The Ultimate Guide to Princess Cruises

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Princess Cruises began in 1965 with a single ship cruising to Mexico and has grown to become one of the worlds most recognisable and trusted cruise lines.

Princess positions itself as an affordable luxury cruise line. It offers a good balance of traditional and modern cruising with an emphasis on service, dining and relaxation.

Princess Cruises Sapphire Princess
Photo: Cruise with Ben & David

Where do Princess Cruises sail?

Princess sails all over the world with a fleet of 18 ships ranging in size from 600 to over 3,000 passengers. Additionally, it’s well known for its expertise in cruising to Alaska.

Who goes on Princess cruise ships?

Princess Cruises attracts a wide range of passengers from all over the world. While most cruisers are from North America, you will find a good amount of passengers from the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Depending on the itinerary, you will also find many passengers from Japan and China.

The majority of passengers are 40-plus. However, you will see many families, including multi-generation families, with younger children during the school holidays.

Princess Cruises Funnel
Photo: Cruise with Ben & David

Do I have to dress up on a Princess cruise?

Princess Cruises dress code is more smart-casual than formal. During the day you can wear whatever you like while the evenings are either smart-casual or formal.

The number for formal evenings vary depending on the length of your cruise. Formal attire is tuxedos, dinner jackets or dark suits for men and evening gowns, cocktail dresses or elegant pantsuits for women.

All other evenings the dress code is smart-casual. This includes pants, khakis, chinos or smart jeans with an open-neck shirt or polo-shirt for men and skirts or dresses, slacks and sweaters for women.

T-shirts, shorts, halter tops, baseball caps and jeans with holes in are not permitted in the dining rooms. Importantly, shoes must also be worn at all times in the dining room and buffet.

Is everything free on Princess Cruises?

No, while Princess offers many actives and dining for free, not everything is included. Extra charges the Sanctuary, excursions, the spa, some restaurants and drinks.

You can find out what included on a Princess cruise and what costs extra in our guide; What’s included and what’s not

Movies under the Stars on Princess Cruises
Movies Under the Stars is free and includes free popcorn. – Photo: Cruise with Ben & David

Dining onboard Princess Cruises 

Princess offers a wide range of free and extra-charge dining options.

The main dining room, buffet, International Cafe and room service are free. Some ships also include a pool-side grill and Alfredos pizza.

There is also a wide range of speciality, extra-charge, dining venues available. These range in price from $3 up to $100.

Read our Guide to Princess Cruises Dining to find out more about the dining options.

Are drinks free on Princess Cruises?

There is a small selection of free drinks available on Princess Cruises including tea, coffee, water, lemonade and iced tea. All other drinks are paid for. Drinks packages that can be purchased before a cruise or onboard the ship. 

Find out more about drinks packages, what drinks are included and Princess Cruises alcohol policy in our Guide to Drinks Packages on Princess Cruises. 

Bellini Bar on Royal Princess
Alcohol is not included on Princess Cruises. Photo: Cruise with Ben & David

What actives and entertainment are on a Princess cruise?

Princess Cruises offer a wide range of actives and entertainment throughout each cruise.

The main theatre is home to the resident show team who perform original broadway inspired productions during the cruise. Plus, the theatre will host visiting acts including comedians, singers, groups and speakers.

During the day the actives team will host quizzes, lectures, sports actives and classes such as Zumba and Yoga. Around the ship will be live music and entertainment including game shows and dance classes.

Another popular activity is the “Movies under the Stars”. The pool deck will transform into an open-air cinema each evening and screens blockbuster films complete with comfortable loungers, blankets and free popcorn.

In addition to the hosted actives the gym, pools and sports facilities are free to use.

Larger Princess Cruises ships also include an expensive children’s programme for kids aged 3 – 17. Princess revamped its children’s clubs in partnership with Discovery Communications to include fun and educational activities.

Spa treatments, shore excursions, fitness classes and some additional activities such as Wine Tasting and the Sanctuary are an extra charge.

Find out more about free and paid-for activities on Princess Cruises in our guide. 

Princess Cruises Pool Area
All pools are free to use on Princess Cruises Photo: Cruise with Ben & David

How much are Gratuities on Princess Cruises?

Gratuities on Princess Cruises cost $15.50 USD per person/per night for suites, $14.50 USD per person/per night for mini-suites and club class, and $13.50 USD per person/per night for interior, ocean-view, and balcony staterooms.

Furthermore, a 15% gratuity is added to bar charges, dining room wine accounts and Lotus Spa services.

For sailings departing from and returning to Australia and New Zealand gratuities are already included in the cost of your cruise.

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