• Newsletter
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Deals
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Cruise Tips
Exterior render of Sun Princess (Image: Princess Cruises)

Sun Princess: Princess Cruises' Revolutionary New Ship

Exterior render of Sun Princess (Image: Princess Cruises)
U.K. Executive Editor
Adam Coulter

Sep 8, 2023

Read time
7 min read

When Sun Princess launches early next year, it will be the largest Princess Cruises ship ever built, carrying 4,300 passengers -- some 800 more than the line's previous Royal Class.

It also heralds a brand-new class, Sphere Class, so called for the eye-catching Sphere which encases the centre of the ship, lets the light flood in and provides stunning sea views.

 It will be the 16th Princess ship to join the fleet, and in a nod to its storied past, Sun Princess will be the third Princess ship to bear the name – the first being the original "Love Boat" from the iconic 1970's TV series, launched in 1974. The second Sun Princess launched in 1995, and at the time was one of the world's largest cruise ships carrying 2,000 passengers.

Sun Princess is Not a Cookie-Cutter Ship

Sun Princess Exterior Render (Image: Princess Cruises)

Sun Princess was designed from "the ground up", according to Richard Parker, who is in charge of the build.

It is not a "cookie-cutter" ship (i.e. part of a standard class used across fleets), but a brand-new design, unique to Princess, which began life as a few lines on the back of a napkin back in 2017.

As Princess Cruises' President John Padgett says: "Sun Princess is going to be an incredible platform for the Princess brand. It's a unique ship, it's bespoke to Princess, there's not another one like it."

It is the first of a planned four Sphere Class ships, with the second named ship, Star Princess, confirmed for launch in 2025.

The first thing you notice is the design feature which gave this class its name – a nine-deck glass sphere, which wraps around the middle of the ship, flooding the public spaces on decks 6-9 with natural light.

Sun Princess is Princess Cruises' "Best Self"

Bellini's Cocktail Bar on Sun Princess (Image: Princess Cruises)

"What we really tried to do with Sun Princess is not change what Princess is about, but use it to magnify everything that is great about Princess.

"Really it should be Princess' best self, and really to take the brand to the next level."

He added: "I think it shows that Princess is a big ship cruise line and committed to being a big ship cruise line."

However, Padgett points out that despite the size – 175,500 GRT and 4,300 passengers – the line has not lost sight of what makes the brand unique, i.e. a commitment to personal service:

"The great thing about Princess, which is unique to the industry, we can sail big ships with incredible amenities, but we can give that personalisation experience at an individual level that is more characteristic of yacht-class sailing, because of the Medallion."

It's worth noting, too, that the Medallion, the line's wearable technology that personalises your cruise experience, was built into Sun Princess at the start of the build, rather than being added on post-build.

The Piazza is Even Larger and More Engaging

Piazza on Sun Princess (Princess Cruises)

The triple-deck Piazza (or main atrium) on all Princess vessels is regarded as the "iconic centre" of the ship, as Padgett describes it, surrounded by the line's most popular bars and restaurants, and where you can hear live music throughout the day and night.

However, due to its popularity, it can get crowded, especially on sea days.

 On Sun Princess, the Piazza has been significantly increased in size, boasting wide, sweeping staircases, a triple-height LED screen, which acts as a backdrop to a performance stage and a central space lined with chairs and tables, and behind these the restaurants and bars.

Encasing this space is the Sphere, which floods the interior with light and as Padgett explains: "This makes it an even larger, more engaging venue than ever before."

"It also has some terraced viewing within the Piazza so you don't have to be on the rail anymore to see the entertainment and activities. You have much better sightlines both interior and exterior across the ship." 

And in keeping with the theme of magnifying everything that is great about Princess, the ever-popular Alfredo's now has an outdoor area – and a traditional wood-fired pizza oven.

Same too with The Crown Grill, the line's popular steak house, which has also been expanded.

As well as all the old favourites, Princess is debuting a new food concept, which Padgett promises will set the bar even higher than 360, the line's recently-launched dining experience, but will not reveal any further details at this stage.

The Dome is a New Iconic Concept for Princess

The Dome on Princess Cruises Sun Princess (Princess Cruises)

The Dome is a new iconic element of Sun Princess which is inspired by the terraces of Santorini.

The Dome is multi-level, covered and is really a first of a kind enclosure that is multi-functional, so in the day it's a place to relax, read and have a coffee, while basking in the sunshine streaming through the glass.

