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Sail Date: November 2015
We're old hands at cruising...this was our 27th just on Princess. Overall, a great cruise. The Royal Princess is beautiful and well maintained. The service was outstanding, the crew always smiling and friendly. There were a few ... Read More
We're old hands at cruising...this was our 27th just on Princess. Overall, a great cruise. The Royal Princess is beautiful and well maintained. The service was outstanding, the crew always smiling and friendly. There were a few "bumps" over the 20 days, but when travelling, you expect some. The cons. Embarkation left much to be desired. As a preferred guest, we usually go to the head of the line going into security. This time, the employees told us to get to the rear of the line, even after we showed them our boarding pass. After shuffling in line for 15 minutes, we approached a different employee and were immediately taken to the front of the line. Dining...the MDR dinner menu has been changed to add a Caribbean flair and the every day available salmon and twin tornados were removed. None of the 4 of us liked any of the Caribbean style dinners and were disappointed that we couldn't have the salmon. The non Caribbean meals were really good...some of the best beef dishes I've ever had. Entertainment. The production shows are always great, even though we've seen them before. The visiting entertainers were very good, with one exception. The same magician appeared on both legs of the back to back cruise...we didn't want to see the same tricks a second time. However, the other visiting entertainers made up for that disappointment. I laughed so hard at Al Katz that tears streamed down my face. The Unexpected Boys were outstanding. Cary Long, Modern Gentlemen, Dan Riley, and Mike Katz all put on a good show. The casino....ask anyone and they'll tell you that the slots on any cruise ship are tight. But the Royal Princess casino hit a new low with their video poker payout. We've played VP all over the US and Caribbean and on cruise ships, including the Royal Princess last year. The gaming industry standard has been a payout of 4000 coins for a Royal Flush when playing 5 coins per hand (for quarters, halves, dollars, and up) Depending on which variation of VP played, the payout for a RF ranges from 1700 to 2250 coins when playing 5 coins. What a ripoff!! As a result, we spent considerably less time and money in the casino. Another change is that you no longer have to sign for drinks and get a receipt. They take your card and return it with the drinks. We had bought a wine package and after checking our account midway through both the first and second leg of the cruise, found that we were charged for bottles of wine. It took 5 days to get the charges removed. The couple travelling with us had bought the beverage package, and they found charges of over $100 on their account for drinks, a couple even at a bar they never went to. It took them 3 days to get the charges removed. Despite these "bumps", we still had a great time and even booked two more cruises on Princess while on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
I was very pleased with the Emerald Princess 5-day cruise to Cozumel and Costa Maya. The staff was outstanding, as they worked so hard and very incredibly friendly as they served our every need. The entertainment was a blast, and even ... Read More
I was very pleased with the Emerald Princess 5-day cruise to Cozumel and Costa Maya. The staff was outstanding, as they worked so hard and very incredibly friendly as they served our every need. The entertainment was a blast, and even rain at the ports didn't stop a great day. I found some great snorkeling on my own at both places. We utilized Tropicante in Costa Maya and The Money Bar in Cozumel, along with a tour at the Kaokao factory. The food was out of this world good. My only complaint was the meals in the dining rooms took a long time (1.5-2 hours), though the food was worth it. The pizza was homemade and tasted like it...very yummy. I didn't know what to expect as a first time cruiser, but I was pleasantly rewarded with an experience that exceeded my expectations. The staff service had a lot to do with that. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We sailed on a 10-day repo from NYC to Fort Lauderdale with our family. We had a total of 6 people -- we packed the 20 somethings in an inside room and my wife and I were in a deluxe balcony. I typically don't write online ... Read More
We sailed on a 10-day repo from NYC to Fort Lauderdale with our family. We had a total of 6 people -- we packed the 20 somethings in an inside room and my wife and I were in a deluxe balcony. I typically don't write online reviews, but since people who are unhappy are more likely to write one, I thought I should share my positive feedback. In summary we had a great time. Felt like we got a good value for our money. Had a mix of relaxing and fun times. Cabin: We stayed in L229, a Deluxe Balcony and we loved both the room and location. Room is on the starboard side, which gives you great views of NYC before embarkation. Size didn't feel cramped at all - actually felt cozy. Very little foot traffic outside our room, and super close to the burgers, fries, pizza, and bar. Embarkation: This was a bit of a cluster, but as far as I can tell it looked the the problem was with the Brooklyn cruise terminal staff and not Princess staff. For some reason, the bulk of people lined up in the platinum line -- I think they may have not read the signs. We didn't get a number until we saw that others had one and asked. But... a total of 45 minutes and we were on the ship and things were great. Got there at about 1:00. Some documentation said there was a staggered boarding time by deck. I didn't any evidence of that. Seems like anyone can board at any time. Dining: I'm a foodie and a tough critic, so I'm going to scale my review given the fact that this is a cruise and not a Michelin star restaurant. Burger and pizza are better than I expected. Some buffet food is not so good... things like tortilla tend to dry out. Here's my advice on buffet... choose foods that hold well and you'll do well. Things like Indian, soups, stews, etc. Get the meat sliced to order. Get eggs cooked to order (just need to ask). We did go to the main dining room, which we liked. Some of our group went to a wine tasting at Sabatini's and raved about the apps that were paired with the wine. People: The staff was excellent, particularly the cruise director's staff. The people (guests) were horribly rude to the staff. I was very impressed with how well they handled these situations and the good service they continued to provide. Someone even got a blanket and pillow 20something daughter who 'fell alseep' at the International Cafe after the club at 3:00AM - awesome service! Cabin steward was a good guy, helped out with my halloween costume. Main dining room staff seemed a little grumpy in contrast to everyone else, but got the job done. Disembarkation: Couldn't have been better. Make sure to read the paperwork they leave the day before. It tells you where to go and when. We did this, and things went well. Very quick. No lines. No stress. Entertainment: Didn't go to the shows. I enjoyed the Enrichment lectures on navigation. Oktoberfest night in the piazza was a blast. Halloween costume parade and afterparty were fun. Trivia was fun. The 20somethings loved the club and the DJ. Clay target shooting simulator was pretty much broken -- I'd suggest that they get it fixed ASAP and stop having people use it until then. Casino: Payouts on video poker were significantly worse than land casinos. $1 minimum on Roulette is fun. Excursions: Only one we did was the Antigua Beach Break -- which is a good option for that island where you may not want to go wandering. Brought us to a resort that had seen better days, but the beach there was great. The staff at the resort were really nice and helpful. We were next door to Sandals -- if they gives you any indication of the quality of the beach. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Had a relaxing time on the ship with the calmest seas I've ever encountered. The meet and greet had close to 150 people attend, and many of the ship's officers made an appearance. Thanks to the efforts of several cruise critic ... Read More
Had a relaxing time on the ship with the calmest seas I've ever encountered. The meet and greet had close to 150 people attend, and many of the ship's officers made an appearance. Thanks to the efforts of several cruise critic members, we had a fun time at the slot pull, saw different cabins during the cabin crawl, and got together to march into the dining room in costume for Halloween dinner. We dined in the anytime dining room every night and also had lunch there a few times, and thought the food was very good to excellent. Much better than the main dining room food on other cruiselines. The entertainment, especially the production shows, was among the best we've had on Princess. The lack of the middle staircase was not a big deal, and we had no problems getting elevators. (We were told by one of the officers at the m&g that they read Cruise Critic, and the next ship will have a middle staircase.) The lecturer who did several talks on different aspects of navigation was very informative and had a passion for the subject. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our 12th cruise. We've cruised on Princess, Royal Caribbean and Carnival. I always say there is no such thing as a bad cruise, unless it would sink. But some are better than others. We flew into New York three days ... Read More
