First congratulations on your upcoming anniversary; you have selected a wonderful way to celebrate it.
You will not be dissapointed with your choice of Princess either. I have sailed with them for over 30 years and think they do an excellent job in every way.
I would suggest Dawn Princess for two reasons: first is convenience; why travel to L.A. and back when you don't have to. Besides, San Diego Bay is a beautiful port to sailaway from; second, Dawn Princess is smaller, more intimate, and easier to find your way around on--it is better suited to a first-time cruiser. It is every bit as elegant as Golden Princess; it just dosen't have as many lounges, restaurants, or passengers. All other things being equal, I would rather sail on Dawn Princess.
But there is really no "wrong" choice here; either ship will make a believer of you.
Different opinion here....
If you are considering a balcony cabin those on the Golden are much better than on the Dawn. A balcony on the Dawn is cut out of the hull and thus your view is more like looking out a glassless window and the lower part is solid metal. On the Golden the balcony is wide open with total view even through the lower plexi glass type wall. Look at pictures of both ships.
A larger ship will have more activites and the possibilty of more cruisers in your age bracket. There will also be a better chance that you will find more activites and more music to your liking.
We have cruised on the Dawn several times and it is a nice ship but if I could choose between the two it would be a "Grand Class" rather than a "Sun Class" ship.
It will be a great cruise on either ship.
Star Princess - Dec. 2007-Rome- TA
Crown Princess- May 2008 TA & Baltics
Pacific Princess-Nov. 2008-Holy Land & Egypt
Diamond Princess- Apr. 2009 Asia- Bangkok to Whittier
Sea Princess-2005 Canada/New England
Diamond Princess- 2005 Mexican Riviera
Star Princess- 2004 x2 Med. Venice to Barcelona/ Barcelona to Rome
Dawn Princess - 2004 x3- Southern Caribbean
Grand Princess- 2003 x2 W.Caribbean/ 2004 Panama
Sun Princess- 2003 Mexico
Tahitian Princess- 2003 Tahiti & Cook Islands
Royal Princess- 2003 x2- British Isles / Norwegian Fjords & Iceland
Island Princess- 2003 Panama Canal / 2007 Hawaii
Sky Princess- 2000 China & Orient
Sitmar's Fairwind - 1979 x2- Caribbean/Panama Canal
HAL-Amsterdam- 2004 Alaska
HAL Ryndam - 2001 x 2- S. America
Viking Spirit/Pride -2006 Budapest to Amsterdam
This being your first cruise you can't go wrong with either vessel. Living in San Diego will give you the convience of catching the ship there in the Harbor at the foot of Broadway. You could take the trolley to the Broadway station and walk to the terminal if you didn't want to pay for parking or have some one drop you off and pick you up. Choosing the Dawn Princess also has a distinct advantage, you will spend 10 hours in Cabo as opposed to 6 on the Golden. And you last 2 days will be at sea. And you get 14 hours in Puerto Vallarta as opposed to 10 on the Golden. For the money and convience I would definetly choose the Dawn.