Debuting their brand new ship, Princess Cruises welcomes its newest addition: Sky Princess. Boasting contemporary design, modern furnishings and unrivalled technology on a cruise ship. Placing luxury at the forefront of this vessel, you’ll find excellent cuisines, an unforgettable spa experience, fast and affordable MedallionNet Wi-Fi and an all-round hassle-free holiday.
Our very own Princess Cruises’ product manager, Lisa Roberts boarded the ship and recounts her experience:
“The Ocean Medallion was absolutely fantastic. It’s only the size of an old 50 pence piece – it’s quite small but really amazing.”
Lisa described using the Medallion as easy to set-up, use and was well thought out. “It was amazing because it worked differently to a normal key or keycard; I just had the Medallion in my bag, and the door would click open – it was great because if I was carrying drinks, I didn’t need to put them down, I could just push the door with my elbow, and I was in! There was also an iPad-style screen outside the door, which would show my name and picture, welcome me into the cabin, and it would also be used for the staff, so they would know who was in the cabin.” (You can change your preferences if you would like your cabin status to remain private).
When it came to checking in and out, Lisa said it hardly took longer than a minute. “Of course, you do the registration online beforehand like many other cruise lines and ships, but because of the Ocean Medallion, it was all automatic and quick.”
The Medallion is also linked to a “Facebook-style app” where passengers can “request friends, find each other, communicate, book restaurants and order food. It’s like having your very own personal concierge. It’s great because that way you don’t have to use your phone data as well.”
What about the older passengers?
Lisa explained that she was worried about her own mother when it came to using the Ocean Medallion and coming to terms with modern technology. As stated already, like any other ship, you do your online check-in as normal, “like you would have done for many years now”, but if you haven’t downloaded the app or don’t have a smartphone even, “that’s absolutely fine”. You can still check-in and be given the Medallion. “You don’t have to use the app – that’s really a social-based thing, but throughout the ship, you’ll find big touch screens, which can sense who you are via your Medallion – or passengers can simply use it as a keycard.”
“They also have 300 iPads people can use if passengers don’t have a smartphone and want to use the app.”
“You can use the Medallion simply as a keycard – but better.”
Personal concierge service
“The best part was when we were sat by the pool (or wherever you may be sat); all we had to do was go on the app, order drinks and the waiter would bring them directly to you. We didn’t have to worry about trying to catch the waiters eye or go to the bar – it was really personal service.”
Lisa also described that when you arrive at the bar to order drinks, you don’t even need to take your Medallion out of your bag; “all I had to do was stand at the bar – and however it’s connected, be it by Bluetooth or WiFi, my picture came on to the servers’ screen (they have this from when they took a photo of me at check-in). Even if there’s, say, five people at the bar, everyone’s picture will appear on the server’s screen, then they select the person they’d like to serve and their drink gets added to their online bill.”
“Obviously, I’ve had to promote the Medallion as I’m the manager for Princess Cruises’ here at Cruise1st, but since I’ve been able to actually experience the Medallion myself, I’ve now realised just how great it is. I just thought, ‘ah yeah – here’s the Medallion, it replaces your keycard’… but now I realise it’s so much more than that – it really is absolutely fantastic.”
Lisa explains that regardless of how old the Princess ships are – whether they’re 20 years old, or 20 days old, they are all very similar – from the layout to the restaurants, they follow the brand’s identity. Of course, the newer ships often tend to be bigger, but never “ultra-modern” – as that’s not Princess Cruises’ style. Princess aims to represent decor that can be described as classy-modern, timeless and luxurious.
“I went on Regent Seven Seas Explorer – which has been classed as ‘the most luxurious ship at sea’. This time, when I walked onto Sky Princess, the decor in the public areas was very, very similar to Regent Seven Seas Explorer. The colours, the feel – it was really just as beautiful – I was very impressed.”
