Princess Cruises recently upgraded the amenities associated with its top tier of cabins. I was able to check out these changes on our recent Cruisemates group sailing aboard the Island Princess, and I can wholeheartedly say they contributed to a more luxurious travel experience.
Passengers who book mini-suites and higher categories now enjoy a host of new features in their cabins to create a more homelike environment. To my mind, among the best additions are the luxurious down comforters laid out on the beds during the evening turndown service. The comforters are encased in super-soft, beige-striped Egyptian cotton duvets, providing a sumptuous feeling when you retire for the evening.
That feeling is enhanced by a menu of hypoallergenic down-style pillows, ranging from firm to sinfully soft. I am almost never comfortable with hotel or cruise ship pillows, but these made me feel as if I were blissfully home in bed.
According to our cabin steward, the new linen offerings provide another benefit, in that the bedding can be changed more quickly for new ship arrivals, compared to the traditional blanket and sheets setup. This makes me wonder if the changes will eventually be made in all cabin categories.
The improvements continue in the bathroom, where 100 percent Egyptian cotton towels offer a softer, and more absorbent, after-bath experience. The difference in quality, again, provided a much more homelike environment for us on our 15-night voyage.
Another pleasant surprise awaited us in the bath, where the obnoxious (but environmentally friendly) Princess packets of shampoo and the like, which invariably turn to mush after one shower, have been replaced. Now those in the higher echelon of cabins enjoy the more traditional small plastic bottles of shower gel, conditioner and lotion, all from the Princess Lotus Spa brand.
The air of luxury attains new heights in the suites, where passengers may enjoy a library of movie DVDs to choose from, complimentary nightly canapés or chocolates, and the ability to order full-course breakfasts, lunches and dinners en suite. Other new offerings include a complimentary mini-bar setup, fluffier terrycloth robes and slippers, and a fresh flower arrangement.
I found the changes most welcome on our longer-than-normal voyage, making me feel as I were missing few of the comforts of home. However, I did make one concession when packing for the voyage, slipping a roll of my preferred toilet paper into the bag. Now, if only they could upgrade that!
Harry Martin is the moderator of the Mexico and G/L boards on Cruisemates.