Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 378 out of 500
Accommodation: 148 out of 200
Food: 246 out of 400
Service: 278 out of 400
Entertainment: 75 out of 100
Cruise: 284 out of 400
Overall Score: 1409 out of 2000
Sun Princess Statistics
Size: Mid-size Ship
Cruise Line: Princess Cruises
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 9000259
Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)
Original Cost: $300 million
Entered Service: Dec 1995
Registry: Great Britain
Length (ft/m): 857.2/261.3
Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2
Draft (ft/m): 26.5/8.1
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (28,000kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 10
Total Crew: 900
Passengers (lower beds): 1,950
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 39.7
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2
Cabins (total): 975
Size Range (sq ft/m): 134.5-753.4/12.5-70.0
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 410
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 19
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 3
Hot Tubs (on deck): 5
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: Australian $
This family-friendly mid-sized ship has modern decor
Overview. Sun Princess absorbs passengers well, and has a quasi-intimate feel, with warm, welcoming decor.
The Ship. In November 2007, Sun Princess was assigned to Australia, operating cruises from Sydney, Melbourne, and Fremantle. The onboard currency became the Australian dollar, the entertainment was geared to Australian tastes, and other aspects of the cruise operation modified accordingly.
This all-white ship has a good profile, and is well balanced by its large funnel, which contains a deck tennis/basketball/volleyball court in its sheltered aft base. There is a wide, teakwood walk-around promenade deck outdoors, some real teak steamer-style deck chairs with royal blue cushioned pads, and 93,000 sq ft (8,600 sq m) of space outdoors. An extensive glass area on the upper decks provides plenty of light and connection with the outside world.
A wide array of public rooms includes several intimate rooms and spaces so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by large spaces. The interior focal point (and always a good place to arrange to meet others) is a pleasant four-deck-high atrium lobby with winding, double stairways, and two panoramic glass-walled elevators.
The main entertainment rooms are located underneath three decks of cabins. There is plenty of space, the traffic flow is good, and the ship absorbs people well. There are two showlounges, one at each end of the ship; one is a pleasant theater-style space where movies are also shown, and the other is a cabaret-style lounge, complete with bar.
The library is a warm, welcoming room with ocean-view windows, and has six large buttery leather chairs for listening to audio CDs. There is a conference center for up to 300, as well as a business center. The collection of artwork is good, particularly on the stairways, and helps make the ship feel smaller than it is, although in places it doesn’t always seem coordinated.
The most traditional room (a standard aboard all Princess ships) aboard is the Wheelhouse Lounge/Bar, decorated in the style of a late 19th-century gentleman’s club, complete with wood paneling and comfortable seating. Its focal point is a large ship model from the P&O archives.
One nice feature is the captain’s cocktail party; it is held in the four-deck-high main atrium so you can come and go as you please - and there’s no standing in line to have your photograph taken with the captain if you don’t want to.
Niggles include the layout: there are a number of dead ends in the interior, so it’s not as user-friendly as a ship this size should be. The cabin numbering system is extremely illogical, with numbers going through several hundred series on the same deck. The walls of the passenger accommodation decks are very plain. The swimming pools are small for the number of passengers carried, and the pool deck is cluttered with white, plastic sunloungers that lack cushioned pads.
Accommodation. There are many different cabin grades. Although the standard outside-view and interior cabins are small, they are well designed, with a functional layout, and have earth tone colors accentuated by splashes of color from the bedspreads. Many of the outside-view cabins have private balconies, and all are quite well soundproofed, although the balcony partition is not floor-to-ceiling type, so you can hear your neighbors clearly. The balconies are very narrow, just large enough for two small chairs.
A ‘reasonable’ amount of closet and abundant drawer and other storage space is provided in all cabins - just about adequate for a seven-night cruise, as are a TV set and refrigerator. However, for longer voyages, the cabin closet space could prove to be much too small.
Each night a chocolate will appear on your pillow. The cabin bathrooms are practical, and come complete with all the details one needs, although they really are tight spaces, one-person-at-a-time units. They have a decent shower enclosure, real glasses, a hairdryer and bathrobe, and a small amount of shelving for toiletries.
The largest accommodation is in six suites, two on each of three decks at the stern, with large private balcony (536-754 sq ft/50-70 sq m, including balcony). They are well laid-out, and have large bathrooms with two washbasins, a Jacuzzi tub, and a separate shower enclosure. The bedroom has pleasing wood accenting and detailing, while the living area includes a dining room table and four chairs.
Mini-suites (374-536 sq ft/35-50 sq m) typically have two lower beds that convert to a queen-size bed. There is a separate bedroom/sleeping area with vanity desk, and a lounge with sofa and coffee table, indented ceilings with wood accenting and detailing, walk-in closet, and larger bathroom with Jacuzzi tub and separate shower enclosure.
Some are 19 wheelchair-accessible cabins, which measure 213-305 sq ft (20-28 sq m), in a mix of seven outside-view and 12 interior cabins.
Dining. There are two main dining rooms of asymmetrical design: Marquis and Regency; they are located adjacent to the two lower levels of the four-deck-high atrium lobby. Each seats around 500, has its own galley, and is split into multi-tier sections that help create a feeling of intimacy, although there is a lot of noise from the waiter stations adjacent to many tables. Breakfast and lunch are provided in an open-seating arrangement, while dinner is in two seatings.
On any given seven-day cruise, a typical menu cycle may include a Sailaway Dinner, Captain’s Welcome Dinner, Chef’s Dinner, Italian Dinner, French Dinner, Captain’s Gala Dinner, and Landfall Dinner. The wine list is reasonable but not good, and the company has, sadly, dispensed with wine waiters. Note that 15 percent is automatically added to all beverage bills, including wines.
Other dining options. For some really good meat, consider the extra-cost Sterling Steakhouse; there are four different cuts of Angus beef - Filet Mignon, New York Strip, Porterhouse, and Rib-Eye, first presented on a silver tray. There is also a barbecued chicken option, with baked potato or French fries as accompaniments. This is available as an alternative to the dining rooms between 6.30pm and 9.30pm but, instead of being a separate, intimate room, it is located in a section of the Horizon Buffet, with its own portable bar and some decorative touches to set it apart from the regular buffet area.
The Horizon Buffet itself is open 24 hours a day, and, at night, has an informal dinner setting with sit-down waiter service. The buffet displays are, for the most part, fairly repetitious. There is no real finesse in presentation, however, as plastic plates are provided, instead of trays.
There is also a patisserie (for extra-cost cappuccino/espresso coffees and pastries), a wine/caviar bar, and a pizzeria (complete with cobblestone floors and wrought-iron decorative features), and a choice of six excellent pizzas.
Entertainment. There are two showlounges, both theatre- and cabaret-style. The main one, the Princess Theater, has a sloping floor, with aisle-style seating that is well-tiered, and with good sight lines to the raised stage from most of the 500 seats.
The 480-seat Vista Lounge, at the aft end, has cabaret entertainment, and acts as a lecture and presentation room. Princess Cruises has a good stable of regular cabaret acts to draw from, so there should be something for most tastes.
Spa/Fitness. A glass-walled Lotus Spa is located in an aft area of Riviera deck, and includes a gymnasium with high-tech machines, several massage/body treatment rooms, and a beauty salon. The facility is staffed and operated by a specialist spa concession.
Sports facilities are located in an open-air sports deck inside the funnel and adaptable for basketball, volleyball, badminton, or paddle tennis. Joggers can exercise on the walk-around open Promenade Deck.