A few weeks ago I sailed on a Cruise to Alaska… it was my 10th Cruise/11th visit to Alaska which may sound excessive but, as I talk about here, there’s A LOT to see & do in this Fabulous State so if you’re never been… make sure to add it to your “Bucket-List”! 😉
With that said, I had a good excuse to go back this time as my Company’s Annual Conference was onboard… I have to say, I’ve been to many conferences over the years on both land and “at sea” and the ones on Cruise Ships are always the best as nothing better than only having to unpack once yet getting to visit new places throughout the week, all while being treated to Great food, Wonderful service & Excellent entertainment!!
If you ever have the chance to attend a conference “at sea” or to plan one for your Company’s event, go for it, as you won’t be disappointed as you’ll have nothing but happy attendees when it’s all said & done! 🙂
Okay, back to the subject of this post! 😉
This weeklong Cruise was onboard “Discovery Princess” which, at the time of this sailing, was Princess Cruises’ newest ship in their fleet so the perfect ship to sail on to see everything that Princess has to offer!
This was my 9th Cruise with Princess over the past almost 20 years and, I have to say, it was quite a different experience compared to my first Cruise with them back in 2005!
Two things made it pretty much the best Cruise I’ve ever taken with Princess:
Their “Princess Plus” & “Princess Premier” All-Inclusive Packages
Their “MedallionClass” Technology
And these 2 unique/excellent features that Princess offers is what this post today is all about…
…so, let’s get into it!! 🙂
“Princess Plus” & “Princess Premier”
If you’ve ever been on a “Big Ship”/”Mass Market” Cruise in your life (We’re talking Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Holland America, Celebrity, Princess, etc.) you’ll know Cruising has always been a Great value including A LOT of things in their prices like lots of food, basic drinks (Tap water, tea/coffee, juices at Breakfast, etc.), wonderful entertainment & activities, etc., etc.!!
BUT, you’ll also know you can spend a small fortune on top of your Cruise’s initial price by having to pay extra for gratuities for the staff, wifi, alcohol, soft drinks, etc., etc.
If you’ve been Cruising for almost 20 years as I have, I know you’ve heard the comedians onboard telling the jokes of how by the end of the week your onboard invoice/statement won’t be able to fit under your room’s door as it’ll be too thick! 😉
So, although Cruising has always been a great value, it’s not uncommon to feel a bit “nickeled & dimed” when onboard as it seems like everywhere you turn there are ways to spend money… and that also makes it tough for those with tight budgets to even decide if they can afford a Cruise or not, not being sure of all the additional expenses they may incur when on their long-cherished Vacation.
That’s where “Princess Plus” & “Princess Premier” come!
These are Princess’ “All-Inclusive” package options where you can pay for A LOT of extra items in your upfront Cruise price which makes it simple to budget & you won’t feel “nickeled & dimed” once onboard…
…PLUS, and this is the best part, by buying these items upfront this ends up being a WAY better deal than waiting & buying these items once you’re onboard!!
FYI, this post is specifically about Princess’ “Princess Plus” & “Princess Premier” options but other companies like Celebrity, Holland America, etc. have their own version of these packages & the same principles apply to it being a better deal!
Alright, let’s break down what these packages include and why it ends up being a better deal to simply add a “Princess Plus” or “Princess Premier” package upfront when you book your Cruise.
First off, we’re going to look at “Princess Plus” which costs $60 per day during each day of your Cruise… so, if your Cruise is 7 days like my recent one was this will cost you an extra $420 for the week.
FYI, even though I happen to live in Canada, almost all my clients live in the US so I’m speaking USD when I give these #s… for us Canadians, Princess simply converts it when you book your Cruise so when I did my Cruise for example the dollar was at $1.35 CAD so that $420 would have been $567 CAD but overall you get the exact same value as onboard the Cruise you have to pay for everything in USD,
Alright, let’s start with the “Musts” that this package includes… and when I say “musts”, I’m talking about those things you pretty much have to pay for once onboard… some, like gratuities, really are “musts” where you have no choice and some of the “musts” are more of my opinion a “must” that I simply think will make your Cruise that much better!
