The Next Evolution of Cruising - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Hear Us Out: It’s Time To Get Excited About The Future Of Cruising

This travel option isn't just for the elderly.

Taking a cruise is a holiday some immediately are drawn to and some shy away from. Some perceive a cruise as a large floating hotel or even a retirement village at sea. Cruising is one of the oldest forms of vacation and the next evolution is looking to bust any misconception you may have about it.

In the 80’s Princess Cruises was one of the first to introduce balcony accommodation on a cruise, in the 90’s they added a wedding chapel to their ships, in the 2000’s they introduced outdoor cinema screens for movies under the stars and they’ve recently launched new technology to change the way you navigate and explore the vessel. From next year a new cruise ship will be launching that is taking voyages to the next level and it is anything but “just a hotel”. 

The Sun Princess touched water for the first time as the construction continues. Currently more of a skeleton than a ready ship, this vessel is now undergoing the interior fitout and all the finer details that make this a world class ship.

 This 175,500 tonne vessel with 21 decks will be able to accommodate over 4,000 passengers when it sets sail in February 2024. These passengers will experience cruising in a completely different way than any cruise ship before. This is thanks to new design philosophies that consider space, enhanced experiences and flexibility. Community spaces such as restaurants, bars, leisure and entertainment areas are all newly designed to factor these philosophies that mean any area may appear one way during the day, but transform entirely for the evening, an event or just to suit the location they are cruising through. 

The Sun Princess immediately looks different to other ships thanks to a giant, multi-storey, glass sphere on the left and right sides. This area inside is a wide open space that will bring the outside in and create a feeling of openness that isn’t normally felt in cruise ships. The abundance of natural light and stars at night will amaze guests. In our time touring the space so far it’s obvious just how large this area will be and how multidimensional it can be also. Inside this space is a three storey screen that also brings additional visual cues to anything happening at the time. Into one of the theatres, it is no longer a cinema style event with an almost colosseum vibe where a band or performance is surrounded by seating and a full wrap around screen will also bring additional opportunities to this space. 

Outside however is where you’ll want to be during the day. The amount of pools and spas is endless. At the rear of the ship is possibly the place you’ll stay most with easy access to bars and infinity pools where you can watch the wake of the ship go by as cocktails flow continuously. 

The evolution from a technology viewpoint is the introduction of the Medallion to Princess Cruises. The hotel room card is gone and this small piece of jewellery can be worn on your wrist or necklace and will automatically unlock doors upon arrival, ideal for when you’re carrying two drinks. You’ll be able to use the Medallion to pay for beverages, access facilities and if everyone in your group is using one, you’ll also be able to see where you all are through the companion app. Ideal for when you need to see if your partner is still getting a massage and you have time for one more drink at the bar. The Medallion also means that staff will immediately know a little more about you, your regular cocktail choice and room number so rather than having to fumble your way through an order, you’ll simply be asked “Long Island Iced Tea?” because that’s what holidays and good service looks like.

For when you’ve taken the ultimate photo of your cocktail with the sunset in the background you’ll now be able to connect with the world and share images, videos and live streams with ease. No matter where you are on the planet, Princess will now have high speed internet available. A working holiday is now a possibility whether you are in the Mediterranean, Caribbean or South Pacific, you can be online or completely disconnected at sea, depending on your needs.

The amount of public spaces, lifestyle areas and list of things to do on a cruise ship has evolved to a point where we simply cannot find a hotel on earth that comes close. The term “hotel on water” is far from true with the upcoming Sun Princess and it’s no longer just a place for retirees, it’s potentially the best way to travel. 

Geoff Quattromani is a technology commentator and cruise addict. Geoff travelled to Venice, Italy as a guest of Princess Cruises.

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