Princess Cruises Ocean Princess Review
The smallest ship in the Princess fleet has big ideas on where to sail.
Ocean Princess is not designed for children. There is no dedicated kids program, facility or staff. However, a Princess call center representative said that if at least 20 children are booked on a particular cruise, activities will be organized. To our knowledge there was no one under age 20 or so aboard our sailing.
There were two shops onboard that packed a lot of merchandize into a pair of small boutiques next to the atrium on Deck 5. Facets carried jewelry and watches from Citizen, Guess, Fossil, Effy, Swarovski, etc. Next door at Calypso Cove there was an assortment of Princess logo merchandize, sundries such as sun block, toiletries and snacks, a few paperbacks, and a collection of liquor and tobacco, fragrances and cosmetics. There was a small selection of casual attire for men and women from Tommy Bahama and Puma.
There was a crew of photographers that snapped away on the ship, revealing their masterworks at the Photography and Video Gallery, on Deck 5 forward. In addition to photos, there was a limited array of consumer cameras here, plus camera cases, memory cards, photo books, etc.
The crew was just fine, offering upbeat service that was comfortably casual. Owing to the size of the ship it wasn’t hard, after a few days, for waiters and bartenders to get to know us and our preferences, especially in the main dining room, where we were looked after by a charming duo. Our cabin steward was efficient, but a little over-bearing and needy when it came to our attention.
The ship’s daily newsletter, Princess Patter, arrived in our room each evening, revealing the schedule of activities and promotions for the following day. We found the schedule to be hard to navigate and stay on top of, despite a reduced number of activities onboard. In fact, the newsletter actually filled space by announcing what movies would play on cabin TVs and thinly conceived “events” like Enjoy the Recorded Hits of the Earth, Wind and Fire played in the Tahitian Lounge!
Each day at noon, the captain gave the ship’s positioning and a weather forecast, but little else. There was not a lot of interaction between guests and the senior officers.
Located on Deck 9 next to the spa, the Internet Café has 8 PCs available for guests to check email or websites. The basic rate for internet access—using the café’s computers or our own laptop anywhere on the ship—was a stiff.79 per minute, plus a $3.95 activation fee. Packages reduced the per-minute rates—100 minutes for $69 (.69/min), 200 minutes for $99 (.49/min), etc. There was an embarkation special that awarded a 40-minute bonus to those who signed up for packages on the first day of the cruise (extended to the second day as well). A bargain “last day” package was also available for the last full day of the cruise: 15 minutes for $8.99.
Although computers could be accessed anytime, the station was staffed several hours in the morning, afternoon and evening.
Overall, guests dressed fairly casually on our cruise. Princess Cruises recommends sports wear and casual attire by day, with swimwear discouraged from public rooms and lounges. During the evening, Smart Casual attire was recommended—skirts/dresses, slacks and sweaters for ladies; pants and open-necked shirts for men.
Some nights are designated as Formal (two nights of our seven-night cruise), and suggested attire was evening gown, cocktail dress or elegant pant suit for women; tux, dark suit or dinner jacket and slacks for men.
Pool and beach attire, shorts, baseball caps, and casual jeans were not permitted in the dining room at any time; shoes were required.
There was one self-serve, coin-operated laundry facility, located on Deck 7, midship, and it was usually busy (especially on the last sea day).
General Health & Safety
A Muster Drill held just before embarkation. We were asked to attend with our life jackets in hand, and key cards were scanned as we entered the meeting area. We found the drill to be more detailed than on much larger ships, and we didn’t mind.
Hand sanitizers were present at all restaurant entrances and their use was encouraged.
A medical center was located on Deck 4 midship. It was staffed 9 to 11.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. daily.
Indoor areas, including cabins and balconies, were designated as non-smoking on Ocean Princess. Exceptions were a corner of the Tahitian Lounge on the starboard side (next to the bar’s entrance) and the casino. However, the casino was designated as non-smoking on five nights out of our seven-night cruise. Outside, smoking was permitted in a designated area on the pool deck.
For information on Princess Cruises’ tipping and service charge policy, see here.
For information on Princess Cruises’ alcohol policy, see here.
For information on Princess Cruises’ loyalty program, see here.
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