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Sail Date: November 2013
This was the maiden voyage of the Divina from Venice to Miami, 18 days aboard luxury. Well this was our third Cruise with MSC,and upon walking aboard at Venice, we were pleasantly amazed. We check internet rates,Repositioning cruises ... Read More
This was the maiden voyage of the Divina from Venice to Miami, 18 days aboard luxury. Well this was our third Cruise with MSC,and upon walking aboard at Venice, we were pleasantly amazed. We check internet rates,Repositioning cruises and do a lot of trolling cruise lines before deciding,but have found MSC have certainly upped their game since our first cruise on the Armonia. The Divina is in a class of it's own. We were originally a bit hesitant about being so low down on deck 5, but this turned out to be one of the best decks to be on. Ok if you have plenty of money and are wanting a balcony or suite,but we just like an outside room so we can see arrivals in ports, and apart from that,who wants to spend all their days cooped up in their cabin anyway We arrived at the port at about 2pm and were straight on Board and enjoying our first drinks within the hour. The terminal at Venice is very comfortable, and the processing speedy. Train takes you from the bus terminal to the berth. The Divina is a fantastic ship,as soon as you step aboard she has you memorised.and although we were a little concerned about being on a ship with over 4,000 passengers,we did not feel crowded at all.You were meeting new people each day that were elsewhere on the ship that you had not disovered. With the Divina, what we had an exceptional crew.A lot of the staff are from Bali and have the spirit and friendlyness of Indonesia,but they are worked hard for the money they get and are treated poorly by those in authoritve roles.This is why I asked to have my gratuities rescinded so I could pay those who made my trip worthwhile rather than the money go into the big pot and those at the top taking the cream. We had exceptional service from the bar persons and waitresses,always smiling, and as I have certain alergies to certain foods,the The assistant Maitre D’ checked my choices every night, and bought a menu for the following night so I could choose. The helpfulness and personal touch certainly made our trip a memorable one. Food in the dining rooms was a let down,maybe because we had had such good meals on the last cruises made us more critical,but one night we had lamb,which was sent back by the majority of those who were served it. the meals lacked variety.Chef needs a wake up call. But saying that, the buffet meals were varied and plentyful,although we only discovered the different selections on going to other parts of the massive self serve areas there was Chinese,Italian,Indian,Greek,vegetarian etc. We booked the Allegrissimo drinks package at $44 per person per day,and although expensive due to the fact my wife did not drink that much,and you had to have two per cabin. But, it was nice not to have to worry about how much it was going to cost for every drink, and there were nice wines for the evening meals as well. One did not have to worry about the 15% surcharge per drink,and speciality coffees were included. Being in the center of the ship has it's advantages,less rocking,and when we boarded it was only a short walk to our cabin. The Autrium rose up 9 floors and along with piano playing and the bars dotted around, this became quite a focal point for people to meet. tt was nice after an evening meal to congregate and indulge in a cocktail or two before retiring. There were several bars and entertainment areas around the ship to suit all tastes. We agree that the entertainment was absolutely first rate! The shows that they put on were well done, but they had a fasination with violin players,and going by the lack of patronage,it should have signalled that the customers wanted more shows and variety. A bit more of the singers and a Italian opera would have gone down better. Those that they did,were well attended. The one annoying aspect we found on the poolside,was the continued showing of MSC propoganda on the big screen,day in day out.It would have been nice to maybe have scenes from the previous days entertainment on board or movies at night . One let down was lack of buses when the ships hit a port,one would think that the companies plying the tourists would be well prepared and lay on extra services to accommodate the crowds. We really felt we were treated to a holiday and despite our misgivings of last cruises would happily sail with MSC again. One good thing is they look after repeat customers,with discounts for future travel. In fact we are booked to go on our next cruise in November on the Orchestra Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
I cannot believe the moans I have encountered during this cruise and some of the ridiculously negative reviews I have read upon returning . Facts the ship is beautiful the staff that I encountered were all very nice people yes some of the ... Read More
I cannot believe the moans I have encountered during this cruise and some of the ridiculously negative reviews I have read upon returning . Facts the ship is beautiful the staff that I encountered were all very nice people yes some of the food could have been better, particularly in the main restaurant and if i put my mind to it I could find little things to nit-pick on about. it seemed to me that throughout this cruise many people spent the holiday in some sort of weird competition to see who could gather the most negative notes instead of actually enjoying their surroundings and their holiday. I believe ,though I may be wrong, that most of the passengers on this ship got a very good deal on the price of the cruise in fact i doubt if they could have stayed in a travelodge for the price per night equivalent. However despite that I heard complaints about the staff not being able to speak "proper english", "too many foreingers on board" and many more unbelievable statements. The ship is international I am ashamed that I have never bothered to learn another language and certainly do not expect my waiter and cabin steward to speak half a dozen languages fluently In fact if they could I think they would be looking for a better job! I met some lovely people from all corners of the world on this cruise and enjoyed every minute of their company. A smile speaks a thousand words. I have cruised with most of the major lines RCCL, HAL,Celebrity ,NCL etc and I could have pointed out faults with them all if scrutinised enough. I have had great food with RCCL on some of their ships and mediocre food on some of their ships ...it depends entirely on the guy who is running the kitchen. I never felt under pressure to purchase anything on this ship whereas on my last few cruises with the other lines I was sick of the hard sell mentality on-board. I would personally like to thank MSC for a lovely holiday. I was travelling solo and am grateful that MSC offer such great deals on solo occupancy of cabins I would have no hesitation on cruising with them again . Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Divina Transatlantic cruise Venice to Miami November 2nd 2013 This was our third cruise with MSC in Twelve months and our second transatlantic, despite all the issues with MSC since booking way back in early January we had high ... Read More
Divina Transatlantic cruise Venice to Miami November 2nd 2013 This was our third cruise with MSC in Twelve months and our second transatlantic, despite all the issues with MSC since booking way back in early January we had high expectations of the Divina which is basically a stretched Musica class ship. Embarkation. We arrived at the port of Venice at around 11-45 am handed over our cases and went upstairs to find one area to our right very crowded and one to our left where people were in queues waiting for the check in desks. MSC club said that there was preferential check in at Venice for Silver, Gold and Black card members (this has now been removed from the current club member benefits) so we went over and asked one of the staff who told us it was for Gold and Black card members only, we took ourselves over to one of the information desks and asked the same question and were then lead to a separate area and were on the ship within twenty minutes. For some reason it had been decided that Credit card details would be obtained on the ship rather than at check in and it was left to passengers to go to customer service to register their card. Once again we were never required to fill in a health questionnaire. We headed up to our room which was a Balcony on the back of the ship on Deck 10, the cabin was similar to the one we had on Poesia the year before but slightly larger with a Balcony of some Fourteen feet in length that contained two chairs and a table as well as two sun loungers, the bathroom has two opening doors to the shower rather than a curtain which was great. Wardrobe space again was similar to Poesia with a three-door robe one containing the safe and draw storage space; there is also a 2 drawer bedside cabinet on each side of the bed and two on the vanity unit. The Fridge is also housed in this unit with the TV and a shelf above. The furniture is a dark walnut colour whereas the Poesia had been a much lighter material, we found the bedside lamps were a little to dull for reading with the main lights switched off. Red carpet and Bed headboard covering and two large mirrors, table and two seat settee completed the room. Our cabin was looked after by Nengah, who did a great job and left a note for me on my Birthday this was unexpected, and a really nice gesture. We headed up to the buffet for lunch having left our carry on cases in the cabin, after around twenty minutes there was a total loss of power for around five minutes, we have no idea as to why or if it was only the buffet that was affected. A problem with Deck 12,11 and 10 balconies is that when they wash the large panoramic windows of the back of the buffet on deck 14 these balconies get the water from it so every morning the balcony was wet and stayed that way until the room was cleaned, a further problem is that if they overfill the aft Infinity pool and forget to drain it back before leaving port these three decks get soaked as the ship makes its turns which is due to the water escaping from the contained area One of the White shirted crew/officers came to check out the problem and confirmed the water was from the pool but it was never cleared away, a possible design flaw, others on these decks also had to ring customer service about the water issue. The sliding doors to the balcony cannot be latched while out on the balcony which means that if the ship is rolling from side to side the door slides open and closed with quite a thud, dangerous if you happen to be going in or out and are caught unawares. For a somewhat new ship this area suffers from a lot of vibration during ship maneuvers being above the propellers and even small sea swells made the rolling of the ship worse, Divina rolls around quite a lot more than a big ship should do and this was noticeable in other parts of the ship. The sign that tells you that you cannot smoke in the cabin was hidden behind the curtain on the fixed pain of glass, about halfway through the cruise it was moved to the sliding panel after complaints about people smoking on their balconies. The meet and greets for the roll call were arranged by Ken who worked hard on arranging them and were somewhat interesting and a disappointment, the first one for thirty minutes was attended by Andre who was the new cruise director who was shadowing Maddie who was to leave the cruise once in Miami, I think Andre was taken by surprise at the comments being made. Only water was provided at the meeting. A second meeting was arranged so that people on the roll call could meet and talk to each other due to the short time of the first one, sadly this clashed with the re arranged time of the world quiz for us, and again I believe no refreshments were provided. Andre once again attended a third meeting and gave us an insight into how MSC intended to move forward in the Caribbean, the disappointment comes in because there were a host of senior MSC management people on the ship by this time and not one of them could be bothered to grace us with their presence nor any of the ships officers! Once again only water was provided. We have heard it said before that MSC need to stop thinking of their passengers as Cargo. Our thoughts on the Divina … The Divina is a nice very clean big ship but with small areas and what seems to be less space than on the Poesia and it does have some annoying design traits, the Villa Rossa dining room is located on Deck Six at the back of the ship and can only be accessed by Lift or by stairs from Deck Seven, to go from Villa Rossa to say Deck Five you have to go up and across Deck Seven and then down again. The Atrium of Divina is possibly the best part of the ship in our opinion and looks great and it also looks like where most of the money was spent, especially the staircases. Public toilets have no Hot water! And most have just two toilets in them, there also appeared to be a lack of them around or close to the Aqua Park. Pools are Salt water as is the water slide, the Spa area is nice and the staff always greeted you with a smile, you need to watch you do not walk into the tall mirrored glass that are next to the walkway to the sauna, changing rooms and steam rooms which were free to use on this cruise unlike on Poesia last year. At the bars we had no problem getting drinks although on busy nights in some it can get a little slow with not enough servers. The Jazz bar colour looks as though it has been imported from Costa and is not the usual MSC style, this bar is the only way to go forward to the theatre on this deck even if you come through the sports bar and many times people were walking past right in front of the singers despite the main route being to the left. There are two rows of three glass mirrors on each side prior to the buffet entry when coming from the lifts on Deck 14, no idea what the reason is for this although the theme of mirrors was replicated all over the ship especially on the staircases. The Buffet design although light and airy also suffers from lack of walking space between the tables and the food areas, with two of the beverage areas in the worst place possible next to a door leading to and from the kitchen. If you want salad be prepared to walk from one side to the other to get all you need unless you get the prepared stuff in a bowl from near the bar at the main entrance. At the back of the buffet opposite the bar are some bench seats that are not fixed down, be prepared to get stuck in there as we saw one guy did and could only get out when one waiter forcefully pushed the bench away after the people on the other side refused to moved despite being asked by the waiter his wife and four of us sat close by. Also be aware of the small kids food area with its little plastic railing and entrance frame which one man walked into and knocked over! Not quite sure why he was in the kids food area. Despite information to the contrary there were some people who still went into the buffet in swimwear and bathrobes! Hot water for Tea and Coffee is stored in containers and ran out on numerous occasions so you had to wait for a member of staff to change them over or go elsewhere, not sure why they do not have them plumbed in as some other ships are. The only passageway between the Black and White lounge on Deck Seven to the Theatre without going outside onto the Deck 7 boat deck has the photo shop and cruise pictures which means there is always a bottleneck of people coming from First dinner seating and the Black and White lounge to the theatre going against those heading to Second sitting dinner or coming from the theatre or other bars. The boat deck may well be a spoiler for some people because apart from a few small areas forward and aft of the lifeboats you cannot stand at the side rail and gaze out to sea due to the design of the lifeboat stowage. There is very little deck space between the pool and the small stage used by the Animation team and for those doing the dance exercises which means you have people dancing in between the sun beds around you. On Deck 15 there is very little room between the two rows of sun beds in many areas and people are constantly falling over them or kicking them as they go by, this area is also used by those jogging or walking. We did not have any problems finding a sun bed during the whole cruise. The Black and White lounge is the biggest lounge on the ship but is way too small for the number of people who wanted to use it and also had a lack of seating, it also possibly has the most uncomfortable and worst seats of the whole ship. The theatre is a mix of Red seating and Silver paneling and poor lighting on the stage that made it difficult at times to see what was going on during the shows some of which were the same ones from the