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Some thoughts on the Sky Princess


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Hi all, 

 

We recently sailed on the Sky Princess (2/8-15) and I wanted to share some of my personal thoughts on the ship and overall experience.  This was our 12th Princess cruise, and 17th overall.  Most of our days on Princess have been on her sister ships the Regal and Royal.  This was also our first Medallion cruise.  All said, we had an enjoyable time and are still Princess enthusiasts.  We did purchase a few FCD's which speaks for itself.

 

The ship is obviously new and as others have reported, beautiful with the mix of warm tones and the pop of blue seen in many reviews.  Service was by and large typical of what we have experienced on prior cruises, with a few exceptions.  We did at times feel like the service was just a smidge less personal and wondered if it was just us, the new ship/staff or perhaps the Medallion??

 

Anyway, most of my thoughts are in the category of "head scratchers" or "what were they thinking" category.  Some of these have been mentioned before on previous threads or reviews, but this was my first time aboard so here goes:

 

The theatre....I'm not a facts or figures person, so I have no clue how many seats are available, but if you wanted to see the production shows and get prime seating you had to get there by 7:15 for the 8:00 show.  For Rock Opera we arrived at 7:00 and it was already filling up.  High demand because they are new?  Less seating?  No idea but that seems like an awfully long time to have to sit (and miss other things going on) to see the shows.  I should mention that both 5 Skies and Rock Opera were excellent in our opinion.  The magician/comedian Christopher James was also very good.  The other comedian was average.

 

Public bathrooms....some of the women's rooms were extremely tight in terms of space.  You had to be careful when you opened the main door to not knock into someone at the sink.  There seemed to be less space allotted in general, and also less sinks.  The wooden placards on the Royal and Regal reminding you to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water were not there - there is one laminated - looking sign telling you to wash for at least 20 seconds under running water - I often found it was impossible to get hot water in the restrooms.  Not good for hygiene and it seemed like PAX needed the missing reminders as the hand washing that I observed was minimal.  On a positive note, there are more unisex restrooms in various locations.

 

The Retreat Pool area....very mixed feelings about this.  As mentioned in prior reports, it's now two levels and surrounded by cabins on deck 17.  We were in one of those cabins actually, and proximity helped only marginally in terms of getting a deck chair as people were marking their territory at the crack of dawn only to disappear.  We are early risers and obviously had a pretty good view of the comings and goings.  Chair hogs are not unique to Princess and I don't have a good solution but it sure is annoying.  The pool itself is a real head scratcher, considering it's adults only and the demographic tends to skew "older" - no walk in stairs like on the Regal or Royal, and the depth all the way across is only slightly over 3 feet.  Most people "stood" on their knees" and just cooled off.  If you're a fan of shade, the layout did provide more of that.  However, the first sea day it was so windy that the deck chairs had to be removed and one of the entry doors was ripped from it's hinges and unusable the rest of the cruise.  I'll be curious to see if this layout is changed on future builds of that class of ships.

 

The IC, which is one of our favorite places to grab a salad or snack.....they have gone to pre-portioned servings in cute square glass dishes, which creates a few challenges - they are hard to eat out of because they are deep and narrow, and also because they are still using a standard round salad plate to put them on.  This means that if you select two salads, they barely fit on the plate and forget asking for 3.  A simple solution would be to use rectangular serving dishes designed to fit the new glass containers.

 

MIA sugar packets.  For some reason, the artificial sweeteners are still available in the places you'd expect to find them, however real sugar is in communal glass dispensers, and the "nozzle" is about the width of a straw.  Hygiene red flag as these are brought and left with guests in the IC, the dining rooms etc.  Just struck us as odd.

 

Ok, moving on....both Alfredos and the French Bistro have Al Fresco dinging available, but we didn't see anyone eating outside.  Alfredo's had been modernized (we prefer the old style Italian tiled tables) but the food and service was consistent.  The veal agnolotti (a favorite for many) does look as though the sauce has been changed, and it's a bit heavier, but overall it tastes pretty much like the original and I managed to eat more than my share.

 

A word on food in general.  We stayed out of the buffet and ate in the MDR, Alfredo's and once at Sabatini's.  Friends we were cruising with ate the majority of their meals in the buffet.  We all noted that though we were not in any danger of starvation....the food was by and large bland  and less variety (with the exception of Alfredo's).  Our meal at Sabatini's was both bland and lacking in the service department.  We waited 15 minutes just to get a refill on water - that seems unacceptable to me, especially when paying an upcharge.

