2 bedroom so my snoring mother wouldn't keep me awake, lol, but this suite will be fine with some good earplugs Rick, thank you very much for providing the information about that area of the ship. Neil, thank you so much for checking out the handi-cap accessible areas but the rooms are just not what I wanted since I need a large room to at least be able to use the manual wheelchair when I am to tired to walk with my cane or to weak after a busy day. I am in a electric wheelchair 99.9% of my day at home so if it is able to be in the room I will have it in there otherwise they will have to get it to me when I need it is all. My cruise is booked for Jan. 2010 but I possibly will take a shorter cruise somewhere prior to that cruise. Rick, do they have much lobster or shrimp for meals? Or is there a specialty resteraunt where I can order this? I love both these and being this is my vacation to spoil myself rotten, lol, I thought it would be great to eat my favorites . I am sure I have many more questions coming your way. Thanks, Shana

f-mattox 06-02-2008 03:30 PM

shana, on our last two cruises, which were both 15 days, they served lobster twice in the main dining rooms. They served shrimp twice also, but one of those times was with the lobster. The other time was with filet mignon, or "Surf & Turf", as they call it.

They also had beautiful large shrimp twice in the Horizon Court for buffet lunch (and not the same days it was served for dinner).

Lobster is also one of the entrees available every night in Sabatini's; Sabatini's will spoil you beyond repair. We didn't try Sterling's Steakhouse, but I would imagine the have a steak and shrimp or lobster combo. Hopefully someone else knows for sure. Both restaurants have a cover charge.

Wow! I have this sudden craving for seafood.


f-mattox 06-02-2008 03:47 PM

shana, this was part of the buffet twice during the cruise:

Dave 06-02-2008 03:48 PM

Rick, was that your portion?

TrvlPro 06-02-2008 03:52 PM

Shana, you're getting advice from the right source. Rick cruises Princess regularly and knows the ships and the cruiseline very well. He's the guy I go to when I have questions about Princess too.

I'm glad you are on top of the special needs and be sure you send them in the form they're requesting once you finalize your booking. That will assure they cover all the needs and nothing gets missed. Have a great vacation!

Cheers, Neil

f-mattox 06-02-2008 04:03 PM

Thank you, Neil, for the kind words.

Dave, I did the best I could; but of course I had to save room for dessert.

Dave 06-02-2008 04:13 PM


I had to save room for dessert
Oh man. I'll bet that needed some black coffee to balance out the sugar.

shana 06-02-2008 04:18 PM

O My Gosh, that shrimp has me drooling, lol, I could take the whole upper platter there people would sure stare at me. O I see it's bowls of shrimp that's even better. There is so much to research once you get online and start looking at cruises but at least I have chosen and got a suite now, now I just need to start doing alot of reading to see what to expect and check out things to do while were there, that polynesian place looks neat at one of the ports in Hawaii plus I am looking forward to learning more about what they have to do on board but I bet each ship is different. Rick, how much is a cover charge at Sabatini's or other specialty resteraunts? I am getting so excited and looking forward to talking with you all more. Shana

shana 06-02-2008 04:22 PM

I would love to see more of your pictures from the golden princess and of Hawaii Rick, I don't know if your able to put pictures on here or how you share them with others but would love to see some. Shana

f-mattox 06-02-2008 07:50 PM

shana, I have so many photos I wouldn't know where to start; and this is really more of a chat site than a photo sharing site. I just like to throw one up once in a while when appropriate.

But if you click on one of the photos above it will take you to our Webshots account. We don't have a lot of photos there--just the ones we've posted on different sites; but you are welcome to browse through them. I haven't put up any of Golden Princess yet; but all the large Princess ships are very similar.

You can also go to and in the "search" box type in "Golden Princess Cruise Ship" and you will get lots of photos.

Oh, and the cover charge for Sabatini's was $20.00, but well worth it, at least once or twice during the cruise.


