My thoughts on the Sea Princess.
On boarding this ship for the first time I did feel it to be a little dated and plain. Our balcony stateroom B303 (Baja deck 10) was very small compared to other ships we’ve cruised on. The balcony itself was more like a ‘shelf’ with little room to move the two chairs and little round table. No more than two people could be on the balcony at one time.
The bathroom was quite adequate with a good size shower, one that you can bend over and pick up the soap without a problem.
Storage space was good. I liked the three revolving wire baskets making easy access to whatever you want to store in them, for me it was my shoes. The electronic safe was a good size, however, one important note to remember is when you punch in your security code each time you close the safe door, look at the digital screen to ensure you have used the correct numbers. One slip of the finger and it will still lock but inadvertently you have created a new security code. Then next time you go to open the safe it won’t work because you’ve created a different security code. We both got caught and had to call someone to reset it for us so as we could access the safe again.
The Horizon buffet was good but we did notice that there were mainly cold desserts available and not often any hot options. The variation of food was ample for everyone to find something they like. It never appeared to be too congested when we were there. We always managed to find what we wanted to eat and also find a table.
The dining room was very good. We were seated in the Rigoletto Dining Room. The menu was generous however once again there were not often hot options for dessert. The cold options were nice though.
The crew were nothing other than excellent. They are really what make a ship a good ship. They were professional, pleasant and always welcomed us with a smile. A credit to Princess cruises. Not included in that is our Stateroom Steward, but we won’t go there in this review.
The ports of call were excellent. Pt Vila, Pt Denarau, Suva and Isle of Pines.
The Tender port of Port Denarau was extremely slow as it is about a 20 minute ride from ship to shore. I would have thought they would have had more tenders operating but for some reason they didn’t. We waited 1 hour and 20 minutes then gave up, went off and did something else then came back about 45 minutes later and the queue had gone and no tickets were required so we were straight on to the tender and off ashore within minutes. It was worth the wait as we did enjoy Port Denerau, a place we had not visited previously.
Isle of Pines didn’t have such a problem, as it is only a very short ride from the ship to the shore.
The entertainment was good. We did notice that the guest entertainers do two shows in the one cruise, which for us was over 11 nights. The Princess Dance troop were good. They performed shows we had seen on other ships, however we did notice that due to the smaller stage they are quite restricted but do well.
The shops on board offered many sales and the prices, particularly clothing, and during the sales were quite reasonable I thought.
The jewellery store held a Jackie Kennedy ‘event’ which I attended. During the ‘event’ all 20 or so of us that were there received a ticket to win a replica piece of Jackie Kennedy jewellery. In this case it was a replica ‘Tank Watch’. The draw was to take place at 7.00pm two days later…but we had to be there to win. We all turned up as requested only to be told that it was now going to be drawn at 7.00pm on the second to last night of the cruise and once again you had to be there to win. Once again we turned up with tickets in hand to win only to be told that they had complaints from those who didn’t want to be there and so it would be drawn ‘privately’ and the winner would be notified with a message on their phone in their stateroom. To this day those of us who spoke with each other do not know who won, or whether anyone did win the Tank Watch…. Have my doubts on this one.
The Coffee card for A$35.00 is great, we made use of ours giving us 15 Specialty Coffees, excellent value.
We enjoyed the Crooners Bar; that seemed to be a bit of a hub for people to meet up or just sit and chat with one another. However, it was rather interrupting to have talks on Acupuncture, or lectures on ‘How to loose that excess fat’, whilst you’re sipping on a glass of wine or Cappuccino. Or worse, ‘how to fight that Cancer by eating healthy’ having just had a huge breakfast and then stopped off for an ice-cream…just because you can… we’re on holiday!
All in all, it was a bonus for us not to have to catch a plane to board Sea Princess and also we booked this for the itinerary, which we really did enjoy. We absolutely love cruising but must say we couldn’t cruise the world or even half the world on this ship….it’s a bit tired and long in the tooth now. I do think we deserve better Princess ships cruising our waters.
If it weren’t for the wonderful crew the ship would be nothing.