This was our 12th cruise. We've cruised on Princess, Royal Caribbean and Carnival. I always say there is no such thing as a bad cruise, unless it would sink. But some are better than others. We flew into New York three days prior to the cruise and stayed at the Millennium Hilton across the street from the World Trade Memorials. The locations was great as we were in walking distance of so many things and we could always find our hotel easily. It was costly, but we decided to splurge. This was our first time in New York City and coming from a small farm community in the mid-west, we were nervous. We used a car service (dial 7) for our pickup at the airport to the hotel and for the ride from the hotel to the ship terminal. The vehicles were clean and the drivers polite. We requested a 10:30 am pick up to the ship terminal and when we arrived, we were allowed to check in immediately, with no lines. We were put in a holding room for Elite and Platinum members. The room was very crowded, but we didn't wait long before entering the ship. Excellent job Princess on the embark process. Once on board, we were told the room would not be ready until 1:00 pm. Elevators were manned by Princess employees to keep you from sneaking up to your rooms. We ate at the International Café and we entered our room at 1:01 pm. Our luggage was already waiting. The room slept an additional 3rd and 4th person but that was my fault as I should have caught that when booking. I had been trying to get a room close to an elevator for my DH. We each hit our head on the additional beds a few times before finally getting it down. Other than this, our room was clean and as expected. Our room steward was excellent although we only requested additional hangers on the first day and after that, was happy with the scheduled service. We do not require ice, etc.....in our room. The décor on the ship was elegant and classy. I love the light colors and the marble. They had several entertainments in the piazza like the dance classes and a few times, the zumba classes. If the dance classes aren't too crowded, this is fine, but sometimes it was a little too crowded. The four classical musicians were excellent but it would have been nice to have a change once in a while. We were assigned traditional 5:30 dining with a table for 2. While we enjoy conversing with other passengers, we prefer a table for 2 as we are fast eaters and don't like to wait on the entire table for everything. Princess does an excellent job of assigning tables for 2 without argument. Our waiter was Hermint and his assistant was Serry, both from India. What was wonderful about Hermint was he did not make us wait until everyone in his section was ready for the next course to move ahead. He had a very difficult, large table in his section and I witnessed him handling everything with patience and grace. I would not have been so gracious myself. Their rudeness went beyond reason. We only ate in the buffet for breakfast. It was a little confusing and spread out, but we got it after a few days. We ate in Alfredo's one day for lunch. A nice change and I'm happy to see them offering another choice for free. I'd like to see more of that. The food was varied and served hot. Our soft drinks were waiting on us after the first night. Hermint was wonderful in suggesting certain dishes. We do not eat much seafood and sometimes the menus are heavy on seafood. This time, the variety of other dishes was so wonderful. Hermint always got us thru the meal so we could attend the 7:15 shows with no problem. Most nights, our meal only took an hour. That is a miracle on a ship! The production shows were the best we've ever seen. Usually, we will catch only one or two production shows because they are all the same. This time, they blew us away with the Fiera and the operetta. The costumes and quality of singing was outstanding. Usually, you will have one strong singer and the rest are a little weak. These had so many varied, strong singers, I couldn't say one was the lead at all. They were superb. The sets were very complex and the lighting and sound was so professional. The first comedian was excellent and we saw him twice, one family show and one more adult. The second comedian/impressionist was a little tired and more the "cruise ship" type of comedian. We did not use the hot tubs as they were always crowded and a few were in odd locations. The pools were nice as we love the fresh water pools. The pool on the back of the ship is too small. We love the MUTS, but didn't watch it much this time as we always went to the shows instead. Plus, the choice of movies in the rooms were excellent. Kudo's to Princess for offering such a nice selection of new movies. The other cruisers on this particular cruise was a little different as about 3/4 of passengers seemed to be from New York or New Jersey. As individuals, you couldn't ask for nicer people. As a crowd, you had to get used to the louder, more direct approach. They don't mean anything by it, but they are just used to being in large crowds. I did hear complaining about the oddest things. Some people are just never pleased. The casino was very busy. I played a little blackjack and in the blackjack tournaments. The tables were tight and some of the players take it all too seriously, so I didn't play much. I play for enjoyment. I do wish they would have had more casino lessons later in the cruise. Seems they were mostly the first day or two when you are too busy to attend. We booked two excursions thru Princess. The one to St. John to snorkel was excellent. I loved Trunk Bay and the boat ride over was pleasant. The other excursion was to be in Antigua, (speedboat tour), but was cancelled. I was really disappointed in that and instead we walked around. I now wish we had booked a tour or beach day as it isn't nice to just walk around in that area and the people weren't friendly. I did hear the beaches were beautiful so I'd definitely recommend a tour if you go to that island. We didn't use the fitness center, but did walk on the track. I missed the promenade going all around the ship, but the walking track was very busy whenever we walked. Restrooms and public areas were kept clean and service through-out the ship was excellent. Princess is the best at pool service, even if you are using your soda card. Some lines only give you service if you are buying drinks. I missed the Lorimar stones in the jewelry stores on board the ship. The Halloween party was a little uncoordinated. I've seen Princess do better holding the contests in one of their theaters where everyone could view the costumes. I've also seen Princess do a haunted hallway and I've seen them have wait staff dress for the holiday too. I've also seen them have a Halloween themed production show. The only complaints I would have would be the missing public stairs from floors 8-18 in the middle of the ship. Usually, we take the stairs if we are only going a few flights one way or the other. Our room was next to the middle elevators. Because the stairs weren't available, we spent a lot of time waiting for elevators, only to get off in one or two floors. I heard many complaints about this. The other is the trivia games. We had many elite passengers on this cruise and they obviously had heard the same questions over and over and knew the most ridiculous answers. Could you possibly use trivia cards from several board games to make the questions more varied? Lastly, could they offer lemon aide in the dining rooms. They have it in pitchers in the Horizon Court. Disembarking was quick and easy as we did the self-walk off and grabbed a taxi. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Embarkation – When our taxi arrived at the road that leads to the terminal in Red Hook, the line of personal vehicles and taxis was incredibly long, so we got out and walked most of the way. No biggie. Once we handed off our luggage to a ... Read More
Embarkation – When our taxi arrived at the road that leads to the terminal in Red Hook, the line of personal vehicles and taxis was incredibly long, so we got out and walked most of the way. No biggie. Once we handed off our luggage to a porter, in took about twenty-five minutes from the time we entered the terminal until we boarded. Although we would have been able to use the check-in line for Elite passengers, the regular line was shorter and was moving faster, so we went that route. Interestingly, they don’t take your photo to embed on your cruise card until you’ve enter the ship’s Piazza. This caused a bit of a backup in the gangway, but, again, no biggie. Overall, it was a pretty easy embarkation. Cabin – Originally, I had booked an inside room, but, as an anniversary surprise for my wife, I upgraded to a balcony…category BE, cabin C136 to be exact. She didn’t find out until after we boarded, when she tried to open the door of an inside room, which was directly across from the balcony room that was actually ours. When the key card didn’t work on the inside room, I turned around and said, “Let’s try this one”, and opened the balcony room. She was happy. The room itself was fairly spacious, with plenty of storage space, a big open closet, and a flat screen television. I’ve read some negative comments about the size of the REGAL’s balconies, but, to be honest, I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. We could both sit out on the balcony, or stand and look out…that means it pretty much did what it was supposed to do. On the other hand, the size of the bathroom was a bit shocking. It was probably the smallest bathroom on a ship we’ve ever had. Still, it served its purpose, so the size was no big deal. However, I imagine someone with substantial girth might have a problem. One thing my wife loved was the small step molded into the shower stall; it made shaving her legs a lot easier than normal. The Ship – Without a doubt, REGAL PRINCESS is one of the most beautiful ships in which we've ever sailed. The attention to detail, aesthetically that is, is remarkable. The passenger flow is very good; we never waited in a long line for anything; and there are so many places for people to spread out that it never felt crowded. That is, except for the Princess Theater. For some reason, most people seemed to gravitate to the 10:15pm show, so it was always packed. One night we went to an earlier show and it was much better. And now for the same old complaints that people talk about over and over again: the lack of a wraparound promenade, a forward-facing view, and a central staircase. As far as the lack of a wraparound promenade, it wasn’t really an issue for us. We have no problem walking front to back and