Last Updated on 08/24/23 by quiltripping
As I sit on my balcony, drink in hand, I am mesmerized by the scenery that slips by. On this day it’s not the typical frothy ocean blue. Today, the water is a calm, deep, sapphire shade, reflecting the surrounding emerald green slopes where waterfalls slip and slide for hundreds of feet and little, red roofed cottages look like something out of a fairy tale.
I am cruising through Norway’s longest fjord and I am wishing that this day will never end!
I have my wish list of cruise itineraries, so when Princess had a great last minute deal with no single supplement on a Norwegian and Arctic cruise, I quickly jumped at the chance. The fact that it was on one of Princess’ newest cruise ships, the Sky Princess, was an added bonus. It was a memorable trip and was everything I hoped for, both for the wonderful scenery and the experience on the ship.
After spending 16 glorious days on this beautiful ship, I am sharing this detailed Sky Princess cruise ship review based on my personal experiences.
My Sky Princess review
The Sky Princess was my first time cruising on a Royal class cruise ship – the other Princess ships I had been on were an Alaska cruise on the Island Princess and a full Panama Canal transit on the Ruby Princess.
The Sky Princess had her first sailing in 2019 and due to the pandemic pause, she still felt like a very new ship when I recently boarded her in Southampton. As I toured her decks, I discovered familiar Princess elements and also some new-to-me details that I looked forward to experiencing.
What I loved about this Princess cruise
As with other Princess cruises, what impressed me most was the staff. They work very hard and the service was always delivered with a smile. My room steward was amazing. I know he said he took a break in the middle of the day, but it sure seemed like he was always on my floor, taking care of someone.
My bed was always crisply made, my bathroom clean and the dishes always cleared away (can he come home with me?). And he was always so very cheerful and eager to please.
After two other Princess cruises, I now have some favorite routines when it comes to what I really enjoy doing while I am on a Princess ship. I love getting a light breakfast from the International Café and eating it on the balcony with a cup of tea. I love watching a new or favorite film on Movies-Under-the-Stars. And I love scones with clotted cream and jam for afternoon tea.
For me, a cruise is all about “me time”, so I don’t look for big group activities, though there were plenty to choose from. I prefer a quiet corner where I can listen to an audiobook or read or catch up on writing while looking out at the ocean. But if I wanted action there was plenty of karaoke, trivia games, and Zumba just to name a few of the many on board distractions.
However, the biggest highlight for me on this cruise was gliding through the Norwegian fjords and taking in the scenery. The fjords we went through were very long so it took many hours to get in and out which was just fine with me.
I loved just sitting on my balcony and looking at the shoreline, wondering what was coming around the next bend. There were tall peaks with some remnants of snow, cute little farm houses surrounded by quiet patches of bright green and occasionally a waterfall cascading down a steep hillside. This was the Norway I had come to see.
How to get to the Sky Princess in Southampton
This cruise left from Southampton, England which meant I had an overnight flight from the USA to Heathrow Airport. Once I exited customs at Heathrow, I went to the National Express information desk and purchased a bus ticket that took me directly from the airport to Southampton.
Getting to the bus station at the airport was an easy walk and was well marked. I had a two hour wait before my bus left which I spent at the bus station café. It was another two hour bus ride to Southampton which let me take a cat nap since I was still sleep deprived after my night time flight.
In Southampton, it was an easy 10 minute walk to my hotel, The Moxy, part of the Marriott portfolio. I chose this hotel because it was midway between the bus station and the cruise port and had good reviews. It’s a hip, modern hotel and had everything I needed for my one night stay, in particular, a comfortable bed.
I had time to explore a little of the nearby historic center core of Southampton and grab a fish and chips dinner at the Duke of Wellington Pub before crashing for a long night’s sleep.
The next morning, I chose to walk the 20 minutes from the Moxy to the cruise pier because I wanted some exercise, though I could have taken a taxi. I did not have much luggage and the sidewalks were good and had curb cuts for most of the way.
Before boarding I filled out all the required information on the Princess Medallion app and was “Ocean Ready” and in the “green lane”. Since I booked last minute, I picked up my medallion at check in.
Boarding went smoothly and in about 10 minutes I had dropped off my bags, had gotten through the check in process, and was walking up the gangplank toward lunch on board the Sky Princess.
My cruise had officially started!
