An Introduction To: Princess Cruises
November 20, 2015
Princess Cruises have been sailing the seas since way back in 1965. If you’ve never actually cruised with them you may’ve run across them before from their association with the Duchess of Cambridge after she named their ship The Royal Princess or you may remember them from the popular TV series The Love Boat back in the ‘70’s that was set upon a Princess ship.
However… aside from an old ‘70’s show what can you really expect from a Princess cruise? What are their ships like and what kind of passengers do they attract?
Well read on to find out!
Meet The Fleet
Princess have eighteen ships in their fleet and there’s a wide range of variety amongst the vessels which are split into seven distinct classes. You’ll find each ship in its class will be of a similar size and have similar venues and amenities on-board.
Gem Class: Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess. These ships weigh 116,000 tons each, measure 952ft long and can hold up to 2,670 passengers. They’re the only Princess ships to have been built in Japan and have a unique gas and diesel propulsion system.
Coral Class: Coral Princess and Island Princess. They can carry up to 1,970 guests, are 964ft long and weigh 92,000 tons. These ships are small enough to navigate the Panama Canal and have a traditional wraparound promenade deck.
Sun Class: Sun Princess, Dawn Princess and Sea Princess. The maximum guest capacity on these ships is 1,990 per ship, measuring 856ft long and weigh in at 77,000 tons. They’re classed as Princess’ medium size ships.
Royal Class: Royal Princess and Regal Princess. These ships are the largest and newest in the fleet, carrying 3,560 guests each on the 141,000 ton vessels that measure in at 1,082ft long. They’ve an expanded atrium with additional entertainment and dining options as well as the now iconic Sea Walk (but more on that later).
Grand Class: Grand Princess, Golden Princess and Star Princess. Home to 2,590 guests each, these 109,000 ton ships are all 951ft long. They also come equipped with an entire deck of mini suites for the true luxury hunters amongst you!
Small Ships: Pacific Princess and Star Princess. These two small ships only hold 680 guests at a time but at 30,227 tons and 592ft in length offer a spacious yet intimate atmosphere. They also travel to some of the most exotic destinations and boutique ports due to their small size but still offer many of the amenities of larger Princess ships, just on a smaller scale.
Caribbean Class: Caribbean Princess, Crown Princess, Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess. Unlike the rest of the classes these shops vary in size from between 113,000 to 116,000 tons and measure between 947 to 951ft long. They’re capable of carrying up to 3,080 guests and are home to the famous Club Fusion and Crooners Martini Bar.
Did you know? Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge, is godmother to the Royal Princess. Other godmothers include Joanna Lumley, Marta Stewart and the original Love Boat cast.
Is There A Typical “Princess” Traveller?
Princess are suitable for a wide range of travellers because of their varied fleet and the even more varied destinations they cruise too. Whether you want the amenities of a large ship or the intimacy of a small ship, the delights of the Far East or the familiarity of the Med, Princess will have a ship or cruise for you.
They tend to attract travellers who want to see new and interesting locations or those who want a relaxing but stylish voyage. Passengers who want to travel far without paying the earth will also enjoy the wide range of Princess Itineraries at bargain prices.
When reviewing Princess on our site Davis of Haywards Heath commented that one of the favourite things about his cruise was the fellow passengers: “The aspects we enjoyed most of all were the outstanding service throughout, the quality and range of menus, the comfort and space in our stateroom, the cleanliness and care shown in maintaining high standards of hygiene. Then there was the sheer diversity and friendliness of our fellow passengers who all seemed relaxed, settled and pleased with their own experiences…” You can read more of his review here.
So what exactly is there to do on a Princess ship? Well, they’ve relaxing pools and hot tubs as you would expect, with at least two main pools and four hot tubs on every single ship.
There’s also a luxury Lotus Spa and Salon for guests to enjoy with a sauna, steam room, solarium, thermal suite and aromatic chamber. Treatments include massages, facials, manicures, teeth whitening, acupuncture and chiropractic care.
The lotions and potions used by Princess include leading spa products from Elemis and La Therapie. Sounds like bliss to us!
However if you’re looking for an even more indulgent experience then you should try visiting the Sanctuary. This exclusive adult only retreat is a secluded spa like setting on deck where you can lounge on sofas, have a massage in a cabana, sunbathe whilst being sprayed with a misting from an Evian atomiser or be handed chilled face towels and signature beverages and snacks. You’ll even receive pre-loaded MP3 players with noise cancelling headphones which will play relaxing music to get you in a relaxed mood. Have a look at the images below to see what we mean…
Can you think of a more relaxing haven? We can’t!
For those of you who want to work off some energy instead of relaxing, the on-board gyms are filled with state of the art equipment. You can get trained fitness instructors to give you lessons for a few dollars or else make use of the complimentary classes. These include body boot camp, TRX classes (which are suspension training classes in which you train with your own body weight,) long and lean stretch class, ab workshops, full body challenge classes and aerobically challenged (a class with low impact exercises for beginners.) There’s also everyone’s favourite exercise class, Zumba.
