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Discovery Princess Review, Love Boat Tips To Know

The Discovery Princess in Puerto Vallarta

Launched in March 2022, the Discovery Princess cruises to Alaska, Mexico, Australia, and Hawaii. Its MedallionClass technology lets you order food to your room. The ship features movies under the stars and a glass floor walkway. It also offers a unique 360 dining experience.

We recently took a family cruise on the Discovery Princess. My wife Karen, her 81-year-old mother, and I were onboard. It was her mum’s first cruise, and I’ll share her thoughts later.

We compared this trip with our previous cruise on the Majestic Princess, also to the Mexican Riviera (Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlán). Having enjoyed the Majestic, we were excited to experience a voyage on the Discovery. This Discovery Princess review will help you decide if it’s the right ship for you.

Discovery Princess cruise ship, Sky Pools and balcony stateroom

First Impressions

We embarked the ship in San Pedro, California, 40 minutes from LAX. The ship was under a year old, so I expected a lot. At the time of our boarding, the ship was less than one-year-old, so my expectations were high! 

We never want to be on the inaugural sailing, because it often takes a bit of time for the crew and operations to stabilize. The ship lived up to my expectations with almost a “new car smell.”

The other thing I noticed was the updated color scheme compared to the older Majestic Princess ship. All Royal-class Princess ships have a similar layout and design.

Discovery Princess Piazza
Discovery Princess Piazza

Discovery Princess Info

The Discovery Princess is the 6th and final Royal Class ship. Other vessels within the Royal Class fleet include Enchanted Princess (2020); Sky Princess (2019); Majestic Princess (2017); Regal Princess (2014); and Royal Princess (2013).

Note that Carnival Cruise Corporation owns Princess Cruise Line. Carnival also owns Holland America, Seabourn, Cunard, Aida Cruises, Costa, and P&O Cruises.

On our sailing, the ship carried 3,300 passengers and was at 90% capacity.

Ocean Medallion

The Discovery uses the Ocean Medallion instead of a cruise card. After check in, you can use the app for restaurant bookings, order food and drinks, and more. 

Our Princess Cruises' Ocean Medallions
Our Princess Cruises’ Ocean Medallions

The app can be glitchy. It mostly worked well, but Karen couldn’t find her mum using the locator. Her mum doesn’t have a smartphone, so we thought the app would help find her on the ship.

We spoke to the Medallion team many times. By day four, the app worked properly.

Tip: Using the Medallion for on-land purchases gives you 7% back as onboard credit. Some restaurants, stores, and pharmacies accept it. You must activate this feature in the app.

Our Balcony Cabin

We stayed in a balcony cabin, B129, on Deck 11’s starboard side. It was spotless and styled in pale tan and aqua.

Discovery princess balcony stateroom
Discovery princess balcony stateroom

Princess ships have a classic look, unlike Celebrity’s modern style. You can read a full review of the balcony cabin and other staterooms.

Previously, we had a Princess mini-suite. The Discovery Princess balcony cabin was 222 sq. ft. It had a large closet and plenty of storage, but no couch and table, making in-room dining less convenient.

The bed was comfortable, with excellent bedding. However, we missed having an in-room tea/coffee station, as getting drinks from Deck 16 was tedious.

Overall, the cabin was a perfect retreat after a busy port day of excursions or at the end of a sea day.

Our balcony cabin bathroom
Our balcony cabin bathroom

In-Cabin Entertainment and Media

We enjoy Princess Cruises for their variety of TV and movies, perfect for Karen’s mum who watched films early in her cabin. They offer channels like MSNBC, CNN, and National Geographic, and classics like The Love Boat. 

TV reception varies with satellite coverage depending on where you sail; ours was good from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera. 

Cabins have Princess-specific channels, including a live bridge view and ship’s location. However, you can’t view your account balance on the TV; use the Medallion app or visit Guest Services instead.

Princess Dining

Seafood Medley appetizer on the Discovery Princess
Seafood Medley starter

We were happy and even impressed with some of the food onboard, while others lacked flavor and presentation.

Both my wife and her Mum, unfortunately, have food allergies, so the dining experience and review will be different from those without allergies.

Connecting with the Assistant Restaurant Manager, Robert, was a smart move to manage our food allergies. 

The Discovery Princess offers various dining options. We liked the World Fresh Buffet and Juneau Dining Room and ate at a specialty restaurant. They cost extra but are more affordable than on some lines like Royal Caribbean. 

Crown grill restaurant on the Discovery Princess
Crown Grill specialty restaurant

If you want a detailed review of our Discovery Princess dining experience, check out our other post. 

