After sharing our recent Summer Seacation experience aboard the Sky Princess by Princess Cruises (see Instagram highlights here), we received a lot of questions from our audience, many of whom have either never been on a cruise before or are keen to become first time cruise travellers. In this Q&A format article, we tackle the most common questions we received about cruise travel and share our experience on the Sky Princess.

Disclosure: Our voyage on the Sky Princess was at the invitation of Princess Cruises and Traverse. We received complimentary accommodation, meals, and activities during our visit. However, all photos and opinions expressed are ours.

With multiple cruise ships and destinations to choose from, it can sometimes be confusing for first time cruise travellers to know where to begin when trying to decide on a preferred cruise ship and itinerary. 

Based on our experience aboard the Sky Princess and with Princess Cruises, we provide insights and actionable tips for first time cruise travellers (as well as for more experienced cruise travellers considering a return to the seas).

Q1: How much does a typical cruise cost?

We’re just going to jump right into it. So how much does a cruise cost? We will use our experience on Sky Princess to give you an idea.

Cruise travel costs will vary depending on many factors including itinerary, accommodation, dining, shore excursions, onboard activities, and extras (e.g., alcohol and Wi-Fi). 

Other factors to consider when calculating the cost of cruise travel include the time of sailing (summer/winter), destinations (colder or warmer climates), time of booking (how close to the sailing date are you booking) as well as your transportation to and from the departure/arrival port.

As an example, our Mini-Suite Stateroom (with balcony) for a 4-night Seacation (take off and return to Southampton, England with no port stops) was £699pp. We were on a Princess Plus Fare – see what that means below.

Before booking a cruise holiday, call your preferred cruise operator/agent to discuss options to suit your budget. Prices are typically charged per person (even if you are travelling as a couple, family, or group).

Q2: What fares are available on Sky Princess?

Staying with questions about cost, the Sky Princess offers two different fare types: a standard ‘Princess Fare’ and a ‘Princess Plus’ (all-inclusive) Fare’. 

The standard Princess Fare includes accommodation, dining (selected fine-dining and casual options), basic Wi-Fi, entertainment, and the OceanMedallion™ on-board technology. 

The Princess Plus Fare (all-inclusive) includes all of the above plus premium drinks (unlimited soft drinks, specialty coffees, and up to 15 alcoholic drinks) and unlimited Wi-Fi and crew incentives.

The Princess Plus Fare is just £30pp per day more than the standard Princess Fare.
Anything not included in the package is offered with a 25 percent discount for Princess Plus Fare guests.

Q3: Is it safe to return to cruise travel?

From our experience on Sky Princess, we say yes!

Before boarding, we had to confirm that we were fully vaccinated. As part of boarding formalities, Princess Cruises also offers guests a complimentary PCR test on arrival at the departure terminal (you get your results within thirty minutes!).

No passengers (even those fully vaccinated) are permitted to board the ship without a confirmed NEGATIVE test result. We were also informed that all of the crew had been fully vaccinated.

During the cruise itself, we appreciated and followed the Covid-19 safety guidelines and protocols – mask wearing (mandatory in enclosed spaces), hand sanitising, social distancing (where practical), avoiding touching surfaces, etc. The crew also did a brilliant job of wiping everything down every few minutes. 

Princess Cruises has a helpful FAQ section dedicated to health protocols.

Q4: Why choose a cruise on Sky Princess?

There are many cruise ships, brands, and itineraries competing for your travel dollars. Although our seacation on Sky Princess did not call at any ports, our onboard experience gave us enough insight into what a typical cruise could look like. 

A few reasons why we think you should consider a cruise on Sky Princess include:

Accommodation: When planning a cruise trip, if you can, go for a room with a balcony view. In our experience, the accommodation on Sky Princess was excellent value for money. For the price of a Mini-Suite Stateroom with a balcony, we enjoyed ocean views and spacious and comfortable lodgings with perks and amenities. Other room types include Interior (most affordable), Balcony, Deluxe-Balcony, Mini-Suite, Suite, and Sky Suite.

Dining: If you’re going to be spending a week on a cruise ship, you want the food to be more than good. Sky Princess wins for us when it comes to the range and quality of food and drink as well as casual and formal dining options offered. 

Fine dining in main dining rooms (Sky Princess has three) is included in a guest’s fare. Only specialty restaurants have cover charges.

We felt that the cover charge (per person) for dining at the ship’s specialty/fine-dining restaurants was great value. Our favorites included Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria ($25pp), French-themed Bistro Sur La Mer ($29pp), and Crown Grill – steakhouse specialty ($29pp).

Technology: Automation (where possible) is an incentive for us when choosing cruise operators.

