By Tiana Templeman
Cruise Critic Contributor
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

Sea Princess Entertainment & Activities

Theatre

The 600-seat Princess Theatre is located on Deck 7 and hosts stage productions performed by the ship's singers and dancers, guest vocalists, and comedians. It is also home to the line's take on the talent show "The Voice" called "The Voice of the Ocean," where passengers who successfully audition get to compete for the winning title. This steeply sloped palladium theatre has excellent sight lines, comfortable theatre seating and small stands for drinks tucked away in the armrest of each chair. During the 2017 refurbishment, a five-metre-high LED wall was added to give the productions added zing and it is used to great effect, particularly during the funky "Blame it on the Boogie" show. There were three production shows during our seven-night cruise and all of them were excellent, with a strong cast, clever staging and plenty of well-known songs ranging from opera right through to '70s disco songs. While there aren't any tunes featured from the 1980s or later, the shows are hugely entertaining and designed to appeal to cruisers of all ages.

On the same deck, the intimate Vista Lounge offers cabaret seating around small tables, a row of stools against the bar and lounges and chairs scattered around the centre stage.

As well as headlining shows, the Vista Lounge hosts game shows, trivia quizzes, bingo, and dancing sessions including line dancing and ballroom dancing. On some nights, popular productions run twice at both venues to allow passengers to alternate between shows.

Daily Fun

Seaboard life revolves around the sweeping black and white marble staircases, glass lifts and gently curved contours of the ship's four-deck-high atrium, which lies midship. On sea days, there is plenty of traditional shipboard entertainment to be found around the ship. Make your own fun with a game of shuffleboard or join the staff for activities such as Sudoku or Jenga challenges, table tennis tournaments and soccer shootouts. In the pool, the activities create teams of cruisers for lively volleyball games. Around the ship there are art auctions, hosted wine tastings (for a fee), chefs demonstrating the art of making sushi or carving fruit, a 'Learn about Smartphones' class, cocktail-making competitions, health and wellbeing seminars, photography workshops and lectures by a Princess Destination Expert on the next port. Some activities aim to upsell passengers on shore excursions or spa packages, but there is no need to buy. If you like to shop 'til you drop, Deck 6 holds a parade of stores selling jewellery, perfume, duty free goods, cruising souvenirs, travel essentials and the like.

At Night

In the evening, much of the action takes place on Deck 7 which houses the Princess Theatre (forward), Crooners Lounge (midship) and Vista Lounge (aft) as well as the Legends Bar and nautically decorated Wheelhouse Bar. Musical performances by cover bands, piano players, guitarists and other musical acts take place throughout the ship. These are generally good but firmly favour a more mature demographic with few (if any) post-'70s tunes. While an entertaining classical duo was a hit with passengers of all ages -- with standing room only available most nights -- appealing music for those aged under 50 was otherwise slim.

The Vista Lounge does double duty as a cinema and live performance venue, hosting a variety of indoor "big-screen movies" throughout the week, as well as spill-over comedians and cabaret performers from the Princess Theatre. With a dance floor in the corner, Legends Bar has the potential to get lively but it was very quiet during our cruise.

Grand Casino (Deck 8): Located midship, Grand Casino features slot machines that take Australian currency (5 cents, 25 cents, A$1 and A$5) and roulette with A$1 minimum bets, blackjack, craps and Caribbean stud tables. The casino also hosts a raffle draw with big cash prize and a A$1-A$2 no-limit Texas Hold'Em Players Meet.

Movies Under the Stars are available on the Lido Deck (Deck 14) most nights. Passengers can watch brand-new and beloved feature films (as well as news, sports events and other programming throughout the day) on a new wide-angle outdoor screen, which delivers double the image quality of the previous system. Cosy blankets, fresh-popped popcorn, cookies and milk are available to enhance the evening viewing experience.

Sea Princess Bars & Lounges

More low-key than party focused, the bars on Sea Princess are a lovely spot to sit back, relax and enjoy a drink or two. Wherever you are onboard, you won't be far from an outdoor bar or lobby lounge that serves your favourite tipple. Service is friendly and efficient, with many indoor bars offering table service, and waits for a drink are minimal.

La Patisserie (Deck 5): In addition to coffee, this cafe also serves alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks such as wine, cocktails and soft drinks.  It's a good spot to people watch and take in the lively scene around the lobby, especially on formal night.

Vista Lounge Bar (Deck 7): The bar in the corner of the Vista Lounge is a good spot to grab a drink while you're waiting for the show to start. If you aren't sure whether you're going to stay for the entire performance, you can sit and sip then slip out easily.

Legends Sports Bar (Deck 7): Watch AFL and NRL matches along with other Australian sport on this bar's many televisions as you sample over a dozen different beers. We aren't sure the dancefloor works at this sports focused bar -- we never saw anyone on it during our cruise -- but it is seldom busy if you are keen for a drink.

