Princess Cruises, like other cruise lines, has their own version of a cruise vacation that allows passengers to disconnect from real life, engage in activities and see places they don’t normally see. When passengers buy into whatever the plan is on any given cruise line, the result can be a cruise traveler that walks off the ship at the end, returning to “real life” refreshed and renewed. Different cruise lines focus on different elements of that, choreographing individual elements of their own unique experience their own way and Princess Cruises is no exception with their version enabling their guests to ‘Escape Completely.’ Its a tried and true formula for success that has fueled the line of the Love Boat for decades. On upcoming Royal Princess, the line goes a step or two further, taking the core elements of what they do best and building on them like never before, in no small part because of the physical layout of the ship’s design.
Carnival has their ‘Fun Ships‘ and anyone who has sailed with them knows exactly what that means. Far more than a slogan, Carnival has ‘fun’ nailed in just about everything they do. Azamara Club Cruises, an entirely different line with just two boutique ships has their ‘destination immersion’ that takes the focus of the experience off their nicely appointed ships and places it squarely on the places they visit, often staying overnight for a complete experience ashore. Royal Caribbean “Wows” guests with over the top, innovative attractions of their unique ships that are like no other. Celebrity Cruises ‘Modern Luxury’ also has a well-defined experience that is heavy on cuisine and luxurious amenities. They’re all a bit different, all unique and each has clearly differentiated themselves from one another in the last few years.
It should be no surprise whatsoever that Princess Cruises, waiting eagerly on the sidelines with no new ships in the last five years, has taken stock of itself, what others are doing and what would be a good fit for their existing clientele as well as future yet-to-sail with them prospects. The result of those many years of thinking and planning are what we are seeing unfold on Royal Princess as well as younger twin-sister Regal Princess.
Going experience by experience, Princess has added some unique, easy to identify line items that beg us to escape completely as never before.
Like the cabana privacy trend with upscale spa treatments that seems to have woven its way into what most cruise lines do? Princess has a version of that.
When Royal Princess debuts in June, cruisers will find a spa with a welcoming feel and contemporary, sophisticated décor, as well as more treatment rooms than any other Princess spa. New features will include private Couples Villas and The Enclave – a thermal suite that is triple the size of any existing Lotus Spa. Here passengers will be able to totally decompress with new relaxing options such as the Hammam (a Turkish-style steam room), the Caldarium (an herbal steam room), the Laconium (a dry heat sauna) and the line’s first-ever hydro-therapy pool.
“The opportunity for total relaxation is one of the key reasons to cruise with Princess,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president in a press release. “So naturally, our signature spa is a popular place for passengers to escape from any stress and tension. With the new Lotus Spa aboard Royal Princess, we’re excited to give our passengers the ultimate place to unwind.”
Check these other features too:
Scrub & Shine Bar – As a prelude to any spa treatment, or as an addition to use in The Enclave, passengers can get recommendations from a “mixologist” for the perfect scrubs to complement their treatments. The bar offers a selection of salt and sugar scrubs to choose from, which can be “spiced up” by adding a mixture of herbs.
Treatment Rooms – The Lotus Spa on Royal Princess features more treatment rooms than ever before (a total of 18), including two new luxurious Couples Villas. These private retreats offer a quiet place for time together with side-by-side massage tables, a soothing whirlpool bath, customized music for relaxation and a sitting area with ocean views.
Relaxation Lounge – A private space to relax before a treatment, this comfortable lounge features a calming atmosphere and scenic ocean views. Passengers can enjoy a cup of herbal tea or fruit-infused water as they unwind.
Where these ideas come from is important to note too. Vice President of Interior Design Teresa Anderson and Coordinating Architect Giacomo Mortola have been with Princess for quite some time. Mortola since 1974 during Princess Cruises beginning as Sitmar Cruises and Anderson since 1994, have had a hand in what brings Princess to the unique designs of Royal and Regal Princess all the way.
“I believe that’s what Princess Cruises is all about – taking influences from fashion, from art, from history… what you capture when you’re traveling the world,” noted Anderson.
“More than any other project I’ve worked on, on the new Royal Princess, I used light as a central component of my designs,” said Mortola. “The Chef’s Table Lumiere in the aft dining room is a great example of this. The table is surrounded by a curtain of fiber-optic lights which creates real drama – unlike any dining experience you’ve had.”
