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Cruise Diva's CRUISE DIARY
~ Golden Princess Canada & New England ~

Part One

What could be more appropriate than setting sail for "new" harbors on a day honoring one of the world's greatest explorers—Columbus Day? Golden Princess, awaiting her guest explorers in New York City, would soon navigate the Hudson River past the Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty and, ultimately, out to sea. We were set for a voyage of discovery, but first we had to get on board.

Sunday: How golden can a Princess cruise be? 
Our fall foliage cruise began with an unexpected "cruise" of the Big Apple itself. Transfers from the airport hit a snag as Manhattan's normal heavy traffic was even more congested by streets closed for the Columbus Day parade. New York really knows how to throw a party and the parade was no exception. 

In true New York, can-do fashion our bus driver maneuvered his giant coach through Central Park, beneath low bridges, and, finally, we spotted ships' stacks hovering overhead. What a welcome sight! While the normally short transfer took considerably longer than usual, our driver handled it with aplomb.

If you go... Cruise line transfers from the three major New York-area airports (La Guardia, JFK, and Newark) are a good idea. Traffic can be onerous in New York and you won't miss your ship if you are being transported by a cruise line coach. Also, while taxis are plentiful at the airports, they may take a long time to reach the pier when several large ships are embarking passengers simultaneously—some taxi occupants are even encouraged by the drivers to get out across the highway from the piers and wheel their suitcases from as far away as several blocks.

Welcome Aboard
Golden Princess sparkles with quiet elegance. The second of Princess Cruises' "grand class" vessels, she is as  golden as she is grand. A richer color palette and second sweeping atrium staircase give the Golden Princess a decor edge over her sister-ship, Grand Princess.

Golden Princess mini-suite

Over 80% of Golden Princess outside staterooms feature a Princess Cruises signature amenity—balconies. During port arrivals and departures, occupants lined the rails of their private decks. While warmer weather voyages may draw more passengers outside, my mid-ship mini-suite balcony was the perfect spot to combine a steaming cup of morning coffee with my first view of the day's port of call.

If you go... Don't worry about over packing. Like her fleet mates, Golden Princess has more than adequate storage space, even for extended cruises, and most accommodations have a generous walk-in closet.

Monday: A Day at Sea
In addition to leisurely hours of relaxation, I looked forward to this day at sea with special anticipation. As part of Princess Cruises' ScholarShip@Sea Program, Golden Princess was host to a very special guest lecturer, Commodore Michael Moulin. After making his first voyage at age 15 and a career spanning 43 years at sea, P&O Princess' Commodore Moulin was on board to speak about Titanic from a Shipmaster's Perspective. A lively question and answer period followed Commodore Moulin's lecture and participants continued until the lounge had to be relinquished for the next activity. Their appetites whetted for more, Titanic buffs would have the opportunity to explore the tragedy further the next day in Halifax.

For a behind-the-scenes peek at the life of a cruise ship captain, Commodore Moulin's charming wife Maggie joined him later in the day for another special interest lecture, "A Cruising Career." Maggie Moulin delighted the audience by recalling her father's horror that she was dating a sailor, as well as sharing family events and high seas hi-jinks.

ScholarShip@Sea, Princess Cruises' innovative enrichment program, calls upon the talents of many crew and staff members to educate as well as entertain guests. Hands-on classes in ceramics, photography, and culinary arts are but a few of the course offerings. Other staples include wine tasting, dance lessons, and a back stage tour to examine the Golden Princess' theatrical technology. Some activities are complimentary, such as a computer class to acquaint students with popular websites on the Internet. For a nominal fee, other course offerings include everything from a basic introductory computer class to photo editing and website design. By the end of the year the entire Princess fleet will offer a curriculum of stimulating courses, including guest lecturers to focus on an interesting aspect of the cruise or itinerary.

If you go... No special talent is necessary to participate in a ceramics lesson and you'll take home a unique souvenir fired in a kiln at sea—a Princess exclusive.

As the day wound down, it was time to prepare for the first of two formal evenings and the Captain's Gala Cocktail Party. While I opted for Personal Choice Dining, there are still two parties timed for the convenience of passengers who select traditional early or late seating and "PC" guests can choose to attend either. Two fast-paced, high energy performances of "Lights, Camera, Action" were also presented in the Princess Theater. Oh yes, I had dinner between the two events... it's hard to imagine, but the dining experience on Golden Princess is exceeding that on Grand Princess! 

Next --> Part Two -- Halifax, Nova Scotia and St. John, New Brunswick

Part Three -- Bar Harbor, Maine and Boston Massachusetts

Part Four -- Newport, Rhode Island

Part Five -- Debarkation and lasting impressions

Back to --> Golden Princess Cruise Diary Review, Index

Illustrations for Cruise Diary: Courtesy of Princess Cruises & © Author's Collection

Cruise Line Profile - Princess Cruises

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