World Fresh Marketplace & Bakery – Buffet

The buffet is on Deck 16 aft, open 5 am to midnight, offering different meals. Many cruisers eat here for convenience and variety.

The service and selection are great, but it’s tempting to overeat, often leading to weight gain. During meal times it can get crowded and finding an empty table is difficult.

Karen and I usually dine in the main dining room or specialty restaurants, because we enjoy unrushed meals.

Main Dining Rooms (Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan)

The Discovery Princess has three main dining rooms named after Alaskan towns. We ate at the Juneau Dining Room and typically dined early at 5:30 pm.

The food was decent, well-presented, and generally served on time. The food was good and timely, but the first two nights were slow, possibly due to embarkation.

Ketchikan dining room on the Discovery Princess
Ketchikan dining room

I found the layout of the three dining rooms a bit strange. The Ketchikan Dining Room is located appropriately on Deck 5 aft of the ship. However, the Skagway and Juneau Dining rooms were located partially mid-ship on Deck 6.

The result is depending on where you were on Deck 6, you may need to take the elevators down to Deck 5 or up to Deck 7 to get past the dining rooms. This was a poor layout design, in my view.

Specialty Dining

The Discovery Princess offers four specialty dining areas with prices ranging from USD 35 to 149 per person. These are:

  • Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria (Italian dining)
  • Crown Grill (Steak house)
  • The Catch by Rudi (seafood)
  • 360: An Extraordinary Experience

Karen, Mum, and I tried both Sabatini’s and Bistro Sur La Mer, which has now been replaced by The Catch by Rudi.

We skipped Crown Grill as we’d eaten there on a previous cruise. I enjoyed Sabatini’s more than Bistro Sur La Mer, which The Catch replaced.

360 is Princess Cruises’ latest dining feature, open to all for USD 149. It blends food with visual projections, like Celebrity Cruise Lines’ Le Petit Chef.

Porcini Mushroom Risotto
Sabatini’s Porcini Mushroom Risotto

On the Discovery Princess, you can choose which specialty dining suits you best!

Other eateries on board, some which require a fee:

  • International Café
  • Salty Dog Grill (USD 14.99)
  • Swirls
  • Gigi’s Pizzeria (USD 14.99)
  • Burger and Hot Dog Grill
  • Ocean Terrace – Sushi/Seafood Bar (USD 14.99)
  • Gelato

The Discovery Princess Bars

There are numerous bars and lounges across four decks. Good Spirits and the Salty Dog Gastropub are on deck 5. Crooners, Take Five, and the Casino Bar are found on deck 6.

Deck seven has the Vista Lounge, Crown Grill, Princess Live, and Bellini Bars. Deck 16, or the Lido deck, has the Mix, Wake View, and Seaview Bars.

Since all Princess ships are MedallionClass, you can also order drinks through the app and have them delivered wherever you are onboard.

Discovery Princess Crown Grill Bar
Discovery Princess Crown Grill Bar

The Plus Beverage Package costs USD 64.99 a day, and includes cocktails, wine by the glass, specialty coffees, and beer up to USD 15. At USD 84.99, the Premier Beverage Package included drinks up to USD 20.

For the non-drinkers, the Classic Soda Package is USD 14.99 a day. Guests with this package could have fruit juices, fountain sodas, smoothies, and mocktails.

Alternatively, the Zero Alcohol Package costs USD 39.99 per day. It includes specialty coffees and teas, bottled water, smoothies, mocktails, and Red Bull Energy drinks. All drink packages incur a service charge of 18%.

If you plan to purchase a beverage package, the Princess Plus or Princess Premier may be more to your liking. The Plus cost USD 60 per day and includes Wi-Fi, gratuities, premium desserts, juice bar, alcoholic drinks up to USD 15, and more.

At USD 80 a day, the Premier package includes to same but drinks up to USD 20, two specialty dinners, Wi-Fi for four devices, and reserved theater seating.

The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary, on Deck 17, offers a private area for a fee at the ship’s aft. It’s open to the elements; it was cold and almost empty when we visited. 

Karen and I don’t like paying extra for secluded spots on the ship; we’re frugal and social. I wouldn’t suggest the Sanctuary for Alaska cruises in May or September due to the cold.

Princess Cruises Sanctuary cabana
Princess Cruises Sanctuary cabana

The pricing for our cruise was as follows:

  • Full day USD 40, half day USD 20 pp.
  • Cabana full day USD 220 – Includes two drinks, TV, headphones

Prices vary by itinerary. You can choose a lounger based on location, like sunny or shady spots. 

Despite claims that the Sanctuary often sells out, it was nearly empty with only six guests on a cold, windy day after we left the LA cruise port in January.

