For a variety of reasons, we had no intention of going on any kind of a holiday this year. However, towards the end of May an email offer from Princess popped up that seemed too good to be true. My husband took a look at it and said we'd be idiots not to check this offer out further...so we did and we booked on the Royal Princess.
It was only after we booked that I dug up my old user ID on Cruise Critic and started to become aware of the various comments that had been posted about this new ship.
I have to admit that I read a lot of the negative comments with a grain of salt. Not every ship suits everyone's tastes and preferences. However, we are not the sort of people to base whether or not to sail on a ship based on someone else's opinions. To us the itinerary is the most important aspect;a good price is not dismissed lightly. And trust me....we got a VERY GOOD price on this cruise.
We received an upgrade to boot.
In our opinion, we felt that perhaps the bookings for the Royal may have been a little slow for the sailing we were offered based on two things...1)time of year and 2)just perhaps....people were hesitant to book or had cancelled bookings based on all the negative viewpoints that had been posted.
Maybe we are totally off base, however, we are eternally greatful to all of those who chose not to book the Royal Princess and to those who did your best to hightlight the "weaknesses" of her design. I suspect that we may not have received such a good offer to sail on her if the bookings had been heavy.
So now onto our opinion of the Royal Princess. This will be brief since there have already been a number of detailed reviews posted.
It is a stunningly beautiful ship. You would never know there were so many people on board because the traffic flow is so well designed. We were never short of a table to sit at, or a chair to sit on. It didn't matter if we were at the aft of the Horizen Bistro, or if we were outside on one of the decks or if we were in the piazza or at the pool area. There was always a place available to sit and take things in no matter where you happened to be.
There were never a lack of comfortable places to sit in the shade.
Although there is no "wrap around" promenade, there are loads of places on outside decks to take in the sea air. If you are a promenade deck "stroller", then I think the experience would be the same. If you are a promenade deck "brisk walker", then you would likely notice something missing....especially if you don't like walking "up top" on a sports deck.
My husband is quite tall, and he was very comfortable in the beds. There was plenty of room in our cabin and shower. We were in a deluxe balcony cabin, but we had the chance to see a regular balcony cabin and we would have been quite comfortable in it as well.
We've had bigger balconies on other ships, but given our port intensive itinerary, we found we weren't in our cabin enough to find this to be an issue. If we were ever to plan a different kind of voyage then there are other cabins with larger balconies to choose from.
We didn't go on the skywalk much beyond the first day or so. Neither did most other folks, so I don't imagine that there were a lot of people staring into those who had a balcony cabin mid ship.
We were booked mid forward, so we were near the staircase and not impacted by the midship lack of staircase issue.
The food was wonderful, staff outstanding, etc. etc. It sounds like I am gushing, however, this trip on the Royal Princess was easily our best sailing ever. Princess is very good at what they do, there was not a flaw or a hitch in our entire trip. And that includes the ezAir option.
I have only one (very minor) "negative" observation. When returning from shore excursions, we noticed that the algorithm controlling the elevators was not optimum. i.e. if you were on deck 4 wanting to go up, two out of every three elevators would only go as low as deck 5 before they headed back up. Our solution was to take the stairs up one deck to increase our odds of getting an elevator that would stop at the floor we were on. As I said....very minor and almost not worth mentioning. But handy to know if you are on a future voyage and find yourself on deck 4 waiting for an elevator that never seems to arrive!!!! ;)