I just returned from my first Princess cruise and wanted to share my experience. I have sailed on RCCL Majesty and Voyager in the past 4 years and was looking forward to Princess.
Ship - The Golden Princess is only 3 years old but it looked aged and just plain dull decor. The cabin was a good size, not any larger than RCCL outside cabin except it had lots of closet space. The activities on board were adequate and nightly shows were fair, certainly not your Vegas shows like on the RCCL. There were problems with the equipment so 2 nights the show was stopped in the middle. The bingo board also did not work a few times which became a joke after while. Not much to do on the ship and the stores were limited not to mention boring. The purser desk service was very bad and half the time the information was incorrect. We go back in the line to another purser and get different information.
Food - We did any time dining so we could eat when we want and that was the great. I strongly recommend you make reservation for dinner in the dining room, and other restaurants. The Desert Rose steak house has really good food and excellent service. The cover charge is $15.00 per person and worth every dime. Julianne from Bulgaria was our waiter and by far the best I have ever had. We requested to be seated in his area another night when we ate at the Desert Rose. The dining room food was OK but my husband found the service was too slow so most of the time we ate at the buffet. Anyone who likes to eat late, Golden Princess does not offer much except room service, because everything else was closed by 10:00 pm. The coke card is $22.50 and you only need one per family, unless you have a very large family. We purchased 2 but realized after it was not necessary so same yourself the money and only get one.
Tours – The ports were San Juan, St. Thomas, Dominica, Barbados, Margarita Island and Aruba. We decided to do the Atlantis Submarine tour in St. Thomas and the Jeep Safari tour in Margarita Island through the cruise. All other ports we did independent tours at the pier and shopping. For Margarita Island, do a tour through the cruise because everything is far from the pier and most locals don’t speak English.
Disembarkment – The worst I ever experience. We requested different colour labels because I was concerned about our flight which left at 1:50 p.m. The pursuer desk refuse to change the labels and said that everyone will be off the cruise by 10:00 a.m. so there won’t be a problem with the flight. At 11:40 we were still on the cruise so we decided to just walk off with everyone else and if they ask tell them I’m sick and have to leave. To our surprise, no one checked our colour labels and by the time we got to the airport it was 45 minutes before the flight.
Overall Experience – We certainly prefer RCCL to Princess any day. I would sail with Princess again if they are going to ports that interest me but RCCL would be my first choice.
You claimed there was no where to eat after ten. That is incorrect, the buffet is open( bistro style dining ) ALL NIGHT.
As for disembarkation, it sure took you a long time to get to the airport. We had a 11:50 flight and we disembarked and were at the airport at 10. What was the delay, I would agree that arriving 45 minutes before your flight was cutting it close, there had to have been a problem.
Thank you for your opinions. I am sorry that your Princess cruise wasn't what you had expected. Please know that Princess and RCCL are two completely different cruise lines, and to compare them head to head is like trying to compare apples to oranges.
You are totally correct that RCCL shows are definately more Las Vegas style, that's what they are supposed to be. Princess style is more towards the Broadway Review type shows. Both are very good, just different.
Princess ships are more like resort hotels they have a casual elegance about them that permeates everything about the ship.
RCCL and the Voyager Class ships especially are more like Las Vegas.
Also your disembarkation problems are not the norm for Princess. Princess is very efficient getting passengers off the ships, there had to be a problem that you weren't aware of that caused the delay.
Keep and open mind, try something new , different and exciting.
Thanks for the info. We had to make a choice between RCCL's Radiance and Princess. It was a hard one, but due to the itinerary available plus some of the research I did here on Cruisemates, we chose Radiance. The more I hear, I'm glad we did. We were very pleased w/our 1st cruise a few yrs.ago on RCCL and I don't see us ever changing. It's a great feeling when you're spending that much money to feel you've made the right choice!
I know some people are just as sold on Princess-my parents love it-it's just personal preference in the end.
I just got off the Caribbean Princess and had a wonderful time with the best staff and crew I have ever met. Plus we got 2 extra days at sea because of the storms and they went out of there way to make sure everything went well for us. A cruise is what you make of it...relax!
I won't comment on your experience as you were there and I was not. I will comment on your stating that you only need one "Coke Card" unless you have a large family. Hello, it is one coke card per person, otherwise I believe it is called "stealing". When we cruise on Princess we buy one for every member who is drinking soft drinks. It is well worth the money and you don't have to covertly exchange 1 card to get several drinks. If I am wrong someone in the know correct me.