Discovery Princess Cruise Ship: A First-Timer’s Luxury Cruise Experience

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My First Luxury Cruise on the Discovery Princess Cruise Ship
Discovery Princess. Photo credit: Princess Cruise Lines
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The writer was hosted.

Princess Cruise Lines, renowned for its exceptional service and luxurious amenities, offers an unparalleled cruising experience. With a fleet of modern ships sailing to some of the world’s most captivating destinations, Princess Cruises blends the excitement of exploration with the comforts of sophisticated leisure.

This fall, my voyage on the Discovery Princess Cruise Ship (my first luxury cruise) allowed me to indulge in culinary delights, wine tastings, onboard activities, and shore excursions. Every moment onboard is tailored to create lifelong memories.

The Love Boat Connection

In the mid-1970s, when Douglas S. Cramer, a renowned television producer known for his hit series “Love American Style,” moved his popular comedy sketch series from the confines of a studio to the vibrant decks and holiday spots of a contemporary cruise ship, “The Love Boat” was born. This iconic television show brought the idea of modern cruise holidays to millions of viewers and contributed to the cruise industry’s exponential growth and worldwide success.

Cramer found the perfect backdrop for the movie pilot with Princess Cruises, operated from its global headquarters in Los Angeles, USA.

After the pilot episode in 1977, filmed on the original Sun Princess in Mexico, “The Love Boat” ran for 10 seasons and became one of the country’s top-rated prime-time TV shows.

Princess Cruise Line quickly rose to fame as the beloved series’ main setting and maritime co-star, earning the nickname “Love Boat” cruise line, a title it still proudly holds today. When we departed the San Francisco port, the “Love Boat” tune played on with the ship’s horn over the loudspeaker system. It was a touching farewell.

The Pacific Princess and Island Princess were the original seafaring stars of the show, with “The Love Boat” production shows being filmed on numerous Princess ships in various exotic locations worldwide.

The Princess Fleet

While Discovery Princess is currently the newest Royal-class ship, launched in 2021 with its first cruise in March 2022, two more ships are coming online. The Sun Princess will start its inaugural season in Europe and the Caribbean in 2024. The Star Princess will arrive in 2025 and ply the waters in Europe.

Discovery Princess Facts

Some amazing facts about the new ship Discovery Princess are that she holds 3,660 guests, the crew numbers 1,346, there are 19 decks with 1,830 guest staterooms, and the tonnage is 145,000. Discovery Princess was built in Italy by Italian builder Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani, Monfalcone, and her U.S. maiden voyage originated in America at Los Angeles, California.

My First Luxury Cruise on the Discovery Princess Cruise Ship - The Piazza on Discovery Princess.
The Piazza on Discovery Princess. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

The Piazza

The Piazza is the central and stunning three-story lobby located on the Plaza Level, Deck 5. Embarkation and disembarking are on Deck 6, so when I entered the ship, this magnificent space welcomed me with overwhelming hospitality.

Discovery Princess Dining Options

Princess Cruises is famous for its delicious food and amazing culinary experiences. In 2022, Chef Rudi Sodamin was promoted to the first head of Culinary Arts. Chef Rudi has a very energetic personality, has written 14 cookbooks, and is the most-honored Chef at Sea.

Discovery Princess Main Dining Rooms

Alaska-themed dining rooms are situated in the Aft Deck 6 and Midship on Deck 5 on the Discovery Princess. All boast individual themes.

My First Luxury Cruise on the Discovery Princess Cruise Ship - Ketchikan Dining Room on Discovery Princess.
Ketchikan Dining Room on Discovery Princess. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Ketchikan

The Ketchikan Dining Room houses The Chef’s Table Lumiére and doubles as a conference room for meetings and gatherings.

My First Luxury Cruise on the Discovery Princess Cruise Ship - Juneau Dining Room Wine Collection.
Juneau Dining Room Wine Collection. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Juneau

The Juneau Dining Room in Midship on Deck 5 contains an immense wine cooler. You’ll find the Piazza, Guest Services, The Enclave, and Lotus Spa & Salon on the same deck.

