First of all we really enjoyed the ship. It is a floating splendor that has a lot to offer. We were in a mid ship deluxe balcony (D407) that had a trapezoidal shaped balcony (54 sq. ft.). Since we were mid ship, we experienced the lack of a central staircase. We learned to live with it and made appropriate adjustments as the situation required. For us, the lack of a central staircase was in no way a showstopper that some people have claimed.
The stateroom and bathroom were well designed and met all our needs. The entire ship's crew seemed to be proud of their ship and make everyone's cruise experience a pleasant experience.
The biggest complaint I had with the ship is the Internet system. For a modern high tech ship to have the equivalent of a dial-up modem Internet system is ridiculous. Hopefully Princess will be able to increase Internet performance to make it more passenger-usable.
Entertainment/Things to Do - it's all over the ship. We spent the majority of our entertainment time in the Wheelhouse bar listening to Ray Coussin's at the piano. We missed most of the productions in the Princess Theater since we seemed to take a long time eating (and drinking). Best entertaining performance was the violinist (forgot the name) in the Plazza on the 2nd formal night. Three stories of passengers enjoyed a very dynamic performance. We watched the performance from Vines, which was a great place for a pre-dinner glass of wine.
Excursions - We did 5 private excursions and one with Princess (Cinque Terra). The Cinque Terra excursion was well orchestrated by Princess with good guides and logistics (buses, 2 water taxi's and a train ride). To me our other favorite stops were Ephesus (Kagan Kosagan -KSD Tours), Athens (Spiros Taxi Service) and Mykonos (self walk around tour). Our group of 13 had split views on Istanbul (again KSD Tours). Favorite sail a ways Venice, of course, and Toulon when all the children, who were performing on the pier, hoped on the water taxis to follow us out to the breakwater singing along the way.
Staff - I thought they did an outstanding job. We had a great room attendant and a number of favorite servers. We also noticed that things especially in the dining rooms were not as smoothly as expected in the first couple of days. In talking to an assistant Matre D he noted that they were still going thought some growing pains. Other factors also entered into service performance. For example on the second night the featured menu items were not that attractive, which caused people to select all the time available items. That backed up the kitchen, so it took longer to get items back out to the floor giving the impression of bad waiter attentiveness. Things got noticeably better as the cruise continued. I would expect some menu adjustments in the future to mitigate this happening again.
Meet and Greet - I worked with Princess to arrange our meet and greet (sail away day from Venice). Princess did a great job arranging for a location. I also prepared hand invites to the entire senior staff. We only had about 30 people show up for our Meet and Greet, which was understandable, but disappointing. We did have a couple of junior officers stop by to give us information on ship tours and eating/drinking venues. I now realize that even if we had 100 show up, we would still represent a small percentage of the people on board and are probably not that important for senior officer attendance especially since they are busy with a new ship and sail away.
Bottom line we would sail the Royal (or the Regal) again given the right itinerary.