Last week, three lucky members of the ROL Cruise marketing department stepped on board the brand new Royal Class Princess ship, Sky Princess. The first MedallionClass™ ship to join the Princess Cruises fleet, Sky Princess embarked on a 4-night cruise from Trieste to Athens, giving them ample opportunity to experience the Princess difference. Here’s a diary of their time on board…
October 16th – Day of embarkation
Though this was not our first cruise, the embarkation process was unlike anything we’d experienced before. Thanks to the MedallionClass™ app, embarkation was seamless, efficient and timely. Prior to embarkation, we were advised to download the app in order to get OceanReady™. The app enabled us to upload our travel documents and skip the queue on arrival as well as scan our passports, take our ship photo and order our OceanMedallaion™ straight to our homes.
Once through security we set eyes on Sky Princess for the very first time. First impressions surpassed our expectations, she was just as beautiful on the inside as she was out with a contemporary design throughout and a clean colour palette.
Walking into our Balcony Stateroom was a memorable moment as we used our OceanMedallion™ for the very first time. Key cards aren’t required on the new MedallionClass™ ships, OceanMedallion’s can be used to unlock your cabin door.
Inside our stateroom the décor mirrored the contemporary design of the rest of the ship, beautifully decorated with hues of light blue and blonde woods. The cabin, with the requested single twin beds, was spacious and the balcony a great size – the table and chairs allowed us to enjoy our glorious clear view. Wardrobe space was ample, and we had more hangers than we needed!
Of course, the very first thing we did when arriving to our stateroom was test the beds. Princess Cruises have collaborated with board-certified sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus. It is difficult to describe just how glorious the beds were – it was like sinking into a cloud and if we could have brought them home with us, we would have done.
Once settled, we attended the sail away party on the Lido Deck. We dined on delicious pizza and sipped on tantalising cocktails (the Illusion was incredible with a sweet and sour kick, we would highly recommend!) and sat back to relax and let Sky Princess take us on a journey we would not forget.
October 17th – Day at sea
Following an incredible night’s sleep, we awoke feeling revitalised and decided to join a yoga class. Princess Cruises are committed to guest wellness and ensuring you come back from your relaxing cruise feeling refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated. At just $15, the yoga class was fabulous; the instructor was incredibly helpful and exceptionally accommodating to both beginners and the more experienced. Yoga was the perfect way to kickstart our day and helped us build an appetite. For breakfast we headed to the World Fresh Marketplace, which offers plenty of choice thanks to its buffet-style set up.
The day at sea was an excellent opportunity to explore Sky Princess. We started on the top deck (Deck 19) and worked our way down, we were surprised at just how easy it was to navigate. The ship can accommodate up to 3,660 passengers but we never felt overwhelmed as the space-to-guest ratio is great. One thing we noticed during our adventure was just how friendly the staff are, every single crew member greeted us as we wandered around.
All public areas are beautifully decorated, oozing a contemporary and luxurious feel. With plenty of light throughout, it feels as though the outside is brought in.
At lunch, we stopped for another bite to eat at the International Café, which is open 24 hours a day. Located in the Piazza, at the hub of the ship, International Café offers small bites and treats. We used the MedallionClass™ app to order here, all we had to do was swipe to the OceanNow section and place our orders. Minutes later our friendly waiter served our table with a smile – another common theme throughout the trip.
Located opposite International Café is Gelato, a must stop for ice cream lovers and those with a sweet tooth! Partnered with Gelato University, Bologna, Gelato offers Italian-style ice cream, homemade waffles, banana splits and so much more. For the health conscious, Gelato’s sorbets are only 50 calories per scoop and their milk based gelato only 80 calories – a healthy way to indulge without the sin.
For the evening we reserved a table at Bistro Sur La Mer, a French bistro style restaurant located on Deck 7. Offering fantastic sea views, the restaurant is partnered with Michelin Chef Emmanuel Renaut who has curated an outstanding authentic French menu – it certainly did not disappoint. There’s the option to dine al fresco here and on sea days you can stop by for a continental breakfast or some brunch.
Our evening entertainment was Take Five, the only jazz theatre at sea. Here we relived the roots of jazz music with a live trio performing brilliant classics. Beautifully decorated, it was a great spot for a cocktail prior to the evening show.
We were thrilled to stumble across three incredible acrobatic performers in the stunning piazza – the centrepiece of the ship. These talented individuals showcased immense skill and didn’t fail to disappoint! The short but impressive show was a welcome addition to our evening and greatly increased the jovial atmosphere in the piazza, which always remained busy. It is unique experiences like this that really make you feel the Princess difference, allowing you to embrace discovery at all points of your voyage.
