I just wanted to post a brief review of our cruise on the Golden Princess on April 3 - April 10, 2005. It was our first cruise. We cruised to the Southern Caribbean to Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Martin, and St. Thomas.
EMBARKATION - This process only took about 20 minutes. Once we tagged our luggage and it was taken we waited in line for a very short time. We checked in and received our room keys, went through security and were on the ship in no time flat.
CABIN - We were in cabin C709 (Caribe deck - 10), with a balcony. The cabin was very clean and we were completely satisfied with it throughout the week. Our Stewart, (JayJay) was wonderful and fully attentive to our needs.
THE SHIP - the Golden Princess is a very large ship. The day of departure, after we had a wonderful lunch, my wife and I explored the ship to acquaint ourselves with this beautiful vessel. I highly recommend that you explore the ship to get a feel for it.
FOOD - We thought the food was absolutely wonderful. You never go hungry, not with 24 hour room service, and a buffet that is also open 24 hours a day. We ate at two specialty restaurants - The Desert Rose (Steak House), and Sabitini's (Italian). The food was great at both, however at Sabitini's be prepared to spend two hours eating, because there are so many courses to eat you have to take your time and enjoy it. The other nights we altered between Donatello's and Bernini's. The menus are pretty much the same, but we switched night to night. We never had a dinner at the buffet. All the restaurants had excellent service with a staff that catered to your needs and wants, an example being, one night my wife could not decide between two deserts, so the waiter brought her a couple to choose from. That was great. The grill by the main pool was unreal. They had the best pizza I have ever eaten. I am from the Philadelphia area where there are more pizza places then you can imagine and the pizza on the ship was better than any in our area. They also had great hot dogs and hamburgers (not cheap patties).
We bought the Soda-Card for $25/each, which allowed you to drink all the soda that you want. I was not crazy about buying the cards, but it worked out well. I guess it is a personal choice as to whether or not you want to pay $1.50 per soda or by the unlimited card.
THE EXCURSIONS - we did three excursions:
- BARBODOS - We did the Snorkeling with the Sea Turtles and Ship Wreck. It was a lot of fun and worth the price. - ST. LUCIA - we did the Whale and Dolphin watch. It was really a waste of money, did not see anything. I know they can't guarantee that you see a Whale of Dolphin, but looking back, our money would have been better spent on a different excursion. - ANTIGUA - we did not do any excursions, we walked around the shopping district and took in the town. - ST. MAARTEN - again we did not do any excursions, but preferred to take in the town, Phillipsburg - Dutch Side, which was very interesting and colorful. Lots of jewelry shops. Cheapest liquor prices in the Caribbean. - ST. THOMAS - We took an excursion to St. John 's Island where we did the Island Tour. After we took a 45 minute boat ride from St. Thomas to St. John's we boarded an open-air bus which toured the island with the tour guide stopping at several locations to give us the history of the island. We also stopped at one of the beautiful beaches (Cinnamon beach) for approximately one-half hour.
If I had to choose on excursion again, I would probably do Island Tours on all the islands rather that snorkeling, etc. If you are visiting an island for the first time, looking back, we feel that a tour of the island would have been better.
DISEMBARKATION - This process is very organized by Princess. They disembark you based on your airline departure time, so if you have an early flight, they with put you in one of the early departure groups.
One other point, we flew into San Juan on the day of departure on US Airlines out of Philadelphia. We had absolutely no problems with US Air. Our flight was at 8:30am Eastern, arrived at 12:30 and spent the day exploring the ship. The only thing I would do different, would be to leave a day earlier which would give us a day to see San Juan, I think we missed out on an opportunity to see Old San Juan.
Overall, we feel that Princess did a great job and we really enjoyed the cruise.