Tip: You can cancel your Sanctuary booking if the weather shifts.

Discovery Princess Pools

Guests watching football on the big screen by the Sky Pools
Guests watching football on the big screen by the Sky Pools

The Discovery Princess has four pools and ten hot tubs. The Sky Pools are on Deck 16, near the Theater Under the Stars screen.

Deck 17 has the adults-only Retreat Pool, which is less crowded and feels enclosed due to nearby cabins.

The Wake View pool on Deck 16 offers great views and is usually not crowded. For those who love the wake view, the infinity pool didn’t block those amazing vistas.

Discovery Princess Wake View pool
Discovery Princess Wake View pool

However, the ship lacks covered pools, a drawback noted during a rainy January in Los Angeles. This could be an issue in Alaska’s unpredictable weather. While you can use a hot tub instead, they quickly become crowded. 

Comparatively, Karen prefers the Majestic Princess for its mid-ship covered pool, offering a reliable retreat regardless of weather.

Tip: If you’re planning an Alaska cruise and using the pools frequently, pick another ship with a covered pool.


The Discovery Princess, part of Princess’ Royal-class, features a SeaWalk without a gap, unlike the Majestic Princess. It’s a hit for taking photos, perfect for couples and groups.

Discovery Princess SeaWalk
Discovery Princess SeaWalk


As one of the largest ships within the Princess Cruises fleet, the Discovery Princess offers high-quality entertainment. There was something different each night, with two show times at 7:30 and 9:30 pm.


Our 7-day cruise featured typical entertainment like a comedian, magician, and various musical acts. It’s easy to skip a show if it doesn’t interest you.

Shows take place in the Princess Theater, which holds 1,000 guests. The 7:30 show usually fills up quickly, so arrive early.

“Rock Opera” was the hit show on our cruise. We reached the theater 15 minutes before it started but found it full. We had to wait for the 9:30 show.

Rock Opera production show
Rock Opera production show

To secure a seat, some guests arrive up to 45 minutes early, especially for the first show. 

Tip: The middle section of the balcony seats are reserved for suite and Princess Premier guests. Often this section remained empty. However, that section opens up to the public about 10 minutes before shows start.

Other Theaters

Alternatively, you can check out the few smaller theaters or venues for other entertainment. Princess Live is a medium-sized venue located mid-ship on Deck 7, used for presentations, bands, and other performances.

The Vista Lounge is smaller than Princess Theater. It hosts a wide variety of performances and game shows included the Marriage Match Show and Deal or No Deal.

Vista Lounge
Vista Lounge

All the theaters also serve as gathering places for groups before embarking on excursions on port days.

Take 5

A smaller venue, the Take 5 is a unique spot that is focused on Jazz. Take 5 can only be found on Sky Princess, Enchanted Princess, and Discovery Princess.

If you’re a Jazz-lover, the Discovery Princess is a must for you. Some passengers have said they spent much of their cruise in Take 5 just for the great Jazz music and entertainment.

Tip: This venue was one of the few places onboard where you could enjoy quiet time if they were no activities scheduled.


The Discovery Princess offers many activities like bingo, dance lessons, towel art, trivia, karaoke, and more. Princess has moved away from the Princess Patter (printed copy of daily activities) and encourages guests to use the app.

Cruise passengers dancing at the Sail Away Party
Cruise passengers dancing at the Sail Away Party

Tip: If you still want the Patter, be sure to ask your room steward or mark it on registration online.

Movies Under the Stars

Princess Cruises owns the “Movie Under the Stars” concept, where other lines also use outdoor screens. The big screen on Princess plays concerts, movies, sports, and events all day. 

They offer padded loungers, blankets, and popcorn for evening movie watching. Karen, Mum, and I enjoyed “Elvis,” a movie released six months prior. Watching a movie here feels like the old drive-in theaters, with hundreds on loungers at dusk. 

Watching a "movie under the stars"
Watching a “movie under the stars”

Tip: To prevent losing your lounger, order food and drinks via the Medallion app.


The casino onboard the Discovery Princess is typical of most cruise ship casinos. If you love to gamble, you will find all your favorite games there.

Note the casino is only open at sea, with a minimum of 12 miles offshore. This is in order to comply with local gambling jurisdictions.

Children And Youth Services

Camp Discovery Treehouse
Camp Discovery Treehouse

Camp Discovery on Princess Cruises caters to kids 3-17 with engaging and educational activities. Though our kids are grown, I’m impressed with the kids’ areas and might bring our grandkids someday.

