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Golden Princess Southern Caribbean Cruise Review
Part Three - Review of food and dining options
Welcome to page three of our Golden Princess Southern
Caribbean cruise review - food and dining options. For those who
have not read our previous articles about the planning of our family cruise
vacation, check out our
Caribbean Cruises Articles map.
For those who have read our previous articles about the planning of our
cruise vacation, you will remember that we traveled with our family of
eleven having ages from 26 to 85. We chose the Southern Caribbean cruise
because of the itinerary, and we chose the Princess Cruise Lines ship the
Golden Princess because of their "any time dining" option, the activities
We have broken up our over-all review into a few different segments so that
we can better address the various components of our cruise. For the purposes
of this review, we will compare it to our last two cruise vacations within
the last three years which makes the comparison more pertinent.
Our review of cruise ship food and dining options should start with the
statement that in general, cruise ship dining is fabulous. Once you have
enjoyed a couple of days worth of food options on board you will see why we
suggest that ladies include a pair of silky cocktail-type pants for formal
nights because of their ability to stretch a little for comfort.
Having said that, we'll continue our review with the 'anytime dining'
option. This option is one reason we chose Princess. With such a wide range
of ages in our group, we did not want to restrict anyone's activities with a
fixed dining time. (Of course, in the buffet area one can choose their
dining time as well.) There are two anytime dining rooms - Donatello and
Bernini - and one fixed dining room - Canaletto - on the Golden Princess.
The anytime rooms are virtually the same in appearance and service. All
three dining rooms offer the same menu - which is important if you like the
dining fare in the formal fixed dining room. You do however lose the more
personal contact of your table waiters etc. that the fixed dining room
affords. Princess does allow reservations in the anytime dining rooms so
that if you want to see the sun set on deck at 6:45, you can reserve a table
with 'Noel' at 7:00 if available.
I have always enjoyed the buffet food. However, the dining room fare is just
that much better - elegantly presented and expertly prepared. It is also
more relaxing and enjoyable for us to eat in a more formal atmosphere
without the 'hubub' of the buffet. On this cruise, my wife and I ate three
of the evening meals in the anytime dining rooms. The dining fare was
excellent as expected. The lobster tails were done to perfection. The
scallops melted in your mouth. If your hunger pangs weren't sated, you
simply ordered another. (We heard that a new ship record of 13 lobster tail
dinners were enjoyed by one passenger.)
The balance of our evening meals were at the buffet with our adult children.
The buffet better suited their dining wishes with a large variety and the
option of taking only what appeals. Each night on board had a 'theme' for
the culinary fare. I could see where some of the options would not be
appetizing to some all passengers. For example the German fare night in the
buffet offered a variety of sausages, sauerbraten and the like. Each night
there was always other items that would appeal - chicken, fish etc. I would
say that the buffet dining on this cruises was compare with that on the
Carnival Legend three years ago, but would be somewhat below that of the
Holland America Oosterdam a year and a half ago.
The buffet was VERY disorganized in comparison to the other two cruises. You
were never quite sure where to begin or how to get from one point to
another. Instead of a defined line, the Golden Princess had an area that you
entered which had two outer servery areas and an island in the middle with
servery tables on both sides. It almost always seemed like mass confusion.
Princess needs to take notes from Holland America and Carnival. It's hard to
believe that the three are all part of the same organization - the
There were also on board a grill and a pizzeria at the pool. The grill
served up hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken burgers, bratwurst, fries, onion
rings and the like. We enjoyed this fare a few times for lunch by the pool
or up on deck. I have to say that the pizza was disappointing. I found that
the pizza had little taste, and the limited hours of pizzeria meant that we
could not enjoy a slice in the evening. Holland America's Oosterdam's hours
were limited somewhat as well while the Carnival Legend had 24-hour pizza
available. The Legend also had the best pizza by far. I enjoyed a slice
almost every night around 10:00 or 10:30 as well as the odd slice during the
The Golden Princess also offers a couple of optional dining rooms with a
small extra charge applied. One was a steak-house style restaurant -
Sterling at the Desert Rose; one an Italian style - Sabatini's Trattoria.
None of our group chose to dine in these options so I can not offer a review
of them. The settings of these dining areas did appear quite nice.
In all, I would say that dining aboard the Golden Princess was as good as
the Carnival Legend, but not up to the standards of the
Oosterdam. In any case we certainly enjoyed our dining times and
For reviews on other components of our Golden Princess cruise to the
Southern Caribbean including the food and dining options, staterooms (with
balconies), activities, amenities and ports-of-call, check our
Caribbean Cruises Article map often.
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