Dave 06-03-2008 06:51 AM

Also note that the extra-fee restaurants (Sabatini's and Sterling Steak House) use reservations and they usually book up quickly, although I'd think it less frantic on a 15 day cruise as opposed to a 7-day. It is wise to make reservations on embarkation day.

shana 06-03-2008 10:19 AM

Thank you, I will be sure to make reservations as soon as we board. Is the steak really tender at the steakhouse? Does anyone know. I have no teeth, lol, and I love steak but it must be very tender. Is the steakhouse worth going to? and what's the difference between the main dining and the specialty resteraunts besides the steakhouse serving steak? This is very exciting learning so much from you regular cruisers. I will go to webshots to check out pictures of the golden princess and Hawaii. Shana

Dave 06-03-2008 11:02 AM

The specialty restaurants are "upscale" with more select ingredients and preparation being more individualized. The main dining rooms are fine, but they are turning out meals for over 2000 people, where the specialty restaurants have a comparative handful of guests. You can get steak in the dining rooms and it is very good, but it is going to be U.S.D.A. Choice grade where the steakhouse will be serving Prime grade.

shana 06-03-2008 03:05 PM

Thank you for the information on specialty resteraunts Dave very much appreciated. I think I will enjoy the specialty resteraunts a few times while I am on-board that's a must. Shana

Dave 06-03-2008 03:19 PM

I found this web page which has menus for both the main dining room and the specialty restaurants. It probably isn't current, but it is close enough to give you an idea of what to expect. It is not a speedy website, so you will need to give it a minute or two to load all the images.

f-mattox 06-04-2008 12:10 AM

That was pretty darn close to the menus we had on Island Princess in April. I can highly recommend the Chilean Sea Bass and the Cold Water Lobster Tail in Sabatini's.

shana, the filet mignon in the dining room could be cut with a fork; you will love it. I am surprised there wasn't a combination with lobster or shrimp in Sterling's. Let's all suggest it to them.


Dwayne 06-04-2008 01:32 AM

I would definitely need a translator for that menu. I haven't had "perfumed" soup yet. It all sounds delicious though.


shana 06-05-2008 05:53 PM


perfumed soup, lol
I am not sure what alot of this food is but boy does some of it make my mouth water so this cruise can't come fast enough, no that's not true because I am learning alot and still am exploring things I might be able to do since I can't do alot of it although I can walk up to about 30 steps with my cane if need be and maybe I can push that more because I really want to go to a excursion on the beach in the evening when they dance and you eat and all that fun stuff but wheelchairs aren't sand friendly so hopefully it's not to far to walk. I read somewhere that princess is cutting out 1 of the ports is this true? As it is on a 15 day cruise to Hawaii you don't get alot of land time so hopefully we keep all they have at this point since my cruise is not til 2010. I have seen some beautiful pictures of the golden princess and am looking forward to cruising her and if I get the chance money wise were going to take a shorter cruise before then somewhere not sure yet but have been looking at the western carribean and hopefully somewhere I am able to participate in some of the excursions. I really want to touch a dolphin but am not able to go waist deep in water but can go thigh higgh so not sure if any of them will make an exception for medical reasons but hopefully they will. Anyone know where there is good shopping in Hawaii for things you wouldn't find in the states? Shana

shana 06-05-2008 05:55 PM

perfumed soup, I don't think I will try that, lol. Shana

f-mattox 06-05-2008 10:47 PM

shana, starting this October, Princess is cutting the round-trip to Hawaii cruise to 14 days and cutting out Kona as a port. Since it is a tendered port, I don't think you will miss it. That leaves Lahaina and possibly Nawiliwili as tendered ports.

When you are able to book shore excursions, read the descriptions very carefully; they are very explicit about what kind of, and how much physical exertion is involved.

I doubt if you have many "Hilo Hatti's" in North Dakota; we have several here in Southern California; and they have all the same stuff you can get in Hawaii. But all your ports will be pretty much the same for shopping. Lahaina is kind of fun for shopping and eating off the ship; several seaside restaurants that are good and have great atmosphere.


shana 06-06-2008 06:40 AM

I was looking forward to going on the exxcursion to the place that has seahorses because I am fascinated by them after seeing them on animalplanet station so that's a bummer but I will live I am sure I will find things of interest at other ports of call. I can do tendered ports as long as it isn't a tiny fishing boat, lol, with assistance. Thanks for letting me know about the change. I will be putting a down payment down today or tommorrow I wonder if they will adjust my price after they change it from a 15 to a 14 day cruise, does anyone know if they will? Shana

shana 06-06-2008 06:45 AM

O we have no Hilo Hatti's here in ND., lol so I will definately have to take a peek in there and will save my major shopping for Lahaina and will definately eat there and will want some names of places closer to the cruise time. Thanks, Rick. Shana

shana 06-06-2008 08:13 AM

I just looked at my itineray and if they take away lahaina all that is left for ports on this 15 day cruise is Hilo, Honalulu, and Kauai, and then ensenada Mexico. I don't know if I like paying 11 thousand something not including airfare or hotel stay yet for only 3 days in Hawaii. The only reason I am really wanting to book this cruise is cause there aren't many roundtrip cruises to Hawaii and leaving a US port and this way I am guaranteed a cruise to Hawaii in 2010.... What would you do? Anybody. Shana

