Length: 856 ft
One of the smallest Princess ships from the 1990s era - lovely but quiet ships good for restful voyagesBest For People Who Want
The extensive fitness and entertainment facilities of a large ship, elegant decor, multiple dining choices, top-notch shore excursions, water sports (Caribbean sailings); extensive spa/fitness facilities; balcony cabins and large suites; facilities for disabled; Movies Under the Stars.Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
The intimacy found aboard a smaller ship; top gourmet cuisine; casual evening attire; separate teen facilities. Revenue generating activities such as art auctions are constantly pushed. Not recommended for singles traveling alone.Onboard Experience
The 77,000-ton Sea Princess was the third Sun-class (Dawn Princess, Sun Princess) ship to enter service. Sea returned to Princess Cruises in April 2005 after sailing for P&O Cruises as the Adonia for two years. A refit prior to re-joining Princess included the addition of "Movies Under the Stars", the outdoor 300-sq. ft. LED movie screen that shows movies, concerts and sporting events poolside - a popular feature aboard the Grand-class ships.
Step into the Grand Plaza atrium with gleaming marble floor and brass staircases and you'll know this will be a classy cruise experience. A refined atmosphere without being staid, the tempo can be as upbeat as you like yet intimate enough for romance. With a high ratio of passengers to space and superb design, there are no lines or crowds. The layout of public rooms is superb, with the majority located on Promenade Deck. At the same time, this ship is too large to present many opportunities for meeting other passengers, except your tablemates at dinner if you choose traditional dining. In the Caribbean, you'll find terrific water sports programs available.Decor
Sea Princess is our pick for one of the most beautiful ships afloat. Sophisticated and elegant, the Princess ships are each adorned with a $2 million art collection that enriches the pale beech paneling, soft lighting and enormous windows with ocean views.Cuisine
Princess has raised the level of cuisine to a much higher level in all restaurants, with pasta and beef our favorite dishes, while desserts and coffee could use a bit of work. Don't miss the pizza made to order in the ships' pizzeria. There's an ice cream bar, but this comes with a charge, a big gripe with Princess' passengers. The Sterling Steakhouse features special cuts of Angus beef from the famous Sterling Silver 8 brand. Passengers choose their own prime cut of beef from a presentation tray, and watch as the chef cooks their selection. There is a $15.00 charge for this dining alternative open from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.Restaurants
Princess again scales down the feeling of a large ship with two main dining rooms, elegant and beautifully designed with etched glass partitions and hand painted panels. Dining choices onboard include a 24-hour restaurant, patisserie, hamburger and hot dog grill, sushi bar and 24-hour room service. You'll also find an Italian-style pizzeria with multiple varieties made from scratch. The Grill restaurant is adjacent to the pool for casual breakfast and luncheon buffet. It is transformed into the Sterling Steakhouse between 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. with special table settings of decorative linens, fine cutlery and table lanterns. (Reservations are recommended as seating is limited to 70. The charge for this dining alternative is $15.00).
Personal Choice Dining offers passengers the choice of two dining styles; traditional cruise dining with a set dining time (6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.) and the same waiter and tablemates each evening, or new restaurant style seating allowing passengers to dine when and with whom they like. With restaurant style dining, each party will be seated at their own table rather than with other passengers, as they would at a restaurant on land. Restaurant style seating is offered in the dining rooms between 5:30 p.m. and midnight. (Regardless of which dining style is chosen, a gratuity of $10.00 per person per day is automatically applied to shipboard accounts for dining and cabin staff. Passengers may add or reduce this amount at any time, if they so choose.)Service
Multi-national staff, with high scores for friendliness and attention to detail.Tipping
A charge of $10 per person per day (including children) is automatically added to your stateroom account for dining and stateroom personnel. This applies to all passengers, whether or not they choose traditional or personal choice dining. The amount may be increased or lowered at the Purser's Reception desk during the cruise.
