You can tell when a line really cares about its younger passengers by the effort it puts into kids clubs onboard. (It's also telling how good a kids' club is when you think to yourself, "Hey, this place is really cool -- I wouldn't mind hanging out here myself!") And with the Youth Center, Princess reaffirms its commitment to the family market. Six permanent workers staff the Youth Center, with more brought in during busy periods. The minimum age to sail is 6 months (1 year for the longer itineraries).
The Youth Center is located aft on Deck 17, behind the fitness center. It's divided into three interconnected spots: Pelicans for 3- to 7-year-olds, Shockwaves for 8- to 12-year-olds and Remix for the 13- to 17-year-olds.
Pelicans, which can hold 50 youngsters, has all the stuff you would expect in a kids club, such as soft play areas for the tiny kids (accompanied by parents), a climbing frame and a bank of terminals for kids to play video games. It also has foosball, a mini-air hockey table and Skeeball. There's an additional area for arts and crafts.
New to Princess is a dedicated outside area for the little ones that's completely enclosed, with high walls, a climbing frame at one end and a race track for tricycles.
Special kids activities include educational workshops and the Jr. Chef@Sea program, as well as theme and party nights, when movies will be shown or pizza and ice cream will be served.
Pelicans is open all day on port days from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m., but on sea days, it's closed from noon until 1 p.m. and from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. for meal times, which are usually served in the Horizon Court, directly below. There, kids can eat, play and sit at junior-sized chairs and tables in a dedicated area for children with the rest of their family still nearby. The space is also used by the Youth Center for activities like pizza and ice cream parties.
A group baby-sitting service is available for 3- to 12-year-olds from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m. at a charge of $5 per child. Sleeping bags, pillows and movies are provided.
Kids are expected to be toilet-trained, but staff will change the very young ones in case of an accident.
Next door is Shockwaves for the preteens. It, too, has air hockey, Skeeball, foosball, even more terminals (for PlayStation3), a games area, a sitting area, a small library and hanging out area, an arts and crafts station, a huge flat-screen TV and a D.J. booth. The only thing it doesn't have is a dedicated outdoor area. It has the same hours as Pelicans.
The 13- to 17-year-olds hang out in Remix, which is primarily a large lounge with lots of comfy chairs and tables that can hold up to 100 teenagers. There's a TV area, a dance floor and the requisite TV monitors for playing video games. Discos will occasionally take place in Remix; otherwise, if there are enough kids, the staff will pre-book Club 6 for an early evening dance.
Remix has the same selection of arcade-style games like foosball and Skeeball. It also has a very cool outside area (according to Princess, this is fulfilling a request from teens), which is remarkably similar to an exclusive hangout for adults. It comes with sun loungers, mood lighting, contemporary seating, table tennis and a hot tub. It's only accessible via the club (i.e. no adults allowed). Teens get to take part in activities designed for their age group, including sports competitions, late-night movies, dance classes, mocktail parties, formal dinners and video game tournaments. Remix is open until 3 a.m.