year previous on Poesia. On the nights we visited the theatre it was never full. Anyone hoping to get to the front of the Divina for a view will be disappointed as this space is taken up by the Yacht club which houses around 4% of guests on the whole ship. Shops … The ship has the usual range of shops like the Logo shop, wristwatches and sunglasses, jewelery, handbags and duty free. The Disco appeared to be very under utilized in the evenings on this crossing, maybe it will get more use in the Caribbean. Food … This is always a difficult one because what one person likes another one may hate, the buffet food was the same as the previous years repo cruise on Poesia and at times lacked taste and was quite bland, the new size burgers were just meat and no flavour. Offerings for sweets at lunch and dinner were the same for the whole 18 days of the cruise and very unimaginative. The breakfast smoothies were one of the things to look forward to with Mango and Strawberry being our two favourites. Look out for Jennifer at breakfast who will have you one there in no time and they are best mixed by Kevin behind the bar. The Dining room on the first night was late for second sitting with people going in at 9-30 instead of 9 pm and at 9 pm the next night instead of 8-30 but the following nights seemed to sort themselves out at 8-30. Food in the evening also suffered from up and down syndrome, one-day good the next poor with the odd really good one thrown in, there appeared to be a problem of consistency from night to night. Of the Four Gala nights again it was a case of 1 really good, 1 not bad and 2 poor. Towards the last five nights the Dining room was maybe only half full. Tables in the Villa Rossa dining room were mainly for between 6 and 8 people and it seemed that there were not enough tables for two people. The Majority of people seemed to observe the dress code in the Dining room especially on Gala nights. The Cold fruit soups were once again one of the best foods served. Lamb shank one night was a big order by many in both the Black Crab and Villa Rossa; it was also possibly the most returned or left meal due to the meat being tough. The Duck that night also suffered the same fate although later in the cruise the Duck a`lorange was possibly one of the best meals of the cruise. The steaks went from wafer thin to be replaced mid cruise by decent thick tasty ones although we are still baffled as to how one arrived part well done and part pink inside! The after dinner sweets were again somewhat lackluster and on a few occasions we headed to the Café Del Doge for the better tasting offerings though there is a charge. Iced water was served from jugs without being asked for and coffee was available after dinner for those who wanted it. There were complaints of slow service in some areas of the dining rooms which may have been down to the fact that one kitchen serves one deck of the Black Crab dining room while the other one served the Villa Rossa and the other floor of the Black Crab, it may also be because the assistant waiters are away getting drinks while the waiters are busy doing everything else. Smoking is allowed on Deck 14 on the port side where you come out of the buffet and the bar with the Gelato is also on this side! A bad move in our opinion by MSC, they should have moved the smokers over to the other side. Entertainment... Many of the staff are from Poesia and have worked the Caribbean before, the Animation team lead by Claudio (ex Poesia) with Brendan, Zac, Yves, Sean, Adam, Julio and the others work their backsides off to get people involved in the games but were it seems handicapped by management on this cruise for some reason in the Black and White lounge in the evenings. The main band (ex Poesia) also seemed to have their hands tied singing the same set in the same order almost every night in the Black and White lounge where 95% of entertainment was dancing. It would be helpful if before they cruised MSC advised guests that there are to be theme nights on their cruise, Divina had a White party but had to be cancelled on the outside deck due to rain, a smaller version took place inside. Then there was a /60`s/ 70`s/80`s night which was the actual dress code for that night along with a Carnival and Red White and Green night. There were Four Gala nights onboard, Two casual, a 60/70/80`s, Green White and Red, Carnival, Casual or White and Eight Informal. The water slide was available for anyone to use despite a sign saying teens only and we made full use of it on a few days, the 4D cinema was good though a cost is incurred of $7 per film, the F1 racing simulator costs $9 a go, the Shuffleboard court yes just the one is virtually unusable when there are sun beds on either side and also the entry canopy to the Top 18 solarium ($10 a day for a sun bed) at one end. Surely someone must have noticed the issue of putting the court there? During the Five day sea crossing with no satellite signal MSC announced that the pay films would be available for Free, what they failed to say was the system was only able to accommodate 500 TV’s and each day the system crashed. They were upgrading the system with the new TV programmes as we sailed to Miami from San Juan that meant a visit to every TV on the ship to re programme them all. Cruise cards seemed to be a problem this year for some reason and between us we had them replaced 11 times for various reasons including bar machines not reading them and failing to open the cabin door, plus the original ones not having the drink package code on them. Other people we knew onboard had similar issues with their cards. Customer Service Desk … Very helpful staff although it did take Four visits over Six days to get the first days bar charges taken off our account due to not having the drink package code on our original sea pass cards. Ports Visited … Malta way too short only around Five hours, Malaga 5 1/2 hours, Madeira Full day, St Maarten Full day, St Thomas Full day for some due to US immigration, San Juan Full day. Getting off the ship at a few of the ports was a scrum at times because only one exit was used which was off the Atrium and having so many people in such a small space looked like disorganised chaos. Cruise highlights … The Ports visited, the best theatre show that we saw was Wonderland. Meeting many of the crew from the Poesia again especially Wayan our waiter from last year, Claudio from the Animation team, Sylvia in the Bacco bar and all the others. Meeting those roll call members we had chance to along with many others, taking part in the various quiz rounds and games. Visiting the two remaining ports on the itinerary that we had not been to, a visit to the everglades and our two days/nights in Miami despite the storm on the last night, meeting Police Officer Sergeant Bello of the Miami Beach police department who was one of the officers keeping an eye on the two buildings being built on South beach for an Art exhibition. Cruise Lows … The big one of losing a port day and arriving a day early in Miami for an advertising day by MSC just so the Divina could be the only ship in port on the 19th of November! Not what we paid for and being fed a constant stream of excuses as to why it was being done, the worst of all making out that it was so passengers could enjoy an “Exciting” day in Miami! Many of who had already made plans to stay for 2 or more days already. Plus there were people on the ship who live in Miami and Florida. Some Theatre shows were the same as the Poesia repo cruise last year but with different singers and dancers who were not as good, very much the same menu and food as last year with a few changes. The Captain and Hotel Manager were also from the Poesia along with Cruise Director Maddie. Disembarkation … We were told by staff that around 1500 passengers got off the ship on the 19th rather than stay on an extra night. You have to vacate the cabin by 7am. We will never understand the Italian way of organization of sending people to the farthest point when there is a shorter route, being on the back of the ship our allocated lounge was the theatre! We queued at the gangway exit for around Thirty minutes during which point people were told that there was an issue with the elevated walkway! The very same one that had been used all the previous day and night and was being used by the people in front of us who had already left the ship. The real reason was the slow baggage handling that was going on down below us, have these people learned nothing ? Tell people the Truth of what is happening and stop making up stories in order to cover up the problems. Having left the ship with other people we had sailed with last year we headed to the baggage claim area which was three halls with a conveyor belt unlike most other places we had been to where cases are stored in their respective colours tag wise and you go and collect them. The bags came through very slow and we waited around sixty minutes for ours, one German man had been waiting over two hours! Others waited longer. Conclusions … We would count ourselves as liking big ships over small ones having sailed the Oasis, Mariner of the seas and Ruby Princess and while many people will like Divina for various reasons we cannot see ourselves traveling on any of the other three Fantasia class ships of MSC. One reason being that there is no access to the front of the ship other than for those staying in the Yacht club. The Musica class of which Poesia belongs in our opinion has more wow factor than the Divina and has better-allocated space; any future cruises with MSC will likely be on this class of ship. To quote one lady who has been on all the MSC class of ships including twice on Divina, “Divina is all show and no substance” her preferred ship is the Sinfonia. Any cruise day at sea is always better than a day at work and some cruises are more memorable than others, sadly this cruise will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. After three cruises we are able to say that MSC although only being Twelve years old and young in terms of cruising compared to the likes of Carnival etc have a good product but it is let down by inconsistency in food in various areas and poor management especially those of the land based operations.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
My parents and i were on a 9 week holiday from Australia and we were traveling with 5 other people. We had already done a 14 night Adriatic/ Greek island cruise on ncl Jade a week earlier. I was really looking forward to sailing on MSC as ... Read More
My parents and i were on a 9 week holiday from Australia and we were traveling with 5 other people. We had already done a 14 night Adriatic/ Greek island cruise on ncl Jade a week earlier. I was really looking forward to sailing on MSC as i had already seen footage on you tube of how beautiful it was. We organized a private taxi to drop us at the terminal and we when we arrived the staff were at the waters edge ready to take all bags off us which was awesome as with ncl we had to take them ourselves. Check in was fairly smooth and fast. My first impression when boarding the was OMG! This ship is absolutely beautiful and anybody who says otherwise is kidding themselves. The bars are all beautiful as are the eating areas. I really enjoyed the pools and the gym as well. I had my own cabin on board and it was an outside cabin on the 5 level. It was beautiful and massive. I have never seen a cabin this big and i had it all to myself. My parents had a balcony cabin although it wasn't as big as mine it was still very nice. My cabin steward was very friendly and always made the effort help anyway he could. My parents girl was also lovely. We ate in the Villa Rosa every night except for 1 when we went to Eataly. We had the late seating which we find a lot better than the early. The first night was a schmozzle. Instead of eating at 830 we didn't get in till 930. There was a lot of new staff that started that day as it was embarking on the transatlantic cruise to America. We understood that there was going to be a few hiccups so that didn't really bother us. What did bother us was the attitude of the 1st seating, some of them just blatantly refused to hurry and leave even when it was 930. We had excellent waiters on our trip. Their names were Frankie and Kurniwan. They always had our drinks waiting and always had a joke with us even if they didn't quite get the Australian sense of humor. I found the food every night beautiful. My parents and their friends often sat at the bar on the 7th floor near the atrium. The drinks waiter Darwin and Sevastina were great. Always having a joke and being funny. i found all the staff on Divina although run off the feet with obvious cut backs on staff to be very friendly and attentive. I enjoyed the food in the buffet, however made to order omlettes should be a must on cruise ships so i was definitely disappointed with that. the dessert in the buffet were awesome. Now for some negatives. My two main complaints were HANDWASHING and entertainment in the bars. In regards to these i did make complaints while i was on board and did have a meeting with the pursers about this. In all restaurants and bars there are the dispensers for people to wash their hands however people would just walked past them and not use them which really pissed me off. As much as i don't want to say it, it was mostly Europeans that didn't use them and as you can imagine it was a majority of Europeans on board. How there wasn't an outbreak of gastro ill never know. All i ask is for someone to be stationed at least at the main dining rooms and buffet and spray peoples hands as the go in. Ncl do this on all their ships so i know it can be done. Entertainment was very boring. The stage shows were great but in the bars not so much. A lady and her husband in the back bar were quite good but opera and violins every night is really annoying. Don't get me wrong they are good at what they do but when you are in the Caribbean its not something you want to hear every night. Music around the pool was non existent and there were no sail away parties. It was quite sad when you were in the Caribbean and you could hear the music on the other ships and nothing on ours. I saw the cruise directors and asked them one night why there was nothing on and happening and they said the get too manly complaints from the Europeans about loud music. I told them you do realize that you are going to the Caribbean and going to be going out of Miami all the time which means Americans, Canadians, Australians and British to name a few will not stand for boring cruises in the Caribbean They want Fun, upbeat cruises. As this cruise was about 6 months ago i understand that things may have gotten better which i really hope they have as it is a beautiful ship and the staff were amazing. The staff and the ship are why i will cruise Msc cruise Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2013
This was our first cruise with MSC and after praise from a TV show about the ship we had high expectations. Once on board initial impressions were good. We had an inside cabin on deck 5 which was one deck below the casino and on the same ... Read More
