Cruise Planning Part III: The Family Cruise Lines
Princess Cruise Lines
Love: The line that was the setting for the original Love Boat still carries with it an aura of amour, whether it is love of family or love of destinations -- although you won't find Julie on the Lido deck.
Explorer Class (can hold approximately 700 passengers): Tahitian/ Ocean Princess (1999), Pacific Princess (built in 1999, acquired by Princess in 2002), Royal Princess (built in 2001, acquired by Princess in 2007).
Sun Class (can hold 1,950-1,970 passengers): Sun Princess (1995), Dawn Princess (1997), Sea Princess (1998), Coral Princess (2002), Island Princess (2002)
Grand Class (can hold 2,600-3,100 passengers): Grand Princess (1998), Golden Princess (2001), Star Princess (2002), Caribbean Princess (2004)
Gem Class (can hold 2,670-3,070 passengers): Diamond Princess (2004), Sapphire Princess (2004), Emerald Princess (2007), Crown Princess (2006), Ruby Princess (2008)
Acapulco, Anchorage, Athens, Auckland, Bangkok, Barbados, Barcelona, Beijing , Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Ft. Lauderdale, Galveston, Honolulu, Lima, London (Southampton) , Los Angeles (San Pedro) , Manaus (Brazil), Mumbai , New Orleans, New York City, Osaka, Papeete, Québec City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, San Francisco, San Juan, Santiago, Seattle, Singapore, Sydney, Vancouver, Venice
Alaska (Glaciers, Inside Passage), Asia, Australia/ New Zealand, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada/New England, Caribbean (Eastern, Western and Southern), Europe (Baltic, British Isles, Mediterranean), Hawaii, Mexico (Baja, Mexican Riviera), Panama Canal, South America, South Pacific/Tahiti, Transatlantic.
There are three programs for the under-18 set on Princess: Princess Pelicans (ages 3-7), which offers pajama parties and movie nights; Shockwaves (ages 8-12), which has scavenger hunts and shipboard Olympics; and Teens (ages 13-17), who can enjoy casino nights and The Dating Game. Each of the groups also has their own "adult-free" hangout, either the Fun Zone or Teen Center. On some of the newer ships, there is a teen-only hot tub, and, on certain sailings, the California Science Center presents "edutainment" interactive science programs for those in the Fun Zone.
Love is all around the Princess fleet. Food lovers can enjoy Anytime Dining, classic traditional dining, specialty dining, snacks 24 hours a day, or even experience the chef's table hosted by the executive chef. Entertainment lovers can spends every night enjoy watching movies under the starts or catch an original show in the theater. While the kids are partying in their zones, lovers of learning can take an array of classes in everything from scrapbooking to wine tasting as part of the line's Scholar@Sea program. And spa lovers can relax with a massage in the Lotus Spa or chill out in the adult-only outdoor Sanctuary.
Seven nights in the Caribbean in May starts at $449 for an inside stateroom. Seven-night Inside Passage cruise in Alaska in May starts at $499. A nine-night Transatlantic cruise in April from Ft. Lauderdale to Portugal starts at $599.
The cruise finder makes it easy to search by length of cruise, embarkation point, date, ship and destination. You can also book shore excursion and spa appointments in advance on the Web site to make sure you get the ones you want.
Next Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean