In this article, we stretch our rusty sea legs with a return to cruise holidays. On our very first seacation, we meet Sky Princess, an exciting addition to the Princess Cruises fleet, and enjoy a much-needed escape from land and daily routine.

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. This post contains affiliate links.

An emotional return to cruise travel…

It was either the cheering, the applause, or the warm and friendly smiles that caused a lump to rise in our throats as we crossed the gangway from land to ship.

You see, this moment had been a long time coming for us and (and we imagine) for the crew of the Sky Princess, an elegant Royal-class cruise ship operated by Princess Cruises.

The exhilarating feeling of being back at sea was only topped by the enthusiastic welcome we received from the crew of the Sky Princess as we embarked to begin our first ever seacation.

Our seacation had actually begun moments earlier at Southampton’s Ocean Terminal.

The extensive but very efficient boarding formalities included dropping off our car, completing passport checks, and taking a complimentary PCR test without which no passengers (even those fully vaccinated) are permitted to board the ship. The momentarily uncomfortable swabbing process was soon forgotten when, within thirty minutes, both our negative results confirmed our places on this voyage.

“Welcome aboard the Sky Princess. We’re so glad to have you with us,” said one of the welcome party, throwing in a beaming smile for good measure.

Expressing our thanks, we wandered into the massive Piazza, catching sight of the panoramic lifts ascending and descending silently. The happy jazzy sounds of a live band filled the atmosphere, intermingling with the chatter from guests already onboard.

This contemporary and luxurious atrium is designed to make a significant statement to you when boarding the Sky Princess; indeed what a refreshing first impression it made on us after a long and enforced break from cruise travel.

Embracing the excitement we felt all around us, with our OceanMedallion™ wearables, it was time to find our cabin and get stuck into this seacation.

Have you ever heard of a “seacation”?

Neither had we, at least not until we received the invitation from Princess Cruises to join this particular itinerary.

Basically, a seacation is a play on the concept of a cruise holiday where the ship spends all of her time at sea without calling at any ports along the way.

After a torrid time, slowly but surely, the cruise industry is reopening. However, anyone paying close attention over the past two years will be aware that while cruise travel is back, there are still some restrictions in place, including a limited number of ports currently able to welcome back cruise ships.

For Princess Cruises, this limited run ‘UK Summer Seacation’ was a gentle way to ease back into operations. For voyagers like us, eternally struck with the travel bug and eager for an escape this was the perfect product.

Our itinerary? We would join the Sky Princess at Southampton, England, sail into the English Channel, and towards the Bay of Biscay. According to the ship’s Captain Michele Tuvo, we would attempt to ‘follow the sun’ for five days.

Sometimes, travel does not need to be complicated. Not knowing what to expect, we looked forward to taking each day as it came and to enjoying everything that the Sky Princess had to offer.

Introducing the Sky Princess by Princess Cruises

Debuting in the Mediterranean in October 2019 before pausing operations in March 2020, the brand new Sky Princess joins a fleet of modern ships offering premium cruise travel and tour experiences operated by Princess Cruises.

Our accommodation was a spacious Mini-Suite Stateroom with a balcony. Other room types are Interior (most affordable), Balcony, Deluxe-Balcony, Suite, and the super luxurious Sky Suite.

Room images shown are for the Sky Suite

Our mini-suite came with a private bathroom including a combination tub and shower (our first ever bathtub on a cruise ship!). The room is designed with a generous storage area providing sufficient space for stowing away luggage. Stacked shelves and clothes hanging space meant we could keep the main room area free from clutter.

The entrance opens up to reveal a queen-sized Princess Luxury bed (basically, sleep science meets interior design) with side tables and drawers on each side. A separate seating area includes a coffee table and a double sofa bed.

HDYTI Tip: A curtain can be drawn to separate the sofa bed from the main bed.

A large desk doubles as a dressing table and a workspace (in case anyone has remote working ideas!).

Floor-to-ceiling glass doors slide open, leading into the balcony (patio furniture included) where, one warm morning, we watched the sunrise, squealed in delight at dolphins playing in the ocean, and enjoyed what Princess Cruises calls the ‘ultimate balcony breakfast’ ($45/per couple with champagne).