Sky Princess balcony room review
When I checked in I was pleased to discover that Princess had upgraded me to a port side, forward balcony cabin on deck 11 – the Baja deck. As a solo traveler, the 222 square foot cabin was plenty roomy.
The Sky Princess has over 700 balcony style cabins in a variety of sizes so there are many to choose from. I had a standard balcony cabin, and while my balcony was not huge, it was roomy enough for two chairs and a small table. Two people could certainly sit there comfortably to enjoy the view.
The cabin décor had a very new and modern look with a very soothing color scheme: taupe and light grey tones accented with sky blue and set off by the crisp white bedding. The bed is one of my favorite Princess details – big, feather pillows and comforter covered with high thread count linens. Between the fine bedding and the gentle rocking of the ship, I always sleep very well on a Princess cruise.
I was also quite surprised at the large amount of storage, most of which I didn’t use. I thought there was certainly enough space for two people’s stuff (though I do tend to travel light). There was the closet with 35 hangers (yes, I counted them) and a tall storage cabinet with six shelves and a safe. Each nightstand had two drawers, the desk had three drawers (one with a built in hair dryer), and the credenza had a mini fridge and three shallow open shelves.
On previous cruises I have found that there were often not enough outlets for charging. That was not the case here. Each nightstand had a lamp with a built in USB port. The desk had three European style outlets and two American style outlets. A UK adapter was also provided which I thought was a nice touch. The bathroom also had an outlet that could take either a European or American style plug.
The bathroom was also sufficiently roomy for one person with a shower with an adjustable height shower head, toilet, one sink, and three shelves. (I’ve had smaller bathrooms in some European hotels). Another nice touch was a built in clothes line in the shower. My room steward also kept me supplied with clean towels each day which certainly spoiled me.
Another touch that I appreciated on this ship was the kettle and tea/coffee station in the room. I like a cup of tea in the morning as I sit on the balcony, and it was nice not to have to ask for a tea kettle for the room.
My cabin was also very quiet, and even though I was at the very front of the ship, I only felt a little of the ship’s motion (which I find soothing). Another advantage to my location was that the forward elevators never seemed quite as busy as the middle or aft elevators, and I often had an elevator to myself.
The Sky Princess ship details
The Sky Princess is not an overly large ship as compared to others out there, but as a Royal Class ship she is larger than the Ruby and the Island Princess which I had sailed previously.
- Royal class
- Year inaugurated – 2019
- Last refurbished –NA
- Last dry dock – May, 2023
- Maximum number of passengers –3660
- Maximum number of crew -1346
The Sky Princess had plenty of public spaces that offered numerous activities all day if I wanted them.
This is a list of all the public spaces on the Sky Princess with lots of photos to give you a good sense of the space and all the lovely design details. The ship interior had a very modern feel with many sky blue tones and highlights which I really liked.
A few things to note:
I was a bit disappointed to find that this ship had no library so you will need to bring your own reading materials, games and puzzles if you want them.
I also missed the traditional open promenade deck. While deck 7 has an outdoor promenade area, you cannot walk it all around the ship. Also, the lifeboats hang here so the views are impeded by them. However, the jogging track on deck 17 provided a walking area and unhindered ocean views.
One thing I really liked was that many of the doors in the public spaces opened automatically and were touch free. There were also a lot of sinks to wash your hands as you entered the buffet area and there were hand sanitizing stations all over the ship.
Deck 5 – Plaza
The Piazza – the beautiful three story heart of the ship features elegant, curving staircases with lots of glittery gold, marble and sky blue accents. There always seemed to be some type of excellent live music performance going on here throughout the day.
Surrounding the Piazza are:
The International Café – one of my favorite places for food and my favorite spot to pick up my usual breakfast of a yogurt parfait and an almond croissant. This was also a great place to get quick snacks, a light lunch, pastries, or cookies, 24 hours a day. I especially liked it for satisfying those midnight snack cravings. This is also the place to indulge your specialty coffee cravings for a fee unless you have a drinks package.
Bellini’s – nice spot to try a new mixed cocktail or your favorite brew.
Vines Wine Bar – the spot to try different wines from around the world.
Gelato – this ice cream spot was one of my other favorite indulgencies on board and my downfall. They offered a wonderful and diverse selection of gelato flavors (minimal extra charges apply).
Shops of Princess – Essentials – had a very minimal selection of necessities if you forgot something.
Internet café – a small little corner with desks and computer monitors where you can catch up on e-mails with views of the ocean or ask for IT help.