My First Luxury Cruise on the Discovery Princess Cruise Ship - Skagway Dining Room on Discovery Princess.
Skagway Dining Room on Discovery Princess. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Skagway

The Skagway Dining Room serves lunch from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and dinner from 5 to 9 pm on Deck 6 Midship.

If you’re familiar with Alaska, you’ve already noticed that the Princess dining rooms are named for famous ports of call in America’s 49th state, a popular cruise destination.

Discovery Princess Specialty Restaurants

Specialty restaurants on a Princess cruise ship carry a cover charge. They are elevated dining experiences perfect for celebrations. Following are the Discovery Princess specialty restaurants I visited on my cruise in October.

Bistro Sur La Mer

During my voyage on the Discovery Princess in October, I delighted in the modern take on casual French bistro dining at Bistro Sur La Mer. The restaurant, reflecting the expertise of the celebrated, award-winning, and Michelin-starred Chef Emmanuel Renaut, showcased authentic French dishes with his unique culinary flair.

For my appetizer, I chose the classic French Onion Soup, topped with a deliciously flaky crust that tantalizingly hid the steaming soup beneath. My main course featured tender scallops accompanied by delicate peas, carrots, and cauliflower, drizzled with a luscious white sauce on a distinctive white plate with a blue rim.

While we were on board, Princess revealed that they would be renaming this specialty restaurant to The Catch by Rudi, transforming it into a seafood extravaganza. Here, guests can indulge in a variety of options, ranging from the daily fresh catch to an extensive raw seafood bar. This specialty dining experience will also be offered on the Majestic Princess.

Crown Grill

I ate twice at the Crown Grill, and both times, the meals were memorable, and the service was excellent.

Famous for its high-quality beef cuts, chops, and seafood, the restaurant is a renowned steakhouse with a warm ambiance enhanced by wood paneling and soft lighting.

Crown Grill Features Caymus Winemaker Dinner

The newly introduced Caymus Winemaker Dinner, now available across the entire fleet, offers a distinctive menu thoughtfully paired with wines handpicked by Chuck Wagner, the proprietor of Caymus Vineyards. The Wagner family is renowned for crafting a variety of wines sourced from Napa Valley and other regions in California.

Our refined six-course dinner began with an amuse bouche featuring succulent, bite-sized slow-braised beef short ribs accompanied by broccoli tartare and a touch of grated horseradish, followed by a beef carpaccio drizzled with balsamic glaze.

The first course showcased a luxurious black truffle risotto, complemented by a red blend wine from Suisun Valley, California. For the main dish, I chose seared King Salmon and a sizable Prawn, still in its shell, perfectly paired with a California Pinot Noir.

We enjoyed a modest yet delightful selection of charcuterie and cheese leading up to the dessert. The meal culminated with a spectacular Chocolate Raspberry Dream for dessert, a heavenly combination of chocolate mousse, chocolate raspberry cream, raspberry compote, and more, all enhanced by a glass of sparkling wine.

My First Luxury Cruise on the Discovery Princess Cruise Ship - 360:  An Extraordinary Experience on Discovery Princess.
360: An Extraordinary Experience on Discovery Princess. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

360: An Extraordinary Experience

This seven-course culinary journey is inspired by Mediterranean locales, pairing exquisite and distinct wines with each delectable course. The immersive technology enriches the ambiance with the sounds and aromas, creating a 360-degree sensory experience. We were transported to Santorini, the Amalfi Coast, Barcelona, and Provence without leaving our chairs.

Only on the Discovery and Enchanted Princess ships, the unique style of this presentation is unmatched. After our experience in October, Princess now provides this spectacular dining event free of charge to suite guests, while other passengers can enjoy it for a nominal fee.

Salty Dog Gastropub

The Salty Dog Gastropub offers a warm and inviting atmosphere, featuring beloved pub favorites such as a rib-eye burger, a selection of beers, cocktails, and whiskeys, complemented by live music.

Discovery Princess Inclusive Dining Restaurants

World Fresh Marketplace

The World Fresh Marketplace is a cafeteria family-style restaurant with countless international cuisine stations. They have daily specials for each day onboard the ship.

While on the ship, I enjoyed wandering the aisles and viewing the food offerings. Everything was fresh and attractively presented.

Many tables on both sides of the ship accommodated all the diners. The wait staff kept the tables clean, brought beverages, and served promptly.

