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Top Princess Cruises Tips and Tricks You Need to Know


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We have learned a thing or two on our several sailings with Princess Cruises. So, we put together this post to help fellow cruisers make the most of their upcoming Princess Cruises vacation. Armed with our top Princess Cruises Tips and Tricks you will be miles ahead of everyone else on the ship. That way you can relax and have an unforgettable cruise vacation.

Top Princess Cruises Tips and Tricks You Need to Know

Know What’s Included in Princess Plus and Princess Premier Packages

Princess Cruises has introduced a new fare structure. Understanding what is included in each new option is crucial to ensure you pick the right fare for your cruise. When looking online, the first fare shown, and the lowest price for the cruise, is the “cruise only rate”.

This rate includes all of the standard Princess Cruises inclusions, like most dining, onboard activities, and entertainment. However, cruises are not all-inclusive. So, several additional experiences and upgrades are not part of this standard price. This is where the new Princess Plus and Princess Premier packages come into the equation.

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For an upgrade of $60 per person per day, cruisers who select the Princess Plus fare will receive the Plus Beverage Package, Wi-Fi for one device, crew appreciation (standard daily gratuity), and other new additions like premium desserts and fitness classes. Princess Cruises claims this is a savings of over 50% when compared to purchasing these options a la carte.

For even further savings, cruisers can opt for the Princess Premier fare. This package includes the most inclusive beverage package, the Premier Beverage Package, 2 specialty dining meals, and Wi-Fi for up to 4 devices each.

There are other perks too, like a photo package, reserved theater seating, and the chance to win Princess prizes. This package is an additional $80 per person per day, a savings of over 65%.

Depending on the your preferences, these packages might make sense to upgrade at the time of booking. For our last trip, we had the Princess Plus, and this option was perfect.

If you are like us and plan to purchase a couple of these perks for your cruise (or even just the drink package), then these fares will certainly save you money.

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Book With a Travel Advisor

Opting for one of the new packages is a great way to save money. Another easy way to save even more when booking your cruise is to work with a trusted travel advisor. Travel advisors can help you through the process of selecting the right ship, cabin, and itinerary for your cruise.

Also, travel advisors offer several other perks. There is the possibility that they have access to group rates that are lower than the cruise line fares. Even if the fare is the same, travel advisors can offer perks like onboard credit, specialty dining credits, free shore excursions, or other freebies like Wi-Fi or gratuities.

The best part: if you time things right with a cruise line promotion, travel advisor discounts are often combinable with cruise line sales and deals. So, you can get double the savings by taking advantage of multiple promotions simultaneously.

Even though we have been on over 70 cruises, we usually book with a travel advisor. Not only do you recognize savings, but there is also someone in your corner if you have any issues or need assistance before or during the trip.

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Download the MedallionClass App

Princess Cruises has introduced its MedallionClass Experience fleetwide. This technological advancement is designed to make your vacation personalized and effortless. All this is made possible with two simple elements, a Medallion and the MedallionClass App (or other connected technologies onboard the ship).

So, as soon as you book your cruise vacation, you should download the MedallionClass app to your smartphone. It will help you customize and maximize your trip.

Don’t worry, you can still use the app and its functionality even if you do not purchase an internet package. Simply put your phone in airplane mode and connect to the ship’s MedallionNet WiFi.

While we do recommend downloading the app, those who are not tech-savvy or prefer not to carry their phone can still enjoy the MedallionClass experience by utilizing portals around the ship or their stateroom televisions.

Pick a Medallion (and Accessories)

With the app in hand, you can review your schedule and deck plans, as well as other features we will touch on a bit later. One unique feature is the ability to customize your Medallion. The medallion is a lightweight, wearable device that doubles as your onboard key card.

By default, Princess Cruises will send you a Medallion highlighting your current level in the cruise line’s loyalty program as part of your cruise fare.

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However, cruisers can spend $5 to customize the Medallion face further. Each Princess Cruises’ ship has its own insignia, which is what I always select. Cruisers can also select their birthstone, favorite destinations, astrological sign, or other symbols right in the app.

Further, while your Medallion will come with a lanyard to wear around the ship, there are other accessories one can purchase too. Honestly, we suggest upgrading to a more discrete accessory. The cruise line offers small clips that seamlessly attach to a shirt or jacket. Heidi and I prefer some wristbands, varying from plastic sports bands to silver and gold jewelry-inspired options. I don’t have to tell you what Heidi opts for when sailing with Princess!

