Sun PrincessPrincess Cruises
Launched in 1995 as the world's biggest-ever cruise ship weighing in at about 77,000 tons, Sun Princess debuted with the largest number of balcony cabins and innovative features, including a 24-hour cafe. The first in the Sun Class vessels -- along with Dawn Princess and Sea Princess -- the ship paved the way for contemporary cruise travel.
Today, the Australia-deployed Sun Princess is one of the smallest ships in the Princess fleet. It still caters to 2,000 passengers, but is not as grand or contemporary as its counterparts. The impressive facilities include a theatre, Movies Under the Stars, three swimming pools, five spas, nine food and dining areas and The Sanctuary -- an adults-only retreat, certainly living up to the concept of 'big ship choice and small ship feel'.
More choices were added after a US$30 million (AU$42.67 million) dry-dock transformation in 2013, which comprised an update of the Horizon Court buffet, a refurbished Casino and Lotus Spa, two new food areas (International Cafe and Sushi Kai) and a shiny new four-level atrium. Unfortunately, the tired looking cabins missed out on the refurbishment.
The decor of light wood, brass and gold tones, traditional cruise elements such as steamer blankets and in-room fruit bowls on request, violinists near the Crooners Bar, Champagne Fountain celebrations and chocolates on pillows offer an overall atmosphere of relaxed refinement.
Bridge, bingo and themed trivia quizzes cater to the large proportion of seniors onboard. Young couples may find the Sun Princess a bit quiet, but appear happy with cocktail in hand or lounging by the adults-only aft pool.
Sun Princess is essentially a warm weather ship. It has a good supply of outdoor deck space, but if you cruise to chilly climates, none of its three swimming pools has a sliding glass roof over them. In bad weather, everyone congregates indoors and the ship feels crowded. The situation improves in the evenings, when entertainment is in full swing in the Princess Theatre and the Vista Lounge, and many people make their way to these venues.
The Sun Princess offers interesting and varied itineraries. A highlight is the Vanuatu cruise, which is the only Pacific Island cruise from Australia stopping in Luganville for the beautiful 'Blue Hole' attraction.
Where Sun Princess shines is in the service. It's all in the subtleties: deckhands remove emptied cups under sun lounges without disturbing sleeping passengers; food and beverage staff hold open the door for passers-by while simultaneously transporting crates of food; stewards greet passengers by name and with a smile; and Passenger Service staff remain calm when faced with a barrage of complaints over a port cancellation caused by bad weather. Despite the lack of bells and whistles on Sun Princess, it's a pleasure to cruise on a well-run and welcoming ship.
Traditional-style cabins are finished in blonde wood, warm beige tones and white linen. Peach coloured curtains effectively block light out in exterior cabins and interior cabins are naturally dark. With the exception of suites, Interior and Oceanview cabins are similar in size and small compared to other ships, though room configuration makes good use of space. A family of four comfortably fits in a standard cabin without feeling cramped.
Two single beds can be put together into a (scant) queen and suitcases fit under beds. There is also ample lighting and the desk/vanity stool may serve as a breakfast table. There is sufficient closet and drawer storage for a 10-day cruise.
All cabins include a hairdryer, room safe and mini-refrigerator with ice replenished daily. A flat-screen TV features recent on-demand movies and TV shows. Satellite broadcasts include ESPN, CNBC, BBC and Fox News. The Princess reruns on port destinations are worth a quick scan. Cabins offer three styles of electrical power sockets: US sockets are 110v US, 60-cycle, while UK-style square pin sockets and Australian sockets use 220v 60Hz power.
The compact bathroom (shower only, save for suites) features a small stall that could be awkward for larger passengers. Basic toiletries include soap, body lotion and in-shower dispensers of shampoo and conditioner. The in-shower retractable clothesline can hang three to four wet garments. Three small shelves above the vanity provide adequate storage for personal toiletries. There is not much space around the curved vanity basin; towels can be moved from the low-lying shelf under basin for additional storage.
There are nine wheelchair accessible cabins (11 inside; 6 outside; 1 mini-suite). Families can also request quad-share cabins with Pullman beds and Family Suites accommodate eight people in two balcony cabins, interconnected by a living room.
