First the obvious, much heralded pros of this ship, the MAGNIFICENT atrium, the largest and most impressive afloat. The restaurants are equally impressive, and the extensive buffet is also the best I have experienced on any ship in 20 years of cruising with many cruiselines. So, Princess have decided to go for the wow factor in their public areas;fair enough, and it certainly works.
However, there is a price to be paid, and that price is that Royal Princess offers the smallest cabins and balconies in the ENTIRE FLEET. Before booking I naturally checked the deckplans of the ship and saw that all the balconies, including the suites, have balconies only 3ft wide.but that there were a few at the skywalk which were bigger, (Princess terms them extended angled balconies) ,so I booked one of these, a mini suite on Riviera Dk , Starboard facing aft.
The balcony was larger than the others, but we were on view to all the other balconies because of the odd shape, so it didn't really work, and my wife felt uncomfortable using it. The occupants of the next few cabins also appeared to be uncomfortable for the same reason, as they were on full view to us, their balconies we not at all private. The reason for these small balconies is, of course to maximize the space inboard for the massive atrium. Princess can,incidentally, kiss goodbye to their profitable $100 Balcony dinners and $50 Balcony breakfasts on this ship!
Now to the size of the cabin. Mini suites on Princess have always been a curious shape, merely an elongated balcony cabin. The Mini suite I stayed in was 9ft 3ins wide.This is the narrowest in the Princess fleet, and made the cabin claustrophobic. I presume all the other cabins on the ship, other than suites, are the same width. Add to this that the bulkhead sound insulation was inadequate, and we could hear normal level conversation next door,which led to us conversing in whispers to avoid disturbing our neighbours, and you can see that we will not rush to repeat the experience on Royal Princess.
Unlike some other contributors to Cruise Critic,I believe that cabin size and quality makes a big difference to the overall cruise experience,(and this includes balcony size) so I always choose either a mini suite or a suite. The MA mini suite I booked on Royal Princess is the most expensive category on the ship, other than suites, so I feel short changed by Princess, the cabin was ludicrously narrow,like a hallway, and the balcony, though a little larger than the others, was inadequate.
Princess are gambling that the wow factor of the public areas will blind its customers to its cost cutting in cabin/balcony size reduction, I believe that gamble will fail,especially with the more travelled customer.