Liz Jarvis gives her verdict on Sky Princess, the newest ship from Princess Cruises
There’s a comforting feeling of familiarity as you step on board Sky Princess, the newest ship from Princess Cruises – but exploring further it quickly becomes clear that there are some subtle but impressive enhancements on board the latest addition to this much-loved fleet.
Sky Princess is the fourth ship in the line’s Royal Class, and like sisters Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess, it has a glamorous and welcoming atrium which is the focal point of the ship; but a sophisticated new colour palette throughout creates a decidedly contemporary feel.
New dining venues include French restaurant Bistro Sur La Mer by Michelin-starred chef Emmanuel Renaut.
Much-loved Italian trattoria Sabatini’s has been given a stylish makeover, creating a cool, modern restaurant that could easily be in New York or London.
All the Princess favourites are on board too, of course, including the Crown Grill, Alfredo’s Pizzeria, and the Salty Dog Grill.
Sky Princess is the first purpose-built ‘Medallion Class’ ship, and this was my first experience of using the much-heralded new gadget Ocean Medallion, which is replacing the key card across the Princess Cruises’ fleet.
I enjoyed the fact that it simplified the boarding process considerably, and I could use the linked app on my phone to order drinks and room service breakfast – it even enabled me to order off menu, and yes the MedallionNet Wifi is super speedy, making connectivity at sea a joy.
But what delighted me most is that as I approached a bar the mixologist knew exactly who I was, calling me by name, which was a great ice-breaker – and there was no awkwardness about asking for a bill and signing for it, either.
The chic, fresh décor in my stateroom created an ambient vibe – textiles in silver, blue, cream and bronze, and of course the Princess Luxury bed, unquestionably one of the most comfortable beds at sea (I know someone who loved hers so much she even ordered one after a cruise).
Gone are the traditional teak balconies which need constant re-varnishing in port – they’ve been replaced by a white composite which again adds to the feeling of modern and spacious elegance.
For the ultimate in accommodation, the exquisitely appointed Sky Suites, located at the top of the ship on Deck 18 above the main pool, boast 1,000 sq ft balconies – the largest at sea – offering 270-degree panorama views, as well as lots of extra-sparkly incentives such as luxury bathroom amenities, complimentary in suite wine tasting, a rain shower, complimentary access to The Enclave thermal suite experience, and a deluxe telescope for Discovery Stargazing at sea.
The Sanctuary, the exclusive adults-only retreat, has also been given a stylish makeover, and it’s well worth the $20 for an afternoon – you can easily nip out to the Retreat pool for a dip if you get too hot, while returning to enjoy the tranquility and the excellent included afternoon tea; and if you desire more privacy, you can rent one of the private cabanas.
Entertainment is always a big feature of a Princess cruise and as well as the Princess Live! TV studio, Vista show lounge and the always-popular Movies Under the Stars, there’s the Take 5 jazz bar, with a live trio performing each evening.
By far my favourite part of Sky Princess was the Wakeview pool and bar; located at the ship’s aft, it’s a peaceful area for relaxing in the day, but on a balmy evening, it’s a blissful place to watch the sun set.
Sky Princess is a spectacular, glittering addition to the Princess Cruises’ fleet, and we’re looking forward to the arrival of sister ship Enchanted Princess in June – and the announcement of that ship’s godmother – with much interest.
*A seven day round trip sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Sky Princess departing 22 February 2020 starts from £1,666pp, based on two guests sharing an inside stateroom. Price includes accommodation, all meals and entertainment, return flights from London, pre- and –post cruise transfers and one night’s pre-cruise hotel stay in Miami. For more information visit princess.com.