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Old May 13th, 2007, 03:20 PM
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Default Golden Princess Review

Just got back from Interior Alaska cruise on the Golden Princess. This was my first cruise and I learned a lot about the ins and outs of cruising through the experience and talking to my fellow travellers.

1. Watch your liquor intake: $4.50 for a small glass of wine plus 15%.

2. Read your summary of charges at the end of your cruise or better yet visit the Pursor's desk and review during the cruise. I can tell you it will be a reality check.

3. Very annoying: The crew is constantly pushing you to spend extra money. Especially at the Lotus Spa.

4. REMEMBER: Every time you purchase something on board they tack on 15%. And also remember they are charging you $10 a day for gratuity on top of that 15%

5. There is no bottled water on board. I did find some bottled water at the ports though.

6. This ship is definitely not as luxurious, spacious or as fancy as I imagined. It's about as fancy as a mid-rate hotel.

7. Unless you need something quick to eat or you're starving stay out of the Horizon buffet. GROSS. The way some people behaved in that room you'd think it was their last meal. However, it is the only place you can get coffee (other than room service) before the dining room opens at 8am. Go with the dining room meals.

8. When your excersion instructions say dress in layers they mean it. It is very rainy in that part of Alaska. Take a good jacket, gloves and a hat. I know, t will be warmer during the summer months, but don't say I didn't warn you.

9. There are no clocks in your room.

10. They provide cell service, so you can recieve and make calls, but you will not be able to access your messages. Use your paging function.

11. If you're a soda drinker you can purchase a refilable container for $7.50 + 15% a day.

That's all I can think of right now.

Holly
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Old May 13th, 2007, 03:57 PM
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We have been on the Grand and the Golden (twice) ans enjoyed every minute of it.

1. BYOB

2. Yes, check you bill with the pursers desk. However, I generally know what to expect.

3. Ignore it. We don't spend a dime on that stuff.

4. The 15% is on the bar tabs. They do not add 15% in the shops. The 10/p/day does not cover the bar staff.

5. There is bottled water in the cabin and outside the places where you meet for the tours. If you don't want ot pay for it, bring a large bottle of water and fill it on the ship.

6. We felt that both ships are luxurious and spacious. I don't know what you envisioned, but there are tons of pictures on the Web to look at before you book.

7. We never go to the Horizon Court for that reason. The only time we go there is to get the wife some iced tea.

8. We did the Antartica cruise on the Golden and layers were not enough. We would have froze if we did not bring our "NY Snow Stuff". I am sure Alaska can be the same.

9. Never seen a clock in any of our cabins. Just like LV; no clocks in the casinos. Use your watch and the phone for a wake-up call.

10. Never had any issues with receiving messages.

11. We just get the soda from the cabin. Maybe it cost a little more, but it is more convienent.

Sorry that you had a bad experience.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 05:40 PM
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Holly: we booked a cruise on the Golden this September - inside passage. It will be our first time on this ship. Which cabin did you have and do you have any complaints or comments? We booked a balcony stateroom - Caribe deck.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 12:06 AM
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Default Not what I wanted to hear about the Golden Princess

Hey I am also on the Golden 9/1 in a mini suite.

Ok, are there other people that think the ship is not as good as the pictures look?

My main things are:

Clean cabins
Comfortable beds, like Carnivals very comfy beds.
Decent food
A well maintained ship.

I guess the one thing that really was a surprise is the 15% additional tip on alcahol.

Now that I think of it maybe they did add that on Carnival also, nahh I think I had to write in the tip on RCCL and Carnival. Can anyone set me straight on this?

Also, anyone else got two cents on the Golden Princess? I will change my booking if its a crappy ship.

Thx
Rob
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Old May 14th, 2007, 01:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janice Marie
Holly: we booked a cruise on the Golden this September - inside passage. It will be our first time on this ship. Which cabin did you have and do you have any complaints or comments? We booked a balcony stateroom - Caribe deck.
We had an inside cabin on Aloha deck (A403). Which was another learning experience. My thinking was we wouldn't spend very much time in the room. So save money on the room and have more to spend on other stuff. But then after the cruise we thought it would have been better to have a balcony, for a couple of reasons. One, it's a little claustrophic and two, sometimes you don't want to stand on the railing with everyone else while the scenary goes by. Of course, in the room you can't move around to other sides of the ship to look at other views.

And please understand, I didn't have a bad time or a bad experience. Nor was I ranting. I just wanted to point out things which as a first time cruiser were new to me and I thought important to share.

Have a great time. Dress warm! And try to to get Ramile and Ulal as your waiters. They were great!

Holly
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Old May 14th, 2007, 12:46 PM
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Everyone has their own opinions. I wouldn't consider the OP's comments a "review" (subject of post.) It's more like a list of observations. After reading the list, I think I read all those comments from others on this board - maybe not about the Golden in particular, but about other Princess ships. I fully expect to experience some of these things next month on the Golden on our cruise to Alaska. Other things I know how to avoid by reading this and other boards!

