Our cruise to Norway and Iceland on Sky Princess began with two days at sea; the perfect way to get over that incredibly chaotic (though not unenjoyable) embarkation process at Southampton.

If you’re one of those people who’ve not cruised with Princess Cruises before, or not cruised at all or in a long time, then you might be interested in seeing what sorts of daytime activities there will be on a Princess ship, and that’s covered below. If this doesn’t make you feel like cruising with Princess is for you then it’s probably worth mentioning that our experience on other cruise lines (and if you take a look at the menu on this site you’ll be able to see just how many that is) is that they’re all much of a muchness when it comes to these things. Fitness or dance classes, the odd quiz, some light music becoming more showy as the day wears on, and endless attempts to encourage people to make themselves look younger and fix their aching joints with highly questionable products or purchase some jewellery or artwork. It would almost be weird if we didn’t look at sea day activities on a cruise ship and think “Nah, I think I’ll just swim and read my book and drink.”

As I mentioned in the first post in this Sky Princess cruise travelogue series, we’d had an unwelcome “upgrade” to a mini-suite. Our preference would have been for a normal cabin with a big balcony – that was what we booked – but the addition of the seating area on which to throw bags and sit and read, plus the second TV for ordering food and drinks to the room was actually something we came to really like. Not only that, but its location towards the front and on the Lido Deck made it fantastically convenient to access the adults only pool and to pop out to grab snacks or drinks from the pool bars. Photos of the mini-suite are below.

We had been still up and dancing at gone three in the morning (as mentioned in the first post) and likely would have spent even longer in bed thanks to that on the back of a long day trying to get aboard Sky Princess but we were woken at half eleven by an announcement into the cabin from the captain pointing out that some passengers still hadn’t completed their muster drill.

The muster on Princess ships (at the time of writing this) is supremely easy. There are two things you need to do. First, stick the muster video on your TV (or watch on your phone) and at the end check the boxes that confirm you were present (as detected by your Medallion) and watched it (honest). Second, head down to your muster station so they can register your Medallion and confirm that, yes, you know where you need to go in an emergency. That’s it. We tend to put the video on while we’re unpacking and make finding the muster station the first thing we do as it’s the work of a few minutes in total usually.

That people still find a reason to not do the muster these days – and we experience it on other lines too – annoys me immensely for two reasons. Firstly, it increases the risk that the cruise lines will go back to the old way of mustering. I really, really don’t want to do that, and neither do you. Secondly, there’s an easy way to sort this out. You can’t buy a drink or hit the casino or the shops without a cruise card or Medallion, so after a grace period on embarkation day why don’t the ships simply block the card from purchases until the muster is done? Okay, I know why they won’t do that – it’s additional code development and quite likely prone to false negatives leading to lots of angry travellers – but it seems doable in theory.

Anyway, after all that, and after a late breakfast and a peruse through the Princess Patter to confirm there was nothing to do but eat, drink, swim, and read, we went ahead with the day’s plans of eating, drinking, swimming, and reading.

It was formal night on Sky Princess – they tend to be on sea days – but I didn’t feel in the mood for dressing up in my tuxedo so we booked at table at Bistro Sur La Mer, one of the speciality restaurants on the ship. We’d dined there before and I hadn’t been massively impressed with what I’d ordered, but my wife had liked it so I gave it another chance. I’m pleased to say it was massively improved this time around, and the view was quite spectacular with the low sun late in the evening as we headed north.

Our first Sky Princess sea day evening concluded at Take Five. On the previous night I’d asked the band if they knew the Duke Ellington track, Caravan, expecting it would be something that any jazz artists would know. They didn’t, which was a surprise. However, they’d looked it up during the day, practiced it, and performed it that evening for everyone, but mostly for me. How can you not like that?

Another day at sea rolled around on Sky Princess. We were still heading north up the North Sea towards Norway, and the weather was lovely. In the photograph below you can see the view from our balcony which shows its position above the bridge and also highlights the big problem we have with these cabins on Royal-class ships: the balcony depth. You can sit bolt upright, or you can sit at a slight angle. Meh.

We’d last been on Sky Princess only four weeks before when we’d cruised to Norway and Denmark so the ship hadn’t changed at all, but that’s no reason not to have a wander, take some photos of the top deck, the swimming pools, the sports areas, and the ship’s wake. It’s a nice, gentle way to pretend we’re getting exercise before we sit around spending another day eating, drinking, and reading once more.

On this day at sea we decided to do the free afternoon tea. This is something Princess do – I think – on every sea day. Some sandwiches, some rolls, some cakes, and a few cups of tea. It’s pleasant, but not spectacular, but it is complementary and we enjoy the break occasionally on cruises.

We had known that some other people we’d gotten to know on social media were going to be aboard and, while wandering through the ship, we bumped into them, sat down, and ended up chatting for hours. We’d end up spending a lot of time with them, often quizzing in the evenings.

This second sea day featured food in the Main Dining Room. Not only did we get a great seat with sea views, we also had a great meal. One of the stand-out things about this particular Sky Princess cruise was just how good the quality and range of food was. Food can be a bit hit-and-miss when you cruise, really depending on which staff are on, when you cruise, and all those other random factors, but it was all top notch on Sky Princess.

The traditional conclusion to most evenings on this particular ship was, of course, Take Five. Through the last set of the night we were the only people in there listening to the band and they made a point of coming over and thanking us for staying and applauding each track.

At this time of the year the sun barely sets in this part of the world which was why it was still light when we decided to make our way to bed. By this time, too, Sky Princess had started to make its approach into the Sognefjord ahead of its first port of call on this cruise, giving us our first glimpse of Norway’s fjords.

In the next post in this cruise travelogue series I’ll cover the excursion we took while docked at Skjolden, Norway. We’ll be starting with a drive up over the Sognefjellet mountain pass and we’ll make a stop at the Mefjell Crossing Memorial Stones.


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