In this post, I will be sharing with you photos and a brief review of all of the public areas onboard the Golden Princess. Including, but not limited to, the Piazza, the lounges/bars, top decks/pools, theatre, buffet, main dining room and my cabin.
I also share my thoughts on the state of the Golden Princess post refurbishment 2018.
To find out more about why I loved the ship click here: Golden Princess, 10 best bits!
Golden Princess Refurbishment 2018
Prior to my cruise on the Golden Princess I had read a number of reviews about the ship looking run down, leaks appearing and paint peeling away. I’m happy to say that I didn’t notice most of the mentioned problems with the ship (apart from a few leaks in the theatre). She is being transferred to P&O Australia soon so Princess probably don’t want to spend more than they have to on her. Check out the photos below to make up your own mind!
The Piazza is a multi-levelled atrium with two lifts (elevators) which go through the middle. It is pretty small compared to other Princess ships. The Royal class Princess ships have a much bigger Piazza but the size didn’t stop events from taking place here!
Piazza (meaning public square or marketplace) is the word that Princess chose to use to describe the atriums of their ship. There is a pizza and kebab shop where I live called Piazza so to me the word doesn’t conjure up the most glamorous images for me! Luckily the ship the ship does.
The Piazza is the location where the balloon drop party is held so it’ll always have a special place in my heart. The balloon drop party was definitely one of my favourite things about the cruise and Princess. We all danced away for what felt like hours and were exhausted afterwards.
The style of the atrium is definitely ‘classic’. More so than some of the newer cruise ships but I really liked the space and felt as though it was the heart of the ship. It was almost impossible to wander through the ship without finding something going on. Be that live music or a golf/bean bag toss game.
There are so many pools on this ship, it’s without a doubt, one of my favourite things about Princess. Often on other cruise ships and lines you’ll see a lot of people crowded into one pool all standing around. This isn’t the case on Golden at all. All but one time when we went swimming we were the only people in the pool. Having a pool to yourself is incredible because if you want to swim that’s fine, and if you want to float around like a potato that is also fine.
The aft pool is the smallest and is also under the nightclub so doesn’t really get too much sunshine. The views from here are the best without a doubt though. There is more than enough seating around the pool and it’s right by the buffet so you can always nip in for a chocolate chip cookie. (The cookies are AMAZING).
Surprisingly this pool actually seemed busiest during our cruise, not sure if it was because of its protected location and the fact that the temperatures in Asia do get pretty high.
I think that this is my favourite pool onboard the Golden Princess. It isn’t the biggest pool (pretty sure the main pool is bigger) but it is still a really good size. My dad and brother often swam laps up and down the pool while I sat in the hot tub. Perfect!
It was never too busy here, it was always possible to get a sunbed and amazingly on some days I was the only one sitting on the top level. The bottom part has seating for the buffet because the inside pool leads directly to the buffet.
There isn’t too much to say about the main pool. You get what you see with this one! There is one main pool with two hot tubs. There’s loads of seating and even on sunny sea days it never was difficult to get a sunbed. This is definitely one of my favourite things about Princess, it was never difficult to find a sunbed even on sunny sea days.
There is another pool in the middle of the Golden Princess near the sanctuary. I suspect that some people may assume that this is part of the sanctuary but it isn’t. This one was quite popular, not just with me! The pool is a decent size and it has a couple of hot tubs too. It’s located by the spa and there are lots of places to sit around the pool.
I really liked this theatre, it’s large and almost all of the seats have a good view. There is a lower section closer to the stage where we liked to sit. We were so close to the action that on a couple of occasions I almost felt as though the sweat from the dancers may hit me, luckily it didn’t.
There are a lot of seats up higher too, also with a good view. It was never difficult to get a drink when in the theatre because there were always loads of waiters around just waiting to get you a drink. A couple of them knew us by name and knew what drinks we wanted without us even having to say!
