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.