Princess Cruises 5 Pros and 5 Cons Cruising With Them

Princess Cruises 5 Pros and 5 Cons Cruising With Them

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What are the pros and the cons of
cruising with Princess Cruises? I’m Gary Bembridge, and this is another of my
tips for travellers. I am on board a Princess cruise at the moment, and I thought it’d
be a good time to share with you what I think are the pros and the
cons of cruising with Princess Cruises. Let’s start first of all with the pros. I think
one of the biggest pros of Princess Cruises is their size and the range
of opportunities they give you, both in terms of size of cruise ship but also
destinations. They have, at the time of recording, 17 ships but with many more
coming on tap. In the next couple years they are going to have over 20
ships. They have small ships, with just under 700 guests, up to what I’m on
now (Sky Princess) with three thousand six hundred and sixty guests. So, they
have a lot of options in terms of size of ships and, really importantly, pretty
much anywhere in the world you want to go you probably can do it on a Princess
cruise. One of the most important regions for them is Alaska. In 2019
they have been in Alaska for over 50 years. What’s interesting
about Princess is, not only do they cruise to Alaska, but they also own
different lodges and so you can also do land-based activities as part of a whole
Princess cruise, with land and cruise combined vacations. They even have specific train
journeys which will take you off the ship and to the various parts of Alaska
on a land-based trip. They cruise everywhere, you
will find them in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Australia, the South
Pacific, Mexican Riviera, they go through the Panama Canal, Canada and New
England and World Cruises. You can do anything from a three or four-day cruise to
up to over 100 day cruises on Princess. There’s a huge range in terms of
ships and itineraries and pretty much anywhere in the world you want to go
you’re probably going to be able to go on a Princess cruise. I think that’s one
really big Pro. I think the second big Pro is the type of cruise they provide. They offer a premium / luxury type of travel, but at a more affordable
price. They compete, I would say, with lines like Celebrity and Holland America.
They’re at that sort of quality and range but, because they have a huge
range of ships and types of cabins, you can do it in a very
affordable way. You can go in a luxury way and in a premium way but also within
your budget. You have everything from big palatial suites, so for example Sky
Princess which I’m on now, has Sky suites. These are monstrous big two-bedroom
Suites, and they have balcony suites (which I was staying) in which is the main
class of cabins, they have ocean view cabins, they have inside cabins, they have
Suites and mini suites. So, a huge diverse range of cabins. You can travel in
luxury but you also do it within different budget ranges. So
definitely a luxury premium experience but in an affordable way. I think that’s
a big Pro for Princess Cruises. Another big Pro of Princess is they offer a
traditional cruise experience, and they don’t go for lots of gimmicks and some
of the funky and unusual ways of cruising. They offer a pretty
traditional cruising experience. So, if you are the sort of person that likes a
traditional cruising experience with the sort of activities you would expect like
production shows, quizzes, bingo and facilities like pools, fitness centre, casinos, spas, kids clubs and all the traditional things
that you’d expect on a cruise ship, you’ll have it. You’re not going to
find big resort ships with water parks and rock climbing walls,
go-karts, ice rinks and all that kind of resort stuff. it’s a
pretty traditional ship in terms of facilities and the format of cruising is
pretty traditional. You’ll find it runs a fairly traditional cruising
program, so even down to dining where they still have the traditional early
and late settings or you could also choose to have anytime dining. There
are some nods to modern cruising trends, but it’s a pretty traditional
experience. If that’s the sort of cruise you like, and I think that’s a big
Pro, there’s not lots of fancy bells and whistles around the Princess experience.
Linked to that and part of that is a lot of their entertainment and activities
are enrichment focused. They have partnerships for example on excursions
with things like the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. They have guests
speakers on board and they’ll have cooking classes and demonstrations, so quite enrichment focused, which i think is a big Pro if you’re
looking for that. Another really big Pro of Princess Cruises is a big
innovation and that’s the Ocean Medallion device and the app. Princess
Cruises is the first cruise line to introduce the Ocean Medallion, which
is a wearable device and it’s a very clever device. Their fleets are
slowly being converted to work with it, and ships like the one I’m on now Sky Princess
have been built with it integrated into the whole system. It’s designed to
make the cruising experience more personalised and much smarter. For example, the sort of things you can do with Ocean Medallion is it helps you
check-in much faster because you’ve uploaded all your information like
passport details and photograph so you then, depending which country you’re in, you either get sent the Ocean Medallion in advance or in some countries you have to
pick it up when you check-in, but you get onto the ship really quickly. It also then
becomes your cruise card, so it’s the thing that you’ll clock in and out of the ship on,
use it to buy things with and it does a couple of unique things,
for example as you head towards your cabin it recognises you and unlocks your
cabin, you can also use it to do things like order drinks or buy things wherever
you are on the ship and get it delivered to you, as it is a the smart device the
crew are able to track you down. You couldn’t be sitting by the pool and you
can order drink and they know where you are. It also means that over time the
crew get to know your preferences and can start to tailor service much
more for you. It also helps you unlock a whole lot of features both on an app
which you can have on your smartphone or on big interactive screens around
the ship where you can do things like you look at the daily program and you
can plan your activities, track your friends and family you could find
