Cruises 101

by Sherri Eisenberg

Princess Cruises

Number of ships: 17
Ship capacity: 670 to 3,100 passengers
Price range: Moderate

The audience: The original line of the Love Boat wants to be everything to everyone—and it often succeeds, catering to young families and fun-loving couples in the Med, and offering the more mellow crowd lengthier sailings out of Florida and to the Panama Canal.

Strengths: The food. Passengers rave over the specialty Italian restaurant, Sabatini's, where meals start with antipasti, continue with regional specialties such as seafood cioppino, and finish with excellent tiramisù. It's also hard to resist the boisterous atmosphere at Bayou Café, the Cajun restaurant that serves up jambalaya, gumbo, and even alligator, washed down with plenty of Planter's Punch. Activities are often well executed: Duffers spend hours at the golf simulators.

Weaknesses: Like Celebrity, Princess is building bigger ships than it was previously known for—all the older ships accommodate fewer than 2,000 passengers, while the new vessels can fit as many as 3,100. Some longtime Princess guests are concerned that the line will not be able to maintain the quality of service associated with the smaller vessels.

Insider tip: There's a single chef's table—inside the galley itself—aboard the brand-new Emerald Princess, where the chef serves a special multicourse meal. There's no prebooking, so sign up for the limited seatings as soon as you board. Princess plans to roll out this service throughout the fleet.

Itineraries: With 17 ships, Princess Cruises goes around the world. It's especially strong in Alaska, where guests can extend their stay and catch Princess's train to its private lodge in the Denali wilderness. A seven-day "Voyage of the Glaciers" cruise from Vancouver to Anchorage runs from $800 per person.

Princess Cruises
Tel: 800 774 6237

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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