The 670-passenger Pacific Princess is one of the small ships in the Princess fleet, delivering what Princess Cruises calls a "Small Ship Feel, Big Ship Choice." This refers to the fact that while Pacific Princess is a smaller, more intimate ship, she still is designed in a spacious way that allows her guests to enjoy a wide range of public spaces and onboard amenities. Among the most popular features found onboard Pacific Princess are her luxurious Lotus Spa, a few bars and lounges, a couple of upscale specialty restaurants and (a small) casino.
When she was originally launched in 1999, Pacific Princess was a part of the Renaissance Cruises fleet of ships. Her original name was R3. After Renaissance went out of business Princess Cruises leased and renamed the ship (in 2002), eventually purchasing her in 2004. Pacific Princess is actually the sister ship of the Royal Princess and Tahitian Princess (soon to be named Ocean Princess), both of which are also former members of the Renaissance fleet.
Because of her size, Pacific Princess is able to offer unique itineraries with ports of call that "mega ships" cannot port in, creating a very special product. Luxury is a definite presence onboard this ship, evidenced by her having over 70% of her staterooms with its own private balcony. Being one of the small ships in the Princess fleet, Pacific Princess lacks a few of the features of Princess' larger ships. For example, there are not many children onboard a typical cruise on Pacific Princess, as her small size and lack of youth facilities tend to steer families with kids in a different direction. There is also no Anytime Dining option available onboard Pacific Princess (there is only a traditional dining setup with assigned seatings), as she only has one main dining room (compared to about 3 on most of the larger Princess ships). Late-night snackers may be worried to hear that there is no 24-hour buffet onboard this ship; however, don't fret! 24-hour room service is available and there's always somewhere open to eat at, including a bistro that's open from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am. If you're looking for huge show rooms with Broadway-style performances don't count on it onboard this ship, as there are nightly shows but they're smaller productions featuring singers, dancers, comedians and/or magicians.
Pacific Princess will be featuring cruises in the following regions (subject to change, based on the cruise line's discretion):
2012: Europe, South America 2013: Caribbean, Europe, South America, World Cruise
There are is a nice variety of accommodations available onboard Pacific Princess. In fact, there are over 200 staterooms with a balcony onboard this ship. Rooms range from basic interior staterooms to 800+ square foot suites. All of the staterooms onboard Pacific Princess come with a bathroom (with a shower), closet, refrigerator, TV, hair dryer, safe and phone.
Interior Staterooms: Pacific Princess' interior staterooms are about 158 square feet, and feature two twin beds that can be converted into a queen-size bed. Interior categories (in order of usual cost, from least expensive to most expensive) are L, K, J, I and II. Category L, K and J staterooms only can accommodate up to 2 people, while the other categories have select rooms that can accommodate up to 4 people.
Oceanview Staterooms: The oceanview staterooms onboard Pacific Princess have all of the amenities that an interior stateroom has, plus they have a picture window or portholes. Category F staterooms have portholes, while categories G and GG have an obstructed view (meaning that there is something on the outside of your window that's blocking your view, such as a lifeboat). Standard oceanview staterooms, called Oceanview Doubles (categories G, GG, F, E and D), are about 146 to 165 square feet (depending on the specific category and stateroom)
. A Deluxe Oceanview stateroom (categories C and CC) is about 173 square feet. All oceanview staterooms on Pacific Princess can only accommodate up to 2 people per room.
Balcony Staterooms: As stated above, there are many balconies onboard Pacific Princess. Because of this, the price of a balcony onboard this ship is usually quite reasonable (relative to the typical prices found elsewhere in the cruising industry). The most basic stateroom with a balcony onboard this ship is called an Oceanview Double with Balcony. Such a stateroom ranges is about 216 square feet, including its balcony. Amenities in such a room include everything an oceanview stateroom has, plus a spacious closet, a desk, and patio furniture on the balcony. Categories (in order of usual price, from least expensive to most expensive) are BF, BE, BD, BC, BB and BA. A category BF stateroom has a balcony with a partially obstructed view. Categories BD and BB have select staterooms that can accommodate up to 3 people, while the other categories can only accommodate up to 2 people.