out where they are on the ship and can message them and arrange to meet them,
you can also play various interactive games, you can even if you want to play
things like bingo and gamble with a combination of the device and the app. This smart device is really designed to make your cruising experience much more
personalised because the crew can start to know your preferences, but also to
simplify and speed up a lot of the activities around the ship. I have a separate video about the whole Ocean Medallion process, but
certainly that whole smart technology is making the whole cruising experience
smoother, more personalised and easier. So, what are some of the cons of
cruising with Princess Cruises? The first one, and probably I think the
biggest one, is that the fact that their fares are not all-inclusive. When you
you book a Princess cruise you need to be aware of what the extra charges are. Let me talk through some of those. Your fare includes obviously lots of
dining options and you can have lots of casual dining options and formal dining
options like the main dining rooms, you have things like for example on this
ship the Salty Dog Grill, you have Slices Pizza, you have Alfredo’s
Pizzeria and have the World’s Fresh marketplace and the horizon buffet, you
have International Cafe. So lots of food is included. All your entertainment is
included and access to pretty much all of the facilities are included, with one key
exception which is The Sanctuary which is a quiet space where you do pay
to have access. Lots of things are included. So, what’s not included? What will
you have to pay extra for? Gratuities are charged extra and they’re
normally added on board, although you can depending on when you’re booking prepay
those in advance. Gratuities at the time of recording were $16 50 per person
per day in a suite, $15 50 per person in the mini suite in club class, $14 50 per
person per day per guest in an interior ocean view or balcony staterooms. You’ll
also have gratuities of 18% added to drinks you buy and things like the
spa. Excursions are not included and those obviously are extras and you decide how
many of those you do. Drinks are not included. They do have various drinks
packages though which will include both alcoholic drinks, non-alcoholic drinks,
sodas and coffees. For example, they have a premier beverage
package which is $59.99 per person per day, they have a premier coffee and soda
package which is $19.99 per person per day and a classic soda package which is
$9.99 per person per day. There are also some dining options that
are not included within the price which are a couple of speciality dining options.
These differ slightly based on the ship but, for example, I will
give you examples on Sky Princess which I’m on when I’m doing this. They have one of the Princess classics which is the Crown
Grill which is a steakhouse, they have Sabatini’s which is a really
nice Italian restaurant which is extra and across many of the ships, they also
have the Ocean Terrace seafood bar which is the sushi, and they also have the
Bistro sur la Mer which is the seafood restaurant.
They also have a gelato shop where you do have to pay extra for as
well. One of the downsides of the Princess cruise fare is once you’re
onboard there are going to be extras like gratuities, drinks, specialised dining and
excursions and the other big one of course is Wi-Fi. They are
introducing really fast Wi-Fi as they roll out the Ocean Medallion and they
have Medallion Net which is a really fast Wi-Fi, and at the time recording
that was nine dollars ninety nine per day. I must say it was really
fast Wi-Fi and I was very impressed with the Wi-Fi. Those are the main costs
that you will be paying extra above your fare on Princess. The next key con is I
think Princess is probably really catering much more for couples. It is a
slightly more mature crowd and as mentioned earlier people who like
traditional cruising experience. It is a more mature couples
experience. I am not saying that it doesn’t have families onboard and certainly
you’ll get quite a few families on board and many multi-generational families
on board during the summer and Christmas holiday season period, but the
overall experience, the entertainment, the food and the excursions I think are really
very much for that sort of crowd. There are probably other lines that cater
even better for families then Princess Cruises do. It really is very much a
mature couples experience. Linked to that I think another big con of Princess
Cruises is if you’re a solo traveller Princess Cruises is not really catering
for you. There are no solo cabins on board their ships, and they don’t
unlike some lines offer lots of solo discounts. You’re likely to find you
going to be paying up to 100 percent surcharge if you are going on a Princess
cruise. So certainly as a solo traveller Princess cruises is probably a
downside because there’s not a lot of flex in terms of finding a good fare
through a solo cabin or deals. They do cater for solo travellers on board and they’ll
have things like solo traveller meet-ups. So, they do cater for you once
you’re on board but financially it’s probably a downside for Princess. The
next con of Princess Cruises is for those people who have an issue with
dressing up. Princess Cruises being fairly traditional, does have a dress
code. Most of the nights are smart casual, so they describe it are
the sort of things you’d wear out for an evening in a restaurant, so they do
ask men for example to wear slacks not jeans, although you probably can
get away with dark smart jeans in practice. I certainly saw that a lot
across the cruises that I’ve been on on smart casual evenings. They do
expect you to wear things like collared shirts or long-sleeve shirts and more
slack type stuff and ladies the sort of equivalent. They do have formal
nights where you’ll find everything from tuxedos through to suit and tie and that
is the expectation. You’ll normally find there’s a formal night roughly once
every five days, so if you’re on a cruise of five to seven days you’ll have at
least one formal night and there is an expectation and requirement that
you stick to the dress code. If you’re the sort of person that hates
dressing up and you want to be able to wear jeans or shorts or whatever then
definitely Princess Cruises is not the right cruise line for you. Princess
cruises has a lot of pros and it has some cons for some people. If you found this
helpful I have lots of other videos about cruising Princess Cruises so why
don’t you watch another one of those right now?

