Updated January 11, 2020
One of Princess Cruises' smallest ships, Sun Princess homeports in Australia for most of the year but also ventures to Asia, Hawaii and the Indian Ocean.
The 2000-passenger ship offers an impressive list of facilities including a private retreat called The Sanctuary, Movies Under the Stars, a four-storey atrium of bars and entertainment, a casino and several excellent dining venues.
Read on for our six best tips for a Sun Princess cruise.
1. Try the updated restaurants.
Kai Sushi has been turned into a wider seafood restaurant, so there's more variety to sample and watch the chefs at work. Share by Curtis Stone has revised its menu and is definitely worth paying extra, even if you just try one (individually priced) dish. If you have a sweet tooth, head to the new dessert cafe in Horizon Court.
2. Don't miss the Beer Festival
Head to the top deck to find the Beer and Wine Festival, which is held twice during every cruise of more than seven days. This lively mini festival has live music to enjoy as you wander through the displays sipping a glass of wine or slipping down a frosty craft beer. Cheers!
3. Get away from the crowd at The Sanctuary.
With more than 2000 passengers onboard, it can be hard to find a quiet spot to yourself. At the front of Sun Deck 15 lies the adult retreat, The Sanctuary. Entry costs $20 for a half-day but then you get special service inside.
If you feel thirsty, a crewmember can serve you fruit-infused water, mist you with Evian spray or provide a chilled face towel. Hungry? Order from the menu of light, healthy snacks. To cool off, you can relax in the pool overlooking the bow of the ship, or unwind on a thick, padded cushioned sun lounger under a shaded awning.
4. Make the most of the kids clubs
Parents can get a break by sending children off to the free, supervised activities. Sun Princess' Camp Discovery Youth Centre will be a highlight for cruisers aged from three to 17 years.
The Treehouse is for the youngest sailors (aged three to seven). This where they will create puppets and masks, dance, have their own pyjama movie nights and build amazing Lego constructions.
Eight to 12-year-olds have The Lodge where California Science Centre programs focus their minds on rocket building and exploring Outer Space. They'll even learn how to build a model roller coaster.
The Beach House is where the teens hang out or try hip hop dance classes, sports competitions and video game tournaments. There's a Rock-the-Boat party (13- to 17-year-olds only) with mocktails and awards.
5. Pick your own dining time.
Sun Princess offers dining anytime between 5.30 pm and 10 pm. You can make a reservation through the onboard dining hotline but it's not essential. You also can choose to eat only with your group or mix it up with other guests.
If you prefer a classic cruise dining experience, there's also a choice of an early or late sitting at the same table and with the same guests and waitstaff for your entire voyage.
The early sitting is the most popular with older passengers or those with families. The early seating allows you to catch the early show at 8 pm and retire to your cabin at a reasonable hour. It also gives passengers an option to watch the later show, which may not always be the same as the first show.
If dining at 7.45 pm, you would be eating during the start of the first show, leaving the late show as the only option. Sometimes there are two shows running and -- if you are dining during the second seating -- you would miss out on catching both shows. To avoid disappointment, pre-book your dining room preference as early as possible.
6. There's no need to tip.
Australians and New Zealanders don't have to tip on Sun Princess cruises departing from a local port. The policy applies to food, beverages and stateroom gratuities, but you may be charged a tip at the spa. You are welcome to tip crew for exceptional service at any time during the cruise. Should you wish to, envelopes are provided at the front desk.