 

Some thoughts about the changes to the venues.....Princess Live is a big improvement, but still could use more seating as it's a very popular venue.  We really, really enjoyed the take 5 Jazz Lounge and music and based on the increase in PAX who gathered there each evening I would guess this is a swing and a hit, particularly for those that like to dance.  The lack of Crooners meant that Vines filled up with people who wanted to have a drink and be close to the Piazza.  As did Bellini's next to the IC.  While the Crown Grill bar and Take 5 are both nice venues and had enjoyable music, they are removed from the action of the rest of the ship - this is a good thing or a bad thing depending on your preference.

 

Lest I forget, pats of butter were available in the MDR, but the Elite spa kits were not.  Pub lunch went "bye bye" as the Captain would say.  Small things for us, but for some, these things really impact their overall experience.  I would guess the longer you've been cruising you are more aware of the cutbacks.

 

We did really like the Medallion technology though we didn't use it to it's full extent. Being able to find each other on the ship, check our account and have the door open was very convenient. 

 

Now before anyone suggests we find another cruise line, let me say that we had a very good cruise on a lovely ship.  These are just some subjective thoughts I wanted to share here on cruise critic.  We still really enjoy the Princess experience and will continue to sail with them, though we both agree it might be time to try some other lines, particularly since we want to go to Bermuda.

 

Thanks for reading!

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33 minutes ago, voljeep said:

Solid report … Take 5 'didn't do it' for us - maybe we just went at a bad time/night  - will try again in November

It kind of grew on us - we both like jazz which helps, and enjoyed watching some of the couples dancing.  It seemed to gain more folks each night AND it was a great place to monitor how full the theatre was:)

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1 hour ago, cruiseintoheaven said:

Hi all, 

 

We recently sailed on the Sky Princess (2/8-15) and I wanted to share some of my personal thoughts on the ship and overall experience.  This was our 12th Princess cruise, and 17th overall.  Most of our days on Princess have been on her sister ships the Regal and Royal.  This was also our first Medallion cruise.  All said, we had an enjoyable time and are still Princess enthusiasts.  We did purchase a few FCD's which speaks for itself.

 

The ship is obviously new and as others have reported, beautiful with the mix of warm tones and the pop of blue seen in many reviews.  Service was by and large typical of what we have experienced on prior cruises, with a few exceptions.  We did at times feel like the service was just a smidge less personal and wondered if it was just us, the new ship/staff or perhaps the Medallion??

 

Anyway, most of my thoughts are in the category of "head scratchers" or "what were they thinking" category.  Some of these have been mentioned before on previous threads or reviews, but this was my first time aboard so here goes:

 

The theatre....I'm not a facts or figures person, so I have no clue how many seats are available, but if you wanted to see the production shows and get prime seating you had to get there by 7:15 for the 8:00 show.  For Rock Opera we arrived at 7:00 and it was already filling up.  High demand because they are new?  Less seating?  No idea but that seems like an awfully long time to have to sit (and miss other things going on) to see the shows.  I should mention that both 5 Skies and Rock Opera were excellent in our opinion.  The magician/comedian Christopher James was also very good.  The other comedian was average.

 

Public bathrooms....some of the women's rooms were extremely tight in terms of space.  You had to be careful when you opened the main door to not knock into someone at the sink.  There seemed to be less space allotted in general, and also less sinks.  The wooden placards on the Royal and Regal reminding you to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water were not there - there is one laminated - looking sign telling you to wash for at least 20 seconds under running water - I often found it was impossible to get hot water in the restrooms.  Not good for hygiene and it seemed like PAX needed the missing reminders as the hand washing that I observed was minimal.  On a positive note, there are more unisex restrooms in various locations.

 

The Retreat Pool area....very mixed feelings about this.  As mentioned in prior reports, it's now two levels and surrounded by cabins on deck 17.  We were in one of those cabins actually, and proximity helped only marginally in terms of getting a deck chair as people were marking their territory at the crack of dawn only to disappear.  We are early risers and obviously had a pretty good view of the comings and goings.  Chair hogs are not unique to Princess and I don't have a good solution but it sure is annoying.  The pool itself is a real head scratcher, considering it's adults only and the demographic tends to skew "older" - no walk in stairs like on the Regal or Royal, and the depth all the way across is only slightly over 3 feet.  Most people "stood" on their knees" and just cooled off.  If you're a fan of shade, the layout did provide more of that.  However, the first sea day it was so windy that the deck chairs had to be removed and one of the entry doors was ripped from it's hinges and unusable the rest of the cruise.  I'll be curious to see if this layout is changed on future builds of that class of ships.

 

The IC, which is one of our favorite places to grab a salad or snack.....they have gone to pre-portioned servings in cute square glass dishes, which creates a few challenges - they are hard to eat out of because they are deep and narrow, and also because they are still using a standard round salad plate to put them on.  This means that if you select two salads, they barely fit on the plate and forget asking for 3.  A simple solution would be to use rectangular serving dishes designed to fit the new glass containers.