This was our first cruise with MSC and after praise from a TV show about the ship we had high expectations. Once on board initial impressions were good. We had an inside cabin on deck 5 which was one deck below the casino and on the same deck as the main lobby for enquiries and help desk. The lobby/atrium was quite impressive spread over three decks with the famous swarowski crystal stair cases and several bars. Bar staff, waiters and servers were all excellent with a good mix of nationalities and most with very good English. The coffee bars and ice cream parlors were very good. Ice cream cup $2.10 12 + flavours, double cappuccino $4.10. There is a good choice of bars with most cocktails costing around $7.25 e.g. Manhattan, Pina Colada etc. Wines by the glass from$5.50 to $8.50 and bottles from around $24 upwards. Beer $5 or $6. We had pre purchased the Alligrissimo Drinks for £20 per person which was also on sale at embarkation but for the price of $44 per person in a cabin, considerably more. It is quite difficult to drink $44 of alcohol and ice cream each day for 18 days especially with days ashore. We did have problems with ordering wine as some of the more popular wines such as the Shiraz and Californian Cabernet Sauvignon ran out early in the cruise. My recommendation is to drink when you feel like a cocktail or a glass of wine and the occasional ice cream or coffee and save your money. The design of the ship is somewhat different from standard cruise ships. There is no full walk around promenade deck. You can walk outside along the port and starboard sides of the ship on deck 7 but to go from one side to the other you have to go inside past the lifts for and aft. You cannot access the front of the ship on the top deck unless you are a Yacht Club member, i.e. effectively a first class passenger. We have cruised on nine other cruise ships from five cruise lines and never have we not had access to the front of the ship on one of the top decks. You can look out of the front of the ship on deck 10 from inside the Gym through two sets of glass windows and shields. Although you could theoretically walk around the top deck 15, but without access to the front of the ship, this was made difficult by the many many sun loungers always filled with sun bathers during the day.The weather was very good fortunately for them. If you wanted to walk or risk jogging around deck 15 this could only be done early in the day or after dusk when the sun worshippers had retired to the bars or restaurants. Walking around the deck also involved negotiating the top deck Bar at the rear on the port side, which was also a popular spot for the smokers who also inhabited a long section on deck 14 port side where they had ash trays. There was no where to sit on the outside top deck 15 accept on a sun loungers apart from in the port side rear bar where you have to share with the smokers. There was plenty of room in areas on deck fifteen where chairs and tables could have been placed. We found food in the main dining room very disappointing with limited choice. Meat tended to be over cooked and portions very small with very few vegetables. Food in the Buffet on deck 14 was good for breakfast if you could find a seat to eat it at. Lunch had a reasonable choice of dishes but again was very busy. If you decided to eat later when the buffet was quieter, you risked the choice being reduced as food ran out. The evening buffet was always very disappointing with only one side of the restaurant being open and a very poor selection on offer. There was always pizza and burgers, pasta and grilled chicken again usually over cooked, but that was pretty much all. Lunch time specials like sweet and sour pork or curry and a meat joint were never offered in the evening We saw two shows both good. The story of Ben Bones and very good, the Michael Jackson tribute. Getting off the ship on port days varied from reasonably successful to totally shambolic. If you had chosen to go on a ships trip you were escorted off from decks 4 or 5 usually. Every one else who was on an independent excursion, or who just wanted to go ashore, had to leave from deck 7 mid ships through the atrium which meant everyone converging either from deck 6 coming up the swarowski staircase or from one of four corridors on deck 7 into one large scrum trying to file through one exit with two scanners for cruise cards all at the same time. Given the tendency for Europeans not to understand the concept of an orderly queue, this inevitably lead to chaos. Having said all of this, the ports of call were outstanding. Valletta in Malta, an amazing sail in through a spectacular harbour, albeit watched from the side of the ship, the front not being available as mentioned above. Malaga in Spain, Funchal in Madeira, Philipsburg in St. Maarten, Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas and San Juan in Puerto Rico before arriving in Miami for an overnight stay before disembarkation, another shambles. As mentioned by other critics you have to leave you cabin by 7 in the morning only to sit around on the ship. In our case we sat in the theatre and waited for our assigned colour and number to be called. However nothing was happening. We were supposed to get off the ship as 9 a.m. our allotted time, but nothing was happening and no numbers were being called. One guest complained at the front desk and a member of the entertainment department to come to the front and explain what was happening. Apparently a problem with immigration authorities or customs, even though every one had cleared Homeland Security in St Thomas and many had also been off the ship the previous day happily wondering around Miami. So what was going on? To summarise: A large ship with some strange design features, large state rooms, excellent staff, but poor organisation, disappointing food, great coffee and tasty ice cream. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Much misinformation about what was to take place in this maiden transatlantic crossing of MSC's Divina. I must say that the ship is gorgeous. Good looks are, however, deceiving. The disorganization starts at the top and filters down ... Read More
Much misinformation about what was to take place in this maiden transatlantic crossing of MSC's Divina. I must say that the ship is gorgeous. Good looks are, however, deceiving. The disorganization starts at the top and filters down to all aspects of the cruise. As cruising is relative, the relationship is based on what you have experienced before and the anticipation that you are embarking on something similar or perhaps even better than you did before. I must admit, I made the mistake of ignoring the reviews I read as the ramblings of disgruntled previous passengers (they are the most likely to write where passengers that appreciated their trip tend to dismiss it as having gotten what was expected). Unfortunately those who complained in this case understated the reality. It took me 15 of the 19 days of this cruise to even find out the basis upon which the voyage was initiated. "We are going to bring a taste of the Mediterranean to the Caribbean to allow those in that area to experience it w/o the extra travel." Okay, fair enough but the taste left from this cruise would tell me that I would not want to experience more which is simply not true. If one loves travel, Italy and the Greek Isles should be high on the priority list, especially their culinary offerings. MSC Divina did not come close to the mark there. They awarded their own Pizza chef as the best in Italy. I think their pizza was adequate but noting to write home about. Unfortunately it appears that their head chef was promoted from the Pizzeria and should be put to whence he came. Overcooking and over salting foods was the norm. And heavy gravy for Au Jus - it is supposed to be a sauce, not a gravy. No problem, the English cut prime rib that was smothered by this foul presentation could not have hurt or helped it anyway. Lest you think that this is an example, it was carried on throughout the dining experience. Lobster butterflied and left in the shell (not even removed and then replaced - still attached). It tasted more like lobster flavored rubber. Two of my favorite dishes ruined, uneatable! I do know good food. Being a former restaurant owner and qualified chef give me a right to critique foods with some authority. And, comparison to other cruise lines culinary gives me another rating system to use in case I was to consider my own skills to be more than what they are. Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America, and Princess all offer way better culinary skills. OK, Costa fell below MSC but I will not cruise with them again either. It was so bad that I felt sorry for the dining room staff that was a go between having to deal with the abuse that so often is misdirected toward them because of lack of quality that they are required to present. The bright spot in the dining room was the fine effort made by the staff there and their efforts to do well despite the insurmountable odds against them. This, I might say, was also true of our cabin steward. Meeting all our expectation and providing little extras was his mission. He too did a spectacular job. It is a shame that those were the high lights of this cruise experience. I did have a meeting with the guest relations manager wishing to see this beautiful ship be successful in its transitional efforts. I fear, however, that little of what I had to say was even a consideration. MSC will not make it in the Caribbean!!! Especially if they continue with a line of arrogant stupidity and misinformation. And speaking of misinformation, we received information almost continuously via loud speakers on all the sales, and offerings that should have been handled on a want to know basis. And in five languages no less. In preparation for their entering the U.S./Caribbean market (they will be home based in Miami for the next two years) they were required to meet U.S. coastguard standards. They drilled their crew daily, especially when we were in ports of call. If anyone stayed aboard or came aboard after being out and about, they were blasted with crew drills over the loud speakers (at least they too were not in five languages). I have had and expect preparatory pre sailing drills for the passengers before but this is required and appreciated for all who want to wonder the deep blue seas. The incessant crew training drill needs to be done elsewhere or quietly so as not to disrupt the peaceful respite that one has paid for. And, it overflowed into almost every other aspect of their disorganized presentation. I am guessing that 30% of the crew came newly aboard in Malaga. Needless to say, they required the training that was given to them as we sailed away. Yes, some of it got better as the time passed but I will have a hard time forgetting the cappuccino served to me in a demi-tasse or the 1/2 filled demi of espresso. One bartender training five newbies while customers waited an hour for their miss-made drinks. I was told by another English speaking French Canadian that I spoke with that he had over heard a cruiser from Belgium speaking about the "stupid Americans that got what they paid for and considered fine dining to be hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza". Well this "stupid American" had fine dining tastes that were not met in any way, shape or form. Even the sommelier who visited us during our evening meal was frustrated when he spoke about the ship running out of wines that were offered. Apparently, they did not anticipate that so much wine would have been consumed (an Italian ship with a 4200 passenger capacity that had 3300 aboard for 19 nights wouldn't expect large consumption of a product in which they take so much pride - yes it is good and does rival the best of the French but???) Just another glitch in their organized chaos. Oh, and paying for what you get. I have paid less for far more with others that did not try to nickle/dime me for the "not included" Unless you were U.S or Canadian, you even paid for your bottled water - poor Australians and Brits. Oh heck, we even were required to pay for coffee with our evening meals, Never mind any on board. They too were pay as you go and pricey at that. 6 Euros each for a game of mini bowling. Mom was charged $15 per book for their used (left behind) book from their library - okay, they returned the funds when the books were returned but what an ultimate insult to one's integrity. Might have been more acceptable had they advised that they would assess a charge if they were still on your ship's card and not returned prior to disembarking but... The list is far more extensive but I am as tired of writing this as you are of reading it if you have gotten this far and I think if you have, you get the picture. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
The Divina is a beautiful ship. I like the staterooms. In the staterooms I especially like the folding shower doors that give extra room when you're not in the shower. Departure from Venice was very unpleasant. You have to walk, ... Read More
The Divina is a beautiful ship. I like the staterooms. In the staterooms I especially like the folding shower doors that give extra room when you're not in the shower. Departure from Venice was very unpleasant. You have to walk, dragging your luggage from the people mover to the ship. Thank goodness it wasn't raining! It's about one mile... honestly a mile. Regarding the food I always found something I liked. The "Ethnic" corner was a go to place to tasty dishes at lunch time. At breakfast, it's basic. There wasn't any fresh pineapple, and there were canned fruits everyday. And, someone has got to tell the chef that both baked beans and baked apples actually need to be baked! In both cases they were passed by the front of an oven. Dinner upstairs in the buffet is basically the same every day with really minor changes. MSC wants you in the dining room. Many passengers were upset that MSC canceled a scheduled stop in Nassau so they could have a publicity stunt with Fiat 500 cars, and have a travel agent inspection day. There was typical MSC confusion (everything goes to Sorrento, to Geneva, back to Sorrento, to Miami, and then back to Sorrento all over again) regarding the canceled day. Some passengers got off, some didn't. Everything was last minute and completely confused. But, MSC saved the worst until the last minute. After the big good-bye production on stage, after the helicopters in Miami, and after we filled out the questionnaires, MSC forgot to offload the luggage... Yes, that's right, they didn't have the luggage on the dock, it was all still on the ship in the morning. There was chaos in the luggage hall. People standing around, no luggage. Local staff could only say that they had never seen anything like this. Absolutely NO MSC staff anywhere! Luggage was coming out with all the colors on all of the carousels. People who got off first were still waiting for their luggage THREE HOURS LATER. And, I might add that's three hours of STANDING AND WAITING, for their luggage since there was no place to sit. Some passengers were telling local staff that MSC could send their luggage since they were not going to miss their flight. I waited over two hours for my luggage, which came off on the wrong carousel. I like MSC but this certainly left a very bad impression. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Divina...November 2-20....Trans Atlantic...Venice to Miami This was our second cruise with MSC....first one a 14 day New England to Quebec City...and this one an 18 day repositioning from Venice to Miami.....right off I must say that ... Read More
Divina...November 2-20....Trans Atlantic...Venice to Miami This was our second cruise with MSC....first one a 14 day New England to Quebec City...and this one an 18 day repositioning from Venice to Miami.....right off I must say that “we WOULD sail again with MSC ”..that statement is for those who think that any sort of criticism is bad-mouthing the company and its ships.... We had just finished two 7 day B2B’s on the Splendour of the Seas...RCCL around Greece, Croatia and Turkey....that ended on Nov 2 so had fresh memories to compare things between RCCL and MSC....it was our first time on RCCL The Ship and Demographics..... The ship was almost sold out....apparently it had been heavily marketed in Europe and Turkey for a cruise with air package.....so according to the front desk and CD there were over 900 Swiss/Germans and 700 Turks and the rest from all over Europe and Britain....a minority were the 100 Canadians...most from a package from Sunquest...200 or so from Australia...a package with air and Las Vegas...their package was interesting as it included the 7 days before this cruise, the 18 days and then the 3 day intro with all the travel agents from USA..... and lastly perhaps 75 from USA...(an Australian review would be very interesting to read as it would highlight three different cruises on the same ship) The ship is beautiful and fairly well laid out.... deck #7 allows you to go from one end of the ship from the Black and White Lounge area in the aft to the Theatre at the bow....the others go part way so you have to go up or down stairs to deck 7....there was no way to go to the bow of the ship outside unless you were a Yacht Club customer...this is kind of a negative as it is nice to go to the bow area ......the ship is spotless and well maintained....could not believe the number of crew members we saw cleaning all times of the day and night....they also appreciated a comment that showed some interest in what they were doing...ie vacuuming, polishing, cleaning windows...etc....the bars and lounges were well designed and packed at night with lots of entertainment....each lounge had a band or singer night after night for listening pleasure and dancing if you wanted.....there were 17 of them.....probably too many but with 4000 passengers you have to have places to go at night......pools in the day were crowded as the weather was hot and sunny....far too many people would get up early...stake out their loungers, put out their orange towels and leave....and come back hrs later... it was like a contest to get the best positions...for 18 days the same people were in the same spots....the pools were nice and warm and filled with salt water....after the whole day of use the water was not as clear as in the AM....suggestion is to change some of the water as the day goes on.......currency on board was in US$....which came into effect the day we boarded...so some strain on the staff to adjust so fast....casino went from Euro to $ also....some machines still had the Euro symbols....a fun place but we thought the slots were tight......gratuities were the least expensive at $8 per day....we had a Cruise Critic group and had some meetings...if you do some digging you can find comments about that process.....Andre, the new Assistant Cruise Director attended the meetings and was very candid....which was a good thing.... Ports... Venice, Malta, Malaga, Madeira, St Maarten, St Thomas, San Juan, Puerto Rico and supposedly (Nassau) which was exchanged for an extra day in Miami....we loved all of them....sunshine, hot, and interesting places, easy to move about and sightsee....our favourite was probably Madeira....beautiful location...did the Hop–on, Hop-off bus for an overview of the area, the gondola up the Monte, then lunch and a leisurely walk about the main part of town and back to the ship.....never took a ship tour in any of the ports as we did our own thing which was very easy...most of these ports you could just walk off the ship and were right in the middle of things..... Cabin We had an aft balcony cabin....11266....quite large, full sized couch, queen bed, flat screen 24”, desk area, fridge....