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Princess Cruises: Ocean Princess

  • Princess Cruises

Ocean Princess Review

Insider Take

Decor

Only the observation lounge/nightclub has been significantly refurbished since Ocean Princess left Renaissance, though the characteristic comfortably aristocratic feeling has largely retained.

Cuisine

The various dining areas offer a wide variety, the breakfast and lunch buffets being especially varied. The alternative restaurants are terrific, but there's a surcharge.

Restaurants

As is the tradition on all Princess ships (and bless them for it), there is food available 24 hours a day. On this small ship originally designed to have one main dining room, a buffet and two specialty restaurants, someone went to extraordinary trouble to make dining about as confusing as possible. That doesn't mean the food isn't good, though. The very traditional Club Dining Room offers open seating for breakfast and lunch, and two seatings for dinner, when passengers are assigned tables and tablemates, at 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. There are only a few tables for two.

One of the alternative restaurants has been kept as such, but changes its identity every other night, beginning as the traditional Princess favorite, Sabatini's Trattoria, for Italian multi-course dining, and then on the next night becoming the Sterling Steakhouse, the carnivore's delight. Both levy a fee, $15 for Sabatini's and $8 for the steakhouse. This venue stays open until 10 p.m, closes for an hour and then reopens as a bistro, and doesn't close until 4 a.m. The very casual Panorama Buffet serves up breakfast and lunch, including a pizzeria, BBQ, and an ice cream bar, and becomes the Panorama Pizzeria from 5:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., but serving nothing only pizza (which is to say, no salads or antipasti).

Room service is available, of course, around-the-clock. And a highly recommended late-night eating special event is the poolside Polynesian buffet.

Service

The staff, from all over the globe, is helpful and attentive.

Tipping

Regardless of which dining plan you choose, you'll be charged $10 per person per day for dining and stateroom personnel, even if you're a child. Consult the purser, at the reception desk, about raising or lowering this amount. All beverage tabs automatically include 15-percent gratuity. Tip the spa, casino, and other staff as you deem fit.

Overview

One of the small 30,000-ton R-class ships, destination-focus, quiet at night.

Best For People Who Want

Destination-oriented cruises, alternative dining options; exciting itineraries; top-flight shore excursions.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Las Vegas style shows; glitzy chrome and glass megaliners; 24-hour activity; children's programs; large, busy casinos; lots of shops and organized onboard activities.

Public Rooms

The area most reminiscent of a classic ship is the purser's lounge area on Deck 4, featuring a grand staircase reminiscent of the Titanic. The lounges and bars are all comfortably inviting, with the Club Bar attracting most guests. There's a Polynesian style nightclub (which old Renaissance passengers will be amused to recognize as the sports bar, lightly remodeled), an Internet cafe, and a remarkably popular self-service laundry with four washers and dryers, two ironing boards, and free soap. The library has a faux fireplace, overstuffed couches, and walls lined with cherry-finished bookshelves, even though it could use a few more books published after the ship changed hands.

The Internet room, do note, has only six workstations. And if you're accustomed to broadband at home, you'll find the connection maddeningly slow. Moreover, getting help from the staff isn't likely.

Entertainment

The 358-seat Cabaret Lounge presents shows performed by a team of singer/dancers, as well as performances by comedians and magicians. On some itineraries, there's a local folklore show. On cruises to French Polynesia cruises, such staple activities as bingo, bridge, and dance lessons are sharply curtailed because most of their potential participants are ashore. While you're docked in Raiatea, don't miss the musical extravaganza presented by several generations of locals.

The small casino has 30 slot machines and tables for blackjack and roulette. The Nightclub disco is a firm favorite of any insomniacs aboard.

Cabins

Of 308 outside cabins, 73 percent have a balcony. There are 26 inside cabins, four of them wheelchair-accessible (if available, these are some of the most spacious "bang for your buck" cabins, though they are inside and dark, they are incredibly roomy. Pleasantly furnished in Wedgwood blue fabrics and carpeting, with yellow drapes over the floor-to-ceiling windows, the staterooms are pleasant enough, but the suites are worth the extra money for the extra breathing room they provide, especially in the bathrooms. Ample closet/drawer space, a (woefully substandard) hair dryer, a personal safe, and color TV on which you can watch CNN, MSNBC, and Princess' own onboard news channels are all standard amenities. The smaller cabins have a bathroom with shower, while suites and owner's suites have bathtubs too.

In private veranda cabins, don't be shocked to find Astroturf where you might reasonably have expected teak. Inside cabins are the smallest at 158 sq. feet. Outside staterooms, from 146 to 206 sq. feet, have either portholes or big picture windows. Outside cabins with private balcony are 216 sq. feet, including a 45 sq. ft. balcony. Mini-suites with private balconies are a roomy 322 sq. feet, including a 17' x 4.5' balcony with two chairs and a table. Veteran voyagers, especially those accustomed to other lines' suites, are likely to find the bathrooms almost satirically tiny, virtually without counter space.

