When I rocked up to the Brisbane Cruise Ship Wharf, all I had running through my head was that I was going to see the original ‘Love Boat’, but alas there was no Doc, Isaac or Julie the cruise director, but what I found was much more than I expected.
This is where our adventure began. As we ascended up the 30 steps toward the gangway, we wondered how the crew dealt with their elderly and less mobile travelers. Luckily they have a separate gangway with no stairs that brings them onto the ship on a lower deck and they catch a lift up a couple of levels, so rest assured that the elderly and disabled are well looked after right from the very beginning of their journey. When you enter the ship from the gangway, the inside opens up into the atrium, which gives you a first impression of lots of space over many different levels and areas. A host of these spaces all filled with the sounds of the piano player tickling away at the ivories, welcoming everyone on board. The Atrium is the central meeting place, a place where you can have a catch up over a coffee, visit the boutiques, speak to passenger services or organize your shore excursions.
** Insider Tip** You can pre-book your shore excursions online, as some of the tours book out before the ship even leaves port.
Our first stop was a look at all the cabins. The ship has a total of 1008 cabins and can carry a maximum of 2008 passengers. There are 5 main cabin types onboard. The lead in room is the Inside cabin, followed by the Ocean View, Ocean Balcony, Mini Suite and Suite. The Inside and Ocean View cabins did appear quite compact, whereas the Ocean Balcony was the same size but because there was a full sliding door and a balcony, it gave the illusion they were much bigger in size. The Mini Suite was again larger with enough extra space for a sofa, and The Suite was even larger again with a full lounge room and vastly larger bathroom facilities. For those who are a bit claustrophobic, I would certain recommend the Ocean Balcony, but if you are not going to spend much time in the cabin, then it wouldn’t really matter, as they are all quite comfortable.
Once we had completed our look at the cabins, it was on to the public spaces. First stop was the pool deck, which comprised 3 decent sized pools and a whole host of big blue deck chairs, for some relaxation and sun, but don’t forget your sunscreen. This is where they show the ‘Movies under the stars’. Around the pool deck is the newly refurbished Riviera Grill and also a New Zealand Natural Ice Cream parlour. We then wandered through the library, internet café, gymnasium and onto the Lotus Spa. The spa has recently been refurbished and provides a whole host of massages, wraps, peels and scrubs…
** Insider Tip ** You need to book early as appointments are limited and sometimes book out on the shorter cruises. You can also book treatments online.
Next to the spa there is an area where activities staff hold pilates, yoga, aerobics and various wellness sessions.
** Insider tip ** There is a small adults only deck on at the aft of the shop, behind the gym & spa. It is free and there is a small pool and not many people even know it is there.
The Sea Princess also has a kids clubs and look after children up to 17 years of age. The facilities in the kids clubs include, art and craft, movies, games, fuz ball, video games and chill out zones, and many other daily activities.
There are many other places to sit and relax and enjoy the surroundings. The Vista show lounge, is the place for bingo, trivia and cabaret shows. There are a couple of bars to enjoy, including a new sports bar, the Wheelhouse Bar the Atrium bar and lounge, and the new Whiskey Bar, for those who like to partake in a whiskey or two.
The ship also has an on board casino with poker machines and gaming tables including blackjack and roulette, and a fully equipped medical centre for passengers.
Last but certainly not least is the area reserved for the adults only. ‘The Sanctuary’ is a secluded spot set aside for adults to lounge or lay around and just relax. It has its own comfy lounges, umbrellas and a host of crew to attend to your every need. There is a charge of $20 for a ½ day, but go on you deserve it…. It is cheaper if you buy a package for multiple entries. A perfect place to relax.
Quite a few areas of the ship have recently been refurbished and add a nice fresh touch to the ship and all of the public spaces are very light and spacious.
So now is the question on everyone lips…. Buffet or Traditional dining experience ??? Well on the Sea Princess you can have both.
Horizon Court is the buffet style restaurant serving Breakfast, lunch & dinner. There is also a recently addition of a coffee shop, serving freshly made cakes and coffees all day and into the evening. The food looked fresh and everyone that was eating said the food was delicious.
The traditional dining option is the Café Corniche, and this was our stop for lunch.
The lunch that we were served was delicious and if the food we ate is any indication of the quality of the meals that they serve on board, then even the fussiest eater would give it their tick of approval. I started with a fettucine dish that was fresh and tasty with an edible parmesan pancake-like birds nest as the base. Then the main was a beautiful moist tender beef chateaubriand with vegetables and a mashed potato coated with breadcrumbs and almond slithers and then deep fried. Yum Yum Yum. For dessert we were treated to a beautiful and fresh chocolate mousse with a lovely biscuit base. All freshly prepared on board that morning.
After our lunch it was time for us to leave the ship as the passengers started to embark for their 42 night adventure to Japan & China. I actually enjoyed it so much, I felt that I wanted to stow away.
All in all, The Sea Princess is a good sized ship but not one of those Mega Liners. There is plenty to do to keep you busy and the list of daily activities on the Ships Newsletter ‘the Princess Patter is very comprehensive.
If you would like any more information on the Sea Princess or any other cruising, please do not hesitate to contact me.