Suites: The most basic suite onboard Pacific Princess is a Mini-Suite with Balcony (which are categories AC, AB and AA). At about 322 square feet (including their balconies), such accommodations are much larger than a standard balcony and feature everything a standard balcony stateroom does, plus a welcome glass of champagne, a sofa bed, a luxury mattress and pillows, two TVs, a spacious closet, desk, bathroom tub and massage shower head. Category AA mini-suites have select staterooms that can accommodate up to 4 people, while the AB and AC mini-suites can only accommodate up to 2 people.
The full suites onboard Pacific Princess have all the amenities that a mini-suite does, plus luxury balcony furniture, deluxe canapes, fresh flowers, a DVD/CD player, free access to a DVD library, one complimentary mini-bar setup, a roomy walk-in closet, a guest bathroom with upgraded bathroom amenities, complimentary laundry and dry cleaning services and web access in the Internet Cafe. The full suites onboard Pacific Princess are about 874 square feet in size, including their balconies. Among the full suite categories are a Penthouse Suite (category PH) and Owner's Suite (category OS). Each full suite can only accommodate up to 4 people.
Unlike the larger Princess ships, Pacific Princess does not feature an Anytime Dining option (also known as open seating). There is only one main dining room onboard Pacific Princess, so she only offers traditional dining. Traditional dining means that you have to select between an early (at 6:00 pm) or late (at 8:15 pm) seating time, where you will have dinner at the same table each night, with the same people and same wait staff. Breakfast (served from 7:30 am to 9:30 am) and Lunch (served from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm) are at the same time each day of the cruise. The main dining room is named the Club Restaurant, and it's located on deck 5.
Sabatini's is Pacific Princess' upscale Italian specialty restaurant, with a great menu and attentive staff. This upscale venue is open for lunch (from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm) on select sea days, and dinner (from 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm). Sterling Steakhouse, another upscale specialty restaurant onboard Pacific Princess, features top-quality cooked to order meats. This venue is only open for dinner (from 6:30 pm to 11:00 pm). Each specialty restaurant is located on deck 10 and has a per person cover charge ($20 per person for Sabatini's and $15 per person for Sterling, both amounts being subject to change).
There are many casual dining options onboard Pacific Princess. Among them are the Burger and Hot Dog Grill (open from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm), a pizzeria/trattoria (open from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm, and from 7:00 pm until late), the Panorama Buffet (open from 4:00 am to 6:00 pm) and a patisserie (a French-style bakery, open from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm). Besides those options, afternoon tea is served from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm on each day of the cruise, and there is an evening bistro available from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am.
Ultimate Balcony Dining is a special option offered onboard Pacific Princess. Breakfast is available from 7:00 am to 11:00 am on select days at sea, while dinner is available from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm on any day of your cruise. Of course, this is only available to guests whose stateroom has a balcony and does have a per person cover charge (the cost of which depends on the specific meal you choose). An example of an entree you can enjoy for dinner is fresh lobster or steak.
Don't forget that 24 hour room service is available for all passengers. There is a basic complimentary menu, but it's an excellent option for a late night snack, or for when you're feeling a little lazy and would rather the food come to you. There are a few items on the menu that you can order at an additional cost, such as bar drinks.
There's a nice selection of things to do onboard Pacific Princess, including a few entertainment options. Among them are the Cabaret Lounge (on deck 5, featuring live shows such as singers, dancers, magicians and comedians) and the Pacific Lounge (on deck 10), each featuring plenty of seats, a dance floor and a performance stage. The casino is located on deck 5, and can get quite busy (especially after one of the shows end each night). The casino is on the small side, featuring only about 30 slot machines and a few table games. Among the bars onboard Pacific Princess are the Club Bar, Casino Bar and Pool Bar.
One of the most popular decks onboard Pacific Princess is deck 9. This is because on this deck you'll find the main pool (with two hot tubs by it), a deck barbeque, a bandstand, a bunch of outdoor lounge seating, the 24-hour internet cafe and the Panorama Buffet (with a pizzeria and bar near it). Forward on deck 9 is the wonderful Lotus Spa, which features a fitness center, hair salon, a hot tub, as well as male and female changing rooms (each with its own steam room).
