by Cruisin' Sue
December 8, 2007
We sailed on the Golden Princess' sister ship, the Diamond, three years ago. While this ship is slightly older, it was very nice and we had a wonderful vacation.
The embarkation process has greatly improved in the last three years. From the time we were standing in front of our taxi at LAX until we were standing in our CABIN on the Golden, only 45 minutes had elasped. It was just terrific.
The cabins are small but nice. They had very adequate storage space for two people. There are lots of drawers and storage shelves, a refrigerator and a safe (we really like that). The bathrooms are small, showers only, but fine for a week cruise.
Although we requested the beds be made into the twin configuration, it was made up as a queen when we arrived. We requested the change and also the egg crate mattress covers and it was changed while we were at the lifeboat drill. I really recommend requesting the egg crates at least three weeks before departure so you can be assured of getting one. There were new mattresses being loaded onto our ship during the cruise, but only a very few, so I know it will take a while to redo the entire ship.
The food was excellent. If you are asked how your meal was, just say "excellent". It is kind of a joke in the dining room where the staff seems disappointed if you use any other term. Our meals were far better than three years ago. A lovely surprise for sure.
We had Anytime dining. That did not work well for us as we wanted a table for two only. You can have a long wait unless you want to join a larger table. The second night out they assigned us a table but we had to eat at 5:45pm. That worked out better than the very late other options we were given.
This was our eighth cruise and the entertainment was the best we have ever seen. Could it be just a "lucky" cruise or has Princess upgraded their entertainment? The production shows were outstanding as was the magician, Gaetano.
We have been on this itinerary four times so did not do any formal shore excursions. We like P.V. the best and found the shopping to be the most reasonable there. We walked into town, about three miles, then back to the Walmart store across from the pier for some last minute items.
Our inside cabin was Baja 625. I MUST WARN ANYONE who has this cabin booked -- we were awakened every night at 4am with noise from the galley. It was bad for about 45 minutes and then we got back to sleep. Two calls to the Purser's office and two chats with both the Captain and one of his crew did not resolve the problem. The odd thing was you could not hear it in the hall, only inside the cabin. I heard other passengers in that general area complain as well.
We had one small issue that we took up with the Purser's office regarding an onboard credit that was promised in writing on three different receipts directly from Princess. I suppose we asked for assistance about six times and provided all three receipts for them to copy. No one ever really took responsibility for resolving the issue so we finally gave up and decided to challenge the charges with Amex when we got home. One lengthy call to Princess reservations did result in a promise of a credit to our credit card which I am still waiting to see on my statement. I am wondering why the Purser's office cannot resolve such an uncomplicated passenger issue.
Those annoyances aside, we had a wonderful cruise and have booked the same itinerary and ship for our family on March 15, 2008. We had friends who were one day behind us on the Vision of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship. We met them in Mazatlan and they were disappointed in their trip. Apparently, it is an older and much smaller ship. I looked at the price and it was a lot cheaper than Princess. Guess you really do get what you pay for!