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Sun Princess
"Voyage of the Glaciers"
July 23-30, 2001
Vancouver-Seward Northbound

The Ship

The Sun Princess is 5 years old and is showing her age. Wood has rubbed off on the railings in many places, carpets are stained and in general, ship maintenance could be better. Interior decoration of the various lounges and bars is plain, ordinary, and rather unexciting. It appeared very run-of-the-mill.

The design of the ship, though, is excellent, especially for glacier viewing in Alaska. There are forward viewing areas on the Baja, Aloha, Lido and Sun decks plus good side viewing areas on the Sun deck. There are also aft open areas on the Aloha, Riviera and Lido decks. The Sun has a wrap-around teak Promenade deck outfitted with teak chaise lounges with navy blue covers. I feel that this was one of the nicest features of the ship.

** Helpful hint: For joggers and walkers, three laps around the deck equals one mile. Beware of strong winds on this deck when the ship is at sea!

Another good feature of the Sun Princess are the pools. In addition to the main pool area with two hot tubs, there is an aft pool area at the back of the Riviera Deck with another pool, three hot tubs and a splash pool on the Sun Deck. The splash pool was drained during our cruise, but maybe is open on warm weather sailings. The pools are filled with fresh water, and are open 24 hours a day throughout the week. Our children spent time in the hot tubs most evenings after dinner.

While on the subject of outdoor areas, I found it an inconvenience to have to "check out" a blanket as opposed to having them sitting out on the decks in large bins. You show your cruise card, get the blanket and are required to return it by the end of the cruise in order to avoid "buying it." I found myself at the pool one afternoon with 20 minutes to spare before touring the bridge. My blanket was in my cabin, and I didn't want to go get it because I would have to carry it on the bridge tour, so I just thought I would check out another one, but since we were in port, the blanket room was closed. I found this frustrating and wondered why they were so protective of their blankets.

Going inside, most of the Sun's public spaces are concentrated on Deck 7, the Promenade deck. The only time I ever got lost was on this deck, because there are so many lounges and different rooms so close together. There are two theaters here: the Princess Theater, forward on Deck 7, and the Vista Lounge, all the way aft on the same deck. The Princess Theater is more of a traditional theater, whereas the Vista Lounge has banquette seating alternating with rows of bucket chairs and cocktail tables. If you got stuck in the back of the Vista by the bar, the sightlines were pretty bad, but the good news was that there always seemed to be a seat up front. I think this was because there were many entertainment options occurring at the same time. With the exception of the card room and the library, the rest of Deck 7 is made up of lounges and bars. A nice feature in the Wheelhouse Bar and in the Atrium Lounge, as well as in the Patisserie Lounge on Deck 5, is the window seating with unobstructed views out to sea.

The Grand Plaza looks nicer in the wide-angle lens pictures you see in the brochures than it does in person. Sitting on Deck 5, though, and listening to music or talking to people was nice, and everyone loves the panoramic lifts.

There are two dining rooms on different floors. At first, I didn't like the low ceilings and closed in feel of the rooms, but as the week progressed, I began to enjoy the intimacy of the room with its small nooks and crannies and sparkling stars on the ceiling.

A View of the Pools & Hottubs on the Riveria Deck