First: The staff, food and service aboard the Royal could not be better. EXTREMELY satisfied in those regards.
Our issues deal with the overall ship design.
They eliminated some of the most popular venues, (e.g., Explorer's) and the dance floor in the Wheelhouse.
The Wheelhouse lounge is now merged with the Crown Grill: it's hard to tell where one starts and the other stops. The only entertainment in the Wheelhouse is a piano!!
The Explorer's Lounge has been replaced with the most ridiculous waste of space on the seven seas named "Princess Live!". The hold game shows, etc. in this small theater. They try and hold trivia in there - but how can you play any team games in auditorium seating?
The promenade deck is virtually eliminated. You can't walk around the ship on deck 7 on the Royal.
And who designed the elevators? They have four elevators fore and aft, working as a set of two rather than all four working in harmony. You can stand for five minutes waiting on an elevator only to see it whiz by your floor for reasons unknown.
And what is up with this "Club 6"? Who in their right mind would ever create a lounge 100 feet in length and put a postage stamp size dance floor in one far corner? What was wrong with the center of the space?
The eliminated the video screens in the Vista Lounge, anchored the small tables and narrowed the isles. Once you're in a seat in the middle of a row, you'd better hope you don't need a bathroom soon. It's nearly impossible to navigate a fully populated isle thanks to tables, immovable chairs and non-existent knee room.
Same for the Princess Theater. The seats have been jammed together like a U.S. Airways flight. No more drinks in the Princess Theater folks! No more trays. Sad.
But they try and sell everyone on the new expanded Piazza that is supposed to allow for more centralized entertainment. Well, if you like dancing on a marble floor, you'll thoroughly enjoy yourself. But unlike the older ships, due to the open design, you can't have anything going on in the Piazza if someone is at the piano in the Crooner's bar.
The Internet Cafe has been downsized due to portable, personal tools such as smart phones, etc. But the speed of the service is extremely slow and was down several times during the cruise.
The ship is more for the younger Carnival crowd than seasoned cruisers. With the right bands and plenty of booze and young people in swim wear, they'll never know what they're missing. But my bet is, that crowd had better like it because most of the preferred cruisers (Elite and Platinum) won't be back - and are already cancelling cruises booked on the Regal for the reasons stated above.
We'll continue to cruise with Princess on their other ships (e.g., Ruby, Coral, Sapphire, etc.) but we'll not sail on the Royal again or the Regal.