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More than any other mainstream cruise line, Princess Cruises successfully balances cruise traditions with cruise innovations to offer an experience that suits a variety of travel styles. It offers set-seating dining and more flexible Anytime Dining. Princess' Movies Under the Stars is one of the most popular innovations in cruise entertainment, yet its traditional production shows typically play to standing-room-only crowds.
Features include Share, a restaurant helmed by Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone; the Salty Dog Gastropub; theater productions by the creator of "Wicked," Steven Schwartz; and scientifically developed Luxury Beds. These are found on select ships throughout the fleet.
Another tremendously popular innovation, which first debuted on Crown Princess, is the Piazza. It was retrofitted onto several older ships, and vastly expanded on Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess. Loosely modeled after the custom of Italian towns as a place to gather, Princess' version, spanning three decks, offers a variety of temptations that include spontaneous performances, a wine bar, shops, and casual eateries like Alfredo's pizza and the 24-hour International Cafe for sandwiches, pastries and snacks.
In 2017 and beyond, Princess Cruises is playing a major role in the introduction of Carnival Corporation's revolutionary new Ocean Medallion technology. The concept is inspired by pioneering travel experience innovator John Padgett, who previously created Disney's magic bands. The Ocean Medallion, a 1.8-ounce wearable disc, essentially will serve as a virtual concierge, matching travelers' personal preferences to aspects of cruise vacations, from choosing shore excursions to ordering food for delivery poolside. Other features are streamlined embarkation and debarkation, the ability to locate friends and family throughout the ship, more personalized interactions with crew members who also will have devices, and easier ways to access dining and entertainment throughout the cruise.
Princess is the first line in the Carnival Corporation fleet to showcase the Ocean Medallion. Seven ships in the newly created "Medallion Class" will be outfitted with the technology, beginning with Regal Princess in November 2017. Others include Royal Princess (January 2018), Caribbean Princess (March 2018), Island Princess (May 2018), Golden Princess (November 2018), Crown Princess (November 2018) and Ruby Princess (January 2019).
Princess ships also feature expansive spas and fitness facilities, kids clubs that serve ages 3 to 17, and entertainment venues like casinos, discos and nightclubs. Beyond the main restaurants, the ships offer a mix of culinary themes from the New Orleans-inspired Bayou Cafe on Island and Coral Princess to the popular Sabatini's, serving Italian fare. (Restaurants vary by ship class.)
Princess Cruises attracts a widespread passenger base, but as its ships vary so widely in style and services, choosing carefully is a good idea. The large and mid-sized ships attract broad, multigenerational demographics -- everyone from solo travelers to family groups will find something they like.
Because it's more exotically minded, Pacific Princess caters to more mature travelers who want longer itineraries, more offbeat ports of call and fewer family-friendly elements.