back to front on the same side of the ship. In fact, we avoided the aft area of the starboard side of the promenade as it’s a designated smoking area. However, the fact that they closed off a forward third of what little promenade the ship does have was rather annoying. The wide, open deck in front of the first set of lifeboats was never open; it would have certainly taken some of the sting out of not having a wraparound promenade if people would have been able to walk the entire length of what is there. Having no forward-facing view (or at least not without having to pay for The Sanctuary to get it) is also a little annoying. But I knew about these going in, so I have no one to blame but myself if they were a bone of contention. The lack of a central staircase was never a problem for us…our cabin was just off the forward staircase, so we always just walked to the forward elevator bank and staircase and used them. I can see how some folks would find it inconvenient. The Piazza: in a word, wonderful. So many choices for dining, drinking, shopping, entertainment, etc. There was almost always something going on….Zumba, live music, dancing, games, acrobatics, demonstrations and the like. Rarely did it feel crowded. One thing we really liked was the fact that the guest services desk is located out of the way, off the Piazza. Same for the shore excursions desk. Dining – Well, let’s just say we didn’t go hungry. We had Anytime Dining and, out of ten nights, we went to the Concerto Dining Room five nights, the Symphony Dining Room one night, and then one night each at Sabatini’s, the Crown Grill, and the Horizon Court. We also had one night doing the Ultimate Balcony Dining. During the day, we ate at the Horizon Court and Bistro, Alfredo’s, Prego Pizza, Trident Grill, and the International Café. Concerto and Symphony Dining Rooms – The Concerto Dining Room opens for ATD at 7:45 p.m. to 10 p.m., while the Symphony Dining Room is open for ADT between 5:00 p.m. and 9 p.m. For the most part, the food and service was very, very good. Food that was supposed to be hot, was always hot, and there was a fairly good selection. A few dishes that stand out are the Beef Stroganoff, all the soups, and the Fettuccini Alfredo. My wife enjoyed the fish dishes very much. Out of all of our meals in the ATD rooms, only one meal was a clunker. The last night, American night, I had to send my turkey back because the middle was raw. No problem, it happens. And I made no spectacle of myself when I discovered it. I simply said, to our waiter’s assistant, in a low voice, “I’m going to need a different plate because my turkey isn’t cooked through.” He took it away, brought me another, it was fine, and that was that. Sabatini’s – I was a little skeptical about going. We went to Sabatini’s on SAPPHIRE PRINCESS a few years ago, and were less than impressed. This time, however, everything was wonderful. For appetizers, my wife had the Sformato di Carciofi Gratinati al Castelrosso (artichoke soufflé), and I had the Burrata alla Panna con Carpaccio di Pomodori (cow’s milk cheese with creamy lava center on tomato carpaccio). Both were excellent. We each had the salad, and then she had the Tris d’Aragosta (lobster three ways) and me the Lombata di Vitello al Forno (roasted veal rack). I also had an appetizer portion of the manicotti. For dessert, it was the Crema al Caffe (espresso crème brulee) and the Torta Profumata ai Limoni di Sorrento (citrus tart). Everything was perfect; an excellent meal. Crown Grill – Here’s where things went a bit astray. Although we've been on many Princess cruises, we had not yet been to the steakhouse. I guess we expected something a little more intimate, quiet, and elegant. This was a chaotic mess. Two large groups of loud, obnoxious people (including one guy at the head of one of the tables, who let everyone know how much he knows about cruising); staff practically running throughout the place; people walking past our window outside looking in at us…it was just ridiculous. Perhaps it was our fault for having an incorrect perception of what it was supposed to be like. On top of that, the food, while good, wasn’t really anything to write home about. I guess the final straw was when it took nearly an hour for us to get our dessert. When the waiter finally brought it out, he said, “Sorry, I forgot to tell you that it takes a while.” In other words, he forgot to put the order in. I’m sure some will find this hard to believe, but, we've had a much better experience at the steakhouse on Carnival’s ships. Horizon Court/Horizon Bistro – Wow, what a huge array of food; and, for the most part, everything we had was pretty darn good. At breakfast, I really liked how they had the same staples every day, but they would also change up several items daily. Lunch was different every day, and it was good. The one dinner we had at the Horizon Court was good, but we decided we’d rather be waited on in one of the main dining rooms. One cool thing is the pastry shop, located in the middle of the Horizon Bistro. Such a huge selection of cookies, jellos, pies, cakes, etc.; they also offered several sugar-free desserts. There’s also a coffee bar in the pastry shop where folks can get the same foo-foo coffees that are available at the International Café in the Piazza on Deck Five. For the first few days we didn’t know about it, and would go down to the International Café before heading up to the Horizon Court for breakfast. I think a lot of people didn’t know about it. Ultimate Balcony Dining – Fantastic. Here’s how it works: once you receive the card in your room confirming you have the UBD, you call ROOM SERVICE to set everything up, NOT DINING. During the call, they will set up the day, time, and menu. You have a choice of a few entrees, and whatever cocktails you’d like (one each is included). You also get a half bottle of champagne, flowers, and a photographer comes to your room and takes a few pics (which are also included). My wife had the Surf and Turf, and I had the Steak Diane. We set everything up for 7 p.m. on 10/30. At 7 p.m., there was a knock on the door and it was our waiter, his assistant, and two other men who were wheeling carts around in the hallway. Our waiter introduced everyone, brought in a folding table and set it up on the balcony. Everything was very professional, not at all intrusive, and they really made us feel special. Once the table was set up, we sat down and the photographer took the photos. From that point on, the waiter and his assistant were in and out (he had set our cabin door so it would not lock behind them)…it was just like we were in the dining room. They kept filling our water and champagne glasses, all the while bringing course after course. We had a plate of canapés, an appetizer of blue crab quiche, a huge salad, and our entrees. Not being a seafood lover, I only picked at the quiche. Everything else was very good. My steak was ten times better than the one I had at the Crown Grill. Then came the dessert. I can’t tell you what it was (some sort of chocolate mousse thing) but it was wonderful, and the presentation looked amazing. Altogether, the entire meal took about two hours, and was worth every penny of the $100 price tag. The waiter and his assistant did such a good job, I gave them each an extra $20…..well worth it. Alfredo’s – A great alternative to the Horizon Court/Bistro or even the main dining rooms, Alfredo’s offers more than just gourmet pizza. They also have calzones, salads, Italian meat pies, and a few desserts. During peak times, there was a little bit of a wait (maybe five minutes), but no big deal, and certainly worth the wait. While I do like the pizza by the pool at Prego Pizza, the pizza at Alfredo’s is a step above. Super fresh, hot, and tasty. The calzone I had one day was very good. Prego Pizza and Trident Grill – As mentioned above, the pizza is pretty good…but it is a little inconsistent. At times the crust was perfect, other times it was flimsy and not very good. Still, the flavor was there, and it was leaps and bounds better than some of the pizza I’ve had on other ships (including QUEEN MARY 2…think tasteless cardboard). We went to the Trident Grill twice and weren’t really blown away. The giant hot dogs were good, but the burgers were just okay. They also offer grilled chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers, brats and knockwurst. The fries were good. The International Café – What a cool place. Depending on the time of day, they would offer pastries, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. It’s also where you can get foo-foo coffees and teas. Service was spot on. Unlike Starbucks – which can take days for someone to make a latte – these folks were slamming out orders at lightning speed. The place is extremely popular, and it gets quite busy….but we never had to wait more than just a few minutes. It was pretty amazing. And now a few words about the Coffee Card. Basically, you pay $29 for a punch card that entitles you to 15 specialty foo-foo coffees, unlimited premium regular coffee, tea, etc. However, you can also use it to get ice cream at Gelato’s, which is located just on the other side of the Piazza. One punch gets you three scoops of ice cream or a sundae or whatever. If you have Elite status, and don’t want the complimentary bar set up in your cabin, you can trade in the bar set up for two coffee cards. All you have to do is call room service and they will come to your cabin, take away the booze, and bring you the coffee cards. Painless. This is what we did, and it was well worth it. Entertainment – A mixed bag. The production shows were okay…Bravo and Fiera being the best. I really liked the creepy sets, costumes and lighting of Fiera, but the tune selection was whacked-out. The selection in Bravo was better, but they need to get rid of a few of the performers; especially this one guy who sang Queen’s, “Somebody to Love”…absolutely no soul or mojo whatsoever. In contrast, Colin, the piano player/singer in Crooners, was outstanding. A killer player and vocalist, he had Crooners packed nearly every night. Great song selection, too. Being a musician myself, I will say that I