There is a shuffleboard court, golf practice cage and sun deck located on deck 11, the highest deck onboard Pacific Princess. The library is located on deck 10, right by the two specialty restaurants. The Princess Fine Arts Gallery, Future Cruise Sales Desk, Circle Desk (for past passengers of Princess Cruises), photo gallery and duty-free shopping boutiques are all located on deck 5. The passenger services desk is located on deck 4, as is the shore excursions desk and medical center. Please be aware that Princess will charge you for any medical care needed while you're onboard the ship, which is why the purchase of traveler's insurance is highly recommended.
For dinner, there is a certain dress code in place on a Princess cruise. Depending on the night, there may be a smart casual or formal dress code. The number of formal nights on your cruise depends on the length of your cruise (see the chart below for details). Please be aware that the number of formal nights on your cruise is subject to change at the ship's discretion. Princess considers smart casual to be the same as what you'd wear if you were going to a nice restaurant at home. Formal night clothing is considered by Princess Cruises to be tuxedos, dark suits or dinner jackets for men, and evening gowns, cocktail dresses or elegant pant suits for women.
Here's a general guideline (subject to change) that Princess Cruises provides for its nightly dining types:
# of Formal Evenings
# of Smart Casual Evenings
3 to 6 Days
7 to 13 Days
14 to 20 Days
21 to 28 Days
The youth & teen program onboard each Princess ship is for 3 to 17 year olds. Children under 3 are allowed to visit the youth program if they're with a parent at all times.
Fun Zone Activities are available for children 3 to 12 years old. This program is divided into two age-based groups, Princess Pelicans (ages 3 to 7) and Shockwaves (ages 8 to 12). This program offers activities that may include arts & crafts, discos, movies, cartoons, scavenger hunts, educational programs, t-shirt coloring, theme parties, pajama parties and video games.
The Teen Center onboard each ship (except Pacific Princess and Ocean Princess) features a Playstation 2, new movies and music, giant screen TVs, card games and board games. Activities for teens include teens-only dance parties, t-shirt painting, mocktails, pizza parties, hip hop dance classes and teen dinners. Onboard the Grand Princess and Golden Princess there is a separate Jacuzzi and sun deck just for teens.
Group kidsitting is available for children ages 3 to 12 and is available on all Princess ships, except for Royal Princess, Ocean Princess and Pacific Princess. It's available from 10 pm to 1 am and costs $5 per hour per child.
Princess will only operate a youth & teen program onboard Pacific Princess and Ocean if 20 or more children ages 3 to 17 are onboard that particular sailing. Those ships do not have the youth & teen facilities that the rest of the fleet has. The age groups listed above may vary onboard the Diamond Princess, Caribbean Princess, Sapphire Princess and Star Princess.
Princess automatically charges your onboard account $10.50 per person per day ($11 per person per day for mini-suites and suites) for a Hotel and Dining charge. This fee is shared amongst the staff, including the wait staff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, galley staff and laundry staff. The casino and spa staff do not get any of this money. If you feel that this fee is too high or low it is at your discretion (before the cruise ends) to go to the passenger services desk to ask them to adjust it to an amount that you are comfortable with. A 15% charge is added to any bar charges (including drinks ordered in the dining room). This is shared amongst the beverage staff (and their support staff).
Because of these automatic charges you don't really have to worry about tipping, unless you find that a staff member that deserves something extra (or if you'd like to tip a casino or spa employee, since they don't get a share of the standard charges).
The official minimum drinking age on all Princess cruise ships is 21. You may bring one bottle of wine and/or champagne onboard the ship to celebrate a special occasion, all of which will be subject to a $15 per bottle corkage fee (subject to change). Alcohol purchased at any port of call cannot be consumed onboard. It will be collected at the gangway by the staff and returned to you on the last day of your cruise.
The gambling age onboard all Princess cruise ships is 21 years of age.