Aft of the Piazza:
Soleil Dining Room – one of the three main dining rooms on the ship which was open for dinner.
Forward of the Piazza:
Guest Services– the place to go for answers and get help during the cruise. Staff were always very friendly and helpful. There is a kiosk here where you can print your folio any time using your medallion.
Shore Excursions Desk – the spot to go for questions about shore excursion booked through Princess. If you don’t want to book your shore excursions on line or on the app, you can book in person onboard at this location, though be forewarned that many of the shore excursion for my cruise were sold out before boarding.
Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria – one of the specialty restaurants on board. I really enjoyed my dinner there one night.
Lotus Spa and Salon – Beside the usual spa and salon services, you’ll also find the Enclave, an indoor heated space with a small pool, heated loungers, and steam rooms. Access to the enclave was by buying a package for the whole length of the cruise.
Deck 6 – Fiesta
Public spaces forward to aft:
Princess Theater lower level – the venue for evening shows and performances.
Churchill’s Cigar Lounge – the spot for smokers.
Take Five -at night this was the jazz music lounge which I really enjoyed. During the day it was a quiet spot that was hardly ever busy. I liked coming here on sea days when I wanted to do computer work while looking out the window.
Gatsby’s Casino and Bar – plenty of options for those that like to gamble. Note that smoking is allowed in this space.
Good Spirits at Sea – another spot to get drinks.
Shops of Princess – plenty of choices for browsing and buying, especially jewelry.
Future Cruise Planning – put a deposit on a future Princess cruise and get free onboard credit.
Photo gallery – gone are the racks of pre-printed photos. Instead, there are monitors where you can view and order your photos using your medallion.
Fine Arts Gallery – showing new art for the art auctions at sea.
Estrella Dining Room – this dining room was open for all three meals and is also where afternoon tea was served.
Cielo Dining Room – one of the three dining rooms open for dinner. Note that you can only access this dining room from the aft lift area. This is also where I had the special Chef’s Table dinner.
Deck 7 – Promenade
Public spaces moving forward to aft:
Princess Theater upper level – the place to go for enrichment lectures and evening shows.
The Shops of Princess – a very pretty space with more choices for browsing and buying.
Ocean Terrace – one of the specialty dining restaurants with sushi and sashimi.
The Catch by Rudi – another specialty restaurant with a wide array of seafood dishes, but also plenty of choices for meat lovers and vegetarians.
Alfredo’s Pizzeria – this is where I had fresh, made to order pizzas. I could order one of the pizzas from the menu, but usually I asked for one made with just the ingredients I like. This was a very popular spot for dinner that filled up quickly.
Ocean Front – relaxing spot for drinks with views of the Piazza.
Princess Live! and Princess Live Cafe –large venue for drinks, daily activities and evening entertainment.
Crown Grill and Bar–specialty steakhouse restaurant serving fine steaks and seafood.
Vista Lounge – another large venue for drinks, activities, and evening entertainment.
Outside you will also find the Promenade Deck and Alfresco Dining. This outdoor space does not go all around the ship and the forward portion was inaccessible while at sea. The lifeboats hang here all along the side of the ship, so the views are limited. There is a small area aft with some deck chairs that was usually not busy. You can get some unobstructed views by going all the way aft.
Deck 16 – Lido
Public spaces forward to aft:
Slice Pizza – the Neapolitan style pizza had a thin, crispy crust and each day there was a special that offered different toppings. You can get as many slices as you like all throughout the day.
THE MIX – poolside bar for drinks of all types.
The Salty Dog Grill – great spot to satisfy that burger-and-fries craving; or get hot dogs, a pulled pork sandwich or tacos.
Sky Pools – two big pools with hot tubs and lots of lounge chairs for sunning and relaxing. Loved the lounge pits in between the two pools. Can also watch Movies-Under-The-Stars here.
Sea walk – a glass walkway on both sides of the deck with views down to water level. Walk on it if you dare!
Sea Views Bar – another option for drinks while lounging in the pool or hot tubs.
Swirls Ice Cream Bar– free soft serve chocolate and vanilla ice cream any time of day.
The World Fresh Marketplace – the place to go for buffet meals or drinks of water, tea and coffee. There was a daily international theme to the food offered in world Fresh Marketplace.
The Pastry Shop – don’t miss this spot tucked in the middle of the World Fresh Marketplace for desert options and afternoon tea goodies each day. This is also where the fresh juice bar is located.
