My sneak peek at the wonderful new Discovery Princess
Discovery Princess, Princess Cruises’ final Royal-Class vessel debuted in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 27. I was onboard for a few hours before the ship set sail on her maiden voyage and am pleased to share with you a first look (with lots of photos!) at this incredible ship that will be sailing the Mexican Riviera, California Coast and Alaska.
The 145,000 ton vessel was designed from the ground up with Princess MedallionClass™ technology, which can now be found on all Princess cruise ships. MedallionClass™ enables guests to enjoy fast, reliable Wi-Fi, touchless experiences (like opening your stateroom door hands-free), food and drinks delivered around the ship, and more. Every guest experiences the Medallion Class technology and conveniences (contrary to the name, it’s not a “class” of cruising) and a small, wearable device (aka, the Medallion) replaces your cruise card and is used to open your stateroom door & make purchases.
Discovery Princess offers favorites like the line’s signature Sanctuary, as well as world-class dining options.
With 19 decks, 1830 guest cabins and 6 upcharge dining options, a week hardly seems like enough time to experience this ship. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights!
Deck 5 – Plaza
Let’s start with the stunning Piazza, Princess cruises gorgeous atrium. From live music to bars & dining, this gathering spot is almost always abuzz with passengers and is one of our favorite spots on Princess cruise ships. Inspired by the vibrant squares of Europe, you’ll often find what Princess calls “roving street performers” entertaining the crowds by the quaint boutiques, spiral staircase and glass-walled elevators. Don’t mis the panoramic views from these elevators, and be sure to visit the International Café or a treat.
Another great spot to people watch in the piazza is Gelato, the upcharge gelatiera onboard. The prices are fair, and the bistro style seating makes this a cozy spot to enjoy a sweet treat. Discovery Princess’ gelato is authentic, produced fresh each day using the best ingredients and traditional recipes. There’s a variety of classic flavors to enjoy by themselves or in combination with a choice of toppings.
Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria not only makes it’s own pasta onboard Discovery Princess, they also serve modern Italian cocktails and wines. On Discovery Princess guests can check out the Pasta Room at Sabatini’s for a unique glimpse into how artisanal pastas are made by hand, fresh every day. Come hungry, because you’ll be choosing from antipasto, soups, salads, pastas mains and desserts, and believe us when we tell you, you’ll leave with a full belly!
Not to be overlooked, the Enclave, Princess’s thermal suite is similar in style and size to past Royal Class vessels, and can be booked by the day, or by the voyage. The Enclave on Discovery Princess is Princess’ largest-ever thermal suite and is home to a dramatic hydro-therapy pool with a cascading rain shower and therapeutic air jets. Discovery Princess guess can relax on heated stone beds or soothing water beds. In the Enclave you’ll also find The Hammam, a Turkish-style steam bath, and the Caldarium, a light steam chamber infused with herbal aromas and the Laconium, a heated, dry chamber that is said to help with purification and detoxification of the body.
Deck 6 – Fiesta
A few of our favorite hangouts in this area include the newly reimagined Crooners Bar with the piano, lush decor and pops of red upholstery. Princess likens the Crooners bar to a step back in time to the Sinatra era. The vibe definitely sells this parallel. You’ve got the piano, martinis and other mixed drinks that would fit right into the “Rat Pack” crowd.
The Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar is a great place to grab some sushi & a cocktail with a view, while Bellini’s Bar serves Cocktails Inspired by the Romance of Italy. Some of the culinary treasures you’ll find at Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar include sushi, sashimi, chilled sake, cocktails, and wine by the glass. To make it easier to choose from the extensive array of seafood goodies, Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar has a la carte pricing. So try a little of this, and a little of that to your heart’s (or stomach’s) content.
Like to gamble while cruising? We were told that the Casino on Discovery Princess holds even more slot machines than past Royal Class ships. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but trust us, the selection is massive! But it doesn’t stop at slot machines. Discovery Princess’ Casino offers gaming lessons, prize tournaments, and more. Blackjack, “21,” and Texas Hold ‘Em, tables are available and play by Vegas rules. And finally if roulette is your game, Discovery Princess offers the American version.
Deck 7 – Promenade
Sandwiched between the Piazza and Crown Grill, the newly redesigned “open concept” Princess Live venue brings television studio vibes to Deck 7. You’ll find interactive shows, live concerts, comedy, game shows & more in this nicely designed mini-theatre. The layout of this venue is now open to the Deck 7 indoor promenade, which makes it a more inviting space to enter.
The Princess Theater sits forward on Decks 6 & 7 and houses the ships main theater shows. Princess employs artists from around the world to showcase modern hits and timeless classics in the Princess Theater. The Princess Theater on Discovery Princess is the largest theater yet. It is home to original productions with dynamic cast members. It is an ultramodern theater with unobstructed sight lines so guests won’t miss a moment of the production.
