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Why we love this cruise line
Princess Cruises has remained one of the world’s premier cruise lines for over four decades because it has consistently given all of its passengers great on board experiences while on the way to some of the world’s most exciting, interesting and fascinating places. It started out with just one ship sailing to Mexico and has expanded over the years to become the world’s third largest cruise line, offering more worldwide destinations than any other major cruise line currently carrying approximately 1.3 million passengers per year.
What we love about Princess Cruises is the overall experiences that are on offer. All passengers get so much more than a simple cruise: they get the feeling of looking forward to going somewhere new, the excitement of trying out new things and the relief that they’re escaping from all the woes of real life and are entering a fantasy world where they decide what to do and when to do it. The famous Love Boat TV series encapsulated all of these ideas and gave the line a reputation for being the best line to choose in order to escape. Since then, that reputation has been maintained and strengthened because Princess Cruises has continually adapted and expanded in order to constantly amaze its passengers.
Everyone goes on holiday to escape and to experience new things. On any Princess ship, everyone can do that and so much more, with dining options covering many different cuisines, great nightlife and evening entertainment, plenty of indoor and outdoor activities, not to mention youth clubs and excellent spa and gym facilities. The key word is ‘escape’: Princess Cruises offer so much that you will want to escape on one of the ships and never go back home!
No Princess Cruise is complete without sampling the great activities on offer. The line-up varies from ship to ship, but you will find plenty to do no matter what ship you’re sailing on. If you want to learn new things while onboard, take advantage of the ScholarShip@Sea programme. There are dozens of classes available on every ship, enabling you to take part in new enriching activities and take as many new skills and mementos home with you as you wish. You could go to a wine tasting session, learn how to make cards, take part in Zumba classes, join the Princess Pop Choir, watch cooking demonstrations given by top chefs, create ceramics and arts and crafts, learn about the workings of a cruise ship and so much more. There’s also the Princess Book Club which meets once or twice per cruise and lets everyone discuss titles that have broad appeal and are available in the ship’s library. Alternately, you could explore the library’s collection at your own pace.
During the day you can cool off in one of the pools, challenge everyone in your group to a game of mini golf or have a friendly game of basketball or volleyball. When it comes to shopping, Princess ships have a great selection of shops, from souvenir shops to high-end boutiques including Swarovski, Calvin Klein, Fossil and Estee Lauder among others. Princess ships’ onboard shopping was voted the best in 2008 and 2009 by readers of Porthole magazine. If you fancy trying to win some more money to spend in the shops, you can head to the casino and try your luck. You can play Roulette, Craps, Blackjack and many other classic casino games. Activity and class line-ups are different depending on which ship you’re sailing on, but each ship offers plenty of activities and classes to keep you busy throughout the entirety of your cruise.
Bars & Clubs
Nightlife onboard all Princess ships is exactly what you want it to be because all ships have plenty of venues to cater for all needs, whether you like to let your hair down and party till the early hours of the morning or whether you enjoy taking things a bit easier. You can relax in one of the many lounges and enjoy cocktails with friends or spend the evening socialising with drinks in the cigar bar. The Skywalkers Nightclub, one of the most notable features of Princess ships, is an elevated nightclub that you have to walk along a corridor several decks high to get to. Head to Crooner’s Lounge and Bar to enjoy Martinis and listen to live performances of music from the first half of the 20th century. During the day you can cool down with drinks at one of the several outdoor bars after a long swim or sunbathing session. Though bars and clubs vary from ship to ship, you will find the type of bars and clubs to suit your needs and help you fully enjoy your cruising experience on any ship.
Dining onboard any of the Princess ships is a memorable experience in itself. The dining venues and programmes have been designed with complete guest satisfaction in mind and as such, guests can choose whether to enjoy Traditional Dining or Anytime Dining. The former gives guests the classic cruising dining experience, with set meal times, set table mates and the same waiter each evening. The latter allows guests to have more flexibility, giving them the choice of when they eat and who they dine with, though this service is not available on all ships. Guests may switch between the two by giving notice 24 hours in advance, subject to availability.
There is also a range of specialty restaurants where guests can enjoy more localised cuisine, for which a small cover charge will be applied. Sabatini’s offers delicious Italian cuisine while the Crown Grill serves the best grilled meats and seafood and the Bayou Café and Steakhouse has New Orleans-style Cajun and Creole dishes on its enticing menu.
For a more casual dining experience, guests can grab light refreshments in the International Café, enjoy sushi, tapas and wine in the Vines Wine Bar, eat to their hearts’ content at the Horizon Court buffet or enjoy a traditional British pub lunch in the Wheelhouse Bar. For a more intimate and special experience, guests can make use of Ultimate Balcony Dining, which is available in select staterooms, and enjoy an al fresco meal with their own waiter. All dining venues vary from ship to ship.