Overall the cabins are clean, comfortable and functional but would welcome a contemporary refurbishment. Brass fixtures have dulled; carpets are frayed and curtains well worn.
Cabins on decks 5 and 6 closer to the waterline may be disrupted from waves slamming against the side of the ship during rough seas.
Interior: Sun Princess offers 408 inside cabins measuring 135 x 148 square feet. Some have Pullman beds to accommodate third and fourth passengers. Similar in size to the Oceanview rooms minus the picture window. Cabins have no natural light. The interior cabins are a good budget option for passengers not planning to spend too much time in the cabin or who prefer a dark room at night.
Oceanview: The ship has 193 Oceanview cabins measuring 135 x 173 square feet and featuring a picture window. Some have Pullman beds to accommodate third and fourth passengers. Obstructed Oceanview cabins are the same size and with the same amenities as an Oceanview stateroom but the picture window is partially or fully obstructed (by tenders or ship structures). Obstructed Oceanview cabins on Deck 6 have glimpses of the ocean through tenders tied up on Deck 6. It may appear more favourable than having no natural light at all; however tenders cause a constant knocking sound as they sway against the wind. On port days, passengers are woken up early and abruptly as tenders are lowered into the water. On the plus side, port days welcome unobstructed sea views. Premium Oceanview cabins have all the amenities of an Oceanview cabin, but are larger at 173 square feet.
Balcony: 372 Balcony cabins measuring 222 square feet make up the majority of cabins on Sun Princess. Some have Pullman beds to accommodate third and fourth passengers. The 41 square-feet balconies are not the most spacious, but provide a small private outdoor space complete with two chairs and a table for passengers to enjoy the ocean air.
Mini-Suite: Passengers receive a welcome glass of Champagne if staying in one of the 26 Mini-Suites with private balconies located on decks 8 and 10 measuring 370-536 square feet. Floor-to-ceiling glassed balconies are a spacious 68 square feet, providing passengers ample space to either sit or lounge on balcony furniture. The 370 square-feet cabin features a bathtub, shower and walk-in robe. Two flat-screen TVs are featured, one in the separate bedroom and the other in the seating area with sofa bed. Suites can sleep up to 4 people by requesting a separate rollaway bed.
Premium Mini-Suites offer all the amenities of a Mini-Suite but are larger in size, measuring 413 to 536 square feet. They offer spacious 85-160 square feet rear-facing balconies with wake views.
Suite: Sun Princess has 12 luxurious suites located on decks 8, 9 and 10. Private balconies measure 538 to 695 square feet with sprawling 98 to 249 square-feet balconies and upgraded furniture.
Suites feature a separate bedroom, queen bed with pillow top mattress, luxurious linens and flat-screen TV. An additional TV is found in the separate seating area with sofa bed that can sleep an additional person. Passengers are offered a wealth of premium amenities including upgraded toiletries, complimentary one-time minibar stocked with beverages of your selection, fresh flowers, complimentary laundry and shoe polish, free use of Lotus Spa thermal pool, complimentary hors d'oeuvres, extended room services, complementary flower corsage on first formal and priority passenger services, shore excursion reservations, embarkation, disembarkation and tender access at ports.
Food options aboard Sun Princess are generally good and passengers have enough variety to keep satisfied, without having to pay for the specialty dining restaurants. There is even enough variety on a 10-day itinerary to prevent boredom.
Breakfast and lunch are offered in the Regency Dining Room, however most passengers opt for the casual buffet at Horizon Court or fresh baked pizzas at Verdi's pizzeria. The Terrace Grill made it easy for a lunch of hotdogs, BBQ, chips and salad by the pool. The decadent dessert area at Horizon Court is also noteworthy.
There is no flexible 'Anytime Dining' arrangement where passengers can eat in one of the two identical dining rooms at times they choose. Instead traditional dining is offered at set times.
Marquis & Regency Dining Room (Deck 5 and Deck 6): There are two set dinner times of 5:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. in the Marquis and Regency Dining rooms. Both have dark woods, etched glass, warm peach tones and tables of crisp white linens with an identical layout and menu offered. Passengers with an allotted time will have the same waiter and table for the duration of the cruise.
