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Princess Cruises: Golden Princess

Golden Princess Review

The second ship introduced to Princess Cruises’ Grand-class in 2001, Golden Princess was essentially a twin of Grand Princess before the latter received a major overhaul in 2011. Less extensive renovations of Golden Princess have added many of the cruise line’s most popular signature elements, including Movies Under the Stars and The Sanctuary.

When Grand Princess was introduced as the world's largest cruise ship in 1998, futuristic Skywalker's Disco hovered approximately 150 feet above the waterline, but in a dramatic—and fuel saving—transformation, it was removed from Grand Princess in 2011 and replaced with a more conventional nightclub in the heart of the ship. Subsequent ships did not have the same design problem, so there are no plans on the drawing board to remove Skywalker’s.

All Grand-class vessels have more than 700 staterooms that included private balconies. Like their predecessors, the interiors of Grand-class ships have splashy glamour in the sweeping staircases and marble-floor atriums. Surprisingly intimate for such large ships, human scale in public lounges is achieved by judicious placement of furniture as unobtrusive room dividers. The 300-square-foot Times Square–style LED screens that hover over the pools show up to seven movies or events daily.

Princess Cruises may be best known for introducing cruise travel to millions of viewers, when its flagship became the setting for The Love Boat television series in 1977. Since that heady time of small-screen stardom, the Princess fleet has grown both in the number and size of ships. Although most are large in scale, Princess vessels manage to create the illusion of intimacy through the use of color and decor in understated yet lovely public rooms graced by multimillion-dollar art collections.

Princess has also become more flexible; Personal Choice Cruising offers alternatives for open seating dining (when you wish and with whom you please) and entertainment options as diverse as those found in resorts ashore.

Lovely chapels or the wide-open decks are equally romantic settings for weddings at sea with the captain officiating.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • Skywalker's Disco on Golden Princess and Star Princess is virtually deserted during the day, when it's the ideal quiet spot to watch the sea
  • Self-service passenger laundry rooms have ironing stations
  • The nautical Wheelhouse Bar is a Princess tradition for cocktails and dancing

Cons

  • Sports bars get jam-packed—and stuffy—when big games are on
  • Accommodations aft and above the Vista lounge are noisy when bands crank up the volume
  • Minisuites don’t include the perks offered to full suites
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 1,100
  • Entered Service 2001
  • Gross Tons 109,000
  • Length 951 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,300
  • Passenger Capacity 2,600
  • Width 118 feet
  • New

May 3, 2017

Review of Golden Princess

Richard Age: 71 Occupation:retired Number of Cruises: 8 Cruise Line: Princess Ship: Golden Princess Sailing Date: 2014-09-30 Itinerary: Los Angeles to Ensenada Enjoyable short get away cruise but very disappointed in 1st cruise on Princess. RCCL and Celebrity much better. I even remember Carnival was better. Average food, desserts were good. Anytime dining and buffet a ZOO. Balcony room was smaller than we have had on other lines. RCCL & Celebrity

much better. Smoking limited to certain areas of ship but at times I couldn't sit out on balcony due to marijuana smell blowing back. From now on I want cabin in front part of ship Entertainment was good. Carnival & Princess lines only short getaway cruises out of L.A. If I was taking another long cruise I would stay away from Princess. We had no other choice but anytime dining when we booked cruise. Over an hour wait for average food. Buffet small & crowded compared to other ships I've been on. Embarkation and debarkation at L.A. was easy & smooth, ships personnel friendly for most part, entertainment was good. We enjoyed cruise for just a 4 day get away in spite of dining, but if we go on another short cruise like this I would go with very low expectations & hope for better. Would NOT book a long cruise on Princess. Celebrity is best of 4 cruise lines I've been on.

