Sunday 30 July 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Princess Cruises Sky Princess: Everything You Need to know for a Perfect Voyage

(This is a paid partnership with Princess Cruises - see disclaimer)

If you're planning a cruise holiday and looking for a luxurious and unforgettable experience, look no further than Princess Cruises Sky Princess. This stunning vessel, launched in 2019, boasts many amenities and activities that will delight travellers of all ages. From gourmet dining options to spa treatments, entertainment shows, and exciting shore excursions, Sky Princess has something for everyone. 

In this comprehensive guide, I'll look at everything you need to know to make the most of your voyage on the Princess Cruises Sky Princess. 

Sky Princess is one of the newest ships in the Princess Cruises fleet, launched in October 2019. This 143,700-ton vessel can accommodate up to 3,660 passengers and features 1,830 cabins as well as 19 decks and a huge array of dining and entertainment options. In December 2019, Princess Cruises honoured two pioneering women of the U.S. Space Programme: Captain Kay Hire, and engineer Poppy Northcutt, who served as the godmothers, and officially named Sky Princess.

Our 4-night Holland and Belgium cruise onboard Sky Princess started from £329pp for an interior stateroom based on a twin-share. Our cruise stopped in Rotterdam in Holland and Zeebruge in Belgium. A cruise is a perfect way to take in multiple destinations in one trip, especially with a fabulous choice of shore excursions available to add to your cruise. 

You can view cruise voyages from Southampton here - Sail from Southampton Cruise Voyages.

Choose from a wide range of itineraries
Princess Cruises offers a huge variety of itineraries departing from Southampton providing travellers with a luxurious and unforgettable holiday experience. With departures from this port, guests can easily explore the British Isles, Western Europe, the Mediterranean and even the Baltic region.

The British Isles itineraries take passengers to ports of call throughout England, Scotland and Ireland. Guests can explore famous landmarks such as Stonehenge, the Cliffs of Moher, and Edinburgh Castle. The Western Europe itineraries visit historic cities such as Bruges, Paris, Lisbon, and Bilbao, offering a glimpse of European culture, cuisine, and architecture. The Mediterranean itineraries take passengers to stunning coastal cities such as Barcelona, Rome, and Athens, where they can discover ancient ruins, picturesque landscapes, and world-class cuisine.

Finally, the Baltic itineraries bring travellers to enchanting cities like Tallinn, Helsinki, and Copenhagen, immersing them in the rich history and culture of northern Europe. It's an excellent way to experience the beauty and diversity of Europe in a luxurious and comfortable way.

The hardest bit will be picking your ship and itinerary. 

The OceanMedallion Experience
Arguably the most important part of your experience is the OceanMedallion app - a revolutionary feature offered by Princess Cruises, designed to enhance the guest experience and provide a seamless holiday. The app is designed to work in conjunction with the OceanMedallion, a wearable device that can be carried in your pocket or worn as a wristband. You can also purchase accessories onboard such as bangles, necklaces and clips if you'd prefer. Princess has partnered with Tide Ocean Material, a Swiss company that specialises in repurposing plastic waste to create the range of wearable accessories made from reclaimed plastic found in the sea and scattered along coastlines. It’s such a brilliant initiative from the cruise line.

The device uses advanced technology to track the location of the guest on the ship and provide personalised services and recommendations based on their preferences. Through the OceanMedallion app, guests can access a range of features, including the ability to order food and drinks from anywhere on the ship, receive personalised recommendations for activities, make reservations for shows and excursions, and connect with other guests on the ship. 

The app also allows guests to track their expenses and stay on top of their itinerary, ensuring that they never miss a planned activity or event. One of the most significant benefits of the OceanMedallion app is that it allows guests to enjoy a contactless experience. By using the app, guests can avoid standing in long lines to check in, order food, or make reservations, reducing the time they spend waiting and increasing the time they can spend enjoying their holiday. On one of our evenings on the ship, we spent it in the nightclub Vista Lounge and while the venue was getting busy we were still able to order drinks to our table in under ten minutes meaning we could continue to enjoy our evening with friends with no queuing at the bar.

While we did experience some patches of disconnection, the OceanMedallion experience for us was excellent. It completely streamlined our experience, we loved having all the information we needed in the palm of our hands and being able to order that first coffee of the morning to the cabin was the perfect way to start the day.