Familiarize Yourself With Stateroom Options

When booking your next cruise, another one of our helpful Princess Cruises tips and tricks is knowing that not all staterooms are created equal. Princess Cruises offers a variety of cabin categories. From interior rooms to balcony cabins and luxurious suites, you should carefully review which option suits your travel party best.

If you have sailed with other cruise lines, you should be aware that standard balcony cabins on Princess Cruises do not have the seating area that comes standard in most balcony cabins on other lines. You will get a generously sized closet instead, but there will be no loveseat or coffee table in the cabin. If you want this seating area, you must upgrade to at least a deluxe balcony or a mini-suite.

Consider Cabin Upgrades

Don’t worry if your original cabin selection is not your preferred choice. You might still have the option to get a better cabin at a discounted rate. Depending on cabin availability and your cruise ship’s capacity, Princess Cruises might give you the option to upgrade.

Princess Upgrade program gives guests the ability to bid on better accommodations.

Now, this does come with a catch. If your bid is accepted, you will be automatically put in a room in that category, but you might not know the cabin location until closer to the sailing. If there are certain cabin locations you want to avoid, like a particular deck or area of the ship, then this program may not be right for you. This is especially true if you are prone to motion sickness.

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This program is not always available based on capacity. Of course, there is also no guarantee that your bid will be accepted. We have gotten lucky with these programs on several cruise lines, so we gave it a shot on our last Majestic Princess cruise. Luckily, we bid only $10 more per person than the minimum for a premium deluxe balcony cabin, and it was accepted.

So, not only did we get a larger room with a seating area and a massive balcony, we got it for a fraction of the cost.

Make Sure to Get OceanReady

Once you have made your final payment on the trip, you can begin to get OceanReady. This is one of the biggest Princess Cruises tips and tricks, as it will help to expedite boarding the ship on embarkation day.

You will need to upload travel documents like your passport, a security photo, and order your wearable Medallion. You can also add any food allergies, accessibility needs, or other customizations to your Ocean Profile.

During the check-in process, you will need to choose an arrival time as well. Once “ocean ready”, you can proceed to the “green lane” at the terminal on embarkation day. This green lane will get you to the ship quicker and get your vacation started sooner.

Dine My Way Tips

With Princess Cruises Dine My Way, guests have the ability to choose a more traditional approach to dining or a more freestyle approach. Using the MedallionClass technology, you can make all of your dining reservations pre-cruise if you prefer.

In terms of the main dining rooms, you can choose to dine at the same time every night or make varying reservations based on your schedule. You can also select a private table or choose to dine with others.

Additionally, the Dine My Way feature allows you to make reservations at the specialty restaurants. On Princess Cruises, the specialty restaurants are very reasonably priced and offer a variety of options.

Whether you enjoy a classic steakhouse experience, an Italian trattoria, or seafood, you should definitely book at least one of the onboard specialty restaurants. This experience makes for a great formal night dinner.

We recommend you make all your dining reservations as soon as possible, as popular dining times do book up quickly.

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Muster Drill is Now Digital

Like many cruise lines, Princess Cruises has also implemented a digital muster drill. This mandatory safety briefing can now be completed primarily on your phone (or stateroom television) on embarkation day.

Simply watch the required video, make a quick visit to your muster station, and listen to the ship-wide announcement. You no longer need to crowd with other guests near the lifeboats to conduct this mandatory safety drill. It also gives you more time to enjoy more of the ship on embarkation day.

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Prepare Your Cabin

Regardless of your cabin selection, we have some tried and true cabin hacks to ready your room for the rest of your trip. We always recommend packing magnetic hooks to hang items like bags, hats, and coats. Another packable item we always take is an over-the-door shoe organizer. Here, you can place accessories, sun tan lotion, sunglasses, jewelry, cords, and other small electronics to help you save valuable storage space.

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Also, we recommend unpacking everything from your suitcases on the first day, including your clothes. Packing cubes will make this task easy and organized. Then, with your bags unpacked, make sure to place your suitcase under the bed; that way, you have as much space as possible in your stateroom. Another item we suggest is a cruise-approved power brick. That way, you have extra USBs and outlets for charging items like phones, computers, cameras, watches, and other digital gadgets.

Let the Carpet Guide You Home

Another one of our Princess Cruises tips and tricks is to take note of the carpet near your stateroom. On Princess Cruises’ ships, the carpet color/pattern is different on the starboard and portside of the ship. This will easily help you pick the right direction when exiting an elevator to head back to your stateroom.