Indeed, known for creating the first-ever chef’s table experience at sea, Princess will be setting a new standard for this popular experience with the debut of the Chef’s Table Lumiere. Offering a spectacular dining experience that will take the chef’s table to a new level, passengers will be magically surrounded by a curtain of light — providing a soft wall of privacy that envelopes a custom-made glass table located within the Concerto dining room. The table will be set with elegantly designed china, cutlery and table accessories for an extraordinary dining experience.
But that is just one of the culinary offerings on new Royal Princess. In addition to the Horizon Court Buffet, Horizon Bistro and Horizon Pastry Shop we talked about in Royal And Regal Princess: Two Good Looking Twins, there are other venues, also unique and also playing a contributing role to a complete escape as never before;
Back to the Horizon Court for a minute, taking advantage of the increased size of Royal Princess in another ‘why didn’t they think of that before’ moment, the Horizon Court For Kids will have a special area just for kids. Here, they can feel comfortable with seating that is suited to them in size and décor. Kids can eat, play, and sit in their dedicated section with the rest of their family still nearby. The space will also be used by the Youth Center for activities such as pizza parties and ice cream socials.
Wine Cellar – Another specialty dining experience is geared toward diners in the Symphony and Allegro dining rooms, where they can enjoy a private dining experience in a wine cellar inspired space. Surrounded by wine bottles, the circular area, which seats up to 12, will offer a unique atmosphere for private functions and special celebrations. Wine cellar specialty menus are being developed in conjunction with noted winemakers, and will be designed to especially to pair with matching wines. Menu items will include classic carved meats such as crown of veal rack, lamb Baron and veal rack a l’Orlov.
Signature venues Crown Grill & Wheelhouse Bar have a renewed presence and ‘it makes sense’ location on Royal Princess. The Crown Grill premium seafood and chop house will be blended together with the popular Wheelhouse Bar (down on a lower deck on previous ships) for a complete evening of dining and entertainment in one location. These traditional spaces feature a new contemporary look that modernizes the rich club-like atmosphere of the Crown Grill and the nautical Wheelhouse Bar. With its signature theater-style open kitchen, the Crown Grill sets the stage for a menu of chops, seafood and premium Sterling Silver steaks. Meanwhile the Wheelhouse Bar offers comfortable place to sip a drink and enjoy live piano entertainment.
Pub Lunch – The complimentary pub lunch, which has become a big hit with passengers since it debuted in 2008, will be served across the combined space in the Wheelhouse Bar and the Crown Grill. Featuring British favorites such as fish and chips or bangers and mash, the pub lunch can naturally be accompanied by a favorite ale or bitter.
Sabatini’s – Princess’ signature Tuscan-inspired specialty restaurant, Sabatini’s will feature a fresh menu of sophisticated Italian favorites with an a la carte experience. Sabatini’s will be located adjacent to Vines wine bar, offering diners a convenient venue to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail. With an elegant décor merging glass, marble, wood and mirror details, the centerpiece of the new space will be a grand wine display, offering an impressive selection of Italian varietals – including Chianti, Sangiovese, and Brunello di Montalcino. The lunch menu of Mediterranean-influenced options will make it the perfect place to dine after a treatment in the adjacent Lotus Spa. With a refined yet casual Italian ambiance, Sabatini’s offers attentive personal service and the feeling of having just stepped into a ristorante in the heart of Tuscany.
Vines – Vines wine and tapas bar will serve a selection of exclusive new- and old-world vintage wines along with wine sampling, food pairing and unique events. In addition to the full wine and spirits bar, Vines serves up small plates to go with the wines, including Spanish tapas, Greek mezes, Venetian cicchetti, Latin American pinchos and Caribbean cutters. Vines will also be a convenient pre-dinner gathering place for Sabatini’s diners.
In Royal And Regal Princess: Two Good Looking Twins, we also talked about new fitness options and top deck features unique to Royal Princess that also are good proof of Princess Cruises commitment to bumping up the ability passengers have to escape completely. Going further in their trademark epitome of escapement, the Sanctuary adults-only area takes on a whole new flavor on Royal Princess. Both The Sanctuary and the line’s popular adults-only pool also will offer private cabanas for the first time.