(mini bar), nice sized bathroom with glass/plastic doors for shower, robes, two large closets, balcony with two loungers, two chairs and a table.....excellent to while away the 18 days.....cabin steward gave great service and did little extras for us....we liked chatting to him and he appreciated it....we kept getting fruit bowls...who knows from where as there never was a note....there was a slight problem with the balcony...if you do some research you can find out why as it was under the aft pool.....there was hardly any rumble from the engines.....so fairly quiet........and no loud neighbours......sometimes smelled smoke in the hallways but apparently some nationalities were not told about the new smoking rules....signs for no smoking showed up on the balcony door two days before the cruise ended....... Dining We had fixed seating at 6pm (don’t like to wait until 8:30) in the Black Crab....deck 6....table for 6 by a window in the port aft section of the restaurant.....great table mates.....two from Belgium and two from Ontario....looked forward to going to dinner each night as had so many nice chats and laughs....sometimes this makes the cruise in our opinion.......our waiter and assistant were fantastic.....after a few days the wine, water, bread, etc was always waiting for us when we arrived......service was off and on but no fault of the waiters....it was due to back-ups and problems in the kitchen, new menus and new ways of doing things......ice water was available at the table (something new).....as we were from NA we had free vouchers for bottled water, gas or no gas....so we used them up....a nice perk...(at $3.25 natural or $4.75 for San Pelligrino) ..and shared the water with our new friends from Belgium....they thought that was great.....we had the NA wine package of 7 bottles for $85....very nice house wine.....Trebiano Rubicon and Grillo Tratt....both white.....(there are also two reds and one rose to choose from )...buy before you go on the cruise and save the service charge....also had the NA beer package at $52 for 14 bottles or cans... had the odd MGD 16oz...cost at $5 each in the bars and restaurants....Food....well that is always subjective.....in our humble opinion it was fine....when compared to RCCL which we had just come off for 14 days, we felt the food and variety was better on MSC....you could have 5 or more courses each night.....appetizer, soup, salad, pasta, mains, dessert.....who would starve?....food preparation was usually good but you could never tell....if we did not like it just asked for another course and got it really fast.....gelatto was always available for dessert so would usually order a dessert and gelato....super......beef could be ordered by cooking style now....rare, med-rare, etc....previously you could not do that.....and cuts were thicker.....had lobster one gala dinner....nice and ordered the steak also to go with it......delicious....we never starved.....Breakfast in the buffet was hectic but lots of choice.....however, the stations never changed for the whole cruise.....major problem was that fresh fruit was only at the front station which was quite the hike from the back of the buffet...... better to have a quiet breakfast in the dining room.....service was fast.......Lunch in the buffet....again hectic....and repetitive.....we started eating in the dining room as was more civilized......most stations had the same stuff day after day....there was an ethnic station and things did change there..... salad was only in the front station....again a major flaw in the design.....they should have had a mirrored design front and back....would clear up many problems as most people were rushing back and forth.....so for 18 days all was fine....the staff tried hard with all the new menus and serving style....and yes....we had coffee each night with our dessert....waiters got into the flow and got the coffee cups ready as dessert was served....never went to the pay eating venues...mostly they were empty....MSC never had any outside eating areas or barbecue which was too bad as the weather was great each day....perhaps they will do that later on the Caribbean cruises.... Entertainment I think the shows were geared to an audience that speaks different languages.... hence no comedians, English production shows etc......mainly impressive visual shows, dancing, acrobatics, juggling, physical stunts etc. with names such as “Billy Bones”, “Wonderland”, “Mime Mix”, “Il Sole Mio”, “Elvis Tribute”, “Starwalker”, “The Best Of”, “Frank Sinatra” ...some were loud and impressive with costumes and activities.....the best one that we liked was “Starwalker” which was a take on Michael Jackson music and dancing.....the theatre holds 1670 people on three levels.....so really no problem getting a seat....arrived sometimes 5 minutes before the show at 9pm.....they did two shows usually, one for late seating and one for early seating.....Introductions by the CD took forever as they repeated things in 5 languages and then sometimes 6 for all the Turks.....I wonder if they will just stick to English for the Caribbean ones. The Black and White lounge was the hub of activity after the shows....with the Entertainment/Animation crew doing their stunts.....each bar also had music...really liked the couple that sang in “La Luna”.....Shops and Shopping......lots of them...most we have ever seen on a ship.....even a candy store.....final thoughts....well for five days in a row we also had “Opera Shows”....good for some but the theatre was half empty....and the big production shows had the same stunts but with different music and costumes.....so lost some of the thrill after seeing the same thing over and over.....as there was no TV for several days there was no entertainment or news in our staterooms...some problem due to the change-over of satellite feed from Europe to North America...should have been addressed sooner than it was On/Off Great embarking in Venice....dropped off our tagged luggage and checked in....on ship in probably 15 minutes....MSC had this port down pat.....Miami....well another story.....perhaps there were problems as it was the first time...but....we were to be off the ship at 8:45 to pick up luggage but were still waiting for it 2 and half hrs later.....lots and lots of unhappy customers missing planes etc.....major concern....did not see one MSC officer trying to help out and explain the problems...I think they were getting ready to have the 3 days of Travel Agents aboard..... .....only people about were the Port of Miami helpers and employees...mainly women.... and I felt sorry for them...they did their best Summary We had a good cruise....great dinner mates, nice table location, good wine, fantastic weather for 18 days, interesting ports of call, and a new, well looked after ship.....and the food...well no one would starve....there was always something to eat and if it was not what you expected or felt was not up to snuff, just order another dish......and excellent service from our waiters and cabin steward.....what can you want! Sure there were minor/major glitches depending on your point of view...organizational skills of the senior management, luggage problems, lack of information, having to call 4 different head offices before someone could make a decision, chaos at the buffet at times, loud multi-language announcements, few English books in the library, pool lounger hogs, dropping Nassau without giving a reason, misinformation as no one really knew what was going on at times. All in all we will remember the great time as the positives outweighed the negatives. We hope MSC will address the issues that caused concern and upset for many of the passengers and succeed in the North American market. As a line they cannot put their image ahead of the things that most passengers expect. A case in point would be the fantastic arrival in Miami with helicopters, fireboats, “Fiats” and Diva sunglasses followed the next day by the disembarkation and luggage retrieval fiasco. That left most people with a bad taste and that was unfortunate as the last thing they remember of the cruise..... Thanks for reading....   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Pre cruise we stayed on the Grand Canal at the Hotel Santa Chiaria in Venice right off of Piazza Roma. This hotel is convenient to the airport bus drop off location (6 Euros per person for the airport bus) and also to the People Mover that ... Read More
Pre cruise we stayed on the Grand Canal at the Hotel Santa Chiaria in Venice right off of Piazza Roma. This hotel is convenient to the airport bus drop off location (6 Euros per person for the airport bus) and also to the People Mover that you can take to the port for embarkation (1 Euro per person). The ship was a delight. It is quite spacious with many public areas to lounge/linger in. There are activities that would please a variety of tastes. We enjoy the bingo (yes we were winners several times!), the dance classes, just wandering around the ship "people watching" and the shows in the theater. We thought the shows were great and there was a nice variety between production shows, comedians and musicians. We found all to be very entertaining. To us, the most important Princess employees on the ship are our cabin steward and our main dining room waiters. These people were superb. We find the ship board employees of Princess to be one of their biggest assets. Everyone is so very helpful and will go out of their way to assist you. We enjoyed dining in the main dining room and the sharing of our daily activities with our table mates. There were always food selections that pleased us and the food was prepared to perfection. We did participate in the Chefs Table experience one evening and that was a total delight. The meal was one of the top five meals I have ever eaten. This is an experience that I would suggest in a heart beat. It is not offered on all cruises and is just by luck of the draw as far as participation. Check with dining via ships phone as soon as you get on board on the day of embarkation to put your name on the list. Our disembarkation in Ft Lauderdale was a tad late but overall very unremarkable. U S Customs did not have enough personnel to handle the size of the ship and things got a little backed up on board. Overall, this was another GREAT trip with Princess and the Ruby was a delight to call home for our 27 days! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
The maiden voyage of the Royal Princess was truly a great vacation experience. My wife and I celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary on board and we had a blast. The Atrium is truly magnificent as shown in the Royal Princess You Tube ... Read More
The maiden voyage of the Royal Princess was truly a great vacation experience. My wife and I celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary on board and we had a blast. The Atrium is truly magnificent as shown in the Royal Princess You Tube videos. I will definitely cruise with Princess again! PROS: Our Stateroom Stewart at E402 was Naisy and she was truly a delightful and hard working young lady. In fact a film crew from the UK were filming her for a documentary when we were there. She is a true Superstar! Our dining room waiter, Florante, catered to our every whim. His sense of humor is truly infectious. Dining at the Allegro was always something we look forward to. His assistant Rodelio was also very attentive to our needs. What a superb pair of waiters! Our lunch at the Concerto was always memorable due to our waitress Aileen Fontanilla. She was spot on on her luncheon recommendations. Her assistant Forlett was a definite asset to the team. The Horizon Cafe team of Chefs and waiters were truly remarkable and the new Pastry Shop is a must. CONS: Our first night in our stateroom, our shower did not work. We had to wait 3 hours for someone to fix it thus missing our first dinner as we were exhausted from our 16 hour transatlantic flight. The nightly entertainment at the Princess Theater was below par and very short. Princess needs to work on this badly. I have never seen a show where guests started leaving after the first musical number. The way to the Allegro Dining room is confusing as there is no direct route from midship without taking the stairs first. Other guest were also right in stating that a stairway is badly needed at midship as it takes forever to wait for the elevators. The Seawalk is over-rated. The Promenade deck should be called the half Promenade most of it was eliminated. Lastly, there some guest in the Elite status who think they are royalty and insist on having preferential treatment in the choice of lounging chairs under the Movie Under the Stars. They ask that first timers vacate their seats or be the first to in line for services even if they come in late. Princess need to offer courses in proper etiquette and good manners for these people. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
The Royal is a beautiful ship, and we had a marvelous time on her Maiden TA voyage from Venice to Fort Lauderdale. It was our first cruise in the Mediterranean and first TA, so we really didn't know what to expect, but The Royal met ... Read More
The Royal is a beautiful ship, and we had a marvelous time on her Maiden TA voyage from Venice to Fort Lauderdale. It was our first cruise in the Mediterranean and first TA, so we really didn't know what to expect, but The Royal met and surpassed our expectations. First, despite the many negative reviews, we thoroughly enjoyed the ship. The service was exceptional and the food was wonderful. The entertainment was very enjoyable with lots of variety from the production shows to comedians to bands/musicians to local entertainment in certain ports. The highlight of the ship is the large and beautiful piazza where something was always going on--it was entertainment central for the ship with plenty of seating, bars and food options. We particularly enjoyed Alfredo's where the food, pasta and desserts were delicious and free as well as the 24 hour International Café--again variety and quality of the food were wonderful. We had a mid-ship minisuite under the Seaview Bar and loved the extra space of the stateroom and balcony. Our balcony was one of the larger angled balconies, and we enjoyed breakfast each morning and a special balcony dinner one evening. Privacy is not an issue on the port side under the Seaview Bar, especially if you are booked on a lower deck as we were (Baja). There were curtains that allowed the stateroom to be separated into bedroom and seating area, which we very much enjoyed. Storage space was more than adequate, and we loved the well equipped bathroom with tub/shower combo. The on demand television system was wonderful with a large selection of movies, TV shows and the usual lectures and daily wake show. We enjoyed the opportunity to watch first run movies in our cabin especially on port days when we returned exhausted from a long day of touring. The spa is large and luxurious, and I like the new location on Deck 5. I had very good treatments, and there was no pressure to buy additional products and services. The gym was on Deck 16 and had plenty of equipment and great views. I also enjoyed the walking track on Deck 17--again great views and outside exercise stations. There is a large court space where Zumba was held most mornings and also used for basketball, pickleball and other court games. Cruise staff had many activities planned for the sea days, and we enjoyed trivia, Pop Choir, lectures and lounging by the pools. There are three pools with lots of loungers in both sun and shade--we enjoyed the adult only retreat pool. We did not take advantage of the Sanctuary (fee based) or the Retreat Pool cabanas (fee based). The Movies Under the Stars was in operation day and night, and we enjoyed the fountain shows on special nights. There were very few children on our cruise so space in the pools and hot tubs was not an issue. The newly designed Horizon Court/Bistro buffet area was a huge improvement with good flow and a great variety of food. We usually ate in the dining room but we had lunch and snacks in Horizon Court. We also ate at the Crab Shack, which is a special area in Horizon Court offered on certain nights. The food was delicious although the hush puppies need some work. Princess continues to have the best pizza at sea which we enjoyed several days for lunch, and also the Trident grill offers freshly made burgers, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches. At night the grill also offers chili, barbecue beef and pork as part of the Smokehouse. The food was very good. The soft serve ice cream (free), Pastry Shop (free) and Gelato Shop (fee based) meant that snacks and desserts were always available. Afternoon Tea in the dining room was also excellent with delicious scones and other treats. Cruise staff were competent, friendly and professional, and we had some of the best service on the Royal that we've had on any of our cruises. Ports were interesting and varied, and we took mostly private excursions arranged through our roll call--all were excellent. The one Princess tour that I took in Barcelona was well organized and convenient-don't miss seeing La Sagrada Familia, which was the main reason I chose this particular tour. We were blessed with beautiful weather and calm seas on the Atlantic crossing and would definitely recommend this itinerary and the beautiful Royal. She is very spacious and it rarely felt crowded. We enjoyed the new feature of free intranet service accessed via cell phones and tablets to keep up with activities, locations and stateroom accounts conveniently and on-demand. I did miss the promenade deck for that "close to the sea" viewing and walking, but most of the other "negatives" were not an issue for us. The elevators were crowded during port days when people are coming and going at the same time, but most of the time they worked fine even without the central staircase. I didn't find it a problem to walk forward or aft when I wanted to take the stairs. The self-service laundry rooms on most passenger decks were very convenient and worked well with the new token machines--much easier to swipe your cruise card than carry quarters. The Library is very small and there is no card room. The aft dining room was the meeting place for cards and games--we didn't participate in those so I don't know how well that venue worked. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
