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Some thoughts on the Sky Princess


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20 hours ago, cruiseintoheaven said:

MIA sugar packets.  For some reason, the artificial sweeteners are still available in the places you'd expect to find them, however real sugar is in communal glass dispensers, and the "nozzle" is about the width of a straw.  Hygiene red flag as these are brought and left with guests in the IC, the dining rooms etc.  Just struck us as odd.

 

Excellent review. Thank you!

 

RE: the communal glass dispensers. On our most recent cruise, my biggest issue was that the "nozzle" got full of moist(?) sugar and plugged up. The only way to get sugar was to open the dispenser, tap the lid on something until the obstruction came out, then replace the lid.

Pretty sure that defeats the cleanliness of the dispenser.

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11 minutes ago, JF - retired RRT said:

Excellent review. Thank you!

 

RE: the communal glass dispensers. On our most recent cruise, my biggest issue was that the "nozzle" got full of moist(?) sugar and plugged up. The only way to get sugar was to open the dispenser, tap the lid on something until the obstruction came out, then replace the lid.

Pretty sure that defeats the cleanliness of the dispenser.

Yes, and I would make the case that the already “iffy” containers needing to be handled and opened by guests makes it even more of a red flag in the sanitation department.  I will bring my own sugar packets on our next cruise!  

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The Wake View pool is also shallow at 3 feet and is basically just a pool to cool off in. The ladders in both the Retreat Pool and Wake View Pools have wide steps all the way to the bottom, making it easier to enter and exit for most people. I would not however, been able to use the pool if it was deeper and lacked the stairs. I guess they decided to make the two pools shallow and didn't have the depth to create a staircase. I never made it to the other pools.Were they shallow also?

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22 hours ago, cruiseintoheaven said:

Hi all, 

 

We recently sailed on the Sky Princess (2/8-15) and I wanted to share some of my personal thoughts on the ship and overall experience.  This was our 12th Princess cruise, and 17th overall.  Most of our days on Princess have been on her sister ships the Regal and Royal.  This was also our first Medallion cruise.  All said, we had an enjoyable time and are still Princess enthusiasts.  We did purchase a few FCD's which speaks for itself.

 

The ship is obviously new and as others have reported, beautiful with the mix of warm tones and the pop of blue seen in many reviews.  Service was by and large typical of what we have experienced on prior cruises, with a few exceptions.  We did at times feel like the service was just a smidge less personal and wondered if it was just us, the new ship/staff or perhaps the Medallion??

 

Anyway, most of my thoughts are in the category of "head scratchers" or "what were they thinking" category.  Some of these have been mentioned before on previous threads or reviews, but this was my first time aboard so here goes:

 

The theatre....I'm not a facts or figures person, so I have no clue how many seats are available, but if you wanted to see the production shows and get prime seating you had to get there by 7:15 for the 8:00 show.  For Rock Opera we arrived at 7:00 and it was already filling up.  High demand because they are new?  Less seating?  No idea but that seems like an awfully long time to have to sit (and miss other things going on) to see the shows.  I should mention that both 5 Skies and Rock Opera were excellent in our opinion.  The magician/comedian Christopher James was also very good.  The other comedian was average.

 

Public bathrooms....some of the women's rooms were extremely tight in terms of space.  You had to be careful when you opened the main door to not knock into someone at the sink.  There seemed to be less space allotted in general, and also less sinks.  The wooden placards on the Royal and Regal reminding you to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water were not there - there is one laminated - looking sign telling you to wash for at least 20 seconds under running water - I often found it was impossible to get hot water in the restrooms.  Not good for hygiene and it seemed like PAX needed the missing reminders as the hand washing that I observed was minimal.  On a positive note, there are more unisex restrooms in various locations.

 

The Retreat Pool area....very mixed feelings about this.  As mentioned in prior reports, it's now two levels and surrounded by cabins on deck 17.  We were in one of those cabins actually, and proximity helped only marginally in terms of getting a deck chair as people were marking their territory at the crack of dawn only to disappear.  We are early risers and obviously had a pretty good view of the comings and goings.  Chair hogs are not unique to Princess and I don't have a good solution but it sure is annoying.  The pool itself is a real head scratcher, considering it's adults only and the demographic tends to skew "older" - no walk in stairs like on the Regal or Royal, and the depth all the way across is only slightly over 3 feet.  Most people "stood" on their knees" and just cooled off.  If you're a fan of shade, the layout did provide more of that.  However, the first sea day it was so windy that the deck chairs had to be removed and one of the entry doors was ripped from it's hinges and unusable the rest of the cruise.  I'll be curious to see if this layout is changed on future builds of that class of ships.

 

The IC, which is one of our favorite places to grab a salad or snack.....they have gone to pre-portioned servings in cute square glass dishes, which creates a few challenges - they are hard to eat out of because they are deep and narrow, and also because they are still using a standard round salad plate to put them on.  This means that if you select two salads, they barely fit on the plate and forget asking for 3.  A simple solution would be to use rectangular serving dishes designed to fit the new glass containers.