Okay, let’s get into each item:
- Gratuities for the onboard staff– This is one of those “You don’t have a choice in the matter items”. If you’ve ever done a Cruise on one of these big ships, you’ll know your room steward makes your room twice per day, there are people serving at the buffet, in the mining dining room, working at the pool, etc. and like with most service industry workers they all need to be tipped. On a Princess Cruise (And all big ship Cruises do it a similar way) each day each guest gets charged $16-$18 depending on the type of room they’re staying in… the current exact charges can be found here. When I just did my recent Princess Cruise for example, as you’ll see here, I stayed in a Mini-Suite which meant I owed $17 each day for this item. So, let’s keep $17 per day in our heads for our “tally” to see if this package is worth $60 per day. 😉
- Wifi– On some Cruiselines, Wifi can cost a whopping $30 or more each day! 🙁 On Princess Cruises, it’s much less which is great but it still costs $15 per person for each day on your Cruise. With the World as “connected” as it is these days, I’d say easily 90% of my clients don’t even question whether they need Wifi or not… like me, it’s a “Must” for them! But for those of you who say “I’m on Vacation/I don’t want to be connected” think about these few things. Do you really not want to keep up your daily texting/communication with your kids, grandkids & friends? How about keeping up with what’s happening in your Facebook groups, your Whatsapp groups, etc.? How about wanting to check the weather where you’re going… I don’t know about you but I want to know how to dress each day and the weather they put in the Cruise’s daily newsletter is often not accurate as it’s static on paper. Do you like to check your stocks daily… the sports scores? For me personally, I’m ALWAYS looking up destination info at each port I’m going to as based on what I did the port before I may want to make last-minute changes so I need details/options which I easily get online. Is there any banking you need to do while away… personally, I like to login to my banking apps every couples of days to make sure I don’t see any fraudulent charges as on vacation is often when that happens! Do you have one of those fancy security cameras at home that you can access online? Do you want to be able to message your travel partner/other friends onboard the ship you’re sailing on? I could go on & on with reasons you need Wifi everyday and I’m sure you can think of dozens of more reasons. So, let’s call this another “Must” and add $15 per day to our “tally”… we’re already up to $32 per day of the $60 per day you’re paying for this package… and we just got started! 😉
- Casual dining restaurants– Now, I’m not talking about the fancy “Specialty Restaurant” Steakhouses, Italian Restaurants, etc. that you pay extra for to eat at during nighttime dining hours. (We’ll get to those later in this post) What I’m referring to are the casual/usually daytime spots that Princess has onboard that you pay for to eat at. On “Discovery Princess” for example they had their “Gigi’s Pizzeria” and their “Salty Dog Gastropub”. For me, when I Cruise, trying every food venue onboard is a “must” in my mind and same with almost all my clients… one of the big highlights they always talk about with me is the food and my clients always ask me where they should eat onboard, etc. so… at least in my opinion… you need to try these places at least one time each!! (Looking at some pics below of the food I’m sure you’ll agree! ;-)) FYI, they cost $15 per person and when you buy the “Princess Plus” package you get to go to 2 of these “Casual Dining” meals which is a $30 value so over a week we’ll break that down to $4 per day and add that to our “tally”… we’re now up to $36 after the first 3 included items.
- “Ocean Now” delivery– I’ll get more into this in my “MedallionClass” section below but the bottom line is this technology allows you to be anywhere on the ship and have food & drinks delivered to you and they know exactly where you are/they’ll show up like magic & you’ll feel like a “King or Queen” while on your Vacation with the Wonderful service you’re getting… and isn’t that what Vacation is all about!! 😉 FYI, this is included when you buy a “Princess Plus” package or it’s a one-time $15 fee charged onboard without it… so, let’s count that as $2 per day in value on my weeklong Cruise… now we’re up to $38 per day in value by buying a “Princess Plus” package.