The three-course daily menu offers a variety of meals with healthy choice and vegetarian options. If nothing satisfies, passengers can order from the fixed menu where a prawn cocktail is never a bad idea. Starters are usually a soup or salad; try the Pina Colada cold soup. Entrees can include oversized truffle ravioli with watercress salad and generous mains can feature a decent-sized lobster tail. There's always a good choice of dessert options with gourmet ice creams, creme brulee and cheese platter.
Don't miss the Bomb Alaska parade, where -- on the last night at sea -- executive chefs and dining room staff glide around the main dining room with candlelit Baked Alaska deserts to the cheer and swirling napkins of diners. Afterwards, you can sample the caramelised meringue-encased ice cream desert.
Open seating for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea is available at the Regency Dining Room. Breakfast is from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m. and afternoon tea from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Lunch is closed on port days.
International Cafe (Deck 5): The 24-hour cafe in the atrium offers fresh-baked complimentary pastries, soup, salads, grilled paninis and cookies throughout the day. Specialty coffees and teas range from AU$2.50 to AU$4.50; no surcharge is applied on the standard price. A Coffee Card can be purchased for AU$33.35 to save on 15 express-based hot or cold specialty coffee drinks, which includes complimentary brewed and premium coffee
Verdi's Pizzeria (Deck 8): Decorated with tiled floors and wrought-iron tables and chairs that overlook the atrium, Verdi's Pizzeria offers pizzas and salads in a casual setting. The tasty pizzas are a good alternative to Horizon Court.
As the dining area is situated between the midship and forward lifts -- like other spaces off the atrium -- it functions as much as a corridor as a public room. Verdi's Pizzeria is open from noon to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. for a late-night snack.
Swirls Ice Cream (Deck 12): Free ice cream conveniently located between the Riviera Pool and Kids Club makes for happy kids. Choose from strawberry or chocolate soft serve in waffle cones or tubs finished with sprinkles and assorted toppings. Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Terrace Grill (Deck 14): Passengers wanting a quick meal in their swimsuits can grab a hot dog, cheeseburger and chips at Terrace Grill (seating overlooks the pool) or take lunch down to the outdoor tables on Deck 12. A water dispenser is also available. The menu varies daily, offering BBQ options such as buffalo chicken wings, Texas ribs, meat pies and German sausages. Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Horizon Court (Deck 14): Located on the forward of the Lido Deck and open all day, alternating between the port and starboard sides. The ship buffet is the most popular dining option. Horizon Court offers a continental breakfast from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m., full breakfast from 6 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., light snack from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and dinner from 3:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The cleanliness is impressive: hand-wash stations greet all passengers before entering the buffet area; plates are handed over with gloved hand; dirty plates are removed quickly; tables are wiped down efficiently; food areas are kept tidy; and tongs are put back in place.
Free water, lemonade, ice tea and juice as well as brewed coffee and tea can be ordered from the attendant or passengers can help themselves. The tempting specialty coffees at the barista station charge a small fee.
Breakfast is the busiest time, where there might be a small queue and a table for four difficult to locate. Eventually one can be found among the throngs. Breakfast options include: a continental option comprising deli meats, cheeses, cold pastas, fish, fruit and salads, fresh baked bread and rolls, a selection of yoghurts and muesli, international station with rice, tofu, congee and soup; and the very popular hot breakfast buffet with all the usual suspects -- bacon, sausages, grilled tomatoes and scrambled, poached and boiled eggs. Other hot items can include pancakes, waffles, ham, rice, curries and potatoes.
Lunch options vary with different cuisines including: ramen station, sushi, carving stations, smoked ribs, sandwiches, wraps, excellent salad selection with varied dressings and fruit options.
Buffet dinners are themed and can feature Italian, Mexican or Asian nights. The carvery is also impressive with succulent meats and accompaniments. Also noteworthy is the large dessert area filled with decadent sweets, cakes, puddings, souffles and jelly.
As with most buffets, meals may not be to taste, so sample a little before returning for more. While not everything is a flavour explosion, there are menu items that are snapped up deliciously quickly and others that sat to dry out in the buffet warmer. Tip: When seafood options are on the menu, get in quick or miss out.
Most dinner meals featured in Horizon Court are also on the menu in the main dining room; at least one of the main, a soup and a desert. A children's menu is offered and includes alphabet soup, nuggets and chips and ice cream. The small menu does not change each night, however kids do not seem to mind.
