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Princess Cruises


Photo of Caribbean Princess sailing from Fort Lauderdale at sunset goes here.Sailing the


on Princess


By Georgina Cruz

Ask any person on the street to name cruise lines and the chances are very good that Princess Cruises will be among the top names mentioned. These are, well, the Love Boats!

Today, however, they're much more. Princess Cruises has a new fleet of amenity-filled ships, a dining philosophy that emphasizes "choice" and many new shore options.


Photo of Atrium of Coral Princess goes here. Princess Cruises had modest beginnings in 1965, when it operated just one ship that cruised to Mexico. Since then it has grown to become one of the world's top lines carrying more than a million passengers each year.

Formerly owned by P&O Princess Cruises, Princess has a decidedly British feel. Its front-desk staff, for example, often have a British accent and its ships are registered in Bermuda.

Today, however, Princess is owned by Carnival Corporation. But as with other Carnival brands, it maintains its independence and operates separately from other Carnival entities.

Coral Princess' elegant atrium sparkles.* 

Princess certainly is one of the most recognized cruise lines on the planet, thanks to television. In 1977,  the world was introduced to the Pacific Princess on a new television show called "The Love Boat." The hit weekly series introduced millions of viewers to the still fairly new concept of a sea-going vacation.

Princess' fleet has grown considerably. Its 17 ships include Caribbean Princess (2004), Coral Princess (2003), Crown Princess (2006), Dawn Princess (1997), Diamond Princess (2004), Island Princess (2003), Pacific Princess (1999), Regal Princess (1991), Golden Princess (2001), Grand Princess (1998), Sapphire Princess (2004), Sea Princess (1998), Star Princess (2002), Sun Princess (1995) and Tahitian Princess (1999). 

The newest ships to sail for the premium line are the 113,000-ton Emerald Princess launched this spring and the 30,000-ton Royal Princess, christened in JuneThe new 113,000-ton Ruby Princess, a sister to Emerald Princess, will also launch in 2008. About half the ships mentioned above sail voyages from the southern U.S.

Photo of couple on a balcony at sunset goes here.Hallmarks of the line include Personal Choice Cruising, which gives guests the freedom to select from a wide choice of flexible facilities, amenities and services.

This is particularly true for dining. Guests may choose a traditional, fixed dining room dinner seating or, alternatively, open seating at a variety of restaurants.

Other signature elements include a full-bodied enrichment program called ScholarShip@Sea; an extensive number of balconies at affordable prices in a variety of categories; and worldwide itineraries - nearly 100 itineraries ranging from seven to 102 days. Passengers choose from more than 2,000 shore excursions worldwide.

Photo of a wedding chapel at sea goes here.In addition, Princess, due to its Bermudian ship registry, has the ability to legally "marry" guests at sea, unlike most other cruise lines (they will do legal marriages onboard in certain ports but generally not at sea).

 So all Princess ships have a small wedding chapel, and on some ships, a Web cam will allow family and friends back home to see the ceremony. (One of the ship wedding chapels is shown at left.)

Ambience/Style of Cruising

Princess delivers relaxed, resort-style cruising with an ocean of choices in activities, entertainment and dining. It's a popular choice for couples and families. 


Standard staterooms on Princess are comfortable and stylish. They feature attractive décor and such conveniences as a hair-dryer; mini-refrigerator; television with remote and a variety of channels; multi-channel music system; and in-room safe -- basically all the comforts of home at sea. 

Photo of balconies goes here.But undoubtedly, Princess Cruises’ greatest gift to the cruise ship passenger when it comes to accommodations is its pioneering role in the “affordable veranda.”

In the early days of cruising, private balconies were a rarity, reserved only for the wealthy. So when Royal Princess debuted in 1984 with 150 balcony cabins, the passenger response was overwhelmingly positive.

Princess made the verandas affordable to many more pocketbooks by providing the balcony accommodations in a variety of categories at slightly higher prices than similar cabins without balconies.

By the end of 2006, the Princess fleet had more than 8,000 cabins with private verandas -- more than 54 percent of the total outside cabins. The line’s larger vessels have more than 700 verandas each.

However, not all balconies on Princess are created equal. Ask your travel agent to check the type of veranda you'll receive and state your preferences. If you like to sun, you'll like the balconies without a roof (see photo above for an example.*). 

Those balconies, which cascade down from higher decks, are less private. So while they offer excellent visibility to sights at sea or ashore, they are also in view of others above. If you, alternatively, prefer a covered balcony with more privacy, those also are available. Just let your travel agent know your preferences.     

