Golden Princess - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Golden Princess


Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 370 out of 500

Accommodation: 147 out of 200

Food: 250 out of 400

Service: 285 out of 400

Entertainment: 76 out of 100

Cruise: 292 out of 400

Overall Score: 1420 out of 2000

Golden Princess Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 108,865

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Princess Cruises

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9192351

Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)

Original Cost: $450 million

Entered Service: May 2001

Registry: Bermuda

Length (ft/m): 951.4/290.0

Beam (ft/m): 118.1/36.0

Draft (ft/m): 26.2/8.0

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (42,000kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 13

Total Crew: 1,100

Passengers (lower beds): 2,624

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 41.4

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.1

Cabins (total): 1,312

Size Range (sq ft/m): 161.4-764.2/15.0-71.0

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 720

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 28

Wheelchair accessibility: Best

Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts

Elevators: 14

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 3

Hot Tubs (on deck): 9

Self-Service Launderette: Yes

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


A comfortable family-friendly large ship with an informal manner

Overview. Golden Princess, with its bold, forthright profile, provides a wide variety of choices and ‘small-ish’ rooms to enjoy - a veritable playground.

The Ship. Golden Princess, sister to Grand Princess and Star Princess, has a racy ‘spoiler’ at the stern that is an observation lounge with aft-facing views by day, and a discotheque by night. The ship has a rather flared snub-nosed bow and a galleon-like transom stern.

There is a good sheltered faux teak promenade deck - it’s actually painted steel - which almost wraps around (three times round is equal to one mile) and a walkway that goes to the enclosed bow of the ship. The outdoor pools have various beach-like surroundings, plus a large poolside movie screen. One lap pool has a pumped ‘current’ to swim against.

High atop the stern of the ship is a ship-wide glass-walled lounge, with spectacular views from the extreme port and starboard side windows; it’s a good place to read a book in the daytime, but at night it becomes a discotheque/nightclub. The Sanctuary is adult passengers only; it has plush padded lounge chairs, two private massage cabanas, and dedicated Serenity Stewards.

There is plenty of space inside the ship and a wide array of public rooms. The passenger flow has been well thought-out, with little congestion, except at the photo gallery. The decor is attractive and warm, with lots of earth tones.

The main lobby, La Piazza, has live ‘street’ entertainment; an International Café for coffees, fresh cookies, pastries, panini, and tapas; and Vines, a wine bar. The ship has an extensive collection of art works complement the elegant, non-glitzy interior design and colors, and most of the paintings are for sale.

This ship has a Wedding Chapel, with a web-cam to relay ceremonies via the Internet. The ship’s captain can legally marry (American) couples, thanks to the ship’s Bermuda registry and a special dispensation (this should, however, be verified when in the planning stage, and may vary according to where you reside).

The large casino, on Deck 7, has more than 260 slot machines, plus blackjack, craps, and roulette tables for the more serious gamers. The wood-paneled Wheelhouse Bar is finely decorated with memorabilia and ship models tracing part of parent company P&O’s history. There is an Internet café - which isn’t a café, though it does have computer workstations.

The automated telephone system is frustrating to use, and luggage delivery is inefficient. Lines can form at the passenger services desk, and for open-seating breakfast and lunch. There is a charge for using the washers and dryers in the self-service launderettes (coins are needed).

Families. A two-deck-high playroom and teen room is located in the forward section of the ship, and a video games room is located at the opposite end of the ship. There is a host of trained counselors. Many cabins have additional upper berths (there are 609), good for families. Group babysitting services are available for an hourly charge.

Accommodation. There are six principal types of cabins and configurations but a bewildering number of price categories. The price depends on grade, size, and location.

(a) The largest, most lavish suite is the Grand Suite (B748), at the stern. It has a large bedroom with a queen-size bed, huge walk-in closets, a large bathroom with full-size tub and separate shower enclosure, toilet, and washbasin, and a hot tub (accessed from the bedroom), a lounge with sofa bed, dining table and chairs, wet bar and refrigerator, a guest bathroom, and a large private balcony.

