An Alaskan cruise is often called a "cruise of a lifetime" as it is something so many people have on their to do list and I was lucky enough to do a 7 night inside passage cruise from Seattle on the Golden Princess.
The service and facilities onboard the Golden Princess could not be faulted. The cabin was of a good size and the "anytime dining" onboard was perfect as it allowed me to dine when I felt like. The specialty dining restaurant Sabatini's was also excellent and was a true dining experience and you did not feel rushed at all like you can often feel when you dine onboard a cruise ship.
The ports we visited were Juneau (fantastic for whale watching tours), Kechikan, Skagway, Victoria and scenic cruising in Tracey Arm Fjord. You need to allow a lot of extra money in the travel budget to do tours in these ports as you can not spend a day exploring on your own. And because it is a cruise of a lifetime you want to make the most of the experience by experiencing all that an Alaskan cruise has to offer.
Overall I give an Alaskan cruise a 4/5 rating and I was very happy with my 7 nights on the Golden Princess
This was our first cruise. We were very happy overall with the cruise. The only issue we had was with the pressure selling and sales hype. We attended a shopping session on day 1 thinking they would be telling us about the ports etc that we were to visit but not so it was to sell a book of
vouchers, it was incredible to see the hype and clamouring from passengers to buy these for and exorbitant fee(we felt). We were speaking to a couple a few days later and they said they couldn't understand why they bought one. Also all the ports we called at were built and we felt owned by the cruise companies. but all in all it was a lovely trip. The staff were delightful and very helpful.
This was supposed to be a positioning cruise but it appeared to be more like a renovation cruise. The ship was apparently heading to California for a long awaited update. However Princess decided to start the work during the 31 day cruise. The most serious issues for us were the problems we
experienced with our cabin toilet which generally failed to flush for the first five days and at various times later in the cruise. Princess did offer some compensation but it was clearly a fairly widespread issue on this cruise. Not only inconvenient but also a potential health hazard. More generally the works going on included repainting public areas and taking the main pool out of use for three (sea) days, also for repainting. This together with the rather tired appearance of the ship spoiled what would otherwise have been an excellent and really good value cruise. We hope the ship will look much smarter when it comes to be based in Melbourne later this year.
On the positive side, we enjoyed the ports of call, particularly in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico which each came as a very pleasant surprise. We avoided the Princess tours which were generally criticised by other passengers as being too expensive and had no difficulty finding ways to independently entertain ourselves in each port..
An area that particularly impressed was the overall standard of the food and we were surprised at the consistent criticism of other passengers. The steakhouse experience was excellent and generally the dining room meals were fine. Also the pizzas were pretty good. Sometimes food in the buffet could have been hotter but this is a normal criticism of buffets. Also the chefs there were brilliant at assisting my wife who had particular dietary requirements.
Entertainment on cruise ships is very much a matter of personal taste and our view on this cruise was that it was varied - some acts very good, some terrible. We have to say that the Cruise Director did not appeal to us and did not seem to add much value to the cruise. Other members of his staff seemed to offer far more (especially Jamie) and they organised a good range of activities.
Embarkation in Buenos Aires was a little tedious and disembarkation was no better in Los Angeles, not helped by a late arrival and delays in delivering the luggage.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable cruise but could have been even better if only Princess would pay more attention to detail (lots of little things - eg playing a movie without turning the disco music off).
I really enjoyed the cruise that I went on. I went with two other ladies and we had so much fun and we laughed and we got on as well. This was the first time that I went on a cruise and I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was more then what I had expected it to be. The food was so nice and there was a
variety of the food. The entertainment was so good and I didn't know what to expect before I went on but it was sensational. The staff were very nice and helpful and so happy. There was so much that was going on the cruise that you did what you wanted when you wanted to do it. The ports that we stopped at was really something else and the swimming was so clear and refreshing. At Vanuatu we went to the Cascade Waterfalls and that was beautiful and we went for a swim and it was magical. Afterwards we went shopping and there so a few duty free shops that the price was good. The only let down was that the staff on the cruise ship don't tell you about the duty free shopping where you can buy your alcohol and other products and then you have already brought it on the ship. I suppose I could of brought it from the duty free shops in Vanautu and then I could of just cancelled my other order from the ship. But these are the things that you learn for next time. I definitely will be going on another cruise in two years time.
We have previously travelled on Princess cruises many times over the years and found them always of a reasonable standard for the fare paid.
This time on the Golden princess we were extremely impressed with he fast efficient boarding in San Fransisco as we checked in and was onboard within 20 mins as they boarded Elite passengers first which made a huge difference.
The cabin we had was a standard balcony but found it adequate for our 23 days onboard with good storage and room under beds for the suitcases.
The cabin was clean and well serviced twice a day.
The staff in all the lounges and especially the Pattiserie were absolutely fantastic and went out of their way to be attentive,friendly and remembered our names and coffee preferences within a few days of being aboard. They were also quick to clear tables or find you a table if you were looking.
The entertainment was reasonable but far too many bad comediennes for our liking but Maybe we are jaded having cruised a lot and seen most of the acts before.
The food was mostly very good with reasonable size meals in the MDR and presented beautifully and the service also by all the dining staff were courteous and always got the order correct and delivered within a reasonable time.
Overall we thought the ship was a credit to Princess and would definitely travel on this ship again. Well Done!
