Princess Cruises ship classes explained
By Rebecca Bradbury | 23 Aug 2019
What are the differences between each ship in the Princess Cruises fleet? We explain all in our ultimate guide to Princess Cruises ship classes.
The Princess Cruises fleet is made up of 17 ships, categorised into five different ship classes. This is alongside the OceanMedallion class, which refers to the ships installed with the cruise line’s next generation technology.
To help those new to the cruise line, we have broken down the Princess Cruises ship classes. We tell you what the distinctions are between each class as well as what makes each ship unique. And to help you pick the right one for your holiday, we reveal what type of traveller each class is most suited to.
When Princess began designing new ships for the Royal Class, the line looked for innovative ways to impress its guests. The first to launch was Regal Princess, hitting the water in 2014. There are now four ships in the class, with two more new builds scheduled to join the line-up. The most distinctive feature of this class is size; the ships are the largest in Princess’ fleet, carrying more than 3,500 guests each.
Royal Class ships
- Royal Princess
- Regal Princess
- Majestic Princess
- Sky Princess (due to launch in October 2019)
- Enchanted Princess (due to launch in June 2020)
Royal Class features
The Royal Class boasts a number of standout features, not found on other ships in the fleet. First there is the Seawalk, a glass floor that extends 28 feet over the ship’s edge, and dining also gets an upgrade with newer concepts, such as Slice, Salty Dog Grill and the Chef’s Table Lumiere, available alongside the cruise line’s traditional eateries.
Other highlights include The Enclave spa with Princess’ largest thermal suite and hydrotherapy pool, while room categories have been expanded to include deluxe balconies.
Royal Class differences
Sky Princess is the only ship in the class not to boast the Seawalk. Instead it has Sky Suites, a new accommodation option with large balconies and 270-degree panoramic views.
It’s also worth noting that Majestic Princess, which is based year-round in Asia, has a different selection of dining venues. Yet one of them – upscale French Bistro La Mer – also features on Sky Princess.
Best for: Travellers looking for a traditional cruise ship feel but with modern facilities and technology. The Royal Class is also superb for foodies who don’t mind spending extra on speciality dining.
The Grand Class is the largest of the Princess Cruises ship classes. Comprised of nine ships with three subclasses, the class is also the most varied, with slightly evolved designs. Passenger numbers range from 2,600 on the older Grand Class ships to 3,080 on the newer additions.
Grand Class ships
- Caribbean Princess
- Crown Princess
- Diamond Princess
- Emerald Princess
- Golden Princess
- Grand Princess
- Ruby Princess
- Sapphire Princess
- Star Princess
Grand Class features
Facilities common across the Grand Class include a sports court with basketball, multiple pools and hot tubs, an adults-only Sanctuary outdoor lounge and a large spa. Social spaces include the Wheelhouse Bar and Explorer’s Lounge, and a variety of entertainment is on offer.
Crooners and the Skywall Nightclub appear on every ship, apart from Golden Princess and Grand Princess respectively. Each ship also boasts several main dining rooms, including a steak house, as well as a typical selection of cabins.
Grand Class differences
With a total of nine ships, there are quite a few differences among the class. One of the most significant is that five of the ships (Grand, Golden, Star, Sapphire and Diamond) have one less deck than the others. However, on board Grand and Diamond, there is still room for a nine-hole mini-golf course – a feature that is also found on Caribbean, Crown, Emerald and Ruby.
Based in Asia, Diamond Princess is popular among Japanese guests and has been refurbished specifically to suit this clientele. It is the only ship in the fleet with a Kai Sushi eatery as well as a Japanese bath system. Also standing out in this class is Caribbean Princess – it is the only ship in the fleet to have a family-centric pool deck complete with a splash pool.
Best for: Those who want to enjoy the relaxation a mid-size cruise vessels provides while also making the most of a variety of dining and entertainment options. Travellers on Diamond Princess can expect a more multi-cultural experience whereas Caribbean Princess is a great choice for families.