(b/c) Suites (with a semi-private balcony) have a separate living room with sofa bed and a bedroom (with a TV in each). The bathroom is quite large and has both a tub and shower stall. The mini-suites also have a semi-private balcony, and a separate living and sleeping area (with a TV in each). The bathroom is also spacious, with both a bathtub and separate shower enclosure. Passengers occupying the best suites receive greater attention, including priority embarkation and disembarkation. What is not good is that some of the most expensive accommodation has only semi-private balconies that can be seen from above, so there is no privacy (suites C401, 402, 409, 410, 414, 415, 420, 421, 422, 423, 424, and 425 on Caribe Deck in particular). Also, the extremely large suites D105 and D106 (Dolphin Deck) have balconies that can be seen from above.

(d/e/f) The standard interior and outside-view cabins (the outsides come either with or without private balcony) are of a functional, practical, design, although almost no drawers are provided. They are very attractive, with warm, pleasing decor and fine soft furnishing fabrics.

Two family suites consist of two suites with an interconnecting door, plus a large balcony. These can sleep up to 10 (if at least four are children), or up to eight adults.

The views from most outside cabins on Emerald Deck are obstructed by lifeboats. Some cabins can accommodate a third and fourth person in upper berths. However, in such cabins, the lower beds cannot then be pushed together to make a queen-size bed.

Cabins with balconies on Dolphin, Caribe, and Baja decks are overlooked by passengers on balconies on the deck above; they are, therefore, not at all private. However, perhaps the least desirable balcony cabins are the eight located forward on Emerald Deck, as the balconies don’t extend to the side of the ship and can be passed by walkers and gawkers on an adjacent walkway (so occupants need to keep their curtains closed most of the time). Those in expensive suites with balconies at the stern may experience some considerable vibration during certain slow-speed ship maneuvers.

Cabin attendants have too many cabins to look after (typically 20), which cannot translate to fine personal service.

Dining. For ‘formal’ meals there are three principal dining rooms (Bernini, Canaletto, and Donatello). There are two seatings in one restaurant, and the others have ‘anytime dining’ where you choose your time and companions. All are split into multi-tier sections in a non-symmetrical design that breaks what are quite large spaces into many smaller sections, for better ambience. Each dining room has its own galley. While four elevators go to Fiesta Deck for Canaletto and Donatello, only two go to Plaza Deck 5 for Bernini, which can mean long wait problems at peak times, particularly for anyone in a wheelchair). Note that 15 percent is added to all beverage bills, including wines, coffees, etc.

Other dining options. There are two extra-cost dining venues: Sabatini’s and Crown Grill. Sabatini’s features Italian-style pizzas and pastas, with a variety of sauces, as well as Italian-style entrées, including tiger prawns and lobster tail. Sabatini’s is by reservation only, for lunch or dinner on sea days only. Crown Grill has an open galley, and features premium-quality steaks and grilled seafood items. Reservations are required and a cover charge applies in both restaurants, but it’s worth it for food that is cooked to order.

A poolside hamburger grill and pizza bar (no extra charge) offer casual bites. Other casual meals can be taken in the 24-hour Horizon Court, with large ocean-view windows and direct access to the two main swimming pools and Lido Deck, and outdoor seating. Plastic plates are provided instead of trays.

Entertainment. The 748-seat Princess Theater spans two decks and has comfortable seating on both main and balcony levels. It has a nine-piece orchestra. Princess Cruises prides itself on its glamorous and colourful, all-American production shows.

The Vista Lounge is a second entertainment venue and multi-function room. It presents cabaret acts at night, and lectures, bingo, and horse racing during the day.

Explorers, is a third entertainment lounge that features cabaret acts and dance bands, and it has a decent-sized dance floor. Many other lounges and bars have live music, and there are male dance hosts as partners for women traveling alone.

Spa/Fitness. The Lotus Spa is a complex that surrounds one of the swimming pools at the forward end of the ship. It comprises a large fitness room with all the high-tech workout machinery, an aerobics room, sauna and steam rooms, beauty salon, treatment rooms, and a relaxation area.