Princess Cruises Ocean Princess Review
The smallest ship in the Princess fleet has big ideas on where to sail.
Ocean Princess had just four dedicated bars sprinkled around the ship. Bar service could also be ordered at the pool area, or inside the theater. A 15-percent service charge was added to all drink orders. The minimum age for drinking was 21.
Martinis were priced $7.95 and included the traditional “007 Classic,” plus Key Lime Pie, Cosmopolitan and Passionada. The list of signature margaritas were all $7.95, as were other mixed drinks such as the Moscow Mule, Raspberry Collins, Caipirinha, Lynchberg Lemonade and the Ultimate Mai Tai. Simpler rum, tequila and whiskey concoctions (made with house brands) such as Bahama Mana, Pina Colada, Manhattan and Tequila Sunrise were $5.50. House spirits were $5, while call brands started at $5.50 for Canadian Club bourbon, Dewar’s White Label scotch, Beefeater gin and Absolut vodka. Bombay Sapphire gin, Johnnie Walker Black Label scotch and Grey Goose vodka were $6.95.
Wines available by the glass included Chateau St. Michelle Riesling, Simi chardonnay, Rosemont shiraz, and Kenwood Jack London cabernet sauvignon, at prices ranging $7.25-$10.50. Korbel brut reserve was available in 187ml bottles for $7.25 and Nicolas Feuillatte brut reserve by the glass for $13. An expanded wine list was available at both the Crown Grill and Sabatini's dining rooms. The beer selection included the usual domestic favorites for $4.25, plus Bass, Dos Equis, Blue Moon and Beck’s for $4.95, and Grolsch swing-top and Guinness for $5.95.
Serving as both the coffee bar as well as the lounge for the main dining room, the Club Bar opened early to catch the java junkies, with espresso drinks as well as fresh-brewed coffee. Prices ranged $1.25 to $1.75 for brewed coffee (regular and large), $2.50-$3.50 for cappuccino or café latte and $2.75-$3.75 for mocha, white chocolate latte or caramel latte. Iced blended drinks were also available ($2.50-$3.75). The Princess coffee card was a good deal: $29 for 15 drinks and unlimited brewed coffees (it could be shared by two passengers).
The location wasn’t used much during the day, but when the restaurant wasn’t open it was a good spot for reading or informal card play against the faux cabinets and fireplace. Leading up the evening’s first seating, the Club Bar would fill and the ship’s full bar menu was available.
After the Cabaret Lounge this was the ship’s secondary entertainment venue, though scheduled activities were all over the map. There’s a hardwood dance floor, and at night a DJ would materialize to transform the space into the Studio 54 Nightclub. The lack of attendees wasn’t the only thing that kept us from mistaking it for the storied New York disco. In fact, the Princess Patter referred to an hour of recorded music each afternoon dedicated to particular artists. We came by and heard a collection of Earth Wind and Fire’s least greatest hits. (Ship-wide, the only consistency we found to recorded music offered as a backdrop seemed to be total disregard for who was in what venue when.)
The Tahitian Room is also, of course, a bar, serving the ship’s full drink menu. On sea days, afternoon rays were a pleasure to soak in while reading, though scheduled activities would shift the focus every hour or two: Morning and afternoon trivia sessions, ballroom dance class, and Zumba sessions were among the diversions held here.
Only drawback: The starboard corner of the lounge, next to the entrance, was one of the ship’s dedicated smoking areas. We didn’t like having to pass through a haze in order to enter, and the smoke sometimes filtered through most of the space.
Located on the opposite end of the pool from the Trident Grill, this bar had the ship’s full drink menu. Waiters served the loungers around the pool.
Though located within the casino (and open only when the casino was operating), this bar also serviced the adjacent lounge, a drawing room-style area with an ersatz fireplace and piano. Entertainment included a vocal-piano due, and a guitarist. This was also a kind of overflow area for the Club Bar just prior to the evenings seatings at the Club Restaurant.
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