First time on Princess---a few questions for those of you who've sailed on the Golden Princess:
--How is the storage in the inside cabins? We're looking at a 12-day and don't want to spring for a balcony since we're in ports every day but one...but sometimes the storage in insides isn't very substantial.
--How are the specialty restaurants? Is tea served on port afternoons, or all afternoons?
--I understand these grand-class ships have movie nights on deck--how often do these take place? We're not drinkers or gamblers (a cruise line's revenue nightmare--but we do spend $ at the restaurants) and I love the idea of catching a flick topside at night.
--Is there much deck space? I'm pretty sure the constant blaring of the big screen is going to bug us; are there quiet place on deck where we can get away from that?
--How would you rate Princess' entertainment compared to other lines?
And, for those who've sailed this or similar Princess ships on European routes, how is the passenger mix by nationality? We really enjoy being with a multinational crowd rather than with all Americans--can we count on a good mix on a Mediterranean itinerary?
Hi Droopy :
I've sailed on both the Grand last year for 17 days and Golden this past May for 14 days.
These were trans-atlantic, so we opted for mini-suite verandas.
Storage was fine.
I'm not sure about the inside cabin storage.
But, I'd venture to say, it's limited.
We decline to use the Specialty restaurants.
Food in the dining rooms was varied and excellent.
I was told that the Steak house was no great improvement over the dining room steak fare.
Tea is available 24/7 on deck 12.
None is served at a tea time.
MUTS were not installed on the Grand nor the Golden when we sailed.
Deck space is more than adequate.
I'd rate the entertainment better than Celebrity.
Food was fairly equal.
Service is by far better on Celebrity!
The show troop was exceptional.
Some individual acts were flops....
There was a fair number of Euros & Asians, but I'd count on 75% Americans.
Please can you advise -
Can you take your own wine into dinner and just pay a corkage charge?
If so when should you take it in, the night before or when you go down to dinner?
What ice cream is available during the day, free or otherwise?
Do you think its worth trying breakfast in the dining room?
Any other musts or must nots that we should be aware of.
yes you can take your own bottle of wine to dinner with you and pay the corkage fee. If you want your wine chilled then take it to the dining room in the afternoon, give it to the Maitre D , he will take care of everything. I like to take my bottle of wine to the dining room in advance and have it served to me at my table.
Ice Cream is included during lunch hours at Horizon Court buffet and at dinner
Breakfast in the dining room is a nice treat, eggs and egg dishes are better in the dining room over the buffet.
Storage space in an interior is at a premium. Hang up as much as you can in the closet, ask for more hangers, hang clothes tight together. Store your suitcases under the bed.
Was on the 6/1 sailing of Western European Capitols...Sterling Steakhouse was 15.00 p/p, Sabatini's 20 p/p. The food was good, not excellent in the Steakhouse, service poor - we had to walk to a bar outside the restaurant to get drinks. The Steakhouse is in the location where they usually have the Desert Rose Mexican Restaurant when sailing in the Caribbean. Having been on Carnival Glory and eating in their specialty restaurant, Princess can't compare. The experience as a whole was much better on Carnival - much more formal, much better service and much better food. For this reason, we did not choose to eat in Sabitini's.
While speaking of Golden Princess, the food was good, but personally just a notch below Carnival's. If you eat from the Horizon's buffet at midnight, much of the food is dried up - you can definitely tell (for example, the pasta) some of the food had been there since dinner started at 5pm. They even keep a bowl of sauce behind the dish, where I suppose a cook is supposed to replenish to keep it looking and tasting fresh, but this rarely happened. You know how pasta sticks together after it dries out? I did like the idea of Personal Choice dining in the dining rooms where you can eat from 6-10, you choose the time. Allowed for flexibility.
Embarkation was a mess, waited just over 1 hour in line. Disembarkation, however, was very smooth.
Time in most ports was an issue, whereas on some days you felt rushed.
The ship was rather boring, but probably to be expected on a European Cruise. The average age onboard was between 55 and 60.