Photo of a suite on Coral Princess goes here.

One configuration of a Princess mini-suite is shown above; this one is on Coral Princess. A nice perk is having two televisions - one facing the bed, another in the living area.*

Guests who choose suites and mini-suites find such special amenities as plush bedding including fluffy duvets and 100 percent Egyptian cotton sheets; bathrobes and slippers; fresh flowers; one-time complimentary mini-bar set-up; complimentary tote; DVD/CD player; enhanced toiletries with such additions as facial mist; complimentary use of the spa’s thermal suite and much more.

Dining Choices

Photo of fine dining goes here.Princess offers multiple dining rooms, alternative restaurants, flexible dining times and delicious food, particularly the pastas.

In all, more than 450 items are prepared on each cruise by a staff of 150 or more in the ship's various galleys. 

Personal Choice Dining has everybody covered with two options for the main dining rooms: restaurant-style Anytime Dining and traditional fixed-seating. The extensive menus of dishes also include Lotus Spa selections, for those who want to eat light. 

Pizzerias on four ships (Sun Princess, Dawn Princess, Sea Princess and Regal Princess) offer Italian-style pies for lunch and dinner. Often the pizzerias are open late into the night.

Poolside pizzerias are on Grand Princess, Golden Princess, Star Princess, Island Princess, Coral Princess, Caribbean Princess, Crown Princess, Diamond Princess, Emerald Princess, Sapphire Princess.

Emerald Princess also has a new service -- delivery of pizza to your stateroom for $3. 

Photo of Horizon Court goes here.Cruisers won't go hungry with the 'round the clock casual buffets on the Horizon Court; this venue is also known as Lido Café or Panorama Buffet on some vessels.

These buffet restaurants operate a late-night bistro with a set menu and sit-down service from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. 

Often, they feature dishes from the region the ship is visiting.  

Photo of Cafe Caribe goes here.


Café Caribe on Caribbean Princess and Crown Princess is a themed buffet featuring the flavors of the Caribbean. 

Specialties include grilled Caribbean rock lobster, paella-style prawns and whole roast suckling pig.

Cafe Caribe's casual but elegant flair with cloth table cloths is shown at left.*

Another option for munching include the Poolside Grill, for burgers and fries. 

Photo of afternoon tea goes here.Patisserie is the place for pastries. The latter serves an excellent British-style afternoon tea (see photo at right.*)

If all else fails, call for 24-hour room service. While room service is free, two special room service options -- well worth the price -- feature a charge.

The Champagne Balcony Breakfast ($25 per couple) and an elegant four-course Ultimate Balcony Dinner ($50 per person and featuring lobster tail and many nice touches) are available on most vessels.

Also, aboard Crown Princess and Emerald Princess, passengers can enjoy the Brooklyn Balcony Nosh, a balcony experience that includes an authentic Nathan's Hot Dog with all the trimmings, an ice cold bottle of Brooklyn Brewery's Premium Lager Beer, and a generous slice of Junior's Cheesecake, a Brooklyn institution since 1950. Cost is $7 per person. 

The International Café on Crown Princess and Emerald Princess is a new generation in Princess' 24-hour dining concept. This atrium-level café in a piazza-style setting serves a changing menu of "a la carte" items throughout the day. Some items are free, others carry a charge.

Passengers may enjoy freshly baked croissants or beignets in the morning, gourmet panini sandwiches at lunchtime, afternoon tea or chocolate fondue later in the day, or pre-dinner tapas in the evening. For a sweet pick-me-up there are caramel apples, chocolate truffles, gelato and other desserts.

Coffee lovers will find an expanded coffee program featuring a variety of specialty coffee drinks made from a selection of six different types of coffee beans.  

Dining Alternatives

Photo of Sabatini's Trattoria goes here.While there are plenty of free dining options onboard, you'll likely want to try out one or two alternative dining venues, which carry a modest fee.

Well worth the price, these are "experiences" in many cases, not just a new place to dine. 

The delightful Sabatini's Trattoria reminds us of an Italian wedding banquet. Dish after dish just keep on coming -- from antipasto to tiramisu. This venue is very popular so make your reservations early. 

Sabatini's (shown above*) is found on Emerald Princess, Grand Princess, Golden Princess, Star Princess, Coral Princess, Island Princess, Tahitian Princess, Pacific Princess, Diamond Princess, Sapphire Princess, Caribbean Princess, and Crown Princess. Cost is $25 per person.