Other mini-suite amenities and features included a mini-refrigerator, hairdryer, quality bathrobes, two flat-panel satellite TVs, and a digital security safe. The special champagne welcome and daily (on-request) evening canapes are also worth mentioning.

Sky Princess – a cruise ship designed with foodies in mind

We warmed to the Sky Princess like she was an old friend. Finding our sea legs very quickly, after a quick refresh in our mini-suite, we headed out for pre-dinner cocktails at the aptly named ‘Good Spirits at Sea’ bar.

The Sky Princess offers a variety of (casual and formal) dining options. Combine this with multiple bars and cafés and you have a cruise ship designed to deliver the ultimate foodie experience.

We particularly enjoyed the specialty restaurants. For a reasonably priced cover charge, we enjoyed a Porcini Mushroom Risotto at Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria ($25pp), a fine-dining affair inspired by flavours from Bergamo. On another fine evening, we were regaled with land and seafood options including a red snapper and scallop mousseline and lobster morsels covered in a rich lobster sauce at French-themed Bistro Sur La Mer ($29pp).

HDYTI Note: Fine dining in the main dining rooms is included in a guest’s fare. Only specialty restaurants have cover charges.

Over the course of five days and four nights, we attempted to visit as many eateries on board (including the main dining rooms) as we could. With each one offering a different experience, it was impossible to cover them all or choose a winner!

Contact-free sailing with OceanMedallion and Princess MedallionClass

Both the OceanMedallion wearable device and the Princess MedallionClass™ app (available to download on iOS and Android) were highlights for us.

Pre-boarding, the MedallionClass app allowed us to securely upload travel documents, register our health status, add payment details for onboard purchases and personalise our experience (perfect for informing the crew about specific dietary preferences and special occasions such as birthdays). 

Our onboard app-enabled experiences included ordering food and drinks to be delivered to any location on the ship (your OceanMedallion works with the app to determine your locator), chatting directly with the crew, navigating decks, making dinner reservations, and staying updated on events.

The wearable OceanMedallion was also useful for making contactless payments, keyless access to our mini-suite, and contact-free boarding and disembarkation. 

Overall, we genuinely felt that this state-of-the-art cruise technology enhanced our seacation.

HDYTI note: We found it easier to navigate the MedallionClass app on Eulanda’s iPhone. It was slightly glitchy on Omo’s Samsung Galaxy.

A Summer Seacation for the memory books…

Having no need to bother with shore excursions meant that we could spend time really getting to know the Sky Princess. Fully equipped with entertainment, fitness and leisure facilities, we had enough to keep us focused on enjoying our seacation.

Mornings were spent enjoying lazy breakfasts and couples hot stone massage sessions ($179pp for 50 mins, $209pp for 75 mins) at The Lotus Spa. Spa guests can also enjoy (for an extra cost) the sauna, steam room, and hydrotherapy pool at The Enclave. The active ones in our group (not us) managed to squeeze in laps on the purpose-built jogging track and gym sessions at the fitness centre.

For a reasonable cover charge ($20pp for a half-day), we were able to avoid the daily scramble for places by the general swimming pools and instead, head to the forward-facing, tranquil and exclusive Sanctuary. Our reservation included sun loungers, access to a hot tub, and afternoon tea (sandwiches and pastries). Private cabanas are available to rent at an additional day rate.

Post-dinner, we wandered around the Sky Princess’s bars, theatres, and entertainment venues, sampling cocktail classes, wine tasting sessions, concerts, movies under the stars, and an energetic live cover band that got Eulanda tearing up the dance floor.

Sky Princess – a worthy return to cruise travel

Blessed with mostly clear skies and calm waters, our five-day seacation came to an end far too quickly.

Our final evening found us enjoying sunset views from the Seawalk (the must-see observation platform on deck 16), cocktails in hand, and reluctant to say goodbye to the Sky Princess. 

As she glided effortlessly through the waters on her way back to Southampton, we raised a toast to the good health of the captain and crew and silently prayed for a future where we hope to never again take travel experiences like these for granted.

Useful information for booking your Sky Princess Cruise

Fare types: Avoiding the usual complexity of cruise travel fares, the Sky Princess offers two different fare types: the standard ‘Princess Fare’ and the ‘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. 

To search for your perfect cruise, find the latest promotions, and learn more about upcoming cruises on the Sky Princess, visit the Princess Cruises website

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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).