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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 Cruises tend 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.
Amy Stoltenberg writes about lifestyle and money for finder.com, researching the best options for shopping, banking, insurance and authentic travel experiences. After studying writing and fashion at Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked designing apparel at a corporate behemoth before opting for a career with unlimited travel time. When her laptop’s closed, she can be found wandering the streets looking for happy hour and hole-in-the-wall eateries.
Read our Princess Cruises review
Case study: Melanie's experience
Copy Editor, Finder US
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
FAQs about Princess Cruises
Yes. Pay it early through your account online or by calling 855-500-7690.
No. If you’re not happy with the service, you can scale the gratuity up or down according to your own discretion.
The following drinks are free over the course of your cruise:
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