Pros: Beautiful, huge new ship. The staff really aims to please.
Cons: Children's programs are a little lacking.
Princess built this 109,000 ton work of art in 2001 and can truly be proud of this masterpiece.
We sailed the Golden Princess is January 2002 completing a 7 night Eastern Carribbean itinerary, stealing this cruise for a mere $499 per person including port charges.
One difference you can immediately notice on Princess ships as opposed to some other cruise lines is how "finished off" everything is. Down to all of the trimwork and the little extras, Princess really puts their money into the ships appearance.
This ship is a super-liner weighing in at 109,000 tons and despite her size, the passenger capacity isonly 2,600 people as opposed to many other 100,000 plus ton superlines that hold over 3,000 passengers. This eliminates the overcrowing that you may find on a lot of other ships her size.
The three story Grand Atrium is the main center of the ship. This is beautifully designed and surrounded with glass elevators and two winding staircases as well as a lovely grand piano.
There are many little intimate areas on this ship where a little peace and quiet can be found.
We booked an inside cabin forward part of the ship on the emerald deck. We found that this cabin was a good pick because we were able to access most everything without walking very far.
The cabins are about average sized (ours was about 165) square feet) and laid out very nicely. Our cabin category was one of the lowest cabin categories on the ship, but still had it's own shower, toilet and sink in a well designed bathroom.
The sleeping area of the cabin is very tastefully decorated and ours had two twins that converted to a queen. It was also furnished with a little sitting area, which was nice. We found that despite the small cabin size, it was easy to maneuver around.
Cabins are equipped with hairdryers and plenty of closet space as well.
This ship has over 60% outside cabins as well, so if that is your choice, you shouldn't have any trouble getting one. Most of the outside cabins have balconies as well. One couple we met had an outside cabin with a balcony, and I must say we were quite jealous. Cabin size was much larger (although this reflected in their cruise price) and they had a a huge balcony.
"Bravo!" Princess has done an excellent job in this department.
Princess prides themselves on their personal choice dining which allows you to dine wherever and whenever you wish. I find this to be a great feature.
There are 3 main dining rooms for the more formal dining option and the menu's are vast and include a wide variety of choices.
Portions are generous, but have more than one if you choose. The dining staff encourages you to try new things and may just bring out some of their own personal favorites for you to try. The dining staff here is most attenative to your needs.
There are also many other options for dining other than the formal dining. The buffet is open most of the time and they also have a pizzeria which serves several types of delicious pizza.
You also have the option to try the Trattoria, for a surcharge of $15. We didn't choose this option, but heard from other guests that this was a wonderful Italian restaurant and was well worth the extra charge.
No the best I have seen at sea, but definately worth watching. They have Broadway-style performances almost every night and many other talents such as singers and other types of performers.
I would say that most of their shows are more geared for adult passenger and although we didn't bring our son, we surely saw that family style entertainment was a little lacking.
There are many opportunities to join right in for a game show or deck game.
They also have the ever-popular bingo and wine tasting as well as art auctions which we found fascinating, although we didn't make a purchase this trip.
As on most 7 night cruises there are two formal nights and this is always one of the highlights of our trip.
UP ON DECK
Hardly ever crowded due to the ship capacity being low for it's size. You can always find a spot to sun yourself and the pool was never crowded. There are 5 pools to choose from and several spas on deck which weren't crowded either.
The deck is well laid out to easily maneuver around and food is just a step away from wherever you are.
The fitness area is rather large and includes a wide variety of equipment. They also have a basketball court, 2 jogging tracks and more spas here.
My only disappointment, is they charge you for almost every little extra in the spa unlike many other cruise ships where you would only pay extra for a massage or treatment.
You even have to pay for their Yoga classes. (I think the fee was $10, but we didn't choose to join in)
A variety of lounges can be found aboard. There is a sport's bar, a Nightclub under the stars and several other lounges such as a dance club and the popular Explorers lounge, where the staff is dressed in Safari outfits.
Of course there is a casino, as on most cruise ships. They offer the traditional table games and plenty of slots. This was one of the bigger cruise ship casinos that I have seen.
Children are not the most welcomed guests on the ship. They do have a Love Boat Childrens program that keeps them entertained during the day as well as after hours babysitting service for $5/hour, but other than that, there is nothing else fun for them to do.
I have heard that sometimes Princess limits the number of children they allow on a ship, which bothers me as a mother, but I guess I can see why. The average passenger is in their 50's or older and I guess they really don't want bothered by them.
Princess has a bit higher class of passenger than some other cruise lines. This ship definately had an older crowd. My husband and I are both early 30's and we felt like teenagers aboard this ship. Average age range is about 40-65 and there were some younger couples, but not many. Very few children were to be seen.
We visited St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Princess Cays on our cruise. I don't really feel the need to go into the ports here for 2 reasons. One being this ship does several different itineries, from many ports, so describing the ports probably wouldn't help most of the people considering this ship and my second reason is that I feel most people are interested in the ship itself and not where it sails to.
I would surely recommend this cruise for couples or older passengers. As far as families with children, I would say this wouldn't be the best choice due to the lack of children't entertainment.
This ship was built to impress and it certainly does that. It was one of the most beautiful ships that I have been on and offers great food, friendly staff, and lots of activities.