Princess Cruises 5 Pros and 5 Cons Cruising With Them

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?

54 Replies to “Princess Cruises 5 Pros and 5 Cons Cruising With Them”

  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.

  10. The only real problem that I have with Princess, as I do with Norwegian, is that you have to book a balcony cabin or above in order to have any decent seating in your cabin. The inside and oceanview cabins have no couch or even a comfortable chair for sitting. You have to sit on the bed or lie down to watch TV or to just put your socks and shoes on. This is not only very difficult for many older folks and folks with infirmities, but is not a very smart way to furnish any hotel room which is just what cabins are. If you do a mock booking on princess you will see that the pricing for inside and oceanview cabins is pretty comparable. However, the price doubles or even goes higher than that for a balcony. Of course there are always the few sarcastic people who say "well, just book a balcony cabin and stop complaining". As if that solves anything.

  11. As one half of a "mature couple", I don't consider that point a con! Agree with most of the other points though. As we like to dress for dinner anyway, the dress code was never an issue for us.

    Great video as usual – we started watching TFT a few months before our first ever cruise, and found a lot of useful information. You really helped us avoid a few pitfalls.

  12. I watched several videos on cruises and we decided on taking the Grand Princess on December 27th out of San Francisco for 15 days to Hawaii, got us a mini suite and pre-paid for our drink packages and gratuities! Thanks for all the good advice!

  13. As usual, another very informative and interesting video Gary! Great job in providing detailed info on the pros and cons of Cruising on one the the Princess Cruise Line Ships. This video will be very beneficial for anyone who would like to determine if Princess Cruises would be a ‘fit’ for the traveler. Thanks for taking the time to produce this excellent video…Ed

  14. Several years ago, I "earned" unlimited free Internet. It was later taken away from me, and I was awarded a certain amount of minutes per cruise. I do like Princess, and have been on many cruises with them in the last 20 years, however if I earn something, I do not like for it to be taken from me.

  15. My wife and I take a cruise every Thanksgiving week. Princess has been the only awful cruise we've ever had. First of all the ship was filthy. Then there was the crew. We had several negative encounters with crew ranging from snotty to downright hostile. We always get balcony cabins but on Princess they were stacked like steps so there was no roof and if it was raining or some slob above you throws something it falls on your balcony. Never again with Princess.
    Pros: Not much Cons: See above.

  16. Really helpful tips on cruises. I am planning on booking a cruise for my parents next year but my mother is wheelchair dependent. Do you have any recommendations? Having never been on a cruise, I have no idea how practical a cruise is for someone who uses a wheelchair. Thanks again!

  17. Gary, my wife and I like princess cruises.

    Our first experience was in Alaska and we stayed in their property in Denali. So they do have a great property there. My wife really loved the train ride from Denali here to Whittier where we got on the ship in cruised southward.

    I’ll add a couple of things to what you’ve already said about Princess. First of all, we never buy the Wi-Fi package. In Alaska for the most part you’re in North America and you cruise close to the shore, so we were able to pick up North American cell towers. We just went on a cruise in New England from New York City to Quebec city. Same thing.

    Also, regarding Wi-Fi and they’re on board apps. Even before they started the medallion series, one could use limited Wi-Fi even without paying for it to text each other on the ship. This is a huge advantage. Also the Medallion works in the limited wi-fi no charge way you one need not purchase WiFi to do the Medallion thing.

    We love the shows and the classiness of the materials made to build the ship like all the brass and marble. The cruise staff are always very very nice. The food is good. My wife and I love the shows.

    One other thing. Even when you buy a Coke or a coffee or even a specialty coffee a Coke is about two bucks. Coffee is about what you pay in the United States. Coffee itself is free but if you want specialty coffee it’s about what you pay at a Starbucks or anywhere else. They don’t gauges you. Also room service is free. This really helps with early morning excursion departures.

    Finally, we found their princes promo cruise items like jackets and sweaters and vests and things like that to be far superior than say Royal Caribbean. We cruised on the symphony of the seas in the Western Mediterranean on Royal Caribbean in its inaugural season. One annoying thing with Royal Caribbean for us was there a constant trying to upsell us. It went on day after day constantly trying to upsell us to go to some fancy restaurant or something like that. It was a real annoyance.

    We always assumed that royal Caribbean was a cut above, but you taught us that Princess cruises are a notch above Royal Caribbean. We have found this to be true.

    One other a little annoyance between those two cruise lands. Royal Caribbean would try to get you to book your excursions through them ahead of time. Then, as you got closer and closer to the cruise departure time, they would begin to put those on sale. They would offer the same excursions for a lower price. It was a real hassle to have to get a better price from Royal Caribbean because it involved actually refunding you for the cruise and then selling it to you all over again. During that time, someone could’ve actually bought your slot and you would not get that particular excursion. With princes, they don’t change prices. The excursions are fairly well priced from the beginning and they don’t change. Much simpler accounting on your credit card bill as well without all the charges and refunds and reduced charges.

  18. Congratulations on the 100,000 subscribers! I agree, as always. Taking Princess to Greenland from NYC in August. Greenland is on my bucket list so I jumped at the chance. I don't think there are any other cruise lines that have gone there. Solo traveler, so yeah I have to pay up but I usually have to do that… Not interested in the formal nights but I love the buffet and plan to spend a lot of time in my (great) balcony cabin so I should be good… Thanks, Gary!

  19. I was fortunate enough to have my first Cruise ever on Princess Cruises from Alaska to Vancouver on the Royal Princess a Medalion Class ship, the experience was amazing, the best part is when you arrive at your stateroom, you don't have to look for your room card and open the door. Gr8 Video. 😇

  20. On the formal nights you can eat at the buffet without dressing up.
    For the surcharge at their specialty restaurants I expect Superior service. Their Italian restaurant was Excellent. The Steak restaurant service and attitude lacked big time. To me, their Steak restaurant failed in service.