Ship too crowded too long to wait for shows food average dawn princess is a far better ship constantly blocked toilets out of all the islands we went to only two were worth going to and that was champagne bay and mystery
Island they were fantastic the others were not worth going to noumea was all closed as it was a Sunday so not worth it out rigger your not worth the money
The dining room food was good but buffet became monotonous and towards the end of the trip they ran out of certain things cabin boys not very friendly and spoke about us in a foreign language behind our backs which I did not approve of dawn princess is a smaller boat and far more friendly and compact and things were easier to get to golden princess is too big and too hard to get around and we just seem to be going backwards and forwards all the time most staff were great and helpful especially the staff st the buffet unlike the casino whom we found rude all in all we were quite disappointed but will give the boat another go if still the same we will probably find other cruise lines
Unfortunately we were unaware this was a seniors cruise. We are a couple in our late 50s and the majority of the passengers on this cruise were well over 70 and many in wheelchairs on walkers and walking sticks. Please don't misunderstand me. I have nothing against these people at all but it did
govern the mood of the ship. We were looking for fun on our cruise to NZ but had difficulty finding people to have fun with. Unless you were prepared to sit out in the cold you were lucky to get a seat inside. The weather was not kind either. We missed out on 3 ports including Fiordland which was to be the highlight of our trip. 5 days straight cruising home was a bit boring to say the least. We did enjoy the food in the Horizon Court. There was always plenty of choice of fresh fruit and the scones at afternoon tea were nice. The Crown grill which has a cover charge of $25 and overpriced wine was not of a high standard. My husband's comment about his t-bone steak was " mine are better on the bbq at home". That said we would recommend this cruise to older people who are looking for a well catered holday
We did not realised the age group on board this New Zealand Cruise as it was like being in a retirement village. Everyone was in wheelchairs or zimmer frames. We are in our late 50s and the only plus was that we had the disco to ourselves! The entertainment was fairly average and catered to the
elderly and everything was impossible to get into if you wanted to see a show as it was overcrowded. The movies they were showing were at least 5 to 8 years old. We missed out on 3 ports including seeing the Fiords as the captain refused to take the ship in due to bad weather - this was the main reason we cruised to NZ! Wondering if the age group had any effect on the Captains discision - too many wheel chairs and zimmer frames??
Also they decided to empty all the swimming pools and do maintenaince on them 3 days out from returning to Melbourne. The inside pool you could not enter due to the smell of the paint fumes - how ridiculous!
Princess Cruises have promised us a 30% for our next cruise - of course now back in Melbourne we have not had any contact from them
We absolutely LOVE PRINCESS Cruises. We keep coming back! They are such good value, the ships are beautiful and the staff ensure that we are treated like royalty. Nothing is too much trouble for the cabin stewards and the dining room staff are first rate. The food and the variety are amazing. You
would need to be very hard to please if you couldn't find something totally delicious for every meal. The entertainment was impressive for the most and it is obvious that all the artists work hard to give a first rate performance even when it is a little on the rocky side ocean-wise! The only down side was that it was difficult to find a seat to enjoy a speciality coffee as many of the daytime activities took place in the central Piazza and those with seats finished their coffees and hung on to them! The coffee cards were good value at about $2.50 per cup although good brewed coffee was always available for free in the Horizon area. Shopping on board was pretty expensive especially the jewellery though it was also beautiful to look at and that was for free! The "sales" on sea days were not super value given the low quality but there was plenty of bling to be had for formal evenings. We will definitely continue cruising and trust Cruise Sale Finder will keep us up to date with the best deals.
We loved the cruise on the Golden Princess despite the weather. We were only able to visit 3 of he ports on our itinerary and were turned around halfway through the cruise because of the forecast extreme weather to the south. I expected to become bored with so many sea days, but the entertainment
provided on the ship kept us busy all day and well into the evening. There was a good variety of entertainment on board, ranging from the shows, to musicians, to displays, to games and of course the trivia. The food on board was up to the usual Princess standard. We chose to eat in the dining room every night and enjoyed the plentiful and varied food as well as the wonderful service from our waiters. The food in the buffet was quite good as well - we enjoyed many lunches and breakfasts there. We also enjoyed a night out at Sabatini's - well worth the extra surcharge in our opinion. The service was impeccable as usual. Princess does a wonderful job training their staff, and the staff do a wonderful job every day. The only negative for the Golden Princess was in the cabin. Our mattress was substandard. We had it replaced the first morning after a bad night - kudos to the steward and his supervisor for arranging that with no fuss! But we had to suffer the appalling pillows for the entire trip! Apart from that, a truly wonderful trip.
The Golden Princess is part of Princess' Grand-Class. She is 951 feet long, 118 feet wide and rises 17 decks above the waves to carry the full roster of more than 2,600 passengers. Her inaugural cruise was in May 2001 and she was christened by Merlisa George, Miss U.S. Virgin Islands.
There is a stateroom for all preferences on the Golden Princess, with a total of 1,318 guest cabins. 230 of these are various suites and mini-suites, great for families or those who like to enjoy some extra space and amenities like a mini-bar setup, fresh flowers and even a hot tub in some suites.
Balcony, oceanview and inside cabins are also available with plenty of space to pack away luggage, spread out and retreat from shipboard life.
Four pools, nine whirlpools, a gym and spa, shuffleboard court, putting green, art gallery, library and many fun organised activities keep guests active and entertained during sea days on the Golden Princess.
In the evening, the excitement ramps up even more with a theatre and show lounge, a range of bars, the casino and even a spot for watching movies under the stars.
The choice of Traditional or Anytime dining means you can eat in the manner to which you're accustomed, even on your cruise holiday. The three main dining rooms give an intimate atmosphere to your meals, and if you would rather a casual affair, there's always the buffet, the pizzeria and hot dogs by the pool.
Specialty restaurants and balcony dining can make it a special night out.