was thrilled to see so many live bands all over the ship. In the Piazza, Crooners, the Wheelhouse Bar, the Princess Theater, out on deck, etc., and they rotated around the ship. Princess Live! Yeah, I’ve read all the complaints about how they've eliminated the Explorers Lounge, and that they should get rid of PL and replace it with one, but, to be honest, the only difference is the décor. IMO, PL is simply too sterile and cold, décor-wise, when compared to the rest of the ship. And the seats are the most uncomfortable things I think I’ve ever sat in. I think that, had they softened up the room with the décor of the EL, people would like it a lot better. Some of the activities (trivia games, the marriage game, etc.) were all well-attended, but, for things like the morning show, the audience was sparse. We went to a trivia game about flags of the world – which interested my wife since she’s VP of production for the National Flag Company – and one of the marriage games. Both were fun. The Water Fantasy shows, between the two pools on Deck 16 (Lido Deck), were pretty cool. They only last for about ten minutes, and they don’t do a show every night. When they do, the music is themed to a particular movie or artist. One night it was James Bond, another night it was Michael Jackson. They were all well-attended. Movies Under the Stars – It is what it is. Either you like the thing going nearly twenty-four hours a day, or you don’t. I personally would have liked a lull here and there, but that’s just me. I will say that I was a bit taken aback by some of what they showed. The Devil Wears Prada…really? The Princess Bride….really? And as much as I love Rob Thomas, and The Killers, I’m not sure full concerts of each were the way to go for the average Princess passenger. People seemed to be just tolerating them. They did show Phil Collins and Paul McCartney concerts, and it was pretty obvious by people’s singing that those were smart choices. And they did show some fairly current movies, too…Ant Man, Tomorrowland, Lady in Gold, and the new Terminator flick. In-Room Television – I guess this can be classified as entertainment. Lots of free movies, TV shows, Princess related videos, etc. As geeky as it sounds, one of the highlights for us was being able to watch nearly endless episodes of, “The Love Boat”. What terrific fun. I do think it’s odd that you can’t order room service, check your on board account, order shore excursions, etc. from your television. Princess@sea app – I loved it. Basically, it’s an app you download to your mobile device or Ipad. It gives you the ability to message other passengers, check the daily program, tag events you’d like to attend, check your on board account, and connect to the ship’s internet. I used it on my Ipad to get on-line (didn’t go to the internet café), and it worked flawlessly. Service – Other than the aforementioned issue in the Crown Grill, which wasn’t a deal-breaker, service throughout the ship was exceptional. Nearly everyone had a smile on their face. From dining staff to the guys painting around the ship, we were ALWAYS greeted in a friendly manner, and whenever we were leaving dinner, a show, or whatever, they thanked us for coming. I know it’s part of their job, but, after listening to some people whine and moan about the dumbest things, I don’t know how they do it. For us, the best part about the service was how they treated us like human beings…they joked, poked fun (at us and themselves), and they didn’t treat us like they had to tip-toe around us. Fellow Passengers – Pretty much normal, everyday people. For the most part, the crowd was a little older than us (we’re both 51); probably averaging 60s and 70’s. Understandably, there wasn’t many children, and the children who were there were all well-behaved. Not once did I see or hear kids running around without an adult, or being obnoxious. That was reserved for some of the grownups. St. Thomas, Antigua & Aruba – Although we had been to St Thomas 14 times, we had never taken the skyride to the top to see the remarkable view of Charlotte Amalie and the surrounding islands. While it’s only about a five minute walk from the dock at Havensight, REGAL PRINCESS docked at Crown Bay, on the other side of downtown, so we had to take a taxi. The process of getting a taxi was pretty flawless; very organized. You simply walk to the curb, there is one person asking where you want to go, and then they tell you which taxi to get it. Done. The Skyride is $21 per person, roundtrip. You can walk back down if you want, but, why would you want to do that? The views are amazing. This was our first time in Antigua, and, to be honest, we couldn’t care less if we never go back. We were off the ship, maybe, 20 minutes before we had had enough of people (namely taxi cab drivers) tugging on us, following us around, getting in our face, etc. I’m not exaggerating when I say we had to shrug off at least 25 cab drivers, all asking the same thing. And when we told them no thank you, three of them actually followed us around, and just kept harassing us. Don’t get me wrong, I know this is how they make their living. But, after such an organized and hassle-free experience in St. Thomas, it just hit us the wrong way. I finally looked at my wife and said, “Well, I’ve had enough.” She agreed, and we went right back on board. It’s really a shame; I’m sure it’s a beautiful island, but it was just too much of a hassle to find out. This was our second time in Aruba. This time, we bought a Princess excursion to snorkel on the wreck of the German cargo ship Antilla, which was scuttled by her crew in 1940. Absolutely fantastic. The wreck sits on her side in 55 ft. of water, and you can see everything crystal clear. Folks can find out about the ship at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Antilla_(1939). For $49 per person, it’s a bargain. Overall Impression – REGAL PRINCESS is a fantastic ship, but not perfect. However, whatever shortcomings she has, the positives certainly makes up for them. She delivers a solid cruising experience, and offers an almost endless array of dining and entertainment options. She’s big…I mean REALLY big. So big that her size just might turn some people off. But, for us, we enjoyed all she had to offer…or at least all we wanted to enjoy. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
My husband and I celebrated our 50th anniversary so decided to have a longer cruise with ports we had not visited before. We have taken 2 previous Princess cruises before and enjoyed them. This cruise was a back to back cruise so we did 10 ... Read More
My husband and I celebrated our 50th anniversary so decided to have a longer cruise with ports we had not visited before. We have taken 2 previous Princess cruises before and enjoyed them. This cruise was a back to back cruise so we did 10 days Eastern, and returned to port , got off the ship for about 30 minutes and returned to leave for the Southern half. Easy-peasy. The cruise wasn't without some problems, but I tend to overlook anything that doesn't kill me, especially on a cruise! We even sailed during the hurricane..no problems We stayed overnight at the Comfort Inn suites....staff was beyond wonderful and so friendly. Could see our ship from our window. Getting to port took a very short time on their shuttle. OK! Embarkation was LONG because ship had an inspection after returning from Europe. Not enough seating, hot, and ran out of water. Oh well...it didn't kill me. O.K. We got an inside cabin to save money! Sigh. They had a bunk bed mounted on each wall beside the bed. Woke up in the dark, hit my nose ( and it's not that big!) on the edge of the bunk!! Black and blue nose for a week....maybe it was more gray Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
My husband and I are in our early 60's and have taken over 30 cruises. We are not sure what the people who wrote negative reviews about Royal Princess were expecting or wanting but we certainly do not agree!. I will say that the ... Read More
My husband and I are in our early 60's and have taken over 30 cruises. We are not sure what the people who wrote negative reviews about Royal Princess were expecting or wanting but we certainly do not agree!. I will say that the last three cruises we have taken on Princess have been extremely disappointing so we were hoping for an improved experience. Improved is an understatement! We loved Royal Princess! Embarkation seemed a bit more unorganized than usual with extra long lines even with preferred boarding. However, once on board, there were no congested areas waiting for elevators and access to our room as smooth and quick. Royal Princess is fabulous! The cabin C737 was spotless, the bed confortable, the bathroom and shower larger than usual. The balcony was a bit smaller than usual but it was just fine for relaxing and watching the ocean. The public areas were large and comfortable with the staff and service being excellent. All staff were warm and welcoming from the maintenance staff to the officers. The entire ship is spotless and beautiful! From Sanctuary to the dining rooms, to the theaters, to the buffet areas, to the pools and back, every area was a new place to e plore and relax and enjoy. The screens for MUTS were so easy to view and the chairs comfy. The entertainment on board was much improved from our other cruises. The food in the MDR was average but in the Horizon court was exceptional. No usual buffet on this ship. Steak, shrimp, stir-fry, fresh pasta, soups, you name it, exceptionally prepared. In the evenings, the tables were set and gave the feeling of being ina finer restaurant. The sales pitches were appropriate and you did not feel hounded. We were so very pleased and cannot wait until we can sail her again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
This was our 16th cruise - the majority of which have been on Princess. This was only a 3-day cruise but fit our schedule and we were anxious to sail on Regal it being so new. The ship did not disappoint. It is similar to the Emerald ... Read More