International Café

The International Café is open 24 hours a day, where you can get gourmet coffee, tea, and small bites that will tide you over until the next big meal.

Gigi’s Pizzeria and Slice

Gigi’s Pizzeria inside on the Promenade Deck and Slice Pizzeria outside on Deck 16 will keep you in delicious pizza for your voyage.

Discovery Princess Lounges

The Discovery Princess offers many opportunities and locations to relax, meet with friends over a cocktail or mocktail, and enjoy the ambiance of the ship. Following are some of the lounges to experience whether you are in Seattle, Alaska, the Mexican Riviera, British Columbia, or the California Coast.

My First Luxury Cruise on the Discovery Princess Cruise Ship - Vista Lounge Entrance.
Vista Lounge Entrance. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Vista Lounge

My First Luxury Cruise on the Discovery Princess Cruise Ship - Bellini Bar Overlooking The Piazza.
Bellini Bar Overlooking The Piazza. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Bellini

My First Luxury Cruise on the Discovery Princess Cruise Ship - Take Five Lounge Behind the Casino.
Take Five Lounge Behind the Casino. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Take Five

My First Luxury Cruise on the Discovery Princess Cruise Ship - Crooners Lounge.
Crooners Lounge. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Crooners

My First Luxury Cruise on the Discovery Princess Cruise Ship - Princess Live!
Princess Live! Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Discovery Princess Entertainment

Some of the onboard entertainment can be found on the outside and inside decks. Here are just a few of the opportunities for fun.

  • ·          Princess Theater
  • ·          Princess Live!
  • ·          Movies Under the Stars
My First Luxury Cruise on the Discovery Princess Cruise Ship - Lotus Spa and The Enclave.
Lotus Spa and The Enclave. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price
  • ·          Lotus Spa – The Enclave
  • ·          The Sanctuary – Adults-only
My First Luxury Cruise on the Discovery Princess Cruise Ship - Fitness Center.
Fitness Center. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price
  • ·          Fitness Center
My First Luxury Cruise on the Discovery Princess Cruise Ship - Sky Pool, Hot Tubs, Movies Under the Stars.
Sky Pool, Hot Tubs, Movies Under the Stars. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price
  • ·          Skyview Pools and Hot Tubs
  • ·          Wakeview pool

Shore Excursions

My cruise embarked in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and made ports of call in Victoria, BC, and San Francisco, with the final port in Los Angeles, California.

Princess offers many appealing shore excursions when docked in ports. From Tea at The Empress and Butchart Gardens in Victoria to bicycle rides across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, you’re sure to find something exciting to do.

Stateroom Amenities

 All staterooms include:

  • ·          100% cotton, high-thread-count linens
  • ·          Flat-screen TV
  • ·          Small refrigerator
  • ·          Safe
  • ·          Wifi

She Buys Travel Tip: If you need help accessing the wifi, go to Princess Live! Concierge desk or the internet café for assistance. Do this early in your cruise so you don’t miss all the information and required ship actions.

Types of Rooms

Cabin choices include interior staterooms for the budget-conscious traveler, balcony rooms, and larger mid-range mini-suites; some come with priority services and VIP touches for elevated luxury and convenience.

Full suites with premium upgrades include laundry and professional cleaning services, and other complimentary features like reserved dining, special menus, and private seating.

Families and groups are served with connecting staterooms and family suites that accommodate up to eight guests.

I enjoyed my ocean-view balcony stateroom, which was an upgrade from an interior stateroom. It was roomier than I expected and had a loveseat, coffee table, desk with chair, and lots of closet space with hangars and shelves. The balcony had two chairs and a small table with dividers between staterooms for privacy.

Sky Suites

Only available on Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess, Sky Suites offer the largest balconies at sea. They feature two bedrooms, and two bathrooms, plus a dining area with a skylight. The Sky Suites are over 1,000 square feet and provide a 270-degree view from the top of the ship. With a private view of Movies Under the Stars and unparalleled service, this is the best you can get on Princess Cruises.

Final Thoughts

The service, amenities, and hospitality of Princess Cruises are outstanding and memorable. Dare I say there wasn’t enough time to experience everything onboard?

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