During the 1970s, I had a leading role in a TV series called I, Claudius. Before rehearsals began, our director, Herbie Wise, organised a lecturer to tell us all about Roman history. As a Roman emperor I would have had hundreds of servants to look after me: one to dress me, one to undress me, one to bathe me, one to taste my breakfast, and so on.
I’m sure that in a previous life I was Nero — and now, on Sky Princess, I certainly feel I am living the life of an indulged emperor.
The 3,660-passenger ship is one of Princess Cruises’ newest additions to the fleet, with almost 1,350 crew who look after your every whim and get to know everybody by their first name.
Christopher Biggins boards the Sky Princess, the 3,660-passenger ship that’s one of Princess Cruises’ newest additions to the fleet
‘On Sky Princess, I certainly feel I am living the life of an indulged emperor,’ writes Christopher (pictured)
Opposite our magnificent suite is the concierge lounge, where we can pop in any time and ask for anything from coffee or breakfast to evening cocktails and canapes. But my favourite meal is breakfast, so I creep in for crispy bacon every day.
Nothing is too much trouble, and the concierge team are also on hand to help organise a range of excursions.
Guests on this Miami round-trip sailing to the Western Caribbean are choosing tours in Costa Maya, Belize, Cozumel and Roatan to snorkel in reefs with tropical fish as well as visit ruined Mayan temples. There are rainforest adventures, too, including fun-filled river rides on a tube.
Cozumel, an island off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is all swaying palms, white sand beaches and blue waters but it also pleases history-lovers, who head to Mayan ruins and shrines dedicated to Ixchel, the ancient Mayan goddess of fertility, midwifery and medicine.
As I’ve recently had a knee operation, I don’t go too mad, but I do enjoy the ski-lift ride on Roatan, where we get caught in a rainstorm and laugh it off with another cocktail.
Tropical heaven: Pictured is Cozumel island, off Mexico, which Christopher visits on his cruise. He describes the isle as ‘all swaying palms, white sand beaches and blue waters’
This is a cruise ship for all the family and all ages, with a mix of nationalities — predominantly American and about one-quarter Britons, some of whom had emigrated to the warm Florida sunshine many years ago. It is lovely chatting to them and one passenger is particularly concerned about my knee.
‘I’m sorry to hear about your op,’ she says. ‘I will send you some medication to help restore your joints.’ And she did, too.
Back on board, Neil, my partner of 27 years, and I are hugely impressed by the entertainment. The West End-style theatre stages slick shows with an amazing cast of singers, dancers, comedians and magic acts, plus plenty of special effects, from laser light shows to pyrotechnics.
Above is the ship’s sun deck pool – one of three pools on board. ‘There’s nothing you can’t get on this magnificent ship,’ Christopher declares
Christopher and his partner try a few fee-paying restaurants on board, such as the new-to-Princess Bistro Sur La Mer (pictured) for posh fish and chips
The Gelato ice cream shop on Sky Princess
In public areas there are violinists, singers, pianists and harpists playing throughout the day — there is music everywhere.
And, whether you’re an owl or a lark, every hour is covered: swimming in the three pools, movies under the stars, a quiz hour, casino, bingo, dance classes, art history lectures, wine-tasting and book clubs.
In fact, Neil and I need a rest from all the activities and find it in The Sanctuary — an amazingly relaxing area with its own hot tub and pool.
We also have our own private cabana with sunbeds, a drinks fridge and even a TV with noise-reducing headphones. It’s so exotic that it’s worth paying that little bit extra for this treat.
We also have a Princess Medallion wearable device that is linked to an app, which allows us to order Alfredo’s pizzas from our sunbed.
The medallion also automatically unlocks our door when we get near the suite and speeds up embarkation with touch-free boarding, sparing us the frustration of fumbling around with a ship’s keycard. It can locate where your loved ones are around the ship, too. Most useful.
‘This is a cruise ship for all the family and all ages, with a mix of nationalities,’ Christopher reveals. Above is the ship’s Good Spirits bar
Christopher makes the most of the 24-hour room service while he watches movies in his ‘Mini-Suite’, one of which is pictured above
‘The West End-style theatre stages slick shows (such as the one pictured) with an amazing cast of singers, dancers, comedians and magic acts,’ writes Christopher
Sky Princess has three main dining rooms: Soleil, Cielo and Estrella. I like waiter service; Neil likes the self-service approach. So we do a bit of each, including a few fee-paying options such as the new-to-Princess Bistro Sur La Mer for posh fish and chips.
This is all alongside coffee bars serving tempting cakes and pastries, hot-dog stations and poolside ice-cream kiosks. There’s nothing you can’t get on this magnificent ship, not forgetting the 24-hour room service while we are watching movies in our suite.
We love cruises, and we love being on the Sky Princess. We love people. And I love capturing once again the spirit of Nero.
The all-Inclusive Western Caribbean With Mexico Sky Princess cruise departs January 14, 2023. Prices start from £1,579 pp, including flights, pre-cruise hotel, transfers and an onboard spend of up to $100 pp. A balcony cabin is from £1,799 pp, and suite from £1,999 pp (Voyage Code: Y303, rolcruise.co.uk, 0808 239 7126).