In a bid to personalise the cruise experience as well as reduce contact with surfaces and people, Sky Princess features state-of-the-art cruise technology with their OceanMedallion™ wearable device and the Princess MedallionClass™ app

Pre-boarding, we were able to securely upload travel documents, register our health status, add payment details for onboard transactions and inform the crew about specific dietary preferences and special occasions using MedallionClass. 

We could also use the MedallionClass app to order food and drinks and have them delivered to any location on the ship (the OceanMedallion transmits your location to the staff), chat directly with the crew, navigate decks, make dinner reservations and stay updated on events. OceanMedallion gave us keyless entry to our room as well as a way to make contact-free payments.

Finally, internet access on cruise ships is notoriously slow and expensive. From our experience, Sky Princess offers what appears to be the best value-for-money and fastest at-sea Wi-Fi available.

Q5: What itineraries does the Sky Princess offer?

Following a successful Summer Seacation run, the Sky Princess is now booking cruises for Autumn 2021.

Cruises to Scandinavia, the Mediterranean, Norwegian Fjords, and the Caribbean are currently pre-booking for 2022 and 2023.

To see the latest promotions and learn more about the Sky Princess’s future itineraries, visit the Princess Cruises website

Q6: When is the best time of the year to go on a cruise?

Many cruise operators like Princess Cruises operate year-round itineraries. While summer and holiday seasons attract the highest numbers, there is likely to be a cruise going somewhere at any time of the year.

It is common for cruise tour operators to design itineraries to optimise seasonal weather conditions in specific regions. For example, cruises in the winter months to higher latitudes and places like Norway, Alaska, Canada, and Antarctica may give you the opportunity to see astronomical phenomena such as the Aurora Borealis aka ‘northern lights’.

You can also plan a cruise around specific events such as marine life migrations (think dolphins and whales), sporting events e.g., the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix, or holidays (think Christmas markets for example).

For first time cruise travellers, once you’ve decided where you want to go and when, check with cruise operators serving the region to find out what options are available.

Q7: What was our most memorable experience on Sky Princess?

There were many to choose from, including a hot stone couples massage at The Lotus Spa and a visit to the ultra-luxurious Sky Suite. However, the ‘Ultimate Balcony Breakfast’ is probably up there at the top for us!

Our personal concierge turned up early with a trolley laden with a sumptuous breakfast. As we watched the sunrise and dolphins play around the ship’s bow, she mixed mimosas and poured out our coffee. An excellent way to start the day in our opinion!

The Ultimate Balcony Breakfast costs $45/per couple with champagne.

Q8: What was our favourite part of the Sky Princess?

The Sanctuary on the top deck! This is literally the perfect hideaway on the ship (adults-only).

This exclusive and tranquil sun deck features ocean views, extra padded sun loungers, fluffy towels, water infused with fresh fruit, alfresco massages (on request), a hot tub, and in our experience, the fastest internet access on the ship! We felt like we spent a relaxing day at a floating spa.

Perhaps the best part was the afternoon tea served daily around 2 pm. Fresh sandwiches and pastries (gluten-free options available), and fresh fruit accompanied by a selection of (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) cocktails and drinks. Alcohol in The Sanctuary is included if you’re on the Princess Plus Fare.

The Sanctuary comes at a reasonable cover charge ($20pp for a half-day/full-day passes cost $40pp – alcohol not included). Private cabanas with canopies, patio couches, and TVs are available to rent at an additional day rate.

Q9: What clothes do you pack for a cruise holiday?

For a one to two-week cruise, you can expect to have up to two formal nights on a normal Princess cruise. This is a perfect excuse to step out in style and show off your fancy attire.

However, to match the relaxed style of the Seacations, our one formal night on Sky Princess was switched to a ‘dress to impress’ evening to give guests greater flexibility. Of course, we came to ‘slay’ that day – forget the stuffy black ties and bring on the colours!

When packing for a cruise, in general, choose comfortable attire for lounging around the ship and/or onshore excursions. Try not to overpack though. If you forget something, the Sky Princess has decent shopping options onboard.

Q10: Best advice for first time cruise travellers

Cruise travel is a culture, complete with its own customs and norms. 

Like any culture you encounter for the first time, your impression of it is based on your attitude towards it. Open-mindedness, a willingness to engage, and mutual respect can help create memories that could become uniquely yours. 

Also, on a practical point, while it is tempting to want to pack your sea days full of activity, we recommend allowing yourself to be seduced by the lull of the ocean and like us, embracing the opportunity to simply do…nothing!


If you’re new to cruising and want more information than we’ve provided in this article, Princess Cruises has a detailed FAQ section on their website for first time cruise travellers.

Co-Founders & Curators at HDYTI

Eulanda & Omo Osagiede are London-based freelance writers and award-winning social influencers who run the popular travel, food, and lifestyle blog HDYTI (Hey! Dip your toes in).