What would be helpful is a complete review or a "live from" thread for the Golden. Then those of us that have an Alaska cruise in the next few months could really get a idea of what to expect.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 12:22 AM
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Holly: Did you book excursions through the ship or through independents? We're interested in doing the heli/glacier landing in Juneau or Skagway. Skagway glacier landing allows 40 minutes on the glacier versus 25 minutes in Juneau. Can't decide if 40 minutes would be too long. We also booked traditional dining, early seating.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 11:30 AM
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Aunt Holly , I'm glad somebody from the first Alaska sailing has posted. We are going to be on the 5/19 sailing. That is in just FOUR days, YAAAHOOO! It will be our first Alaska trip and just our fourth cruise in less than two years, we're hooked. And also the kids are all graduated from college and working, whew.

If you say the buffet is a zoo I can believe it. We saw the same thing on Carnival. Some peeps ate there the whole time while playing poker and occupaying large tables for hours. We can pretty much adjust rapidly to any undersirable situation though. We bring on our own wine. The cruise contract specifies that we can bring wine on board. It does not give a limit, but online info states one bottle per person. Maybe its a new policy, but I'm stickin to the contract. Did you notive anybody having trouble with this? With regards to the weather, I've been monitoring it pretty close as far as temps and total precipitation, but couldn't get much on the visibility and mist. How was that? And is just layering (with a waterproof shell and fleece underneath) adequate? Would also like to hear about your excursions. We are so excited we can hardly sleep. Thanks

Jim/San Diego
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Old May 15th, 2007, 08:16 PM
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Carnival does add the 15% to any alcohol you buy.
If you only go to the Horizon Court once, you'll think it's a zoo. You have to learn how the Horizon works before you can appreciate it. Aboard Carnival, and all the other lines I've sailed, the buffet line is just that,,,,a line, but at the Horizon Court, you're free to just walk up to whatever you want, and serve yourself. ie: you don't have to stand in line behind the lady who can't make up her mind about how many croutons she wants, in order to get some strawberrys. Just walk up to the strawberrys, and serve yourself. This actually works very well, once you get the hang of it. Sometimes, there are a few people who all want exactly what you want,,,but honestly, not often. We've always enjoyed Princess, and will continue to sail the line, when the price is right.

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Old May 15th, 2007, 10:09 PM
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. That's the best advice Ken! And that's just what I did: Grabbed a tray, did a quick but polite dart and grab and zoooom you're outta there while "that lady" is still holding up the line.

Go for the cheese (the white stuff was really good), the fruit and the pastries first, because they go the quickest.

Holly


Quote:
Originally Posted by skymaster
Carnival does add the 15% to any alcohol you buy.
If you only go to the Horizon Court once, you'll think it's a zoo. You have to learn how the Horizon works before you can appreciate it. Aboard Carnival, and all the other lines I've sailed, the buffet line is just that,,,,a line, but at the Horizon Court, you're free to just walk up to whatever you want, and serve yourself. ie: you don't have to stand in line behind the lady who can't make up her mind about how many croutons she wants, in order to get some strawberrys. Just walk up to the strawberrys, and serve yourself. This actually works very well, once you get the hang of it. Sometimes, there are a few people who all want exactly what you want,,,but honestly, not often. We've always enjoyed Princess, and will continue to sail the line, when the price is right.

Ken
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Old May 15th, 2007, 10:35 PM
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Hi Jim

First the wine: I didn't notice anyone having trouble with this. I wish I had noticed that policy and I would have brought two bottles myself. One thing I did notice is that the ship has a de-corking (the exact term escapes me), but anyway I remember reading the polilcy and if you take a bottle in to the dining room expect to pay as much as the original price of the wine for the staff to open the wine. FYI: There are two wine tasting events during the week.

Excersions: All the ones we did were great. We did short ones and spent the big bucks on that Yukon gold and train ride thing. It's several hours long and the train ride back down the mountain is way cool. The bus driver actually drives up the mountain and into Canada where they check your passports. Then five mintues later you board the train and head back to Alaska. We saw a young black bear scratching his back in the snow on the way down the mountain. Then you end the morning with lunch in town at Olivia's Place. Very nice day.

Any other questions? If I don't hear back from you have a great trip and wonderful adventure trip.

Holly/Las Vegas

Holly

We did the Mendenhall Glacier trip. Nice and short, leaves you plenty of energy to shop, and the scenary is awesome. Do not forget your camera on that one.

We also did the Gold mine trip where you actually go underground. The mine you go in is a constant 36 degrees and it's wet. I nearly froze on that trip. But the guy who show's you around is a real local and the other folks at the gift shop and tour are very sweet.

Layering: Add a hat and gloves to your list and you will be fine. All of the cities, with the exception of Victoria receive up to 100 inches of rain/snow. So it always seems to be drizzling and that to an avg. of 40 degrees and you're cold. Plus you'll want to do a whole lot of standing at the railing to watch the scenary go by and you'll want to be warm then too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by reefisher
Aunt Holly , I'm glad somebody from the first Alaska sailing has posted. We are going to be on the 5/19 sailing. That is in just FOUR days, YAAAHOOO! It will be our first Alaska trip and just our fourth cruise in less than two years, we're hooked. And also the kids are all graduated from college and working, whew.