The distinction was subtle on Discovery Princess, but other cruisers report some ships having a bolder color distinction. Either way, this is another useful strategy to help guide you home during your cruise.

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Explore the Ship on Embarkation Day

If you are like us, you have been planning your trip for some time. This likely means you have reviewed those deck plans on the Princess Cruises website. Well, now is the time to check out the ship in real life. We always allocate time on embarkation day for some ship exploration.

The cruise line’s app and digital touch screens make exploring the ship easy. Plus, it is nearly impossible to get lost.

Heidi and I usually go all the way to the top of the ship and work our way down. Many popular spots that will be busy the rest of the week tend to be less congested on day 1. This includes places like the fitness center or spa. If you are traveling with little ones, make sure to check out the kids area and youth center as well. 

With a few laps around the ship, you will have your general sense of the ship layout, and be one step ahead of everyone else. Further, if you are looking to take some photos or videos of the public spaces, early on embarkation day is a great time to do so before the crowds arrive.

You Can Get Food and Drinks Delivered Directly to You

With Princess Cruises OceanNow feature, you can order food and drinks from an on-demand menu, and staff will deliver them to your exact location on the ship, with no delivery service fee.

There are several complimentary food items as well as some up-charge items on the menu. The drinks are included in the beverage packages as well, or they will be charged to your shipboard account if you don’t have one.

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Now, if you want a frozen cocktail while lounging by the pool or want some lunch while relaxing on your balcony, it only takes a few simple clicks. You will even get real-time updates to let you know when your order is on its way.

The Menus Are in the App

As we have been mentioning, the app has some great features. Perhaps one of the most important ones for me is all the information about dining found on the app. Along with reserving dining and finding out hours of operation, you can also check out the dining menus.

This makes planning your meals on a Princess cruise much easier. Do you want to dine at the main dining room or buffet? Well, you can see what is on the MDR menu right in the app to help you make that decision. Not sure if you want to upgrade to specialty restaurants? The app has all of those menus as well.

Further, all the menus for the entire week are in the app in advance of your sailing. So, you can plan for the entire trip and have one less thing to worry about during your vacation.

Opt for Specialty Dining

The main dining room on Princess Cruises serves up exquisite three-course meals each night. Yet, the specialty restaurants on Princess Cruises offer a further elevated experience. Most ships boast the signature steakhouse, the Crown Grill. This venue offers perfectly seared filets, porterhouses, or my personal favorite, the beef chop. It is well worth the upgrade.

Depending on your ship, there might be Sabitini’s as well, the line’s specialty Italian restaurant. New in 2023, there is also The Catch by Rudi’s. This seafood-centric venue offers delicious options from renowned chef Rudi Sodamin. With classics like spaghetti and clams, as well as surf and turf, it is perfect for a fancy night out or to celebrate a special occasion.

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The best part about specialty restaurants on Princess Cruises is that they are a fraction of the cost of many contemporary cruise lines. Not to mention, if you opt for the Princess Premier Package, you receive two free specialty restaurant credits that can be used at any of the restaurants.

Definitely Try the Best Pizza at Sea

On every Princess Cruises’ ship, guests can enjoy three meals a day included in the standard cruise fare. There are a variety of complimentary venues ranging from the upscale main dining rooms to other casual eateries and even room service (which is still free unlike many other cruise lines).

Some of these options include the International Café, grill favorites by the pool, and the World Fresh Marketplace buffet. Our personal favorites though are Alfredo’s & Gigi’s Pizzerias. These sit-down restaurants are complimentary and serve up the best pizza at sea!

Definitely make it a point to sample some of these handmade pies on your next Princess cruise.

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Find Your Friends (and Way Around the Ship)

Princess Cruises provides a point to point wayfinding system and digital deck plans both in the MedallionClass app and on portals located around the ship. So, you can easily locate venues and even get step by step directions to help guide you to your destination. 

Further, you can track your shipmates’ locations to easily meet up with them on the ship. That’s right, you can see if your kids are really at the kids club. Or, you can check in on your husband to make sure he isn’t back at the casino or that your wife isn’t shopping again. Don’t worry if this sounds a bit too Big Brother for you, as this feature can easily be turned off if you don’t want to be found.

Don’t Miss a Thing With the Princess Patter

The Princess Patter is the daily activity planner delivered to your stateroom each evening. This schedule will detail all the events and entertainment options occurring the following day. It will also provide other helpful information like what time the restaurants are open, the all aboard time at your ports of call, and more.