Room Service: No service delivery is charged for room service on Princess Cruises departing Australia. Complete a menu card and hang it on the cabin door the night before to order free room service breakfast.
Choices are limited to juices, tea, coffee, yoghurt, cold cereals, select bread, pastries and preserves. There is one hot option of a bacon, egg and cheese muffin.
A small all-day menu for lunch and dinner is available: It includes sandwiches, salads, a small variety of hot options including a hot dog and cheeseburger and sweet treats including chocolate chip cookies.
Sterling Steakhouse (Deck 14); AU$25: At dinnertime a thin partition separates Horizon Court buffet diners from restaurant patrons of Sterling Steakhouse. Reservations for the ship's specialty steakhouse, which is decorated with artificial plants and tables adorned with polished glasses and linen tablecloths, fill up days in advance. Many passengers gushed at the quality of the steaks and how well cooked they are and are happy to pay the AU$25 surcharge.
Open 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., the menu changes daily but can include a starter of black tiger prawns and papaya salad, grilled lobster tail or a 14 oz bone-in rib eye for main and a desert of seven-layer s'more stack.
Kai Sushi (Deck 7); a la carte pricing: The specialty sushi restaurant was added during the 2013 refurbishment, in time for the ship's cruise schedule departing Japan ports. The contemporary sushi bar with sleek black wood, checkered tables and boxed lanterns also offers bench seats to watch sushi chefs prepare dishes a la carte.
Kai Sushi is more popular with Japanese passengers and relatively quiet during an Australian cruise; the prices may put people off -- five sashimi pieces cost AU$13.75; two pieces of nigiri sushi AU$5; and seafood udon AU$24.
Open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Verdi's Pizzeria (Delivery); $3 per pizza: Takeaway pizzas cannot be ordered from the restaurant but pizza orders can be delivered to cabins for a surcharge of AU$3, no extra service delivery applies.
Australians have a relaxed interpretation of the 'smart casual' dress code onboard with shorts, T-shirts, swimwear and thongs the norm during the day. In the evening, T-shirts, jeans and sandals can be seen in the casual dining areas.
Generally, passengers -- including children -- dress up at nighttime for the dining area. Women are seen in closed-toe shoes, knee-length dresses, pants and blouses, while men don collared shirts and khakis. Casual clothing -- including frayed jeans, shorts, caps and beachwear -- is not permitted in the dining rooms, though nobody enforces this recommendation.
Weeklong itineraries of five or six days have one formal night, while cruises between seven and 13 days feature two formal nights. On formal nights, cocktail dresses and suits with or without ties are worn rather than gowns and tuxedos. There are a select few that don full gowns with pearls or tuxedos. Formal wear is available for hire.
Located on Promenade Deck 7 are both the Princess Theatre (forward) and Vista Lounge (aft) -- two of the largest and most popular entertainment venues on Sun Princess. Passengers can choose between an early or late show. On some nights, popular productions run twice to allow passengers to alternate between shows.
Shows include cabaret numbers, large-scale stage productions performed by Sun Princess singers and dancers with an orchestra, impressionists, vocalists, bands and comedians. The entertainment caters for all ages but is perfectly suited to the senior passengers onboard. The 'British Invasion' stage production featured hits from the 1960s from iconic UK bands such as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and The Who.
The Princess Theatre is a steeply sloped palladium theatre with excellent sight lines, theatre seating and small stands for drinks. Seating is best in the front three rows and it's wise to arrive at least half an hour early to secure highly sought-after seats in this section. For latecomers or those that may not want to commit to watching an entire show, there is usually standing room behind the disabled seating at the back of theatre.
The intimate Vista Lounge offers cabaret seats around small tables, a row of stools against the bar and lounges and chairs scattered around the centre stage.
As well as headlining shows, the Vista Lounge hosts game shows, trivia quizzes, bingo, spelling bees and dancing sessions including line dancing and ballroom dancing. Some quizzes and games favour the seniors onboard with recent trivia nights testing passengers' knowledge of rock 'n' roll trivia from the 50s and 60s.