- Room Service delivery– I have to say, when I first started Cruising almost 20 years ago one of the first things that blew me away was the FREE room service… I couldn’t believe it as I had stayed in a lot of hotels over the years and was always shocked at how ridiculous the prices were for basic items with their room service… you all know what I’m talking about! 🙂 Anyways, even though most lines still don’t charge for the room service food these days, many like Princess, charge a delivery fee… in their case it’s $5 each time. I’ve been on Cruises where I’ve had room service 5-6 times in a week between breakfast, a lunch in with a movie, etc. And if you walk up & down the halls of Cruise ships you’ll see A LOT of people “order in” as well so let’s say the average is 3 times in a week or $15 in charges. Well, with “Princess Plus”, you’ll pay $0 in charges for delivery 🙂 so let’s add that in as $2 per day on average saved over 7 days… now we’re up to $40 per day that you won’t need to pay out onboard if you added “Princess Plus” to your upfront price.
Okay, above were the “musts”… at least in my opinion… we’re all different but if you want to make the most out of your next Princess Cruise I’d truly encourage you to take advantage of all the above services/options that Princess offers onboard!
Now, let’s talk about the ones that aren’t going to be “musts” for everyone and you can decide if you think you’ll use these or not:
Premium Desserts– Now, maybe you’re the total opposite of me but for those of you who know me well/have Cruised with me, etc. you’ll know I have a bit of a “sweet addiction”… I love my chocolate, cakes, doughnuts, etc.! 😉 So, when I first heard about Princess’ “Premium Desserts” Cafe I was a little worried about busting the budget! 😉 As you’ll see below, this “to die for” little cafe offers some Beautiful cakes and some absolutely yummy (And CREATIVE!!) sundaes!! The Sundaes are $12 each and the cake slices are $4.50 each BUT with a “Princess Plus” package you can have 2 of these per person per day for NO extra charge!! Now, are you going to eat 2 of these per day… if so good luck fitting into your dinner clothes 1/2 way through your Cruise! 😉 But for sure these are Beautiful treats to enjoy every couple of days while on Vacation as who doesn’t like to indulge a little! 🙂 Personally, I had 2 sundaes and 1 piece of cake throughout the week (And I “surveyed” others while in the Cafe and they said about the same) so let’s say that’s the average which is $28.50 saved… or, $4 per day over 7 days… now we’re up to $44 per day in money you don’t need to take out of your pocket while onboard. Remember, a BIG highlight of these packages is that the feeling of being “Nickeled & Dimed” GOES AWAY so you do more things onboard that you’ll enjoy as you’re NOT worrying about the money side of it all… you simply took care of all this when you booked the Cruise so that now you can enjoy it all without the worries!! 🙂
Now, this might sound like a total contradiction to above since this is talking “healthy” stuff (Whereas above was NOT about being healthy! ;-)) but I think a lot of people these days are like me where, yes, they indulge when on Vacation but they also need to be a bit careful too and keep their healthy routine up as they do at home. For me personally, yes, I love my sweets and all the other stuff that I can enjoy on a Cruise but I lost 70lbs 6 years ago & NEVER want to put that weight back on (As we all know, it’s NOT easy to lose!) so I have to do some “good & healthy” things while on a Cruise too… and here’s where these items come in.