All Princess ships feature a range of entertainment offerings, with something for people of all ages. The live theater shows offered on all ships feature large casts, dazzling choreography and energetic music. There are also comedy shows that get everyone in the whole family laughing along together. Those wanting to show off their singing can go along to karaoke nights and sing their favourite songs. Dance nights get people up on the dance floor learning new moves and showing off their dancing skills as they dance the night away. For wilder nights, all Princess ships hold parties: guests can find themselves dressing up like cowboys, taking part in limbo contests or donning Caribbean attire for tropical-themed parties. All of the entertainment offerings are immersive, feature talented and energetic cast from all over the world and allow guests to completely escape. Entertainment offerings vary from ship to ship.
Health & Fitness
The Lotus Spa and Fitness Center offers everything you could need to stay fit, healthy and relaxed throughout the duration of your cruise. The fitness center contains state-of-the-art equipment and classes led by fitness experts and qualified personal trainers at hand to give you a more personalise workout. Princess Cruises goes a step further by offering the Core.Balance.Strength program, which consists of a range of specialised classes, lifestyle advice and nutritional education to enable you to live more healthily. There’s even a Body Composition Analayzer which tells you what your metabolism is and what is should be. All of these outstanding facilities allow you to not only exercise, but also discover how you can improve your overall health and general wellbeing.
When it comes to relaxing, the Lotus Spa has plenty on offer. In the salon you can have your teeth whitened, enjoy manicures and pedicures or treat yourself to a makeover and a new hairdo. Men can have a shave and have their beard trimmed. In the spa itself you can treat yourself to a facial, enjoy an aroma stone therapy session or have a full body wrap. On certain ships you can even have acupuncture and Botox treatments.
All the Princess ships offer youth programmes for those aged 3-17 and have dedicated youth and teen centers, with the exception of the Ocean and Pacific Princess. These two ships do offer youth programmes if there are more than 20 children aged 3-17 are onboard. Those under the age of 3 can visit the youth center so long as they are accompanied by an adult.
Princess Pelicans is the youth club for those aged 3-7 and offers an array of exciting activities. Children can enjoy dance parties, ice-cream and pizza parties, arts and crafts, movies, cartoons and so much more. Shockwaves is for those aged 8-12 and has many exciting activities to keep pre-teens occupied. They can take part in scavenger hunts, sports tournaments, karaoke competitions, play video games on the Wii and Playstation 2 and 3 and have kids-only dinners and dance parties. There are also kids-only dinners held on certain evenings so the parents can enjoy an evening meal together. Teen Lounges are for those aged 13-17 and teens are welcome to come and go as they please without needing to sign in or out once they have registered with the programme. They can take part in many activities, from talent shows and DJ workshops to dance parties and hip-hop dance classes. They can also play on video games consoles, challenge each other to a game of foosball and watch the latest movies. On formal dining nights teens can dine with one another in their own section of the dining room.
If you want a quiet night away from the kids, group kidsitting is available at a charge of USD 5 per hour per child in the Youth Center for ages 3-12 from 10pm till 1am. This service is available on all ships except Ocean and Pacific Princess. During port days, the all youth and teen facilities are open from 8am till 5pm, though these times may be adjusted. Children and teens will dine in one of the ship’s many dining venues with parental permission.
Guests are only permitted to bring one bottle of only champagne or wine per adult of drinking age onboard. Bottles may be no larger than 750ml. If consumed in your stateroom, a corkage fee will not apply, however a corkage fee of $15.00 will apply if consumed elsewhere. Additional bottles of wine or champagne will each incur a $15.00 corkage fee no matter where they’re consumed.
Prior to embarkation all guests’ luggage will be scanned and all alcohol that breaches Princess Cruises’ policies will be disposed of. All confiscated alcohol will not be refunded, nor will guests be eligible for compensation. Alcohol purchased either at a port of call or at one of the onboard shops will be stored safely onboard until the last day of the cruise, when it will be delivered to guests’ staterooms.
The standard minimum age for drinking is 21, however for all Mediterranean itineraries it is lowered to 18. Age restrictions are taken seriously by staff and guests may be required to show proof of age if a member of crew thinks they look underage. Since guests have to be 21 years or older to enter the casino, it follows that guests must also be at least 21 to purchase and consume alcoholic drinks in the casino.
