Back when it was built in 1995, Sun Princess was the flagship steering Princess Cruises into a new era of modern oceangoing resorts – a task it duly accomplished with flying colours. Many refurbishments later, it is now one of the smaller ships in the Princess Cruises fleet but is no less popular, regularly filling with Australian passengers for journeys around the continent, to the South Pacific and around the Pacific Ocean in general.
With a capacity of just over 2,000 guests per sailing, there is a wide variety of activities to enjoy on Sun Princess, for adults, teenagers and kids alike.
Being one of the smaller ships in the Princess fleet, not everything you might read about or have experienced on the line’s larger ships will necessarily be available on Sun Princess, however there’s certainly no shortage. In fact, as new features are rolled out and installed, Sun Princess is often one of the first to receive them.
Over the course of a day at sea, your daily delivered ‘Princess Patter’ onboard guide will be handy to keep in your pocket or handbag for quick reference as to what is happening where and when.
Evening shows will rotate regularly throughout a sailing and will often be performed twice nightly – earlier to suit passengers scheduled for the late dining seating and then again after the earlier diners finish their meals and head for the theatre.
Additional entertainment both during the day and later at night can be found in other showrooms and lounges including the Vista Show Lounge, Wheelhouse Bar, Crooners Martini Bar, the Atrium Lounge and Shooting Stars Nightclub. These can vary from lounge singers and their supporting musicians through to jazz troupes and DJ’s spinning a variety of tunes.
By day, the Shooting Stars Nightclub doubles as Legends Sports Bar, newly installed following a recent refurbishment in Singapore. As the ship is based in Australia year-round, this bar screens popular sporting matches including NRL, AFL, cricket and other global sport events.
If you’re seeking a quieter evening, check your daily schedule as to whether a movie will be playing at the top deck on the giant ‘Movies Under The Stars’ screen. This option will be largely dependent on weather conditions – you’re not likely to find an outdoor movie screening on a rainy or overly windy night, much like you likely won’t find guests there either. For those feeling lucky, the Grand Casino might draw your attention, however this will be a popular evening nightspot for adults, so finding a seat or an available machine may be tricky.
Over the course of the day, especially on sea days, a number of games and activities will take place across the ship’s lounges and pool deck including trivia, karaoke and many more.
Teens (Ages 13-17)
Teens in the Princess Cruises who have pre-registered for the program via Cruise Personaliser prior to sailing (don’t worry, you can still sign-up once you’re onboard), can come and go as they please. They’re young adults after all, but why would they want to leave?
In the exclusive lounges just for those aged 13-17, teens will find Playstation 2 and 3 as well as Nintendo Wii consoles and games. At certain times of the day, these systems will be hooked up to the giant ‘Movies Under The Stars’ screen on the pool deck for a jumbo-sized game session. The lounge also features the newest music to listen to, movies, an air hockey table, foosball and more.
Scheduled activities just for teens which take place at different times of the cruise include teen-only dance parties, sports tournaments, mocktail mixing competitions, makeovers, DJ workshops, fun casino games and even hip-hop dance classes. On formal nights during the cruise, teens are encouraged to don their finest formal gear and eat together in style.
Kids (Ages 3-12)
The fun continues for the younger kids but also takes on an educational element thanks to a partnership between Princess Cruises and the California Science Centre. This tie-up allows kids to engage in activities including whale watching, building a roller-coaster, chemistry experiments and even Junior Ranger programs on selected cruises, such as in Alaska.
Further activities are divided up into smaller age-based brackets to ensure nobody is bored or too young to enjoy a particular activity. The ‘Princess Pelicans’ program is designed for children aged 3-7, which sees them engage in activities including movies and cartoons, ice-cream parties, T-Shirt colouring, PJ parties, arts & crafts and fun fairs for the whole family.
For the slightly older crowd aged 8-12, the ‘Shockwaves’ crew can enjoy dance parties, Playstation and Nintendo consoles and games, supervised scavenger hunts across the ship, karaoke and talent shows, sports tournaments, the Junior Chefs @ Sea program (pictured above) and theme nights including dress-up contests.
Note: The Youth Centre facilities close for one hour during meal times such as from midday to 1pm and 5pm to 6pm. Everyone in the centre has to leave for a short period, so parents are required to come and sign out younger cruisers for a short period.
Numbers are limited in all Kids and Teen programs and on popular family sailings such as during school holidays, capacity can fill up so it’s important to register early. Check with the staff at the facility when you board to see whether there will be sufficient space for your kids.