First some positives. The ship was elegant and properly pristine on its first voyage, and the filet mignon served in the special steakhouse restaurant was cooked to perfection. Our middle balcony cabin and the cabin four decks below were clean, quiet and fully functional. I liked the new wearable technology that allows keyless entry when you approach your floating hotel room. The production show “Rock Opera” was top notch.
Although these and other aspects belong to the plus column, the proverb that patience is a virtue was used early and often on the first voyage of the latest flagship Princess Cruises, the Discovery Princess with 3,600 passengers. As virtuous as Harry Potter, we had to be among the less tolerant original guests during a recent week-long return trip from San Pedro World Cruise Center to the Mexican Riviera.
In general, an appropriate amount of amnesty must be granted on board the cruise ship’s inaugural cruise. Between all the freshly launched moving parts and the different levels of experience among the newly assembled crew, not to mention that the innovations of the new generation have penetrated the first paying passengers of the ship, not everything will go smoothly, even in calm waters, as has been the case so far. from the exciting ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta.
And let’s give props to every big business during this post-pandemic recovery, which is hampered by supply chain and labor problems. Nevertheless, too many causes of hypertension have emerged within seven days.
Processed eggs are the default for omelets to order? Are the lounges cleaned of used dishes and rubbish before each event? Gamblers don’t get drinks because the casino wasn’t built with a special bar? More than two hours to get grilled cheese through the food delivery app? One morning’s “Movies Under the Stars” selection is “The Sound of Music” from 1965?
The sound of first world problems that can cause this, but we are talking about a premium cruise line in which higher standards should be expected compared to more affordable carnivals, Norwegian, MSC and Royal Caribbean. Despite the staggering first impressions during the voyage, which remained at a capacity of only 64 percent, it can be a consolation that the Princess has too solid a reputation for anyone to believe that many of the problems and special procedures discovered at the Discovery Princess have not yet been resolved. at least to solve.
Good thing, because the sixth and last of the easily navigable Royal-class ships in the Princess fleet is otherwise pleasant. A couple of loyal princess elite from Missouri have gone so far as to call the new ship “Best of Royal class” because Discovery has all their favorite places. Crooners, a bar with music and martinis, is not sung by swans on all ships in this class. It’s either the tucked-out Take Five Lounge, which offers live night jazz, or the luxurious Salty Dog Gastropub in the area occupied by the Vines Winery on older Royal-class ships.
The latest audience game to be played on Princess ships is the nautical version of “Deal or No Deal”. The activity extends to the entire fleet and thanks to the date of birth of one passenger Discovery Princess “3-3-73”, the first major prize was won by a new flagship. She was randomly selected to go on stage among those at the main theater who spent at least $ 25 on “things cards.” The audience gasped every time her “bank” offer was rejected, and they went crazy when her envelope, lucky number 3, turned out to have the highest value in dollars. The game is played twice on a 7-day cruise and card buyers have their own chance to win a $ 1,000 main prize. For legal reasons, Princess does not add more value to her own product; the second prize is a free cruise, which is definitely more valuable to the traveler than the grand.
From a screaming audience to a screaming fast internet, Princess is living up to her claim to have the best Wi-Fi at sea. MedallionNet Wi-Fi was just that, but some MedallionClass technologies weren’t so great when they tried to make food reservations, access restaurant menus, order food, or check daily schedules. But how great is the aforementioned keyless entry? The wearable “medallion” you receive on boarding means that you no longer have to look for a key card and at the same time balance your night snacks in your room from the 24-hour international café. We can thank Princess John Padgett for this great facility. Prior to joining Princess Padgett, he worked for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, where he led innovations involving guests such as the upsold MagicBand, the forerunner of the disc-shaped gadget that now exists on all Princess ships.
“Keyless entry into the cabin is one of the most basic uses and is undoubtedly a popular guest,” said Padgett. “The medallion automatically unlocks the door, similar to opening a car with a remote control. In addition, personalized greetings on the cabin door portals welcome guests and record any special milestones they can celebrate, such as birthdays and anniversaries. ”
The medallion also works on the shore in the participating companies. Comfort and purchasing power are bonuses for passengers who receive a 7 percent board credit when they use it for shopping. I got them after buying sticks at the ChocoMuseo factory in Puerto Vallarta.
The sweetness on a larger scale is the fact that the Discovery Princess is the first Princess ship to return to the West Coast directly from the shipyard since 2002. It was a Star Princess for 2,600 passengers who sailed to the Mexican Riviera from LA and Alaska from Vancouver. Now with Discovery Princess, LA and Seattle will share a flagship until 2023.
After Discovery Princess gets her sea legs off five San Pedro cruises, she will spend May to October 7-day return trips to Alaska from Seattle. After completing the voyage to places like Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, the ship will return to LA for six uninterrupted months of mostly weekly voyages south of the border. Then it’s back to Seattle for the second Alaskan boating season from April to October 2023.
The Pacific Coast will claim the flagship Princess at least until November 2023, when the first LNG-powered Sphere-class ship is scheduled to premiere. The as yet unnamed vessel, which boasts a capacity of approximately 4,300 passengers, will be the largest ever built for Princess Cruises. Where she will sail is uncertain, according to Padgett, but with the Discovery Princess, the Santa Clarite-based cruise company knew its fate from the beginning.
“The Discovery was designed for Southern California from the beginning,” said Padgett of Take Five Lounge before Discovery’s first voyage. “When we build a ship, we look at which market is important to us and where we want it. LA has obviously reached the top of the list. We needed to place our top ship here. Since LA is a major population center, how can it not have the best? It’s great to have a flagship back in this market and in our yard. ”