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Princess Cruises reviews

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Wearable technology makes for smooth sailing on ships mostly populated by families.

Princess Cruises is an innovative line that’s harnessed the power of wearable technology and a free messaging app to deliver a fresh onboard experience. But don’t get carried away by the prices you see on first glance, because taxes and port fees aren’t included until checkout.

Single people and older folks should keep in mind that Princess tends to host lots of families on board, especially during summer and holiday breaks. While the top-of-ship deck area is for adults only, you’ll pay a fee to access this sanctuary.

Still, the playfulness of this cruise can be a delight: Princess was the first cruise line to offer movies on deck, with giant LED screens set up poolside. In the mood for love? It offers captain-officiated weddings so you can tie the knot onboard.

19 ships

Number of ships

Price

No

Price matches

Details

Target demographic Seniors, Singles
Number of ships 19 ships
Contact options Phone, Email
Payment options Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card, JCB
Deposit required Deposit at checkout
Deposit required No price matching
Food Food included
Drink No free alcohol
Room service Room service included

Read our Princess Cruises reviews

Case study: Melanie's experience

Melanie Huddart profile photo
Melanie Huddart
Copy Editor, Finder

My first cruise experience was a weeklong Caribbean Princess Cruises trip for my honeymoon. I was hesitant to book it, because I had a preconceived notion that it would be crowded and leave me feeling trapped.

Surprisingly, I had the opposite experience: I had plenty of space to move, excursion participants were capped to reasonable numbers, and my husband and I never saw the same people twice. But buffet lineups could get long, so planning your dining ahead is helpful to avoid waiting.

The best part was the abundance and quality of the food, service and activities that kept everyone busy, both on board and ashore. My recommendation is to ensure you have plenty of US cash on hand when you explore your ports of call, because ATMs can be scarce in more remote destinations.

About Melanie’s cruise

  • Princess ship sailed: Grand Princess
  • Date of cruise: August 26, 2002
  • Length of cruise: Seven-day Eastern Caribbean
  • Departure port: Fort Lauderdale
  • Destinations visited: Princess Cays, St. Maarten and Grand Cayman

Case study: Robin's experience

Robin Smith profile photo
Robin Smith
Travel Writer and Technical Virtual Assistant

One of the things I like about Princess Cruise Line is how they contain smoking in areas that do not allow smoke to bleed out into other areas of the ship. As someone who is sensitive to smoke, this mattered. Even when walking near the smoking areas, you were not overpowered with smoke. It was like this on both Princess cruises we took.

I loved the wearable OceanMedallion device that provided personalized service everywhere you went. No more worrying about your cruise card. The Medallion is about the size of a quarter, and it performs an array of useful functions: unlocks your cabin as you approach the door, checks you off and on the ship and allows you to order beverages on demand and have them delivered anywhere on the ship.

Be aware that this particular cruise in the fall is mostly senior citizens. At 59 and 72 years old, we were the young bucks on the ship. It wasn’t a problem — just be aware and know that many of the activities and times of events are geared to an older age group. I was told it’s different in the summer when young families are on board.

The one thing I wish I had known before setting sail was the early turn-in time of the majority of passengers. Music and everything shut down before midnight in most cases. We were used to dancing the night away or just listening to music and chatting until a bit later. Everything was pretty much closed by midnight.

Also, several of the ports are newer and do not have as many excursions and activities available. Another thing: All of the pools were outside, and October in Canada is pretty chilly.

About Robin’s cruise

Ship Sailed: Caribbean Princess

Date of Cruise: Oct. 4, 2019

Length of Cruise: 10 days

Departure Port: Quebec City, Canada

Destinations visited: Saguenay, Quebec. Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Sydney, Nova Scotia. Halifax, Nova Scotia. Bar Harbor, Maine. Boston. New York City.
 

Case study: Andrea's experience

Andrea Spallanzani and Rick Orford profile photo
Andrea Spallanzani and Rick Orford
Travel Bloggers

We are travel bloggers, and this was our 17th Princess Cruise. I have also cruised on Royal Caribbean, Costa and NCL. But Princess is my favorite.

Regarding Antarctica, it was everything I had expected. A long journey, a little seasickness and the most incredible sights I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I can ever go back on an Alaskan cruise now!

For new cruisers, I recommend picking port-intensive itineraries. For this reason, the cruise ship generally sails at night, allowing the passenger the most flexibility with their time. For example, will they visit the port or hang out at the pool?

About Andrea and Rick’s cruise

Date of cruise: Jan. 5, 2020

Length of cruise: 16 days

Ship sailed: Coral Princess

Destinations visited: Santiago, Chile. Puerto Montt, Ushuaia. Antarctica. Falkland Islands. Montevideo. Buenos Aires.

Case study: Elisse's experience

Elisse and Dan Clark profile photo
Elisse and Dan Clark
Owners of the Elkhorn Inn and Theatre

We loved our Princess Cruise. Our balcony stateroom was the largest and most well-designed of all the Caribbean cruises we’ve been on. We love that Princess gives $250 onboard credit per stateroom to military and retired military personnel — my husband is US Army Ret. The service was excellent, as was the food — and I don’t say that lightly, as my husband is a chef — and we loved their elegant Cigar Bar, where we enjoyed cocktails and met a lot of nice people! We really liked that the ship stayed late in several ports (10 p.m.), which enabled us to have some very fine dinners in both Aruba and Curacao.

I will say that the cruise was more for older people — we are 60 and 73 — and there weren’t a lot of children on the cruise or children’s activities such as water slides.

