There is a new cruise brand coming into Singapore and Asia – Princess Cruises.
Princess Cruises, a leading global cruise line has begun homeporting in the region for the first time ever. This is the largest deployment ever by a premium cruise line in the region, bringing the Sapphire Princess to Southeast Asia for a four-month season from November 2014 to March 2015. The Sapphire Princess will be sailing to a variety of Southeast Asian destinations, operating 16 roundtrip cruises and carrying approximately 40,000 passengers.
Earlier in February, Rachel and I brought Asher for a 3D3N cruise from Singapore to Penang and Kuala Lumpur and back.
The ship has a passenger capacity of 2,670, and more than 55% of the cabins have balconies or are suites, just like this room we stayed in for a family of three:
Unique on board facilities include Movie Under the Stars, fine-dining and other entertainment activities and workshops. I will be sharing more a bout all these in my Cruising with Princess Cruises’ Sapphire Princess, three part series.
This is the third time Asher been on a cruise. The previous two cruises he went on were with Royal Caribbean Cruises. Asher just turned three last October, making him a seasoned cruiser, averaging one cruise trip a year.
Contrary to the common perception in Singapore that cruising is just for retirees, old folks and gamblers, increasingly, more young adults as well as parents with young kids are jumping on board the cruise experience.
For busy working adults like me who have a bad habit of checking emails and my mobile phone on-the-go, even when travelling, cruising is a good way to kick the habit. Wifi and internet connection are extremely expensive when cruising as the network is routed via satellite when in open waters. It’s a good excuse to tell your boss that you really have limited or no internet access when you are away on a cruise holiday!
For parents with young kids, the benefits are aplenty. Let explore how Princess Cruises fit into the picture.
Why Cruises are Ideal for Parents with Young Kids:
1. Your kid can run all over and not get lost
The ship is 952 feet long and 205 feet tall with 18 decks. That’s an awful lot of confiend space for little kids to run around, yet you know you can still find them.
2. Food is provided for 24-7, including fresh fruits
There are five main dining rooms on the ship. Dining options include Sabatini’s trattoria; Sterling Steakhouse; International Café; Vines wine bar; Alfredo’s Pizzeria; Trident Grill – poolside hamburger grill; Prego – poolside pizza bar; Sundaes ice cream bar; Horizon Court – buffet/bistro; and 24-hour room service.
You and your kids just can’t go hungry:
3. You can introduce your kid to the concept of fine dining
Instead of heading for the buffet restaurants, bring your kids to the sit-down a la carte restaurants to introduce them to the concept of fine dining.
It won’t burn a big fat hole in your wallet as food is inclusive on board (except at the specialty restaurants where you need to top up).
Asher has since learned how to work his cutlery outside in and lay a napkin on his lap before starting to eat:
4. You can bring as much luggage as you want as there is no weight limit
We tend to overpack when we go on cruise holiday. After all, it’s better to bring more than less since there is no weight limit. Perfect for kiasu parents.
Asher got to pack all his swimming gear such that he can dress up like Bumblebee from Transformers when going for a swim:
5. A service staff is always within arm reach to render help
There ship has a passenger capacity of 2,670 and there are approximately 1,100 staff on board. That’s a ratio of around one staff for every 2-3 passenger.
Help is always within in reach:
6. There are other kids for your kids to make friends with
Kids make friends easily and there are plenty of common play areas for them to run around, interact and make new friends:
7. Facilities and amenities are wheelchairs and strollers friendly
There are lifts everywhere, even if it’s just a floor up or down. I saw many elderlies in wheelchairs and they got around fine, just about everywhere on the ship. I spotted some strollers too, although these were less common.
8. There are plenty of programs and activities catered for kids
I will elaborate more on the entertainment and programs available on board Sapphire Princess in a later post. They have a good mix of activities for both young and old so that the little ones won’t feel left out:
9. Your kid can get to swim all day
There are a total of five pools on the ship, not to mention the smaller whirlpools. Your kid can visit a pool each day and swim all day long or just soak in the pool to enjoy the sea breeze.
10. Best of all – there is free childcare available!
Rachel and I were extremely impressed by the standard of service and the facilities for the free childcare centre (you only have to pay for the services for night-time babysitting).
We brought Asher to the centre on the third day morning and left him there for about two hours. There was no other kids around as many passengers had chose to disembark at Port Klang in Kuala Lumpur. As such, the ratio of staff to kid was three to one!
Asher was like a little emperor as he ran around to explore the facilities and try out some of the suggested activities together with the staff:
Sapphire Princess Homeporting Season in Singapore
The homeporting season runs for five months through March 2015 and features 16 cruises sailing roundtrip from Singapore which can be combined to form 25 distinct itineraries.
For the current season, only the following is still available for booking:
17-day Grand Asia: Departs March 24 with calls at Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), Hong Kong, Shanghai, Nagasaki, Busan and Beijing (Tianjin).
Further information about Princess Cruises’ roundtrip Singapore cruises is available by calling (+65) 6922-6788, or toll- free for Malaysia at 1 800 806656, or by visiting www.princess.com.