Princess Cruise Tips

If you’re going on a Princess cruise, here are some cruise tips you should know before you cruise. However, The reality is, that although you can read a lot of general cruise tips, every cruise line is unique and has different amenities and offerings. For this reason, this article focuses on features found on Princess Cruises.

Please know that this is not “official” Princess information, so always verify with the cruise line web site for current information, as well as any specifics related to your cruise booking.

Amazing Things About Princess

We’ve cruised on Princess several times, and on other lines as well. However, there are some things we genuinely love about our Princess Cruises. Here is some cruise advice that will pretty much guarantee that you’ll find out all the important stuff.

1. Read your Princess Patter or check the daily schedule and activity guide on your MedallionClass Disk or App. The various activities, restaurants and specialty food venues will all be written in the Princess Patter. Check the back as well, as sometime the information is there.

2. Just Ask. When you aren’t sure, just ask your fellow cruise passengers or the staff on board. They will be happy to share their knowledge and steer you in the right direction.

3. Go to the first time cruisers information sessions. On many cruise ships, there will be MedallionClass and even cruise port talks. These information sessions can be super helpful in answering questions you didn’t even know you had. Be sure to check your Princess Patter for the times and locations of these events.

Princess First-time Cruiser Tips

Princess Cruise Cabins

While Princess cabins aren’t the largest in the industry, they have some features cruisers will appreciate. Princess Cruises staterooms have amazing large open closets. From inside cabins to balcony staterooms, the cruise cabins have a wall to separate the sleeping area and closet from the washroom area.

These cabins do not have large sofa chairs or couches in them, for this you will need to upgrade to a mini-suite, but they do have a large open space as you enter your cabin which is really practical.

If you’re an over-packer like we sometimes are, this extra space for hanging clothes, along with a few shelves is very handy. Be sure to check out some good cruise cabin hacks.

Princess Cruises Dining Options

Princess has some of the best dining options at sea. There are so many food options available and included in your fare.

Friends who cruised several years ago recounted stories from their first cruises where they ate each breakfast, lunch and dinner in the buffet. There’s nothing wrong with eating in the buffet, but why would one do that with so many dining options available in included at no additional cost?

List of Princess restaurants and food venues that are included (no extra fees)

Poolside Pizza
  • Main Dining Room – Traditional and Anytime Dining

  • International Cafe – Open almost all the time and offers breakfast, lunch and salads, snacks and desserts

  • Poolside Grill – Outdoors near the pool there is a grill with burgers, hot dogs, chicken burgers, french fries and more

  • Poolside Pizza – Princess has some of the best pizza at sea – possibly THE best

  • Horizon Court Buffet – The buffet has quite a lot available from morning to night

  • Alfredo’s Pizzeria – While not available on every ship, Alfredo’s is a casual sit down Italian venue open for lunch and dinner and there’s no extra charge.

On top of this there’s ice cream and popcorn on the pool deck. My advice for any ship, is to explore as much as possible, and discover everything it has to offer.

What food isn’t included?

Specialty restaurants such as Sabatini’s, Crown Grill, The Salty Dog Gastropub, and Vines Wine Bar have an additional charge. If you’d like to have a more intimate or special meal, you will really enjoy one of these venues.

Other food items that aren’t included are the gelato shops in the Piazza (Princess Atrium) and a few odd items like chocolate covered strawberries. There is a fairly small charge if you enjoy them.

Are drinks and coffee included?

Coffee and danish on Princess Cruise (photo – Princess Cruises)

The way cruise lines promote beverage packages, it often difficult to know what drinks are included, and which are going to cost you extra.

There are additional charges for alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, bottled water, and some juices. There’s also an extra charge for specialty coffee and tea.

While “regular” coffee and tea is available in the buffet and in the main dining rooms, freshly brewed coffee, specialty coffee and premium teas are additional. 

If you are a big time drinker of specialty coffees or teas, consider purchasing a coffee package at International Cafe, which is an excellent value.