Wakeview Pool – small pool perfect for a quick refreshing dip on the back end of the ship. This area is just outside the World Fresh Marketplace and has outdoor seating if you want to eat al fresco.
Wakeview Bar – outdoor poolside bar offering a variety of drinks.
Deck 17 – Sun
Public spaces forward to aft:
Retreat pool and bar– this intimate, adults only pool and hot tub area is accessed only from a door across from the forward lifts. On warm, sunny days, all the lounge chairs on both deck levels around this pool were always full, so it did not feel like much of a retreat. On cool, overcast days it was pretty empty.
Movies Under the Stars sitting area– a large screen above the Sky Pools where you can see movies and concerts. This was one of my favorite activities on the ship.
Hot tubs – there are four more hot tubs on the deck here, two with views of the ocean and two with views of the Movies-Under-The-Stars.
Fitness area – The place to go to work off all the calories from all that good food. Walk for miles on a treadmill while looking out over the deep blue sea.
Camp Discovery and the Beach House – dedicated club areas for children.
Outdoor deck with seating area over the Wakeview Pool – a very pleasant area to relax and look out over the ocean. Often frequented by smokers.
Deck 18 – Sky
Forward – note that these areas can only be accessed from the forward lifts
The Sanctuary – a quiet, adult only retreat to relax without the crowds. An extra daily fee is charged to reserve a deck chair here each day.
Retreat pool deck– the second deck level around the retreat pool with two hot tubs.
Aft – this area can be accessed from the aft elevators or via outside stairs from deck 16.
Movies Under the Stars screen
Jogging track – seven times around the track is one mile. This is a nice spot to enjoy unobstructed ocean views in all directions even if you are not interested in jogging or exercising. Don’t miss the street art murals on the walls as you walk around the track.
Center court – very large, netted, basketball court.
Deck 19 – Vista
The Greens Mini Golf – small putting green that can only be accessed by stairs from aft area of deck 18.
On decks 8 through 15, Princess provides self service laundry facilities for guests in the aft portion on each floor.
Using my medallion I purchased tokens for the washing machines and dryers from vending machines located in the laundry room. I could also buy detergent, but I brought my own. There were also irons and ironing boards for guest’s use.
This is one of my favorite benefits on a Princess cruise ship. It means that I can pack lighter and wash a quick load or two midway through a long cruise.
My Sky Princess itinerary to Norway and the Arctic
I specifically chose this cruise because of its itinerary:
Day 1 – embark in Southampton, depart 4:00 PM
Day 2 – at sea
Day 3 – Haugesund, 9:00 AM to 5:50 PM
Day 4 – Skjolden, 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM; scenic cruising
Day 5 – Olden, 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM; scenic cruising
Day 6 – Trondheim, 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM
Day 7 – at sea; cross the arctic circle
Day 8 – Honningsvag, 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM
Day 9 – Tromso, 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM
Day 10 – at sea
Day 11 – at sea
Day 12 – Aalesund, 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Day 13 – Bergen, 6:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Day 14 – at sea
Day 15 – Southampton, disembark starting 7:00 AM
I describe all the port stops and what I did in each in my post Norway Shore Excursions – How to Spend a Day in Norway’s Popular Cruise Ports.
During the cruise we had three formal dress nights and the rest were all smart casual dress.
Sky Princess food review
I can honestly say I enjoyed all the food that I chose on the Sky Princess and I took advantage of just about all of the dining options that were available to me, including the special Chef’s Table event. I thought all the food I tried was good (especially since I did not have to cook it), and quite a bit was great.
At each location, the service was always fantastic and delivered with courtesy and efficiency and always with a smile. I found all the wait staff to be extremely personable and eager to please.
In order to keep this post from getting too wordy, I wrote a separate post with more detail about all my dining experiences: The Sky Princess Specialty Restaurants and the Chef’s Table Experience
Sky Princess entertainment review
I don’t necessarily want to spend a lot of time writing about the entertainment as that can change from cruise to cruise and will vary on the destination. Suffice it to say that I really enjoyed the musical presentations on board.
Everyone has different wants and likes when it come to cruise ship entertainment and the Sky Princess seemed to have something for all tastes. There were certainly plenty of opportunities to play bingo, take part in trivia games, or take Zumba classes, just to name a few. There was also lots of variety when it came to musical performances.