This was our 16th cruise - the majority of which have been on Princess. This was only a 3-day cruise but fit our schedule and we were anxious to sail on Regal it being so new. The ship did not disappoint. It is similar to the Emerald and Ruby Princesses but taken several steps further. Loved all the additional and rearranging of the common areas. So many nice spots to sit, relax, people watch. One thing on the new design that surprised me -- or at least surprised me I hadn't heard about: the sky walk is positioned in relation to those mid-ship balconies were people on the walk have a near perfect view into a lot of cabins. Thank goodness ours was not one of them! This was our first time in a "mini suite" and loved it. The balcony maybe was a bit small but certainly spacious enough for the 2 of us. The cabin steward was efficient but not overly talkative. We were fortunate enough to get into both the Crown Grille and Sabatini's. Both meals were wonderful but the service in the Crown Grille was a bit off. Somewhat slow between courses (the two of us were there > 2 hours) and some of our order was wrong (baked potato instead of mashed, etc.). The 3rd night was in the MDR and the contrast between there and the specialty dining food/menu wise was very apparent. The wait staff, however, was excellent. All the shows were saw were good. Our only disappointment in the entertainment was the lack of trivia games. Silly - I know, but we do love them. Vey few were offered and we only made it to one. Minor complaint at best. All in all a beautiful ship and a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
I had to write this review. I don't really understand the negative reviews. My husband and I absolutley loved this ship, staff, itinerary and all the entertainment. We are in our late 50"s. Have cruised all the cruise lines. This ... Read More
I had to write this review. I don't really understand the negative reviews. My husband and I absolutley loved this ship, staff, itinerary and all the entertainment. We are in our late 50"s. Have cruised all the cruise lines. This was our 38th cruise. Embarkation was a breeze. Took about 10 minutes to get our cards. We were in the 5th group boarding the ship. Our cabin was ready when we got on board. We had a balcony cabin on Lido deck. Great location. Don't understand the complaining about the balcony. We were in The Haven on the NCL Breakaway with a balcony smaller then this one. This was perfectly fine for our needs. Chairs recline. Little table for coffee cup or wine glass. What more do I need? The bed was really comfortable. Lots of storage. Closet area was huge. Cabin steward Pong was superb! We loved the buffet on this ship. A little confusing the first day but there were so so many choices. You just have to walk around and look at it all. Breakfast food was the same every day. But you could eat something different every day for about a month and never repeat a food ite. Made to order omellettes. Smoothies. Fish, meat every kind of egg, rolls, pastires, fruit. It was really an amazing array of choices. Lunch was the same. Almost too many choices. Plus the pizza and grill. Lido deck has plenty of food for sure. We also loved the International Cafe. Delicious items. Available 24/7. Loved it! Had a terrible experience at Alfredo's. Bad service. Undercooked pizza. Never went back. We had anytime dining. We ate at Crown Grill the first night, which is our tradition. Very underwhelmed. We ate at Sabatini's 4 times. Everything was wonderful including our server and the maitre'd. Ate at the Crab Shack. That is the deal of the cruise! Great food and as much of it as you can eat. Great service. We ate in the dining room the other days. Service slower but the food was delicious. No complaints at all. Gained alot of weight on this trip haha. The ship is very beautiful The expanded piazza is wonderful. And that's where all the action took place. The ship also has many quiet areas to relax and nap or read. The entertainment: The New Deal band played every night. And had a different theme every night. What a great band!!! We danced in the piazza nightly and in whatever other venues they played in also. We went to see the Tenors of Rock show. Fantastic! Went to one production show-Soul Sensation. What a talented group of singers and dancers. And Princess has made all the shows just 30 minutes. Perfect amount of time! Did not catch the comedian but heard he was great. The highlight entertainment was Kory Simon the piano player. If you are not entertained by this talented and funny guy you must be asleep or dead. Loved him so much!! We loved all the islands. Booked ship excursions for all but Barbados where I booked a very small catamaran trip to snorkel with the turtles. Highly recommend Shasa Catamaran cruises. Husband and wife owners and 6 of us on the boat. We got to the turtles before the ship tours. It was incredible. All our ship excursions were really enjoyable too. Very organized and timely. These islands were wonderful! My only complaint about the ship was the photo gallery prices. I do not need three of every picture and at $20 a pic, no thank you. The casino was fun. And they had 3 smoke free nights on our 10 day trip. It was great!!! My husband took the spin classes at the fitness center and said they were better then the ones that he takes at home. He used the fitness center daily. Said it was more then sufficient for his needs. The main pool was crowded but we could always find a lounger. The Retreat Pool was pure peacefulness. Loved it. I booked the Royal Princess again for next year. Another 10 day caribbean tip. Just to different islands. This is a grownup cruise. There are not alot of kids. And not alot of craziness with teens running around or a bunch of drunk folks. This is a classy ship with a more subdued theme. But saying that we still had alot of really fun times aboard her!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
Overview: This was probably one of the best cruises I have ever taken in my life. The ship was elegant and beautiful, the staff was superb with excellent service. I had the most amazing table mates possible and was even a part of a ... Read More
Overview: This was probably one of the best cruises I have ever taken in my life. The ship was elegant and beautiful, the staff was superb with excellent service. I had the most amazing table mates possible and was even a part of a Cruise Critic member's (foolds) proposal to his girlfriend. I met lots of great friends on the ship and I am so lucky to have had this experience. Embarkation/Bon Voyage Program My grandfather joined me on the ship before it left port as part of the Bon Voyage Program. As soon as we arrived we were taken in and led to the priority check-in line and were taken to board the ship. The whole process was very smooth. He absolutely loved the ship and one of the bar servers, Nhorman, helped us get him and his wheelchair on to the ship. He was exceptionally nice and friendly to us and to my grandfather. Ship Overall the ship is pretty nice. There are a few design issues such as moving between dining rooms but overall it is nice. The public areas are well decorated and somewhat elegant. Overall the ship appears well maintained. I find some people have unreasonable expectations for ships (remember that they operate 24/7/365). I saw plenty of maintenance taking place and did not feel the ship to be in disrepair or dirty. Crew/Service I must say that the crew on the ship was very helpful and kind. Dining room service was decent but not outstanding. The bar people were nice and friendly. My cabin steward (it's steward, not stewart by the way) was great. I take a medication that I have to mix with water. I usually use a fork to mix it in a cup so the first night of the cruise I went to Horizon Court and picked up a fork and brought it back to the cabin. The next morning the steward took the fork, which I figured he would, so I went to and picked up another fork that night. Well the next morning the steward brought me a clean fork and extra glass and left them in my restroom for me to use with the medicine. I find this to be extraordinary service that he did this without me having to ask. I gave him the Consummate Host card. Ports/Shore Excursions I have been to Cozumel and it is more of the same it has always been. The only excursion I took was in Belize which I really loved. I took the open air trolley tour. I am kind of torn because I loved the tour and the people seemed nice but Belize is a horribly homophobic place so I do not plan to spend any money at all there in the future. Mahogany Bay at Roatan blew me away. Let me say this now: I heard an Princess Elite member telling people on the ship that they could NOT use the beach at Mahogany Bay because it is owned by Carnival. This is 100% FALSE. The beach is free for any cruise passenger that docks at that dock. If someone tells you any different they are simply misinformed. I spent the day at Mahogany Beach and it was simply amazing. The water was beautiful and so was the atmosphere. Entertainment The only show I really attended was the magician, Michael Barron, and he was excellent. This was probably the best magic show I have ever seen and was very entertaining. I did attend the Princess Pop Star competitions as a friend I met on the ship was competing and they were amazing. We (a group I met on the ship) also went to Skywalkers most nights and had a blast. LGBT Get Together There was a LGBT get together every day at 5:30 in one of the bars, usually Wheelhouse. I met a few other guys there and we all hung out together for portions of every evening. The only thing I would like to see them change is maybe have a crew member host it (there are plenty of gay guys in the crew) and have some way of marking where the event is within the bar such as a sign. Cabin I was in cabin A403, an interior cabin on deck 12. The cabin was small but comfortable with adequate storage and closet space. The bathroom was small (as all are) but it served it's purpose. The Elite bathroom amenities were nice. Captain's Circle Elite Benefits The Princess Captain's Circle is awesome. The benefits are outstanding. I received a free mini-bar, priority service at the pursers desk, 10% boutique discount, priority tender embarkation, 150 free internet minutes and much more. These were all awesome benefits. Bad Parts Avoid the shopping show on the second sea day. You will lose part of your life if you go. There was little to no actual port info given and the whole thing was a long, drawn-out sales pitch and the man (Vince) was repetitive and not very genuine. I would not lose sleep if they did away with his position. Disability Accommodations I have some medical problems including a damaged spine. I did not ask for or sign up for any disability accommodations but the facilities seemed ample and appropriate. I did use the elevators which were usually available but sometimes had a wait. There were quite a few mobility impaired people onboard who seemed to get around easily (as easily as possible). The tender ride in Belize and the trolley were a little uncomfortable and I had to take pain meds after returning to the ship but that was the only real annoyance. Solo Cruising I have taken many cruises but this was my first solo cruise. I was nervous at first but it worked out really well. I did not attend any of the SOLO cruiser meetings as they all interfered with the LGBT get together or other activities. Summary The cruise was amazing. I absolutely loved it and am looking forward to another. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