Two forward suites facing the front of the ship are view-less. The Category A Owner's Suites, ranging from 786 to 962 sq. feet, are all located either completely forward or aft. Forward owner's suites numbers 6002, 6003, 7004, 7005) have direct sight lines of the rope deck on the front of the vessel. And if you're in a forward cabin on Deck 6, you'd better hope you like the orchestra that performs (and rehearses!) in the Cabaret Lounge, as you're right above it, and will be hearing a lot of them!

What we like most about the ship's balconies is that they're wrought iron, and insert no glass between you and the view.

Fitness/Spa

The faintly exotic Lotus Spa, Salon, and Gym, operated, inevitably, by Steiner of London, offers a program of fitness and wellness. The fitness center, whose wall of windows makes it seem bigger than it really is, is well-equipped, with treadmills, bikes, and several weight machines. There are two steam rooms (for those who aren't hot enough in this part of the world to begin with!) and a walking/jogging track that circles the top of the ship. Instead of a 360-degree promenade, there are, on Deck 5, deck areas both port and starboard.

There's virtually never a wait for either of the two poolside Jacuzzi whirlpools, hardly surprising given how sweltering it can get in the South Pacific.

Attire

Considering that your destination is the South Pacific, you'll want to pack a hat, sandals, sun block and a bathing suit. Grass skirts and loud Hawaiian shirts are at your own discretion. Aboard cruises of 10 to 14 nights, expect two formal nights and five to 12 "smart casual" evenings. Resort casual is the rule by day.




Ship Overview

Originally built in 1999 as the fourth of a series of eight ships for Renaissance Cruises, which ceased operations in 2001, the former R4 was acquired by Princess Cruises and launched as Ocean Princess in 2002—a sister ship to Pacific Princess. After refurbishment, the ship retained its original midsize ambience and boutique-hotel style.

At 30,277 tons, this ship appears positively tiny beside its megaship fleetmates. In reality, it is a medium-size ship that entered service for the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises. With its entry into the Princess lineup, real choice is available to Princess passengers—a true alternative for those who prefer the clubby atmosphere of a smaller boutique-style ship but with big-ship features galore.

Princess Cruises may be best known for introducing cruise travel to millions of viewers, when its flagship became the setting for The Love Boat television series in 1977. Since that heady time of small-screen stardom, the Princess fleet has grown both in the number and size of ships. Although most are large in scale, Princess vessels manage to create the illusion of intimacy through the use of color and decor in understated yet lovely public rooms graced by multimillion-dollar art collections.

Princess has also become more flexible; Personal Choice Cruising offers alternatives for open seating dining (when you wish and with whom you please) and entertainment options as diverse as those found in resorts ashore.

Lovely chapels or the wide-open decks are romantic settings for weddings at sea with the captain officiating.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • Decks 6 and 7 have two aft-facing standard cabins with balconies larger than other similar cabins
  • The pianist in the Casino Bar drowns out the clanging of slot machines
  • Many of Princess Cruises' trademark features are present even though this ship was built to another cruise line's specifications

Cons

  • Showrooms are all on one level and have low ceilings
  • There are no dedicated children's facilities
  • The solitary main dining room offers only assigned seating for dinner
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 373
  • Entered Service 1999
  • Gross Tons 30,277
  • Length 592 feet
  • Number of Cabins 334
  • Passenger Capacity 670
  • Width 84 feet
  • New

Jan 9, 2011

Singapore

Unable to board in Singapore along w/ 21 other passengers due to chinese visa problems. Offered very little help by staff and treated rudely. Finally boarded in Manilla after incurring several more thousands of dollars and then it gets worse. My boyfriend (attorney) destroys the room after consuming too much alcohol and assaults me. The ship doctor comes to cabin , views my injuries. The next day, we had a meeting w/ the Hotel general Manager who

is an arroganat Italian who asks me to convince him why HE SHOULD ALLOW ME TO STAY ON THE SHIP! My partner is an attorney and very good at appearing as a victim even though he had no injuries, but my entire body was swollen and bruised, documented by ship's doctor. I was asked to disembark in Viet Nam w/out a credit card while my boyfriend remained on the ship. I was told by my boyfriend that the Hotel General Mgr on the Ocean Princess confided in him on his last day that he did not like me and was happy to see me go. I have contacted an attorney and plan oin taking this all the way. it's not about money at this point it's personal! The food was excellent. Dirty If you condider an ice carving demonstration exciting, you will love it! STAY AWAY - boring and expensive! The worst vacation of my life. I was treated rudely, unfairly and was treated as a villain instead of a victim. I will not stop or give up until I expose the Ocean princess Hotel general manager for what he did and who he is!!!!!

Read More
  • New

Sep 13, 2010

Northern Europe

The Ocean Princess is the smallest ship owned by Princess with only 674 passengers. I really enjoyed the pleasant atmosphere on board this ship. No crowds or long line-ups at any time. Very friendly crew, eager to please and solve any problems. Excellent food, especially in the specialty dining rooms where we ate all our dinners except for the very first night. We had a verandeh stateroom on a high deck. Quiet and comfortable. Beds were fine.

