Discovery Princess is Princess Cruise’s final ship in their Royal class line and first set sail in Spring 2022. With a sleek, contemporary design, indulgent specialty restaurants, impressive entertainment, and of course, exemplary service, Discovery delivers an all-around enjoyable cruise experience. I recently sailed to Alaska on Discovery Princess and these are 7 things I loved on board this understated but elegant ship.
The Enclave at Lotus Spa (Discovery’s Thermal Suite)
The most expansive Thermal Suite in the Princess line includes twelve heated stone beds, four sensory showers, a large hydro-therapy pool with massaging jets and a cascading rain shower, plus three steam and sauna rooms infused with a variety of aromas and dynamic mood lighting.
The rooms include the Hammam, a Turkish-style steam bath with a large warm marble slab set under twinkling lights, the Caldarium, a light steam ceramic chamber with seven stool-like seats where the walls, floors, and seats are all heated for a deep penetrating warmth, and the Laconium, a dry, sauna-like room which gradually warms the body to help with purification and detoxification.
Passengers can purchase full-cruise passes or day passes to access The Enclave. Booking pre-cruise will save you on cost and visiting The Enclave while in port will mean fewer people vying for the desired and limited spots.
Included with the cost is access to a locker room and locker, a robe, slippers, refreshing cold towels, and self-service fruit-infused water. I spent nearly three hours in The Enclave with a day pass and found the cozy, modern, and warm space to be an absolutely worthwhile splurge.
Good Spirits at Sea
Want a great drink and a show? Head to Good Spirits at Sea, a cocktail bar off the Piazza on Deck 5. Based on Good Spirits, the popular TV series that traveled the globe in search of local ingredients for original cocktails, Good Spirits at Sea offers a large menu of unique drinks, created in front of you while the talented mixologist explains the process and culture behind the drink. A camera hung from the ceiling captures the crafting and is shown on a large flatscreen television hung behind the bar so all passengers can follow along.
The bartending team is entertaining, incorporating Cocktail-esque flips and tricks, creating a lively and captivating experience. To top it off, each concoction is served on a coaster featuring the drink’s recipe so you can recreate it at home!
The Retreat Pool is Discovery’s complimentary adults-only pool and is located on Deck 17. It’s a bit tricky to find as you can only access it through stateroom hallways or by using the forward elevator bank. But once you get there, you’ll find a quiet oasis with a medium-sized pool, numerous loungers, and a full-service bar. If you’re craving a drink that’s not offered at the Retreat Bar or need a snack, order them both using OceanNow on your Medallion app and have it delivered straight to you! There is also an upper level that overlooks the pool area with hot tubs and cabana-style seating facing the ocean. The contemporary feel of the space creates a relaxing environment and is an excellent place to get away during your cruise.
It is no surprise that my favorite meals were enjoyed in Discovery’s specialty restaurants. The ship includes five distinct for-a-fee restaurants and caters to every palette.
Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria on Deck 5 offers a 6-course meal for $25 per person. The house appetizer includes a warm bread roll, a tuscan zonzelle, and prosciutto. Next up is the soup/salad course offering salad or cheese fondue. Then comes your antipasti course where you can choose from lamb skewers, zucchini and squash, roasted bell peppers, or one of the tastiest items on the ship, the deep-fried calamari. Fresh pasta options are next, followed by a main entree including sole piccata, pork tenderloin, veal marsala and more. And if you still have room, indulge in a decadent dessert (I recommend the Rocher dessert) or after-dinner drink.
Crown Grill on Deck 7 is Discovery’s premium seafood and chop house offering a 4-course meal for $29 per person. On the menu you’ll find beef tartare, jumbo sea scallops with salmon caviar, black tiger prawns, shrimp and pancetta bisque, goat cheese and tomato salad, King Salmon, Chilean sea bass, Maine lobster tails, steaks served with an assortment of salts, an array of sides served family-style, and rich desserts like salted caramel crème brulee and the warm chocolate mousse trifle. Described by our server as the best specialty restaurant with the worst view, the windows usually have the blinds drawn since the view looking out is of the many lifeboats directly outside. But don’t let this deter you from a fabulous meal!
The Salty Dog Gastropub on Deck 5 is an upscale casual restaurant serving gourmet pub favorites for $18 per person. The included appetizer of breadsticks with beer cheese fondue and smoked salt leads into a number of entrees including short ribs, lobster mac and cheese, chicken sandwiches, grilled cheese, beyond burgers, and poutine. For dessert, choose from chocolate pot de crème, strawberries and cream, doughnuts, or lemon posset.
Bisto Sur La Mer is Discovery’s french-style bistro located adjacent to the Piazza on Deck 7 for $29 per person. The 3-course menu includes standouts like the polenta fries and goat-cheese stuffed olives, lobster bisque, seabass filet, seared duck breast, and the rich and delectable chocolate bar with coffee sauce for dessert. Bistro’s seating offers the best view out of any of the specialty restaurants with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the promenade deck and ocean.
The Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar located midship on Deck 6 is a small and ultra-casual venue serving sushi, sashimi, and rolls at a-la-carte prices. Seats fill up fast and service can be slower due to crowds so pick non-peak meal times to dine. The wait is worth it for sushi lovers who appreciate fresh and uncomplicated offerings like spicy yellowtail rolls, scallop rolls with sriracha, salmon sashimi, and crab hand rolls.
The clean, large, and well-appointed fitness center on the aft starboard side of Deck 17 shines with state-of-the-art equipment including bicycles, treadmills, ellipticals, resistance machines, a Smith machine, and dumbbells up to 75 pounds. No matter your workout style (cardio, yoga, agility, weightlifting), the fitness center supports it all. It has a group exercise room and a second, more open space in the back. Large windows line the wall with stunning views of the passing scenery. You can also book appointments with certified personal trainers or take advantage of counseling and nutritional guidance. Supplement your workout with the jogging track and Sports Court just one deck up outside.
Movies Under the Stars
Even with the chilly 50° weather, Discovery Princess offered Movies Under the Stars at the Sky Pool almost daily on my Alaskan cruise. The huge 300 square foot LED screen can be seen clearly at mid-day and heard clearly even while the ship is moving at full speed. With cozy fleece blankets available, the open-air poolside amphitheater hosted big name movies throughout the cruise. Complimentary fresh-popped popcorn and soft serve is also available at Swirls just starboard and aft of the Sky Pool. My husband and I grabbed prime spots in a Lido deck hot tub for our viewing of Danny Boyle’s Yesterday. I can only imagine how packed the showings would be on a warm-weather itinerary!
The best customer service I’ve ever experienced has been at sea and Discovery Princess is no exception. I was warmly welcomed and greeted by every crew member I came across. Even behind the masks, you can tell they’re smiling and their service is impeccable, with crew members constantly anticipating our needs. Many would engage in lively conversation and share with us personal stories and details about their shoreside lives. The crew truly makes your experience onboard valuable and unforgettable. Their hard work and commitment to exemplary service shines and it would be impossible to enjoy a cruise without acknowledging it!