If you say the buffet is a zoo I can believe it. We saw the same thing on Carnival. Some peeps ate there the whole time while playing poker and occupaying large tables for hours. We can pretty much adjust rapidly to any undersirable situation though. We bring on our own wine. The cruise contract specifies that we can bring wine on board. It does not give a limit, but online info states one bottle per person. Maybe its a new policy, but I'm stickin to the contract. Did you notive anybody having trouble with this? With regards to the weather, I've been monitoring it pretty close as far as temps and total precipitation, but couldn't get much on the visibility and mist. How was that? And is just layering (with a waterproof shell and fleece underneath) adequate? Would also like to hear about your excursions. We are so excited we can hardly sleep. Thanks

Jim/San Diego
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Old May 15th, 2007, 10:39 PM
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Hi Janice

We booked the excersions directly on the princess.com website. I didn't book any flights so I can't speak to that. We did the Mendenhall Glacier bus trip. Wow, what a site. It's quite and cold and awsome and then a flight of six helicopters comes buzzing over the glacier. . Those folks in the helicopters have the best view for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janice Marie
Holly: Did you book excursions through the ship or through independents? We're interested in doing the heli/glacier landing in Juneau or Skagway. Skagway glacier landing allows 40 minutes on the glacier versus 25 minutes in Juneau. Can't decide if 40 minutes would be too long. We also booked traditional dining, early seating.
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Old May 18th, 2007, 12:13 AM
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Took the Sea Princess to Alaska and it was one of the better cruises I have been on. Cruised on the Golden in the Caribbean and thought it was a great ship. The only problem I have in the buffet is a number of passengers cannot make up their mind as to what they want and hold up the line for a long time forcing you to go around them.
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Old May 21st, 2007, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subtropic
Took the Sea Princess to Alaska and it was one of the better cruises I have been on. Cruised on the Golden in the Caribbean and thought it was a great ship. The only problem I have in the buffet is a number of passengers cannot make up their mind as to what they want and hold up the line for a long time forcing you to go around them.
Yes, I've heard the Horizon Buffet on the Lido Deck can be a free for all! But, since we all know this there are other alternatives: eat in the dining room, order room service (OK, limited menu), eat at the grill (I hear they have omelets for breakfast, and then the regular lunch burgers, fries, etc.), try the pizzeria for lunch. Or, if we really want to eat at the buffet, then just we'll just navigate through the maze of people to get want we'd like to eat!
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Old May 25th, 2007, 03:38 AM
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Default Re: Not what I wanted to hear about the Golden Princess

Quote:
Originally Posted by sirobin171
Hey I am also on the Golden 9/1 in a mini suite.

Ok, are there other people that think the ship is not as good as the pictures look?

My main things are:

Clean cabins
Comfortable beds, like Carnivals very comfy beds.
Decent food
A well maintained ship.

I guess the one thing that really was a surprise is the 15% additional tip on alcahol.

Hi
Been on lots and lots of cruises, the 15% tip on beverages is the norm on EVERY ship...but they also have a little spot on the bill where you can ADD and additional tip if you REALLY like your waiter.
Hope this helps.

Now that I think of it maybe they did add that on Carnival also, nahh I think I had to write in the tip on RCCL and Carnival. Can anyone set me straight on this?

Also, anyone else got two cents on the Golden Princess? I will change my booking if its a crappy ship.

Thx
Rob
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Old May 25th, 2007, 09:29 AM
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Default Re: Not what I wanted to hear about the Golden Princess

Quote:
Originally Posted by lasingh
Hi
Been on lots and lots of cruises, the 15% tip on beverages is the norm on EVERY ship...but they also have a little spot on the bill where you can ADD and additional tip if you REALLY like your waiter.
Hope this helps.

Now that I think of it maybe they did add that on Carnival also, nahh I think I had to write in the tip on RCCL and Carnival. Can anyone set me straight on this?

Also, anyone else got two cents on the Golden Princess? I will change my booking if its a crappy ship.

Thx
Rob
Rob - The Golden is NOT a "crappy ship!" We're on her two weeks from tomorrow for our cruise to Alaska. I've done extensive research on this ship. In fact, I think I can lead the guided tour even though I've never stepped foot on her!

Anyway, 90+% of the reports I've read are positive. Princess does a terrific job of maintaining all their "older" ships, including the Golden. They're always painting, replacing carpeting/bedding/linens, adding new shows in the theaters & lounges, revising the kid's programs and adult activities, etc.

Recent reports of those that have been on her to Alaska on other message boards have all been favorable. The food, the shows, the crew, the condition of the ship -- all very good to excellent.

I'll post a complete review when I return. In the meantime, check out other sources before making any decisions.
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Old May 26th, 2007, 10:50 PM
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Hey Todd, thanks for the feedback. I also came to that conclusion, I just got worried when I saw this post.

Hey on a positive note I found a neat little trick yesterday.

If you use a TA, have her "Re-Fair" your cruise at least once before you cruise to make sure you got the lowest price, we did and we are saving 1200.00 between our two rooms just by having her make a call. Apparently the cruise line will give you the better price if you ask.
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