cruises

Princess Cruises Ocean Princess Review

The smallest ship in the Princess fleet has big ideas on where to sail.

December 31, 2013
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Lotus Spa & Gym

The ship’s spa facilities on Deck 9 forward are operated by Steiner Leisure, the dominant player in spa services for the cruise industry. Prices are in line with Steiner services on other ships, and somewhat higher than at most quality resorts. But there were discounts on port days, and other specials and packages offer discounts for one-off treatments that were not on the regular menu.

The list of services was a bit shorter than we find on most ships, but they included a variety of massages, starting at $149 for the 50-minute aroma stone massage (most massages were offered as 75-minute treatments only). Facials started at $119 for the 50-minute La Therapie Hydralift. Also available were acupuncture and salon services for men and women. There was a Thalassotherapy pool and relaxation area—a private outdoor deck forward of the spa, which had communal loungers and a saltwater hot tub. A one-week pass to use the facilities was $99 per person, or $149 for a couple.

The Fitness Center offered a decent variety of weight and cardio equipment using newly installed Precor equipment. The facility wasn’t large, though the amount of equipment seemed adequate for the number of passengers. Changing rooms offered lockers, and there were separate steam rooms for men and women.

Fitness classes were available. Daily stretching and abs workout sessions were free, while Pilates, Yoga, and Spinning classes were $12 each ($30 for three); the Body Sculpt Boot Camp was $69 for two sessions or $120 for all four. Personal training was $85 for a 60-minute session; a package of three sessions was $209. Also on offer were body composition analysis ($35, or $50/couple) and nutritional consultation ($85 for one or two). There were also the usual free seminars—Detox for Health and Weight Loss, Secrets to a Flatter Stomach—which culminated in pricey product pitches.

Pool

There is just one pool on Ocean Princess and it is decidedly petite—more like a plunge pool, really. At five-and-a-half feet deep it was, at least, good for a quick dip when the sun sweltered. There were a few dozen loungers around the pool, some shaded by Deck 10; our cruise may have been an anomaly, but we were able to find loungers on sea days pretty easily. There were two elevated whirlpool tubs flanking the pool. Showers for rinsing were available poolside but they weren’t enclosed, allowing the wind to carry the spray.

Live music was played on a small stage on sea days, and drink service by waiters was available from the Pool Bar. One corner of the pool deck was dedicated to smokers, and ashtrays were set out on the tables.

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Other Recreation

Recreational opportunities were limited, but the Cruise Director staff did their best. A jogging track circled the pool on Deck 10—thirteen laps equaled a mile. On Deck 11, we found a shuffleboard court and a golf practice cage.

Other options included Ping Pong (a table was set up on Deck 9 near the pool), Zumba (on two of our sea days only), and Pool Volleyball on one day.

Decks

Ocean Princess had a couple inviting open-air spaces to enjoy, and our favorite was Deck 5. Effectively, this was the Promenade Deck, but it didn’t circle the ship; it was just a wide corridor on either side of this deck, lined with loungers. It was little used, so it was a good place for enjoying the sun and sea air, or diving into a book.

Deck 10 overlooked the pool, and there were loungers here as well. This was also home to the jogging track. A forward staircase was the only access for Deck 11, a small area above the Tahitian Lounge that was also home to the Shuffleboard Court and a golf practice net. Although there were plenty of loungers here, this deck was little visited during our cruise.

Shows & Entertainment

The 350-seat Cabaret Lounge serves as the showroom on Ocean Princess, and it’s a fairly simple, one-deck affair—quite a bit smaller than the Princess fleet’s other theaters. There’s a stage, fronted by a round hardwood dance floor, so it’s suited for light dance band performances and cabaret acts. A few movies were shown here as well, but the presentation was subpar.

There were two stage shows, the first a Motown review that featured two singers, a cast of six dancers, and live musicians. They were all good performers, but there was nothing here we haven’t seen and heard quite a few times before; the stage set was more streamlined than a Podunk high school’s. The other show was a decent review of dance in all its variety—tap, Indian, etc. but featured a recorded track rather than live musical backing. On our cruise there were several acts brought aboard for one-off shows—a singer backed by the ship’s four-piece band, another singing duo also backed by the band, a comedian, and a singing and tap-dancing couple. None of these acts were bad, but they weren’t barn burners, either.

A few other events took place in the Tahitian Lounge, including beginner dance lessons (swing, ballroom, salsa), twice-daily trivia sessions, and the ship’s band played here most nights starting at 9:30 p.m. There were also port lectures under Princess’ Scholarship@Sea program—one preceding each port. These were recorded and re-broadcast on the cabin TVs later in the day. X-Box was set up in the Casino on sea days.

Casino

Reserved for guests age 21 or older, the casino on Deck 6 is fairly perfunctory. There were 30 slot machines along with tables for Poker, Blackjack and a Roulette wheel. A Blackjack tournament was held one afternoon; Bingo sessions were conducted (in the Cabaret Lounge), but on only two days of our cruise.

The casino is a designated smoking area on Ocean Princess, one of only two indoors. However, on five nights of our seven-night cruise the Princess Patter newsletter announced the casino would be non-smoking after 6 p.m.

Other Venues

One of the ship’s most charming spaces is the Library on Deck 10. The room isn’t an afterthought, as is often the case on newer ships—it’s a dedicated and inviting area with a domed, trompe l’oeil ceiling depicting an Amazonian rain forest, along with an ersatz fireplace, comfy sofas and leather wing-back chairs. The book collection isn’t extensive, but it’s at least as good as the libraries on larger Princess ships. A jigsaw puzzle or two was always out, in some stage of completion. Next to the Internet Café on Deck 9, the Card Room had four card tables set up for informal play—no activities were scheduled for this venue during our cruise.

The Lobby was another appealing space, where the Passenger Services and Shore Excursion desks were found. A staircase framed with wrought iron and potted plants lead up to Deck 5, where the Future Cruise sales desk was located.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Cabins
  3. Dining
  4. Drinks
  5. Recreation & Entertainment
  6. Kids, Services & Other Details
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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