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12 Comments

  1. Thanks for this one! Nice overview! I have only cruised with Princess and I love them! I'm booked coming up with Disney and Carnival, and Princess' web site and check-in process is so much easier and more efficient. (I'm quite disappointed in Disney's whole pre-cruise experience. I know onboard will be amazing but I expected better from them)
    The Medallion has worked flawlessly for me! I'm a Princess fan all around! 💖

  2. I haven't been on my first cruise yet, but I think I'm going to prefer the traditional/luxury cruise experience over the floating resort/shopping mall ships with 6k passengers. I'm more of a laidback guy, don't like huge crowds, and don't need lots of flashy activities to be thoroughly entertained.

  3. Hi Gary, Nice video. I am a Princess fan and you are spot on with your list. The one thing that drives me crazy is that you cannot get a regular plain ole cup of coffee from the coffee bar. Even when you have a soda package which includes hot chocolate. They won’t do it and I have to schlep all the way to the front of the ship to the buffet to get a cup of coffee. Any thoughts on that?

  4. As usual, another very good video from you, Gary. I just came off my first cruise, which was with Princess, and whilst you're right that they take the formal nights seriously, it's probably important to say that people don't have to take part. The 2 good options for dining on formal nights, if you want to wear ordinary casual clothes are the excellent buffet, or the pizza / burger / chip informal dining places. I'm not a fan of dressing up – especially when it's 30 degrees C, and I found these were a great way to avoid it.

  5. A couple of disagreements. 1st is I often travel solo on Princess and I find their pricing for solo travelers to be the best I've found. I am at Platinum level but I get offers that are unreal as far as base fare. 2 examples. A 7 day alaska in July 2018 for $294,00 CA,and a 17 day Hawaii( round trip,San Diego) for under 1K($994.00) in Jan. 2019 both inside,solo. The 2nd issue is the food. I really like Princess and all it has to offer including the Medallion Class. However I have been really disappointed in their food. That would be my 1 big issue and why I have been paying more to sail with HA lately. I had tenderloin in the Lido(Buffet) at least once a week on my last HA cruise. I only saw a NY Steak once in the dining room on my last Princess cruise and it was terrible. I love Princess but until they sort out the food I will likely stay with HA. Thanks.

  6. This video was very informative because I was considering taking a Princess cruise. With all the extra cost now I'm just not sure. Thank you for your help.

  7. I went on a Princess cruise to Alaska this summer and would definitely travel with them again. However we did find they were very pushy in trying to sell us stuff/services. Not sure if that's a general trend in cruising, an American thing or a Princess-specific thing but it was a bit much for this Brit!

  8. I want to take a cruise, but most likely will be a solo, do you have any lines you could point me to in this regard? Thank you

  9. Gary, your the fuc%kin best. Hey man, can you please do a video on travel agents/agencies? Or booking through one these days, positives and negatives? Thank you.

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