Wonderful boarding experience, they have it down to a science when you consider the numbers of people disembarking and embarking in a matter of a few hours.
This is about our 25th cruise and second with Princess. We loved the Caribbean Princess last year and were excited to enjoying the Royal as she started her season in the U.S. We expected the rooms to be smaller and that it was.
What we didn't expect, when booking over six months prior was a cabin alllll the way at the back of the ship, when we requested mid ship. First visit to the Purser, we were told our cabin could not be changed because the ship was booked. (We learned later that was NOT the case). As soon as the ship's engines started our cabin began to vibrate like a bed in a cheap motel. I mean the entire room shook! Back to the Purser and this time we were changed to a cabin mid ship. Duh!
As is our habit, we took a walking tour of the ship while waiting for our luggage (which came damaged), The ship is a beauty! The Piazza was gorgeous and well planned with three levels all overlooking the center piazza on Deck 5. The night the Beatles tribute band the Beatle maniacs played the Piazza, every spot on all three levels was filled with passengers, all singing, dancing and cheering for the band, I was horse the next day from all the singing and screaming.
What was not well thought out, was the number of pools a ship that size should have. It lacked the back pool and a mid pool that was taken up by the area of the light show. Light shows were unimpressive, there should have been a pool. We stayed ships forward at the Sanctuary pool. The Spa itself was booked to the point they could not accommodate al the passengers that wanted to book it.
Shows were entertaining. The production numbers were polished, the show themes were entertaining to all audiences. What surprised us was the amount of lip-syncing. But fun all the same. The comedian was funny and the magician aka illusionist was really good and entertaining.
Now to the dining. The dining rooms were pretty and well laid out. The were sectioned out is such away you never felt as if you had more than several tables in your 'restaurant'. The décor was more interesting than the food. The menus were boring, the food mediocre at best. I think what we learned is that once the ship gets to mega sized, the food service becomes very institutionalized. So many people were sending back their dishes, especially the steaks, because they weren't done as ordered. My husband got ill one night after dinner. Buffets were boring and so so. Servers were pleasant but no one stands out as going out of their way. In fact I had to keep chasing down our room Steward to get a bucket of ice in the room.
I can't say anything about the Ports as we have been there many times before and chose to find a quiet beach somewhere away from the crowds.
What I do like about the Princess experience, is you can party hardy or stay quiet and recharge as you please and Princess respects that totally.