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Sep 29, 2014

Los Angeles to Ensenada

Enjoyable short get away cruise but very disappointed in 1st cruise on Princess. RCCL and Celebrity much better. I even remember Carnival was better. Average food, desserts were good. Anytime dining and buffet a ZOO. Balcony room was smaller than we have had on other lines. RCCL & Celebrity much better. Smoking limited to certain areas of ship but at times I couldn't sit out on balcony due to marijuana smell blowing back. From now

on I want cabin in front part of ship Entertainment was good. Carnival & Princess lines only short getaway cruises out of L.A. If I was taking another long cruise I would stay away from Princess. We had no other choice but anytime dining when we booked cruise. Over an hour wait for average food. Buffet small & crowded compared to other ships I've been on. Embarkation and debarkation at L.A. was easy & smooth, ships personnel friendly for most part, entertainment was good. We enjoyed cruise for just a 4 day get away in spite of dining, but if we go on another short cruise like this I would go with very low expectations & hope for better. Would NOT book a long cruise on Princess. Celebrity is best of 4 cruise lines I've been on.

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  • New

Jul 7, 2013

Alaska

Overall, not a bad cruise. This was my first with Princess, so wasn't sure what to expect. Compared to Royal Caribbean, I think I like Royal Caribbean better, since that tends to be a more upbeat type of atmosphere. This cruise seemed to be a little more laid back than Royal Caribbean. On the flip side, there were some things I liked about Princess. The first is the muster stations are all in lounges, so you can actually sit down, as opposed

to being out on the deck for 15-20 minutes. It's also nice that they only do photos in the dining rooms on formal nights, as opposed to every night. For the Alaskan itineraries, the onboard naturalist, Kathy was good. She seemed very knowledgeable, and pointed out lots of fascinating things on our route. I do wish the Princess Patter (the newsletter) would have done a better job of promoting her shows in the theatre, as I missed one of them I wanted to see, since I didn't see it listed. Food overall was good. I didn't think it was anything to rave about, until I got to the last couple nights, which was the lobster tail and jumbo prawns. Those were excellent, as were the mussels on the last night. A good selection of food, but the service was slow for breakfast that first morning, but they turned it around by the end of the cruise. I mainly went to the buffet for breakfast, except for that first morning. I had an inside stateroom on the baja deck, two floors down from the Lido Deck. Staterooms are on the decks directly above and below, so there was no noise at night, except for the kids running on the same deck. I didn't feel like I was too cramped, either. The shower seemed more spacious than Royal Caribbean's inside rooms, which is another plus for Princess compared to RCI. There was one instance where my toilet didn't flush one morning, but that was quickly resolved within one hour. Not sure when the problem first occurred, as it was fine the night before. I noticed it around 8:15-8:30, and by 9:30 after I got back from breakfast, it was fixed. It didn't seem like there were than many activities to choose from compared to Royal Caribbean. As I mentioned in the open, this seemed more scaled back than Royal Caribbean. I still found activities that interested me, mainly the bingo sessions. Also, it seemed that for the Movies Under the Stars, the Princess Patter was often wrong, as the movie didn't show when it was supposed to. In Skagway, definitely try to do the White Pass and Yukon railroad at least up to the Klondike Summit. This was a great experience, as was the horseback riding excursion in Skagway if you like that type of thing. You may want to wait until you get to Juneau to decide what you want to do there, depending on what the weather is like. It was raining when we were there, and I booked a whale watching excursion. Most tours in Alaska go rain or shine, so keep that in mind if you go. If you do go to a port on a holiday, I would recommend booking a ship's tour, so you don't have to worry about missing the ship. Example, we were in Skagway on the 4th of July, and on our way back to the ship after the morning horseback ride (there was another one in the afternoon), the driver said it took her 10 minutes to find a way through town back to the dock, where it usually only takes her under a minute. A good vacation, and loved the scenery, especially the mountains and Tracy Arm Fjord. Only thing I would say is do some research so you know what to expect weather wise. We had only one really rainy day in Juneau, which can be expected there. We got lucky in Ketchikan, with a sunny day, as there's less than 30 of those a year from what I was told by Kathy, our onboard naturalist. Not a bad trip overall, and not too bad that I wouldn't book Princess again, but I think I prefer Royal Caribbean.

