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On Promenade Deck the fun really starts. Most major lounges and bars are located here, which makes for some great bar-hopping possibilities. Entertainment on board Golden Princess is very diversified, with up to three major events lined up for most evenings. An army of young British Entertainment Staff members are up and about at all hours to provide all the activities Princess Cruises is famous for.

Running all the way around the ship is an attractive wrap-around Promenade Deck. Though quite narrow and with flooring made of rubber like material in fake teak-planking look, it is wonderful for late night strolls. All the way forward one can actually stand on the bow of the ship, looking down at the water racing by, without so much as a sound. Unforgettable! But .. it's time to head inside and see what deck 7 has to offer in terms of interior design. We start all the way forward, where we find the two main entrances to the Princess Theater, the ship's Broadway-style showroom that easily seats 750 people in comfort. Personally, I don't care much for the look of the room - with rows and rows of red chairs and its very fancy carpet, this could be any given conference auditorium, but sound and light are state of the art, and the room is pillar-free, which means you can enjoy the shows to the fullest. Speaking of shows, we saw a

Grand Plaza

Walking forward, we pass the Web Center, where passengers may check their e-mail. It was not in use during our pre-inaugural trip. The same could not be said for the Desert Rose Restaurant, Golden Princess' Tex-Mex eatery - available to all passengers on a reservations-only basis at a small charge.

The 3-deck high Atrium is the jewel in the crown of Golden Princess. Done in an elegant, hotel-like fashion, the atrium is filled with interesting features like a wonderful ceiling "chandelier" and fascinating iron screens protecting the panoramic elevators. On deck 7, you will find two shops (Facets and Escapades) and the Panorama Lounge & Bar lining the atrium. Great for people watching!

Wheelhouse Bar

Next door is the "Carnivalesque" Explorers Lounge, reminding one of a cross between Indiana Jones and Out of Africa. With its rattan furniture and exotic atmosphere this a wildly popular room, even though the artwork is so off-key and kitschy it made us laugh. What to think of a painting of two embracing zebra's?

Next door is another signature Princess venue, the gracious and very inviting Wheelhouse Bar. The room is filled with nautical memorabilia and most resembles a gentlemen's club with its leather wing chairs. The carpet is the most original I have ever seen; a world map in wool! A combo plays here most nights, and this surely must be one of most successful bars on the ship, with just the right "ambiance".

Departure from Southampton

Access to the ship's bow
Princess Theater lobby
Desert Rose Tex-Mex restaurant
Grand Plaza
Explorers Lounge
Explorers Lounge

Wheelhouse Bar

Promenade Deck
Princess Theater
Princess Theater
Facets

Explorers Lounge

Explorers Lounge
Wheelhouse Bar
Wheelhouse Bar

 

Photos and text: 2001-2005 Bart de Boer - www.ShipParade.com. Exterior photos courtesy of Kees van Garderen.

Originally published in 2001. This revised version with new photos was published on January 30, 2005.

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