Princess Cruises is one of many cruise lines which is rapidly expanding, bringing a whole host of exciting changes and improvements to its fleet along with a number of new exciting cruise ships launching over the next seven years.
Tony Roberts who is the Vice President of Princess Cruises in the UK & Europe has kindly agreed to take part in this exclusive CRUISE Q&A interview for Cruise Cotterill to talk more about Princess Cruises and some of the new ships which will be joining the fleet over the coming years.
Can you give us an overview of Princess Cruises?
We’re a premium cruise line and pride ourselves on being destination experts - we travel to over 380 locations. We cover all seven continents and the chances are if you’re looking to set sail in a certain corner of the globe, be it close to home or further afield, Princess can take you there.
And we really pride ourselves on our on board service: I can tell you first-hand our crew are fantastic and really provide a warm and engaging service meaning you feel at home when on board.
How many ships do you have in the fleet?
We have 17 ships, ranging from our 3,560-guest ‘Royal Class’ ships – Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess – to the 670-guest Pacific Princess, which is sailing out of Dover this year and next. The really exciting news is we have no less than five new ships on order: three further Royal Class ships which are set for delivery in 2019, 2020 and 2021, and two next-generations ships that are scheduled for 2023 and 2025. They will be our largest yet and accommodate over 5000 guests.
What facilities do the ships offer?
We have all the modern facilities you’d expect from a premium cruise line including welcoming staterooms, delicious food, spas, gyms, children’s centres and West End-style entertainment.
Princess has always prided itself on leading the way with its onboard facilities so also keep an eye out for our luxury beds, which are being rolled out to all ships and without question offer the most relaxing night’s sleep at sea you’ll get; our top deck cinema screen ‘Movies Under The Stars’; and speciality restaurants including my favourite, the Crown Grill, which offers the best steaks I’ve ever eaten!
Where does the Princess Cruises fleet cruise to?
If you’re looking to cruise close to home we have UK-based ships sailing in the spring, summer and autumn across northern and southern Europe. These are particularly convenient and cover off a number of favourite destinations including Barcelona, Rome, the Norwegian Fjords, St Petersburg and Venice.
And as bit of a one-off in September 2019 we sail roundtrip from Southampton to Canada and New England via New York, which will be a great opportunity to travel further afield to a variety of bucket list locations.
Meanwhile for a long-haul adventure we cover a variety of destinations including Asia, the Caribbean, Australia, Alaska, Hawaii, Antarctica and South America. Wherever your dream holiday is we can take you there.
What’s included in the cruise fare?
A wide range of items including accommodation, meals, entertainment, 24-hour room service and select hot and soft drinks. There’s full information available via our website, princess.com.
Can you tell us about your next new ship, Sky Princess?
Sky Princess will include many of the popular features that will be familiar to everyone who has been on her sister ships, Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess. These include the stunning central atrium, award-winning dining including the Crown Grill and Sabatini’s speciality restaurants, spa, Movies Under The Stars and the luxury bed.
But expect a few subtle changes to be added, which we’ll announce in due course, and Sky Princess will also be our largest ship once she sets sails with space for 3,660 guests.
Can you tell us a little more about the Sky Suites on Sky Princess?
I’m really excited about the Sky Suites. They will be situated at the top of the ship and give amazing 270-degree panoramic views throughout your voyage. They’ll be our first staterooms to host up to five people, so larger groups of friends and family can be accommodated. And the suites will also include our most spacious balconies at 700 square feet.
With a sizeable living area, large day bed, outdoor TV and a private master bedroom it’s fair to say I’m keen to sample a Sky Suite for myself!
Can you describe the type of guests who choose to cruise with Princess Cruises?
What’s great about Princess is we cater to such a wide range of tastes and interests, while our fantastic customer service means you’ll always feel at home regardless of whether you’re on your first cruise or your 50th.
Specifically, because we travel to such a large number of destinations across the globe we’re a great line to travel with if you either want to tick a few places off your bucket list or instead prefer to visit somewhere you’ve enjoyed previously. Interestingly, Asia is now the second most popular region for UK guests to visit, in part because they know they will get a full flavour of the local areas while at the same time being able to come back to a premium cruise ship and the various trappings we offer.
During school holidays we naturally have more children on board so that’s a great time for families to sail. My family set sail with Princess during the holidays and there are always other children on board for my son and daughter to make friends with. They both highly recommend our kids’ clubs!
What advice would you give to someone looking to try Princess Cruises for the first time?
Firstly I’m pleased to say we received the public vote for ‘Best Cruise Line’ at the most recent British Cruise Awards so you’re always in safe hands with Princess!
My advice is simple really. To start off with make sure you do a little bit of homework – work out where you want to cruise and when, and you may also want to see if a particular Princess ship appeals to you as we have 17 in our fleet.
When looking at cruises you could also consider booking a slight shorter sailing – three or seven days – if you’re a little unsure, although my first family cruise was for two weeks and we absolutely loved every second of it. I do find cruising is a bit addictive and once you’ve sailed I’d be very confident it’s then a matter of ‘when’ your next one will be rather than ‘if’.
Head to princess.com or your local travel agent for more information, and it’s worth having a look at the various cruise message boards and blogs as they contain useful advice and guidance.
What is your favourite thing about Princess Cruises?
The truly international nature of Princess Cruises sets it apart guests join our ships from all over the world and we have a welcoming crew from over 50 countries.