We have been on over 20 Princess cruises but I have never felt this way getting off the ship. I think I am still trying to get my head around what the Royal Princess had to offer.
The ship is impressive - it is done up very nicely and is lovely but something just seemed to be missing. The first thing I missed was a promenade deck for those nice afternoon walks. There were 2 spaces outside the door that looked like a promenade deck but it was only for sitting and relaxing. And the sitting part wasn't easy either because it had very few chairs that were always taken. I could imagine it to be a nice place if it was a whole promenade for the whole ship. The second area we missed was a better Club 6. We have been on the Ruby 5 times. The special area they had in the evening for elite members is Skywalkers. It was a great place to sit and unwind - there was always great service. But somehow Club 6 was a dark almost dreary place with loud music playing and limited attention to service. If you wanted to talk to friends, the music didn't help.
We didn't get off the ship in Athens so we thought it would be a good day to sit by the pool without it being on overflow. The first thing I noticed was a group of young boys running, jumping and splashing water all over. It didn't help to be sitting close to the pool. Next thing I noticed was security giving notice not to run or jump in the pool. Of course when security left, they were right back to doing the same thing. Suddenly security was back and ordered the boys out of the pool. It was obvious they weren't going to move as then the mothers got into the argument. Next thing a father comes out and joins in the defense of the boys. FORTUNATELY they did get out of the pool and the few people sitting around could enjoy a little of the pool. Yes, it is amazing how little pool space there is. I did go back to the adult only area but the area didn't seem hospitable. No one came and asked if I wanted a drink the half hour I was there.
And yes we were told there were 900 children on this cruise. I've taken my children and grandchildren on cruises so I'm not opposed to children. But I couldn't believe the antics of running and screaming down the halls late at night. A Princess employee said a 4 year old was running the halls too. Fortunately the captain did come on over the PA system and make an announcement about the behavior of "some" children. He said that if the children weren't controlled, they couldn't come back on a cruise. But the announcement was the night before we were to disembark. I wish he had said that about 4 nights into the cruise.
We were satisfied with the food. I had the best Fettuccine Alfredo I've ever had. We liked the outdoor space that was available for eating off the Bistro/Horizon Court. There was plenty of food. Plenty of tables for 2 but when my husband asked about sharing a table one evening, we were told he didn't have any share tables set up.
We had trouble with the laundry service. Had sent clothes to be laundered and they came back not pressed (shirts, a jacket etc). When someone came to take them back to be pressed he told us "I think they look OK." It did improve though but have had much better service.
Entertainment felt almost the same as it had been before - especially in the Princess Theater. It is a beautiful theater but for some reason they think that everyone is hard of hearing and the music is pumped up full amp.
We did several tours - the Night Tour of St Marks Basilica was the best. We also took a tour to Capri but had a very inadequate tour guide. Stood in the hot sun for over an hour when we arrived as there was no bus to take us to Anacapri. When we arrived there, he only told us where to meet and he disappeared. We had the same experience when we went to Capri - waiting in the hot sun longer than he told us and he disappeared. Our tour in Rome - Colosseum, Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St Peter's - was also excellent. Barbara, our tour guide, made sure we all stayed together and explained everything. There was confusion about the tour in Florence. We were charged for Florence on our own but instead had a morning walking tour and afternoon on our own. Princess needs to clean up the titles so there is no confusion when you book. 16 people left our group because they thought we would be on our own in Florence the whole time. Unfortunately it was HOT HOT HOT in Italy so that didn't help the mood - especially in Florence.
We booked a room with a small sofa. Found we didn't use it much. And there was less space for storage. My first thought upon entering room was claustrophobia as it seemed so much smaller with the sofa but I got used to it. Was nice to have a large TV in front of the bed but could hear the TV next door too. And several times the TV worked less than optimal. Husband did sit on the balcony to read but not much room either if I wanted to join him. Liked the bigger sink in the bathroom.
Would I sail again on the Royal? - well, we are booked for a Caribbean cruise in January with friends so will have to see if I come away with a better feeling. I guess I expected to feel more enthusiasm about the ship and it wasn't quite there.