More than any other mainstream cruise line, Princess Cruises successfully balances cruise traditions with cruise innovations to offer an experience that suits a variety of travel styles. It offers set-seating dining and more flexible Anytime Dining. Princess' Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) is one of the most popular innovations in cruise entertainment, yet its traditional production shows typically play to standing-room-only crowds.
Another tremendously popular innovation, which first debuted on Crown Princess, is the Piazza. It was retrofitted onto several older ships, and it's being vastly expanded on Royal Princess (2013) and Regal Princess (2014). Loosely modeled after the custom of Italian towns as a place to gather, Princess' version, spanning three decks, offers a variety of temptations that include spontaneous performances, a wine bar, shops, and casual eateries like Alfredo's pizza and the 24-hour International Cafe for sandwiches, pastries and snacks.
Princess ships also feature expansive spas and fitness facilities, kids clubs that serve ages 3 to 17, and entertainment venues like casinos, discos and nightclubs. Beyond the main restaurants, the ships offer a mix of culinary themes from the New Orleans-inspired Bayou Cafe on Island and Coral Princess to the popular Sabatini's, serving Italian fare. (Restaurants vary by ship class.)
Princess Cruises is one of the only lines to feature a "ye olde" tradition: cruise travelers can invite friends and relatives to visit them onboard before sailaway and see them off on their grand voyage. Via the program, called the "Bon Voyage Experience," passengers' guests can join them onboard for approximately four hours, including lunch (with wine) and a tour. The line charges $39 per person, banking on the fact that you will get enough of a taste that you'll come back for a real cruise (with or without grandma). If you bite, Princess is willing to apply the $39 toward a future cruise booking.