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Some years ago, Princess Cruises introduced a new dining concept. Called "Personal Choice Dining", it enables passengers to choose whether they want to dine in traditional first or second seating, or alternatively dine whenever they want. On our short pre-inaugural voyage, all dining rooms on Golden Princess operated on a open seating basis, which worked admirably. Given the fact that this was the ship's first passenger-carrying sailing, the entire dining process was running like clockwork, with waiting times for tables for two never more than 20 minutes!

The ambiance of Sabatini's Trattoria could best be described as "garlic", with mouthwatering Italian aromas drifting through the promenade. This 100-seat a la carte dining room with a rustic look serves up huge portions of Italian food to guests on a reservations-only basis, albeit at a hefty surcharge.

Golden Plaza

The 450-seat Vista Lounge on Promenade Deck is a wonderful example of a lounge that is large, yet intimate. The designers have used rich, elegant colors (predominantly royal blue, beige and gold) and the abstract original art that adorns the room really complements the exquisite design.

As for the decor of the Canaletto, Donatello (both on deck 6) and Bernini (deck 5) Dining Rooms, there are hardly any surprises if you know previous Princess vessels. Lots of wood trim, comfortable chairs, few tables for two, and lots of space between tables - a pleasant dining environment. Our two dinners in the Bernini Dining Room were very enjoyable and very tasty! Service was polished, the food was excellently prepared. The fish was fresh, the meat was tender, and the desserts were to die for! We were able to get a table for two on both nights within 20 minutes after reporting ourselves to the Maitre d' at the entrance of the dining room. We were then asked to wait in the Lobby Bar, where one of the waiters would later come and escort us to our table. A very nice arrangement!

Players Sports Bar

The Lobby Bar is an integral part of the three deck high Golden Plaza and a great place to meet & greet friends for dinner. You will also find the 24-hour Purser's Desk here, plus a Card Room, a very nice Writing Room and a tiny Library. One deck higher, "Castaways" and "Meridian Bay" are two retail outlets offering the latest from the world of fashion and jewelry..  

The last public rooms we visit on this ShipTour are the expansive Atlantis Casino and Players, the ship's Sports Bar. At 13,500 square feet, the Atlantis Casino is huge, but still quite elegant (as far as casinos can be elegant) with its marble bar and its fanciful underwater-themed carpeting. Players Sports Bar makes quite a refreshing change from the big-scale casino one deck above. This tiny windowless watering hole is very intimate, with big screen TV's and a pool table on the ceiling.... talking about a refreshing change!

And so our short cruise on Golden Princess comes to an end. Just like her sisters, this huge princess provides an unprecedented array of amenities. Put on your walking shoes and discover it all! From the towering heights of the Skywalker Nightclub to the comfort of any of the 1,300 staterooms. If you like diversity, a certain degree of style, decent food and don't mind being around a lot of people, you will most probably like Golden Princess!

Entrance to Sabatini's Trattoria
Vista Lounge
Vista Lounge
Canaletto Dining Room
Canaletto Dining Room

Writing room

Atlantis Casino
Atlantis Casino

Sabatinis Trattoria

Vista Lounge
Entrance to the Canaletto Dining Room
Bernini Dining Room
Facets
Meridian Bay shop
Lobby Bar

Golden Plaza

 

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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