Passengers can check their daily Princess Patter newsletter for activities onboard. Staff-hosted activities include: carpet bowls, Fun at Sea games such as Pictionary, Jenga and memory challenges, paddle tennis play, a soccer shootout, a Wii at Sea video game competition and darts tournament. Around the pool, fellow cruisers team up against Princess staff to see which team can knock each other off life rings.
Unhosted activities include table tennis and shuffle board open play, casual meet-ups based on interests such as knitting, aviation, 4WDing and the very popular bridge groups.
Around the ship there are art auctions, hosted wine tastings with generous portions (at a fee), chefs demonstrating the art of making sushi or carving fruit, a 'Learn about smartphones' library lesson, cocktail-making competition, health and wellbeing seminars, photography workshops and lectures by a Princess Destination Expert on the next port. Some activities aim to upsell passengers on shore excursions or spa packages, but there is no pressure to buy or attend.
Sun Princess is organised around a four-deck atrium, decorated with lightwoods, chrome and glass, and connected by two glass elevators. The low-key entertainment onboard is impressive: a central piazza on the Plaza Level (Deck 5) features a duet on strings or pre-dinner melodies on the baby grand piano.
On formal nights, studios are set up around the ship for formal portraits. Passengers patiently line up for the popular Champagne Fountain pour. The photo is one of the fastest moving purchases in the Photo Gallery.
Princess celebrates 50 years of cruising with a golden balloon ball drop from the top of the Atrium. The Champagne flows as the balloon descends and is frantically popped by passengers. Contemporary covers from a live band fill the piazza with music and dancing.
Movies Under the Stars are available on the Lido Deck (Deck 14) most nights. Passengers can watch newer movies from the comfort of padded deck chairs. Princess has perfected this option, offering blankets, fresh-popped popcorn, cookies and milk.
On Deck 8, the Grand Casino features slot machines that take Australian currency (5 cents, 25 cents, AU$1 and AU$5) and roulette with AU$1 minimum bets, black jack, craps and Caribbean stud tables. The Casino also hosts a raffle draw with big cash prize and AU$1-AU$2 no-limit Texas Hold'Em Players Meet.
After a show, some passengers retire to their cabins while others remain out in the bars, clubs and lounges either mingling with the young couples starting their night or the parents that have found the babysitting service.
Crooners (Deck 7): This popular bar overlooks the Atrium on the Promenade Deck. Crooners Bar serves up Martinis to the tunes of the talented piano man. Passengers are free to join in on a sing-along to Billy Joel numbers and enjoy a few jokes around the bar, which is open from 9 a.m. till late.
Shooting Stars Disco (Deck 7): Enter through dark, rotating doors to a dimly lit room with a DJ pumping out Bon Jovi and other crowd-pleasing covers to the handful of late night patrons wanting a boogie. Rows of lounges and tables extend from the dance floor and are in prime position for a spot of people-watching and a nightcap. Other nightly events include karaoke contests and a music hit list of Elvis Presley favourites. Open 8 p.m. till late.
Wheelhouse (Deck 7): This is the bar of choice for most passengers decorated with old P&O and Princess memorabilia and tufted leather lounges. Passengers come for pre-dinner cocktails and live music. The 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. happy hour with 2-for-1 drinks also draws a crowd. Open from 3 p.m. till late.
Riviera Bar (Deck 12): Another popular place for a drink is on the deck overlooking the main pool. Sip on draft beer choices such as Dos Equis, VB, Crown and Pure Blonde. A great spot for a sail away as the live band plays uplifting summertime music. Wine and cocktails are also available. Open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sundowners Bar (Deck 14): Located on Lido Deck aft, passengers can grab a beverage to enjoy in the hot tub or overlooking the stern of the ship. Sundowners Bar is opened noon to 7 p.m. in good weather.
Topsiders Bar (Deck 15): A quiet area on the forward deck above Terrace Grill, this bar provides pool views and services for passengers lounging on the Sun Deck or in The Sanctuary. Topsiders Bar is open noon to 7 p.m. in good weather.
Two good-sized central pools are located on Riviera Deck 12 and this is the best place to be during a summer's day out at sea. A lively atmosphere of convivial chatter combined with music or a movie on the big screen attracts large crowds to the outdoor deck space to lounge in the sun, sit in the shade or swim.
