Enchanted Princess is on her Maiden Season in Southampton the newest of the four Princess Cruise ships currently home porting there. This represents a huge investment of confidence in the British cruise market by Princess and having so many UK based ships is providing some really interesting themed cruises as well as some excellent last minute deals, so keep your eyes peeled! Emma and I were recently guests of Princess Cruises on a 5 day itinerary aboard Enchanted and it was great to get a chance to spend time onboard while she was so shiny and new.
Is Enchanted Princess a new ship?
Well yes and no! She was launched in 2020 but for obvious reasons her inaugural cruise was delayed and eventually took place on November 10, 2021. Her sister ship
Discovery was launched shortly afterwards in March 22 and effectively stole her thunder! It was a lovely idea to bring Enchanted to the UK – it is a great chance for UK cruisers to sail a maiden season and to compare two Royal Class ships this summer.
What is a Royal Class Ship?
Royal is the name given to a group of seven ships commissioned by Carnival from the Fincanteri Shipyard in Trieste. The class name derives from christening of Royal Princess in 2013 by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, referencing the original Royal Princess, which had been christened in 1984 by her mother in law – Diana, Princess of Wales.
The Princess Royal Class ships are
- Discovery Princess (2022)
- Enchanted Princess (2020)
- Sky Princess (2019)
- Majestic Princess (2017)
- Regal Princess (2014)
- Royal Princess (2013)
The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that I’ve only listed six – not because the seventh is yet to arrive but because they have a sister ship in the P&O Cruises fleet – the Britannia, launched in 2015. That might win you a Trivia Quiz one day….
Are all Royal Class Ships the same?
They’re certainly similar, measuring around 144,000 tons and carrying about 3,600 passengers a piece at double occupancy. All six ships feature the SeaWalk, a glass-bottomed walkway that projects over the sea from Deck 16 and they share a similar layout with internal space arranged around a central atrium called The Piazza covering 3 decks. They all have a Lotus Spa with an internal hydrotherapy area named the Enclave on deck 5.
The internal design has evolved slightly but even though I have cruised on Sky, Regal and Enchanted over just the last few months I noticed only fairly superficial differences between them.
So is Enchanted Princess exactly the same as Sky Princess?
Just few small differences such as the Enchanted Atrium featuring glass sculptures rather than the balloons found on Sky but mainly the colour schemes and layouts were very similar, even in the cabins.
I was surprised to see Alfredos renamed Gigi – although everything else remained exactly the same and there seemed to be no-one who could tell me why! I was pleased to see that Crooners is back – the piano lounge was one of our favourite hangouts on Royal and Regal and we were sad to see it gone from Sky. On the other hand we loved her Take 5 Jazz bar and that has remained on Enchanted (although it seemed to feature more ‘serious’ jazz but that might vary with the performer) so we now have a few decisions to make about where to enjoy our after show cocktails!
The theatre is a lovely space with good views from pretty much everywhere but it seemed that the sound quality and stage had been upgraded and the shows were back at a top class level. The most obvious difference to me between the two ships was that the Vines wine bar has been replaced with the Salty Dog Grill – it’s billed as a Gastropub area so I’m sure it will be popular but we didn’t get a chance to try it out.
Was there anything not to like about Enchanted Princess?
Personally I really missed Vines for a pre-dinner drink. Bellini’s and Good Spirits both seemed very busy as a result of its loss, oddly it never crossed my mind to go to Crooners! My only other gripes were the same as I have with all the Royal class ships -except Majestic. The lack of a proper promenade deck and not enough inside spaces with a good view of whats going on outside. In fact we always laugh at the beautiful lounge at the stern which would have an awesome wake view if it had any windows – we call it the No-Vista lounge! But on the basis we’ve sailed on five of the six Royal class ships you can tell that its not a serious problem. There is definitely more to love than to dislike.
What did you like best aboard Enchanted Princess?
I really can’t pick out just one thing – the Enclave in the Lotus Spa and the International Cafe are the two spaces that I really miss when on other cruise lines so they have to go on the list! I do find the crew aboard Princess are always so lovely and helpful, they really do seem proud to be onboard and to go the extra mile.
The entertainment onboard seemed to be getting back to pre-Covid levels and we enjoyed two excellent production shows, one of which used the electronic backdrop to the stage for some literally jaw dropping scenes – I’m not giving anything away but DO NOT miss Five Skies when it is on! Similarly keep an eye out for the name, Phillip Browne, a British singer and actor who won Princess Entertainer of the year – I absolutely loved his show which was emotional, funny, amazing, touching and beautiful. I would literally book a cruise if I knew he would be onboard – do not miss the show if you see his name.
There are so many places to eat onboard that there must be something for everyone – Sabatinis is my favourite speciality restaurant with Crown Grill a close second, I enjoy the food in the main dining room but generally have lunch on deck if warm or at the International Cafe or Alfredo/ Gigis if not! The pizzas are a great treat and probably deserve their “best at sea’ vote although to be fair those on MSC are right up there too! When Cruise Addicted ran a poll 82% of the vote was split between Princess and MSC which must say something!
I usually choose the Buffet or International Cafe for breakfast but on this cruise we were treated to the Ultimate Balcony Breakfast which goes straight to the top of my things that I love aboard Princess!!
What do you like most about Princess Cruises?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I do seem to keep going back and I think it is the lack of a separate ‘upper class’ area that I like. A more even, egalitarian feel to the experience.
Yes, of course there are suites onboard. By paying for them you get some priory attention, a separate area of the main dining room and some enhanced services. But otherwise everyone onboard has the same opportunities to ‘upgrade’ their cruise by paying for access to the Sanctuary or Enclave or booking speciality restaurants, dining experiences and treats. The only things that money can’t buy are reserved for the Elite members of the Princess loyalty scheme – a drinks reception, hosted meet and greet and a ‘most traveled‘ lunch.
I find it refreshing that a cruise line celebrates loyalty over the ability to pay for a top level Sky Suite – however much I might like to stay in one of those!! I’m not quite at Elite level yet ( although Emma is!) but the feeling of being valued for your repeat custom is definitely part of the reason we return to Princess again and again.
Emma & Cathy from Cruise Addicted were guests of Princess Cruises on a 5 night voyage from Southampton in May 2022
We loved our time on Enchanted and hope you like our report of what we found onboard – there is lots to see in the YouTube links so settle down and take a look! We’d a love a SUBSCRIBE while you’re there….
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