When OceanMedallion first launched in 2019, I joined Princess Cruises for a special event in Southampton, you can find my post on this here - 6 Things you need to Know about OceanMedallion.

Where will you lay your head?
There is a range of accommodation options to suit a variety of budgets on Princess Cruises - the most affordable room on the ship will be an interior stateroom, meaning you will have no windows or balcony, but you'll still have access to all of the other amenities guest can expect just with the sacrifice of that sea view. Personally, a balcony view is quite important to me as I occasionally suffer from motion sickness so I need to be able to 'get outside' so our Mini Suite was perfectly suited for us.

Here is a breakdown of the accommodation options available on Sky Princess:
Inside Cabins: These cabins do not have windows or balconies and are the most affordable option. They range in size from 160-182 square feet and can accommodate up to 4 passengers.

Oceanview Cabins: These cabins have a window or porthole that allows natural light to enter the room. They range in size from 162-212 square feet and can accommodate up to 4 passengers.

Balcony Cabins: These cabins have a private balcony where you can enjoy the view and fresh air. They range in size from 212-222 square feet and can accommodate up to 4 passengers.

Mini-Suites: These are larger balcony cabins with extra living space and a separate seating area. They range in size from 299-323 square feet and can accommodate up to 4 passengers.

Club Class Mini-Suites: These are exclusive mini-suites that come with additional perks such as priority boarding, an exclusive dining area, and a complimentary glass of champagne on arrival. They range in size from 323-362 square feet and can accommodate up to 4 passengers.

Suites: These are the most luxurious accommodation options on Sky Princess. They come with a separate living area, a larger balcony, and extra amenities such as a complimentary minibar and priority restaurant reservations. They range in size from 440-682 square feet and can accommodate up to 4 passengers.

Family Suites: These are larger suites that can accommodate up to 8 passengers. They have two separate bedrooms and a living room with a sofa bed.

Sky Suites: These are the most spacious and luxurious suites on Sky Princess. They come with a separate living area, a dining table, and a large balcony with a private hot tub. They range in size from 700-1,290 square feet and can accommodate up to 5 passengers.

All the cabins and suites on Sky Princess come with a range of amenities such as a private bathroom, a flat-screen TV, a refrigerator, and a hairdryer. Additionally, passengers can enjoy room service and daily housekeeping. We had such a wonderful stay in our suite and our stateroom steward Richard Faustino was fantastic and went above and beyond for us delivering champagne on our arrival and making sure we always had what we needed.

You can view short sampler cruises from Southampton with Princess Plus added below

It pays to Princess Plus
The Princess Plus Package is an all-inclusive package offered by Princess Cruises. It includes premium beverage service (drinks up to $15 each), unlimited Wi-Fi, two premium desserts per day, two fitness classes per cruise, an unlimited juice bar and gratuities for all guests in a stateroom. With the Princess Plus Package, guests can enjoy a hassle-free holiday without worrying about additional expenses especially as you can check your package via the app. 

The Princess Plus Package can be added to any new booking for an additional fee of £50 per guest per day (worth £115 per day per guest). It can also be added to existing bookings by contacting Princess Cruises or your travel agent. 

Personally, we found it to be unbeatable value and it is something we would definitely be adding to future cruises with Princess Cruises. There is also a Princess Premier package with even more benefits. 

Food makes the world go round
Princess Cruises offers a variety of dining options that are included in the cost of your cruise fare. In addition to these included dining options, you'll also be able to discover speciality restaurants that are available for an additional fee. These restaurants offer a higher level of cuisine and service, and reservations are recommended. Firstly, let's start with what is included:

Main Dining Room (Cielo, Soleil & Estrella): Princess Cruises offers traditional dining in the main dining room, where you can enjoy a multi-course meal in a formal setting. There are two dinner seatings each night, and you'll be assigned a table and dining time when you board the ship. The main dining room also offers breakfast and lunch service.

The World Fresh Market: An all-day (6am-10.30pm) dining venue that offers a variety of dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You'll find a mix of hot and cold dishes, as well as international cuisine and themed nights. We really enjoyed the Mongolian Fried Beef Rice dishes here. 