Both the 1,970-passenger ships in Princess Cruises’ Coral Class were built in 2002 and designed specially to sail the Panama Canal.
Coral Class ships
- Coral Princess
- Island Princess
Coral Class features
Most of the traditional Princess Cruises facilities and signature attractions can be found on board the two Coral Class ships. These include the popular Princess dining options: Italian restaurant Sabatini’s, Bayou Café & Steakhouse and the pop-up Crab Shack.
Coral Class differences
The biggest difference between the two ships is the number of guests each one carries. Coral Princess accommodates just under 2,000 passengers, whereas up to 2,200 passengers can sail on board Island Princess after a refit saw the addition of more than 100 cabins.
As a result, Island Princess can feel a bit more crowed in the communal areas and has fewer pools yet has a choice of three different suites (Coral Princess only has two).
Best for: Most people pick the Coral Class for the itineraries it offers. As well as sailing the Panama Canal, Coral and Island also offer cruises in other parts of Central America and Alaska. A relaxed and traditional ambience can be expected on board both ships.
Built between 1995 and 2000, the two 2,000-passenger ships in Princess’ Sun Class are among the smallest in the fleet. You may recognise these cruise ships as Sun Princess was the setting for the TV remake of The Love Boat in the late-1990s. The pair are generally used for world cruising and based in Australasia for the rest of the year.
Sun Class ships
- Sun Princess
- Sea Princess
Sun Class features
The Sun Class provides a traditional take on cruising with a four-level grand atrium, glass-enclosed panoramic elevators, multiple dining rooms, a sports deck and a variety of bars and lounges.
Sun Class differences
The main difference in this class is that Sun Princess has more speciality dining options (Sterling Steakhouse, Kai Seafood Bar and SHARE by Curtis Stone) whereas Sea Princess only has two: Sterling Steakhouse and Café Corniche. Although Sea Princess is the only one with The Nook, a bar with a menu of 60-plus whiskies and cocktails.
Best for: Travellers seeking a more traditional cruise experience with an emphasis on relaxation and low-key activities such as poolside movies, bingo and trivia.
There is only one ship in the R Class: Pacific Princess. The name of the class refers to the ship’s origins as it once belonged to the now defunct cruise line Renaissance Cruises.
R Class ships
- Pacific Princess
R Class features
Accommodating 670 passengers, Pacific Princess is the smallest ship in Princess Cruise’s entire fleet. It does not have as many of Princess’ signature attractions or facilities as the rest of the fleet. Rather, the focus is on laid-back cruising and destination-immersive itineraries.
Best for: Travellers who value the destination over the cruise ship, and who do not need or want lots of onboard stimulation to keep entertained.
Out of all the Princess Cruises ship classes, as well as the wider cruise industry, the MedallionClass is the most unique.
Unlike other ship classes, Princess Cruises’ MedallionClass is not determined by similarities in size, age or design among a group of ships. Rather, ships in this class are equipped with OceanMedallion technology, which involves a first-of-its-kind wearable device designed to elevate a cruise experience.
- Caribbean Princess
- Regal Princess
- Royal Princess
- Crown Princess
- Sky Princess
- Ruby Princess (January 2020)
- Grand Princess (March 2020)
- Enchanted Princess (June 2020)
- Emerald Princess (August 2020)
- Coral Princess (October 2020)
- Island Princess (December 2020)
Medallion Class features
Cruise ships in this class span the entire Princess Cruises fleet, so the traditional onboard amenities vary significantly. But all guests on board wearing a Medallion will be able to experience a speedier embarkation, make payments and unlock staterooms doors without a key card, order on-demand ships, track fellow passengers around the ship and much more.
Best for: To get the most out of the MedallionClass guests will need to download a series of apps onto their phone. However, use of the Medallion is not mandatory and does not cost extra.