- Unlimited Juice Bar– Many people I talk to who are health conscious seem to all drink healthy shakes or juices in the mornings rather than the traditional bacon & eggs that we all grew up with. And, as you’ll see below, onboard Princess Cruises they have a Great Juice Bar where they create concoctions to help with immunity, to give you energy, antioxidants, to cleanse, etc. and they have a couple of shakes too. So, if you like to have those instead of a traditional breakfast, the juices onboard cost $8 each or the shakes $12 each. Again though, with “Princess Plus” you can have as many as you want for no extra charge! So, let’s say for 1/2 of your weeklong Cruise (We’ll call it 3 days) you have 2 juices & 1 shake… that’s $28 more not coming out of your pocket once onboard or $4 per day… what are we up to now? Oh ya, $48 per day in value from “Princess Plus”! 😉
- Gym Classes– In keeping along with above’s “Healthy” theme, MANY people workout when on Cruise ships these days… if you’ve ever been to a gym onboard you’ll know what I mean!! And yes, the gym itself is Free (Treadmills, weights, etc.,) but the “Classes” aren’t. When I was onboard “Discovery Princess” a few weeks back they had Yoga, Pilates & Stretch classes for $30 each & they had cycling, Suspension training & Pure Barre (No clue what that is?) for $23 each. But, with “Princess Plus”, you get 2 classes during your Cruise for free. So, let’s say you take 1 of each price point, that’s $53 you’re not paying for onboard so we’ll call it $7 per day. Now, we’re up to $55 per day in value by buying “Princess Plus”… we’re ALMOST at that $60 per day in value that you need to get out of this package for it to make sense to buy it… can we get there?
Well, that’s why I saved this one for last… and it’s a doozy!! 😉
DRINKS– With “Princess Plus” you can order up to 15 drinks per day/up to $15 per drink. And YES, we’re talking alcohol!!
Now, for those of you who drink alcohol, I could have simply started this post and said for $60 per day you can add on “Princess Plus” to your Cruise which means you can have up to 15 drinks per day/up to $15 per drink and you would have said “Sold” as it’s a no brainer when you’re paying $8 per Beer, $10 per glass of Wine, $10 a Cocktail, $10 a Highball, $11 a Martini, $8 a Bailey’s, etc. And keep in mind, these are the “starting” prices… many wines are more as are some of the Martinis, cocktails, etc. AND, 20% gets added onto those prices for the gratuity for the staff. BUT AGAIN, with “Princess Plus” you get up to 15 drinks per day/up to $15 per drink.
So, WITHOUT drinks included, I showed you how to get $55 per day in value from your $60 per day “Princess Plus” package so I’m pretty sure that seeing you also have drinks included too it makes it a “No Brainer” to add “Princess Plus” to your Cruise when you book it! 😉
With that said, if you DON’T drink alcohol, you may be saying “Well, I’m better off paying the $55 per day out of my pocket for the other items rather than paying $60 per day for “Princess Plus”.”
And that could be true for you.
BUT, when I say with “Princess Plus” you get up to 15 drinks per day/up to $15 per drink that also includes non-alcoholic drinks.
So, with me for example, I might drink 2 Cokes a week at home but on Vacation I indulge more as we all do and usually have 2 per day… they were $2.50 per can + a 20% tip so that’s a $6 per day savings right there by having “Princess Plus”.
Are you a Coffee or Tea drinker… I don’t personally drink tea or coffee but with the lineups at the Cafe throughout the day it certainly looked like the rest of the ship did! 😉
And there, Lattes and Cappuccinos were $4, Hot Chocolates were $3, Specialty Teas $4, etc. Plus, the 20% tip… so, if you’re a coffee or tea drinker, add in that value!
How about water? Personally, I drink water more than anything so for me to go through at least 6-8 bottles in a day is nothing… at $2.50 + 20% tip each that’s an easy $20 per day in value for me! And yes, you can go to the buffet anytime to get free water to take to your room, etc. but really, who wants to be running up there all the time! 🙁
And sparkling water was even more at $3.50 + 20% for each one.
And I know a lot of people love their “Red Bull”… that was $5 + 20% tip.
And back to those of you who drink no alcohol at all… as I was onboard with 100s of people for my conference I got to hang out with a lot of people that trip and I came across many of them who don’t drink alcohol but they enjoy “Mocktails” or non-alcoholinc beer, etc. when they socialize so they don’t keep getting asked why they’re not drinking… those kinds of drinks were all pretty much $7 per drink plus the 20% tip.