We are platinum cruisers with Princess and this was the best cruise ship we have been on. We would definitely sail on her or the sister ship Regal again.We were on deck 9 Dolphin midship. The lack of midship stairs was never a problem. We ... Read More
We are platinum cruisers with Princess and this was the best cruise ship we have been on. We would definitely sail on her or the sister ship Regal again.We were on deck 9 Dolphin midship. The lack of midship stairs was never a problem. We could always get a lift or depending where we were going used the forward or aft stairs. The ship is gorgeous, quiet and smooth. Could not hear our neighbours at all. We had a Premium Deluxe balcony and it was perfect. The crew as always were friendly and helpful. Lisa the Cruise Director was always smiling and had so much energy. When we were not on the islands we were kept very busy with all the choices of activities. We got involved in many activities from, Zumba, Aerobics, Pop Choir, Flashmob, Dancing, Shows and just relaxing. The Piazza is the centre of activity. There we loved eating at the International cafe and Italian restaurant. We chose anytime dining in the Symphony Restaurant and loved our waiter so much that we dined at the same table, just the two of us. We saw several movies at Movies under the Stars. The Retreat Pool for Adults only was relaxing and is at the forward part of the ship. We visited the Eastern and Southern Caribbean islands and we had perfect sunny weather each day. Even though there were 3800 passengers it never felt crowded. There was always a deckchair or seat to be found. Crooners lounge had happy hour at 3pm each day and was a great place to meet new friends. All our excursions were from the ship which we do not usually do but we felt they were well priced and all really enjoyable. We hope to be back on board again one day. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
I will comment on the things we experienced… as a couple in our early 30’s – our 9th cruise. EMBARKATION/ALFREDO’s Very smooth. We arrived too early, around 10:30, and were checked in and waiting to board the ship for about ... Read More
I will comment on the things we experienced… as a couple in our early 30’s – our 9th cruise. EMBARKATION/ALFREDO’s Very smooth. We arrived too early, around 10:30, and were checked in and waiting to board the ship for about an hour – but that was our fault for getting there so early. They opened the doors at 11:30 and we were on board about 10 minutes later (after the platinum/elite guests). We are Ruby (4th cruise) members on Princess. As suggested by others on Cruise Critic (CC), we went straight to Alfredo’s for lunch. We each ordered a pizza and shared the veal ravioli. The pasta had one of the richest, most delicious cream sauces I had ever eaten – delicious! The pizzas were very good. Nice and light. DH tried a calzone later in the week and it was nice and cheesy but a bit heavy on the dough ratio. ROOM We had a standard balcony, Dolphin deck, D603, and it was nice enough. Nothing special. As others described, the balcony is on the smaller side but we had no issues with it. We were out there on the port days and sometimes to read at sea. The size of the balcony was not a “make or break” for us. The shower had the curtain, which isn’t preferable but there are magnets at the bottom so it clings. The water pressure was really weak – this is a pet peeve of mine, especially since I have long hair – so it takes forever to rinse. But again, this was not a deal breaker on the cruise. Hair dryer is weak. I brought my own. Our steward, Edwin, was nice enough and took care of the few requests we had but we rarely spoke to him, let alone saw him. I don’t think his English was strong. Our room was always made up for us 2-3x/day. No complaints. FOOD We usually eat in the MDR 5+ times on a 7 day cruise and like many others that have been on this ship, we found ourselves unable to stay away from that buffet! Having been on a Carnival cruise in the fall with very little selection on the buffet, I was very excited to see the EXTENSIVE variety of food items available at the buffet every day at lunch and dinner! Breakfast also had a beautiful variety of items, but they were mostly the same every morning, as is the case with all breakfast items. My favourite was the eggs Benedict I ate literally every day. Though, on the last sea day they had an array of chocolate items in the breakfast buffet which was a fun surprise (chocolate dipped cookies, chocolate croissants, chocolate breads, puddings, French toast etc.). The favourite food items that stood out from the buffet: taco station, beef tenderloin, ribs, pork/shrimp dumplings, breaded shrimp/scallops, deep fried cheese balls, key lime pie and chocolate raspberry tarts, fresh soft cookies and the cheesecakes. I’m probably forgetting some. The selection was great. Crown Grill – we ate there once and it was delicious. You can order as many of anything on the menu as you’d like and it’s included in the $25 surcharge. We ordered the scallops, sea bass, filet mignon and ribeye and they were all amazing – especially the filet mignon. We tried the sampler for dessert (a small portion of all of them) and they were good, but no amazing. Personal taste though. We enjoy rich, heavy desserts – not the fluffy ones. Main dining room – we only ate here once, for the formal night with Lobster and Beef Wellington. Service was slow, but maybe that was because it’s the most popular night in the dining room. The Beef Wellington is my favourite meal on the cruise, and I was not disappointed. Very tasty. International Café – other than room service, this was the only food option available after 10:30pm. It always had a nice selection of salads, snacks and desserts. The tomato quiche they had one evening was delicious! ENTERTAINMENT We went to 80% of the shows. We saw the magician, Scott Alexander, and he was pretty good. The Comedian, Carl something – he was hilarious. The regular crew shows were good. Fiera was definitely their best production show. That one was insanely packed – definitely show up early for it. The marriage game show was good, but they held it in the Princess Live “theatre” which has very limited seating. Not sure why they would do that when that show is one of the passenger favorites. For sure, a lot of people were turned away because there wasn’t enough room for everyone. THE SHIP It’s beautiful, sparkly, new and clean. All of the staff we encountered were friendly and helpful. PORTS Princess Cays – we are big on snorkeling, so we never even attempted to find a lounger – other than to put our bag on while we went swimming. For those that do snorkel, go to the LEFT when you get off the tender. To specify, when you are facing the ocean/ship, the best snorkeling is on your far right. I clarify because I read different reviews on which way to go for snorkelling-some said left and some said right. Perhaps it depended on which way they were facing. We went to the far right (if facing the ocean) and down some little steps to the beach… the area was a bit rocky but just get your gear on and go right – that’s where you’ll find some fun stuff to see. We didn’t eat anything from the BBQ so I can’t comment on that. St. Thomas – we took a cab ($9 pp one way) to Coki beach because we had read on CC that they had good snorkeling. It’s a good 20 minute cab ride each way. We tried both sides of the beach and neither had anything but grass or dead coral/rocks. We did see a turtle, which was the only silver lining to that snorkel trip. Disappointing. Aside from the snorkeling failure, the beach itself was BEAUTIFUL. It’s smaller but the sand is smooth and there are no rocks to worry about in the water. There are drinks available and snorkel equipment can be rented. Same with chairs and umbrella’s – not sure of the prices though. Our cab ride back was only $7 per person. St. Maarten – we did the all day (9:30am-4pm) excursion with Captain Bob through Soualiga Destinations (it is the #1 excursion on trip advisor). It appealed to us because of the day on a boat, multiple snorkel stops, and rave reviews on trip advisor. If you take this excursion for the snorkelling, try something else. Yes we stopped 3x to snorkel, and one of them had a few turtles, but that’s it. No live coral or colourful array of fish. I’m not sure that anywhere in St Maarten has better snorkeling, just be advised that if you’re hopeful for good snorkeling on this excursion, you’ll be disappointed. Other than that, the driver we had for the day, Sam, was really fun. You arrive, check in, then have a 30 minute ride out to the first island area for snorkelling. This ride is on open ocean, and it was a rocky day – so be prepared that they ride could be really rough with a lot of bouncing. We stopped at 4 different places for the day. The lunch offered is a choice of chicken, fish or ribs and then either rice or fries. No dessert. The fish was dry, and the fries rather boring and cold. If I did it again, I’d get the rice and ribs. We also took a trip to the famous Maho beach (where the planes practically touch the beach) but didn’t get to see any planes come in. The trip back to the pier was a race between our boat and another which was lots of fun. He sped up to 75MPH. GYM Good enough for what it was. I also found it disappointing that the spa is no longer attached to it. On previous cruises and cruise lines, I would certainly enjoy a sauna or steam room after my workout. I did enjoy the rain-shower shower heads they had in the gym change room though (but there are only 2). Although I failed to make it to one of the classes, I liked that ZUMBA was offered twice a day on sea days at no additional cost. DISEMBARKATION We were “White Group 1” which was scheduled to get off at 7:55am. We waited in the dining room for our group to be called for about 5 minutes and were on our way off. By 8:30am, we were in a taxi. The process was quick and painless! While waiting for our taxi to FLL airport, a Princess rep approached us and offered their shuttle for $11 per person. I found that to be strange… clearly, everyone is aware of the Princess shuttle, and as we were clearly standing in the taxi section, we chose not to use it. For the record, the Princess shuttle would have cost us $22 total for 2 of us, and the cab cost us $14 total. