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Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises Review

Princess Cruises Review

Princess Cruises, Royal Princess, The Sanctuary Royal Princess's The Sanctuary Princess Cruises

This line may have been made famous by the TV show “The Love Boat,” but it isn’t just for honeymooners and singles looking to make connections. Instead, while Princess does try to offer a romantic experience for couples, these large mainstream ships also aim to appeal to the widest range of age groups. The demographic does vary depending on the time of year; in the summertime and on holidays, the number of kids on board soars, and the number of teens and tweens running around the pool deck and lining up for soft serve seems to skyrocket.

And while there's little that's innovative here, everything from food to service and even design is well executed and tasteful on board. The ships themselves are pretty, with plenty of light, modern decor, and activities that range from computer classes to wine tastings and needlepoint. 

What We Love

Impressive Original Stage Shows: The line partnered with Oscar-, Tony- and Grammy-winning composer Stephen Schwartz to create original stage shows, including the impressive "Magic to Do" and "Born to Dance," a celebration of Broadway's dancers that includes extensive video interviews of New York's most famous success stories. 

Movies Under the Stars: Princess Cruises invented the concept of a drive-in movie at sea, and it’s a great one. Don’t miss the opportunity to snuggle under a blanket on a lounge chair (with a soda and a bucket of hot popcorn, of course) and watch a movie on the giant outdoor screen as you sail to the next port.

The Share Restaurant: The line paired up with Aussie Chef and TV personality Curtis Stone to design a modern take on the family-style restaurant, complete with decadently rich dishes such as butter poached lobster, twice-cooked duck with bacon jus, and truffled potato gratin. 

Italian-Style Pizza: The line outshines the competition with its delicious hand-tossed Neapolitan-style pizza made with hand-tossed dough, house-made marinara sauce, and fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese. The pies are complimentary, and you can also get yours delivered to your cabin for $3.

Best Known For

Dining-Style Choices: Princess was the first to offer passengers the option of two different types of dining experiences. You can choose the traditional way, at the same table at a set time every night during the early or late seating. Or, you can eat in a separate dining room whenever you want and with whomever you choose.

The Sanctuary: This beautiful top-of-ship sun area is reserved for adults and is as quiet as the main pool deck can be boisterous. For a fee, you can lounge in a cushy quiet space in the shade while a butler serves you snacks and cucumber water.

There's Chocolate Everywhere: A partnership with Florida-based chocolatier Norman Love has resulted in a variety of chocolate presentations throughout your cruise, from chocolate-rich sweets on the breakfast buffet (think muffins and danishes) to signature desserts around the ship and even chocolate-infused cocktails on bar menus.

Who It's Best For

Couples, Young and Old: The ships aren’t as party-focused as some mainstream competitors, but there’s just enough action for thirtysomethings to be entertained and seniors to find the scene not too loud or too overwhelming.

Families with Kids: The creative kids programming (including nature-focused activities) and playrooms attract multigenerational families.

Couples Looking to Marry: Princess works harder than some other lines to help couples tie the knot, and many of these ships have onboard chapels for small ceremonies. You can choose from predesigned packages, making the whole process easy to plan from start to finish. 

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Forgettable Main Dining Room Dishes: While the specialty for-a-fee Italian restaurant and steakhouse restaurants shine, the cuisine in the main dining room is exactly what you’d expect in a banquet hall.

Fran Golden

Fran Golden is a Cleveland-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.

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