The Nook (Deck 7): With a menu of 60-plus whiskies and knowledgeable bartenders, cocktail lovers will appreciate this bar. It is located beside one of the ship's main thoroughfares, which makes it good for people watching during the day, before the bar opens at 5 pm.

Crooners (Deck 7): Overlooking the Atrium on the Promenade Deck, this is a nice spot to enjoy light music and drinks in the evening. A pianist is typically found tickling the ivories, with string melodies played by a duo. In the evening, the chairs in the centre of this bar are sometimes cleared to provide a space for ballroom dancing.

Wheelhouse Bar (Deck 7): This sophisticated lounge feels like you have stepped into a wealthy seafaring captain's house with dark woods, shiny brass and sturdy leather sofas. At night, a band or duo typically plays in the back of the room, but the volume is relatively subdued if you don't care to listen. Wine, beer and a selection of cocktails paying homage to the Prohibition era is available here.

Grand Casino Bar (Deck 8): Celebrate your winnings or drown your sorrows at the small lounge bar inside the casino.

Riviera Bar (Deck 12): Overlooking the main pool, this bar is a prime choice for sail away. Sip on draft beer, wine and cocktails and enjoy the ocean views or whatever is showing on the big screen at the far end of the pool deck.

Seaview Bar (Deck 14): On the Lido deck (aft), passengers can grab a beverage to enjoy in the hot tub or overlooking the stern of the ship. The hot tub area is 'adults only', which makes it a nice spot to soak while enjoying a chat with other cruisers.

Topsails Bar (Deck 15): Located above the Terrace Grill, this bar is predominantly used by passengers lounging on the Sun Deck or in The Sanctuary. If the Riviera Bar downstairs is busy, this can be a good spot to grab a drink without having to wait.

Sea Princess Outside Recreation

Pools

Two good-sized central pools and two hot tubs are located on Deck 12. When the weather is good, this is the place to come to lounge in the sun, sit in the shade or swim. Sunloungers directly around the pools are snatched up quickly, although singles can still be located. More sunloungers are located directly above on Lido Deck 14. The undercover Lotus Spa Pool located on Deck 12 (aft), adjacent to the fitness centre is for adult use only as are the two hot tubs. Tiered benches encircle the pool for sitting.

Recreation

Sea Princess has a Promenade deck (Deck 7), which is used by many people for exercise or simply going for a stroll. Aside from a narrower section near the stern, there is plenty of room to enjoy a walk (or run) and the ocean view. You will also find shuffleboard on this deck, with plenty of room to walk around those who are playing. The Sports Court (aft) offers soccer and cricket nets, paddle tennis, and basketball hoops. In the shade on Riviera (Deck 12) there is a Ping-Pong table and gear for free play.

Sun Decks

Free deck chairs are available on Deck 15 but for more exclusive lounging, passengers can pay to access The Sanctuary. Covered in an AstroTurf-like lawn with a (very) shallow splash pool and padded loungers and topiaries, this adults-only space is serene, with attendants assisting guests with any request. Passes for the enclosed relaxation space cost $20 for a half-day (8 am to 12:30 pm or 1 pm to 5 pm) or $40 for the full day. Passes for your entire cruise are also available upon request, but prices vary by length of sailing. Order a snack from the complimentary menu (there is a nominal A$3 delivery charge) or unwind with a themed playlist available on Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Massages and healthful drinks are also available for a charge.

On Lido Deck 14 there are lounges along the starboard and port side of the ship, which are a good option during busy times if sunloungers cannot be located.

The wraparound Promenade Deck is wide enough to accommodate traditional wood lounges and tables without obstructing the popular walkway. Soft cushioned lounges invite passengers to enjoy a relaxing read or a cocktail from the Wheelhouse or Crooners bars during inclement weather as the deck is undercover and away from the elements.

Sea Princess Services

In the Atrium on Deck 6 there are shops selling brand-name goods, souvenirs and sundries, alcohol, tobacco and fashion apparel. Fine jewellery, fragrances, cosmetics and watches as well as designer handbags and sunglasses are also available.

The ship's library on Deck 7 offers paperbacks, including novels and a good selection of travel guides, which can be read and returned. Oversize green leather chairs facing picture windows are ideal for a quiet read. Board games are also available for loan.

The internet cafe adjacent to the library on Deck 7 has fixed computers to access the internet or by-the-minute packages that will enable WiFi on personal devices throughout the ship. The most affordable is A$99 for 200 minutes; no flat-rate full voyage package is available. No food or drink is permitted in this area.

On Deck 7 (starboard) the Photo Shop sells passenger portraits and holiday snaps taken by onboard photographers. The Photo Gallery arranges photographs by date for passengers to peruse, with photos starting at A$15 a print.

Self-service laundries are located on Decks 9, 10 and 11 (midship) and Decks 5, 6 and 8 (forward). It costs A$3 for a wash or dry. Simply swipe your passenger card on the machine and collect a token for a washer or dryer.

