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Tribute to Golden Princess (2001-2020): A Look Back and a Gathering of Memories

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Tribute to Golden Princess (2001-2020)

image.thumb.png.172f41434d54c86bd031369f925662ed.png

(credit: Bernard Spragg, 2016)

 

With news of the extended cancellations released by Princess on April 14, 2020, it is all but certain that Golden Princess will effectively no longer be a part of the Princess Cruises fleet. Her round-trip Alaska sailings from Los Angeles this summer were noted in the press release as being cancelled, but her final voyage, a farewell transpacific from Vancouver to Tokyo to Singapore, has also fallen victim. Cruisers in the roll call have confirmed the cancellation. Lastly, her deck plan has also been scrubbed from the website.

 

With the pandemic, it is possible that her conversion into Pacific Adventure for P&O Cruises Australia may be postponed, but I personally believe that she will be shed from the fleet anyways, in order to reduce overall expenditure. But regardless of what happens, let us take a look back at what has felt like a short, 19-year history, of the ship with the company. 

======================================

  • In January 1998, P&O (Princess' former parent company) announced the order of two Grand-class vessels for Princess, scheduled for delivery in 2001, one of which would become Golden Princess.
  • In May 2001Golden Princess debuted in Southampton. Were you part of her inaugural season? Share with us some of the quirks you were excited about! Some of the ship's notable features upon her public launch were the "AOL Internet Cafe," the Princess "Wedding Cam", the "F/X Digital Photo Center", and "Voyage of Discovery" game and simulator center. Anyone also remember the Desert Rose specialty restaurant? (It was Southwestern-themed.) Her inaugural voyage was on May 16, 2001. Her inaugural season featured 12-day Mediterranean voyages between Barcelona and Istanbul, with Caribbean voyages from Fort Lauderdale, FL beginning on October 13, 2001.
    image.png.166431df3dbea4411615db4b732a48a1.png
    (credit: FK GOHLEN, 2001) 
  • In April 2002Golden Princess was christened by Merlisa George, Miss US Virgin Islands 2002, in St. Thomas. 
    image.png.ba720df3e2bd060b9bfdb590e2754836.png
    (credit: Princess Cruises, 2002)
  • For the summer of 2002, in the wake of 9/11, Princess modified the ship's Mediterranean itineraries, rerouting the ship from all port calls in Turkey. She embarked on a fall transatlantic in September from Venice to New York that was quite the ride. She performed her first season of Canada/New England fall foliage cruises that fall.
  • She spent her summer of 2003 in Europe again, with her sister, Grand Princess, sailing between Barcelona and Venice.
  • For the summer of 2004 until summer 2005, Princess doubled down on its commitment to the Caribbean, sending Golden to San Juan for 7-day cruises. It was also announced in the same year that Princess would bring the poolside movie theater (now colloquially known as MUTS) to all ships, including Golden. [discussion]
  • For the summer of 2005, Princess sent Golden to Southampton for British Isles and new Western Europe itineraries (e.g. "Western Europe Capitals").
  • For the summer of 2006, besides Southampton sailings, Golden also visited the Southeastern Med, including the Greek Isles and a unique 12-day sailing visiting Egypt.
  • In December 2006, Princess introduced a new port into its history: New Orleans! Golden helped roll out the red carpet with three Western Caribbean sailings. Later that winter season ('06-'07), she began sailing around Cape Horn and South America for the very first time.
  • For the summer of 2007Golden homeported in Seattle, sailing to Alaska for the first time, a deployment that would continue for the next few years. This succeeded her debut in San Francisco in April and preceded her debut in Los Angeles in the fall for Mexican Riviera sailings.
  • In the fall of 2008, she began Hawaii trips from Los Angeles, a deployment pattern that would continue for the next four years.
  • In the spring of 2009, Princess allowed fans to follow along Golden's 3-week dry dock in Victoria, B.C., in which she received her MUTS screen, the new Piazza-style atrium, the International Cafe, the Sanctuary, and the Crown Grill. In the summer of 2009Golden displayed a copy of the Declaration of Independence in Juneau, AK. 
  • In February 2011, Gavin MacLeod was feted on Golden for an extravagant 80th birthday bash.
  • 2013 was, unfortunately, not the brightest year in the ship's history: she made the news for wastewater violations in Glacier Bay committed in 2011 and a CDC sanitation violation in February 2013.
  • In the fall of 2013Golden was deployed for short 3-/4-day cruises from Los Angeles, a first for Princess. That winter season, she returned to sail around Cape Horn. The rotation was repeated the following year. 
  • In the summer of 2015Golden performed round-trip Alaska sailings from San Francisco for the first time. The summer also marked Princess' debut for its "North to Alaska!" program.
  • For the southern hemisphere's summer season ('15-'16)Golden debuted in Melbourne, Australia, marking her debut in the South Pacific and becoming the biggest ship homeported in Melbourne.
  • In the summer of 2016Golden was deployed to China for her first time, sailing cruises from Tianjin. She returned to Melbourne that fall.
  • For 2017, Golden performed unique itineraries, and did not homeport in North America for the entire year. Most notably, she sailed a 75-day Circle Pacific cruise from May.
  • In the summer of 2018Golden returned to Alaska, sailing from Vancouver/Whittier and Los Angeles. She returned to Melbourne that fall and returned to Alaska for Vancouver-Whittier runs in 2019. 
  • For 2019-2020, she performed her very last active season, homed in Melbourne. She was to sail to Los Angeles in April 2020 and perform 14-day Alaska trips, before making her farewell transpacific to Vancouver, Tokyo, and finally, Singapore, for her dry dock. 

