Travel writer Sue Wallace was one of the first onboard to review Australia’s newest homeported ship for Cruise Passenger as she arrives in Melbourne this morning. See what she thinks about the ship.
Cruise ship diva, Golden Princess took centre stage in Port Philip Bay early this morning making a grand debut welcomed by two giant golden curtains suspended by hovering helicopters.
Melbourne turned on a golden sunrise as the 20,000 sq ft curtains emblazoned -Welcome to Melbourne Golden Princess– greeted the 108,000-tonne ship.
A member of the Princess Cruises stable, the megaliner left Sydney on Wednesday afternoon with 2600 passengers on her maiden two-night cruise to her new home port.
The largest ship ever to be based in Melbourne, it has many star studded features to attract both novice and veteran cruisers during her five-month Australian cruise season.
Commanding attention and the talk of the breakfast buffet is the impressive Skywalker Nightclub suspended at the rear of the ship.
Even if you aren’t a regular night clubber by the time you step onto the moving walkway that whisks you to the club-complete with flashing lights and music -you may well dance the night away.
But don’t sleep in too late or you may miss the 30 or so activities offered on board including everything from line dancing to karaoke.
Dining is an adventure on Golden Princess, the first ship in Princess’ fleet to offer menu items by Melbourne-born celebrity chef Curtis Stone, who has formed an exclusive partnership with Princess Cruises.
The Crafted by Curtis menu features delicious dishes such as chicken and leek pot pie, roasted pork belly and veal osso bucco which were embraced by many of the passengers eager to try Curtis’ cuisine.
There are plenty of choices with 12 dining options ranging from the casual poolside Prego Pizzeria to Sabatini’s Italian dishes and the most tender steaks at the Crown Grill, a signature restaurant that costs an extra $25.
Passengers can take a dip in four pools and for those who want a quieter time head to the child-free Sanctuary Retreat-passes are available for $30 a full day or $20 a half day.
There are also nine whirlpools to relax in and the sports deck is where you can practice your putting and bowls or head to the gym for a workout.
The Lotus Spa offers indulgent treatments such as bamboo or hot stone massages and a variety of soothing treatments that soon put you in holiday mode.
The ship’s 1300 staterooms vary in size and configuration. My balcony stateroom on deck 11 is spacious with plenty of wardrobe space, a comfy bed and a desk and chair. The ensuite features extras such as Lotus spa cooling eye mask and a take home linen spray.
The balcony is perfect for ocean gazing and seagull spotting.
Despite the fully booked ship that stretches out over 290-meters that is almost equal to the height of Melbourne’s Eureka Tower, there is plenty of space for all and nooks where you can escape the crowds.
As for my favourite moments – watching a movie under the stars tucked under a blanket, falling asleep serenaded by waves and yes a spin on the Skywalkers’ dance floor are all special.
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