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
This cruise was top notch! I booked two inside staterooms, because the prices were so low, and my wife and I are building points towards becoming Elite members in the Captain's Circle. Sailing as a solo, you get double cruise ... Read More
This cruise was top notch! I booked two inside staterooms, because the prices were so low, and my wife and I are building points towards becoming Elite members in the Captain's Circle. Sailing as a solo, you get double cruise points. Since we live in Florida, we just drove over on the same day, so we had no hotel stay. We usually park at US1 Airport Parking or United Airport Parking, which uses the Embassy Suites on SE 17th Street parking lot. Both shuttle up to 4 people to and from the port as part of the fee, which ranges from $5-$7 per day. I've never had an issue with either service. Both are about a mile from the ships, which are usually at Cruise Terminal 2 and/or 21, depending on how many Princess ships are in the port at the same time. Two days before the cruise, I received a call from AL at Princess. He saw that my wife and I were in separate staterooms, and he asked if I would mind sleeping with my wife in the same stateroom? LOL! He said he needed some inside cabins, and he wanted to move us into a suite. It didn't have a balcony, but neither did the inside cabins. Before I said yes, he sweetened the deal with some added onboard or "move-over" credit. That was definitely more icing on the cake. Plus, we had full "suite benefits" to enjoy. You should look those up on Princess.com. I've listed most throughout this review. We've learned to pack light for these Caribbean Getaways (3-5 days), so now we just carry our own luggage onboard by ourselves. The porters will usually try to take them from/for you, but it's not required. If you do drop off your luggage, it's nice to tip a buck per bag, but tipping is not required since they are paid employees. It is simple and easy if you just have one suitcase each. You have to go through the security screening, but since we are eligible for Preferred Check-in, the lines are short and we were onboard and in the suite in just 15 minutes; that's from shuttle to suite, including the check-in, embarkation photo and walk up the ramp. We boarded on Fiesta Deck 6, the same as our suite, and we just had to cross the Piazza/Atrium and we were there. Princess has done a great job of streamlining their embarkation processes. Everyone is willing to help and get you pointed in the right direction. One issue folks experience on the CB, which we didn't have to deal with this time, is the slow elevators, and during embarkation, Princess employees commandeer half of the elevators to manually take folks to their deck/stateroom. If you dropped off your bags with the porters, they do a great job of delivering the luggage fairly quickly. The latest we've waited is 6pm. If you've never been in a suite before, you get spoiled really fast. First of all, the Window Suites are hidden behind a wood-paneled, soundproof wall, so you are separated from all the Piazza noise and traffic. We opened the suite door, and we were home in the Santa Monica Suite. The 300+ square footage (about 18'x18') is great and featured an outside wall with two large (6'x6') picture windows. There were three closets and lots of drawers, a desk and credenza and a small sitting area with a sofabed. There was a nice, fresh fruit basket waiting for us, as well as a fully stocked mini-bar. Unlike regular staterooms, in the suites the first round of items in the mini-bar is complimentary. It had 10 small bottles of liquor (2 each of 5 kinds), plus 2 beers, 2 tonics, 2 Pellegrino, 2 spring waters, 2 Cokes and 2 Sprites. You can swap out what you want with the steward on the first day to stock it to your taste. We don't know if there is a sensor or a camera, but soon after entering the suite, the steward appeared, followed shortly by room service delivering canapés. In another 30 minutes, room service stopped by with a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries. Oh yeah! Now we know why folks spend the extra $$$ for a suite. Other amenities include unlimited use of the Thermal Suite at the Lotus Spa, canapés delivered daily, corsages for dress to impress/formal nights, the cover charge waived for one dinner at a specialty restaurant, a 100+ DVD library, and Lotus Spa bathroom amenities. Our suite was an accessible suite, so the bathroom did not have a jetted tub like they have in other suites. It had a roll-in shower (5x6) with a fold-down shower seat and lots of handrails around the bathroom walls. My wife enjoyed the fancy, lighted makeup mirror, but the blow dryer was located next to the vanity/makeup mirror out beside the sitting area. The bathroom floor had long drains to capture the water, but until we learned the right spots to put the bath mat and a towel and angle the showerhead, the bathroom floor got flooded. We never saw it, but we think the steward had a squeegee or a fantastic mop, because when we left the room to eat or play, when we returned, the bathroom was clean and dry. We had our 6yo granddaughter with us. She loves the Kids Club and being a Princess Pelican. Even though Princess isn't known for their young family cruising, they do a great job of educating and entertaining the kids. We've never heard an "I'm bored" from her, just "when can I go back to the kids' club?" At sea, the program is open 9am-12pm, 1pm-5pm and 6pm-10pm for free. There's a late-night program, 10pm-1am, for a fee (usually $7-$8 per hour). For parents with younger children, they have pagers to beep you if they need you. If the pager goes off, you can call and find out what they need. Other ships have phones that operate on the ship's wireless network, which is nice. Part of the program is educational, teaching the kids about things like sea life, conservation and recycling. They colored t-shirts, made lanyards for their cruise cards, danced, played games, etc. On formal night, they had their own "kids' dinner" or the kids can eat with their parents, or both. I won't mention that after we picked her up at 10pm, she had to have a vanilla ice cream cone with chocolate and rainbow sprinkles and a cherry on top AND a slice or two of pizza. Of course, just water to drink to stay hydrated and save calories, right? And it would have been rude of us to let her eat alone. On a personal note about children, cruising with your own kids or grandkids gives you a great opportunity to find/see/catch any gaps in their etiquette and manners, and it's a great place to teach them how to eat a formal dinner. You'll get questions like "why are there so many forks and knives on the table?" Who knew there was a table knife, a butter knife, a steak knife, a fish knife...? Something new this year is Discovery at Sea. For the Caribbean cruises, the focus was on the night sky. It was very interesting to see the stars (weather was cooperative) and hear about the various things to see. They even lowered the lights on the upper deck areas for better viewing. This is definitely a plus for Princess. Now I'm curious about the Discovery at Sea programs in other locations on other ships. This was also our first time eating at one of the specialty restaurants. We've always had the "we already paid for the food" mindset, so we didn't spend extra, but this time it was free as one of our suite amenities. We enjoyed a wonderfully delicious Italian dinner at Sabatini's. I failed to mention earlier that suite guests can also eat breakfast in their own separate dining room, which is Sabatini's. The maître d and waiters/waitresses were super, a cut above the main dining room. You felt like royalty as they catered to your every need. Once you see what's on the menu, hear about the Chef's "special" creation, and taste the food, too, you know why you pay an extra cover charge. Superb! I just may pay next time. There are lots of fancy choices, including "lobster 3 ways" or lamb shank or NY Strip steak. Like the Main Dining Room, you can eat as much as you want. If you can't decide between two choices, get both. Don't know if you like something or not? Order it and try it. Escargot? You can love it or leave it. Cold soup made with meat, fruit and veggies that you've never heard of before? Go for it! It's your own fault if you leave hungry (or leave sick from overeating). I've always enjoyed the entertainment on the Princess ships; this was no exception. This cruise had a comedian, a comedic master magician (great up-close magic, too) and two wonderful Broadway-style shows featuring the Princess Singers and Dancers. There