The Royal Princess is an excellent ship and worth seeing. My wife & I are both 62 and sailed on the Royal and found her to be different from the other ships yes but.. beautiful, expansive and pure joy to be on. If you are concerned, ... Read More
The Royal Princess is an excellent ship and worth seeing. My wife & I are both 62 and sailed on the Royal and found her to be different from the other ships yes but.. beautiful, expansive and pure joy to be on. If you are concerned, don't be. Our biggest complaint is: All these old, Elite (read arrogant) and overweight cruisers complaining all day and night. Average age on board had to be above 70, average weight well above 200. So, let us please put the complaining in perspective (other than older people simply like to complain). Yes, the stairs amidships re for crew and for emergencies. If you want to walk, the walk fore or aft but... noooo.... most people COULD not or WOULD not walk so they used the elevators... for one floor. This caused the overcrowding of elevators. For us, not an issue. The technology is amazing... on demand movies (over 60), TV Shows, live TV, GPS, music and.. if you missed a presentation/lecture in Princess Live, the recording was on demand.. thus the reasons for Princess Live. The TVs were not 'out for days'.. user error, trust me. Laundry taking too long. Oh... there were 3,000+ Elite passengers on board with yes, you go tit, free laundry. These people could not go a day without turning in laundry which overloaded the ship. Unless you are on a cruise where only retired Elite people go, no issue. I got my laundry back in 2 days, normal. Only 2 pools... is not correct. There are 3, one is for adults only (thank you Princess). If you are going to pick a cruise to go swimming, go to a beach, OK? Oh.. I cannot put my drink down in the Theater. here is an idea.. don't drink so much. Really? You need to set a drink down for a 45 minute show? Wow, how can someone complain about this? The aisles are plentiful IF you walk around to the side but no one would walk and extra 2 feet to avoid inconveniencing anyone. The theaters is huge, amazing and a joy. Many complained it was too loud. Really, a live theater should be quiet? Noise complaints.. sheesh. First, we had absolute peace and quiet. We know how to choose a cabin. Everyone we met who complained about noise and vibration.. we asked, "where is your cabin?". You guessed it... bow or stern. Wow, you mean you have a room over the engines and the propellers and you thought it was a design flaw that your room had more motion and vibration? Same with the bow and wind noise or... getting a cabin below the upper deck. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? Take a course in cabin selection, OK? There is no bar in the Vista Lounge.. a complaint? Thank You Princess. Now, you can actually listen to the show/music without someone making noise in the back at the bar. And hey.. elitists... stop talking when the show is on, OK? You want to talk or drink? Go to a bar or up on deck. Now, the Promenade. Well.. let's start with the Atrium. It is amazing. Long, wide and the acoustics are awesome. One can listen to music on 3 decks.. wonderful. The Atrium is bounded by shops, restaurants, bars, sushi, pastry, coffee.. name it. Now.. where do you think the engineers got all that space? On the Emerald, peple complained that it was too narrow to walk through the Atrium. OK, solved here but where did the space come from? Yes, the Promenade. The life boats are pushed out over the side (vs. being over the Promenade deck) and now, we have all this extra space inside. it is truly amazing. So, personal preference.. if I had to choose.. I would take the larger space inside, more rooms, larger Atrium and simply miss the Promenade. Yes, it is nice to walk on but you know, for every get, there is a give. Ask yourself,, how often do you walk/sit on the Promenade vs. walk/sit/eat inside? The bathrooms are larger with a shower you fit into.. thank you Princess. And.. there is a step to put your foot on so certain body parts do not hang out of the shower when you are washing your legs. I did not find the staterooms to be smaller... same as Emerald I think or very close. Yes, the balcony is smaller. Very small, bummer. Interesting how everyone complains though.. for all the times I was on the balcony or looking over the side rarely did I see anyone using them. I didn't mind as I am happy having a larger bathroom/shower and if I have to give up a foot on the balcony, so be it. The SeaWalk is amazing. Beautiful photos from the walk... I certainly did not like the fact that the dress code was not enforced. I did complain about this. The again, consider the people on board and their attitudes towards.. well, everything. All retired, mostly from Florida and originally from NY, NJ or Miami. One person was screaming at the MaitreD that he had no right to stop him and he is going to his table. He made a big scene.. something Princess will avoid at all costs. What ever happened to common respect? We enjoyed the food and found it on par with Princess cruises. The entertainment was awesome.. they brought in some folks from the West End. Wow. If only the audience would be quiet, not talk and.... get this.. not record using their tablet/phone/camera thus putting a bright LED in the faces of fellow passengers. Again.. Elitists can do no wrong I suppose. What ever happened to common courtesy? So... when you hear all the issues.. forget it. there are pros and cons of building and change is inevitable. The Royal is a beautiful ship, sound, smooth ride, advanced technology... we loved it. If she is sailing a route we want, we would not hesitate to go back. Now, if we could only get Princess to issue a manual on how retired Floridians should behave.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
The Royal Princess was a fairly new ship on its first transatlantic crossing in October, 2013. So, why did we have towels and wash cloths that were frayed? Why is there rust everywhere you look? Ours was an obstructed-view balcony with up ... Read More
The Royal Princess was a fairly new ship on its first transatlantic crossing in October, 2013. So, why did we have towels and wash cloths that were frayed? Why is there rust everywhere you look? Ours was an obstructed-view balcony with up close views of the life boats and their hoists which had lots of rust showing – already, even the stainless steel posts on the balcony were spotted with rust! Plus, the wood railings were pitted with white flaky stuff in its surface. And, they'd used duct tape to secure some of the thick metal winch cables?!?! The nicest thing I can say about the cabin is there was a nice long, open-closet with plenty of hangers provided; however, the bathroom and balcony were very tiny. Then, and it wasn't too long into the cruise, we started noticing the coughing and hacking by fellow passengers – then it hit us. We had to get antibiotics and had several days of unrest and sickness. Overall our first impressions weren't so good, yet, our room stewardess, as it turned out, was very attentive and always referred to us by name when we saw her. The entertainment, including the lecturers, were top notch - certainly a highlight of our onboard activities. The Piazza is beautiful and a great place to hang out and people-watch and it seemed that they always had something going on in that area. Of the ports, Messina and Naples were the let downs – no need to re-visit either of those two cities, whereas Madeira island is, and has been, one of our favorite places – we definitely recommend touring the western side of the island – just fantastic – and beautiful – well worth the 6 ½ hours we spent with 10 others in a Mercedes van with guide/driver at only 22 euros per person!!! The food on this cruise was OK – nothing to rave about and the wait-staff service was mediocre, often very slow in bringing meals to the table, but not when trying to sell you bottled water! I think they finally got the message that most of us were not falling for that expensive ploy early into the cruise. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give a solid rating of a 5 – it just wasn't that special – even with it being a new ship on its less than stellar inaugural transatlantic cruise. Sorry, Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
Our Royal Adventure – 9 – 27 October 2013 Executive Summary My wife Louise and I booked this trip within an hour of the voyage being published. Although we have sailed 18 times with Princess we have never done a TA and we thought ... Read More
Our Royal Adventure – 9 – 27 October 2013 Executive Summary My wife Louise and I booked this trip within an hour of the voyage being published. Although we have sailed 18 times with Princess we have never done a TA and we thought that the opportunity to do it on a new ship could not be missed. Since there were many stops in the Med and we thought the Atlantic crossing could be cool we opted to settle for an interior cabin (A725). This is only the third time we have taken an interior cabin for more than two days. Having keenly followed the construction of the ship and avidly read the posts of this summer’s early passengers we must admit to having some reservations about the ship to the point of considering cancellation of the voyage. We have spent considerable time comparing the Royal to our favorite ships the Sapphire, Diamond and Ruby. Despite what we consider to be deficiencies of the Royal design we decided we had to make our own observations. Details of our actual cruise will be found after the summary. The summary expresses our opinions about the ship more or less as we discovered them and NOT in the order of their importance. PLUSES: • As usual we were impressed with the friendliness and professionalism displayed by all of the crew we interacted with. • Outstanding execution of the Piazza. It is larger, more elegant and welcoming than in other ships. • Much improved Horizon Court. The new design reduces congestion, offers more seating options and allows for specialty areas. Pastry area very inviting. • Great flat screen TV in the cabin with much enhanced programming. • Ability to verify account from personal computer. • The elimination of the Promenade has allowed for the creation of several new semi-private open deck lounge areas. • A much longer and improved walking/jogging track on the upper deck. • Enlarged and very up to date exercise room and equipment. • Great Crown Grill as part of the Wheelhouse Bar with a pianist. • Great theatre. • We had the misfortune to have a clothing item go astray in the laundry. Our steward advised us to make a claim at the Purser’s desk. The agent there was empowered to give us an immediate credit to our account. Late our last night our steward arrived with several missing laundry items. We had the desk remove the credit. Well done all around. NEGATIVES: • Elimination of the Promenade. We miss the opportunity to have our long morning walk there.. • Narrower balconies. I would never book a balcony cabin on this ship. • Many balconies are exposed from above, in particular the stern balconies and those below the new Sky walk. • The upper level walking/jogging track is subject to smoke and soot depending on the wind. • Water show is a waste of space and money. • New or increased charges for many items. • Steam rooms no longer available for everyone’s use. • Retreat area is of limited use when underway because of lack of adequate wind protection. • The centre pool arrangement under the MUTS will be a madhouse when there are many children aboard. • Princess seems unable to have their Spa tubs at the recommended 102 degrees F. At night they are barely body temperature and therefore uncomfortable. • Loss of the Explorer’s Lounge. • The terrible waste of space and environmental pollution devoted to and caused by the photo department. Why are they still printing thousands of useless pictures? Other cruise lines have fully digitized their operation allowing their guests to view only their pictures on kiosks then selecting what they want printed. • We find that the dinner menu choices are not to the same calibre as before. • Loss of the aft pool and spa. • No longer have trays or even glass holders in theatre seats. • Nautical chart of voyage not posted (usually posted on the LIDO deck aft of pools). • Menus not posted on both sides of dining room. • Senior Staff photos not posted as on other ships. • We find the seating in the center of the Vista lounge impractical. • The Princess Live Theatre is not a practical setting for the team games because of the row seating and its relatively small size. • The Library seems to have been an after-thought. Barely the size of a cabin, few chairs and very few books. • The laundry has been overwhelmed by the number of Elite passengers and their free laundry privilege. Many passengers arrived aboard with significant laundry because of previous touring. The laundry never caught up and it is taking 3 to 5 days to have things returned. Even then things come back piecemeal. • This has been the worst internet service I have experienced on any voyage perhaps due to too many Elite passengers. Even alongside it is next to useless. • Poor/broken TV reception of live TV programming. Might expect this in mid-Atlantic but not when tied alongside in Europe. • We’re disappointed that there are no “Special Edition” souvenirs for this inaugural crossing. All that is offered are souvenirs stating “Inaugural Season”. On other Princess ships there have always been at least coffee cups depicting the route of a particular voyage. Princess dropped the ball here. • In our opinion the ship is too cool. Not only that, but there are marked temperature differences between zones. What is the point of wearing a bare shouldered or backless dress if you have to wear a shawl? AC gone wild! • The starboard side of decks 7 and 17 have been designated as smoking areas. The only notice of this is in the first “Patter”. There are no signs on the port side of these decks indicating they are non-smoking. People are smoking throughout these deck areas and staff is not correcting the situation. A complaint to the Purser’s office brought no results. Considering the observations above the Royal is not the ship for us and we would not book another voyage on her or her sister the Regal. However, we remain loyal Princess passengers. Full Report For the first time we made our flight reservations through Princess eZair. We required flights from Ottawa, Canada to Venice and return from Fort Lauderdale. This was easy to accomplish and we obtained good flights at very competitive prices. We requested departure for 6 October with a return on Monday the 28th. The routing provided was Air Canada to Toronto followed by Air Canada’s new discount airline “Rouge” to Venice then using Westjet for Fort Lauderdale - Toronto – Ottawa. We arrived at Ottawa airport at 2:30 for our 4:00PM departure. To our surprise there was no one in line. We got our baggage tags from the kiosk and proceeded immediately to baggage drop off then to security. Again no one in front and quick process through security. This was the fastest airport processing we have ever encountered. Now we have time to kill. I hope the rest of the trip to Venice is as simple. Departure from Ottawa is on time aboard an A319. Easy flight to Toronto. After killing about three hours in the Terminal and a pub we board our Venice “Rouge” flight and push back about 10 minutes early. Flight is about 70% full and my gamble to re-book centre isle seats pays off with an empty centre seat. We receive an evening meal which was not indicated on our ticket. Nice surprise but it made up for a very disappointing continental breakfast. Overall good impression of this new airline. Arrival in Venice is impressive compared to North American misery. We’re quickly off the plane and Immigration /customs consists of nothing more than a smile and a stamp of the passport. Not one question to any passenger we saw. Canada Customs take note! Our bags also arrive much faster than they do in Canada and the US. We try to collect our pre-paid airport shuttle bus to the Mestre train station across from our hotel, from the available Kiosks, but the machines refuse. We go to the staffed counter, get the prepaid tickets and also buy a 72 hour bus/vaporetto pass. We get wrong directions to the bus platform and end up getting a bus to Venice proper. Eventually get returned to the right place. We drag our bags about 300 feet to our booked hotel the Bologna. We’re very pleased with the hotel and the price. After check-in we locate an Ali grocery store about four blocks away which also sells wine, beer and liquor . We make a purchase to tide us over. After further exploration we find a shop, Antica Botreza del Vino, located at the corner of Via Cavallotti and Via Felisati, that sells bulk wine near Hotel Aaron but it is closed when we visit. We return in the evening and find that there are about 10 to 12 varieties each of red and white wine that sell for under 2 Euro per liter. Bring your own collapsible bag. We have dinner at Soul Kitchen across the street from the Bologna which was quite good. See report in Trip Advisor. Tuesday 8 Oct - We enjoy a very good complimentary breakfast at the hotel. We are off early to visit Venice using our 3 day bus and Vaporetto pass. We no sooner board the water bus when I believe I failed to close the room safe. We get off at the next stop and get back to the hotel. Sure enough I had left the safe open but all is still there. I don’t believe anyone had yet been into the room. We return to Venice and spend about five hours walking about and exploring. The day is overcast with occasional sprinkles of rain. The tide is in and some canal side plazas have some water on them. We return to the hotel late in the afternoon. After a little rest we decide on an Asian dinner. We walk about 200 paces along Via Piave and discover Ristorante Oriental a small Asian restaurant next to the Ali grocery. This was an ideal for a casual inexpensive meal. See restaurant review in Trip Advisor. Wed. 9 Oct – Boarding day - On the advice of an experienced Venice traveller we take the airport bus at 10:40 back to the airport then join a group for our pre-paid Princess shuttle. Princess people are very well organized. We are met, identified, our bags are dropped off to next appear in our room and about 10 minutes later we leave on our coach. A 20 minute ride finds us at the pier. Processing has already begun so we walk directly to check-in, go to the holding area and two minutes later our boarding color is called. We are in our cabin by noon. Very impressive boarding procedure! While waiting for our bags we take the opportunity to have a quick walk about. The ships appointments are very beautiful. It’s a delight to be on a brand new ship. Unusually slow baggage delivery. We have received 3 of 4 bags by 3:50PM. Of course the missing bag is one that I surrendered just before check-in and it contains a med which required refrigeration. On the other hand all liquid supplies have arrived intact. Missing bag arrives at 4:00pm. We complete our unpacking and head off to the city on foot looking for a “grocery” store. Walking from the pier we make our way to the causeway leading to the city, about 20 minutes. We turn left beside the motorcycle parking and head to the main bus stop and city parking building. Within 300 feet we spot a COOP sign which is a local supermarket chain and the shop turns out to be adjacent to the “A” vaporetto stop. We find our way there and make a further purchase of “supplies”. This time we return to the ship using the “People Mover”, one euro/person, and have no difficulty with security. We return to our cabin, freshen up and proceed to the deck area aft of the Horizon Court to watch all the water traffic while enjoying a bucket of beer. We’re established! First Impressions – Our cabin, interior A725 is a little larger than our previous experiences. The new flat screen TV is multi-purpose and seems to have much more capability than in the past. The TV has a USB pigtail to the right but no HDMI input. My wife’s opinion is that the overall cabin lighting is brighter. You can now check your account from the cabin by creating an account on your device. This is a separate account from the Internet account. Someone re-measured the shower curtain and it now reaches the inside of the shower pan. No more flooded bathroom! My wife reports the hair dryer which is installed and stored in the drawer is impractical as the power switch must be held on, there is only one heat setting with two speeds and no diffuser. Bring your own. On the other hand there are more power outlets. To the left of the vanity there is a 120 and 230v outlet, while on the right there is another 120v outlet. To the right of the wall mounted TV there is another 120v outlet. There is a duel voltage outlet in the bathroom. We are travelling with a “Belkin” three outlet surge suppressor with duel USB charging ports. This unit’s plug head rotates to four positions allowing it to be inserted to any wall outlets orientation. I purchased the unit on Ebay for about $15. In our opinion the vanity is wider and there is more space around the “queen” configured bed. We’re very happy with our cabin selection. We met Jason, our steward, shortly after boarding and we had an immediate rapport. This is a great start to our journey. We have explored more of the ship and have found more differences and changes. There is no more “power hour” on any of the ships. The coffee card is more expensive and the mug is no longer included (add $5.00). The steam rooms are no longer available to everyone. They have created a new area called the Enclave that has all the features of the Thermal Suite. For this voyage they require $499.00 per couple for their use. Limited sales available. We cast our lines about 4:30 PM. For us, long time boaters, one of the highlights was to watch the intense boat activity all around us. Many others have described the passage down the Grand Canal and out the lagoon so I won’t try to elaborate. Suffice to say that it was impressive despite the cool temperature and brisk wind. We had found a sheltered corner on the deck behind the Horizon Court. The very appropriate sailaway music was piped to this area as well as most of the ship. Oct., 11 – This morning started with a treadmill walk followed by a light breakfast in the Piazza. At 10:30 we had the CC meet and greet. There are over 400 people signed up for this roll call. There was a great turn out and a warm welcome from Samantha our CD. At 2:00PM we will have a slot pull. The group has many other activities planned for the remainder of the cruise. The slot pull resulted in a draw. Sixty seven people played 15 dollars each and after over an hour we were each about 17 cents ahead. Don’t think we would participate in this event again. Internet service reliability is always inconsistent but on this cruise it is extremely slow if not dysfunctional. Perhaps it is because of the over 3000 Platinum and Elite members using up their free minutes. During the day we have spoken with a number of experienced Princess cruisers that are less than enthusiastic with the Royal design. We attended our first Platinum/Elite lounge event. There are so many members aboard that the event is held in the Vista lounge. There was a very heavy turnout for a smoked salmon theme. We’re not impressed with the new layout of the Vista lounge which is now configured in essentially a theatre seating. We met a couple we had met in January on the Emerald and have agreed to meet for a walking tour of Messina tomorrow morning. Oct., 12 – Messina, Sicily. We arrived here very early in the morning in order to take advantage of high tides. The ship was cleared shortly after six AM. We met up with Alain and Helene and proceeded ashore shortly after nine. We purchased tickets for one of the walk on walk off bus tours (15 EU each). We did a complete circuit in about 50 minutes. This provided a good overview of the city. We took the bus again to the main shopping area then walked back to the “Duomo” a cathedral having a bell tower containing the world’s largest astronomical clock as well as many animated features that are activated at the stroke of noon. We purchased some inexpensive wine at a nearby super mercato, about 5 blocks south of the ship on Corso Vittorio Emanuele. We returned early to the ship for lunch and a sailaway about 4:00PM. Temperatures improved so we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on the aft deck. Oct., 13 – Naples. We awoke today to a bright sunny day. The port stop is from 7:00AM to 7:00PM. We leave the ship shortly before 10:00AM with the objective of seeing Naples Underground. The entrance to this site is at Piazza San Gaetano, 68. This turned out to be about a 25 minute walk from the ship. If you are not physically fit don’t read any further about this adventure. The entrance turned out to be down a short narrow alley left of a church. When we arrived there was a throng of people awaiting entrance. We discovered that tours were offered in different languages and those waiting were waiting for a specific tour. We purchased our tickets (EU9.5) and waited for about 10 minutes for the English tour. His tour takes your over 200 feet underground to the former Roman and Greek theatre, aqueducts and cisterns. Many of these areas were used as bomb shelters during the war. The tour lasted about one and a half hours and was really worth the visit. It is difficult to comprehend how these very extensive caverns were constructed about 2000 years ago. This experience is very worthwhile but you must be fit to climb the extensive stairs. We followed this with a walk down Via Tribunali. It was a Sunday and the street was alive with the colorful Neapolitan life. Highly recommended! Next we went to the Galeria Umberto located near the Palazzo Reale a short distance from the dock. This structure is remarkable for its incredible dome. Although a major shopping centre most of the shops were closed on Sunday. Nevertheless there were throngs of people in the area and it was fun to be among the crowd. The disappointment about all this walking was the amount of litter we saw. The people are careless and the city is dirty. Finally, we returned to the port area. Just outside the secure area there were several kiosks/restaurants catering to the ferry passengers. We enjoyed a large Peroni beer for EU3.5 each and were able to use the WIFI and toilet (may not be satisfactory for some ladies). That was the end of our day in Naples. Tonight we enjoyed dinner in the Concerto Dining room. We had a table for two (348) which is well removed from a serving station and separated from other diners. The noise level was good and we had excellent service from Lesly and Julius. After dinner we attended the Majority Rules game hosted by the Deputy Cruise Director (DCD) Dan the followed this by the comedian Rikki Jay in the Princess theater. Dan is a great entertainer and could be a full time comedian. Rikki Jay was less entertaining and many of his jokes were stale or re-hashed. Oct., 14 – Civitavecchia/Rome. We awoke to a sunny day and promising temperatures. The plan for today was to go to the town of Tarquinia about 20 km north of the port. We obtained bus tickets from a little ladies shop just to the south of the port exit. The tickets were EU5 each for a round trip. The bus runs about every one and a half hours (Blue bus route A) so check the schedule especially for the return. The purpose of the trip was to visit this walled town and in particular to see the Etruscan Tombs. Unfortunately our visit was on a Monday and the town visitor’s centre and the Tombs were closed. We returned to the port on the 13:35 bus and walked about the port and its walled portion. Many shops and restaurants were again closed because it was Monday. Walk up “Corso Centocelle” on the right side about 8 blocks (15 minutes) from the port to a Todis grocery store if you need supplies. This evening we had dinner in the Crown Grill. Service and food were very good. We enjoyed the quieter atmosphere and occasional piano music. We followed dinner with playing Liars Game with Sam, Dan and Rikki in the Princess Live theatre. The theatre was filled to capacity and we enjoyed a great game. Our next attraction was first opportunity to see the Water show at the pool. This was advertized as being from 10:30 to 11:30 with the show repeating every 15 minutes. We arrived between shows and caught the 11:00 display. The display was given to the background of James Bond music. Great music but the show only lasted 5 minutes. What a waste of valuable space and money. Big disappointment! Oct., 15 – Cannes. Arrive at about 8:00AM and anchor. Tender service began about 8:30AM. The Horizon Court area has experienced a really effective transformation on this ship. It has many more serving stations and corridors which go across the ship as well along the ship axis. This really disperses the crowd and allows for areas to offer theme dishes. This morning we used the Horizon Bistro. This is a relatively undiscovered area where you will find the waffle man and lighter breakfast fare. We took the 20 minute tender ride at about 10:00AM. No wait for the tender. At the tender dock there is free WIFI available. We walked the shore size promenade (La Croisette) to admire all the yachts and high end hotels and shops on the off shore side of the street. We returned to the “Cannes Cinema Tour” mini train stop and took this tour, the Big Tour, one of three offered (EU10 each). This was a very worthwhile tour lasting about an hour and taking us to the less travelled streets and to a church located on a mount overlooking the city. This is a recommended tour. Tonight we are dining in the Concerto dining room followed by the Name That Tune game then Showtime with Ventriloquist Jimmy Tamley and Vocalist Paul Baker. The Name That Tune show was well attended. We had an unofficial team which I think did fairly well but we left a few minutes early in order to attend the Show. The ventriloquist was excellent. He was followed by Paul Baker a star of the London stage. He sang a number of his major stage songs. He is a wonderful singer. Oct., 16 – Barcelona – We start the harbour approach about 8:00AM and finally get alongside and cleared about 9:00AM. Shuttles are provided by Princess and the Port Authority at a fee for transport to the World Trade Centre (About $10 round trip). We decide to walk to the World Train Centre which takes us about 25 minutes. There we board the Barcelona City Tour one of two operators giving very similar tours. This company offers two Hop on Hop Off routes for EU26 or seniors rate of EU20. This was an outstanding tour and we would highly recommend it. We left the tour at stop #1 then walked the length of Las Ramblas, a broad pedestrian thoroughfare back to the Trade Centre and this time took the city shuttle back to the ship for EU2.50 each. In our opinion Barcelona is the most beautiful and well maintained city we have ever visited. City planning at its best! We departed Barcelona at about 8:00PM and set out for Madeira, our final port of call. After dinner we went topside to participate in a Latin night deck party. Dancers from the theatre performed and it was a well attended and entertaining party. Oct., 17 – Sea Day -We awake to a bright warm day and find many ships around us. We are heading for the Strait of Gibraltar then out into the Atlantic. We enjoy a wonderful sea day starting with a workout then we attend two lectures and end with a few hours on one of the decks. The most enjoyable lecture was given by John Maxtone-Graham, a maritime historian, on the subject of “The Only Way To Cross” ocean liners of the past. We decide to go to the Symphony dining room for the first time. We’re warmly greeted by the Maitre D and given a very good table for two. Following a good