Cruising…it’s how we love to travel. A balcony room in a 5 star hotel that takes us from place to place. Unpack once and drop in to a multitude of locales that we might never have otherwise visited.
Why a balcony when an inside room, or a room with just a window, would cost somewhat less? Simply because of the extra room that it affords. An inside room is just depressing. Small and no natural light. (Go sit in your bathroom with the door shut and you get the idea. Yes your bathroom would be smaller but the concept is the same.) This time, however, mother is with us so now we are three. More room yet would be a prudent choice. So we opted for a mini-suite.
The size difference is certainly a consideration even for only two people. However, again affordability could easily override desire. In this case two separate rooms would be an even higher cost and that won the day. The decision was made and all were in agreement this would be an acceptable choice.
The time was closing in and with only two weeks left, our travel agent called us on a Saturday afternoon. Princess (our cruise line of choice) was offering an upgrade for Platinum and Elite status travellers. It wasn’t a free upgrade but it was substantially reduced and because we were Platinum, we qualified if we were interested. It was just too good to say no thanks.
The upgrade was from a mini-suite to a full suite. And the price was applicable to only the two of us – Mother isn’t Platinum status yet so her cost never changed. Yet she enjoys all the benefits with us. And we never told her until we actually opened the door to the suite.
The original boarding time was for 2:30, but because of our upgrade, we were now moved up to 10:30. A word to potential cruisers – the earlier you can board, the better. You then have more time to explore and enjoy your surroundings in much quieter conditions.
The first stop, naturally, was at our room. It is the physical size of two balcony rooms put together. That also includes the balcony portion which is double as well. The furniture on the balcony is upgraded from plastic to pillow covered teak.
The bathroom now includes not only a much bigger (tiled) shower, but also a separate jetted tub. Two separate entrances to the more important bathroom functions, so no interruptions by anyone in the middle of the night. Much nicer bathroom amenities, better quality towels, slippers, quilted bathrobes. A walk-in closet and sufficient drawer storage to pack clothes for months. Choices of pillows on the bed (feather, fibre-fill, body pillow, supporting neck roll). Separate TVs for each half of the suite and a massive choice of DVD to borrow. One free complete mini-bar setup and choices of canapes for each day. The list just goes on and on (one of the biggies being free internet for the duration of the voyage).
Was mother impressed? Her word was ‘overwhelmed’.
This ship (Golden Princess) is a sister ship to the Star Princess. Our travels have taken us on the Star twice already so, although we’ve not yet been on the Golden, finding our way around is not difficult. After unpacking and ‘oooing’ and ‘ahhing’ over the room, off we went. The rest of the day was one of re-acquaintance. Later we went to the Crown Grill which is one of two dining rooms that actually has an extra surcharge for its dinners. However, one of the perks of our upgrade was a no-surcharge dinner on embarkation night so that made the choice very easy. After eating it was back to the room to just sit back, enjoy a little wine and contemplate the next day’s activities.