Sky Princess cruise review: Princess wows us with the smartest cruise holiday experience ever

Black tie cruisers overlook the pool deck on Sky Princess

There are few things more satisfying than seeing Princess Cruises waiters hunting you down around the expansive pool deck of the Sky Princess, attempting to fulfil the order you’ve placed on the ship’s app.

They know where you are because of your smart medallion, which is a key innovation of the cruise line that defines the whole cruising experience. It’s brilliant and we love it.

The medallion, which contains a chip with all your account details, knows precisely where you are onboard. When you approach your cabin, the door unlocks just before you get there. There’s no fumbling for key cards.

It’s how you pay for drinks, and it enables bar staff to find you when you’ve causally ordered snacks or drinks from your sun lounger.

The smart medallion is a key innovation of Princess Cruises and defines the whole cruising experience…

All new Princess cruise ships are now built around the technology, but the company has also retrofitted its older ships too, no mean feat. Look closely and you’ll see Wi-Fi gizmos everywhere.

If you want to put on the style, you can even wear your Medallion on your wrist or as a necklace.

We’re on the Sky Princess, taking in a short cruise around the UK, docking at Glasgow (Greenock) and Belfast – we’re excited to take an excursion to the Giant’s Causeway, but leaving the ship is a bit of a wrench.

The Sky Princess is impressive. The interior design is contemporary, but stylish with it.

The theatre on the Sky Princess seats 900 and has the technical trappings to match West End rivals. The Atrium is spacious, and the choice of bars and restaurants impressive. 

When the weather’s fine, the pool deck is the social hub of the ship. It’s large, accommodating two pools. There’s a huge outdoor screen, which shows movies, music concerts and even hosts gaming sessions.

Technology once again takes centre stage. Guests compete against each other playing casual racing games on the Sky Princess app; there are also iPads dished out to those around the pool that want to join in. Players take to an undersea track as fish, cheered on by friends and family. We won some coasters – clearly, you take part for the glory and not the swag.

If you’re looking for a more sedate space, there’s The Sanctuary: an oasis of calm, with plush outdoor furniture, and the option of an al fresco massage or private cabana.

The dining options are predictably extensive and varied. For a snack, try Alfredo’s Pizzeria, for something more substantial there’s Sabatini’s trattoria. Every ship needs a good chop house, and here that role is fulfilled admirably by the Crown Grill, the place for steak and seafood. Fancy sushi? No problem, that’s available onboard too.

For our cruise, we stayed in a Mini Suite, which has room for two TVs and a balcony. It’s spacious and comfortable.  Make sure you take advantage of the luxury Balcony Breakfast, comprising Champagne, salmon, fruits and croissants.  It’s a lovely treat.

The highlight of our Glasgow excursion is the spectacular Kelvingrove Art Museum, which is an astonishing mix of fine art, natural history and antiques. It’s the only place you’ll find a submarine Spitfire suspended above Sir Roger, a stuffed Indian Elephant. It’s a proper curiosity shop. 

One day later we’re disembarking in Belfast, to experience the Giant’s Causeway, a natural wonder constructed from thousands of hexagonal basalt columns. The variety of destinations and sightseeing available is a key attraction for many cruisers, and the world is Princess Cruises’ oyster.

The TLR verdict: Sky Princess offers a premium holiday experience for less than you might imagine. We reckon it’s the smartest cruise holiday choice ever.

Early 2023 will see Sky Princess offering seven day trips around the Caribbean, Mexico and Puerto Rico from £880, before offering four day short trips to Belgium and the Netherlands, from £539, and Scandinavia over the summer, from £1079. Click here for the latest Princess Cruises deals.

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