dinner we are offered a standing reservation for the rest of the voyage. The warm welcome and better environment make us decide to accept. We try to go the Marriage Game show but are unable to get into the Princess Live theatre. This venue is too small for such a popular show. We follow this with a movie at MUTS. It’s a cool evening and a poor Tom Cruise movie forces us to quit. We go to the rail at about 11:30PM to watch the coastline as we sail pass Gibraltar. Oct., 18 – Sea Day - A cool and cloudy day. Too windy for the deck! We have an easy morning then attend the second lecture by Mr. Maxtone-Graham this time about Titanic survivors. He is a fascinating speaker. Prior to dinner we watched comedian Darrell Joyce give an extremely funny routine in the Princess theatre. We dine again in the Symphony dining room table 165 with Sopha as the waiter. Another great dinner! We follow dinner by watching the International Music Event from deck 7 of the Piazza. This was a varied and thoroughly enjoyable spectacle. Oct., 19 – Funchal, Madeira – We arrive here in the port just about sunrise around 8:00AM. From the sea the town looks very attractive. We learn that there are two hop on hop off operations the Red and Yellow. We opt for the Red promoting a two hour tour for EU12. This turns out to be money well spent. We have a very extensive tour of the area as well as a climb to a lookout well above the city. Recommended! We had planned to take the cable car to a hilltop but when we get there we see that cloud is building at the summit and decide against this option. Instead we opt to visit the Madeira Story Centre (local museum about EU8) just behind the cable car station. This turns out to be a worthwhile stop. We follow this with a walk of the nearby streets, the local market and a beer stop near the market before returning to the ship about 3:00PM. All aboard is at 5:30 when we will start out across the Atlantic! We had a good dinner again at table 165 with Sopha. Tried a couple of venues but nothing attracts. We make a nightcap and enjoy it on deck 16 aft. Good night. Oct., 20 – Sea Day. Awake to a mostly cloudy day. Sea slight with SW wind about 15. Easy morning and then we attend the lecture by Mr. Maxtone-Graham with part two of the only way to cross. Dinner with friends and early evening back to our cabin. Oct., 21 – Sea Day – Much the same as yesterday. Seas remain gentle. High wind across the deck make the Retreat area nearly unusable. Oct., 22 – Sea Day – Sunny and warm day. Tried the shooting gallery. Ate at Alfredo’s for dinner. First visit. Disappointed. Food good but service very rushed and indifferent. Evening entertainment very good tonight. We had comic impressionis Joey Vant then a Mentalist later. Mentatalist Brent Webb put on excellent show. Decided to end evening with a visit to the spa tub on deck 16 under MUTS. Lone Ranger is the movie playing again tonight. Spa again too cool so we leave after about 15 minutes. Why can’t these small problems be addressed? Oct., 23 – Sea Day. – We’re a little more than half way across the Atlantic. Terrific crossing so far. Warm day but seas a little choppy, maybe sea state 3. Afternoon turned out like the Caribbean. Seas abated to SS1 and very warm. Outstanding! Looking forward to comedian Al Katz before dinner tonight. Oct., 24 – Sea Day - Awake today to high thin overcast and SS 0. Warm already. Last formal night tonight. No other commitments. Oct., 25 – Sea Day – Another gorgeous day. SS about 1. We attended the final production show followed by a show in the Vista Lounge. We find the productions shows repetitive and dated. We ate in the Horizon Court then watched a new murder show in the Princess Lounge. Oct., 26 – Last sea day. Awoke to generally low overcast and higher winds. SS4 to 5. Plan to start packing this morning. Clouds broke and winds abated resulting in another great day at sea. Oct., 27 – Fort Lauderdale – We arrived alongside about 4:00AM. The ship plans to begin dis-embarkation at 7:00 with ours due at 10:10. At 8:00AM the usually difficult US Customs and Immigration have still not cleared the vessel. While waiting I’ve tried to use the Internet. Although I’ve been able to connect to the ship nothing downloads. This has been essentially an absolutely useless service on this ship. Summary This has been an exceptional voyage. We have been very pleased with the itinerary and we would be happy to repeat it at this time of year. We are amazed that we were fortunate enough to have light seas throughout. As usual the crew has been exceptional. We have been pleased with our inner cabin and would select this again for this type of crossing. We have not any significant complaints with the entertainment. We have found the food in the Horizon Count more varied and of very high quality. We have really enjoyed the enhanced Piazza and Horizon Count. We find the other design changes on the Royal have seriously detracted from the features we enjoyed on such ships as the Sapphire and Emerald. We are very unlikely to ever book another voyage on this class of ship.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
The Royal was launched 6-12 months before it was ready for passengers. It was understaffed with a large number of new hires who did not have the customer service skills that I have experienced on my 19 cruises with Princess. An example ... Read More
The Royal was launched 6-12 months before it was ready for passengers. It was understaffed with a large number of new hires who did not have the customer service skills that I have experienced on my 19 cruises with Princess. An example would be a clerk in the wrist watch boutiques, who when asked by a customer about a particular watch in the window, the clerk told her it cost $2,000 followed by, "can you afford it"!!! The free laundry service for Elite passengers took 4-6 or more days to be returned to passengers instead of next service which is what is an advertised perk for their top cruises. In many cases clothing items were lost and never found. Some laundry was not finished and returned to passengers the day of disembarkation. There are design flaws such as no staircase for the center of the ship. The elevators could not handle the numbers of passengers needing to use them because of lack of stairs to ease the load on the elevators. The frustration of the center of the ship cabin passengers was palpable and expressed with anger at the crowding as people stuffed and pushed into the elevator having missed full elevators for an extended period. There are other design flaws. Electronics in every area from daily non-working computers in the Internet area room, to cabin TV's, to the Princess Theater during presentation, and behind the scenes electronic issues that made the job of the Customer Service almost impossible for them to help passengers in a timely and effective way. My service in the dining room was so not up to my experience of first waiter and junior waiter that the frustration drove me to the Horizon Court and other venues. I must say, I have always enjoyed the food on Princess Cruise, but it was so bad in the dining room along with the bad service, that I never returned to the dining room once I left. I wish I could say something nice about this sailing for me, but chasing laundry, to find out where it was, the bad service in the areas that I functioned just made an unpleasant ordeal for me. I could never find my cabin stewardess when I needed her, needed my cabin make up, or trusting her to search out where my laundry when it went missing for 5-6 days. She liked to chit chat with her fellow stewards and stewardess on the floor near her. She just wasn't focused in the way the others in her area. They were working and she was no where to be found. The Royal was a big disappointment with the under-staffing in important areas, the design issues, the poor quality of items that passengers use daily, the automatic door to one of the small cutout decks on Deck 7 which fell off at the top where its swings open and fell on the door across from it. It was framed in wood with glass in the rest of the door. Fortunately, the glass didn't shatter. I came upon it just after it happened and before the proper engineers arrived. The Regal, the sister ship of Royal, is due to be launched in 2014. Think twice before signing up for a cruise early on and see if some of the Royal's problems have been ironed out.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
We were VERY pleased with our Trans-Atlantic cruise aboard the new Royal. Our main complaint was that there were TOO MANY " Elite" level passengers on board...and we are at that level. They flooded the laundry to a ridiculous ... Read More
We were VERY pleased with our Trans-Atlantic cruise aboard the new Royal. Our main complaint was that there were TOO MANY " Elite" level passengers on board...and we are at that level. They flooded the laundry to a ridiculous situation. Yes, Princess should have expected that and had a plan in effect. The ship is beautiful and functional in most ways. Change is hard for many to face. The Horizon's spaciousness can cause one to "wonder " to find their way around. But, the fact that food handlers are available to keep food fresh and are in clean condition sure beats the crowded Horizons on other ships! I think it also keeps us from heaping our plates then deciding we can't eat all we took! We missed the center stairway but loved the larger open atrium. I would turn down the speakers in the atrium and the theater. I had to remove my hearing aides and still too loud. In all, best food and service ever was had. Thanks, Princess! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
We have done some 26 cruises and not all were great but most were but nothing could be worse than an MSC cruise. I would never ever cruise with MSC unless it was free. To start with we left Venice on a cruise to Miami and virtually none ... Read More
We have done some 26 cruises and not all were great but most were but nothing could be worse than an MSC cruise. I would never ever cruise with MSC unless it was free. To start with we left Venice on a cruise to Miami and virtually none of the crew could speak English, there was no service at any of the pools for the first seven days. The food was the most boring and tasteless. We went to the dining room for 8.30pm and would not get in until 9.30pm a lot of the nights. My partner ordered a chicken dinner, it came out late and it was cold and all she got was a small piece of rubbery chicken and a few chips and there were no vegetables or salad, I went and grabbed the Maitre dey and all he was lost for words after mine. The buffet meals were terrible also. We had a suite which was fantastic. There was no one to complain to about anything as they just didn't care and didn't speak much English.. The ship was nice but there was nothing else on the outside decks but two pools and a couple of spa pools, no mini golf. Every time the cruise director made an announcement it was repeated in 8 languages, it was a novelty the first day but it got on every ones nerves pretty quick. For 25 days there was no entertainment on the deck at all, but when we arrived in Miami there was fireworks and entertainment for the next three nights because there were a couple of hundred travel agents sailing for the 3 nights. The food never improved but the service was a little better. If you are thinking about the MSC Divina think again and go on one of the other cruise lines. The best thing the ship had was the drinks package $28.00 a day. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
This was our 12th Princess Cruise and had a wonderful time. The ship was everything and more than we expected. The new piazza design was a great place to gather, enjoy a coffee, gelato, pizza or just sit and listen to the music and watch ... Read More
This was our 12th Princess Cruise and had a wonderful time. The ship was everything and more than we expected. The new piazza design was a great place to gather, enjoy a coffee, gelato, pizza or just sit and listen to the music and watch others dance. I love that the coffee card from the international café allows you a 3 scoop gelato sundae for one punch and as always your coffee card is good from one cruise to the next. No other cruise line offers that! Our deluxe cabin was great, love the new size. The décor is peaceful and we found now complained of any noise from neighboring cabins.  Nice size cabin, very comfortable and quiet. Balcony is obstructed as the sides and rail are white steel. However the balcony is very large making it a great space to enjoy the reclining chair and ottoman. The new princess live is a great space to watch the taping of the wake show and enjoy other game shows. The layout of Horizon Court is the best of any ship and any other cruise line (we've been on 4 other cruise lines). The food and variety was great. Princess is and will continue to be our 1st choice. They are consistent, have the best travel itinerary and the best spa area. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
First let me say that I have been on five other transatlantic cruises, two of which were on the Ruby and Emerald Princess (nice ships). This ship just does not measure up to the hype and is not designed for the passenger. The bean counters ... Read More
First let me say that I have been on five other transatlantic cruises, two of which were on the Ruby and Emerald Princess (nice ships). This ship just does not measure up to the hype and is not designed for the passenger. The bean counters got hold of what could have been a really great ship and really messed it up. Complaints on this ship were the primary source of conversation during my recent voyage. I was able to break the ice with anyone just by mentioning our mutual disdain for this ship. Things like: (1) Mid-ship stairwell does not go up to the Lido deck and is not useable by passengers. (2) Cannot walk around the outside of the ship on the Promenade Deck. (3) The gym is not where it belongs, forward on the bow of the ship. As an after-thought they stuck it mid-ship with a passageway running through it. (4) The ships theater somehow seems claustrophobic and the chairs do not have a place to put your drink. (5) The balcony's are very small. (6) The indoor electronic shooting range is usually closed. On the odd occasion , that it was open there is a large crowd wanting to use it. (7) The sauna and steam room are not located with the gym and are extra charge items. (8) The Princess Live Theater was cramped and uses fold-out chairs that have been known to collapse with people in them. (9) I had a cabin below the Lido deck and the noise of the deck chairs being slid around was really annoying. To be fair, on the plus side: (1) The Piazza was very large and well laid out. (2) The food was very good and of excellent quality. (3) The entertainment was OK and wasn't in bad taste. (4) I'm sure there are other good things about this ship, but considering all the negatives, it is hard to remember them. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
Beautiful new ship... Piazza grand, spacious and always something going on! With the international cafe and wine bar a great place to have tea, a snack or light lunch and enjoy the entertainment. Horizon court larger than on other ships, ... Read More
Beautiful new ship... Piazza grand, spacious and always something going on! With the international cafe and wine bar a great place to have tea, a snack or light lunch and enjoy the entertainment. Horizon court larger than on other ships, not crowded, plenty of seating and plenty of choices on the food. The pasty section is fantastic, and you can watch the pastry chefs at work. The pool area comfortable, the lounges plentiful, we never had problems with no seating available. The couches and table and chairs a definite plus. The movies could be enjoyed, and I must say it was great as there was no smoking in that area. Smoking restricted to several other areas, not around pool. Dining choices plentiful, for both lunch and dinner. Entertainment was varied with shows, comedians, music and dancing. It is there for you, it is up to you to partake in what you want. The crew is more than willing to make sure you enjoy your cruise, select what interests you. We found the room to be spacious, the couch enabled us to sit and relax with our morning coffee, and we liked the table by the couch. Many people talk of the small balconies, we found it spacious enough to sit and relax and enjoy the view. The room has less drawer space than other ships, but the closet space is more than adequate, the shelves in the closet area are great for shirts and sweaters, and the drawers and shelf by the bed are fine for undergarments, night attire and accessories. The bathroom has shelves and a large under sink shelf, again storage for cosmetics not needed daily. The TV easy to see and operate across from the bed. The location of this cabin was great..a short walk to the rear elevators, easy access to Horizon Court, pool, and down to Vista and deck 7 to get to center of ship! This was an 18 day cruise, plenty of storage for us, and I don't pack light! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
