By Maria Harding, Cruise Critic contributor; updated by Ashley Kosciolek, Associate Editor
After a brief excursion into the fleet of sister brand P&O Cruises (where it was known as Adonia), Sea Princess reverted to its original name, rejoined her original brand and is sailing varied itineraries -- including Australia/New Zealand, Hawaii and even a world cruise -- from its homeport of Sydney.
The ship, launched in 1998, is mid-sized and offers traditional features that make it a good choice for cruise travelers who want to feel like they're onboard an oceangoing vessel rather than a theme park at sea.
True, Sea Princess needs a bit of cosmetic work in parts -- particularly its exterior, which is starting to show significant signs of rust -- but it's due for a 10-day dry dock in Singapore in 2015. (The line hasn't announced what, specifically, will be done to spruce up the ship.) It also received new upholstery, carpets and bedding in minor refurbs in 2009 and 2012.
But even without a lick of paint being applied, it's a cozy, welcoming, lovely ship whose atrium area and Vista Lounge are among the most attractive at sea.
Sea Princess Fellow Passengers
Because Sea Princess sails primarily from Sydney, most of its passengers are Australian with a mix of those hailing from New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S. You'll find plenty of young families on shorter sailings, but the passenger base on longer itineraries generally comprises those in the 55- to 70-year-old range.
Sea Princess Dress Code
This is a somewhat casual ship; even on formal nights, smart suits with ties are as acceptable as dinner jackets, and passengers who dislike dressing up can dine casually at Cafe Corniche or the Horizon Court buffet.
Even there, though (and quite rightly), a reasonable degree of smartness is expected; slacks and polo shirts are fine, but T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops should be confined the daytime out on deck.
Sea Princess Gratuity
Gratuities, which are automatically charged to onboard accounts, are $12.95 per person (including children), per day, for passengers staying in standard accommodations and $13.95 for passengers staying in mini-suites and suites. A 15 percent gratuity is added to beverage purchases onboard, including wine at dinner. Spa and casino staff members do not share in the gratuity charges -- if you use these services, tips are advised. Note: Prices for things such as spa services and alcoholic beverages are listed in Australian dollars, the official onboard currency. We noted that prices for wine and mixed drinks range from $7 to 11 AUD, and alcohol-free mocktails will set you back $4.50 AUD. Milkshakes are available from any bar for $3 (U.S.).
Overall a very nice cruise for 35 days.
Initially I was concerned about the 35 days as the longest we had cruised before was 19 days. Turned out to be very pleasant and would do something similar again.
Australia, the South Pacific and Hawaii ...
Arrived at White Bay terminal Sydney. The whole process from unloading cases to completing paper work and moving through customs and immigration was completed within the hour. When we arrived at the cabin on deck twelve are luggage had arrived. ...
I cannot fault the embarkation, it was quick and easy. Cannot fault the staff. Everyone was extremely pleasant. Cannot fault the cleanliness.....cabin and all amenities were spotless.
We had a balcony cabin, it was a tad small, but for 2 nights ...
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