Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Ocean Princess ship inspection

On November 2, myself and around 30 travel agents were invited aboard the Ocean Princess for a ship inspection - a walk-around - while she was docked at Portside in Brisbane.

We were onboard for around three hours and got to see quite a bit but, all in all, it was a fleeting visit and we were moving at pace, so this blog post is nowhere near as extensive as my other cruise reviews, or follow the same format.

I did, however, go 'snap happy' and got as many photos as I could to convey the feel/mood/atmosphere of Ocean Princess. I will also let the photo captions do most of the talking.

So, here I go...

Ocean Princess is one of two 'small ships' in the Princess fleet of 18 ships (Pacific Princess being the other), entering service in 1999:

Tonnage - 30,277
Passengers - 670
Crew - 373
Cabins - 334
Length - 180m (592 ft)
Beam - 25m (84 ft)

If you are used to cruising on larger ships, as I am, the first thing you notice, not surprisingly, is how compact everything is onboard Ocean Princess. The Atrium, for example, is beautifully elegant but is like something you'd expect to see in a hotel. This isn't surprising - at 670 passengers Ocean Princess is, comparatively, the size of a hotel.

*I tried to avoid getting photos with the other travel agents (who also came along with their cameras) in shot. I mostly succeeded, except on a couple of occasions.

I have discovered that this post runs slowly if viewed on Internet Explorer. It's best viewed on Google Chrome or Firefox (not as fast as Chrome).

The Atrium - smaller than some, but beautifully elegant.

For many, this scaled down version of cruising is what makes a ship this size all the more delightful. You don't feel as though you are lost among the thousands of passengers and the grand scale - the glitz and glamour - of a much larger ship. Think 'country town' as opposed to 'metropolis'. Think 'big things come in small packages'.

It didn't take long for us to discover this. Ocean Princess oozes old-world elegance and charm. The furnishings are plush and there is much in the way of wood panelling. There is a warmth to the ship and you can find many places where you'd like to sit back in comfort and watch the world - the ocean - pass by, or read a good book. These days cruising caters for all ages but, at a guess, the average Ocean Princess passenger is perhaps a bit more, shall I say, 'mature'.

The Library - like something you would see in a grand mansion somewhere, and what a ceiling?!

Once again, the Library, with an unfinished jigsaw puzzle.

The Internet Cafe - one of the plushest ones I've seen, land or sea!

The Card Room...much like the Internet Cafe.

 Wood panelling and lights as you enter the Club Restaurant.

Even the bathrooms around the ship have an elegant feel to them.

While other cruise ships have rock climbing walls and water slides, Ocean Princess seems to be more about 'comfortable' cruising. That's not to say you can't have your fair share of fun on Ocean Princess and can indulge in bingo, dance lessons or, for the night owls, the disco. I even read somewhere about the 'sexy legs competition' but a Google search to see if there was a belly flop competition drew a blank. I guess they have to draw the line somewhere! :)

Speaking of fun and frivolity, before I go any further, I thought it best to get this out of the way...Princess Cruises is famous for this as much as anything else - watch HERE.

Okay, back to reality!

By now you're all probably wanting to see where you'll be staying if/when you book a cruise on Ocean Princess. I was lucky enough to view several types of stateroom -

Owner's Suite
Mini Suite
Balcony Stateroom
Oceanview Stateroom (window)
Oceanview Stateroom (porthole)
Interior Stateroom

Owner's Suite (approx. 73 - 89sq. metres/786 - 962sq. foot, including balcony)

Looking through to the living room.

Plenty of storage space.

Looking through to the ensuite.

The ensuite.

Looking from the living room to the bedroom.

The living room.

A second bathroom/WC just as you enter the suite. There in case you have guests over, so
they don't have to walk through the bedroom to the ensuite.

The balcony with spectacular views off the back of Ocean Princess.

Mini Suite (approx. 30sq. metres/322sq. foot, including balcony)

Balcony Stateroom (approx. 20sq. metres/216sq. foot, including balcony)

Oceanview Stateroom (porthole)

Oceanview Stateroom (standard)

Oceanview staterooms vary in size from approx. 13.5 - 19 sq. metres/146 - 206 sq. foot. Bathrooms are the same as that in the Balcony Stateroom.

Interior Stateroom (approx. 14.6 sq. metres/158 sq. foot)

For videos and panoramas of staterooms, see HERE.

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If you like the photography in my blogs, it's because I am a professional photographer. My photos don't merely show something, they tell a story. And visual stories i.e. photos, are more interesting than pictures that merely show something. 

If you'd like to know how to turn your images into visual stories, I've published a book that takes a whole new slant on photography and 'translates' the art of taking photos into a language we all understand.

To read more about my book and see some of its 100+ visual examples, please click HERE.

***I use all the tips and hints from my book in every photo I take, including those in Travel With Giulio.

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One of the nice things about a walk-around is that they always conclude with lunch - after all, travel agents (and cruise ship reviewers) need to let others know about one of the important aspects of any cruise i.e. food! We were offered a sample menu of a choice of two entrees, two mains, one dessert and tea/coffee.

Ocean Princess has many dining options, some included in your fare and other 'specialty dining' that involves paying a cover charge. We got to see a few...