The only complaint I have about the theatre is that it is REALLY cold. I’m not sure if the ship was overcompensating because of the hot temperature outside but it was really really cold inside the theatre, especially in the front section. Make sure you bring something to cover your legs and a cardigan/jumper/sweater.
Main Dining Room
There are three main dining rooms onboard the Golden Princess. The Canaletto dining room was for people who chose to have set dining. There are then two identical restaurants one on top of each other on decks 5 and 6, Donatello and Bernini. These are a combination of set dining and anytime dining. We chose anytime dining and dined in Bernini’s most nights.
The restaurants are huge and are lined with windows meaning that you get an amazing view when you are eating. The service was fabulous and the food was A-MAZING. Easily the best food that I have ever had at sea. I will write a full review of the food soon so watch this space!
I also filmed daily vlogs when I was onboard, these include lots of restaurant and food footage. Make sure you visit my YouTube channel to check the videos out there.
The buffet is pretty small but more than adequate. It is split into two sides. I never had any trouble finding something that I wanted to eat from the buffet and there is also a grill and pizzeria outside by the pool. The chocolate chip cookies are INCREDIBLE and I had to have one or two every time I went through the buffet…
One thing that I particularly liked about the buffet was how the hand washing was strictly enforced. If you tried to enter the buffet without washing your hands you would be told to wash your hands (rightly so!). There is also an ‘in’ and ‘out’ way to get into the buffet and you are given your cutlery and plate meaning that there is no time wasted wandering around aimlessly.
We never had trouble getting a table, there was loads of room and also a lot of waiters around ready to get you a drink. I was often offered a drink before I had even had the chance to put the first bite of food in my mouth. The service onboard was always amazing and was definitely one of my favourite things about cruising on the Golden Princess. I recently wrote a post about my favourite 10 things about the Golden Princess. If you are considering a cruise on her (or just fancy a read) why not click here: Golden Princess: 10 best bits.
Deck 5 (Plaza)
The lowest level of the atrium is deck 5 (Plaza). Here you’ll find Vines bar, Vines shop, the International cafe and the lobby bar. There is also a library and internet cafe located nearby.
I didn’t visit Vines during this cruise but did head to the International Cafe for a toasted sandwich now and again. We also enjoyed drinks in the lobby bar and listening to music in the atrium.
Deck 6 (Fiesta)
On the second level is the reception and a couple of shops selling gifts/clothes/perfumes. I had to visit the reception on a number of occasions because my card kept wiping (I suspect because I was placing it with my phone). The queues would often be long but the staff working on the reception were brilliant. I honestly don’t know how they managed to remain so happy and helpful when faced with some of the hilarious complaints they got.
When in the queue I heard the women in front of me say…
My cabin is too small, you need to upgrade me or I will get off the ship.
She was being so rude that I honestly was tempted to throw her overboard myself! Why she didn’t research her cabin before booking I have no idea.
Deck 7 (Promenade)
On the top level of the atrium is the Promenade Cafe. A great place to sit and watch the world go by. They often had a pianist playing here which gave the whole of the Piazza a nice atmosphere. There was also another shop but here but I’m not really one for shopping when onboard.
My favourite lounge onboard the Golden Princess was the Vista lounge. It’s located at the back of deck 7 and is the location of Zumba! They often have a band playing in here for various discos/parties as the actual lounge itself is pretty big and stretches the entire width of the ship. This means that the lounge is able to accommodate a lot of passengers. This is particularly important on sea days as it seemed like the whole world came to the Vista lounge for trivia!
The activities in the Vista lounge never really stopped. The bar is almost always open and it proved to be a fantastic place to get a drink and meet up with friends. They also play films here in the evening, it is just a projector so the quality isn’t amazing but still good enough.
The explorers lounge is the next largest lounge onboard and also was the location for many trivia events. For certain popular events, the lounge could completely fill up so if you really want don’t want to miss something it is important to get there early. There are also some seats just outside the explorers lounge where people would often play cards.