Not deluxe, but no surprises given that the ship was built over 10 years ago. I did not participate in any on-board activities as I was too tired after taking a shore excursion every day. It was a short 7 day cruise with only one day at sea, which suited me just fine. The relaxed atmosphere was evident with all the excursions which never had more than 25 people per group. I always try to get on the last coach, because it usually has the fewest number of passengers. Be sure to take the Anne Frank House tour in Amsterdam - the official tours bypass the long queues of tourists waiting to enter. We packed a lot of activity into this cruise with visits to Amsterdam, Hamburg, Lubeck, Schwerin, transit of the Kiel Canal, Copenhagen and Oslo. The highlight of the cruise was an impromptu concert by locals at the German seaside resort of Travemunde.. Hundreds of people crowded the dock to hear the music and wave goodbye to our ship.. I have never received such a warm send-off in a port before - my arms were so tired from waving at everyone on the shore!

Read More
  • New

Sep 13, 2010

Northern Europe

The Ocean Princess is the smallest ship owned by Princess with only 674 passengers. I really enjoyed the pleasant atmosphere on board this ship. No crowds or long line-ups at any time. Very friendly crew, eager to please and solve any problems. Excellent food, especially in the specialty dining rooms where we ate all our dinners except for the very first night. We had a verandeh stateroom on a high deck. Quiet and comfortable. Beds were fine.

Not deluxe, but no suprises given that the ship was built over 10 years ago. I did not participate in any on-board activities as I was too tired after taking a shore excursion every day. It was a short 7 day cruise with only one day at sea, which suited me just fine. The relaxed atmosphere was evident with all the excursions which never had more than 25 people per group. I always try to get on the last coach, becuae it usually has the fewest number of passengers. Be sure to take the Anne Frank House tour in Amsterdam - the official tours bypass the long queues of tourists waiting to enter. We packed a lot of activity into this cruise with visits to Amsterdam, Hamburg, Lubeck, Schwerin, transit of the Kiel Canal, Copenhagen and Oslo. The highlight of the cruise was an impromptu concert by locals at the German seaside resort of Travemunde.. Hundreds of people crowded the dock to hear the music and wave goodbye to our ship.. I have never received such a warm send-off in a port before - my arms were so tired from waving at everyone on the shore!

Read More
  • New

Sep 13, 2010

Northern Europe

The Ocean Princess is the smallest ship owned by Princess with only 674 passengers. I really enjoyed the pleasant atmosphere on board this ship. No crowds or long line-ups at any time. Very friendly crew, eager to please and solve any problems. Excellent food, especially in the specialty dining rooms where we ate all our dinners except for the very first night. We had a verandeh stateroom on a high deck. Quiet and comfortable. Beds were fine.

Not deluxe, but no surprises given that the ship was built over 10 years ago. I did not participate in any on-board activities as I was too tired after taking a shore excursion every day. It was a short 7 day cruise with only one day at sea, which suited me just fine. The relaxed atmosphere was evident with all the excursions which never had more than 25 people per group. I always try to get on the last coach, because it usually has the fewest number of passengers. Be sure to take the Anne Frank House tour in Amsterdam - the official tours bypass the long queues of tourists waiting to enter. We packed a lot of activity into this cruise with visits to Amsterdam, Hamburg, Lubeck, Schwerin, transit of the Kiel Canal, Copenhagen and Oslo. The highlight of the cruise was an impromptu concert by locals at the German seaside resort of Travemunde.. Hundreds of people crowded the dock to hear the music and wave goodbye to our ship.. I have never received such a warm send-off in a port before - my arms were so tired from waving at everyone on the shore!

Read More
  • New

Sep 13, 2010

Northern Europe

The Ocean Princess is the smallest ship owned by Princess with only 674 passengers. I really enjoyed the pleasant atmosphere on board this ship. No crowds or long line-ups at any time. Very friendly crew, eager to please and solve any problems. Excellent food, especially in the specialty dining rooms where we ate all our dinners except for the very first night. We had a verandeh stateroom on a high deck. Quiet and comfortable. Beds were fine.

Not deluxe, but no surprises given that the ship was built over 10 years ago. I did not participate in any on-board activities as I was too tired after taking a shore excursion every day. It was a short 7 day cruise with only one day at sea, which suited me just fine. The relaxed atmosphere was evident with all the excursions which never had more than 25 people per group. I always try to get on the last coach, because it usually has the fewest number of passengers. Be sure to take the Anne Frank House tour in Amsterdam - the official tours bypass the long queues of tourists waiting to enter. We packed a lot of activity into this cruise with visits to Amsterdam, Hamburg, Lubeck, Schwerin, transit of the Kiel Canal, Copenhagen and Oslo. The highlight of the cruise was an impromptu concert by locals at the German seaside resort of Travemunde.. Hundreds of people crowded the dock to hear the music and wave goodbye to our ship.. I have never received such a warm send-off in a port before - my arms were so tired from waving at everyone on the shore!

Read More

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