What to expect from a Sky Princess seven-day European cruise – and it starts from just £139pp a night

I ONLY know three things about sailing the ocean.

Avoid icebergs, pirates aren’t Disney movies, and starboard means right. . . or is it left?

The Sky Princess takes you on a culinary adventure in the Bay of Biscay

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The Sky Princess takes you on a culinary adventure in the Bay of BiscayPhoto credit: Getty
Aboard the 19-deck sea giant, vacationers have a choice of world-class restaurants, trendy cafes and sumptuous snack bars

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Aboard the 19-deck sea giant, vacationers have a choice of world-class restaurants, trendy cafes and sumptuous snack barsCredit: JONNY BYRNE

I wish I had known before my very first cruise that an elastic waistband is essential.

I had boarded the Sky Princess for a culinary adventure in the Bay of Biscay on the north coast of Spain.

This gastronomic gulf offers the finest in coastal cuisine – and is just a day’s journey from Southampton.

However, this isn’t the only foodie hotspot we ticked off.

On our seven day adventure we would stop in Guernsey and La Rochelle for fresh seafood and local wine, and Bilbao and A Coruna for traditional tapas and world famous beer.

But none of that compares to dining aboard the luxurious Sky Princess, a floating mecca of dining and entertainment.

Aboard the 19-deck sea giant, vacationers have a choice of world-class restaurants, trendy cafes and sumptuous snack bars.

For an ultra-luxurious indulgence, French bistro Sur La Mer was created with Michelin-star chef Emmanuel Renaut and offers a classic menu divided between land and sea.

The beef filet mignon is a must, while the exquisite lobster bisque was better than any I’ve had on land.

If Italian is more your style then the award winning Sabitini’s will not disappoint.

Showcasing treasured family recipes, this chic trattoria offers Italian classics complemented by an exciting wine and cocktail list that will have you more than rocking the waves.

The jewel in the Princess of Heaven’s crown is the aptly named Crown Grill.

With an open kitchen, piano lounge atmosphere and premium steakhouse menu, this elegant chop house embodies fine dining at sea.

The Maine lobster tail and 8 ounce fillet were exceptional.

Those who love a drink should reserve a table at Soleil.

Here we experienced the winemaker’s dinner – an intimate five-course meal with wine pairings selected by the sommelier.

Never before has the gluttonous Monty Python character Mr Creosote resonated with me so much – I would have been happy to go that route.

And for the drunk sailor in you, Sky Princess has an abundance of bars throughout the ship, meaning a signature cocktail, cold pint or glass of wine is always just a moment away.

Vines was a particular favorite.

With the extensive wine list and selection of tapas and sushi, cruisers can spend hours watching the world go by.

For a raunchier affair, the Vista Lounge has a nightclub, all-day entertainment, and an extensive drinks menu that’ll keep you partying late (I can vouch for the hurricane cocktail).

Of course, cruising is not just about excessive eating and drinking.

Waddling off the ship occasionally offers a chance to burn some calories sightseeing, explore new cities and cultures, and, if you’re greedy like me, stuff your face more.

Our first port of call was Guernsey, with its mix of quaint British charm and French influences.

The town of St. Peter Port is the heartbeat of the island.

Tourists are treated to a range of waterfront restaurants serving fresh fish and local produce, while the craft market offers a leisurely stroll for those rediscovering their land legs.

FOODIE PARADISE

Be sure to visit Castle Cornet, the 13th-century fortress that overlooks the bay and was the scene of many Anglo-French disputes.

A cannon is still fired from its ramparts at 12pm daily, although luckily our cruise ship was not a target.

Intact Sky Princess we then sailed on to the French town of La Rochelle.

Famed for its three historic towers and bustling fresh fish market, this architectural gem is a foodie’s paradise.

Its cobbled streets are flanked by medieval and Renaissance architecture, and you’re always just meters from a crowded bistro or busy patisserie.

If you don’t feel like planning your own itinerary or roaming the streets without a guide, Princess Cruises offers a wide range of excursions for every port of call during your voyage.

Being stylish travelers that we are, we chose to tour the Estrella Galicia beer factory during our day trip to Spain’s stunning A Coruna.

After a brief tour of the beautiful city, we were taken on an educational journey through the brewery’s proud family history.

The tour culminated with a beer and cheese tasting which, while an odd take on the traditional wine tour, was amazing.

Of course, we came home laden with crates from their incredible stash.

Back on board the Sky Princess, we were dressed and (with a print) booted for one of the cruise’s two formal nights.

The musical extravaganza at the ship’s theater makes you forget you’re not in London’s West End.

After the show, cruisers can find a quiet spot at the Take Five jazz bar or enjoy a cocktail at the Live Lounge for even more entertainment.

However, it was the onboard casino where we spent most of our evenings.

And thanks to my girlfriend’s blackjack skills, I came home with some extra cash in our pockets!

After sumptuous dinners and glamorous shows, my first cruise experience was rounded off with a hot stone massage at the Lotus Spa.

As the oily stones eased the little remaining tension in my muscles, I reflected on a five-star week that had made me a complete cruise lover.

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At £979 per person for a basic interior room, the prices may seem high – but when you factor in all the onboard entertainment and port calls, it really is unbeatable value.

And since there’s no baggage weight limit, all you have to worry about when packing is the calories.

GO: SPAIN & FRANCE CRUISE

SAILING THERE: A seven-night cruise through Spain and France aboard Princess Cruises’ Sky Princess costs from £899 per person, based on two people sharing an interior space, departing Southampton on 6 May.

All-inclusive rates for an interior room start at £1,179 per person for same-day departures.

See princess.com.

The ship also has a huge pool where you can relax in front of it

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The ship also has a huge pool where you can relax in front of itCredit: JONNY BYRNE
There's also a musical extravaganza at the ship's theater that will make you forget you haven't been to London's West End

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There’s also a musical extravaganza at the ship’s theater that will make you forget you haven’t been to London’s West EndCredit: JONNY BYRNE
The town of St. Peter Port is the heartbeat of the island

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The town of St. Peter Port is the heartbeat of the islandPhoto credit: Getty
La Rochelle is an architectural gem and a foodie's paradise

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La Rochelle is an architectural gem and a foodie’s paradisePhoto credit: Getty
At La Rochelle you can indulge in fresh seafood and local wines

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At La Rochelle you can indulge in fresh seafood and local winesCredit: JONNY BYRNE
The onboard Crown Grill is an elegant chop house that epitomizes quality dining at sea

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The onboard Crown Grill is an elegant chop house that epitomizes quality dining at seaCredit: JONNY BYRNE

https://www.thesun.co.uk/travel/20334646/sky-princess-seven-day-european-cruise/ What to expect from a Sky Princess seven-day European cruise – and it starts from just £139pp a night

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