International Café: The International Café is open 24 hours a day and offers a selection of light bites and pastries, as well as speciality coffees and teas. This was our saviour after a 1.30am finish in the nightclub and we fancied a little sandwich and a sweet treat. 

Alfredo's Pizzeria: Alfredo's Pizzeria is a casual dining venue that offers freshly made pizzas, salads, and antipasti. Great service, great food and GREAT wine. 

The Salty Dog Grill: The Salty Dog Grill is a poolside venue that offers burgers, hot dogs, and fries.

Slice Pizzeria: Prego Pizzeria is another casual dining venue that offers individual pizza slices to enjoy by the pool or to take back to your cabin to enjoy on the balcony which is what I did on our sea day.

Room Service: Room service is available twenty-four hours a day and is included in your cruise fare. You can order a range of dishes and snacks to be delivered to your stateroom, we ordered a stateroom breakfast ahead of our morning in Bruges before getting off the ship. 

There is also a huge array of bars to choose from such as Crown Grill Bar, Vines, Take Five, The Mix Bar and Wake View Bar at the aft of the ship. 

Why not add on a Speciality Dining Experience? 
For something extra special or perhaps to celebrate a birthday or anniversary the speciality dining options are perfect. Additional charges and bookings do apply but they're really reasonable compared to the same culinary experience you'd receive on land.

Crown Grill - The Crown Grill is a steakhouse that serves premium cuts of beef, as well as seafood and other grilled dishes. The restaurant features stylish, contemporary decor and an open kitchen. This was the highlight of the trip and I'd heard very good things ahead of visiting, thankfully Crown Grill went above and beyond all expectations - absolutely incredible.

The Catch by Rudi - The Catch by Rudi is the first Princess restaurant primarily devoted to seafood and offers a completely fresh take on seafood with the chef’s contemporary interpretations of classic dishes, international fusion influences, highly-creative presentations and an engaging dining experience.

Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar - Ocean Terrace is a seafood bar that offers a variety of fresh seafood dishes, including oysters, clams, and ceviche. The restaurant features sleek, modern decor and a range of seating options, including outdoor seating.

Sabatini's Italian Trattoria - Sabatini's is an Italian restaurant that offers a variety of classic Italian dishes, including pasta, seafood, and meat dishes. The restaurant features an open kitchen and a warm, inviting atmosphere. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal here and would book again in a heartbeat. 

Gelato - Gelato has been certified by the experts of Ospitalita Italiana to be an authentic Italian experience. Choose from a variety of flavours – from fior di latte and hazelnut to tiramisu and pistachio, even dairy-free, fat-free sorbets and sugar-free, fat-free gelato – and enjoy them by themselves or in such tasty combinations as “coppe” and “affogato.”

While onboard Sky Princess we were able to experience the Ultimate Balcony Breakfast on our sea day, a special dining experience that offers a private foodie experience on your balcony. The meal includes a four-course menu and comes with personalised service from a dedicated waiter while taking in stunning views of the ocean.

The Ultimate Balcony Breakfast package includes a selection of freshly baked pastries, fresh fruit, smoked salmon and cream cheese and a hot plate of bacon, breakfast quiche and a cheesy grilled tomato as well as a choice of coffee, tea, or juice. Guests can also choose to add a bottle of Champagne or Prosecco to their order for an additional fee.

This special breakfast can be ordered through room service and is available on select Princess Cruises ships. It is the perfect way to start the day in style and make the most of your cruise experience.

There's so much to do on Sky Princess
Princess Cruises offers an extensive range of onboard activities designed to cater to all ages and interests. From live entertainment and Broadway-style shows to cooking classes and wine tastings, as well as the SeaWalk a 60-foot-long enclosed glass hallway that juts out over the side of the ship, allowing those walking on it to watch the ocean glide by 128 feet below them, guests can enjoy a variety of experiences during their cruise. 

Throughout the day and night, the exclusive open-air poolside amphitheatre is the go-to destination for feature films, thrilling concerts and exciting sporting events such as live football games. You'll be able to find all showing information for adults and children on the app, OceanNow so you can plan ahead. It is the perfect spot to cosy up under a fleece blanket in the comfortable loungers and feast on complimentary popcorn. 

If you're looking for something for the children, Camp Discovery is the perfect destination. It's a youth program designed to provide children and teenagers with engaging and educational activities during their cruise. The program is divided into three age groups: 3-7, 8-12, and 13-17, each with age-appropriate activities and entertainment.

