Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 392 out of 500
Accommodation: 150 out of 200
Food: 252 out of 400
Service: 286 out of 400
Entertainment: 71 out of 100
Cruise: 287 out of 400
Overall Score: 1438 out of 2000
Ocean Princess Statistics
Size: Small Ship
Cruise Line: Princess Cruises
Former Names: Tahitian Princess, R Four
IMO Number: 9187899
Builder: Chantiers de l’Atlantique (France)
Original Cost: $150 million
Entered Service: Nov 1999/Dec 2002
Length (ft/m): 593.7/181.0
Beam (ft/m): 83.5/25.5
Draft (ft/m): 19.5/6.0
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (18,600kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 9
Total Crew: 373
Passengers (lower beds): 688
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 44.1
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.8
Cabins (total): 344
Size Range (sq ft/m): 145.3-968.7/13.5-90.0
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 232
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 3
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 1
Hot Tubs (on deck): 3
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
An informal smaller ship for mature-age cruisers
Overview. This ship is perhaps best suited to mature-age couples, and older singles who like to mingle in a small ship setting with pleasing, sophisticated surroundings and lifestyle, reasonably good entertainment and fairly decent food and service, all at an affordable price.
The Ship. Ocean Princess (known as Tahitian Princess until 2009) and sister ship Pacific Princess are an ideal size for smaller ports. The value for money is extremely good, and gives you with a chance to cruise in comfort aboard a small ship with some interesting dining choices. There’s very little entertainment, but it is not really needed in its main cruise areas such as Europe and Australasia. Ocean Princess is much more about relaxation than the larger ships in the Princess Cruises fleet, and would make a good child-free vessel.
The interior decor is stunning and elegant, a throwback to ship decor of the ocean liners of the 1920s and ’30s. This includes detailed ceiling cornices, both real and faux wrought-iron staircase railings, leather- and cherry wood-paneled walls, trompe l’oeil ceilings, rich carpeting in hallways with an Oriental rug-look center section, and many other interesting and expensive-looking decorative touches. The overall feel is of an old-world country club. The staircase in the main, two-deck-high foyer may remind you of the one in the 1998 movie Titanic.
The public rooms are spread over three decks. The reception hall has a staircase with intricate wrought-iron railings. The Nightclub, with forward-facing views, sits high in the ship and has Polynesian-inspired decor and furniture.
There are plenty of bars - including one in the entrance to each restaurant. Perhaps the nicest can be found in the casino bar/lounge, a beautiful room reminiscent of London’s grand hotels and understated gaming clubs. It has an inviting marble fireplace, comfortable sofas, and individual chairs. There is also a large card room, which incorporates an Internet center, with eight stations.
The Library, a grand room designed in the Regency style by the Scottish interior designer John McNeece, has a fireplace, a high, indented, trompe l’oeil ceiling, and an excellent selection of books, plus some comfortable wingback chairs with footstools, and sofas you can easily fall asleep on - it’s the most relaxing room aboard.
There is no walk-around promenade deck outdoors, though there’s a small jogging track around the perimeter of the swimming pool, and port and starboard side decks. There are no wooden decks outdoors; instead, they are covered by a sand-colored rubberized material. There is no sauna. Stairways, although carpeted, are tinny. To keep prices low, the air routing to get to and from your ship is often not the most direct. There is a charge for using machines in the self-service launderette and you have to obtain tokens from the reception desk - a change machine in the launderette itself would be better.
Drinks prices are generally moderate, while beer prices are high. As with all Princess Cruises ships, 15 percent is added to bar and spa accounts and a standard gratuity is added to your onboard account. To reduce the amount, you must visit the reception desk.
Accommodation. There are several different cabin types. All of the standard interior and outside-view cabins are extremely tight for two persons, particularly for cruises longer than seven days. Cabins have twin beds (convertible to a queen-size bed), with good under-bed storage areas, personal safe, vanity desk with large mirror, good closet and drawer space in rich, dark woods, and bathrobe. The infotainment television system carries a variety of programming, news, sports and round-the-clock movies. The bathrooms, which have tiled floors and plain walls, are compact, standard units, and include a shower enclosure with a removable, strong hand-held shower unit, hairdryer, cotton towels, toiletries storage shelves, and a retractable clothesline.
The suites/cabins with private balconies (66 percent of all suites/cabins, or 73 percent of all outside-view suites/cabins) have partial, and not full, balcony partitions, sliding glass doors, and, due to good design and layout, only 14 cabins on Deck 6 have lifeboat-obstructed views. The balcony floor is covered in thick plastic matting - teak would be nicer - and some awful plastic furniture.
Mini-Suites. These are in reality simply larger cabins than the standard varieties, as the sleeping and lounge areas aren’t divided. While not overly large, the bathrooms have a good-size tub and ample space for storing toiletries. The living area has a refrigerated minibar, lounge area with breakfast table, and a balcony with two plastic chairs and a table.
Owner’s Suites. Ten Owner’s Suites, the most spacious accommodation, are fine, large living spaces in the forward-most and aft-most sections; particularly nice are those that overlook the stern, on Decks 6, 7, and 8. They have more extensive balconies that can’t be overlooked by anyone from the decks above. There is an entrance foyer, living room, bedroom, CD player, bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, as well as a small guest bathroom. The bed faces the sea, which can be seen through the floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass door.
Be aware that all accommodation at the stern may suffer from vibration and noise, particularly when the ship is close to full speed, or maneuvering in port.
Dining. Flexibility and choice are what this mid-size ship’s dining facilities are all about. There is a choice of four different dining spots, including a self-serve buffet:
The Club Restaurant has 338 seats (all with armrests), and a large raised central section. There are large windows on three sides, several prime tables overlooking the stern, and a small bandstand for occasional live dinner music. The noise level can be high, due to its single deck height ceiling. This restaurant is operated in two seatings, with dinner typically at 6pm and 8.15pm - the others have open dining hours.
Sabatini’s Trattoria is an extra-charge, reservations-required Italian restaurant, with 96 seats (all with armrests), windows along two sides, and a set ‘Bellissima’ three-hour dégustation menu.
Sterling Steakhouse is an extra-charge, reservations-required American-style steak house with 98 seats (all with armrests), and windows along two sides. There’s a set menu, plus the chef’s daily specials. There are few tables for two.
The Lido Café has indoor and outdoor seating (white plastic patio furniture outdoor). It is open for breakfast, lunch, and casual dinners. As the ship’s self-serve buffet restaurant, it incorporates a small pizzeria and grill. Basic salads, a meat-carving station, and a reasonable selection of cheeses are served daily. There is also a Poolside Grill and Bar for fast food items.
Entertainment. The 345-seat Cabaret Lounge has a stage, and circular hardwood dance floor with banquette and individual tub chair seating, and raised sections on port and starboard sides. It is not large, and not really designed for production shows, so cabaret acts form the main focus, with mini-revue style shows presented by a troupe of resident singer/dancers in a potted version of what you might experience aboard the large ships of Princess Cruises.
A band, small musical units, and solo entertaining pianists provide live music for shows and dancing in the various lounges and bars before and after dinner.
Spa/Fitness. A gymnasium has ocean-view windows, high-tech muscle-toning equipment and treadmills, steam rooms (no sauna), changing areas for men and women, and a beauty salon with ocean views. The spa is operated by Steiner, a specialist concession. A lido deck has a swimming pool, and good sunbathing space, while an aft deck has a thalassotherapy pool. A jogging track circles the pool deck, but one deck above. The uppermost outdoors deck includes a golf driving net and shuffleboard court.