Rooms smaller than Carnival - had a balcony cabin A420 - the bathroom is pitiful, no counter space and the shower seems smaller than those on Carnival. Also, very limited drawer space, but plenty of closet space for clothes hanging.
One last thing, Carnival chose to charge a 8 dollar and change additional port charge (I can't remember what port). On that particular day, they did advise you in the Princess Patter (which is the daily newspaper with scheduled events for the day), however, my feeling is they should have eaten this cost because they did not advise you of this prior to the cruise. I'm certain it's in their terms and conditions...but, just left a bad taste. Ok, I know it's only 8 bucks.
Wait I'm not done, the drinks on Princess appeared to be somewhat cheaper than on Carnival, however, be prepared as on Princess they push doubles and triples almost every time you order a drink, which of course drives up the price. I don't ever recall this happening on the 12 Carnival cruises I have been on.
I did not enjoy their broadway style shows at all - Carnival has much better entertainment. Their entertainers on this particular Princess ship appear to be very ammature and really not one of them stood out. Most of their shows were held in the Vista Lounge - probably because once you sit down in the large Princess Theatre there is barely any walking room to leave the theatre within the aisles. If you have to go to the Princess Theatre and you sit in the "lower bowl" choose an end seat or you'll have a hard time leaving the theater if you do not like the show. In addition, they can't sell drinks in the Princess Theatre because the servers cannot walk within the aisles- much easier to do in the lounge.
The Golden Princess was very clean - probably cleaner than most Carnival ships and I noticed that attention to detail was greater on this ship. Servers picking up dirty dishes much more frequent than on Carnival ships, etc.
One thing I did notice on this ship is the tension amongst the crew. On a few occasions, I saw arguments between bar staff and even one day saw a senior officer chewing out a bar staff member because champagne was not ready for a wedding party. Additionally, I witnessed a bar manager scolding an employee for being late. All this could/should have taken place behind the scenes, although it was entertaining.
If you or your kids look forward to the towel animals, forget about it - Princess doesn't do it!
Overall, the cruise was good and I would do it again, but I do favor the Carnival product over Princess. I am certain they will begin to adopt different philosophies from each other as Carnival is now a major owner of the Princess line.
oh and don't forget that the pools and spas on Princess are open 24/7 and that they are freshwater not saltwater like other lines.
Skywalker's Disco is a great place to go during the day to relax, read and watch the scenery go by.
The show bands play in Explorer's Lounge - this gets to be a really hopping place with good dance bands, fun and games with the crew.
the Wheelhouse Bar is a more subdued place, nice comfy leather couches and chairs to relax with a drink before dinner or after dinner, there is a band, usually a 2 or 3 piece band that plays mostly easy-listening music - there is dancing.
The comedians are usually in the Vista Lounge
The Princess Theatre is the main show lounge with the evening production shows. Princess doesn't do the glitzy Las Vegasy type shows, more on the lines of musicals and revues.
Neptune's Reef Pool is the main pool with all the daily goings on. The pizza by the pool is very good as are the hot dogs and hamburgers.
The swim-against the current pool is very small and not crowded at all.
Interesting comparison between the Carnival Glory and Golden Princess! I've sailed both and didn't get that take at all but everyone sees things differently!
Princess has alot of pluses going for it! I love the light interiors, all the windows and open atrium, lots of sunshine coming in through the ship, you don't have to walk up top to see outside! Princess always has a full wrap around promenade deck, Carnival never has a promenade deck, would take away from the number of cabins.
Carnival Glory is so much like Las Vegas, keep you in the dark. There many times in the evenings before dinner the two decks of shops/bars were crowded you could barely walk around, let alone find a place to sit. I felt very closed in on the Glory.
Food on both ships was fine. The dining room on Carnival is not as relaxed and seems more intense for the servers. Also they insist on doing dances every evening and that gets so old and rather phoney.
I've never had a bad cruise, but don't think you can go wrong with Princess!