Those under the age of 21 are required to travel with someone over the age of 21 who will take full responsibility of them for the duration of the cruise. For family groups booking more than one stateroom, if children are to stay in a stateroom by themselves, at least one child must be 16 years of age or over, so long as they are travelling with at least one parent or a legal guardian. Larger student and youth groups also must adhere to this age requirement. All guests who have minors under their supervision must ensure that those under their care adhere to all of Princess Cruises’ policies.
Younger children who are not toilet trained or have to wear diapers or swim diapers will not be permitted in the pools, saunas and hot tubs so long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. Children under the age of 13 must be under supervision of a parent or guardian to be allowed into evening show lounges. To enter the disco, guests must be 18 years of age and older, though discos just for younger guests are held through the ship’s youth and teen centers. To enter the casino, guests must be 21 years of age or older.
For children travelling with one parent or with neither parent, special documentation in the form of a permission slip may be required for certain countries. Requirements can be checked with immigration offices before you start your cruise.
Parental supervision is required for children under the age of 3 going to the Youth Center; staff are not permitted to give children medication, change their diapers, bottle-feed them or provide them with food. Group babysitting is available in the Youth Center from 10pm-1am for children ages 3-12 at a rate of $5.00 per child per hour. Private babysitting in staterooms is not available.
For land excursions in Alaska, if you are travelling in a motor vehicle, the US Department of Transportation stipulates that children under 16 must be secured in the vehicle with an approved device, whilst children under the age of 4 must be secured using an approved child safety device. It is your responsibility to ensure you have appropriate devise for securing your children for some excursions in Alaska, including tours into Denali National Park.
There are two types of evening wear: Smart Casual and Formal. On Formal evenings, men should wear pants and open-neck shirts, while women should wear skirts or dresses, slacks and sweaters. On Smart Casual evenings, men should wear a dark suits, dinner jackets and slacks or tuxedos, while women should wear cocktail dresses, elegant pant dresses or evening gowns. The following are not permitted in the main dining rooms: baseball caps, shorts, jeans with holes or tears and swimming pool attire. Shoes are required at all times.
Formal attire can be ordered at cruiselineformal.com or by calling 001-800-551-5091 or 001-305-252-8572.
The following shows how many Smart Casual and Formal nights there are on Princess cruises:
|Cruise length ||Formal Evenings ||Smart Casual Evenings|
|1-3 Days ||None ||All|
|7-13 Days ||2 ||5-11|
|29+ Days||4|| 17-24|
|29+ Days ||At least 5|| 24+|
Children must be at least six months of age by embarkation day in order to be allowed to sail on the following itineraries: Alaska, Canada and New England, Caribbean, Europe, Mexico and Panama Canal. The following itineraries require that all children be over 12 months of age by embarkation day: Africa, Antarctica, Australia and New Zealand, Hawaii, Indian subcontinent, South America, South Pacific, Tahiti, Transatlantic and all world cruises.
Pregnant women who will enter their 24th week of pregnancy at any point during the cruise or who have already passed that mark will not be allowed to sail. Prior to embarkation all pregnant women must produce a doctor’s letter saying that both mother and baby are in good health, are fit to sail and that the pregnancy is not high-risk. The letter must also state when the expected date of delivery is. The letter can be faxed to (661) 753-0121 or sent to the following address:
Princess Cruises – Medical Department
24844 Avenue Rockefeller
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
Attn: Fleet Medical Department/Building 5/Floor 3
There are several clearly marked designated smoking areas throughout each ship. These can usually be found in the casino, dance club, cigar lounge and a number of outdoor locations. Guests must dispose of cigarettes, cigars and pipes appropriately and not throw them overboard.
Smoking is prohibited in all guest staterooms and on all balconies. Anyone found to have violated this policy will have a fine of $250.00 billed to their account.
Electronic cigarettes are allowed in all areas of the ship except in dining areas and in the Princess Theater. If a fellow guest requests that you stop smoking, despite understanding the difference between real cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, the guest will have to stop smoking as this is an inconvenience to a fellow passenger.
The tipping process is relatively simple: a gratuity charge of $11.50 ($12.50 for those in suites and mini-suites) will be added to your shipboard account every day of your cruise to reflect the service given by the ship’s staff. Additionally, when you purchase wine in a restaurant or drinks in a bar, a 15% gratuity is added to your account. Gratuities are shared among all staff except casino and Lotus Spa staff, as these services are not used by all guests.
Round-the-clock Wi-fi is available on all Princess ships in all staterooms and many public areas throughout each ship. Laptops and handheld devices will connect to the ship’s wireless system. As regards to pricings, consult the ship’s Internet Café Manager for pricing details and other general queries.
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