The Bayou Café and Steakhouse on Coral Princess  and Island Princess offers New Orleans cuisine. So chow down on peel-and-eat shrimp, gumbos and jambalaya. The cost is $15 per person. 

Photo of Sterling Steakhouse goes here.The Sterling Steakhouse, ideal for meat lovers, offers cuts of beef from the "Sterling Silver" brand cooked to order, as well as other steakhouse fare.

This venue (shown at left.*) is found on Sun Princess, Dawn Princess, Sea Princess, Pacific Princess, Tahitian Princess, Star Princess, Golden Princess, Grand Princess, Caribbean Princess, Diamond Princess, Sapphire Princess. The fee is $15 per person.

Crown Grill on Crown Princess and Emerald Princess has an open kitchen. Its specialties are beef and seafood items. You might order steamed shellfish - such as lobster, scallops, clams and mussels - or cooked-to-order steaks and chops. The per person charge is $25. 

Open evenings on Crown Princess and Emerald Princess, Vines is a wine and seafood bar. Its wine and cocktail pairings are accompanied by a selection of chilled seafood "cocktails"- appetizers include salmon, oysters, sushi, gravlax and other treats. 

The wine menu features a by-the-glass selection and a series of wine flights. Seafood appetizers are available for a per-item charge 

Activities and Edu-Tainment

Phot oof casino goes here.        Photo of Coral Princess Magradome area with pool goes here.

Among the activities onboard a Princess cruise are casino action, a strong enrichment program of courses, and enjoying a dip in a pool or whirlpool. Above right is the Magra-dome "all weather" pool onboard Coral Princess. *

Princess offers the usual mix of onboard cruise activities including casino action, pool games, bingo, art auctions, fitness regimens, bridge play and so on. It even offers "Movies Under the Stars," a great chance to view a flick on a huge outdoor screen under moonlight. 

But it truly excells with its  ScholarShip@Sea program, which offers enriching "edu-tainment" courses. Guest lecturers and shipboard experts present courses on such topics as cooking, visual arts, computer skills, photography and, a first in the industry, pottery.

The pottery program debuted aboard Coral Princess in early 2003 and expanded fleetwide in less than a year. Today, every Princess ship has been equipped with onboard pottery kilns.

Passengers can choose from approximately 20 different ScholarShip@Sea courses per voyage. At least six difference courses are offered each sea day. There are four core subject areas -- Culinary Arts, Visual/Creative Arts, Photography and Computer Technology.

Italian cooking, ceramics or pottery, digital travel photography, web page design, and watercolor techniques are among the enrichment courses offered.

Guest speakers may present courses on additional topics, such as destination; history; arts and world affairs. Many courses are free, others have fees.

Smaller, more in-depth classes, which expand upon the curriculum offered in the larger courses, are also available. These specialized hands-on classes, which focus on such areas as hand-building pottery, photography and computer training, are offered for nominal fees, beginning at $10.

Spa and Fitness

Photo of the Lotus Spa is shown here.

The Lotus Spa is an enclave of pampering service, with many exotic treatments and places like this to just relax.*

The Asian-inspired Lotus Spa offers dozens of exotic therapies. First introduced aboard Golden Princess in 2001, the Lotus Spa has state-of-the-art facilities. These include steam and sauna, fitness rooms with the latest equipment and classes, and a salon featuring hair and nail services.

Treatments may be reserved prior to the cruise through Princess' Cruise Personalizer.  Princess pioneered pre-reservation capability with the debut of Caribbean Princess in 2004, and the service has now been expanded to sailings aboard Crown Princess, Emerald Princess, Sapphire Princess, Diamond Princess, Island Princess, Golden Princess, Grand Princess, Coral Princess and Star Princess.

Among the many treatments are aroma stone therapy and a lime and ginger salt glow. Also available is a suite for a couples' massage. Princess' larger vessels also feature a popular swim-against-the-current spa pool.

Photo of fitness class is shown here.

All Princess ships feature a full-range of fitness facilities including large gyms with state-of-the-art machines; aerobics and other fitness classes; a jogging track; and much more.

Ships also have multiple pools. Some ships have swim-against-the-current pools in their spa areas or Magra-dome pool areas. Even in bad weather, the line can extend the roof so guests enjoy a swim in comfort.