EMBARKATION: easy, peasy. We arrived about 2pm and walked right on CABIN: we had a deluxe balcony on Emerald deck with obstructed view - but there was NO obstruction, we had an unimpeded view thru glass. Also the extended angled balcony ... Read More
EMBARKATION: easy, peasy. We arrived about 2pm and walked right on CABIN: we had a deluxe balcony on Emerald deck with obstructed view - but there was NO obstruction, we had an unimpeded view thru glass. Also the extended angled balcony was bigger than the standard balcony so we could turn our chairs outward to view the ocean. There was a 2 cushion loveseat, and desk, with a nice handy drawer to hoÅ‚d hairdryer, toiletries, etc. Bath was standard except for the larger shower with handheld shower head and wall mounted shampoo/ shower gel dispensers. Bed was very comfy ( no gap in the middle) and the down pillows were big and fluffy. AC worked well. The flat screen TV was great except that it broke 4 times. We called and someone always came within 24 hrs to fix it. The on demand selection of movies, tv shows, HBO, Showtime, and misc ship lectures was fantastic. For news, you had Fox, BBC, and MSNBC, no CNN. Closet space and lighting were adequate. Our room steward was not good, had to ask for towels, ice, water glasses, breakfast cards, etc. Could not get Internet in our room, had to stand in the hallway to connect. DINING: We did anytime dining and loved CONCERTO dining room mainly because of the maître d Elena. We always asked for a table for 2 and only had to wait 1 night ( about 5 minutes) out of 18. Food was exceptional, we liked almost everything and only sent 1 entree back. Service was not good IMO. Sometimes we sat down to a table which was not completely set. We had to ask for butter dishes, butter knives, wine glasses, water glasses, etc. Generally, although not always, the servers did not introduce themselves, or suggest special appetizers or entrees as they did on other ships. They immediately asked us what we wanted to order, and then we had to ask for a wine list and explain we weren't ready to order until we had time to peruse the wine menu and food menu. Everything seemed rushed. The waiters were not trained well, and insisted on filling our wine glasses to the top instead of half way, & were bringing food almost before we were ready. Maybe they are used to being rushed because people want to go to shows? WINE PKG: we bought the silver for wines up to $29. Be careful if u order a more expensive wine - Twice they did not credit us the $29 & charged us for the full amt of the more expensive wine instead of the difference. Got resolved at Passenger Services. BELLINIS: menu looked good, reasonable, but we did not eat there Ditto for the CRAB SHACK. VINES: nice venue for wine w/complimentary sushi appetizers while overlooking the goings on in the Piazza. ALFREDOS: this was a highlight and very popular for lunch and dinner. Free venue with salads, pizza and several pasta entrees. The veal ravioli in white sauce was to die for! CROWN GRILL: food was good but it was not private - it was open to EXPLORERS which was a kind of weird venue. Open on both sides it offered no intimacy. SABATINIS: was a delight! Great service, quiet, intimate, good food. HORIZON COURT; I was not a fan. There were lots of seats, and the salad bar was great, that's the only good things I can say. Food was spread out all over the place - English muffins waaaaay at the other end of croissants - I never did get the hang of it. People just wandered around till they found something they liked. Food was warm/cold buffet food and not very tasteful to me. (Others loved it). The pastry shop was a huge waste of space and was nothing more than what was offered anywhere else on the ship - ok they did have fondue there one day I saw. HORIZON BISTRO was closed it seemed randomly, I don't know why. Coffee wasn't very good either place ENTERTAINMENT: I did not go to any shows, but the piano player in Explorers & all the musical combos/acrobats/demonstrations, etc in the Piazza were enjoyable. INTRANET: this was a great feature! you could check the Patter, browse the Princess website, or check your account balance anytime. POOL/OUTDOOR AREAS: pool area is noisy because of MUTS. Lots of people r ok w noise, I'm not. There were lots of loungers on 2-3 decks and also rattan sofa groupings people were using a lot. I found some quiet areas aft on deck 7 with real deck chairs/cushions for reading/relaxing to the sound of the ocean. 2 outdoor deck areas on deck 7 midship were also nice and quiet. Deck 16 Aft of HC also had great seating areas for playing cards, talking, relaxing, getting online. 3 hot tubs were never really crowded. The pizza poolside was outstanding, hamburgers not so much - they tasted like cardboard. Brats were good. Ice cream was delicious. I did not use the Retreat or Sanctuary areas. No promenade, but many people on the walking track aft at the top of the ship. There were outdoor stationary exercise stations which were easy and convenient for a quick workout. SEAWALK & Seawalk Bar: both were a novelty and not well used. You def COULD see fully onto the balconies and partially into the actual cabins on deck 14 under Seawalk. The lower the deck, the more privacy you had. INDOOR PUBLIC AREAS: PRINCESS LIVE a TV studio, had several interesting lectures, and trivia and Zumba was there, as well as the morning show. INTL CAFE: loved this. Paninis, Cubans, mozzarella/tomato, tuna salad, Waldorf salad, desserts, pastries, cappuccino, latte, espresso. I bought a COFFEE CARD -15 punches was just right for an 18 day cruise. CROONERS: great bar, great bartenders - Raphael & Tatiana, this was the place for the get-togethers, always crowded at night. VISTA LOUNGE: ok but tables r crowded with no knee room. PRINCESS THEATER: no tables for drinks, no center aisle CASINO: large w spiral staircase up to deck 7. Unfortunately this allowed smoke to waft up. Bad design!! CLUB 6 next door was nice at night and didn't smell smoke there. PIAZZA: is huge, elegant, lots centered here at night and is the place to see and be seen. Nice for evening dancing. ELEVATORS: midship a total disaster!!! Take the stairs or stay forward or aft & use those elevators. LOTUS SPA: located on deck 5 forward, much more convenient and more likely to get walk-in business. Had a great massage/facial combo w/Chachi. PASSENGER SERVICES/FCC/SHORE EXCURSIONS: never seemed to be long lines here. In the FCC area, there were no computers to browse while waiting for a consultant. INTERNET CAFE: was always crowded, long lines. Don't understand why more people don't use smart phones, laptops, or tablets. Wifi signal was strong in most public parts of the ship. DEBARKATION: a mess as always OVERALL IMPRESSION: this is an indoor oriented ship with smaller balconies, no aft pool and no promenade. I think lack of shaded lounges will be a problem in the Caribbean (attention chair hogs). And it has many more indoor pay-for options. My impression is that not many people used the new pay-for options, I don't know how profitable they will be. That being said, the ship never seemed crowded, but it did seem understaffed. Major flaws r: no midship stairs, no promenade, no aft pool, Internet did not work in many staterooms, and open casino allowing smoke out. Best things not found on other Princess ships: intranet, larger showers, more outdoor rattan sofa groupings, & large elegant atrium for evening gatherings. If I didn't write about something, that means I either didn't do it or didn't go there. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
Royal Princess Review – Maiden Trans Atlantic Voyage, October 2013. Since this is a new ship I will review the ship first, then the cruise. The Royal Princess – Princess has done a lot of things RIGHT with this ship. The first ... Read More
Royal Princess Review – Maiden Trans Atlantic Voyage, October 2013. Since this is a new ship I will review the ship first, then the cruise. The Royal Princess – Princess has done a lot of things RIGHT with this ship. The first impression is one of quality construction and fixtures with a lot of attention to detail – lots of marble and granite, decorative grating, nice lighting etc. The ship is beautiful overall and is as nice as any ship I have ever sailed on. Princess seems to have taken a lot of the criticisms from previous cruiser evaluations of the Grand Class ships and attempted to fix them; Examples of this are as follows: 1. The Horizon Court – Much better Traffic Pattern and much less crowded. It also has a lovely covered outdoor deck eating and lounge area 2. Shade and quiet – On the Crown, Emerald, Ruby etc finding a shady area to sit is a real problem and finding a quiet area is almost as difficult, especially on a Caribbean Cruise. That’s why the Sanctuary sells out so quickly on those ships – I’m usually first in line and buy it for the whole cruise. The Royal has solved that problem with an ADULTS ONLY AREA with it’s own shade and pool and cushions on the lounges. They have also extended shade coverings on the sides of the stacks aft of the main Pool area. While the promenade deck does not go all around the ship there are a number of very nice sitting areas on that deck as well as throughout the ship. The Sanctuary is also very nice and they have put restrooms in the sanctuary area – a great idea. 3. The Royal has much larger tenders which speed tendering operations significantly. 4. The new In Room entertainment system features a large screen TV with a nice choice of programming including Live TV – BBC, Fox News etc., A selection of movies including those shown on deck and in the ships theatres, a selection of TV series such as Homeland, Game of Thrones etc. In addition, you can get your up to date statement of charges and credits, the onboard lectures and shore excursion information on the system. The system in my room worked fine. 5. Theatres – The Royal has Two Theatre venues, The Princess Theatre and the Vista Lounge. The Princess theatre has a very high tech stage and lighting systems and the Vista Lounge is larger and has a couch like seating area. They have done moved the Game shows and Karaoke to a new venue called Princess Live. My only criticism of the Vista Lounge is that they have tried to make it a theatre venue as well a conversation area which really doesn’t work too well in the couch section as the chairs they have placed between the couches make it difficult to get in and out. The ship internet technology worked well. The shower and sink in a regular balcony room were bigger than on the Grand Class which is an improvement. The Balcony area was a bit smaller but was fine for two people. My only real complaint with the ship is the elevator system , the programming of which made no sense at all. Empty elevators passed the floor and full elevators stopped with no logic whatsoever. The passenger elevators are too small and one scooter and 4 people fill the car. Overall we really liked the ship and will be back on it in 2015. The cruise – The service overall was excellent. The food selection and quality at the Horizon Court was the BEST I have ever seen on a cruise ship – a large selection of meats, cheeses, nuts, shrimp (cold and fried) and almost anything else you might want was available at all meals – Princess can do buffets right when it wants to. Even on a transatlantic with 3600 passengers aboard we were always able to find a seat in the Horizon Court without a problem. Great News -- here are new coffee and hot chocolate machines in the Horizon Court with FRESH GROUND COFFEE. The entertainment was pretty standard with two excellent guest entertainers. They tried to make a headliner out of one of the Princess cast singers which didn’t work out so well and quite a few people walked out. There were no long lines to get into the dining rooms, even at the 6 – 7 PM Dinner hours. We were very happy with the whole experience and will do it again when the new Regal arrives next year.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
The ship is very elegant in it's design. The Piazza is stunning and filled with lots of beautiful music, with different types of music rotating all day and evening. Our cabin was very comfortable with lots of storage, a comfortable ... Read More
The ship is very elegant in it's design. The Piazza is stunning and filled with lots of beautiful music, with different types of music rotating all day and evening. Our cabin was very comfortable with lots of storage, a comfortable bed, and I think the improvement on the bathroom size and step in the shower, which helped when shaving my legs, was good. I love the color scheme of the ship decor. I found it very calming. The food was so good in the Horizon Buffet, we, for the first time, ate most of our dinners up there. I especially liked the seating in the back of the ship outside of Horizon Court, and are out there many times. There was always plenty to do on sea days, which we love, and especially enjoy on a Transatlantic. Loved the On Demand and TV on the wall. Never heard anything through walls or in hallway. Liked the new venues but there definitely are design flaws in the lack of leg room in the Vista Lounge, and lack of additional aisle in Princess Theater. I liked Princess Live, however the seats are very uncomfortable and the camera placement is not well thought out. If you arrived a few minutes late, say for Karaoke, and they were filming, you had no way of crossing the theater to get a seat without walking in front of the camera. They would ask for more volunteers but it was impossible to get over there to choose a song. Same was true if other things were going on. We loved our cruise and would sail on the Royal again in a heartbeat.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
The Royal Princess received some much press prior to its sailing, that we were expecting great tings from her...however, we were somewhat disappointed. The design of the ship needs to be changed before the Regal is launched. The center ... Read More
The Royal Princess received some much press prior to its sailing, that we were expecting great tings from her...however, we were somewhat disappointed. The design of the ship needs to be changed before the Regal is launched. The center staircase only goes from 4-7 with no access to the upper floors making the use of the elevators a necessity. The Princess theatre has no aisles on the orchestra seats on either side making the entire row having to get up and down when someone wants to entire the row. We must say that the pillows and bed were extremely comfortable and the cabin was roomy enough. The bathroom now has shampoo/conditioner and bath gel in the shower in dispensers rather than in separate bottles. The shore excursions have not been changed in years so if you have traveled to these ports before perhaps you might look into doing your own private tour or connecting with others. The entertainment on the ship was terrific! There were plenty of things to do during the day with lectures, movies, trivia and watching movies under the stars/sun. Hopefully, Princess will work out the kinks and make the ship truly "Royal". Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
We were on the Royal Princess for the maiden transatlantic voyage, from Venice. The ship looks nice from the outside, but when you come in, you see there a lot of bling-bling to show off. The bigger atrium is nice, more space for the ... Read More
We were on the Royal Princess for the maiden transatlantic voyage, from Venice. The ship looks nice from the outside, but when you come in, you see there a lot of bling-bling to show off. The bigger atrium is nice, more space for the senoir to play card or sleep, during the day and during the performance from the entertainers....... That right, the stateroom are smaller, balcony are tiny. The most inconvenient is there is no mid-ship staircase, so, from the pool or the buffet, you have to wait for the elevator that are crowded. The configuration of the Vista lounge need to be rethink. What is a lounge without a bar????? We really missed the Explorer lounge, in mid-ship on the other ship. The Princess Live studio is OK, but really to small for trivia, zumba. And then, there is NO Promenade around the ship on Promenade deck!!!! Princess begin to charge more for the extras: Chef's tables, fondues night, Crab shack dinner, Wine list. Finally, I can't imagine that ship in the Caribbean, for the Thanksgiving or Christmas weeks, with 1000 kids onboard. There's only 2 pools +1 baby pool on lido deck. For me, the name Carnival start to melted down on the name Princess. Food quality, service and production shows( 35 minutes) are getting worst than ever. I've seen the Royal, but, no more for me. And the way Princess are heading ( cutting corner to save money ), I have different vacation option. Celebrity cruises or all inclusives resort are some of them!   Read Less

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