If you’re planning a cruise with Princess Cruises, it’s good to know what is included and which things you need to pay extra for. I’ve cruised with Princess several times and in this post, I give you the full guide to what is included on a Princess cruise.
Things included on a Princess cruise (that you don’t need to pack)
If you’re trying to decide what you need to pack for your Princess cruise, there are a few things you can leave at home. There’s no need to pack these things on a Princess cruise:
- Towels and beach towels – these are provided for you to use onboard
- Hair dryer – there is one available in every cabin
- Soap, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner – unless you prefer to use your own
Drinks included on a Princess cruise
Unlimited water, iced tea, tea and standard coffee is included in the cruise fare.
On UK and Asia cruises, there is a kettle with tea, coffee, milk and sugar in your cruise cabin that is replenished daily.
There are certain events that enable you to snag a free alcoholic drink. Look out for shopping and art gallery events, cocktail demonstrations and the first formal night, when free drinks are handed out.
All other drinks on your cruise will be extra so it’s worth taking a look at my comprehensive Princess Cruises drinks package guide to decide if a pre-paid drinks package is worth buying.
If you don’t decide to have a drinks package, it’s worth knowing that Princess Cruises allows each guest aged 18 years (21 years in United States of America and United Arab Emirates ports) and older to bring one bottle of wine or champagne (750ml). There is no corkage fee if it’s consumed in your cabin ($15 if in a restaurant or lounge).
Restaurants included on a Princess Cruise
Princess Cruises has complimentary restaurants and food venues onboard its ships that mean you can dine without the need to pay anything extra. The quality of complimentary food venues is very good and you could quite easily enjoy your cruise without needing to pay for specialty dining.
The International Cafe is located in the Piazza (atrium) and offers complimentary snacks 24 hours a day. The specialty coffee and teas served here are extra but there is a good selection of pastries, cakes, soup, sandwiches and salads that are perfect for a quick bite to eat.
For pizza on the Lido Deck, Slice is a really good option with fresh pizza made throughout the day. As it’s name suggests, pizza is served by the slice but you can go back as much as you like!
Slice is the only included pizza option on Princess Cruises now after changes were made to Alfredo’s and Gigi’s.
Salty Dog Grill
Also on the Lido Deck is the Salty Dog Grill, which serves complimentary burgers, hot dogs, loaded fries and tacos. There is usually a line here because it’s so good.
Free ice cream! On the Lido Deck, you will find a small kiosk offering complimentary soft-serve ice cream throughout the day. At night, when Movies Under the Stars is screening a film, you can also get complimentary popcorn from here.
There is a buffet available on every Princess cruise ship that is open throughout the day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In many cases, food is offered as individual portions.
There is no dress code to dine in the buffet so can be a good option if you want a more casual setting.
The buffet is included on a Princess cruise so there is nothing more to pay here.
Main Dining Rooms
There is always a casual dining option available in the evening but you should certainly dine in one of the main dining restaurants to enjoy a three-course meal and attentive service.
The menu in each dining room is the same so wherever you dine, you aren’t missing out on different menu choices. There is always a ‘Princess Favourites’ section on the menu, which means you always have those items available if nothing else takes your fancy.
Room Service is included on a Princess cruise
Princess Cruises’ room service is complimentary throughout the day. This is definitely not the case for many of the other cruise lines that charge a delivery fee.
There is the odd item that has an extra charge but most of the room service menu is included in the cruise fare.
You can order room service using the Medallion Class app or your cabin TV.
Do you have to pay gratuities on Princess Cruises?
Princess Cruises does not include gratuities in the cruise fare. This means that a daily gratuities charge will be made per person, per day.
The amount you pay in gratuities is dependent on the type of cabin you have. For example, someone staying in a suite will pay more than someone staying in an inside cabin.
You may decide to purchase Princess Plus or Princess Premier for your cruise, which does include gratuities. It can be a bit of a minefield so I created this useful guide to help you decide if it’s worth paying extra for.
There is plenty of entertainment to enjoy onboard Princess ships throughout the day. You can expect the entertainment team to play games and music on the lido deck in the daytime. Also on the Lido Deck are sailaway parties and special themed parties to enjoy on certain evenings of the cruise.
At night, there’s live music in the atrium, lounges and bars. Every evening, you can also expect a show in the theatre. Theatre shows feature the cruise ship performers and guest acts such as comedians and singers.