Room Service

Room service on Princess comes with a view

Princess Cruises still offers free room service in an age when many mainstream cruise lines have started charging a fee for room service.

In your cruise cabin, you’ll find a menu of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options. You can also order from your MedallionClass device or app right from your phone.

Whether you order a light breakfast to have in your cabin before an early shore excursion, or a late night snack, just know that this is included with your cruise fare.

Discounts and on board credits

There are all sorts of discounts you should check for, if you’re booking a Princess Cruise.

  • Military benefits
  • Past Passenger discounts
  • Referring your friends

These additional onboard credits can be substantial and are things you should ask about when booking a Princess Cruise.

If you are a veteran or in the military, please inquire about the military benefit when booking with your travel agent or Princess directly.

To use the Refer Your Friends program, you must register your friend as a referral online. You will both get an additional on board credit, even if you aren’t cruising together. Check Princess Cruises website for details and current information.

MedallionClass Ships

MedallionClass cruising with Princess Cruises

During the past couple of years, you have probably heard about Princess’ MedallionClass cruises. The Medallion device basically replaces the old, inconvenient cruise card and adds a whole new technological dimension to enhance your experience.

There’s a lot that you can do on your smart device, either phone or tablet; however, you don’t need to have a smart phone to use this, and it’s “free”.

Please review the information in these 2 previous posts.

MedallionNet – Internet and Wifi

It could be that Princess Cruises has put an end to those days of expensive and sluggish internet on a cruise ship. After cruising on the Ruby Princess to New Zealand, and paying less than $10 a day for unlimited internet, I am sold.

MedallionNet is available on all MedallionClass cruise ships. The updated technology has allowed for fast internet, that works well even in your cabin.

Remember that you don’t need to buy any internet package to use the Medallion or it’s features. You only need to purchase MedallionNet if you want to use the internet.

Future Cruise Deposits and Booking On-board

If you’re cruising for the first time, or even if you’ve cruised a few times, you may not be aware of the advantages of booking your “next” cruise on board.

As with most cruise lines, Princess Cruises offers a really good on-board booking incentive program, which I believe is very worth it.

How on-board booking works

I highly recommend, that if you have enjoyed your cruise, you should put down a deposit for a future cruise. Not only is the deposit reduced, but it will give you additional on-board credits on a future cruise, just for booking on-board. Hey – that’s free money!

If you have booked with a travel agent, the future cruise reservation agent will send the booking to him or her, if you wish. You can even go home and transfer it to an agent, which may get you even more perks back home. There are some conditions, so please check before you book.

Princess Cruises Loyalty Program

When you sail with Princess, you will notice they have a large number of repeat cruisers.

Why? Well, beyond that fact that they offer a really good cruise experience, they also have a really good loyalty program, called Captain’s Circle. They offer past passenger discounts, free internet minutes, a small discount in stores, and even at a certain loyalty level, free laundry, and more.

Shore Excursions Tips

I don’t want to suggest that you book every shore excursion with Princess or that you even need an excursion in every cruise port. However, there are times when it’s a good idea to book an excursion.

I’m a shopper and always want to get the most for my hard earned money. To make sure I get the best value for my shore excursion dollars, I take advantage of Princess CruisesBest Price Shore Excursion Guarantee. The way this works is that if you find a very similar shore excursion online with another vendor, Princess will not only match the price, but give you a 10% difference in extra on-board credit.

Here is the form, which you can download from the Princess website.

Glossary and Cruise Lingo Acronyms

First time cruisers will learn quickly that cruisers have a language all their own. You will hear frequent cruisers speak in cruise jargon and acronyms all the time.

These are just a few:

  • MDR – main dining room
  • IC – International Cafe
  • FCC – Future Cruise Credit
  • OBC – On board credit
  • TA – Travel Agent
  • B2B/B2B2B – 2 and 3 and more cruises all in a row

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