Located near the forward end of the top deck, these two areas together provide a peaceful haven for passengers looking to recharge. With a new look at feel, the larger Sanctuary will feature fresh décor plus two new private cabana options along with the its plush loungers and Serenity Stewards. Meanwhile, the Retreat Pool will provide a serene spot for a dip, along with its new poolside cabanas.
“The private spa-inspired setting of The Sanctuary and the calm atmosphere of our adults-only pools have made them among the more popular areas on our ships,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “So aboard Royal Princess we’re taking both of these areas and giving them a new twist.”
The three new private cabana options will give passengers the opportunity to personalize their relaxation time, with elegant Sanctuary and Lotus Spa cabanas in The Sanctuary, while the Retreat Pool offers poolside cabanas, perfect for enjoying an extra special day at the water’s edge. Cabana guests looking for a gourmet treat can order one of the ship’s new cabana picnic baskets, packed with artisan edibles paired with a premium wine.
The Sanctuary on Royal Princess grows with a 20 percent larger space than on the line’s other ships. In the Royal Princess, The Sanctuary adds four private Sanctuary Cabanas for more luxurious experience, plus two Lotus Spa Cabanas offering an elegant private space for a range of spa treatments. Featuring the air of a romantic hideaway under its distinctive white canopy cover, The Sanctuary design includes strategically placed rock gardens and special topiary planting with atmospheric lighting. These new elements create an inviting path leading to a new central pavilion. Passengers can relax on luxurious plush lounge chairs or circular daybeds, while Serenity Stewards provide healthy refreshments and music players with peaceful music. Space in The Sanctuary can be reserved for $15 for a half day/$25 for a full day, per person.
Sanctuary Cabanas – Within The Sanctuary, those four new Sanctuary Cabanas offer an even more exclusive and special experience with amenities such as a personal television with noise-reducing wireless headphones, cushy sofas, luxurious robe and slippers, a welcome cocktail, and healthy snacks including nuts, and dried and fresh fruit. The cabana also features a fully stocked mini-bar with refreshing waters and sodas, as well as a choice of alcoholic options, including beer or wine.. Sanctuary Cabanas will be available beginning at $80 for a half day.
Lotus Spa Cabanas – The two new, luxurious Lotus Spa Cabanas offer a truly special alfresco massage experience. These larger, enclosed areas will offer added privacy, a comfortable resting area with a television and plush chairs, a treatment area with two massage tables for a refreshing couples massage and beautiful ocean views looking out over the front of the ship. A variety of packages will be available for the Lotus Spa Cabanas.
Retreat Pool – Adjacent to The Sanctuary, the Retreat Pool will offer an exclusive area for adults to relax and rejuvenate. The Retreat Pool on Royal Princess will offer more space and seating than the adult pools on other Princess vessels, plus add new Retreat Cabanas that can be reserved for an enhanced experience. These cabanas are the perfect way to enjoy private space poolside, or even add the indulgence of one of the ship’s special picnic baskets. The Retreat Pool is open to all adults, and Retreat Pool Cabana rental will be available beginning at $50 for a half day.
Cabana Picnic – Passengers reserving a cabana in The Sanctuary or the Retreat Pool can not only enjoy the privacy and relaxed atmosphere, but can also pamper themselves with a gourmet picnic featuring a premium bottle of wine paired with a gourmet feast of antipasti, artisan sandwiches, pizza and even fresh-baked desserts. Picnic items passengers may find in their basket include Young Spinach Salad with Stilton Crumble, Pancetta Chips, Toasted Pecans and Black Pepper Vinaigrette; Ahi Tuna Poke with Hass Avocado, Red Onions, Sesame Seeds and Crisp Wonton Skins; and Alfredo’s Surf & Turf Pizza with Lobster Medallions & Beef Tenderloin. Baskets serving two people will begin at $40.
That pretty much covers most of the physical differences that should enable passengers to escape completely like never before. Coming up next in Royal Princess: Love Boat Fans Listen Up, we need to touch on entertainment which is very much a part of the Princess experience. While Princess Cruises connection to the television show, The Love Boat has served it well over the years, Princess has taken that show biz connection and worked it, coming up with some Nightlife and Entertainment offerings that include some never-before-seen shows, events and interactive programming sure to be a hit with passengers.