For years one of the complaints about cruises has been the feeling of being “nickeled and dimed” on the ship. You pay your cruise fare, but then any extras on the ships like drinks or specialty restaurants cost more out of pocket. And then there are things like wi-fi and gratuities, which also have to be paid for by passengers.
Some cruise lines, including Princess, have moved to a more all-inclusive aspect in recent years. For example, Princess offers a standard fare with room, entertainment, and dining included, but also has “Princess Plus.”
This “Plus” package offers a beverage package, crew gratuity, and wi-fi for one device included for a flat cost of $40 per person, per day.
So instead of having to worry about how much they are spending on the ship, passengers can instead get many things included in their fare at one flat fee… that’s considerably less than the cost of purchasing them separately.
For instance, gratuities for most cabins are $14.50 per day on Princess, but included when you buy the Plus package. That means you’re paying only about $25 per day for a drink package and wi-fi. (Princess says the cost of the included items is $95 per day.)
While Princess Plus does still look to offer a great deal, in an announcement of a new tier of the package (details on that below), the cruise line mentioned that the price is increasing. The cost of Princess Plus will rise from $40 per person, per day to $50 — an increase of 25%.
The price increase takes place starting May 25. Passengers still have an opportunity to book before that date to lock in the lower $40 price.
Princess Premier Revealed
As mentioned, the Princess Plus increase was mentioned in the announcement of a new offer from the cruise line — “Princess Premier.” This new offer provides even more included with your cruise than the Princess Plus deal, but for a slightly higher price.
For a total of $75 per person, per day, the Premier package includes:
- Wi-fi for up to four devices
- Premier Beverage Package (drinks up to $18 per glass)
- Daily crew gratuity
- Two specialty dining meals
- Photo package
- Entry into Princess Prizes
There are several major differences between the Premier and Plus packages. For one, the wi-fi includes access for up to four devices instead of one. As well, the Premier Beverage Package includes drinks up to $18 per glass, compared to just $12 for the Plus offer. As well, the specialty dining, photo package, and Princess Prizes are exclusive to the Princess Premier offer and not included in the Plus deal.
All told, you get these items or $75 per day, or $25 more per person, per day compared to the Plus offer. (Princess says that the total value of these items is $156 per day.)
You can see the breakdown of the offers below:
One item you might have noticed with the new package is the inclusion of Princess Prizes. This is a new item that we’ve never seen anywhere else.
According to the cruise line, Princess Prizes involves a one-time entry fee per cabin of $20 per day (included with Princess Premier). For that fee, each time an adult guest enters their stateroom, they can look at the “door portal” to see if they’ve won a prize. The prize listing includes onboard spending money between $5-$250, wine tastings, free cruises, and even $100,000 cash.
The Princess website says that one in five tries will win a prize.
Are These Offers Good Deals for Passengers?
So should you opt for the base fare, the $50 per day Princess Plus offer, or the $75 per day Princess Premier deal?
The answer depends on how you cruise. For those that enjoy drinks and would plan to purchase them regularly on the cruise, then the cost of Princess Plus offers a solid bargain.
Given that you’d have to pay for crew gratuities no matter what, it means you’re only paying about $35 extra (the cost of a few drinks onboard) to have the full drink package. As well, you also get wi-fi access.
As for Princess Premier, the higher cost does offer some solid benefits like the higher-tier beverage package and two specialty restaurant meals. However, we think online access for four devices per person is more than most people would use on a cruise. As well, we aren’t sure that photo packages and entry into Princess Prizes are things that most people would otherwise spend money on.
So while it definitely does offer great value (especially for those who like high-end drinks and dining), we still think Princess Plus may be the better deal for most people.