As part of Princess Cruises’ largest ever fleet deployment to Australia this wave season, its biggest vessel makes her maiden arrival into Australian ports this November. We tell you how to eat, stay and play on the Emerald Princess in this three-part series; in this second part, let’s stay!
Cruise lines take beds extremly seriously. Nothing makes passengers grumpier than a bad night’s sleep.
Uniworld and Regent Seven Seas, two of the world’s top luxury lines, use a special British mattress filled with horse tails. Others have vast pillow menus and special sheets.
Princess is no exception.
Emerald Princess’ refurbishment at the end of last year brought new Princess Luxury Beds to its staterooms, as part of the cruise line’s fleetwide 44,000-bed roll-out. Developed in conjunction with a specialist sleep doctor, along with celebrity designer Candice Olson, these exclusive beds feature two-inch-thick pillowtops on their medium-firm mattresses, individually wrapped coils to prevent the dreaded roll-together, deluxe pillow options (and four pillows per double bed) and Jacquard-woven linens.
With 1,539 staterooms, almost 900 of which have balconies, Emerald Princess can sleep 3,092 guests over its 19 decks at capacity. There are 436 interior cabins and 222 oceanview cabins, but certainly it is the balconies that dominate the exterior of the ship.
Of those 900 balcony staterooms, 675 are cabins rather than suites and are located on Decks 10 through 15. These cabins have proven very popular, with their fairly spacious 21 square metres supplemented by that extra four square metres of balcony.
The next size up, the 178 mini-suites, offer 30 square metres with five more on the balcony. A separate lounge area includes a sofa bed, and mini-suite passengers have two flatscreen TVs, a combination shower/bathtub, a champagne on arrival and chocolates on the pillow every night.
Moving up to one of the 28 suites (two of which are family suites) brings a raft of extra thrills like a free laundry service, including dry cleaning, a bathrobe and slippers, use of the Lotus Spa thermal suite, complimentary a la carte breakfast in the stylish Crown Grill, daily hors d’oeuvres in the bar or in-room afternoon tea or canapés. Priority boarding and disembarkation, with a separate guest services desk and lounge, also adds value.
The bathrooms in suites are also made for spoiling, with a separate whirlpool tub alongside the shower, and suite-class toiletries such as a cooling eye mask and exfoliating mitt.
There are five categories of suite, mostly dependent on size – from 43 to 64 square metres – but some specialty suites take comfort even more seriously. The six Vista suites are at the smaller end (as the next step up from a mini-suite), and then the penthouse suites are next in terms of size; surprisingly, given the name, they are not the best of the ship, although their 49-square-metre is not to be sneezed at.
The two premium suites of Deck 15 measure out at 53 square metres; both the two-bedroom family suites, on Deck 9, are 56 square metres. These latter suites can comfortably fit in a clan of up to eight. The queen-size bed in each of the two bedrooms can be reconfigured as twin beds, and there are two sofa beds in the lounge as well. Two bathrooms (but just one with a tub) also lets bigger families, or those with teenagers, avoid the usual shared bathroom woes.
The sweetest suites, so to speak, are the two Owner’s Suites on Deck 12. At 64 square metres for up to only four guests, they simply resemble the other suites but stretched out and enjoying floor-to-ceiling windows to let the sunlight in and satisfy the most space-craving of passengers.