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Princess Cruises is taking a page out of the ultra-luxury cruise industry with new all-inclusive, $3,000 cabins

Brittany Chang   

Princess Cruises is taking a page out of the ultra-luxury cruise industry with new all-inclusive, $3,000 cabins
  • Princess Cruises says its new Sun Princess and upcoming Star Princess will have all-inclusive cabins.
  • Guests who've booked the new Sanctuary Collection category would get an inclusive package and private lounge.

If you want to go on an all-inclusive vacation at sea, you no longer need to book an ultra-luxury, ultra-expensive cruise line.

Just sail on Princess Cruises' new ship instead.

In October, Princess says its two-month-old Sun Princess will debut in the US with the company's first-ever Sanctuary Collection, an adult-only lounge exclusive to guests who've booked one of the collection's high-end cabins. These luxurious accommodations comprise 10% of the ship's 2,157 staterooms, including all its suites.

But the Sanctuary's biggest perk arguably isn't the lounge's private pool and restaurant — it's the all-inclusiveness, a rarity among mass-market cruise lines.

It's the Carnival Corp. brand's latest appeal to ultra-luxury cruisers

Mass-market cruise lines like Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian typically follow the "budget airline" strategy: charge a cheap base fare and offer plenty of irresistible up-charged amenities (like specialty restaurants, as is the case of Sun Princess).

It's a stark contrast to the high-end cruise industry, where all-inclusivity is often considered the standard.

For example, luxury cruise line Explora Journey's fare includes alcoholic beverages, WiFi, and access to the spa — amenities that would typically cost extra on ships like Sun Princess. On Regent Seven Seas, all this, plus excursions, pre-cruise hotels, and roundtrip flights are also included in the cost to sail.

Over the last few years, Princess has begun following in these high-end cruise lines' foosteps.

In 2022, it launched Princess Premier, an optional inclusive package covering amenities like WiFi, drinks, some upcharged restaurants, and workout classes. It's the same package Sanctuary Collection guests would get, along with the private restaurant and adult-only lounge with cabanas, a pool, and private events.

The exclusive lounge concept is nothing new. Royal Caribbean's two largest cruise liners have a "neighborhood" exclusive to suite guests. The same applies to Norwegian, Celebrity, and MSC Cruises' vessels.

However, while these competing retreats offer perks like drink packages, WiFi, or private restaurants, none are as "inclusive" as Princess'.

In 2024, Sun Princess' Sanctuary cabins start at more than $3,000 per person for a weeklong Caribbean cruise in mid-December. To compare, the cheapest interior cabin for the same itinerary starts shy of $700 per person.

The cruise line says its next ship, Star Princess, which will debut in late September 2025, will also carry the Sanctuary Collection.

Following in the footsteps of high-end, all-inclusive cruise lines could be a wise decision for Princess. These luxury vacations at sea have become increasingly popular as travelers continue to spend big on their trips.

Like Princess, expedition cruise company HX recently shifted to an all-inclusive model as well.

Back on dry land, hotel giants like Hyatt and Marriott have also seen a boom in these "everything free" resorts.

Apparently, every vacationer — whether on water or solid ground — just wants one thing: stress-free poolside lounging with bottomless drinks.

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