On my recent ship visit to Sapphire Princess, I was treated to a tour of the ship’s Bridge. This is where the Captain and Officers spend most of their time whilst on duty and particularly when a cruise ship is getting ready to dock in a port. From watching ITV’s The Cruise, I understand that this can be an incredibly tense time on the Bridge.
I visited the Bridge of a cruise ship when I was a child, whilst on my first cruise on Canberra and 28 years later I have finally made it back to fully appreciate the tour. Sadly, I cannot find any old photos… if I ever come across my six-year-old self in the Captain’s chair I will add it here!
This area is generally off limits to cruisers but you can have a sneak peak of the Bridge if you book a Princess Cruises Ultimate Ship Tour. The ship tour is not advertised in the daily Princess Patter newsletter and is only available to book at Guest Services. For the best chance of securing a place on this tour, it’s best to go to Guest Services when you first embark the ship. The tour is $150 per person and also includes behind-the-scenes access to the Theatre, Laundry and Galley.
Interestingly, the Captain and Officers seemed to enjoy a spot of gardening as in front of the windows were a small selection of plants including a tomato plant!
I was surprised about the amount of space on the Bridge either side of the main controls situated in the middle of the room. For security reasons, I wasn’t able to take any photos of the controls.
I couldn’t resist sitting in the captain’s chair for a few moments, just to see what it must be like! I still cannot believe how small the controls are for such a big cruise ship and the huge responsibility the captain has to ensure the safe journey of the passengers and crew.
Behind the control section I was drawn to a wall of pigeon holes that held numerous flags. These flags are held on the Bridge so that they can be flown when the ship docks in different countries. I’d never really thought about it before my visit, but a cruise ship needs a lot of flags, especially during re-positioning!
Next to the flags was a bell, which was originally used to mark the time that Officers were on watch. I believe other cruise ships have a bell like this with the name of the ship and year it entered service.
I was so thrilled to be able to visit the Bridge during my ship tour of Sapphire Princess. It was very interesting and I would certainly recommend a tour if you ever get the opportunity. As I previously mentioned, you can visit the Bridge on an Ultimate Ship Tour that can be booked at Guest Services on embarkation but you can actually do a behind-the-scenes tour of the ship’s galley and theatre for free. These tours usually take place on a sea day and will be advertised in the daily Princess Patter. I visited the galley on Regal Princess and the theatre on Sapphire and Royal. These are very interesting tours, especially when you realise how much work and dedication goes into ensuring your cruise goes so smoothly!
Related post: Regal Princess: Cruise Ship Galley Tour