Princess Cruises’ are not “all singing and dancing” ships, which you might find on other cruise lines. Princess is much more laid-back and emulates a serene atmosphere. A Princess passenger will usually book for the itineraries and the food.
“The food was honestly fantastic, I can’t fault it in any way. There is something for absolutely everybody – and I’m actually quite a fussy eater!”
“Even the pizza – when we were sat at the pool – was the nicest pizza I have ever had. And I actually don’t like cheese, but this was outstanding. And you can order food at any time of the day or night – hotdogs, fries, burgers, you name it – they got it!”
Of course, there are the main dining areas that serve a la carte, but there’s also a huge selection of speciality restaurants on offer as well. You can choose from the Chef’s Table Lumiere, which is described as an ‘extraordinary treat for both gastronomes and gourmet novices’ or head over to the Bistro Sur La Mer by Emmanuel Renaut – which is home to a chef that has been awarded three Michelin stars, won the title of Best Craftsmen of France and Chef of the Year by Le Chef. Here, “you’ll find authentic French dishes crafted with the Chef’s signature flair!”
For some tastes of Italy, Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria is perfect. After undergoing half a million-dollar redesign, the decor represents a modern interior with a ‘rustic flavour’. Indulge in the handmade pasta courses, fresh fish and more!
If steak is more your thing, you’ll love the Crown Grill which has been designed with rich wood decor and home to a theatre-style kitchen. This restaurant has also been awarded ‘Best Cruise Ship Steakhouse’ by USA TODAY.
And finally, if you want a more secluded, private affair to enjoy your meal, the Ultimate Balcony Dining is not one to miss! Whether you want to watch the sunrise at breakfast or experience ‘ultimate’ romance, this restaurant is for you and your loved ones. Order the succulent lobster tail or a juicy steak for an experience you’ll never forget. You’ll be waited on personally, whilst being surrounded by incredible views and ‘unparalleled indulgence’!
Something for everyone
“You can get any kind of food you want – literally. If you go onto a Princess ship and say you couldn’t find anything to eat, then there’s absolutely something wrong with you!”
Lisa explains how she is far from a foodie, she’s very picky about her food, and would rather spend her time social drinking, she says; “I eat to live, not live to eat, but I can honestly say, whilst on this ship, for the first time in my life – I lived to eat!”
Princess certainly prides itself on its ships performances which have led to their Cruise Passenger Reader’s Choice Award of ‘Best Cruise Lines For Onboard Entertainment’.
Get involved in many of the Broadway-calibre production shows from Rock Opera, 5-Skies, Born to Dance Salutes the Spirit of Broadway and so much more, to entering ‘The Voice of the Ocean’ which is a spin on ITV’s The Voice, be fooled by some world-class magicians and illusionists, laugh at headliner comedians, dance at the ‘Love Boat Disco Deck Party’ and be inspired by the street entertainers who appear in the Piazza.
The staff and their unprecedented service
“You simply cannot fault the staff,” says Lisa, “I’ve been on many travel agent sailings, where sometimes you do think; maybe the staff go a little bit overboard and try a little bit extra because they know you’re travel agents… But for myself and my colleague, Dan, we both said that we honestly never once walked past somebody and they didn’t smile or say hello – not once. And for Dan, in particular, to comment on that really means something – you can really tell Princess pride themselves on that.”
In fact, “a lot of the staff, whether cabin staff or waiters – they actually move from ship-to-ship. They tend to bring the more experienced members, who’ve been working for Princess for a while to the newer ships. One of my colleagues, who has worked with Princess for years and has been on many of their ships said that the staff recognised her from previous ship visits!”
“Princess passengers tend to be very loyal and repeat customers – which tells you something – and because Princess knows this, they truly pride themselves on providing personalised and memorable service.”
Destination immersion is Princess’ tag line when it comes to adventuring and exploring the places you’re arriving. As aforementioned, passengers usually book with Princess Cruises because of its itineraries and food.