Children aged 3-7 can enjoy storytelling, puppet shows, arts and crafts, and other fun activities in the Camp Discovery Pelicans programme. For kids aged 8-12, the Camp Discovery Shockwaves programme offers activities such as video game tournaments, scavenger hunts, and science experiments. Teenagers aged 13-17 can hang out with others their age at The Beach House, where they can enjoy sports tournaments, movie nights, and dance parties.

The programme is supervised by trained youth staff who ensure the safety and well-being of all participants. With a wide range of activities and entertainment available, Princess Cruises Camp Discovery is the perfect way for children and teenagers to have fun and make new friends while cruising.

For those seeking relaxation, Princess Cruises also offers a range of spa treatments and fitness classes, as well as a tranquil adults-only retreat area which I'll share more of below. Other onboard activities include art auctions, casino gaming, and a variety of sports and fitness options such as basketball, volleyball, and mini-golf. With so many options available, guests are sure to find something to keep them entertained throughout their Princess Cruises holiday.

A Moment of calm in The Sanctuary
We had glorious weather for our sea day so The Sanctuary on Princess Cruises' Sky Princess was the perfect spot to spend the afternoon. It's an exclusive, adults-only retreat that offers a peaceful and luxurious escape from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the ship. Beautifully private and located at the front of the ship the space offers stunning panoramic views of the ocean.

Available for an additional fee and open to guests 18 years and older, the space features plush lounge chairs, sun loungers, and private cabanas that are perfect for lounging in the sun, reading a book, or enjoying a refreshing drink - the area is beautifully designed with lush greenery, giving it a serene and peaceful feel. 

The fees include access to the area, a dedicated Serenity Steward, and amenities such as premium bathrobes, refreshing beverages, and light snacks. Afternoon Tea is also served from 3pm which adds an extra luxury to the experience. We had a really enjoyable time and for a sea day, this is the perfect destination especially as you can book half or full days. 

Relaxation central at the onboard spa
As a huge spa and treatment fan, our morning at The Enclave and Lotus Spa was the calming experience I needed after a busy few days. The Enclave is home to Princess' largest-ever thermal suite and hydro-therapy pool with a cascading rain shower and therapeutic air jets. Whether you spend your time floating in the pool or on the heated stone beds, it's an experience at sea like no other. Be sure to try The Hammam - a Turkish-style steam bath, 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.

The Lotus Spa on the Sky Princess offers a wide range of treatments, including massages, facials, body wraps, and other wellness services. I had a Swedish Massage and came away feeling completely rejuvenated. Sky Princess also features a fitness centre with state-of-the-art equipment, fitness classes, and personal training sessions. Guests can purchase day passes to access The Enclave or can enjoy it as part of a spa treatment package.

Step off the ship and discover the world
One of the things I've always found fascinating about cruises is the ability to wake up in a different place each day, as a mother I also feel like it would be the easiest way to travel with small children and see more of the world. Princess Cruises offers a wide variety of shore excursions that allow guests to explore the ports of call on their itinerary.

While you can get off the ship and explore yourself like we did during our Zeebrugge stop, the prearranged excursions are typically led by experienced and knowledgeable guides who are familiar with the local culture and attractions. With excursions planned through the cruise line you also have the added security that if for any reason you're late back to the ship, it will wait for you.

There is a huge variety of shore excursions to choose from and you can find what is available to you when looking at a particular voyage on the Princess Cruises website. Some examples include Cultural and Historical tours, Outdoor Adventures, Culinary Tours and Active Adventures. There are also private tour options available which is a great idea if you're in a larger group.

Each excursion varies in time and includes transportation, admission fees, and sometimes meals. Excursions can be booked in advance or onboard the ship - prices vary depending on the length of the tour, the activities involved, and the location. 

For us, Sky Princess was the magical experience we were hoping it would be. From offering luxurious and exciting experiences to its state-of-the-art facilities, breathtaking design, and outstanding service, it was fantastic from start to finish.

There is something for every type of traveller thanks to the wide range of activities available onboard and with its modern amenities and top-notch service, Princess Cruises is the perfect choice for those looking for a memorable and unforgettable cruise holiday.
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