We took part in Beatles trivia here where my mum managed to score an incredible 25/25! I’m pretty proud of her for that one. I think I could have got around 50% by myself…
The Wheelhouse bar is a small bar located beside the explorers lounge. It is worth a visit just to look at the interesting artefacts dotted around the room and the drawings on the walls. The bar definitely had a relaxed vibe and you would often find people dancing on the small dance floor to whatever live music was playing at the time. Many of the chairs are big armchairs and extremely comfortable. You may never want to get up again once you have sat down though. That’s the risk you must take.
The mermaids tail bar (outside pool bar)
It’s bizarre writing this review because I never usually know the bars by name. I would have just called this one the ‘outside pool bar’. It’s located between the Trident grill and the pizzeria. We had many a diet coke from this one. It’s in a prime location to supply drink to the passengers around the pool and those taking part in deck parties. Despite its location, it was never too busy, we never had any trouble being served.
Calypso bar (inside pool bar)
Here’s another bar with a name that I didn’t know. I would refer to this one as ‘the inside pool bar’. Once again this bar was never too busy and there were always plenty of waiters around ready to get you a drink.
This one is at the aft of the ship and overlooks those gorgeous views out to sea. We spent quite a lot of time here and it was definitely one of my favourite parts of the ship. Not only were the views spectacular but it also made for quite a nice place to find some shade. Our cruise was around Asia and it did get pretty hot so shade was often welcome.
The nightclub on the Golden Princess is at the back of the ship and is up a travelator. I thought that this looked really cool and the actual club itself is pretty big. The dance floor is rather small but it never really got too busy.
I honestly feel as though this location was wasted as a nightclub. It has the best views overlooking the ship and aft but was often unused because it primarily is a nightclub. It would be better, in my opinion, to have this one as a lounge that is open all day long. The perfect place to watch a sail away!
The Golden Princess has a full promenade deck! I love this! The promenade deck is the perfect place to walk a lap in the evening, maybe catch a sunset and possibly some WiFi from whatever port you are docked at… (This worked for me a couple of times haha).
I had a balcony cabin onboard the Golden Princess and I loved it! The only thing that I didn’t like about the cabin was that there were only two plug sockets (both US) and they were directly one above the other. Meaning that if you are using a travel adapter you can only use one at a time…
The cabin was really spacious and really well laid out. I loved the separate changing/wardrobe area which meant that I didn’t wake up my brother Max when I came in later than him. The balcony is actually pretty big, much bigger than those on the Royal class of Princess ships.
I did film a full balcony tour video onboard the Royal Princess which may be of interest. The two balcony cabins are almost identical, the only differences being a bigger TV/bed on Royal and a bigger balcony on Princess! Check out the video below and don’t forget to subscribe. I filmed daily vlogs during this cruise and will be uploading them over the coming weeks.
Golden Princess Refurbishment 2018
I LOVED the Golden Princess and she is definitely one of my favourite all-time cruise ships, I cruisde on her post refurbishment. You can definitely tell that she is an older ship but this really didn’t ruin anything for me. I loved how quiet the ship was and how many places there were to grab a drink or some food. There was never any trouble getting a drink and all of the staff onboard were amazing.
It’s no secret that I loved the Golden Princess. She’s one of the older, smaller ships in the Princess fleet and although showing her age in some parts I loved the ship. She’s due to be sold to P&O Australia next year, a move which I actually feel pretty sad about given how much I love her as a Princess ship. It’ll be interesting to see what changes P&O make. This review is based on the Golden Princess in 2018 post refurbishment.
I would 110% recommend a cruise onboard the Golden Princess.
If you’re not all princess-ed out check out my latest post here: Golden Princess, 10 best bits or join our Facebook group to chat to us: Cruising Isn’t Just For Old People.
If you’re not all golden-princessed out then you can learn more about her on the Princess website here: Golden Princess – Cruise Ship.
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