Princess excursions are “very informative” and allow you to really gain sense and understanding of your surroundings. Lisa explains that wherever you’ve travelled to that day, once onboard the ship again, they continue the fun. For example, if you’ve been exploring Honolulu in Hawaii that day, they’ll have Hawaiian dancers around the ship and performing, or if you’ve been to Alaska, they’ll bring an expert on board to cook the fantastic fish they caught that day.
When it comes to relaxation, Princess know how to do it! Exclaiming that whilst onboard a Princess ship, you’ll feel revitalised and refreshed in both your mind and soul.
If you’re looking for total adult-only relaxation, head to The Sanctuary to retreat to a space of signature beverages, light meals, al fresco massages, Serenity Stewards carrying chilled face towels and be surrounded by Evian water atomisers.
If you’re in need of treatments, get pampered at the Lotus Spa, which has been awarded ‘Best Spa on a Cruise Ship’ by Spafinder Wellness 365. Indulge in a facial, hot stone massage, detoxifying ocean wraps and so much more. And it’s not just for women – men can get a haircut, shave and manicure if they want!
And finally, if you want to go all out (who doesn’t?) make sure to unwind in The Enclave which is “home to Princess’ largest-ever thermal suite, dramatic hydro-therapy pool with a cascading rain shower and therapeutic air jets. Relax on heated stone beds or soothing water beds. Features include The Hammam – a Turkish-style steam bath, and from Roman times, the Caldarium – a light steam chamber infused with herbal aromas and the Laconium – a heated, dry chamber to help with purification and detoxification of the body.”
Break a sweat
If all this relaxing has left you with the energy to break a sweat whilst cruising – then get yourself to The Lotus Spa Fitness Centre where you’ll find: Tour de Cycle, personal training and classes such as Pilates, Yoga, Body Sculpt Boot Camp, Results Based Training, TRX suspension training or, if you’d prefer to go it alone, then take advantage of the ‘state-of-the-art’ equipment, so you can ‘tone on your own’.
When it comes to the staterooms, Princess has explained that in order to “prepare our guests for the ultimate night of restful sleep at sea, we consulted a board-certified sleep expert, Dr Michael Breus to optimise our staterooms for a sleep-friendly sensory experience, from the bedding to even sleep-friendly evening meals on board. He explains, “Sleep is a sensory experience. In fact, all five of your senses must be prepared for slumber in order for sleep to come easily and last all night long.”
The new luxury beds feature “scientifically engineered mattresses and bedsprings, a plush two-inch pillow top, European-inspired duvets and 100% luxurious Jacquard-woven linens to assure that at the end of your voyage, you come home feeling refreshed and renewed.”
“We had a balcony stateroom. It was fantastic,” says Lisa, “the bed was absolutely amazing – like sleeping on a cloud. I got out in the morning, and I did not have one ache or pain – and I’m a pretty bad sleeper, usually only getting 3-4 hours a night, and I actually slept the whole way through to my alarm. You can actually buy the bed – and I admit, I’ve been looking!”
“You get free shampoos, everything included in the bathroom that you’d find in the nice hotels. Plenty of space – and as you can imagine, two girls together, there were actually two places to get ready. There was a ‘working station/dressing area’ and then on the other side, another dressing area! So if there are two ladies together, you’ve got so much space.”
“The balcony was lovely and spacious. I also had the chance to go into the suite – that was lovely. Plenty of room. You’ve got the balcony, the extra couch and seating area. Couldn’t fault it. Like we spoke about earlier, they’ve not changed much, they’ve done a few little upgrades, updated it, but kept everything still to what people love it for.”
Anything Princess could do better?
“All I can say is,” says Lisa, “Sky Princess is classic, traditional, classy. There is nothing I thought they could have done better. Every little thing was thought of.”
Give us a call
If all this talk about Sky Princess has left you feeling excited, and wanting to learn more, then don’t hesitate to give one of our friendly sales people a call today on 0808 2746 777!