So, after reading all this and whether you drink alcohol or not, I think I just showed you how adding on “Princess Plus” will save you at least $80-$100 per day and for those of you who drink alcohol you can easily see how your savings will be much higher…
…not a bad deal for only $60 per person per day during your Cruise! 😉
In Summary… if before you read this post you weren’t sure if you should add “Princess Plus” to your upcoming cherished Princess Cruise where you plan to have a GREAT time, I’m pretty confident you now know it’s a EXCELLANT idea!! 😉
Okay, so you’re convinced you need to add “Princess Plus” to your Cruise but now you’re wondering what this “Princess Premier” is all about?
For starters, here’s my simple opinion… if you see the value in adding on “Princess Plus” then adding on “Princess Premier” is a “no-brainer” in my mind as it’s only $20 per day more on top of “Princess Plus” so $140 extra for your 7 days onboard… let me show you how fast it is to get to $140 in extra value!
- Specialty Restaurants– When I was onboard “Discovery Princess” they had 3 specialty restaurants… a French Bisto, a Steakhouse & an Italian restaurant. I went to all 3 and thought they were all great BUT they’re $40 per person so they’re not Free! With “Princess Premier” though you get to go to 2 of those for no extra charge. That’s an $80 per person savings… as I said, “Princess Premier” is only $140 extra for the week and #1 is already worth $80 of that… WOW!
- Photos– I don’t know about you but I used to LOVE getting fancy pictures taken of me & my partner when I first started Cruising… it seems when you’re dressed up & are on a Beautiful Cruise everyone looks so much happier and the pictures come out beautifully and turn out to be great keepsakes for years to come!! 🙂 BUT, they’re so expensive… as I’ve been on 81 Cruises now I stopped doing the “picture thing” a long/long time ago as I was coming off of some Cruises with $100s worth of pictures! 🙁 With “Princess Premier” though you get three included prints worth $60. Also, you get ALL your photos taken onboard in a digital format… WOW!! As there are opportunities to have dozens & dozens of pictures of you taken throughout your Cruise, this is an amazing perk… all your photos are captured onboard for you by the pros and you get them all just by adding on “Princess Premier”!! So, even if we just count the $60 worth of physical prints that you get, that’s a $140 savings between that $60 and the 2 specialty restaurant meals… so, items 1 & 2 alone make it worth adding on the “Princess Premier” package as when you factor in getting all those digital photos too that’s a truly awesome deal!!
“But wait, there’s more!!” 😉
- Wifi– As mentioned earlier, when you add on “Princess Plus” you get Wifi access. But what I didn’t mention is it’s only for 1 device at a time. With “Princess Premier” though, each guest gets access to 4 devices. Which is perfect as we all probably carry at least 2 devices these days (Phone/laptop or Phone/iPad, etc.) and I can promise you from exprience it’s a hassle to have to keep logging out of one device into the other! 🙁 FYI, this “4 device” inclusion costs you an extra $140 over 7 days if you were to buy it separately. So now, that’s a $280 savings for the “Princess Premier” package which costs $140… do I need to go on to convince you this is a “No Brainer”? 😉
- Unlimited Casual Dining– Above I told you when you add “Princess Plus” you get 2 meals during your Cruise at “Gigi’s Pizzeria” and/or “Salty Dog Gastropub”. (Or at whatever “Casual Dining” restaurants they’re offering onboard the specific Princess ship you’re sailing on) I went to these 3 times when onboard and would have probably gone more times if I wasn’t busy with my Conference but even with only the 1 extra time it saved me $15.
- Unlimited Premium Desserts– As mentioned above you get 2 per day with “Princess Plus”… with “Princess Premier” they’re unlimited. With that said, do yourself a favor & don’t have at least 3 per day of those! 😉
- Unlimited Fitness Classes– I mentioned above they’re $23-$30 per class and you get 2 per Cruise with “Princess Plus”… with “Princess Premier” though they’re unlimited!
- Better Drinks– For those of you who drink alcohol, instead of getting up to 15 drinks per day/up to $15 per drink, that gets increased to $20 per drink so you get access to better hard liquor selections, to better wines, to Champagne instead of just Prosecco, etc. (Below are some pictures of the differences) For some, this will make this perk alone worth the cost of the $140 “Princess Premier” package!
