In today’s post, I would like to talk about my recent cruise on the Sky Princess. This was a magical journey and I was so excited to be on board. This was my first cruise from the UK and I loved how easy and simple it was.
My trip with Princess Cruises was a media trip, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I would like to introduce my cruise experience from Southampton and my first impressions aboard the Sky Princess.
Cruising from Southampton
If you ask most people, “What do you hate most about traveling?”, most people will probably say “Flying!’
Some people are afraid of flying, but for many of us, it’s just an inconvenience.
The past few months have been a nightmare at UK airports. If there’s any way to avoid airport stress and have a great vacation, I’m up for it!
And that’s exactly what I did on a recent trip….
The cruise from the UK was a new experience for me. And what a game changer it was. I’ve been on a few cruises in the past, but last week I went on my first cruise out of the UK.
I boarded the Sky Princess, one of the newest additions to the Princess Cruises fleet, in Southampton on the south coast of England.
From Southampton we went to Guernsey, La Rochelle in France, Bilbao in Spain, La Coruña in Spain and then back to Southampton. It was a 7-night, 2-day sea trip, and it was truly amazing.
Here is a link to the exact cruise I went on, but departure is in 2023.
The cruise from Southampton was really fun. Because the beginning of the trip was so easy and stress-free. Cruises from the UK were great, whereas in the past you had to fly to your destination to start your cruise. There were no special complications to the flight ride, which can be stressful due to delays, security, baggage check-in, and other common airport stresses!
Getting to Southampton Cruise Terminal
I live near Chester, so I took the train to Southampton the night before and stayed at the Premier Inn. The ship didn’t leave until 4pm so we would have had time to disembark in the morning, but we wanted to be prepared!
The train journey took five hours and the ticket cost £40 each way. There was a boat show in Southampton that weekend so my hotel was a little more expensive than usual, but the Premier Inn in Southampton usually costs around £60 a night.
Access by car is also possible, with plenty of parking near the cruise terminal and in Southampton city centre. Parking is quite cheap and is a cost-effective option if you are going with 3-4 people, but as I was traveling alone I found the train to be much easier and cheaper.
i also love traveling by train. I find it really relaxing and love reading a good book or a Netflix series on my iPad from the comfort of being able to just sit back and enjoy the journey.
A friend of mine was traveling from the Peak District to Southampton and had plenty of time to catch the train the morning we left.
Boarding the Sky Princess could not have been easier
I met up with my friend Jen who was going on a cruise at the train station, and we headed outside to join the line for the taxis that take cruise passengers to the ship.
We took a large six-seater taxi, so the couple sitting behind us also jumped in.
This couple traveled from Manchester, so we were all coming from the same direction!
They retired young and said they take 8-9 cruises each year, so in my eyes they were complete cruise pros. This is something I’ve noticed before on cruisers. Cruise lovers really love cruises!
We arrived at the cruise terminal and quickly handed over our luggage.
The first thing I noticed was how smooth, quick, and efficient everything was. I was expecting something like an airport with long lines and tight security, but everything was very well organized.
Since we had already checked in via the Medallion app, we were able to see our stateroom number on the app. We gave the number to the guy and he immediately tagged our bags and drove us away (our bags joined us in our room after about 45 minutes).
Then we walked through to get our medallions.
What is the Medallion on Princess Cruises?
The Medallion is a wearable device given to all guests upon boarding a Princess Cruises ship.
It’s a clever little gadget used as an ID to board the ship, unlock your room, make payments, check in for meals, and more.
This holds your digital identity so you don’t have to take anything with you when you’re out and about on board. It comes with a strap, but you can also secure it with something else, such as a watch-shaped strap. I chose the clip so that I could clip it to whatever I was wearing. It was really nice not having to carry around a handbag as the medallion was all I needed.
Medallions make it super easy to get on and off your ship, just tap each time you get on and off. All the information is on the medallion, so there’s no need to bring your passport (though I’ll bring it just in case.
The medallion will also help the onboard staff confirm your personal preferences. If you have any dietary restrictions, the medallion will indicate that!
It also has an OceanCompass to help navigate your ship, and (this is optional) can also be used to track members of your party. This is great if you have teenagers or older family members, or if you’re traveling in a large group and want to know where to find friends.