A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Gratuities for spa, casino and other staff are at your discretion.Entertainment
Don't miss "Odyssea", a Cirque du Soleil-type experience, or "Pirates", performed weekly in the main theater. While the ships' performers may not be Broadway-bound, they are competent at cabaret, lavish floor shows and cozy lounges. You won't find the top entertainment afloat, but adequate for cruisers who don't expect the highest caliber of performances.Cabins
You'll find generous standard cabin amenities aboard Sea Princess: color TV with movies and CNN; hair dryers; terry cloth robes; safes; mini refrigerators; beds that convert from twin to queen size. Princess designed this ship to meet the desires of today's passengers by constructing 400 cabins with private balconies, spacious at 178 square feet. They are a trade off if cabin size is important, reducing your actual living space to 151 sq. ft. But these are the ships' most popular staterooms so book them early. Mini-suites with two rooms are among the largest aboard any ship: 374 sq. feet, including balcony and large marble bathroom. Those opting for a standard outside cabin, sized at 178 sq. feet, will feel quite comfortable while inside staterooms are smaller, sized from 135 to 148 sq. ft. In the standard outside and inside cabins, closet space is miniscule, so pack lightly. You'll find self-operated washers and dryers on all cabin decks - they're always crowded, but it's a great way to meet other cruisers.Fitness/Spa
Sea Princess has larger fitness facilities than you'll find in some medium-size towns. From a computerized golf simulator (there's a fee) to a separate jogging track, there are few sports/fitness activities not found aboard. The multi-level Spa is both state of the art and stunning, with whirlpool, exercise equipment with personal trainer, and Steiner's salon. The ships' main pool area is found on Riviera Deck and there is also a splash pool on Sun Deck.Attire
Plan on two formal evenings on seven to 14-night cruises. The rest of the evenings are designated smart casual. Many men opt for dark suit instead of a tux while women don dressy pants, short or long dresses. During the daytime, the "uniform" is shorts, sneakers, T-shirt/polo shirt and baseball cap.
The ship had been revamped and so was very clean and presentable. Be prepared for a lot of oldies, we are in our 60's, but the ship and the food and entertainment were very good, could not fault service or the staff. Book your own tours if possible and do lots of research before going for each port, the shuttles will take you into town most stops in not direct from ship and then the information centres give you great help. We only had a few places we had not been to before but still you manage to fill the day and explore more things. Would not do this again but will sail with Princess again.
Official Barbados Tourist link; http://www.visitbarbados.org
Our 5th cruise is now completed (November 15 - 29, 2010) We completed all our packing, clothes, monies, electronic gadgets including sanity ready to see family in Barbados and then get on the wonderful 14 day cruise of the Islands around Barbados (Grand Caribbean Adventurer Round-trip Barbados). We live in Victoria , Vancouver Island , Canada so ahead of us were two main flights, Victoria to Toronto than Toronto to Barbados but we would have 10 days in Barbados to relax before boarding the Sea Princess.
We overnighted at the Airport Hotel in Toronto at Terminal 3. Beware of Airlines these days who change aircraft on you. Air Canada changed their aircraft from Boeing 763 / 767 to an Airbus 321 / 319.
We had booked Executive Class and were looking forward to those new 'Stretch and Lie Down seats. Well at least we still had more leg and seat pitch room plus were able to relax in the lounges. In all our years visiting family in Barbados I had not seen any of the Islands around Barbados.
The cruise itself...(14 days) Left on a Monday, November 15, 2010Bridgetown, Barbados with days being, Grenada, At Sea, Bonaire- Aruba , Curacao- Antilles, At Sea, Grand Turk- Caicos Islands (became an extra Sea Day) , At Sea, Tortola- B.v.i., St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Trinidad , Barbados. Arrived back on November 29, 2010
I did a couple of things prior to the trip. Bought Trip and Medical Insurance, ordered Rum and Coke and Ginger for the cabin, new summer clothes bought, as I discovered I had no short sleeves shirts and found four pairs of pants bought last year hidden away. My Bajan wife was right, you need more clothes in the tropics and wear shorts. In our case we travelled with an extra suitcase which came in handy for all the gifts we bought on the islands for grandchildren and dirty clothes. For dirty clothes we had a plastic bag that compresses air.
As we were walk-on passengers not Air/Cruise then we were driven to the terminal where you can get a porter to take your bags to the ship ($1 each bag minimal) as you have to walk through the actual terminal which is full of great shops, phones. A person is at a table to ensure you sign the health form questions, then checks your name off a list. In our case we confused them as the list was really only Air/Cruise passengers so I just said look we do have our tickets, where do we board.