Organized Kids' Programs

Yes. See the separate story summarizing all the lines' children's programs on our Family Fun page

Tipping Policy

A gratuity of $10 per person, per day is automatically charged to passengers' accounts and guests may adjust it up or down. A 15 percent tip is added to bar bills. Room service personnel may be tipped as service is rendered.


Total Ships in Worldwide Fleet: 17 (with another joining the fleet in 2008).

Total Ships Embarking from Southern U.S. Ports: seven (eight by late 2008 when Ruby Princess joins the fleet)

Caribbean Princess

Embarkation Port: Fort Lauderdale

Year Launched: 2004

Passenger Count: 3,100 passengers

Itineraries: Alternating eastern and western Caribbean cruises. Eastern Caribbean voyages sail to St. Maarten; St. Thomas, USVI, and Princess Cays (private Bahamas beach). Western voyages sail to Princess Cays; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Grand Cayman; and Cozumel, Mexico. The last western itinerary sails in October, while the eastern Caribbean voyages continue through April 27, 2008.

Photo of Princess Cays goes here.

Princess Cays, a private-island experience on Eleuthera in the Bahamas, offers a chance for beach fun, relaxation, watersports and just soaking up such tropical scenes as the one shown above. Many Princess'ships sailing from southern U.S. ports visit Princess Cays.*

Coral Princess

Embarkation Port: Fort Lauderdale

Year Launched: 2003

Passenger Count: 1,970

Itineraries: 10-day partial Panama Canal sailings roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale with departures Oct. 11, 2007 to April 15, 2008. The ship also does two full Grand Canal 15- and 17-day Panama Canal transits between Fort Lauderdale and San Francisco calling at Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Huatulco, Puntarenas, Panama Canal, Cartagena and Aruba on Sept. 24 and again on April 25, 2008.

Star Princess

Embarkation Port: Fort Lauderdale

Year Launched: 2002

Passenger Count: 2,600

Itineraries: 21-day Brazilian Adventure from Fort Lauderdale to Buenos Aires, departing on Dec. 20.

Royal Princess

Embarkation Port: Fort Lauderdale

Year Launched: 2007 (formerly a Renaissance Cruises vessel).

Passenger Count: 710

Itineraries: 10-day southern Caribbean voyage to Samana, Virgin Gorda, Dominica, Bequia, Tobago, Devil’s Island, Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Barts on Dec. 22. Also, 14-day Amazon voyages between Fort Lauderdale and Manaus, Brazil during Jan. 1-April 14, 2008.

Grand Princess (shown below.*)

Photo of Grand Princess goes here.

Embarkation Port: Fort Lauderdale

Year Launched: 1998

Passenger Count: 2,600

Itineraries: Seven-day western Caribbean cruises calling at Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Princess Cays (private Bahamas beach). Departures are scheduled between Nov. 3 and April 26, 2008.


Emerald Princess

Embarkation Port: Fort Lauderdale

Year Launched: 2007

Itineraries: Alternating 10-day sailings. One sailing goes to the southern Caribbean, calling at Princess Cays (private Bahamas beach), St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire and Aruba. The alternating sailing goes to the eastern Caribbean visiting Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and Princess Cays. Departures start Oct. 27 and continue through April 4, 2008.

Pacific Princess

Embarkation Port: Fort Lauderdale

Year Launched: 1999

Passenger Count: 670

Itineraries: 102-day World Cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Southampton, visiting 42 ports. Departure is on Jan. 10, 2008.

Coming Soon! - Ruby Princess

A new Princess ship launching in 2008, Ruby Princess, will have the following embarkations from South Florida:

Embarkation Port: Fort Lauderdale
Year Launched: 2008
Passenger Count: 3,100
Itineraries: Seven-day western Caribbean sailings calling at Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Princess Cays (private beach) from Nov. 15, 2008 through April 2009.

Photo of movies at sea at sunset goes here.For More Information

Mailing Address: 24305 Town Center Drive, Santa Clarita, CA 91355

Main office: 800-421-1700

Reservations: 800-PRINCESS

Web: www.princess.com


Georgina Cruz writes, along with her husband, Humberto Cruz, a weekly nationally-syndicated column, Retire Smart, often dealing with touring and cruising topics. Her travel articles have appeared in more than four dozen regional, national and international publications and she is the author of a guidebook on cruises.

*Photos are owned, copyrighted and used with permission of Princess Cruises. All rights reserved. Please do not link to nor copy these photos. Content above is copyrighted to SouthernCruising.com™, SouthernTravelNews.com™ and Corporate Write LLC; all rights reserved. 


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