Golden Princess Southern Caribbean Cruise Review                                           


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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 and amenities.

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 Carnival Corporation.

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 day.

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 Holland America Oosterdam. In any case we certainly enjoyed our dining times and culinary fare.

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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