Well our last experience was Golden, – the new /old Princess ship visiting our waters in this wave season taking guests easily from Melbourne around New Zealand, Tasmania and some of the South West Pacific Isles.


It’s true to say it’s a long while since we cruised with 2598 of our new best friends, and on a ship at some 109000 gross tonnes so it seemed large after some of our latest cruising …….but although large there are plenty of spaces for someone to get lost and at times not see another guest onboard, – our first Princess cruise was on the original Love Boat, Island Princess around New Zealand in 1990 and we have cruised a lot of times with Princess so it was good to head back to see the changes ‘first hand’!

Golden was built in 2001 and has 16 decks of guest space – and whilst in our waters currency is AUD.


We flew to Auckland and embarked on 4nights @ sea back to Melbourne, – most of the guests joined the week prior in Melbourne on a 13 night round N Z itinerary – embarkation was for about 300 people very seamless and efficient and lunch was being served in the Horizon Court (buffet) which was sectioned off to make it a good traffic flow and the stewards controlled the sanitization and cutlery so that all who went near food had their hands sanitized.


Then to our suite, although old, a sizey balcony and sitting and bed area – bit dated in décor but tidy rather than worn – our suite would accommodate 4 if necessary with a sofa bed and / or a Pullman – king size bed and a reasonable hanging space and drawers for wardrobe – safe, brollley and all the necessary things.


 We always see the age of a vessel in the bathroom!! and this showed it, a shower over bath with very efficient water flow and generous bench space and lighting but daggy tiles that were green and white, – Our cabin steward Michael was very efficient – and had an eye for detail replenishing when needed and making our home away from home that little bit special, – topping up the ice or the water in the refrigerator, popping the choices on the pillow each night…


Don’t worry about not having anything to do, the ‘Princess Patter’ lists all the activities on and off the ship and it’s also available in a digital way suitable for iphones and ipads. – there is something for everyone and also little for people like us who while away the day at sea around a good book, or two!


The internet and library room are spacious and the plans affordable – 600 mins for AUD200 – and much less if you don’t need a lot and just want to socially connect,or indeed just 15mins for AUD8 to print out your forthcoming flights’ boarding passes – the speed adequate and the library stocked with honesty system books.

When it comes to dining the first choice is if you wish to have traditional, set times early or late, with set table arrangements or indeed anytime when you choose per night where and when you wish to dine and then there is plenty of choice included in the cruise fare– the buffet at Horizon Court, the main dining rooms, room service, pool deck but it’s the specialty restaurants we sampled and enjoyed, surcharges for two for them 25.00 per person but well worth it for more intimate and a la minute food – Italian Sabatinis, Steakhouse Crown Grill and the Chefs Table 110.00 per person – – Princess’ latest Master Chef is Australia’s own Curtis Stone ‘Crafted by Curtis’


Entertainment is everything from state of the art shows in the theatre, folkloric performances around the ship, in depth presentations, art auctions, or outside ‘Movies under the Stars’. There are plenty of bars to find the spot to suit and that might include the Skywalkers Deck 17 area – perched high above the ship and over the aft of the ship above the ocean!



Princess cares for all ages, children especially so if you don’t want to cruise with lots of little ones, avoid worldwide school holidays, if you have little ones then you are in for a break and won’t see them and for the older guests onboard it could be the spa you hide away in being pampered or indeed the Sanctuary, an adults only open air environment – covered and open pools are provided for and there is adequate seating around the pool areas.


Shopping onboard is duty free right down to being able to disembark with the 2L alcohol Australian Border control limits in alcohol, each day there is the trellis special, everything from watches, to clothes , to jewellery to cosmetics.


For those who know and have been once or twice before the Princess loyalty club is attractive offering more perks as the cruise days accumulate – and indeed onboard bookings are popular offering savings off the next cruise, it can be open dated with a deposit ‘future cruise credit’ of AUD100 pp and it’s valid for two years to save on the next sailing, have a reduced deposit to pay and receive a complimentary onboard credit .


So yes for the right itinerary, the right time we would head back to Princess as it offers very good value for money and some interesting itineraries worldwide but many new ones that are very popular as we don’t have to fly too far