I’ve still got several entries lined up before I even get to my US 2014 vacation, but I had such an amazing time on this cruise that I can’t put off writing about it any longer. I want to write this entry while the experience is still fresh in my mind. I’ll most likely be making more in depth blog entries about each day of our cruise sometime in the future, so this is just a summary of our whole experience.
My aunt and uncle have been on this cruise before and they loved it. In fact, they loved it so much that they’ve actually gone three times. They strongly recommended it to us, which is why we decided to go this year for our parents 30th wedding anniversary.
We started off in LA so we had to catch a flight to Seattle because that’s where the cruise starts.
Our shuttle picked us up from the airport and took us to the Port of Seattle, where the ship was waiting
My mom and I, with the Golden Princess behind us. We got there about an hour before they started allowing passengers to board the ship, so we just hung around outside and took pictures
Princess logo. The Golden Princess has been sailing since May 2001. The ship is 950 feet long and has 17 decks. It’s HUGE!
When you check in, they give you a map of the ship (the card on top), as well as your cruise card. Your cruise card has your name and dining information on it. (Ezra’s and my card both say “Maria Garcia”, lol). It acts as your room key, credit card and “passport” during your stay at the Golden Princess. The staff will scan it every time you disembark or board the ship. And any time you want to buy cocktails, special sundaes, shakes, or things from the ship’s gift shop, they will scan your card and all your purchases will appear in your final bill at the end of the cruise. Most of the food, drinks and facilities on the ship are free, so the only time we charged something on our card was when we bought some souvenirs on the ship.
According to the Princess website, the ship has 1,318 state rooms where guests can stay. Ezra and I were in room C728 on Deck 10 (Caribe). My parents had the room next to us. The passenger’s names are written on the white card just outside the door. Once again, they shortened our names so this is what our card looked like:
The cleaning staff were very curious and asked us why our parents gave us the same name, lol.
This is what our state room looked like inside. You can choose to get a suite or cabin with a balcony or a window, but we decided that if we wanted to see the ocean we’d just go out on the top deck.
And here are some pictures of the rest of the ship:
The elevator and stairs area
Inside “The Sanctuary”
The Neptune Pool and the outdoor theater where they show movies at night
They called it “Movies Under the Stars”. I wanted to try watching a movie here but it was always so cold in the evening! They give out blankets to keep the passengers warm, but I doubt that’s enough. Most of the people we saw watching were bundled up in thick winter clothes.
The Lap pool outside The Sanctuary
The Calypso Pool, which is just outside the Horizon Court (AKA the “buffet room”)
The ship has several pools and a few hot tubs, but we weren’t brave enough to face the cold and try them
The Piazza, where they hold several shows and activities every day
Here’s a picture of people gathering to participate in an egg drop competition
The ship offered loads of activities – from swimming and other sports, to shopping. We even found a puzzle station there. There are art galleries, lounges, theaters, etc. There’s also a gym on board for those who want to stay fit.
There was always something going on during our stay there. Every morning we woke up with the cruise newsletter at our door, which gives the schedule of activities for that day
Aside from the schedule, it contains notes from various members of the staff and friendly reminders. We used it to plan our day on the ship.
The had all sorts of things on there, like this Advanced Digital Photography seminar which we attended
My parents also went to this other seminar which talked about diamonds
On Mother’s Day there was a “Mother’s Day Card Making” event in at the Sabatini restaurant, which Ezra and I attended
The ship provided us with lots of cute craft materials
We joined in on a few of their trivia game shows. We weren’t very good, but we enjoyed learning new and interesting facts.
We also participated in this Musical Murder Mystery game held by the staff and a few audience volunteers
The newsletter also alerted us of sales that went on inside the ship. 75% off sale for 3 hours only 😀
We also made sure to check what the shows will be at the Princess Theater each evening. We liked going there after dinner. Usually they have something with lots of singing and dancing.
Like British Pop Invasion show one evening
But sometimes they would have a comedian or a magician perform for the crowd
We were also able to catch a culinary demonstration by the Head Chef and the Maitre D’, which was followed by a kitchen tour. They were promoting their cook book which contained lots of yummy recipes for different kinds of food.
If you decide to go on this cruise, be prepared to put on a few pounds. There’s just no escaping it. The food is simply too good! And the fact that it’s all-you-can-eat doesn’t help either.
We usually have breakfast and lunch at the Horizon Court, where they always have a wide selection of food. I try to watch what I eat, but it’s so hard when you’ve got so much good stuff in front of you.
My weakness was definitely the dessert table. I loved their fruit tarts.
Ezra’s favorite was the croissants. Sometimes we would bring some back to our room.
Guests can choose to have dinner at the Horizon Court as well, but we like the fine dining experience at the Canaletto Dining room on Deck 6.
This is what the dining room looked like inside
Each evening they would have a different “theme” for dinner
The staff usually dressed to match the theme, so this is what they looked like during Italian night:
That’s Jerome, our waiter. He always made sure to recommend the best foods each night. And if he feels like we neglected to order something yummy, he’d bring it to our table anyway so we can try it 🙂
And that’s Jose, the head waiter, cooking some penne while the waiters waited for him to be done 😄 We like watching him prepare food since he has the cooking station right next to our table. He likes to tell stories while he does that and we enjoying listening to them.
Here he is preparing his Caesar’s salad with a twist
And here are some pictures of the glorious food we had while we were there
Shrimp and lobster – yummm~
Fruit appetizer. It looks like dessert though.
And speaking of dessert
Yummiest creme brulee I’ve tasted
Unlimited ice cream – my diet didn’t stand a chance
The also had a pizza bar and a burger bar on the ship.
When we return to our rooms in the evening, we would usually find something waiting for us on our bed.
Most evenings we just get these little chocolates
But sometimes we find other things there
Like these tote bags the cruise provided for us to use when we go on shore excursions. How thoughtful.
Or these little breakfast order slips, which we can use if we decide to just have breakfast in our rooms the next day.
We also sometimes get these little reminder cards
They announce time changes in the newsletter too, but not everyone reads them so its nice that they give out those cards
We sometimes find things outside our door in the mornings as well. Usually they’re announcements or reminders, but on my parent’s anniversary they got a little treat from the staff:
They woke up with this outside their door. How sweet~
As you can see, we had an amazing time at the Golden Princess. The facilities were great, the food was wonderful and the staff were really nice and accommodating. A lot of them were Filipino, so we felt right at home on the ship. But the non-Filipino staff were really sweet too. They would always greet us and ask us about our day. And when they have time they’d even chat with us and tell us about their families. The tours (AKA “shore excursions”) we signed up for were also fun. When it was time for us to leave the ship, I was really sad because I didn’t want the experience to end. No wonder my aunt and uncle did this three times. I would love to do it again too. We’re already considering a Europe or Japan tour sometime in the future. I’m keeping my fingers crossed 😀
EDIT : You can read all the blog entries I wrote for each individual day of our cruise by CLICKING HERE.