- These 2 items don’t have a price on them but are still valuable! The first is reserved theatre seating during production shows. If you’ve Cruised a lot/go to the shows you’ll know this is a great perk as you won’t have to show up 15-30 minutes early to get good seats as they’ll be waiting for you! 😉 And, as you’ll see below, you’ll have the chance to win “Princess Prizes” which could be worth A LOT as the prizes include a Free Cruise… or how about a Free Cruise per year for 10 years!! 🙂
So, there you go… that’s what “Princess Plus” & “Princess Premier” are all about and why my guess is the next Princess Cruise you take you’ll be adding “Princess Premier” to your upcoming sailing! 😉
And by doing so, you WON’T feel “nickeled & dimed” during your hard-earned Vacation… and isn’t that what Vacations are all about, simply enjoying & not worrying about the small stuff!! 😉
Okay, now that we talked about the “Princess Plus” & “Princess Premier” all-inclusive packages, I told you I was going to explain what Princess’ “Medallion Class” Technology is all about… so let’s get into that!
Overall, at least in my opinion, Princess’ “Medallion Class” Technology makes your Cruise a lot simpler and a lot more fun! 🙂
What it’s all about is instead of having a key card to get into your room, to charge your onboard purchases to, etc. Princess gives you a little “Medallion” instead like in the below picture.
FYI, they also give you a really basic/generic lanyard to clip it to & wear around your neck but, as you’ll see below, you also have the option to buy a “wearable” from Princess once onboard (Or in advance through the app) like the strap I have it in above (that was only $12) or you can buy a nice bracelet, necklace, etc. or there are clips too. I do recommend buying something to put it in and the prices are good so that’s better than it flopping around your neck the whole trip!
As you can read about here there are A LOT of things that make Princess’ “Medallion Class” Technology really valuable but here are the highlights for me:
- As long as you download Princess’ app in advance and “check-in” properly you can have your Princess Medallion shipped to your home… FYI, although the Madallion is included in your Cruise’s price, shipping to send the Medallion costs $10 or it’s included if you buy a “Princess Plus” or “Princess Premier” package. (Another good reason to buy those packages! ;-)) With that in hand, when you get to the port your check-in ends up being seamless and super quick… the PERFECT way to start your Vacation!! 🙂
- It gives you “keyless entry” to your Stateroom… when you approach, it picks up your Princess Medallion and unlocks the door for you, perfect for those times when your hands are full with bringing back drinks, food, etc. to your room! 🙂
- Touchless payments at food & drink venues… plus you’ll feel like a Celebrity! 😉 As you walk up to a bar, the coffee/tea cafe, to one of the restaurants, etc. the server’s iPdad picks up your Princess Medallion and your face pops up on the screen… the first time I experienced this and heard “Hi Shawn”/”Hi Mr. Power”, etc. I thought they were magic! 🙂 But beyond knowing you, they simply click your face & add in your order without you needing to give them your keycard/needing to give it back so all “touchless” which is perfect for this day & age for things like Covid!
- Earlier in this post I mentioned Princess’ “Ocean Now” service that allows servers to find you wherever you are on the ship so they can bring drinks/food, etc. to you. That’s just plain cool and all available due to Princess’ “Medallion Class” Technology!
Again, as mentioned here, there are other things that a Princess “Medallion Class” Cruise allows you to enjoy but the bottom line is, overall, this technology makes your Cruise more fun & simpler!! 🙂
Well, there you go… everything you need to know about Princess’ “Princess Plus” & “Princess Premier” All-Inclusive packages as well as their “Medallion Class” Technology… after reading this, I hope you’ll be fully prepared to have a Great time & to get Great value on your next Princess Cruise!! 🙂
Any questions or to book a Cruise with Princess or any other Ocean Cruise or River Cruise https://www.shawnpower.com/river-cruise-review/ or Tauck Land Tour https://www.shawnpower.com/yes-we-sell-land-tours-too/, contact me here and let me know how I can help…
…and as always, your Business & referrals are truly appreciated! 🙂
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