  21. I've done 2 cruises on Holland America (plus 2 booked), 4 or Celebrity, and 4 Carnival/RCCL. Now that we have Carnival shareholder stock, Princess becomes a more attractive option. We're also going to start booking cruises with an American Express Platinum, which at least for here in the US, works with HAL/Princess for an extra $100 – $300 on board credit.

  22. About 6 years ago I did a 13 night cruise on Dawn Princess. We had one formal night. If you don't want to wear smart casual, dine in the buffet every night. I also enjoyed fixed dining. We had three of us solo travelers sitting together every night. On a recent cruise with P&O Australia with anytime, sometimes a table by myself, sometimes sharing, but never more than once with the same person

  23. Princess drink packages are a varied lot and have their nuances. One thing to keep in mind is all members staying in a cabin or suite must purchase their own individual package if anyone does; Princess will not let just one member have a drink package. Also, bear in mind these drink packages are for the duration of the cruise. For most passengers, daily consumption of all types of beverages start to slack off markedly as the cruise progresses. Therefore, unless you use these packages heavily and consistently it would probably be cheaper to purchase the drinks individually.

    The "Premier Beverage Package" is $60.00/day; you'll have to be mighty thirsty (and probably at least a borderline alcoholic) to make this pay off. This package actually limits you to a max of 13 alcoholic drinks (beer, glasses of wine, mixed drinks) a day; bottles of wine are not available through this package. You may also receive specialty coffee and non-alcoholic drinks through this package, but obviously passengers get this package for the booze. If you're sure you're going to down at least 6-7 drinks a day, go for it. Otherwise, I'd advise you to skip this one.

    The "Premier Coffee & Soda Package" at $20.00/day is for those who plan to drink a good bit of specialty coffee and tea. (Regular coffee and tea are complementary.) Like the Premier Package, you'll have to be heavy into specialty coffees (5-6/day) to break even on this package. A better deal for specialty coffee drinkers would probably be the "New Grounds Coffee Package," which is a coupon book for a limited number of specialty coffees during the cruise.

    The "Classic Soda Package" at $10.00/day is probably the best deal. This package includes all fountain sodas, fruit juices, mocktails (virgin cocktails,) smoothies and hot chocolate. Bear in mind, this package does not include bottled beverages of any kind (including bottled water) or specialty smoothies. However, in contrast to the soft drink packages offered by many other cruise lines, Princess' soda package offers more for the price; being able to receive an unlimited number of mocktails and fruit juices, in addition to soft drinks, makes this package worthwhile.

  24. Gary, you made a good point regarding solo travelers.
    Do you have plans for a solo traveler video that is as well done as this one is?

  25. Hi Gary, I enjoyed your video, thank you! I LOVE Princess and am very much not a fan of the "circus on the sea" type ships…they are not for me. I am an old fashioned cruiser, I guess. However, my husband and I wear jeans almost exclusively on board. On our last 10 night cruise we dressed up nicely for our Crown Grill anniversary dinner. We are not the formal dinner types, however and that was our only time we spiffed up that cruise. Congrats on reaching 100K followers!! 🙂

  26. I love your videos, both the content and engaging style. I would love to have a video on which premium cruise lines are your personal favourites and why. Thanks 🙂

  27. Hi Gary – I'm about to do my first cruise next month and love all your videos.
    I haven't found anything on your channel on cruise laundry tips and tricks (shore laundries versus DIY in bathroom versus doing it via the ship). May I suggest this topic?
    Thank you 🙂

  28. Have you done any Disney cruises? We're taking the QM2 to Southampton, bopping around Europe for a bit, and I think I want to do a Disney Mediterranean cruise as a treat for my kids. Any videos for Disney?

  29. We are coming up to our 4th cruise with Princess. We are retired and we love the traditional feel Princess gives us. We enjoy the slow pace and being pampered.

  30. Well done, Gary. Completely agree with you that it is largely based on per couple traditional cruising. Another good video 😃

  31. Yes I LOVE Princess and was part of 50 Years in Alaska. I found their staff to be the best I have encountered on board. I will be on Sky in Europe Summer 2020. If I never went on another line I bet I would be perfectly happy…I will probably try others but I loved it.

  32. What type of traveler will you encounter on board? Princess passengers tend to be well traveled and sophisticated, but not stand-offish or snobbish. Easy conversationalists. Passengers are also considerate and well behaved – no running up and down the halls, sitting on stairs, letting children run amok…that sort of thing. There are usually very few young children aboard all itineraries, including the Caribbean. There is also not much in the way of nightlife after dinner and the shows (the clientele who choose to cruise Princess tend to turn in relatively early – myself included!). Princess is a great line for those who want a relaxing cruise – away from crowds and over-stimulation. It is my favorite line: I’ve taken over 20 cruises with them because I enjoy their traditional cruise experience with friendly people, good food, quiet spaces and wonderful destinations.
    Congrats, Gary on 100,000 subscribers (I may have been your 100,000th. I watch your videos but just realized I had not subscribed!)

  33. We love Princess, have been on 21 cruises on many different Princess Ships. We are very excited about taking out first World Cruise on the Island Princess January 2021. 🛳🧘🏼‍♂️🏃🏻‍♀️🌻☮️🥰

  34. I would not call having to pay for gratuities, beverage packages, excursions, and specialty restaurants a con for Princess cruises — It is the same for majority of the other cruise lines too — Viking Ocean and Oceania cruises are the only ones I know who include that in the price of the cruise (you actually pay for all of these in the price) .

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