Is Cruising Set To Become The Best Way To Travel?

Is cruising the best way to travel?

Explore why hopping on board the Sun Princess might just redefine your holiday experience

IF YOU’VE EVER PLANNED a multi-city holiday you’ll know the challenges of flights, transfers, packing, unpacking and time lost to simply getting to your destination. One option that has been around for a long time but rarely considered until you’re older is cruising. It effectively offers you the chance to travel to multiple locations and you only need to check in once. Given the reputation that cruising has for older generations, a new generation of ships has launched hoping to change that conversation.

Hosted for a seven-day cruise from Rome to Athens we sailed on the new 4,300 passenger Sun Princess. This cruise ship isn’t a floating retirement village by any means with over 30 different restaurant and bar locations, a multi-storey spa and more entertainment options than you can visit in the time available. We had a lot to explore and take in, not including the fact that almost every day we woke up in a new location. 

Cruising in 2024 is far more technology driven than we imagined. Prior to sailing we were informed to download the Princess app which enabled us to book restaurants, shore excursions and upon arrival we were set to board within minutes. Guests are given a Medallion to carry or wear rather than a room key. This small beacon unlocks your room door as you draw near, allows staff to find you and deliver drinks and meals, helps you find loved ones and is all you need to get off and back on the ship. The app onboard continues to add functionality such as ordering cocktails from anywhere on the ship to booking a spa treatment. The connectivity onboard is also impressive as we were able to stream Netflix, browse social media, attend Zoom calls (yes, we worked while onboard) and video call back home. 

At least three times per day you might like to eat, you can eat whenever you like however. When you are hungry the hardest part is deciding where you’ll go. We loved the Umai Teppanyaki experience, Kai Sushi by Makoto and the meat eating session at the Butchers Block by Dario Cecchini. But one experience we’ll remember is the Spellbound by Magic Castle. This theatrical dining experience takes you into a secret part of the ship with wonderfully presented cocktails, magic tricks, an immersive performance and exclusive passenger experience that only few onboard can be part of each day. The traditional buffet dining well known to cruising is gone and instead replaced by a mini market style venue where you can walk by various stations of options where items are either made to order or served to you before you sit down. 

Food onboard was surprisingly high quality. When we toured behind the scenes we didn’t expect the level of care that goes into this area. Everything is made fresh onboard. The bakery operates 24 hours a day making everything from scratch. The pasta, pizza, sauces and more are created with raw ingredients, no cheating in the process here. 

As most days are spent at your destination locations the ship offers to handle your day trips and these are well thought out and safe options, or you can choose to roam on your own. Stopping at Naples we selected the option for a tour to Capri. Princess handled the tour guide, transfers to the island, transportation in Capri, food and beverages. With plenty of free time to swim and relax it felt like we were touring on our terms and not part of a strict and busy day trip. In Santorini we opted to transfer to Oia and Fira for convenience and this also ensures you arrive back onboard before sailing away. 

When you do have a day at sea and while onboard a Fitness First sized gym is available with classes throughout the day but the multilevel day spa is one to experience. Whether it’s getting a facial massage and shave, an IV drip to rejuvenate yourself or to use the large Enclave of spas and steam and sauna rooms, this is a place for relaxation and recovery from dancing the night before or exploring on foot at the last destination. 

In the evenings we were able to experience shows and performances in the Arena, stand up comedy, sing-a-longs in the Irish Pub and late night shopping in the boutique stores onboard. There is more entertainment than just the traditional bingo and trivia cruises are known for and many of these performances are world renowned shows such as Cirque Eloize. It’ll be past midnight before you’ll realise the time and head to bed before your next port day. 

As we write this story poolside with a live band playing hits from the 80’s and see the world drifting by as we head to Istanbul we wonder how hard all of this would have been without a cruise. The effort to travel to so many locations, arranging restaurant bookings, seeing the sights and arranging entertainment. 

The Sun Princess has brought all of the elements needed in a holiday into one convenient location. Great food and beverages, world class accommodation options and entertainment. Add to that the benefits of seeing so many locations in a short period of time it warrants a place of consideration in your next holiday. We would recommend this to a group of friends, a couple or honeymooners needing a hassle free trip where the focus is on making the most of the time available without sacrificing on the experiences. When holidays are about the destination, cruising on the Sun Princess is a multitude of destinations. 

Geoff Quattromani is an international technology commentator and cruise lover. Geoff travelled as a guest of Princess Cruises.


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