Hi Catherine... Welcome Aboard the Turkey Day express! Glad to have you to join us!
I've been on both the Golden and the Miilennium. Millie being one of my all time favorites.
The Golden is a lovely ship, though there were a couple of things about her layout that I personally didn't care for. To my view, her biggest PLUS is the 24 hr Horizon Court. No limited hours of availibility like Celebrity.
She has two, alternative/surcharge restaurants... Sabitini's (Italian) and Dessert Rose (southwestern). I didn't try either, but had eaten in Sabitini's on the Grand, and didn't find it anything special. Certainly would not compare to the Olympic on the Millie.
We too have decided to give Personal Choice a try. There are 3 dining rooms onboard; one is for traditional dining set times. For Personal Choice you can go to either of the other two any time you chose, during dining hours.
If you happen to find a table and service team that you like it is possible to establish a set reservation for the remainder of the cruise in that section, at a time of your choosing (supposedly). Think that only works if the time you choose is not a "peak" dining time.
Hope this is of some help, and look forward to meeting you onboard.
Congrats on booking Golden for Thanksgiving! I can't wait to meet you. I, too, have done both Golden and Millie. And Millie is still my all time favorite ship. I agree with Kuki's assessment about the layout of Golden. We tried the Desert Rose for lunch one day on Golden. It was nice, but I wouldn't do it for dinner. I'm not a big southwestern food fan. One thing I can assure you of is that being a part of the CruiseMates group will make your cruise memorable. I sailed on Golden for New Years with the CruiseMates group. And although the ship isn't my favoriate ship, the cruise was one of my favorites because of all the great folks.
Mary Lou Scanlon
NCL Pride of America April 24, 2010
NCL Epic February 12, 2011
RCCL Allure of the Seas - September 18, 2011
Celebrity Eclipse - February 11, 2012:
RCCL Navigator OTS - February 9, 2013
Glad to hear you are coming along Cathrine. I've never been on the Golden before, but it sounds nice and the cruise mates group will make it very special. I am really looking forward to meeting everybody.
I was on Mille for my first cruise-(nice way to start out.)
Our second cruise was on Princess Dawn this past spring. I thought the service and food on Mille was just a little better. Not to much of a difference though.
I wish the balcony was more private for the mini suites on Golden, but that is my only concern about the ship. We could have gone with the balcony room where the chances of having a more private balcony are better, but decided to stick with the suite anyway.
For now we have early traditional seating for dinner, but we are thinking about doing the personal choice.
I like the Golden best. Although huge, (oh, how you will walk!), each of the public spaces seems uncrowded and comfortable. The only night I remember a perceivable crowd was the Captain's Dinner night.
PC, in my opinion, is the only way to go. Eat where and when and with whom you wish. I've never enjoyed a ship experience more. Tipping is figured on a per day basis which is charged to your card and you don't have to worry about it at all--so much easier. However, if you wish to alter the set amount, just visit the purser's desk and it can be adjusted up, down of off altogether, so it's not mandatory. For extra tipping, i.e. the room steward, just stop at any of the bars and tell them how much you want to tip. They will print up a gift check which the employee can cash later. This would also apply to any other employee that you wished to reward. No more messing with those miserable envelopes, etc.
Sabatini's on the Golden is a real experience. We ate both a brunch and a dinner and I enjoyed the brunch the most. Wonderful food. The dinner was wonderful food also, but it just never stopped. Ended with the most wonderful HUGE lobster tail.
We were on the Golden last Thanksgiving. We had a great time. I enjoyed eating at Sabatini's but my partner wasn't as impressed.
We had 2nd seating but are booked on the Golden again for October and went with PC dining this time (since the traditional dining was already waitlisted). The last time, we had requested a table for 6 or 8 and were assigned a table for 4 without anyone else.
How does the Golden compare to Celebrity's Millie (in respect to service, food, etc.)?
I meet some folks who think Princess is slightly better and some folks who think Celebrity is sligthly better in these areas. Overall, it seems to be a matter of personal preference and tastes.
On Princess, the staff will do everything within their power to fulfill any reasonable request from a passenger. If you like something prepared a certain way or you would like a paticular dish on a certain evening, it probably will happen if you make a timely request (which might mean a day in advance to allow time to break out the ingredients and to prepare the item).
We chose Personal Choice, but can someone explain what exactly it is. I know it means that we don't have an assigned dinner time, but do you still eat in the same dining room?
Well, not in the [i] same [/i[ dining room. All of Princess's new ships have at least two main dining rooms, but all main dining rooms serve the same dinner menu. Only one main dining room usually opens for breakfast and lunch, on an "open seating" basis. With Princess's introduction of "Personal Choice Dining" on these ships, at least one main dining room retains "Traditional Dining" with assigned tables for early and main seatings. The other dining room(s) offer "Anytime Dining" that operates like a restaurant ashore. If you have "Anytime Dining," you may either make a reservation for a specific time (as you might at a restaurant ashore) or dine on a "walk in" basis at any time during the dinner hours. Princess also regards the alternative restaurants and the "sucker" restaurants as part of the "Personal Choice Dining" program.
How do you tip with PC?
Princess has shifted to an automatic tipping policy. The purser's desk will add $10 per passenger per day to your stateroom account to cover tips for your cabin steward and the dining staff. The purser's staff will adjust this amount either upward or downward upon request.
If you have either traditional dining or a standing dinner reservation for the entire cruise and you prefer to tip in the traditional way, you may ask the purser's staff to eliminate the automatic tip and obtain tip envelopes.
Are there any restaurants onboard that you have to pay to eat there? I know the Millie had one restaurant that you had to make reservations, and it was an additional charge.
Yes, there are two "sucker" restaurants aboard MV Golden Princess -- Sabatini's Trattoria (Italian, $15 per person surcharge) and The Desert Rose (Southwestern, $8 per person surcharge).
MV Golden Princess also has a free alternative restaurant on the Lido Deck. The Horizon Court serves a dinner buffet in the early evening and a bistro menu in the later evening. The bistro menu is available until 4:00 AM, when the Horizon Court offers a continental breakfast buffet on the buffet line until the full breakfast buffet opens at 6:00 AM.
BTW, there are two additional options for lunch. The pizzeria and the grill, both located at the forward end of the pool area, are open throughout the afternoon. The pizza at the pizzeria is exceptionally good.
I'm on the T-time cruise, too and looking forward to it. I've sailed with Princess but not on the newer ships so I absolutely cannot wait.
I keep reading alot about the Golden so I am anxious to see for myself! I was on the Celebrity Summit in May and was not overly impressed with the ship. The food was a little better than say Princess or RCI but not enough that I would sail only with Celebrity. The restrictions in the buffet area were really annoying!
I've always been a major Princess fan and because everyone raves about Celebrity, I thought I'd give them a try. I'm still a major Princess fan as they really aim to please. I would sail with Celebrity if a group were going maybe but the itinerary would have to be wonderful.
Looking forward to meeting you on the T-time cruise! Susie