About Elisse and Dan’s cruise

Ship sailed: Caribbean Princess

Date of cruise: February 2017

Length of cruise: 14 nights

Destinations visited: Belize. Cozumel. Curacao. Aruba. Bonaire.

Case study: Matthew's experience

Matthew Brown profile photo
Matthew Brown
Travel Blogger

The highlights are numerous, but on this trip, it was definitely visiting Fiordland National Park, sailing through the towering cliffs of Milford Sound and seeing Doubtful and Dusky Sound — two fiords that are very difficult to get to any other way.

I was actually really disappointed by our room. We booked an interior room right in the middle of the ship. These are the most expensive interior rooms. On the second night, the wall right above our bed starting bowing and flexing with the ship movement. This created a loud bang and vibrated through the bed. It was impossible to sleep through. We were moved to a room right at the front of the ship. It was the only room available and was unfortunately very rocky compared to our original room in the middle. While this disappointment was frustrating, the highlights far outweigh it.

Princess looked after us and made sure the rest of our cruise was very enjoyable. If you are thinking about going on a cruise for the first time, make sure you are prepared with some motion sickness solutions. I’d also take a highlighter. That way you can highlight everything you want to do or see each day on the daily planner that gets delivered to your room. This makes it so much easier to keep track of what you want to do, when it is and where it is!

About Matthew’s cruise

Ship sailed: Golden Princess

Date of cruise: October 2018

Length of Cruise: 10 nights

Departure Port: Auckland, New Zealand

Destinations visited: Tauranga, New Zealand. Akaroa/Christchurch, New Zealand. Dunedin, New Zealand. Dusky Sound, New Zealand. Doubtful Sound, New Zealand. Milford Sound, New Zealand.

Where do Princess Cruises depart from?

It’s got departure ports in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania — but none in Africa — lifting anchor and setting sail from:

  • Princess currently sails from: Adelaide, Anchorage, Athens, Auckland, Barcelona, Beijing, Brisbane, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Calgary, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Dover, Dubai, Fairbanks, Fort Lauderdale, Fremantle, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Honolulu Oahu, Kobe, Le Havre, Lima, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, New York City, Papeete, Perth, Phnom Penh, Quebec, Rio De Janeiro, Rome, San Francisco, Santiago, Seattle/Tacoma, Shanghai, Shannon, Singapore, Southampton, Sydney, Taipei, Tampa, Tampa/St.Petersburg, Toronto, Vancouver, Venice, Warnemuende, Washington D.C., Whittier, Yokohama

Princess Cruises destinations

Reach more than 380 bucket-list destinations aboard a Princess Cruises ship in more than 100 countries on all seven continents. That’s right: lovers of chilly weather and snowy skies can book passage to Antarctica.

  • Here’s where it sails to: Alaska, Asia, Australasia, Australia, British Isles, Canada and New England, Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Iceland and Norway, Mediterranean, Mexico, Northern Europe, Pacific, Pacific Coastal, Panama Canal, Repositioning, South America, South Pacific, Transatlantic, Western Europe, World Cruise

What is Princess Cruises MedallionClass?

MedallionClass defines Princess Cruises ships that are equipped with Ocean Medallion technology. Ocean Medallion is a wearable device with smart technology that allows you to make purchases, enter your room and speed up embarkation without lifting a finger. (No need to bring along a boarding pass.) It can also help servers in the dining room locate you for food delivery. And it connects you with Wi-Fi — though you’ll pay extra for a plan.

Included in the cost of your MedallionClass cruise, Ocean Medallions are shipped to you before you embark. However, you’re not required to wear the Ocean Medallion, opting out if you’d like.

Princess Cruises MedallionClass ships

  • 2019: Caribbean Princess, Crown Princess, Regal Princess, Royal Princess, Sky Princess
  • 2020: Ruby Princess, Grand Princess, Enchanted Princess, Emerald Princess, Coral Princess, Island Princess
  • 2021: Discovery Princess

Why you should — or shouldn’t — cruise with Princess Cruises

While tech-savvy folks might like the Ocean Medallion, Princess Cruises are often more expensive than initially meets the eye.

Pros

  • Princess@Sea app lets you message other passengers for free.
  • Free 24/7 room service.
  • Free onboard spending money for veterans and members of the military.
    • $50 on cruises of up to 6 days, $100 on cruises of 7 to 13 days and $250 on cruises of 4 days or longer.
  • Best-price guarantee on shore excursions. If you find the same excursion listed elsewhere for less, Princess issues you 110% of the difference in price in the form of an onboard credit.
  • Sweet treats abound, thanks to a partnership with chocolatier Norman Love.
  • Each ship offers wheelchair-accessible cabins, with special features for folks with disabilities.

Cons

  • Gratuity is not included with your fare and charged to your account after you disembark:
    • Suites. $16.50 per person, per day.
    • Mini-suites and club class. $15.50 per person, per day.
    • Interior, oceanview and balcony staterooms. $14.50 per person, per day.
    • In addition, bar charges, spa services and wine accounts all automatically include an 18% gratuity.
  • Listed prices can be misleading, with the prices you see listed while searching through its site increasing when you click to select a room.
  • Taxes, fees and port expenses aren’t applied until checkout.

Bottom line

Families and multigenerational groups will find unending, tech-savvy entertainment aboard Princess Cruises. But if you’re looking for a more upscale experience or simply want to see what else is out there, compare other cruise lines.

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