Tap the medallion on the screen to easily access the room
What about the Medallion Class App?
There is also an app for all Princess Cruises. Even if you’re not tech-savvy, we highly recommend downloading the app and learning how to use it before boarding.
Boarding is quick and easy as you can use the app to upload all your documents including passports and Covid passes. Honestly, it took him less than a minute to check in to the ship as he had already filled in all the details.
This app is equipped with GPS to help you find your way around the ship and keep you up to date on shows, dining, events, excursions, and activities without paper.
You can also order food and drinks using the app. This is great, but it was often faster to just pinch and buy something myself.
Boarding the Sky Princess
Jen and I showed our passports and Covid passes and then boarded the ship. Everything was so easy!
Stepping onto the ship gives you a strange feeling. Instantly transport from the docks to this luxurious resort where everything is luxurious and glittering. I felt like a child, dazzled by the lights and grandeur and decorations, and just wanted to run around and explore!
We decided to go straight to our room to throw away our handbags and travel clothes. I was wearing jeans, a sweatshirt, and a bulky fall coat, and suddenly I felt so underdressed. We didn’t need a bulky jumper anywhere we were going!
As we approached our room, we were greeted by Dee Dee, our stewardess and the person who would be taking care of us for the week.
Deedee gave us 10 minutes to settle down and then brought us glasses of fizz to enjoy on the balcony in the sunshine.
What a great start to the holiday!
We hadn’t even left the dock yet, but the sun was shining on my face and we talked excitedly about the week ahead.
Mini Suite onboard the Sky Princess
While on board the Sky Princess, we had a luxurious mini-suite.
There are many options when choosing a stateroom. There are interior rooms, ocean view rooms with large windows, balcony rooms, mini-suites, and suites.
Mini suites are a great option if you need a little more space or if you’re traveling with kids or friends. The large sofa bed can be pulled out to accommodate up to two more people.
Since it was just the two of us, we really enjoyed this extra space and relaxed here before heading out for dinner each night.
The mini-suite also has a more luxurious bathroom with a shower over the bathtub, giving you plenty of space to get ready!
We unpacked our bags (there was plenty of storage space in the changing area) and made ourselves at home. We finally snuck out of the room and explored the ship.
My fellow Brits will want to know that you have a kettle in your room so you can boil your own water!
Travel Hack Tip
Whether you’ve been on 50 cruises or it’s your first, my top tip for cruisers is to spend plenty of time exploring the ship when you first arrive.
There are so many little areas on board that we often end up finding our favorite spot in the last few days!
Luckily, I was able to tour around the ship a bit and discovered hidden bars, secret pools, hidden cafes, and private little areas that no one would ever find.
Of course, these aren’t really “secrets” and can be found using the Medallion Class app, but there’s so much to see on board that it’s easy to miss out on days!
Wear comfortable shoes and take a walk around the ship.
Explore from top to bottom, front to back and keep an eye out for hidden areas. You’ll probably get lost, but you won’t get far.
One of my favorite things about this ship is that each bar, cafe, restaurant, and entertainment space has a different atmosphere. One bar can have a sophisticated and relaxed atmosphere, but the next time you go to the next bar, it’s lively and buzzing. Next there might be a comedy show, the next there might be a dance performance, and the next there might be people sitting quietly drinking tea and reading books.
We toured the swimming pool, gym, many restaurants, spa, sanctuary, hot tub, theater, shops, and finally ended up at the buffet upstairs for what we needed for a well-earned lunch!
Although we could have spent hours exploring the ship, we headed to the Sky Pool Bar where the Sailaway Celebration was held at 4pm.
Everyone was relaxed and in the holiday spirit, and it was a big party. We had a few cocktails and joined the other guests in cheering on the Sky Princess as she set sail from Southampton.
This is exactly the cruise I took and it just departed in 2023
Here are all Princess cruises on Sky Princess departing from the UK next year
On the Sky Princess homepage, you’ll find everything you need to know.
I stayed at the Premier Inn Cumberland Place the night before my departure and I highly recommend it.
I use National Rail to search and book trains in the UK.
If you plan on driving to Southampton, you can reserve a parking spot at CPS.
Find out more about parking in the city center here (approx. £32 for a 7-day stay, then a taxi to the ship around £10)