The two Broadway style shows during the cruise were impressive in their presentations and effectively displayed the skills of extremely talented performers. I also liked that I could rewatch the shows on the TV in my room throughout the cruise.
I also really loved the other musical performances in the theater. One week we had an Elton John impersonator who did a very credible job singing all of Elton’s standards. Another week we had a Paul McCartney and John Lennon look alike duo who performed much of the classic Beatles repertoire. There was definitely a lot of dancing in the aisles during these shows.
All the other musical presentations throughout the ship were also fantastic. There always seemed to be someone singing or performing in the Piazza which you could easily hear from any of the bars or restaurants located on all the floors around this three story space. For some more relaxing music, I often went to Take 5 in the evening to listen to the Jazz band.
Sky Princess excursion reviews
I booked my cruise last minute, so the Princess organized excursions I was interested in were fully booked. That turned out not to be a problem as I was able to discover each port on my own quite easily.
The only organized excursion that I booked before I left home was with Blue Puffin in Honningsvag for a tour to the North Cape. In the interest of keeping this post a reasonable length, I describe in detail what I did in each port in my post Norway Cruise Port Excursions – How to Spend a Day in Popular Norwegian Cruise Port Stops.
Learning about king crabs on the Blue Puffin tour
Additional Sky Princess cruise tips and information
The Medallion is a waterproof, round electronic button that holds all your personal Princess cruise information and is also your room key. Since I booked this cruise last minute, I picked up my medallion at check in at the port and wore it through the cruise on a lanyard. If you want something more fashionable, Princess sells fancier Medallion accessories like chains and wristbands on board (though I bought a pretty lanyard on Amazon).
The Medallion automatically unlocked my room once I was within about 3-4 feet of my cabin door. I also used it for any on board charges for drinks, excursions, etc. It was also my key to get back on the ship after getting off in port.
The Medallion App
I used the Medallion App to check in before my cruise. I was able to fill out all the necessary information easily to get into the “green” check in lane.
Once on board, I could use the app to schedule dinner reservations, order room service, order drinks to be delivered to my seat, track and find members in my cruising party and look at my bill. I did not chose to use any of these options though I saw many other cruisers taking advantage of them.
Interactive On Board Screens
Near each elevator, a large interactive screen displayed a map of the ship or the current activities going on throughout the ship. These touch screens were very easy and intuitive to use.
I had the 4-device package for the full length of the trip so that I could use both my phone and my computer at the same time while on board. Signing up and logging into the Wi-Fi network was easy.
However, because of where we were cruising (i.e.-above the arctic circle), internet access was not always available, and the ship informed us of this up front. When there was internet, it worked fine for me and was usually fast enough for what I needed (I could access e-mails and my blog). There were times when it was slower – presumably too many people were trying to use it at once.
Travel Tip – Remember to switch your phone to Airplane Mode before you leave port so that you do not incur roaming charges. Make any calls back home via WIFI while you are at sea.
On my cruise, my cabin steward dropped off the Princess Patter each night and it listed the following day’s activities. I know that on some ships only a digital version is provided, but on this cruise, I received the paper version every day.
In room TV
Besides watching movies and TV programs, and listening to music, I was also able to watch all the shows and the enrichment lectures that had been presented at the theater in the comfort of my cabin.
You can see where the Sky Princess currently is through its bridge cam at https://www.princess.com/bridgecams/
My cruise to Norway and the arctic circle on the Sky Princess gave me everything I was looking for – a relaxing two weeks of down time with beautiful scenery. You can see some of my favorite photos of Norway in my post Beautiful Story Book Norway Photos to Inspire Your next Trip.
I hope you found this Sky Princess cruise review helpful. To book a Princess cruise, find all the upcoming Sky Princess cruises, and to see the most recent cruise line deals go to https://www.princess.com/.
Please note that I received a media upgraded cabin from Princess. All content and opinions in this post are my own.
Other Princess cruising stories you may like:
A full transit through the Panama Cana: A Full Transit Panama Canal Cruise – Passing Through An Engineering Marvel
How I spent my cruise port day in Cartagena, Columbia: One Day in Cartagena, Columbia – A Colorful Independent Cruise Excursion
A unique excursion in Puntarenas, Costa Rica: A Costa Rica Cooking Class – Forging Local Connections On An Atypical Cruise Excursion
Alaska cruise excursion tips: Alaska Cruise Excursion Tips to Inspire Your Best Alaska Trip
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