The Tree House serves kids 3-7 with activities during sea and port days, plus late-night sitting. It’s safe, supervised, and full of fun for little ones.

The Lodge, for 8-12-year-olds, offers advanced activities like science and junior Olympics. It follows the same schedule as the Tree House on port and sea days.

The Beach House is a cool spot for teens to socialize and enjoy teen-oriented activities, staying open later than the younger centers.

Camp Discovery The Beach House
Camp Discovery The Beach House

Fitness And Play Areas

The Discovery Princess has a large, fenced, and netted basketball area aft of the ship. Located on Deck 18, it provides a great place for basketball, badminton, and other activities for your teens or anyone.

A small jogging or walking track circumnavigates the court. Seven laps of the track equal one mile.

Fitness Center

All cruise ships have a well-equipped fitness center for passengers to get their cardio or weight-training workouts. The Discovery has a well-equipped gym with an appropriate amount of equipment for a ship with over 3,600 passengers.

The fitness center is open 24 hours which is a huge plus for those passengers that like a very early or late workout. I’ve been on some cruise lines where the venue hours were limited and found it very frustrating.

If you’re a fan of Peloton equipment, you will NOT find any on a Princess Cruise. However, they have an impressive range of high-end bikes, treadmills, ellipticals, and more.

Princess Cruises: The Love Boat

If you watched TV in the 1970s, you’ll remember The Love Boat. Princess Cruises often reminded us of this, playing the theme song and displaying a heart in the Piazza.

Standing in front of the Discovery Princess heart in the Piazza
Standing in front of the Discovery Princess heart in the Piazza

The Pacific Princess was the ship used during the filming of the original TV show. It’s nostalgic but definitely out of date if you watch it today.

On the Discovery Princess, couples can renew vows with the Captain in the Piazza. Karen and I, married under five years, joined others in this ceremony. All I can say is it took me a long time to find my Soul Mate!

After our ceremony, a crew member proposed to the violinist, which was a hit and very fitting for the Love Boat.

The Lotus Spa

The Discovery Princess has a spa on Deck 5, which is unusual since most ship spas are near the fitness center (on Deck 17).

The Lotus Spa offers many treatments such as facials, acupuncture, massages and more, but they’re pricey. Treatments generate significant revenue for cruise lines.

Princess Cruises Enclave
Princess Cruises Enclave

The Enclave (thermal suite) cost USD 179 for our week-long cruise, with limited passes. Day passes were USD 49.99. We skipped the Enclave on the Discovery because it lacked windows for views. Here’s a list of some spa prices.

Here are some prices from the Lotus Spa price list at the time of this review. All prices are USD.

50 min.
Fire & Ice Manicure
45 min.
Fire & Ice Pedicure
60 min.
Teeth Whitening
30 min.
Deluxe Brow
45 min.
Waxing – Full Leg$85
Facial – BIOTEC Line Eraser$229
Facial – Collagen Age Defy$199
Couple Seaweed Massage
75 min.
Bamboo Massage
75 min.
Chocolate Indulgence Body
75 min.
50 min

The Library?

I found it interesting that the Discovery Princess does NOT have a library or a games area. Instead, passengers are encouraged to find a table anywhere on the ship and play games.

Granted, you will need to bring your own games to play. I assume you can still get a complimentary deck of cards at Guest Services.

We often saw families playing cards or a game of Mah-jong on the pool deck near the Piazza and other places. In the “Old days of cruising,” there was less to do, and games were a common past-time during sea days.

One of the things we loved on our recent Cunard Queen Elizabeth cruise was being able to work on a puzzle. They had a designated puzzle area that many of us used.

However, since most passengers travel with iPads, smartphones, etc., I assume Princess decided a games area or library was no longer needed.

Laundry Services

Princess Cruises offers self-serve laundromats, ideal for families or long trips. I typically do laundry on Day 5 of a 7-day cruise. On Discovery Princess, laundromats are near the Aft on cabin decks.

Princess Cruises self-serve laundry

Washers and dryers are complimentary on this vessel, including detergent and dryer sheets. Washes take 35 minutes, dryers 45 minutes.

 Other lines may require extra clothes or pricey laundry services. Princess also has paid laundry: jeans USD 4.50, t-shirts USD 2.75, pajamas USD 3.75, underwear and socks USD 1.25.

Smoking Areas

The Discovery Princess offers two smoking areas onboard. Outside at the aft (rear) of the ship on Deck 17 is a large open area with beautiful views of the ship’s wake.

Inside the ship is Churchill’s Smoking Lounge, located on Deck 6. The lounge is open 24 hours a day throughout your cruise.