 

MIA sugar packets.  For some reason, the artificial sweeteners are still available in the places you'd expect to find them, however real sugar is in communal glass dispensers, and the "nozzle" is about the width of a straw.  Hygiene red flag as these are brought and left with guests in the IC, the dining rooms etc.  Just struck us as odd.

 

Ok, moving on....both Alfredos and the French Bistro have Al Fresco dinging available, but we didn't see anyone eating outside.  Alfredo's had been modernized (we prefer the old style Italian tiled tables) but the food and service was consistent.  The veal agnolotti (a favorite for many) does look as though the sauce has been changed, and it's a bit heavier, but overall it tastes pretty much like the original and I managed to eat more than my share.

 

A word on food in general.  We stayed out of the buffet and ate in the MDR, Alfredo's and once at Sabatini's.  Friends we were cruising with ate the majority of their meals in the buffet.  We all noted that though we were not in any danger of starvation....the food was by and large bland  and less variety (with the exception of Alfredo's).  Our meal at Sabatini's was both bland and lacking in the service department.  We waited 15 minutes just to get a refill on water - that seems unacceptable to me, especially when paying an upcharge.

 

Some thoughts about the changes to the venues.....Princess Live is a big improvement, but still could use more seating as it's a very popular venue.  We really, really enjoyed the take 5 Jazz Lounge and music and based on the increase in PAX who gathered there each evening I would guess this is a swing and a hit, particularly for those that like to dance.  The lack of Crooners meant that Vines filled up with people who wanted to have a drink and be close to the Piazza.  As did Bellini's next to the IC.  While the Crown Grill bar and Take 5 are both nice venues and had enjoyable music, they are removed from the action of the rest of the ship - this is a good thing or a bad thing depending on your preference.

 

Lest I forget, pats of butter were available in the MDR, but the Elite spa kits were not.  Pub lunch went "bye bye" as the Captain would say.  Small things for us, but for some, these things really impact their overall experience.  I would guess the longer you've been cruising you are more aware of the cutbacks.

 

We did really like the Medallion technology though we didn't use it to it's full extent. Being able to find each other on the ship, check our account and have the door open was very convenient. 

 

Now before anyone suggests we find another cruise line, let me say that we had a very good cruise on a lovely ship.  These are just some subjective thoughts I wanted to share here on cruise critic.  We still really enjoy the Princess experience and will continue to sail with them, though we both agree it might be time to try some other lines, particularly since we want to go to Bermuda.

 

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for your thoughts.

 

Had the Pub lunch 3 times on the Sky during the Med/TA.

The Captain said it was no more? Or is that a joke on the Captains Tuvo's Bye Bye thing?

I find it hard to believe they would discontinue it.

 

We don't get to the theater any less then 30-45 minutes for any show on any Princess ship.

I would not expect a seat or at least 2 seats together showing up 15 minute before showtime.

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2 minutes ago, Colo Cruiser said:

Thanks for your thoughts.

 

Had the Pub lunch 3 times on the Sky during the Med/TA.

The Captain said it was no more?

 

We don't get to the theater any less then 30-45 minutes for any show on any Princess ship.

I would not expect a seat or at least 2 seats together showing up 15 minute before showtime.

Sorry, my play on Captain Tuvo’s signature “bye bye” didn’t translate well.  There was no announcement about the pub lunch - just a conspicuous lack of it - we have friends who looked for it daily.

 

We have always arrived early for shows - but never a full hour ahead in order to get decent seats for 2 people to sit together.  As I mentioned my guess is that these are newer shows so the demand is higher.  A passenger I spoke with said the theatre was smaller than the prior royal class of ships - I can’t speak to that.  

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Welcome home! We're contemplating coming back to Princess for a few great itineraries including one in Sky, so this info is great. Hope you all had a fantastic week making new memories together. Kay & Mark

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5 minutes ago, MarKay525 said:

Welcome home! We're contemplating coming back to Princess for a few great itineraries including one in Sky, so this info is great. Hope you all had a fantastic week making new memories together. Kay & Mark

Hi Kay!  Good to hear from you - hope all is well.  You should definitely give the Sky a chance - we are actually booked next Feb. 28 on a 10 day S. CARIBBEAN with Ken and Darlene.  I sure hope our cruising paths cross at some point!  

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6 hours ago, cruiseintoheaven said:

We were in one of those cabins actually, and proximity helped only marginally in terms of getting a deck chair as people were marking their territory at the crack of dawn only to disappear.  We are early risers and obviously had a pretty good view of the comings and goings.  Chair hogs are not unique to Princess and I don't have a good solution but it sure is annoying.