======================================

Over the years, many of us have had the pleasure to interact with the thousands of people making Golden the ship and home that it has been thus far, for 19 years. Golden's departure comes just three years after the departure of Dawn Princess, in 2017. Were you lucky enough to cruise one of Golden's long cruises or exotic itineraries? Along with the bevy of awe-inspiring destinations we've been able to cruise to on Golden, let us honor the many crew members who have made our experiences what they were, as none of our cruises would be possible without them. In a tribute, even if it's a brief distraction from the perils of our circumstances, let's reminisce on all the things, big and small, and share some of our memorable experiences that we've been so lucky to encounter through our sailings on the ship. Many of us also had sailings booked for the last few months it was scheduled to operate in the fleet and I'd love to hear what you were hoping to look forward to, either forming new memories or returning to see old faces and places you've cherished over the years. And lastly, if you, a loved one, or even a friend(s) you've made from Golden Princess, are currently suffering from complications from the coronavirus, my thoughts and prayers are with you all. Here's to hoping sunnier days for all of us will come soon.

 

I leave you all with a link to one of my favorite recollections of one's experiences on Golden Princess, courtesy of PescadoAmarillo. I conclude with Dionne Warwick's rendition of The Love Boat's theme for the show's final season:

 

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Count me as one of those that has wonderful memories of the Golden and her crew.  I did search for cruises in hopes to find just one still in tack.  So very sad to be losing her.  On my search, I also noticed that the Grand is being repositioned away from the West Coast too.  Too many changes for this long time cruiser with favorite shops.

 

Beautiful send off.  Thank you for taking the time to capture her life's service.  

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Very interesting!  Thank you for posting.  Our Golden Princess Alaska voyage in September 2013 marked our return to cruising after a five year hiatus and was my sister and brother-in-law's first cruise.  Our favorite daytime hang-out area was Skywalkers.  It was even quiet on the day we saw the glacier.  We had lots of good times on this trip.  I even enjoyed taking pictures to show the strange mirror reflections in our inside stateroom.  I always intended to sail Golden Princess again, but we never did. 

gp1.jpg

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Have enjoyed almost 100 nights on the Golden.... and have a lot of wonderful memories 

 

a couple of snaps taken between 2016 and 2019 around New Zealand

 

Cheers Don

golden_2058134.thumb.jpg.7a79de7ffe7fc3a88d8b436acfb0afc7.jpg899770134_golden3.thumb.jpg.9b06be18b725bb0c1f4b7d51a409d2fe.jpg2138848819_goldenatdunedin.thumb.jpg.90f01e73bae8f58a403b3727a445fbc9.jpg573938082_golden2.thumb.jpg.b2bee64d07f7dc25474d1161879d153d.jpg1467949221_golden1.thumb.jpg.2564947171c1e99fbdc1869fed713b1f.jpg

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Posted (edited)

My very first cruise was on Golden in April 2017.

 

Also had two cancelled criuse trips on her as we can't make it for various reason.

 

I also had a ship inspection on her in 2019 - never thought that would be my last time on Golden.

 

Saw her at Station Pier the other day (I reckon 19/20 Mar) before she left - never thought she would be gone for good.

 

Good thing is we'll still see the ship albert in a different livery and different name.

 

Farewell Golden!

Edited by eamondzhang

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Our first cruise on Princess was on the Golden to Alaska in 2012. Had a window suite and loved it. Sorry to see her go. 

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I’m going to miss my opportunity to sail on her as my Alaska cruise was cancelled yesterday. I’ll also miss out on the windows suite experience too as we had managed to snag on of those cabins. 😞 

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We sailed R/T to Hawaii and the highlight of the trip was staying in one of those special cabins - S702 and S704.  Our friends were in #704. These were the only 2 rooms that were truly premium ocean view cabins on the ship. 

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4 hours ago, mbglib said:

Very interesting!  Thank you for posting.  Our Golden Princess Alaska voyage in September 2013 marked our return to cruising after a five year hiatus and was my sister and brother-in-law's first cruise.  Our favorite daytime hang-out area was Skywalkers.  It was even quiet on the day we saw the glacier.  We had lots of good times on this trip.  I even enjoyed taking pictures to show the strange mirror reflections in our inside stateroom.  I always intended to sail Golden Princess again, but we never did. 

gp1.jpg

I sailed on her in September 2013 as well on an Alaska Inside Passage. We had a great time. This was my second Princess cruise and second time in Alaska since my first in 2004.   I miss cruising and am sadden by all that is going on in the world right now

we had our meet and mingle in Skywalkers. 