Be sure to read the Princess Patter and even highlight the events that interest you, so you don’t miss out on any of the fun.

If you’d prefer to go paperless, the JourneyView section of the Princess Cruises app (or ship portals) allows you to view the daily activities and to bookmark your favorites as well.

Attend Enrichment Sessions

Depending on the region, you will want to check the daily schedule for enrichment sessions. For instance, Princess Cruises is consistently rated as one of the best cruise lines in Alaska.

During these sailings, Princess offers many Alaska-themed activities as part of its award-winning “North to Alaska” programming. With enrichment opportunities on Alaskan culture, food, history, landscape, and wildlife, you must attend these presentations.

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Led by local naturalists and other experts, these talks are informative and engaging, providing guests with greater insight into the Alaskan Frontier and the ship’s ports of call. They are not just shore excursion talks like some other cruise lines.

Additionally, during the day of scenic cruising through Glacier Bay National Park, rangers board the ship to provide narration, making the experience even more memorable.

You Can Use Your Medallion to Pay Ashore

With the MedallionPay feature, guests not only have access to contactless payment on the ship but also while ashore, allowing for secure transactions in ports of call.

In select destinations, you can use your Princess Medallion to make purchases at participating shops, restaurants, and bars. This feature even includes 7% back on shoreside purchases as onboard credit.

MedallionPay currently is available in St. Thomas, Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel, Puerta Vallarta, and select Alaska ports, with more destinations and merchants planned for the future.

There’s Self Service Laundry

Princess Cruises offers a variety of longer itineraries in various locations across the globe. To help you save a little room in your suitcases, Princess Cruises has self service laundry rooms on most decks.

You can purchase detergent as well as utilize the washers and dryers at your convenience. The best part is that there are even irons and ironing boards in the laundry rooms. This way you can stay pressed and look your best each evening.

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Enjoy Movies Under the Stars

Princess Cruises is known for its Movies Under the Stars. What could be better than cuddling up with your loved ones to enjoy a movie on the big screen? With comfy lounge chairs and provided blankets, this is a perfect low-key evening activity.

There is no fee to attend these Movies Under the Stars, and there is even complimentary popcorn, as well as milk and cookies.

Feel Fancy With Some Afternoon Tea

Akin to more luxury cruise lines, Princess Cruises offers Afternoon Tea served by white-gloved waiters. This experience occurs in the main dining room and is complimentary for all guests.

You can enjoy a selection of teas (or coffee) along with some small sandwiches, scones, and other desserts.

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This is a perfect afternoon activity, especially during Alaska sailings, when the weather outside doesn’t lend itself to lounging poolside.

You will want to check the Princess Patter (or app) once onboard for when this event will occur on your particular sailing.

Consider Upgrading Your Experience

Princess Cruises offers a few exclusive areas on its ships that provide an upscale experience during your cruise vacation.

First, there is the Sanctuary. This top-deck, private area is exclusively for adults and has a dedicated service team to meet all your needs. You can purchase full day or half passes for loungers or a cabana.

During your time in the Sanctuary, you will be treated to food and drinks from an elevated menu. There is also a private hottub to take in the views from all the way forward on the ship.

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Then, there is also the Lotus Spa’s thermal suite, the Enclave, found on newer ships in the Princess fleet. This exclusive area features a therapy pool, heated loungers, a steam room, sauna, and more. Guests can purchase either a week-long pass or a day pass for ultimate relaxation.

If you are looking for a complimentary escape from the crowds, head to the Retreat Pool and Bar (on select ships). Located nearby the Sanctuary, this area is still adults-only but comes at no additional cost.

Join the Captain’s Circle

Like most cruise lines, Princess Cruises has a loyalty program called the Captain’s Circle. You will automatically become a Circle member after completing your first Princess cruise.

The more you sail with Princess, the more points you earn to work your way up the ranks. Each loyalty tier has exclusive perks like discounts on WiFi, spa treatments, and photos, as well as early access to dining reservations, priority boarding, and more.

It certainly pays to be loyal to one cruise line.

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Comments

Did you find our top Princess Cruises tips and tricks you need to know helpful? Do you have any other tips or tricks to add to this list? Drop us an anchor below to share your experiences sailing with Princess Cruises.

The post Top Princess Cruises Tips and Tricks You Need to Know appeared first on EatSleepCruise.com.

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