Take a look at my guide to Princess Cruises Theatre Shows.
The good news is that all entertainment is included on a Princess cruise. You don’t need to pay extra for any special performances.
Kids clubs are included on a Princess cruise
Princess Cruises offers three age categories of kids clubs in partnership with the Discover Channel, with children being able to participate without a parent from 3 years old and older:
- The Treehouse (3-7 years)
- The Lodge (8-12 years)
- The Beach House (13 – 17 years)
These clubs are included in the cruise fare and are a great way to keep the children busy with fun age-appropriate activities.
There’s plenty of activities to keep children engaged and entertained during the cruise including:
- Scavenger hunts, group games, basketball tournaments, ping pong competitions, dodgeball, skeeball and dance parties
- PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and XBOX Kinect consoles, board games, air hockey and ping-pong
- Dance classes and friendly competitions
- Sports including basketball, mini golf, yoga and miniature Olympics
- Talent Shows to showcase singing, dancing, musical skill, and jokes
- Theme Nights include Pirate, Mexican Fiesta and competitive Challenge themes
- Klutz paper airplane challenge or Lego boat-building contest
- JrCHEF@Sea: children can learn cake decorating and enjoy the results with their family
- Make Animal Planet puppets, masks and paintings inspired by regional wildlife
- Klutz® Art Projects: Craft bracelets, velvet art and jewellery
Complimentary Activities on a Princess cruise
There is lots to do on a Princess cruise! On sea days there are activities that you can join in throughout the day.
Here are some examples of the activities you can expect on a Princess cruise:
- Sports and competitions
- Dance classes
- Quizzes and trivia
- Enrichment talks
- Movies Under the Stars screenings
- Drinks tasting
- Guest choir
To give you an idea of the activities available onboard, I’d recommend you take a look at the 50+ free things to do on Regal Princess.
Access to the adults-only area
If you’re looking to escape to a quieter area on the ship, there’s no need to pay extra. Whilst you pay for exclusive access to The Sanctuary, the complimentary alternative is The Retreat adults-only area or Lotus Pool.
This is a quiet zone, just for adults. The Retreat has sun loungers, a pool and an exclusive bar just for adults. Access to this adult-only space is complimentary.
Access to the gym is included on a Princess cruise
The gym onboard Princess ships is free to use and has a good range of machines and free weights.
If you enjoy going to the gym, it’s worth packing your gym kit. The cardio machines are positioned in front of the windows so you can exercise whilst gazing out at the ocean.
Alternatively, you may want to use the walking track or promenade to enjoy the sea views whilst exercising.
Zumba classes are included on a Princess cruise so if you prefer some ‘exercise in disguise’ you can usually find a class in the mornings on sea days.
Your OceanMedallion is included on a Princess cruise
For every Princess cruise, you will be given an OceanMedallion that does a number of things such as open your cabin door, allow you to find friends and family around the ship and order food.
It has replaced the old cruise cards and when it works, it works incredibly well.
You do not need to pay an additional fee for your OceanMedallion. If you live in the US, it will be mailed to you in advance of your cruise. If you live in the UK, it will be ready to collect at the port when you check-in.
You can choose to customise your OceanMedallion for $5. If you don’t want to do this, your OceanMedallion will be printed the colour of your loyalty status. If you are cruising during the first year of a new Princess ship, it will be white.
What’s not included on a Princess cruise?
With so much included on a Princess cruise, it’s useful to know what you will pay extra for. Here’s a summary of things you can expect to pay for on a Princess cruise:
- Specialty dining (including some casual dining venues)
- Alcoholic drinks, sodas, bottled water and specialty coffee/tea
- Casino games and bingo
- Shore excursions
- Flights and transfers
- Laundry machines and dry cleaning
- Spa access and treatments
- Access to The Sanctuary
- Personal training and exercise classes
Recap of what is included on a Princess cruise
- Towels / toiletries / hairdryer
- Water, iced tea, tea and coffee (fruit juice at breakfast)
- Room service
- Food in complimentary dining venues
- Daily activities
- Kids clubs
- Adult-only area
- Gym use
- Your OceanMedallion
On a Princess cruise, you could quite easily pay your cruise fare and nothing more. Having cruised with other cruise lines, I have to say that the value you get on a Princess cruise is excellent.