When the weather is good, the deck chairs directly around the pools are snatched up quickly, although singles can still be located. The upper section of the main pool and hot tub is for adult use only with lounges surrounding the pool. More sun lounges are located directly above on Lido Deck 14.
The undercover Lotus Spa Pool located on Deck 12, aft, adjacent to the Fitness Centre is for adult use only as are the two hot tubs. Benches encircle the pool for sitting. Lido Deck 14 is directly above and provides ample sun lounges.
Recreation activities are concentrated on Lido Deck 14. There's an area for shuffleboard with equipment and scoreboard for passengers to help themselves to a game. The Sports Court, Aft, offers soccer and cricket nets, paddle tennis, and basketball hoops. In the shade by Riviera Deck 12 is a ping pong table and gear for free play.
The Promenade deck (Deck 7) runs around the ship and is used for exercise by many people. It is wide enough to leave space for sun beds for most of its length, but at the stern it narrows significantly -- so if you are a brisk walker, this is not the place to overtake those on a leisurely stroll.
On Sun Deck 15 there are free deck chairs flanking the starboard and port side of the forward deck. For more exclusive lounging, passengers paying $20 have all-day access to The Sanctuary. Lounge on thick cushioned deck chairs under the shade of a fabric awning surrounding a private splash pool with light snacks and fruit infused water served. Smoothies are available for a surcharge.
On Lido Deck 14 are lounges along the starboard and port side of the ship, which are a good option during busy times if pool lounges cannot be located.
The wraparound Promenade Deck 7 is wide enough to accommodate traditional wood lounges and tables without obstructing the popular walkway. Soft cushioned lounges invite passengers for a quiet read of a book or a cocktail from Wheelhouse or Crooners, as the deck is undercover and away from the elements.
In the Atrium on Deck 6 are the shops. Latitudes sell logo goods, souvenirs, sundries, alcohol, tobacco and fashion apparel. Reflections offer fine jewelry, fragrances, cosmetics and watches as well as designer handbags, sunglasses and clothing. Effy just opened onboard selling fine jewelry.
The ship's library on Deck 7 offers paperbacks for trade, which include many novels (in English only) and a good selection of travel guides. Passengers can sink into oversize green leather chairs facing picture windows for a quiet read. Board games are also available for loan.
The Internet Cafe adjacent to the library on Deck 7 has fixed computers to access the Internet, or packages that will enable WiFi on personal devices throughout the ship. The most affordable is AU$99 for 200 minutes or 79 cents per minute pay-as-you-go. No food or drink is permitted.
On Deck 7, starboard, the Photo Shop sells passenger portraits and holiday snaps taken by onboard photographers. The Photo Gallery arranges photographs by date for passengers to peruse. Photos start from $20 a print, but expect a hard sell applied to assorted photo frames and Princess photo albums.
Self-service laundries are located on Decks 4, 5 and 7, forward or Decks 8, 9 and 10, Midship. It costs AU$3 for a wash or dry. Simply swipe your passenger card on the machine and collect a coin for the laundry.
An onboard doctor is located in the Medical Centre on Deck 4; staff can dispense emergency medication if required.
Future Cruise Sales office is located in a small room besides the entrance of Wheelhouse Bar.
Kids beg to go to the Kids Club and parents are more than willing to take them. The Princess Kids Program located on Deck 12 Midship keeps Princess Pelicans (kids aged three to 7 years); and Shockwaves Kids (aged eight to 12) happily entertained. The beauty of this program is that it allows parents some free time minus their children to enjoy the ship.
Princess Cruises have partnered with Discovery to create a host of activities in the kids club program including science experiments made popular by Mythbusters, arts and crafts inspired by Animal Planet and a California Science Centre-endorsed solar system design. Other fun activities include: Mario Kart racing on the Nintendo Wii, ice cream parties, movies, parent-free dinners, face painting, dancing, games and competitions.
The kids' program is open 9 a.m. to noon, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. breaking for lunch and dinner. There are no set times to go to kids club; kids are welcome to join at any time during these sessions. They can also skip a session or two and hang out with the family. On port days, the kids program is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and generally involves free play time -- with video games, art and craft, movies and board games the norm. Parents are able to leave the kids supervised onboard at the kids club while they explore the port destination. Most families go onshore together and make use of the kids club facilities in the afternoon.