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Farewell to the Golden Princess. We did a few of the short 3 &4 day cruises in 2013. We were scheduled to do the Rt from Los Angeles to Alaska in a window suite until yesterday. I guess that sadly, we will never know the joys of a window suite.

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My first Princess Cruise was on the Golden Princess to Alaska in June, 2012.  We had a great time.  Enjoyed the Golden very much.  

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We went on the Golden Princess last May to Alaska, she looked a bit tired on the outside, but internally she was lovely, loved our cabin, and the layout of the ship.  We will hopefully go on her under her new name with P&O here in Australia, will be interesting to see what they change.

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We sailed "North to Alaska" from San Francisco in the summer of '15.  Loved her and her window suites, now only Grand and CB remain with those midship cabins.

 

It was a flawless cruise with no more than a few drops of rain in Alaska.  An enduring memory.

 

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Thanks for the history and the chance to revisit old memories. Our first cruise was on the Golden Princess. It was a seven day round trip out of San Juan in 2004 and 28 Princess cruises later that first cruise is still the one I remember the most. Making friends with a young couple from the UK who got married on that cruise. Snorkeling with the turtles in Barbados while Tiger Woods took over an entire hotel to get married, partying with pirates in Antigua, four wheel drive tour in st. Lucia, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, and staying extra days after the cruise to explore Puerto Rico. Remember being impressed by so many people from the UK doing back to back cruises. This was also one of the few cruises that we had a minisuite.

 

Also did an Alaskan cruise on the Golden Princess in 2007.

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Our only cruise on the Golden was last August. It was very special for as everything was GOLDEN. We celebrated our Golden anniversary, Princesses GOLDEN going to Alaska, on the Golden Princess. She is very special ship to us. Sure will continue being special for others in her new roll.

Mike

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The Golden was our introduction to the modern era of cruising in 2009.  It was also memorable as a last-minute booking after cancelling other plans and we got a Caribe Balcony for the cost of an Inside (and I didn't even quite realize the benefits of that location at the time until we were on board).  It was our one-and-only on that ship with many more Princess cruises to follow.

 

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We were introduced to cruising in 2004 with our very first cruise being a 7 night Caribbean cruise on the Golden Princess. We fell in love with cruising and with Princess. 

 

 

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Thank you for posting the history of the Golden Princess.  She holds a special place in my heart.  My husband and I did the “North to Alaska” trip in 2018 and were met with our daughter and her family in Whittier.  
The whale watching tour and the glaciers were certainly the highlights of the cruise.

This was our last cruise.

I wish her the very best with her new itinerary.

Mj

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Our first Princess cruise was on the Golden (2008), a one day from Seattle to Vancouver.  We have sailed on the Golden Princess more than any other Princess ships (7 out of 18 Princess Cruises). Always had great experiences and enjoyed very much each cruise.  Was hoping to do at least one more cruise on the Golden, but I guess that is not to be.  Very happy memories!!

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Posted (edited)

Golden is the ship we sailed on for our 10th wedding anniversary. We had a very limited window of days to cruise, and we were on a very tight budget as I transitioned to a new career. A 4 night aboard the Golden Princess to Santa Barbara and Ensenada was the itinerary that fit the criteria. 
 

It wasn’t the anniversary cruise that I had hoped for, but it was definitely the right one. We had an absolutely wonderful cruise. I’ll definitely cherish the memories for life. 
 

 

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Edited by Tapi

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We were scheduled to take our first Princess cruise on The Golden April 8, a trans Pacific trip from Sydney to Los Angeles.  We were so looking forward to this special cruise and had been planning for a year.  I read lots about the Golden and although she was getting up there in age, so many people expressed their love for the ship.  We are so disappointed that we won't have the opportunity to be on one of her last voyages as a Princess ship.  

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We were also booked on the Golden for Alaska this season, she is one of our favorite ships.  From our 3-N LA to Vancouver with one of the best Roll Calls, AKA; "Shameless Pursuit to Elite", and wonderful Hawaiian cruise with another group from CC.

Thank you for posting this it was great.

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First sailing was in 2005 in Europe.  Don't remember if this was our first experience with

Vines but we loved it.  Best surprise was in 2007 South America cruise.  Upon checking in

we received our Elite Black Card .  Never expected it.  Total of 9 cruises on the Golden.

 

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Posted (edited)

Our very first cruise, 2013, with Princess was on the Golden. LA to Hawaii round trip. 

We have been on her twice and had planned on being on her in August to Alaska. Alas we will not get to say

farewell.

We have always felt at home on her and the crew was always pleasurable and professional.

We will miss her. Thanks for sharing!

Edited by greenie082756
correction

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