An onboard doctor is located in the Medical Centre on Deck 4.

The Future Cruise Sales office is located in a small room beside the Wheelhouse Bar entrance.

Sea Princess Spa & Fitness

Spa

Located on Deck 12 (aft), The Lotus Spa, with its attractive, contemporary decor, offers beauty treatments and massage packages. Services include teeth whitening, seaweed wraps, hot stone massages, manis and pedis, hot shaves and facials. Expect to pay A$142 for a 50-minute deep-tissue massage or enjoy a facial from A$182. Specials are often available on port days, or if the spa is not busy on a particular sailing.

Fitness

The Fitness Centre on Deck 12 has modern machines for resistance training plus dumbbells and benches for weight training. It also features a row of exercise bikes and treadmills with ocean views. Headphones can be plugged into the equipment to listen to TVs.

A separate section is dedicated to classes for complimentary core abs workouts, total body conditioning and stretching classes. Classes where charges apply include Pilates, TRX suspension training, Tour de Cycle, Body Sculpt Bootcamp and yoga. Prices start at A$13 for a 45-minute class.

The gym can get busy in the morning and remain so well into the afternoon, so if you want to enjoy your training session in peace and quiet, get there before 9 am or visit in the late afternoon or early evening. Due to its location in the stern of the ship, you will feel the ship's motion if the ship is riding a heavy swell. If this is the case, take extra care when using the equipment.

Sea Princess For Kids

During the ship's late 2017 refurbishment, Sea Princess received the new Princess kids club offering Camp Discovery, with a complete overhaul of the three youth spaces. The new areas are funky, fun and educational (but don't tell the kids; they'll be having so much fun they will never know). Children are divided into three age-appropriate groups: The Treehouse (ages three to seven, formerly Pelicans), The Lodge (ages eight to 12, formerly Shockwaves) and The Beach House (ages 13 to 17, formerly Remix). Decor in each room is themed around the name of the group. So, for example, the teens' area resembles a funky beach shack.

Daily activities include hands-on science experiments based on the popular TV show MythBusters, themed scavenger hunts, Animal Planet puppet- and mask-making, and cake decorating as part of the JrChef@Sea program. There are also non-Discovery activities such as talent shows, video game play, and paper aeroplane challenges. The Camp Discovery weekly program is placed in your cabin on the first evening so kids (and their parents) can plan activities around what is going on in Camp Discovery. There will likely be some negotiation required as the program throughout the three rooms is excellent. Kids of all ages on our sailing were regularly seen rushing up to Deck 12 at opening time each day.

Kids

The Tree House (ages three to seven): This space, reminiscent of a tree-dweller's paradise, offers a cute treehouse with a small padded slide and plenty of seating. Trees are painted around the room, with cheeky animals peeking out from behind some of them. There are lots of small tables set up for arts and crafts and story time is a staple. Children in the Tree House can only be signed into and out of the club by authorised parents or guardians. Pagers are available for parents who would like one.

The Lodge (ages eight to 12): The Lodge is themed after what you might expect the inside of a log cabin to look like, complete with rustic painted 'wooden' walls and faux woodland scenes. There's plenty of seating and table space, as well as Foosball, Skee-Ball, air hockey and computer stations. A large TV and plentiful floor space with cushion seating make for fun movie nights and video game play. Youngsters in this age group are able to sign themselves in and out of the club with parental permission.

The kids' program is open 9 am to noon, 2 pm to 5 pm and 7 pm to 10 pm breaking for lunch and dinner. Kids are welcome to join at any time during these sessions. They can also skip a session or two or get signed out early and hang out with the family. On port days, the kids program is open from 8 am to 5 pm and generally involves free play time -- with video games, art and craft, movies and board games the norm. Parents are able to leave the kids supervised onboard at the kids' club while they explore the port destination.

Private in-room babysitting is not available. Group sitting in one of the two kids club rooms is offered from 10 pm to 1 am and costs A$5 per hour per child.

Teens

The Beach House (ages 13 to 17): Although there are some activities scheduled for this age group, it's a more casual hangout, allowing teens to come and go as they please. This space features a beachy theme of teal and grey with surfboard murals lining the walls; computer stations, and video games add to the cool factor. At first look, The Beach House doesn't have the same initial wow factor as The Lodge, with its Skee-ball, air hockey and other attractions, but there is a clever reason behind this. After 10 pm, when the program for the younger children has finished, teens also get to use The Lodge. Two rooms to hang out in rather than one, and 'exclusive' activities that can only be done after 10 pm, kept this hard-to-please group thoroughly engaged and entertained during our cruise.

Sea Princess Ship Stats

  • Crew: 910
  • Launched: 1998
  • Decks: 11
  • Passengers: 2,000
  • Registry: Bahamas
  • CDC Score: 100

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