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May 11, 2013

Coastal cruise from la to vancouver

I took my grand kids and daughters to disneyland And cruised back to van. Our boarding was quick, the ship was great, our Steward Dennis was wonderful. It was a great 3 days I did find the maitrd's officious and Some of the waiters not as engaging. The food was great, there was enough to keep Us busy. The 9 yr old enjoyed the kids club All three kids liked the pool and shows. I would sail The princess again. The food was good.

Every evening a different Choice. The 24 hr coffee shop was great With their pastrys and sandwiches. We opted for 2 inside cabins. Lots of room for 3 to share. On a longer trip I would Consider an ocean view and possibly a balcony. There was enough to keep us busy all the time. No excursions all at sea Very enjoyable. Daughters and grand kids first time Cruising.

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Nov 11, 2012

Alaska

Can't wait to head back! We plan on repeating the exact same cruise, as everything was just so perfect and gorgeous. Worth every penny. Princess Cruises Review: Golden Princess: Our ship was in excellent condition, and the crew was constantly working to repaint outside surfaces, and keep everything clean. We had anytime dining, and definitely loved it. There were plenty of seats indoor and out, and it was rarely too cold to sit outside.

That being said, we had perfect weather every day of the trip in mid-August, a truly rare occurrence in Alaska! The crew was wonderful, helpful, and friendly. The food was good, plenty of variety. Don't be deterred by those reviews bashing the food. Princess has the best food of any cruise line: not an opinion, a fact. Definitely get a balcony: you won't want to miss seeing the glaciers from your bed. The only downside is that if you don't book your excursions online at least a week before the embarkation, then you have to book them on the ship. We missed out on a few things we wanted to do, but really enjoyed what we did anyway. Juneau Excursion: Mendenhall Glacier Rafting This was a wonderful excursion. We were transported to the glacier lake, and given suits and boots to protect our clothes from any splashes. Our guide steered the raft, and we were able to touch actual icebergs in the lake, even ripping chunks off and tasting the fresh ice! There were some light rapids, nothing dangerous or too rough, but enough to make the ride exciting in spots. Our guide gave us plenty of interesting information about the area. We also were handed cups and encouraged to try the glacier water, so clean and delicious! Definitely an experience to remember. Juneau Excursion: Evening Whale Watching Amazing! You may not see whales from the cruise ship, so a separate excursion is recommended if you are hoping to see whales. We saw plenty of huge, gorgeous humpback whales, and at a very close distance, an incredible experience! Skagway Excursion: Rock Climbing A great time, with great guides. All levels of expertise are welcomed, as you are able to move at your own pace. Skagway Excursion: Dog Mushing Camp This was by far the best excursion we went on in Alaska, and the best excursion I have done on any cruise trip. While everything in Alaska was gorgeous and amazing, this excursion was truly off-the-charts. My boyfriend and I chose this because I am a huge dog lover, but this trip isn't just about dogs. You are picked up at your port, told about the area from an experienced guide, then transferred to an all-terrain open air vehicle which drives you literally vertical up a mountain side. This in itself was a wonderful tour--but we weren't even 1/2 way through with the excursion! Up the mountain, you are greeted by dog mushers, and groups of 16 dogs, all ready to go! It is very exciting, as the dogs are happy to see you, and love their work so can't wait to pull you off. You sit down in a large golf-cart type vehicle and away you go! The dogs are excellent, and respond with a word from the instructor, who is at the back of the vehicle during the ride. Tip: sit in the front seat for the best ride! After a thrilling ride, you are taken back down to the camp, where you are able to visit, hold, and kiss the puppies as much as you want. There is also a fascinating lecture about the history of the Iditarod. The best part of this excursion was definitely the guides. In many of the ports, college students from the continental U.S. come up during their summers to work in the tourist industry. Therefore, you don't get a sense of the real "Alaskan" from their tours. These guides, however, are in it to train with the dogs, and are much more knowledgeable and invested. A truly wonderful tour. I can't wait to get back to Alaska and do it again! Ketchikan Excursion: Kart Adventure A great ride. Be careful when they say "if you break it, you buy it” since they mean it! Victoria Excursion: We went to a few local pubs and talked with some older Canadians. Make sure you're back on ship on time--they WILL leave without you!

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