An entertaining evening awaits you if you head to one of Princess’ award winning shows. The current theatre productions include delights such as Stardust and One Night Only as well as a production of the hit musical Wicked. A selection of comedy headliners will also perform on a variety of ships as well as performances from magicians, local entertainers, illusionist, jugglers and ventriloquists. For something a little more atmospheric you can also listen at a piano bar or watch a tribute act play motown classics or the Beatles. Singers will be performing throughout the cruise and you’ll have the chance to put on your dancing shoes and dance the night away on every vessel on a dance floor or in the night clubs.
Princess also hold “Movies Under The Stars” where you’ll have the opportunity to watch films on the top deck under the sky at night. You can settle down on a deck chair which is padded with a warm blanket, popcorn, your favourite drink as you watch a great movie on the large screen.
A past passenger told us what he really thought of the concept: “Movies Under The Stars is a new concept for me but, with free popcorn and even a blanket if the weather cooled (it didn’t), I enjoyed the experience as an occasional alternative to the stage shows.” You can read George’s full review here!
Did you know? The LED movie screen is 300 square feet and is equipped with a 69,000 watt stereo system. On it you can watch recently released blockbusters, concerts or sporting events or even PlayStation or Wii tournaments on the big screen.
If you’re into all things then unlike most cruise lines Princess offer behind the scenes ship tours to see more of the ship you are travelling on. The tour is two/three hours long and takes you beyond the public areas to the engine control room, medical centre, print shop, laundry room, photo lab, bridge and command centre. You’ll meet the Captain and have a drink in the command centre as you take in the views through the bridges panoramic windows.
There’s also an opportunity to learn something new with the variety of enrichment opportunities Princess host on-board. The activities include listening to speakers and classes hosted by the Discovery channel called “Discovery at Sea”, as well as Art History at Sea, Navigation at Sea or Culinary Arts & Crafts. If you really love art you could even take part in one of the art auctions on-board – as it’s fun to watch even if you aren’t buying! The induction courses to these classes are free, in depth courses are offered at a nominal fee and some of the courses are entirely free of charge. There’s also a library with a wide selection of books for you to enjoy.
If enrichment programs aren’t your thing then the shopaholics amongst you can revel in the on-board shopping experience as Princess are the only cruise line to have their own in house retail department! The merchandise they sell is customised to each itinerary and you can expect to find tax and duty free items including liquor, tobacco, fragrances, cosmetics, watches and jewellery. You can also find apparel and souvenirs with the Princess logo on them for those lasting souvenirs.
Did you know? If you’ve a head for heights then you should head to the Sea Walk! Available on all Royal class ships, this walkway juts out over the side of the ship to give you a view of the sea below.
There will always be something to do and a place to relax, after all Princess’ slogan is “come back new…”
On Princess you don’t have to choose between the more traditional, formal dining and more casual, anytime dining – you can try both!
If you want traditional dining you’ll dine with the same table mates and wait staff at the same time every evening. Alternatively, you can choose anytime dining to dine when and with whom you want. You’ll be able to eat in your assigned dining room at any time between 5.30pm-10pm. You can either turn up whenever you want to eat or else book a table for a time between these hours. Whichever kind of dining you choose, you can also make full use of the buffet and speciality dining.
So what kind of food is on offer on princess ships?
Well there’s ten or more dining options available per ship. The main dining rooms will serve up a choice of six delicious courses for your evening meal, with an appetiser, soups, salads, fresh pastas, and much more. Main courses could include sautéed red snapper in Thai hot & sour sauce, grilled beef fillet medallions and fettuccine alfredo or a roast rack of veal with glazed artichokes. For their 50th anniversary Princess teamed up with master chocolatier Norman Love so for dessert a real treat awaits! For those of you who don’t love all things chocolate other delectable dishes such as walnut bread or soufflés are available.
For a special occasion or even just as a treat you can also have afternoon tea in the main dining room. Enjoy sandwiches, pastries and scones served with jam or cream. In all restaurants there will also be a range of vegetarian options available.
Did you know? On sea days the dining venues are available for private lunches, parties or functions. You can book this once you board the ship.
Other dining options that are part of your fare include The Horizon Court Buffet, a poolside pizzeria & hamburger grill, an ice cream bar, Alfredo’s Pizzeria, Café Caribe and the 24 hour international café. Café Caribe is a themed buffet which offers foods of different regions whilst the International café offers coffee, sandwiches, paninis and a range of other snacks around the clock in case you get peckish.
Our cruise consultant Anthony told us about his favourite food outlets on the ship: “Around the main Atrium, there is Gelato – a specialised Ice Cream Parlour and International Cafe. International Cafe is a 24 hour casual dining area serving hot food, snacks, cakes and coffee. Great for those late night munchies!” You can read more from Anthony here.
Did you know? On sea days a Princess dining venue will be transformed into a venue that serves pub lunch. Expect British favourites such as steak and kidney pie, fish and chips and bread and butter pudding.
There is also a range of speciality dining to enjoy such as Sabatini’s Italian restaurant, The Crown Grill, Sterling Steakhouse, Bayou Café, Kai Sushi and the Crab Shack. The cover charges are between $20-$25 per person and suite guests receive a complimentary meal in a speciality restaurant on cruises of 6 days or longer.