 

MIA sugar packets.  For some reason, the artificial sweeteners are still available in the places you'd expect to find them, however real sugar is in communal glass dispensers, and the "nozzle" is about the width of a straw.  Hygiene red flag as these are brought and left with guests in the IC, the dining rooms etc.  Just struck us as odd.

 

Ok, moving on....both Alfredos and the French Bistro have Al Fresco dinging available, but we didn't see anyone eating outside.  Alfredo's had been modernized (we prefer the old style Italian tiled tables) but the food and service was consistent.  The veal agnolotti (a favorite for many) does look as though the sauce has been changed, and it's a bit heavier, but overall it tastes pretty much like the original and I managed to eat more than my share.

 

A word on food in general.  We stayed out of the buffet and ate in the MDR, Alfredo's and once at Sabatini's.  Friends we were cruising with ate the majority of their meals in the buffet.  We all noted that though we were not in any danger of starvation....the food was by and large bland  and less variety (with the exception of Alfredo's).  Our meal at Sabatini's was both bland and lacking in the service department.  We waited 15 minutes just to get a refill on water - that seems unacceptable to me, especially when paying an upcharge.

 

Some thoughts about the changes to the venues.....Princess Live is a big improvement, but still could use more seating as it's a very popular venue.  We really, really enjoyed the take 5 Jazz Lounge and music and based on the increase in PAX who gathered there each evening I would guess this is a swing and a hit, particularly for those that like to dance.  The lack of Crooners meant that Vines filled up with people who wanted to have a drink and be close to the Piazza.  As did Bellini's next to the IC.  While the Crown Grill bar and Take 5 are both nice venues and had enjoyable music, they are removed from the action of the rest of the ship - this is a good thing or a bad thing depending on your preference.

 

Lest I forget, pats of butter were available in the MDR, but the Elite spa kits were not.  Pub lunch went "bye bye" as the Captain would say.  Small things for us, but for some, these things really impact their overall experience.  I would guess the longer you've been cruising you are more aware of the cutbacks.

 

We did really like the Medallion technology though we didn't use it to it's full extent. Being able to find each other on the ship, check our account and have the door open was very convenient. 

 

Now before anyone suggests we find another cruise line, let me say that we had a very good cruise on a lovely ship.  These are just some subjective thoughts I wanted to share here on cruise critic.  We still really enjoy the Princess experience and will continue to sail with them, though we both agree it might be time to try some other lines, particularly since we want to go to Bermuda.

 

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for the great review.  I read somewhere that there was no library on the Sky.  Is that true?  We are doing a transatlantic cruise in April and I will need to bring books if none are available onboard.

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2 minutes ago, cmh said:

Thanks for the great review.  I read somewhere that there was no library on the Sky.  Is that true?  We are doing a transatlantic cruise in April and I will need to bring books if none are available onboard.

No library.  There is a very small book exchange on a table at the back of the computer room, but I would bring my own if I were you. 

Edited by sunsetbeachgal
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40 minutes ago, cmh said:

Thanks for the great review.  I read somewhere that there was no library on the Sky.  Is that true?  We are doing a transatlantic cruise in April and I will need to bring books if none are available onboard.

That is correct - no library which is a shame to me as an avid reader.  In the Internet cafe there is a table in the back with a daily sudoku puzzle, a few books to exchange and some board games.  
 

as an aside -  I don’t recall if this is true of the other ships, but on the Sky, Vines has a long disciples table that was usually occupied by folks playing card games.  

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On 2/22/2020 at 7:50 AM, susancruzs said:

Cold water in restrooms bugs me.  It is a health concern, I've complained to local places I frequent about their lack of hot water in restrooms.  One we no longer go to because owner got nasty with me when I mentioned it.

You don't have to rinse in warm/hot water. *Running* water is the key point. I'm a nurse (30+ years) and generally wash in cool water--it's easier on skin and doesn't wash all the natural protective oils off. It also leads to less damaged skin that can crack and allow infectious agents to enter.

 

In real-world situations, handwashing is best, alcohol sanitizers second best. Just do either one on a regular basis and you'll be fine.

 

(hops off soap box)

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Thanks for that info, I just assumed warmer water was better.  Restaurant I mentioned has very cold water in winter because being NE Wisc. comes out of the ground that way.  I can't stand to put my hands in the cold water coming out of my faucet at home, it is awful, adding some hot so it is warm helps.

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31 minutes ago, susancruzs said:

Thanks for that info, I just assumed warmer water was better.  Restaurant I mentioned has very cold water in winter because being NE Wisc. comes out of the ground that way.  I can't stand to put my hands in the cold water coming out of my faucet at home, it is awful, adding some hot so it is warm helps.

Most people find warm feels better, but I generally like things cooler--room air, drinking water, tequila. . .

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