were also other entertainers and musicians at the various lounges and bars around the ship. Also, various shows/activities in the Piazza throughout the day and every evening. All did a great job. Our shore excursion (semi-submarine) was cancelled due to murky waters, so we just went ashore and enjoyed browsing in the stores and playing/lying on the beach. The weather was perfect in the mid-80s, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I enjoyed a shared margarita and jerk pork tacos with the family and the masses at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in Grand Turk. I took advantage of their guest Wi-Fi to check on the real world and send a few pictures to other family members in the chillier regions around the globe. And yes, it generated a little envy seeing the beach, clear blue/turquoise-colored waters and cloudless sky that framed the cruise ship. My brother commented that it was a long walk back to the buffet from there. LOL I was a lot closer than he was, 12 time zones away on the other side of the world. There's an interesting, free NASA display about the Mercury splashdown and astronaut retrieval on the island. It's hidden behind the shopping area, over to the right after going through the duty-free store. It's a nice photo spot, or you can play a game of chess with the 2- to 3-foot tall chess pieces. That's Check and 'mate! Back on board, Paul, the Cruise Director, announced a change in activities. Due to forecasted inclement weather, the evening's On-deck Disco Dance Party had to be cancelled. Instead, they changed it to their '50's Rock & Roll Party indoors in the Explorer's Lounge. The Captain did a fantastic job of punching through the weather, which just involved light rain. In addition to the onboard entertainment, our Sea Days were occupied with all sorts of activities on the ship. We watched others participate in silly, fun games. We watched the paper plane contest. We attended an art auction, went to a movie, made crafts, sat in on a couple of lectures, browsed through the stores onboard (they're making changes to the boutiques), participated in drawings and giveaways. Everyday, we took advantage of the Thermal Suite in the Lotus Spa. We had to spend our "you can't take it with you" onboard credit, so I indulged myself with a Royal Shave at the Lotus Spa, and I'll do it again on a future cruise. That included a double shave (one with gel and one with oil); a scalp, neck, face and arm massage; and aromatic facial. I purchased a few items and added additional tip. My wife enjoyed time at the casino and saved some $$$ with some duty-free shopping, buying items she would buy at home anyway. The cost was about 50% of the price she would pay in FL, so.... That's a perk of international travel. Disembarkation was a breeze. As a suite amenity, Princess has a special Disembarkation Lounge setup for Platinum, Elite and Suite passengers, that has coffee, tea, juices and pastries available. This one was setup in Club Fusion, Deck 7 Aft, so we didn't use it this time. Princess asks that all passengers that are disembarking vacate their staterooms by 8am. You can fill your time by attending breakfast or catching a few last-minute sunrays, or looking through the photos one last time. Some folks were taking a nap in their deck chair. We were able to disembark directly from our suite, just right across the ship, one last scan of the cruise card and down the ramp to Customs. We chose a "walk-off group" which allows us to carry off our own luggage. The "walk-off groups" are great if you want to disembark the ship early, soon after arriving back at the port once Customs is ready. We took a later group so we could sleep in an extra hour, since we were only headed home. Sometimes I have to go to work the morning we arrive, so I'm able to disembark quickly and make to work in Miami by 9am. The Customs line was fairly short (maybe 50 people), and they had 5 stations open, so it just took 15 minutes to get through the line. Back on land, Port Everglades does a pretty good job of keeping vehicles moving. Transportation is split up, with some folks going to get on buses to go to the airport, some going on local excursions before going to the airport, others that are parked in the cruise terminal parking, which is close, but costs $15 per day. Those with independent travel arrangements (taxis, hotel shuttles, private shuttles, off-site parking shuttles, limousines, personal vehicles, etc.) are shuffled down to a pickup area that is managed by local security and county sheriffs that direct traffic and keep things from backing up and creating a gridlock. Just make sure you follow the instructions given by whoever is picking you up and be watching for them. The security officers and sheriffs don't let anyone stop for very long, so shuttles will stop, load luggage, and then leave with only one person on it if that's all that is there or paying attention. Some are running scheduled loops, and others, like taxis, are summoned or "on-call" private shuttles. Anyway, we made it out and back to our waiting vehicle and safely made it back home. That same day, Monday, we received a survey via email. Throughout the cruise, you'll hear about giving everyone a 10 on their section of the survey. What are you going to give them? "10!" cheers everyone. I say, rate them fairly, and take the time to tell Princess about both the good and the bad. That's how they know where to make changes and how some employees get rewarded. In summary, I really would have to give this specific cruise a 10. I don't know if it was what I'll call the "suite-effect" or something else, but most everything exceeded our expectations. The upgrade to the suite, the added move-over credit, the suite amenities, the royal treatment by everyone who served us, the dining experience, the spa experience, the entertainment and activities: ALL contributed to a memorable, nearly perfect, cruise experience. I wish everyone could have this kind of cruise at least once in their life. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Love this ship! The layout is excellent! I was on the Royal in 2013 for a Mediterranean cruise with cousins. Loved it so much, I wanted my husband to experience it. We completed a 20 day, back to back, a week ago. He loved everything about ... Read More
Love this ship! The layout is excellent! I was on the Royal in 2013 for a Mediterranean cruise with cousins. Loved it so much, I wanted my husband to experience it. We completed a 20 day, back to back, a week ago. He loved everything about it so much, he didn't want to go home. I just booked a 14 day on the Regal for Nov. We are both spoiled now. No more of the other style ships for us! The food and entertainment were excellent. Loved the new style Horizon Court and Alfredo's! Ate at these two venues more than the dining rooms. Speaking of which, the dining rooms are much more attractive than on the older style ships. They have many more tables for two. The waitstaff was very fast, friendly and efficient. The production shows were Vegas quality! Love the new style showroom. The other entertainers were all top notch. Heard many complain about no center stairs. We did miss them. We were in a center mini-suite, but found it easy to walk to the front or back stairs. The 6 center elevators weren't too bad for availability, but if they were filled, we walked to the stairs. The Piazza is beautiful, with plenty of seating. There was a lot of good entertainment there, throughout the day and night. Loved the gelato shop and International Cafe. So yummy! The Lido deck area is so much bigger and better. We never had a problem finding a seat. It was always such fun to hear the ships horns blast out the Love Boat theme as we left port! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
This was our first Caribbean cruise and we loved it! The Royal Princess is elegant without being ostentatious, very comfortable, and a pleasure for us to be on. We did traditional dining for the first time and really enjoyed our dining ... Read More
This was our first Caribbean cruise and we loved it! The Royal Princess is elegant without being ostentatious, very comfortable, and a pleasure for us to be on. We did traditional dining for the first time and really enjoyed our dining room staff, the food was delicious and always well presented. We traveled with another couple who cruise every February and they too enjoyed everything about the cruise We went to the nightly shows in the Princess Theater and enjoyed them tremendously. We especially enjoyed The Atlantic City Boys show. Our one suggestion to Princess, which has been made many times before, is to include a center staircase in addition to the Piazza stairs on any new ships. We have heard that the newest ship will have the center staircase. Thanks to Cruise Critic members for many, many great suggestions to make cruising easier and more fun. We'll be back for sure. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2013
We took our grandchildren they were on different floor enjoyed being together This was the last cruise i took with my husband He became ill and has passed away i am going on a cruise FEB 18 2017 WITH my FRIEND WHO'S ... Read More
We took our grandchildren they were on different floor enjoyed being together This was the last cruise i took with my husband He became ill and has passed away i am going on a cruise FEB 18 2017 WITH my FRIEND WHO'S HUSBAND ALSO HAS PASSED AWAY BOTH OF US LOOKING FORWARD JUST TO GET AWAY AND CHILL OUT I CHOSE THE PRINCESS MY HUSBAND AND I ALWAYS ENJOYED OURSELIES VERY MUCH We always got a balcony which my husband loved so much to sit out on ,and just watched the ocean . we were lucky to have beautiful weather. Which added to our sailing great sailing. Along with the service food entertainment everything went very well. I can honestly say i cannot remember anything not going smooth . My son and my two grandchildren do reminisce being on the ship with grandpa and fun we had with him . Beautiful memories. LOOKING FORWARD GOING AWAY AND HOPE MY FRIEND AND I GET UPGRADED TO A SUTIE Read Less
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