I'm onboard Enchanted Princess' "Comedy Stars" cruise with the likes of Rory Bremner, Ardal O' Hanlon -- of Father Ted and Derry Girls fame -- and Lucy Porter on a seven-night Scandinavia cruise.
Enchanted Princess is homeporting in Southampton for summer 2022, and this is one of a number of theme cruises the 3,660-passenger ship is running this season (see below).
Here are some of the highlights of the cruise -- plus a look at Princess' new all-inclusive premium offering, the Princess Plus package.
A full 30 minutes before Rory Bremner takes to the stage on Enchanted Princess there are already dozens of people sitting patiently waiting for the British impersonator to entertain them.
And when cruise director Matt introduces the comedy legend there isn't a free seat available -- and that’s for Bremner's second show of the evening.
Princess Cruises' Comedy Stars has been a massive success, with Irish comedian Ardal O’Hanlon -- of TV’s Father Ted and Derry Girls -- getting a rapturous response two nights earlier.
A group of Irish fans had booked the cruise especially to see him and when I looked for a seat in the theatre 15 minutes before his first show at 8.15pm I was told "not a chance" by another couple who were resigned to returning to his 10.15pm show.
The fun started on the second night when Lucy Porter, a regular on British comedy shows such as Would I Lie To You and Richard Osman's House of Games.
Later in the week she gamely threw herself into a comedy quiz in the Vista Lounge, where it was standing room only as we tried in vain to win one of the bottles of Princess Cruises Champagne up for grabs.
And we've been brilliantly entertained all week with Cruise Director Matt's dry British humour as he hosts quizzes and comedy shows with his long-suffering American deputy Giani.
Britain's Got Talent semi-finalist Gary Oliver gave ventriloquism a whole new twist (you have to be there) and Marc Paul's Mind Games got the thumbs up from lots of passengers.
But it was Ardal O’Hanlon’s stand-up set -- he's really not as stupid as his Father Dougal character you know (he told us, so it must be true) -- and Rory Bremner’s spot-on impressions -- he has Boris Johnson down to a tee -- and his subsequent Q&A session with Matt that were the big hits of the cruise.
Enchanted Princess is virtually identical to 2019's Sky Princess and the new Discovery Princess, but anybody booking an Enchanted Princess cruise can now opt for a new all-inclusive fare -- Princess Premier -- which offers even more than the also available Princess Plus package.
For £65 per person, per night, Princess Premier gives guests unlimited Wi-Fi on up to four devices, 15 complimentary drinks a day that cost up to $20 in the bars or restaurants and 25 per cent off bottles of wine.
Princess Premier also includes meals at two speciality dining venues, such as the New York-style steak house Crown Grill and the lovely Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria. Other speciality restaurants include Bistro Sur La Mer, with a French menu, and the new Salty Dog Gastro Pub, which is good for burgers.
You also get your gratuities paid, free speciality tea or coffee, fresh juices, a Medallion accessory, reserved theatre seat, unlimited fitness classes, premium desserts, free digital downloads of all the photographs of you taken by Princess photographers and three 8x10 prints.
Princess Plus costs £50 per person per day and only includes unlimited wifi on one device at a time, 15 drinks a day up to $15 each, gratuities, two premium desserts daily, two fitness classes per cruise and unlimited speciality tea or coffee.
Your choice will depend on your taste in wine or cocktails and whether you're happy with the complimentary restaurants -- there are three main dining rooms, a buffet restaurant, Gigi’s pizza restaurant on deck 7 and free snacks at the Salty Dog Grill (cheesy chips were popular) or portions of pizza at Slice -- both on the pool deck.
But me? Well I’m just looking forward to tonight's Showtime with the Comedy Store Players from London. And I’m hoping there won't be a queue for seats on this final day of what has been one of the most-fun(ny) cruises I’ve ever experienced.
The Comedy Stars is returning in 2023, this time onboard Sky Princess, which will sail Northern European itineraries. Among the entertainers are comedian and actor Julian Clary, improv duo Paul Merton and Suki Webster, and stand-up comedian, actor and writer Ed Byrne.