Discovery Princess outdoor smoking area on deck 17
Discovery Princess outdoor smoking area on deck 17

Internet Access

Princess Cruises claims to be the “Best Internet at Sea,” but the download speed is average among cruise lines. If you need tech support or want to access the internet via one of the onboard computers, visit the Internet Café on Deck 5 of the Discovery Princess.

Prices vary according to what level of passenger class you are in. Elite or Platinum-class passengers receive 50% off posted pricing.

Current internet pricing for non-Elite/Platinum passengers:

  • One device – USD 24.99 per day, USD 174.93 for a 7-day cruise.
  • Up to 4 devices – USD 44.99 per day, USD 314.93 for a 7-day cruise.

Internet speeds are claimed to be 2-3 Mbits for download and 2 Mbits for upload. However, on the day I tested internet access, I got about 1Mb upload and download.

Princess Cruises' Internet Café
Princess Cruises’ Internet Café

The internet staff claimed that the last day of the cruise (when I tested) is always the slowest day due to passengers trying to confirm travel arrangements.

Can You Work Remotely On A Princess Cruise Ship?

If you are trying to work remotely during part of your cruise, you will likely not have a great experience. The internet system used by Princess Cruises is built for social media such as Facebook, Instagram, etc.

However, if trying to access corporate email or other secure systems, it can be very slow. The tech staff at the Internet Café get asked many support questions when passengers work remotely onboard.

Apparently, work meetings via Zoom apparently are okay. Bottom line, be prepared for slow internet access onboard if you are trying to use a couple of your cruise days to keep up with work stuff.

Discovery Princess Excursions

All cruise lines provide a variety of choices for port excursions. Generally, but not always, you will have a better experience with tour companies that have been vetted by the cruise line.

In addition, booking your port excursion through Princess will ensure the ship will remain if the tour is running late. During our cruise, the captain announced our arrival time in Puerto Vallarta was delayed by almost two hours.

Wearing a Rashguard shirt in Mexico

On our cruise, we booked PVR-775 Snorkel at Marietas Islands with Lunch & Open Bar. It was USD 90 per person for a 6.5-hour tour. Due to the late arrival, Princess adjusted our tour time which meant we returned to the ship close to departure time.

We took a catamaran with about 50 other passengers to Marietas Islands, a bird and marine life sanctuary in Mexico. The snorkeling wasn’t great due to rough waters, and we only saw small fish, not the larger sea life promised. 

The trip’s highlight was stopping to watch humpback whales. Karen snorkeled, and I kayaked. We had a fantastic cold buffet lunch and drinks on the boat. 

This trip was ideal for Karen’s mum, who has mobility issues, as she could enjoy whale and bird watching from the boat.

A humpback whale spotted in the Bay of Banderas
A humpback whale spotted in the Bay of Banderas

Here’s some info on the type of excursions available while cruising on the Discovery Princess to the Mexican Riviera. Note that prices and available options are subject to change.

Cabo San Lucas excursions

Mazatlán excursions

Puerto Vallarta excursions

Final Thoughts

In reviewing the Discovery Princess, both Karen and I really enjoyed one of the flagships of their line. The ship has a good overall layout, but there are a couple of quirks with the location of dining and the spa.

I felt we had a premium dining experience both from a cuisine and service perspective. Be sure to try Sabatini’s Italian if you are cruising.

While the Princess Discovery is one of the newest ship in the Princess fleet, Karen preferred the old sister ship, Majestic Princess, because of its indoor pool and having the Hollywood Conservatory instead of the Sanctuary.

For me, I would recommend the Discovery Princess on any tropical or warmer itinerary (not Alaska). I loved that everything was in pristine condition as a brand-new ship. Granted, all new ships eventually become older ships in need of refurbishment.

After our seven-day adventure, Karen’s mum loved her first experience at sea. In fact, she asked where we planned to take her next!

The bow of the Discovery Princess cruise ship


Friday 15th of September 2023

We have an upcoming cruise on the Discovery and are wondering how crowded it felt at 90%. We think our might be higher.

Forever Karen

Saturday 16th of September 2023

We didn't find the Discovery crowded, although we often had to wait to sit down at the buffet.


Thursday 3rd of August 2023

My mom and I just returned from an Alaskan Cruise on the Discovery Princess. Absolutely no complaints whatsoever. Services, food, features, people were amazing.

Margaret B.

Tuesday 31st of January 2023

I really enjoyed your overview and your detailed dining article. We are cruising on Discovery in late February. I learned a lot from your articles and am even more excited about our upcoming cruise. Thanks!

Forever Karen

Tuesday 31st of January 2023

Thank you, Margaret. Have a wonderful cruise to Mexico.