NEW YORK -- With nearly 4,000 passengers and crew aboard, the
Golden Princess qualifies as a floating city. For those who fear
the offloading of so many folks might overwhelm the woodsy
spectacle, a bit of planning can sort this out.
For one thing, Princess has mounted an excellent Web site that
enables passengers to pre-book all shore excursions.
More good news is that a large passenger capacity results in a
huge choice of options: motorcoach tours, hikes, town walks,
carriage rides, cycling, kayaking, rafting, amphibious vehicles and
boat excursions, not to mention the opportunity to ogle the rush of
colorful leaves on your own, either on foot or in a rented car.
Onboard lectures about available tours, the tour desk itself and
in-cabin TV shows lay out what passengers can expect to see, and
that was helpful during the initial two nights and one full day we
spent en route to Halifax -- before the flurry of five ports in
five days started.
Dining and entertainment
For dining, the Golden Princess -- like the Grand Princess,
which will offer the foliage itinerary this year -offers a choice
of reserved seats at first or second sitting in one main
restaurant, or open seating (what the line calls Anytime Dining)
between 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. in the other two main
There also are alternative "specialty" restaurants, like the
Desert Rose's southwestern cuisine (which will become a Sterling
steakhouse in April) and Sabbatini's Italian experience. Charges
apply for both eateries. One evening we enjoyed sea scallops with
Kalamata olives, capers and herbs, a cooking demonstration dish the
executive chef had shown us earlier in the day.
For evening entertainment, the Princess Theater mounts major
stage productions, and the Vista Lounge hosts vocalists. There's
dancing in the Wheelhouse Lounge, Karaoke in the Explorer's Lounge
and party time in Skywalkers, a nightclub located in a pod poised
155 feet above the sea.
With so many venues, the ship never seemed crowded, day or
night. -- T.S.
For more details on this article, see Princess' foliage tours peak in New