We recently returned from the Top of the World Cruise on the Ocean Princess, an 18-day voyage from Dover to NYC. The itinerary drew us to this cruise; we had missed Iceland due to weather on an earlier Crown Princess cruise, so this cruise gave us two chances to hit a port in Iceland. We succeeded.
The Ocean Princess Ship
We are honorary godparents of the Ocean Princess, a fact that didn’t impress even the Captain, who may have been unaware that Princess has many honorary godparents for this vessel, formerly the Tahitian Princess. So if you are also an honorary godparent, don’t expect any special treatment or recognition when sailing on your ship.
Carrying 680 passengers, the Ocean Princess is the latest rendition of the original Renaissance R4, from the now defunct line. The smaller ship allows calls to ports of call that can’t accommodate larger cruise ships. Sailing on a ship this size has both advantages and disadvantages. The obvious advantage is the ability to visit a wide range of ports. The ship is easy to navigate and it is easy to make acquaintances with other passengers who you will run into all the time.
The disadvantages include running into the same passengers – especially the annoying ones; the limited bar spaces and other public meeting spaces, smaller and less lavish shows and fewer activities in general. For those who cruise for the ship rather than ports of call, this could be a drawback. For us, we really enjoy the smaller ships, but admit to not really being show people. We always find a way to entertain ourselves without resorting to the cruise line offerings.
Due to the longer itinerary and the ports of call, most of the passengers were experienced cruisers and there were few children, but those few children were left to run wild on the ship. There is no kids club on this ship, which should have been a big hint to some passengers to choose a different ship for their hooligan children. Of course, even passengers on ships that offer facilities for the children, don’t appreciate unattended and unsupervised children creating havoc throughout the ship.
Adult games and events were attended by the children causing adults to abandon the activities. Shipboard staff seemed not to care even when the events took place in the nightclubs, where children under a certain age and after a certain hour shouldn’t be permitted in the first place.
Because this is a smaller ship, there is no option for Anytime dining. That caused a problem for us as we found our table mates to be poor dining companions, but that story is for another post. Not being buffet types, we don’t usually eat there, but there are two specialty restaurants that alternate operating days. However, the buffet becomes a bistro during certain hours and has a more casual sit down service.
The library had a nice collection of reading material and put out a sometimes inadequate supply of Sudoku and trivia quizzes. The book exchange was well supplied with books in several languages.
Next time: Cabin 4006