Then in the evening it becomes an entertainment venue with a little bit of a South Beach vibe, state-of-the-art lighting effects and a portfolio of new aerial entertainment shows.

It marks another first for Princess, with three new shows from Cirque Eloize on the top deck, rather than just in the theatre, offering stunning aerial performances. 

Speaking of the theatre…

The Princess Arena is a New Theatrical Concept for Princess

Sun Princess Princess Arena (Princess Cruises)

Sun Princess debuts a whole new theatre concept, which sees the end of the traditional fixed-seating set up, and the debut of a flexible space, which can be traditional, with the audience facing the stage; or in the round, for cabaret-style shows; configured in bleacher style so the audience faces each other; or keyhole style, so the artists come into the audience. It's another step-change for Princess, as Padgett explains:

"It's pretty spectacular. What we believe is we are creating entertainment that is more engaging, more interactive, give new views from the guest perspective, and they'll get closer to the entertainment."

But again, reassuring regulars: "Our guests certainly love the traditional Broadway shows, and we'll be able to do that, but we'll also be able to move the Arena into the round." 

The 1,000-seater venue includes a central movable stage (similar to that in the Piazza), which rises and falls and revolves. Princess has not yet revealed what shows guests can expect to see yet, but whatever they are, interactivity, immersiveness and an updated take on the traditional is guaranteed.

The Wake View Terrace Rocks a Miami Vibe

Star Princess Wake View Terrace (Image: Princess Cruises)

At the aft of the ship, on Deck 8, you'll find another new-to-brand space, the Wake View Terrace. Which although it seems like an exclusive, members-only space (the line calls it the Wake Club), is in fact open to all. It has an infinity pool which actually juts out over the edge of the ship, terraced seating, loungers and a bar.

Family is Front And Centre for Sun Princess

The Lookout and Splash Area on Sun Princess (Image: Princess Cruises)

Like the Medallion technology, Sun Princess has been designed from the start with families, in particular multi-generational groups, in mind.

In fact, the line has turned over decks 19 – 21 almost exclusively for families, with an area called Park19, which includes nine activities, including Sea Breeze, the industry’s first rollglider, a high-speed motorised zipline; a climbing wall, a Lookout point, a ropes course, a kids' waterpark and for exhausted adults, a chill-out area.

"Park 19 is going to be an outstanding experience space, multi-generational, engaging, and what it does is create some great interactive attractions, everyone can participate and it allows us to serve the multigenerational cruise market," explains Padgett.

Padgett is keen to emphasise that Sun Princess is not "a floating theme park", but if you want to bring your kids on an amazing vacation and have plenty of things for everybody, then Princess is the smart choice.

• For more on what Sun Princess will offer families, check out our piece: Here’s Why Families Are Going to Love Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess

Sun Princess Debuts New Cabin Types 

Signature Collection Suite on Sun Princess (Image: Princess Cruises)

The Family offering does not end at Park19, however – Sun Princess has a number of new cabin types which are family-focused, including the new Cabana cabins. 

The 76 Cabana cabins have a balcony (or a terrace, depending which deck you are on), as well as an additional space which can be opened up to create either a double-space balcony area or enclosed to create a conservatory so increasing the size of your room by a third.

"The Cabana cabins is a new format for Princess, which we think is something that families will truly enjoy as effectively you get multiple different spaces within your cabin, so you can spread out," Padgett said.

Sun Princess Cabana Deck (Image: Princess Cruises)

The lower deck cabins even lead out onto a keycard-access only private terrace area (pictured), which includes sunbeds and a sunken jacuzzi.

The line will also debut new suites called The Signature Collection which come with a host of perks and exclusive access to spaces.

These are the top of the range suites, and although not quite a “ship within a ship”-concept, these suites do offer exclusive access to the Signature Restaurant, Signature Lounge and a private Signature Sun Deck.

• For more on Sun Princess staterooms, check out our piece: Sun Princess Debuts a New Range of Accommodation Including Family Cabins and New Suite Types

Star Princess Launches in 2025

Star Princess Port Side Render (Image: Princess Cruises)

Sister ship Star Princess launches in 2025, and expect a very similar ship in terms of features and concepts.

"Star Princess will be materially parallel to Sun Princess, but as Sun is a first in class, we'll likely make some adjustments to dial it in even better," said Padgett.

Updated September 08, 2023
How was this article?
About UsCruise DestinationsFirst Time CruisersFind A Cruise

International Sites

© 1995—2023, The Independent Traveler, Inc.

  • Privacy and Cookies Statement

  • Terms of Use

  • Site Map