|# of Nights:|
We cruised on the Golden for our 15th anniversary. We had done the Grand for our 10th and loved it , after having done two previous cruises on Carnival.
Overall our cruise experince was a 9/10.
Princess does embarkation well, once you actually get to the port, but in this case we had done Princess air and transfers, and that was the weak point in our trip. We had to be out of the hotel room at 11am, and meet in the lobby at noon for ship buses. The buses didn't however arrive till 2;30, so that was serveral hours of what could have been "ship time" wasted waiting in the hotel lobby.
Next time we will not do Princess air/transfers. We could have just taken a taxi to the port, but it was an extra 30 dollars( so the hotel staff told us) and we had already paid for the transfers , so we wasted time.
The ship is beautiful, much like the Grand, and we did not notice any wear asnd tear that some cruisers note, of course we didn't particulary look for any.
The pool areas are fabulous, clean, nice lounge chairs with cushion padding, and freshwater pools!
The buffet( Horizon Court) was very good, with many choices , so anyone who couldn't find something they liked is just too finicky! The french toast in the morning was excellant.
We chose PC dining, even though we had booked a year in advance and most likely could have had traditional. We made the right choice!!!! We absolutely loved PC , we enjoy the freedom of going to dinner when WE are ready, not when dinner is ready for us! We sat at large shared tables each night except one night( I was feeling a bit queasy and didn't want to socailize) when we sat at a table for two. We never waited more than 5 or 10 minutes, but we do choose to eat rather early( 6:30 to 7) so perhaps the cruisers who complain about waiting are dining at 7 to 8 which is the " busy time". Our servers were polite and efficent, which is all we ask of them, we are not interested in " bonding " with the staff.
The food was very good, only a few" duds" on the menu, and even then that is more of a personal taste issue.For instance we loved the menu salads , but the ceasar salad which is " always available " was too soggy with dressing for us, and a bit bland. The onion soup is excellant,as was the cheesecake!The lobster was excellant and our waiter brought us a platter heaped high with extra tails for us to have seconds and thirds, which we all did as the tails were small, but very tender and tasty!!
Our cabin was a balcony on the Lido deck(cat Ba) it was lovely( nice having a fridge in there) and we liked being so close to the pools and buffet, but the location on a high deck, right near the front of the ship did make it rather sickning, as we had rough seas the firt two days out.
We have done the Eastern route before, and being " beach folks" we knew what we were going to do. We went to Orient beach on St Marten and had a wonderful afternoon there, we only regret wasting the morning wandering around the crowded little port town, we aren't big shoppers but di get a great deal on some booze.
On St Thomas we screwed up , we went to Magens Bay beach which was way too crowded and had no snorkling, next time we will go to Coki beach or St Johns island.
Princess Cays was great, we snorkled, ate, drank, and basically just had a relaxing day, which is why we cruise. We will certainly cruise Princess again, we loved it, all the staff, even the ones you pass in the hallway are pleasant, they actually smile and say hello for no other reason then the fact they are pleasant!
The shows we saw were fun, Hubby loved the deck party( I was ill that night)
The only blight on the whole experience was the lounge chair hogs that were out in full force. Hubby actually would have to carry chairs to get us two together, and this was on the upper and aft decks, forget the main pool areas, unless you are travelling with a large group of loud obnoxious family or friends who will save ten or more chairs ALL DAY for the two or three persons that would drop by and use them for an hour or two!It was very frustating. There seemed to be at least four or five groups off ten to fifteen cruisers who would basically " bully" their way into the best areas around the pools, often leaving a little granny to guard the chairs, or perhaps two little kids or so!
Oh well enough whining, it was a great trip, and we will definately cruise Princess again!