Travel writer Jo Kessel filmed her journey about Princess Cruises’ newest addition, Discovery Princess. The footage shows the ship’s four main pools, as well as Jo’s cabin, where she’s treated to an ‘Ultimate Balcony Breakfast’ and dolphins breaching 14 decks below. Plus, she gives a behind-the-scenes look at Discovery’s food, drink (think 24-karat gold margaritas) and entertainment — including the ship’s brand-new ‘Deal or No Deal’ game show where guests can win big cash prizes.
When the phenomenally successful 1970s TV drama ‘The Love Boat’ was set on one of their ships, Princess Cruises became a household name.
And even though the series ended 35 years ago, the Love Boat connection remains. But how deep is the love of the liner? I’d like to know, because it just so happens that I’m celebrating a special anniversary with Mr. Kessel during the trip.
Kessel on a Love Boat: Travel writer Jo Kessel films her journey on Princess Cruises’ newest addition, Discovery Princess, on her very first sailing trip
When the 1970s TV drama ‘The Love Boat’ was set on one of her ships, Princess Cruises became a household name, and the link with The Love Boat continues today, reveals Jo. ‘But how deep is the love of the liner? I’d like to know,” she says as she boarded the Discovery Princess (pictured)
The £500 million ($654 million) Discovery Princess is the 15th ship to join Princess Cruises’ fleet and is the last of the liner’s six ‘Royal-Class’ ships – the first being Royal Princess, christened by her godmother, the Duchess of Cambridge in 2013.
When I joined the 3,660-passenger Discovery for its first-ever sailing, a seven-night voyage from Los Angeles to Mexico, I hoped to capture what makes this a royal ship.
The video starts where the action can be found at the start of a journey – the ‘sail away’ – upper deck!
There are a total of four pools on Discovery Princess — each larger and with more refurbished seating areas than on any of Discovery’s sister ships, according to Jo. Upstairs is the Sky Pool
Jo describes the ship’s infinity pool, saying ‘It overlooks the wake and you can float in it for hours, ogling the view’
The 16-deck-high ‘scary’ glass walkway, with the sea swirling below
And because Discovery sailed away for the first time, it was extra special. Crowds gathered to whistle, wave and whoop and the ship’s horn blared the Love Boat themed tune as Discovery sailed away from the harbor.
Upper decks also cover the pools. There are four in total – each larger and with more refurbished seating areas than on any of Discovery’s sister ships.
Our favorite is the infinity pool in the back. It overlooks the wake and you can wander in it for hours, ogling the view.
Discovery Princess outdoor jogging track can be seen during Jo’s cruise on the ship
Jo manages a ‘very atypical maiden hole-in-one’ on the ship’s mini golf course
A bartender makes a “24-karat gold” margarita laced with tequila, Cointreau, and Grand Marnier. Jo describes it as ‘both sensational and sensationally strong’
The film shows what there is to do for those who enjoy activities, with a presentation about Discovery’s jogging track, sports field and mini golf course.
Speaking of which – in keeping with this being a first trip, I manage a very atypical first hole-in-one just when the camera happens to be rolling.
This calls for a celebratory cocktail — a 24-karat gold margarita that’s also laced with tequila, Cointreau, and Grand Marnier. It is both sensational and sensationally strong.
Jo shows off the ‘Medallion’ – a 10p portable drive that performs multiple functions, such as opening cabin doors and paying for onboard purchases
A waiter brings Jo her order of a Greek salad as she sits in the three-piece ‘Piazza’, after easily tracing her whereabouts using the medallion’s tracking system
A few years ago, Princess pioneered contactless ‘Medallion’ technology – a 10-pp disc worn as a pendant on a necklace or wristband that performs multiple functions, such as opening cabin doors and paying for on-board purchases.
But Princess has just taken this technology to the next level.
For the first time, this locket can now be used to pay for things from the ship too, demonstrated in the footage when I buy a box of chocolates at a store in our last Mexican port of call, Puerto Vallarta.
A look inside Jo’s cabin on board. Of the ship’s 1,830 cabins, 1,482 have balconies
Jo relaxes with a book on the balcony of her cabin. “Discovery Princess is a beautiful and exciting new ship to explore the world on,” she says
This is great news for passengers who don’t like to carry cash or cards when they’re on the road. Their locket is all they need.
After that, I put another Medallion feature to the test. We are told that these discs allow the crew to track our movements.
So we order Greek salads on one side of the ship and then walk around to see if we can be found.
Finally, we settle at a table in the sparkling three-level Piazza and moments later a waiter arrives with a tray of our lunch. Eureka!
“On the day of our wedding, we order an ‘Ultimate Balcony Breakfast’ (pictured),” says Jo
A flight attendant decorates Jo’s bed in a ‘Love Boat’ style on the night of her wedding anniversary
Speaking of food – the kitchen in the main dining room is excellent home cooking with a gourmet twist, think bacon wrapped meatloaf and apple pie. But our top picks in the specialty restaurants are the Crown Grill steakhouse’s filet mignon and the Sole Piccata (with white wine, capers and butter) served in Italian Sabatini’s.
If you’re celebrating a special occasion, you might fancy a meal in the cabin. And on the day of our wedding we order an ‘Ultimate Balcony Breakfast’. What follows is a feast of smoked salmon bagels, quiches and fruit bowls – plus a bottle of bubbly.
At just £35/$46 per couple, it’s worth it for the champions alone!
In fact, as we hide, we spot a pod of dolphins frolicking 14 decks below.
Above is the brand new ‘Deal or No Deal’ game show on board the ship
“The video ends as all good holidays should, with a little relaxation, showing the best places to relax on board,” says Jo
The ship can accommodate 3,660 guests and there are 1,346 international crew members on board
Discovery Princess will be on the California coast and Mexico in the winter of 2022.
A seven-night Mexican Riviera trip in a balcony cabin on Discovery Princess costs £699 pp, departing Los Angeles on November 26, 2022.
For more information visit www.princess.com.
They look small from above, but I managed to capture one on film.
Almost as exciting is how the flight attendant decorates our bed in ‘Love Boat’ style that night.
The display of flower petals, love hearts and love swans is so beautiful it would be a shame to mess it up!
Finally, we check out Discovery’s entertainment, from the jazz bar to the poolside Movies Under the Stars (an open-air cinema with unlimited popcorn) to the brand new ‘Deal or No Deal’ game show, with a cash prize of £765 ($1,000) waiting to be won by an audience member.
And the video ends as all good holidays should, with a little relaxation, showing the best places to chill out on board.
Discovery Princess is a beautiful and exciting new ship to explore the world with. Crucially, is it a Love Boat? Sure.
For more videos from Jo, visit her YouTube channel – Go with Jo.
Discovery Princess, built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, made her debut earlier this year
The £500 million ($654 million) Discovery Princess is the 15th ship to join Princess Cruises’ fleet. Above is the ‘Piazza’
DISCOVERY PRINCESS BY FIGURES
Discovery Princess, built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, made her debut on March 27, 2022. She is 66 meters high, 330 meters long and weighs 145,000 gross tons.
Guests can explore 19 decks, and 1,482 of the ship’s 1,830 staterooms have balconies. The ship can accommodate 3,660 guests and there are 1,346 international crew members on board.