Dave 06-06-2008 08:17 AM

Who said they were cutting Lahaina?

shana 06-06-2008 09:58 AM

O I am sorry, I messed up he said Kona is being cut and I was thinking that was 1 of the ports so my mistake but it still seems like I have very few ports is that the norm? I saw 1 cruise on holland of 09 and it had more ports it stopped in. It seems the price I am paying is awfully high for such few ports am I wrong? Shana

f-mattox 06-06-2008 10:11 AM

That was going to be my next suggestion: take a look at Holland America. They will continue to do 15 day cruises out of San Diego. I didn't mention it earlier because you seemed pretty set on Princess; but I have cruised on HAL once and highly recommend them. The price is a little higher than Princess, but it is money well spent.


Dave 06-06-2008 10:36 AM

The bottom line with cruises to Hawaii from the mainland - it takes a while to get there and you'll never have a lot of stops because of the eight sea days involved, and also because there are only so many ports in Hawaii. You are hitting the four major islands. There really isn't much else the cruise line can do.

shana 06-06-2008 10:55 AM

Rick, I looked at HAL and I like the fact that there is i think 2 more ports and the price is worth it if you get great service and the 2 more ports than princess although I really do like the golden princess but they say limited handi-cap accessible tendering in Lahaina also and I would be very upset to not get to get off at that port and it specifies that on my reservation that I had put on a courtesy hold. Is room vs/d737 that is a suite with a couch and seperate livingroom area right? On the golden princess on the dolphin deck. If I do book this I want to make sure we have a large room since we will be on the ship for so long which I am looking forward to. Shana

Dave 06-06-2008 11:34 AM

Which cruise on HAL are you looking at? The only difference I see is HAL will still stop at Kona but the other ports are the same as with Princess. And trust me - Ensenada is not something I'd look forward to. It is tossed in to make the cruise legal since a foreign flagged ship has to have a foreign stop if it sails from U.S. ports.

f-mattox 06-06-2008 11:46 AM

Shana, Holland America and Princess currently both have the same itinerary--five ports in Hawaii plus Ensenada (the only difference being HAL sails from San Diego); 15 days.

Starting October 1 this year Princess is cutting back to 14 days and eliminating one port--Kona. HAL's itinerary will remain the same.

Yes, you have a hold on a Vista Suite, D737; I have not stayed in one but I have seen them and you will will have plenty of room. The balconies of the aft suites are very large also.

As for Lahaina, rest assured that Princess will do everything humanly possible to get you ashore. I have seen crew members literally lift people in wheelchairs onto the tenders. But you must understand that if the water is choppy or the wind too strong, for your own safety, they may not be able to put you aboard. A ship will occasionally have to miss a port if the conditions are not right. Passenger safety is their number one priority.

But whichever ship you choose, you wil have a wonderful cruise.


shana 06-06-2008 01:18 PM

Thank you both for clearing things up for me and I will double check I thought I had seen a sail on HAL with a stop in a different port than what princess showed but I was probably wrong I am new to all this and want to make sure I have the best trip I can have just in case this is my 1 and only cruise. You both are so helpful so thank you and bare with my dumb questions, lol. Shana

Dave 06-06-2008 01:26 PM


Rest assured, you are not asking dumb questions. We enjoy helping new cruisers, and you have asked good questions and have been receptive to our advice. You'd be surprised at how many people drop by, ask for advice, and then take issue with what we tell them.

shana 06-06-2008 02:05 PM

Thank you Dave, I am glad you guys don't mind me picking away at your brain when it comes to me trying to figure out if I am making the right decisions when it comes to the cruise plus you guys have great first hand experience at this cruise stuff. I can't imagine people taking issue when your just giving suggestions and advice from first hand knowledge, well there loss and you guys have great sense of humor also so you make things fun. I am going to go ahead with my trip on golden princess I think, I will make final decision tommorrow after looking at the HAL website some more but this way I am guaranteed to go to Hawaii in 2010 winter months as I don't see anything in 2010 on HAL yet. Shana

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