Aft on Deck 7, the Crown Grill & The Crown Grill Bar are sure to be a popular gathering spot. On the maiden voyage, several guests claimed the Crown Grill Bar their already-favorite spot onboard. The Crown Grill was named among the “Best Cruise Ship Steakhouses” by USA TODAY, and we can understanding why. We always visit the Crown Grill when sailing on Princess. It features premium aged beef and fresh seafood items, in a classically elegant setting. The crown grill on Discovery Princess also features an open kitchen where cruisers can watch chefs prepare and cook to order top-quality cuts of beef, chops and seafood.
The Dining Rooms on Discovery Princess were named after Alaskan ports of call- Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. At the back of each dining room you’ll find special tables for Chef’s Table Lumiere, an upcharge specialty experience onboard where you’ll indulge in champagne and hors d’oeuvres, followed by an extravagant multi-course dinner created and hosted by the ship’s executive chef.
At the back of each dining room, you’ll find glitzy private tables where Chef’s Table Lumiere are held, each with a different look and feel.
3-Michelin Star Chef Emmanuel Renaut’s Bistro Sur La Mer features a french menu with items like home-style paté in savory dough with red cabbage-blueberry mousseline, as well as an all-French wine list. At just $29 per person, you can enjoy mains like scallops, filet mignon and seared duck breast, along with appetizers and dessert. Oh, and this spot is located just off the lively piazza, which makes for a unique dining experience.
Deck 16 – Lido
Located on Deck 16, Discovery Princess’s Buffet Restaurant, World Fresh Marketplace is bright, open and clean. Designed to disperse crowds, you’ll find different nooks for main courses, salads, and pastries. Having cruised on several other cruise lines since the industry re-start, we couldn’t help but notice just how spacious Princess’s buffet area truly is and how those distinct stations create a relaxed mood here.
Princess is experimenting with single serve options, a nice option as we transition from full-serve pandemic buffet service, back to more traditional self-serve dining.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner you’ll find plenty of options to choose from. For breakfast – visit the gourmet pancake station, or enjoy eggs, omelets, hot cereals, fruit and much more.
At lunch, you’ll find sandwiches, a salad bar regionally inspired dishes and soups, as well as hot foods and carvery selections. For dinner, there’s always international favorites, comfort foods, customized stir-fry or pasta, plus a variety of fresh fruit and salad choices.
Also on Deck 16, the Sky Pool offers far more swimming real estate than former Royal Class vessels, with no fountain area. There are three hot tubs in the mail Lido area, and even more one deck above – along with some cozy booth seating “in the round”.
Notice the new, teal pool towels replacing their blue & white striped predecessors.
Deck 17 – Sun
Just upstairs from the main pool, the Retreat Pool on Deck 17 is a complimentary adults-only area. Here, you’ll also find the Retreat Bar.
We found the Fitness Center to be very spacious and well equipped with ample cardio, weight and free weight equipment. In addition to these amenities, the Lotus Spa Fitness Center offers fitness programs that Princess Cruises say are designed to help you maximize your wellness. Offerings include Tour de Cycle, personal training and classes such as Pilates, Yoga, Body Sculpt Boot Camp, Results Based Training and TRX suspension training.
Deck 18 – Sky
Up another level on 18, forward, the Sanctuary is an upcharge adults only oasis. Here, you can rent a full or half day pass, or splurge on a cabana for a half or full day. There’s also a hot tub here, as well as a few massage tables for upcharge treatments. This is an excellent spot to reserve for glacier viewing in Alaska, but book early as it’s popular and capacity is limited.
Within The Sanctuary, the Sanctuary Cabanas offer an elevated experience within the already-luxurious area with amenities such as a personal television with noise-reducing wireless headphones, cushy sofas, luxurious robe and slippers, a welcome cocktail, and healthy snacks and bento boxes. The cabana also includes a fully stocked mini-bar with waters and sodas, as well as a choice of alcoholic options, including beer or wine.
On our visit, Sanctuary Cabana prices were as follows:
Half Day Lounge Chair: $20 per person
Full Day Lounge Chair: $40 per person
Half Day Cabana: $140.00 per cabana
Full Day Cabana: $280.00 per cabana
Located on Deck 18, the Sky deck offers the Widest jogging track we’ve ever seen at sea. Princess put great care into ensuring ample space to “spread out” and navigate crowds. We can see this being particularly nice on glacier viewing days in Alaska, when guests flock to the top decks.
The fully netted Sports Court is a great spot for sea day basketball games with new friends.
Deck 19 – Vista
The Greens Mini Golf course on Deck 19 is the ONLY public area on this deck, and thus, offers one of the highest views from the ship. Come check out this unassuming, but lovely spot!
See more CruiseTipsTV articles here.
Cruise like a PRO!
Download our shore day bag checklist, and more cruise packing and planning checklists & videos by joining the CruiseTipsTV Academy. We have a special discount code for our readers on this Intro to Cruising Master Class.
To redeem the $5.00 discount on our master class enter code ALLABOARD here, and, welcome to the Academy!
Need a Travel Advisor?
Contact our travel agency partner, Montebello Dream Vacations: Let Wendy know you were referred by CruiseTipsTV when you call. Wendy will match you with the best agent for your needs, and an agent will give you a call back! Phone number is on the website.