You have to walk outside the terminal , across a road and into the shed near the ship. The shed is where most of the Brits on the Air/Cruise arrive by bus around mid afternoon, in our case we came about 2pm and were able to miss all the hordes arriving by bus that day. As we walked in the shed from the ship side then we had to navigate the ropes to control the mob, just us two to see about 15 check-in folks wondering who we were. In two minute we were checked in , CC verified, and then stopped by the photographer as were his first ones.
On to the ship, sea card into security unit and SMILE. Nobody takes you to your cabin but they do ask what deck and point to elevator. We were on Aloha (deck 10) A327 Balcony which at first we found small because we had been on Golden Princess a few years back which is a newer ship. Not to worry , once we had our bags and unpacked, lots of room for two adults and the balcony does help for privacy and quiet.
The service by our room steward was great in he respected our times in the room and we told him when we would be out, it also helps to place the card that says clean or leave us alone please in the lock. One day our toilet overflowed by not stopping when filling during the ships emergency practice day and our steward responded to my cry for help as he was out in the hall, five minutes later our safe would not open as I had accidentally pressed a reset button. The Pursers Office sent some one up to reset the combination. course leading zeros are not recommended. A few days later our shower control knob parts flew off onto the shower floor. I had a small set of tools and fixed it then called our steward to let him know.
The ship is about 2,200 passengers of which we had 1,915 Brits on board, 25 USA , 26 Canadians and a mix of others which means when the sun is out then you better get a lounge chair early as all the Brits will be SUNNING themselves.
Our table mates were great as we had a table of 10, all with different accents including us and our servers were great but over worked as they had three other tables of 4-6 each plus they get your wine and rum for you. We closed the room most nights as we were on 2nd seating and because of that missed some of the shows. The main theatre is not that large and only one aisle is in the middle which makes moving through the seats ugly at times so you normally have to arrive 15-30 minutes prior to a show, not my style. Shows were not bad but I found the bar and movie better , the shows tend to repeat including the daily events each day.
It is a nice ship and had been adjusted for British tastes in food, beer but the only Caribbean food offered was Jamaican Jerk Chicken, they could offer more variety of Island food but I understand majority of food, is out of the states and shipped frozen. The food was good and meals were hot. Wine testing event was not expensive ($15) for five samples and a free glass. We had an extra sea day when we could not dock at Grand Turks due to waves and wind and as this is a port intensive cruise , my thought would be to introduce a 4th sea day in the last five days.
All the Islands offer different variety and experiences but when it comes to shopping it is better to space your purchases out per Island otherwise you might have bought everything in the first few days.
The ship offers specials on the first sea day and Internet specials as in coupons of xn free minutes are offered the first day and then some others. The only add-on expense is when they charge you $4 for an admin fee to setup your Internet. The speed can be very slow , stick to emails or use Internet cafés on Islands , most Islands will not give you free access unless you buy something.
St Lucia was one of our best islands including its rum and tour. The ships excursions were fine as we normally take 1/2 day type ones and take other days to tour by walking around the dock area ourselves. St Maarten is wild when six cruise ships are in, like 20,000 folks.
What seems to be new is that every island wants to see your sea card for security and you must have your passport on your person, no exception. Some of the docks are large to walk to the ship, so ensure you are on board before the appointed time. If it rains on the way back the crew offer towels and coffee on the dock, nice gesture.
The only thing that bothered me was when having lunch or an afternoon snack at the buffet as most times a section was closed off to allow setup for supper . The food and choices were fine and they do come to your table offering drinks , coffee , tea .
Most of the crew do go out of their way to help you and it is a nice ship. The cruise itself is busy but that is me as I like to have some do nothing days We had a wonderful time and will do it again.
My Blog: http://robbarcruise.blogspot.com
My husband and I, together with our two sons and their wives, were on this cruise to celebrate our Golden Wedding Anniversary.
We found the crew very good, as well as our accommodations and catering arrangements.
Our main bone of contention was the 15% surcharge on all drinks, which we found bordering on immoral.
We felt that the stopover in Venezuela was probably to take on board cheap fuel, as few of the passengers and staff went ashore.
I have sent an email to the company on my return from this cruise, but have not been honoured with a reply!
I would certainly not travel with the Princess Line again.