But what are these restaurants like? Well Sabatini’s Italian serves – Italian! Dishes on offer include your favourite pastas, seafood and Italian delicacies.
The Crown Grill is a theatre style kitchen where you watch your chefs prepare dishes like lobster, steak, scallops or clams to order whilst you sip on a cocktail from the dedicated cocktail bar. Passenger favourites from this restaurant includes the seven layers s’more stack dessert! Sounds delicious to us…
The Bayou café serves New Orleans style Creole and Cajun cuisine with dishes such as spicy jambalaya, crawfish gumbo or bourbon and smoked chilli marinated sterling silver porterhouse steak.
The Crab Shack gives you the feel of a real American crab restaurant as you’re provided with a real mallet, bib and bucket so you can enjoy your crab, jumbo shrimp or mussels the traditional way.
As well as a wide dining choice there are a range of bars and lounges to enjoy. These include Vines, a wine bar which offers over 30 wines by the glass as well as sushi or tapas, the nautically themed Wheelhouse Bar or Crooners martini bar in the atrium.
Find out more about dining options on Princess by watching the following video.
Did you know? As an extra special treat you can enjoy dinner on your balcony. For a charge you ca choose from lobster tail, grilled beef or surf and turf to dine on your balcony in private with flowers and a private waiter. Alternatively you could have a champagne balcony breakfast – just ask about it when you get on-board!
Each room on a princess ship has a fridge, hair dryer, safe, phone and satellite flat screen TV. Luxury linens are also supplied to every cabin, not just to suites. You can request waffle weave bathrobes from your steward for that extra bit of comfort. You’ll also receive a tote bag in your room which you can use to carry belongings to shore or else keep as a souvenir.
Every day you will receive a daily programme called the Princess Patter. This will help you organise your day by informing you of all activities on-board taking place that day.
Suite passengers have enhanced amenities which include eye gel masks, lip balm, linen spray, bath salts and free DVD library access.
You can find out more about the cabins by watching this video from our cruise consultant Edward. Learn more about Edward’s time on Princess here!
Even the small ships of the Princess line have the amenities you would expect of larger vessels. You will find a self-service laundrette and if you don’t want to organise your own washing there is a professional laundry service available for a fee. Ships also have an internet café and Wi-Fi is available in hotspots on-board.
The currency on-board is UD dollars unless the sailing is in Australian waters, where the currency will be Australian dollars.
Did you know? Princess were the first cruise line to offer an oceangoing wedding chapel. But getting married at sea makes for the perfect wedding – because once you’ve finished the ceremony you’re already on the honeymoon.
Family Friendly Facilities
Whilst Princess aren’t a line geared specifically towards families, they do have some family friendly facilities. There are a range of children’s clubs which are geared towards entertaining and educating children.
Those aged 3-7 will enjoy the Princess Pelicans children’s club. They will watch movies and cartoons, attend a kids fun fair, try t-shirt colouring, do some arts and crafts and join in talent shows.
8 to 12 year olds will be part of Shockwaves kids club. They will enjoy karaoke, PlayStation and Wii tournaments, scavenger hunts, sports tournaments and a science on the seas programme.
Teenagers aged 13-17 can relax in their own exclusive lounge whilst playing on football tables, games consoles, taking part in sports tournaments, watch late night movies, attending dance classes, learn how to create mocktails and give each other teen makeovers.
These clubs run throughout the day with breaks for meal times and there is group babysitting available in the evening for a charge.
Did you know? On Alaskan cruises children will be able to get involved as the National Park Service Junior Ranger Programme teaches them about glaciers, endangered wildlife and other animals. The Park Rangers will be available to give presentations and kids can earn their Junior Ranger badge whilst on-board.
Kids and teens can also dine with others their own age whilst being supervised by Youth Staff while parents dine alone. There is a teen’s only dinner on formal nights with a section of the dining room reserved just for teens. There will also be ice cream available in afternoons as well as pizza parties.
Staff, Gratuities and Dress Codes
The dress code on-board is smart casual. For women this means trousers or skirts, sweaters and blouses and for men it means trousers, shirts with collars and sports jackets. In dining rooms, (like on most cruise ships) t-shirts, shorts and torn jeans aren’t permitted.
Princess hold formal nights on most voyages and will have two formal nights on cruises of between 7-13 nights. For this you should be wearing evening gowns or cocktail dresses and tuxedos or dark suits. It is possible to rent formal wear if you don’t have room for it in your suitcase or if you forget to pack some!
The gratuities on-board are $11.50 per person per day unless you stay in a suite where it will be $12 per person per day. There is also a 15% gratuity added to bar charges, dining room wine accounts and lotus spa services. As on any cruise line, you can choose to remove your gratuities at the end of your cruise.
A past passenger told us what they thought of the staff on Princess: “Our cabin attendant was perfect for us – not obtrusive but everything in the cabin spick and span at all times. He was obviously observing our comings and goings to ensure he was working in our cabin when we were out.” You can read more of Woods’ review here!
So there you have it!
Have you ever sailed with Princess before? What did you think of them?
Would you want to sail with Princess now?
Let us know in the comments below or to find out more click here!
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