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Princess Cruises Review

U.S. News Travel
  • Overall Rating: 4.0stars 4.0 4.0
  • Expert Rating:4.0stars 3.9
  • Traveler Rating:4.0stars 3.8
    • Couples: 3.8
    • Families w/ young children: 3.8
    • Families w/ older children: 3.8
    • Singles/Friends: 3.7
    • Groups: 3.5
  • Health Rating:
    4.5
    4.5

Princess Cruises Overview

How it Ranks: Princess has been ranked based on an expert evaluation of the line's level of luxury, as well as an assessment of user reviews and health ratings. Princess Cruises appears on the following ranking lists:

Princess Cruises' claim to fame may be its starring role in the 1977 hit TV series "The Love Boat." But since its Hollywood debut, the cruise line has continued making waves with its inventive onboard activities and versatile itineraries. Princess' 17-ship fleet traverses the globe, with popular sailings covering Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, Europe, Australia, South America and the Caribbean, among other locations. Princess' fleet features both mid-size vessels like the Ocean Princess (which can carry 680 passengers) and larger boats, like the Ruby Princess (which can accommodate more than 3,080 passengers), so you can select your ship according to your style and size preferences. Whatever ship you choose, you can count on a refined atmosphere and personalized service, with approximately one crew member per every two passengers. During your cruise — which can last anywhere from three to 104 days — you'll find plenty of ways to stay busy. You can participate in enrichment programs, like Italian cooking and digital photography classes, before enjoying a lively show or a "Movies Under the Stars" poolside screening in the evening. And at each port, you can choose from variety of shore excursions, which range from guided sightseeing tours in Barcelona to wine tasting in Cape Town. Prefer extra time for land exploration? Select sailings to Alaska, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia and South America allow you to combine your cruise with a few extra nights at a specific port of call with a "cruisetour," a vacation package that allows you to spend more time in a destination before or after taking to the high seas.

Pros & Cons

  • Flexible dining times and a variety of culinary options
  • Wheelchair-accessible cabins and special features for guests with disabilities
  • The eZAir program enables you to reach your next port for free if you miss your boat
  • Not all onboard amenities included in cruise rate
  • High-capacity ships can usher in heavy crowds and longer lines at some dining venues
  • Shore excursions can be pricey

On Board

Princess targets a wide range of traveler types, including families, solo travelers and couples in their 30s, 40s and 50s. On longer voyages on smaller ships you're more likely to find older cruisers and fewer families. Meanwhile, voyages during the summer months and winter holidays tend to usher in children and multigenerational groups. All but two ships — the Pacific Princess and the Ocean Princess — host kids clubs. Regardless of your selected itinerary, you'll likely be cruising with an American crowd.

More about the onboard experience»

On Shore

While visiting each port, you can explore on your own or participate in a tour offered by Princess' affiliated operators. Possible excursion offerings might include snorkeling in Bora Bora or taking a glacier catamaran cruise in Anchorage, Alaska. Tour options change according to itinerary and location; availability is also contingent ...

More about the on shore experience»

Before You Book

  • The price of your cruise covers the cost of meals in the ship's main dining areas, some non-alcoholic drinks, most onboard entertainment, as well as government fees and taxes. Alcoholic beverages, spa services, shore excursions and travel insurance costs are not included.
  • Cruise cancellation fees vary by cruise duration and whether or not you choose to purchase Princess' Vacation Protection package. For voyages lasting fewer than 30 days, you can receive a full refund if you notify Princess at least 75 days prior to your scheduled departure date; if you notify Princess 57 to 74 days prior to departure, you will lose the deposit fee for your cruise fare. If you miss those deadlines, cancellation fees of up to 50, 75 or 100 percent of your total fare apply. For more information regarding cancellation penalties, visit Princess' Passage Contract page.
  • For voyages lasting 30 days or longer, you will receive a full refund if you notify Princess at least 120 days prior to your scheduled embarkation date; if you notify Princess 90 to 119 days prior to departure, you will incur the deposit fee for your cruise fare. If you miss those deadlines, cancellation fees of up to 50, 75 or 100 percent of your total cruise fare apply.
  • If you purchase Princess' Vacation Protection travel insurance, you may receive a full refund or credit toward a future Princess cruise if you or a companion cancels your cruise or "cruisetour" for an eligible reason. Protection packages and cancellation policies vary by cruise and selected cruisetours.
  • With Princess Cruises' eZAir program, you can view competitive airfare  pricing and Princess guarantees that you'll reach your cruise's next port if you miss your original departure port due to a flight delay or disruption at no additional cost. Note: Fees may apply if you change your original flight reservation fewer than 45 days before your scheduled departure date.
  • Children 6 months or older are welcome on cruises to Alaska, Canada, New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico and the Panama Canal; however, all other itineraries require passengers to be older than 1.
  • Individuals must be 5 years or older to sign up for an escorted "cruisetour."  

Before You Board

  • You may pre-reserve your shore excursions between five and 120 days prior to departure using Princess' Cruise Personalizer.
  • If you wish, you may pay gratuity in advance by calling 1-800-PRINCESS and referencing Special Service Item #0597. Although gratuity amounts vary by cruise duration and itinerary, the standard gratuity charge is $12 per person (in mini-suites and suites) and $11.50 (for all other cabins) per day.
  • You must be 18 years or older to reserve a treatment at Lotus Spa and at least 16 years old to take advantage of fitness facilities. (Note: Guests ages 13 and older can take advantage of some spa services if accompanied by an adult.)
  • You or your travel agent must inform Princess of any special needs, services and wheelchair usage at least 30 days prior to disembarkation. If you use a wheelchair, you should also check in with the ship's Tour Office after boarding to make sure your desired shore excursions are handicap-accessible.
  • For closed loop cruises (those that begin and end in the United States), you must carry a government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license) or a government-issued birth certificate or naturalization certificate. A valid passport is also an acceptable form of identification for closed loop voyages, and Princess strongly recommends you possess a passport in case you need to disembark the ship before reaching your final destination. You will need a valid passport for international cruises.
  • Vaccination requirements vary by cruise destination. The World Health Organization provides a list of vaccines needed on a country-by-country basis and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists current regulations. Princess strongly recommends you bring proof of vaccination — failure to do so at embarkation could result in denied boarding access.
  • Princess' Bon Voyage Experience allows cruisers to bring aboard visitors who are not going on the cruise four hours prior to ship departure to enjoy a four-course dining room meal and ship tour (for a $39 fee per person). If you plan to dine at a specialty restaurant, plan to make reservations as soon as you step on board your ship, as tables, especially during formal evenings, tend to fill up quickly. Reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • You may pre-reserve body treatments and other spa services at Lotus Spa between seven and 120 days prior to your embarkation date using Princess' Cruise Personalizer.

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Disclaimers about ship ratings: A ship's Health Rating is based on vessel inspection scores published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If a ship did not receive a CDC score within 24 months prior to the calculation of its Overall Rating, its Health Rating appears as N/A; in such a case, the ship's Overall Rating is calculated using the average Health Rating of all CDC-rated ships within the cruise line. All ship Traveler Ratings are based on ratings provided under license by Cruiseline.com.