The solution is to neatly pack up their markers (towels?) and set them aside and sit in the chair if they truly are gone and don't return within 30 minutes.  If no one takes them to task over it, they will just continue to do it.

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Thanks for the review Lynn! I had worried about the Retreat pool and it sounds like I would not like the new set up. Love it on the Royal!

I'd love to go on a new ship, but we mostly cruise from the west coast. Glad you had a good cruise. It's nice to be on vacation. 

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Well thought out, constructive comments, people shouldn't criticize an informed opinion.

 

I've been reading about portions at IC, other ships, too, I'll have to see how it is in August.  I go to the IC for breakfast and lunch avoiding the buffet area.  I like little tastes of several salads so will be interesting! 🙂 

 

The talk about the theater has been an ongoing thing, on more reviews other than Royal class.  I don't know the answer.  I have sensitive hearing (for an older person) so I tend to arrive later, find a seat way back.

 

Cold water in restrooms bugs me.  It is a health concern, I've complained to local places I frequent about their lack of hot water in restrooms.  One we no longer go to because owner got nasty with me when I mentioned it.

 

Thanks!

 

 

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15 hours ago, cruiseintoheaven said:

The pool itself is a real head scratcher, considering it's adults only and the demographic tends to skew "older" - no walk in stairs like on the Regal or Royal, and the depth all the way across is only slightly over 3 feet.  Most people "stood" on their knees" and just cooled off.  If you're a fan of shade, the layout did provide more of that.

I'm happy they made it less deep than the other ships but to eliminate the stairs make me wonder. Is there a deep end or is it 3 feet deep the whole length of the pool? 

 

Glan that they now provide more shade since the other Royal class ships had practically none. 

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9 hours ago, Steelers36 said:

The solution is to neatly pack up their markers (towels?) and set them aside and sit in the chair if they truly are gone and don't return within 30 minutes.  If no one takes them to task over it, they will just continue to do it.

I agree with you 100%  - unfortunately my husband didn’t want to potentially create a “deck fight” lol.  I kept saying hogging the chairs was more rude than moving the articles....

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9 hours ago, jennybenny said:

Thanks for the review Lynn! I had worried about the Retreat pool and it sounds like I would not like the new set up. Love it on the Royal!

I'd love to go on a new ship, but we mostly cruise from the west coast. Glad you had a good cruise. It's nice to be on vacation. 

Hi Jenny - hope you are well!  Still doing Hawaii at Christmas?   We really liked many things about the Sky but overall I would say the Regal is my favorite ship.  😊

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1 hour ago, MissP22 said:

I'm happy they made it less deep than the other ships but to eliminate the stairs make me wonder. Is there a deep end or is it 3 feet deep the whole length of the pool? 

 

Glan that they now provide more shade since the other Royal class ships had practically none. 

Oddly the signage says 1’ and 6 or 9” (can’t recall) at the “shallow” end but is the same depth all the way across - if the sign is correct that’s 3’3”

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1 hour ago, susancruzs said:

Well thought out, constructive comments, people shouldn't criticize an informed opinion.

 

I've been reading about portions at IC, other ships, too, I'll have to see how it is in August.  I go to the IC for breakfast and lunch avoiding the buffet area.  I like little tastes of several salads so will be interesting! 🙂 

 

The talk about the theater has been an ongoing thing, on more reviews other than Royal class.  I don't know the answer.  I have sensitive hearing (for an older person) so I tend to arrive later, find a seat way back.

 

Cold water in restrooms bugs me.  It is a health concern, I've complained to local places I frequent about their lack of hot water in restrooms.  One we no longer go to because owner got nasty with me when I mentioned it.

 

Thanks!

 

 

Yes, that’s our pattern too - though we sometimes eat breakfast in the MDR.  The salads for lunch are still tasty but if like you mentioned you want a little bit of this and a little bit of that etc it’s a challenge or requires multiple trips.  

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2 hours ago, cruiseintoheaven said:

Hi Jenny - hope you are well!  Still doing Hawaii at Christmas?   We really liked many things about the Sky but overall I would say the Regal is my favorite ship.  😊

Not this year. At least we haven’t booked yet. We were planning on doing a land trip to Thailand, Japan or Vietnam but now I’m not sure.

 

The Royal is my favorite. I have not been on the Regal but I know I’d love it too! 

Glad you got away from the cold! 

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5 hours ago, MissP22 said:

I'm happy they made it less deep than the other ships but to eliminate the stairs make me wonder. Is there a deep end or is it 3 feet deep the whole length of the pool? 

3' 3" I think is the depth all the way across.

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