Club Restaurant the main dining room onboard Ocean Princess and seats 388 people. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is where we had our lunch.

*See the opening hours for the Club Restaurant HERE.

The Club Restaurant.

Red or white?

 My entree.
Fettuccine Alfredo.
*The other entree was Red Snapper Mojito...Ceviche with Mango, Avocado and
a splash of Bacardi Superior Rum.

 I ordered the same main course of Chateaubriand of Beef Tenderloin, Truffle Madeira Demi-Glace,
with Market Fresh Vegetables and Berny Potatoes.
*The other main course on offer was Trout Amandine served with Toasted Almonds and Brown Butter,
Creamed Leeks and Parsley Potatoes.

Dessert of Milky Chocolate-Hazelnut Souffle with Amaretto Sabayon.

Taste treats to go with your coffee (and I didn't even have coffee!)

Both entrees were devoured, as were the mains. The Chateaubriand might have been cut a bit thin but that's nit-picking. The meat itself was cooked beautifully and worked well with a bit of everything added to the fork. I'm a sucker for potatoes at the best of times and saved the Berny Potatoes til last to soak up what juices were left.

The chocolate souffle wasn't as soft and fluffy as what you might expect in a souffle, and we had all eaten several spoonfuls before the Amaretto Sabayon (sauce) came around.

***Follow me on SOCIAL MEDIA for more fun, interesting cruise news and information.

Panorama buffet

The The Panorama buffet is small - compact - but packs in all the necessary punches and I slowed as we wandered through, visually savouring the delights on display and wondering when the lunch bell was going to ring.

While I slowed to have a look, I didn't want to get left behind and didn't get to see precisely what was on offer. But what was there looked fresh and delicious!

*The opening hours for the Panorama buffet can be seen HERE.

Additional to the opening hours above, when we walked through there was a sign there stating 'Continental Breakfast 4am - 6am'. I don't know if that was just for that particular day, as the ship was visiting Brisbane and it wasn't a turn-around day i.e. disembarking one lot of passengers for a shipful of new passengers.

The Panorama buffet.

Some of what was on offer in the Panorama buffet. 

I spent far too long standing here and feared I might fog up the glass cover, so kept moving!

The Pizzeria in the Panorama buffet.

The Panorama buffet - inside seating.

The Panorama buffet - al fresco dining.

Because Ocean Princess was in port for the day, the specialty restaurants onboard - Sabatini's and The Grill (also known as Sterling Steakhouse) - weren't made up. I did take photos of each but they didn't do them justice, so I 'borrowed' photos from the Princess Cruises website (thanks Princess Cruises!). I had to enlarge them slightly in Photoshop, so please excuse any loss of clarity/detail.

Sabatini's and The Grill have cover charges and for both, the following applies -

For children aged 3-12, the cover charge is 50% of the adult price.
For children (age 2 and under) there is no cover charge

...showcases an Italian and Mediterranean menu with a heavy emphasis on seafood. It is open for dinner and the adult cover charge is $25pp.

Sample dinner menu can be seen HERE.

Sample dessert menu can be seen HERE.

Opening hours can be seen HERE.

The Grill (also known as Sterling Steakhouse)
The name gives away what is served cuts of beef! It is open for dinner and the adult cover charge is $20pp.

A sample menu can be seen HERE.

Opening hours can be seen HERE.

See what other dining options are available HERE.

Now for some other sights around Ocean Princess...

The Pool Deck

Every cruise ship has a pool deck...

...and spa pools...

...plenty of places to 'catch some rays'...

...and somewhere to go if you're feeling thirsty!


The Tahitian Lounge

The Casino Bar.

The Cub Bar (next to the Club Restaurant).

The Cabaret Lounge

The Lotus Spa

See some of what the Lotus Spa offers HERE.

The Beauty Salon.

The Fitness Centre.

Weights area in the Fitness Centre.

One of the treatment rooms.

Outdoor spa.

Refreshments next to the outdoor spa.

Other sights around Ocean Princess

The shopping area.

The Casino.

The guest laundry.

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I hope you enjoyed this quick visit aboard Ocean Princess. If you have any questions, please contact me at and I will endeavour to help you as best I can.

Bon voyage!


See and read about more of my cruise experiences/reviews HERE.

Love photos of cruise ships? Have a look at my 'Ship Spotting' photo gallery.

If you like what you have seen here, follow me on SOCIAL MEDIA for more fun, interesting cruise news and information.

All photos and text by Giulio Saggin unless otherwise stated
© Use of photos and text must be via written permission


Rhonda said...

I am a recent fan of yr travel blog via the Facebook page of Cruiseaholics (Cheryl Debenham) and am delighted to say that you are extremely detailed,excellent photos, tips, well written with passion and friendliness. I will enjoy following your travels. Congratulations. By the way the Ocean Princess is a wringer for Azamara Journey with different colouring tho in carpets etc. (Renaissance styled ships...). Pricing via Princess would be less to get this luxury so travelling on her would be worth a look. Thanks again.

Travel with us! said...

Hi Rhonda,
Sorry for the late reply.
Thanks for your comment and we look forward to having you along to follow our travels. We are boarding Queen Victoria for two night on March 3 and will publish a short video of that.
Giulio & Nat