After this, we headed to the casino. The OceanMedallion™ comes in handy when paying a visit to the Vegas style casino. Merely present your Medallion in exchange for your chips and world-class gaming eagerly awaits you. Located just off the main steps of the Piazza, the Casino features an array of slot machines plus a large selection of table games, meaning that any standard – from novice to high rollers – is catered to. For beginners who are keen to sharpen their skills, lessons held by expert staff are available.
October 18th – Kotor, Montenegro
On day three we arrived in Kotor, Montenegro. We got there at around 7.30am which unfortunately meant we missed the opportunity to witness the lovely landscapes as we sailed into port, however, it gave us even more reason to attend the evenings sail away party.
This was our first ever tender port and we were a little hesitant. We were expecting big queues and long wait times but as we arrived at Deck 3 to disembark it was clear that we had nothing to worry about. It took just five minutes for the tender boat to arrive to shore and before we knew it, we were ready to explore this beautiful coastal town that lines the Adriatic Sea.
We ventured out on our own as we were keen to hike the city walls to St. John’s Fortress (the start of which was only ten minutes from port) for just €8. It was testing walking up 1,300 rocky steps but the spectacular views at the top were worth every step. The scenery was breathtaking, with a sea of red rooftops, emerald waters and limestone mountains. The hike took us around 2 and a half hours, if it’s on your list of things to do in Kotor then we highly recommend packing comfortable footwear, loose fitting clothes, a water bottle and a camera.
Shortly after, we took some time to explore the Old Town of Kotor which dates back to the Middle Ages. Surrounded by fortifications that were built during the Venetian period, Kotor offers a charming exploration with medieval architecture, cobblestone streets and café lined courtyards.
We were very excited to dine in Ocean Terrace, and it certainly did not disappoint. It is ideal for those who love to feast on the bounty from the sea. In typical sushi restaurant fashion, you dine side by side at a stylish bar that offers an array of ocean treasures, including a flight of oyster shooters, sushi and sashimi, ahi tuna poke, king crab cocktail, chili and lime crab margarita, a royal lobster dish, and the world-renowned smoked Balik salmon, the salmon of the tsars. You also watch the highly skilled chefs prepare your exquisite meals whilst you wait, all freshly prepared a la carte making it easy to pick and choose what you want.
For the evening entertainment we were lucky enough to experience the world premier of Rock Opera in the Princess Theatre. A one-of-a-kind production where high fashion meets avant-garde product design, the show takes inspiration from the annual Met Gala and features a range of musical genres including classic rock, opera and popular musical theatre. The 4 powerful vocalists sang in a range of languages; English, Spanish, Latin and Italian as well as a Princess Cruises first, sign language. Alongside the vocalists (who were accompanied by a live orchestra) there were 13 spectacular dancers. For the inaugural season, the show features special guest Brian Justin Crum from America’s Got Talent: The Champions.
October 19th – Day at sea
After breakfast we headed to the Lotus Spa Fitness Centre, located on Deck 17. Featuring state-of-the-art equipment as well as classes and personal training, we founded everything we needed here and more.
With some free time, we decided to touch base back home. While chatting on FaceTime, sending photos on WhatsApp and uploading posts to social media, we experienced excellent Wi-Fi. MedallionNet™ provides a better Wi-Fi connection than we’ve ever experienced on a land based holiday, let alone at sea. You can even stream movies, music and sports, so you won’t miss a thing! What’s more, MedallionNet™ is ship wide, so you are connected to the internet wherever you are on board.
Often on a cruise holiday you always try to ensure your final night is very special and when dining in Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria this was very much the case. This new menu features handmade pasta dishes from Chef Angelo Auriana of renowned L.A. restaurants The Factory Kitchen and Officine BRERA, plus treasured family recipes from Italian chefs across the fleet. Italian food is my personal favourite and the chefs from Sabatini’s served up the most delicious northern Italian dishes with made-from-scratch pasta, bellissimo!
Overall, Sky Princess did not disappoint. MedallionClass™ really does take cruising to the next level, maximising experiences through digital technologies. We received a personalised service like never before; receive your drink of choice from a waiter you are yet to meet, find friends and family on board via the OceanCompass™ app and stay on top of all the on board activities from your smartphone or interactive portals located throughout Sky Princess.