Private in-room babysitting is not available. Group sitting in one of the two kids club rooms is offered from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. and costs AU$5 per hour per child.
Princess offers quad-share cabins with Pullman beds. The beds pull out from the ceiling forming two bunk beds on either side of the cabin. A ladder is used to reach the top bunks. The beds are not comfortable by any stretch and, being so high to the ceiling, there is a risk of kids falling out. A safety sticker recommends children aged nine years and older use the top bunk, with the younger kids sleeping on the much more comfortable bottom beds.
For babies and infants a portable cot brought from home can fit between two single beds. Children must be a minimum age of one year old to travel on Sun Princess from Australian ports. Parents must bring their own baby supplies. There are no baby items onboard -- that includes nappies, bottles, food and medicine. For toddlers beginning solids, there are plenty of soft vegetables, soups, fruit and pasta options. Infants and young children who are not toilet trained are not permitted in any of the pools or spas. There is no splash pool onboard.
Remix Lounge facilitated by one coordinator is located in the room next door to the kids club. Teens aged 13-17 can participate in activities that include Zumba, karaoke and trivia quizzes. Teens can come and go as they please or just hang out and make use of the video games, movie library, board games and Fussball table. The room is empty most of the time, but groups of teenagers are often seen on Deck 15.
Sun Princess cruises mainly from Australian ports with a few sojourns from Japan and US. As a result, most passengers are Aussies (and Kiwis). The Australian dollar is the onboard currency and announcements and television programs are in English.
Older couples and retired seniors make up the majority of passengers onboard with a smaller group of families and younger couples. Most passengers were experienced Princess cruisers. During the school holiday period, multi-generational groups, families and solo professionals make up larger numbers.
Located on aft Deck 12, The Lotus Spa, with its attractive, contemporary Asian-themed decor, offers beauty treatments and massage packages. Specialty services include teeth whitening, acupuncture and Ionithermie lifts. Popular with passengers are the 50-minute Swedish massage for AU$131 and facials from AU$138.
The moderately sized Fitness Centre on Deck 12 has modern machines for resistance training plus dumb bells and benches for weight training. It also features a row of exercise bikes and treadmills. Headphones can be plugged into equipment to listen to TVs.
A separate section is dedicated to classes for core abs workout, total body conditioning and stretching classes. Classes where charges apply include Pilates, TRX suspension training, Tour De Cycle, Body Sculpt Bootcamp and Yoga.
The gym gets very busy in the morning and remains so well into the afternoon, so if you want to enjoy your training session in peace and quiet, it is worthwhile to get there early (say before 9 a.m.) or late (after 4 p.m.). Due to its location high up in the stern of the ship, you will feel the ship's motion quite well if the weather is bad or the ship is riding a heavy swell. If this is the case, take extra care.
The small jogging track surrounding the Sports Court is located two floors up on Deck 15; there is no outdoor lifting area.
There is no automatic tipping required by passengers departing Australia onboard a Sun Princess cruise. Passengers can tip particular crew for exceptional service at any time during the cruise and envelopes are provided at the front desk on the last night of cruising. No surcharge is added to the advertised cost of beverages and bar bills. On rare occasions a receipt is issued for signature, there is a discretionary tipping area on the receipt, which could be left blank.
Date Refurbished: 2002
Country of Registration: Bermuda
Regular Capacity: 2022
Maximum Capacity: 2022
Number of Crew:900
Crew Nationality: American/British
Officer Nationality: British/Italian
Language(s) Spoken: International
|Sun Princess has always been a cruise ship industry pioneer. When she was christened, she set the bar for offering a high percentage of balcony staterooms from which to view the exotic destinations of the world. Sun Princess is has been recently updated to include our most popular onboard venues, including The Sanctuary®, a serene haven just for adults, and our inviting Movies Under the Stars®.|
Health and Beauty
No. of Dinner Sittings: 2
No. of Dinner Sittings: Personal Choice, 6:30pm, and 8:30pm
Special Diet: Available upon request
Dress Code: May vary from Cruise Casual to Formal.Gratuity Policies
Hotel & Dining Charge $13.95 per person per day
Suites and Mini-Suites $12.95 per passenger per day