Waited for some time, as many have, to sail on the Royal. Not dazzled, but a nice ship. The Crown Grill meal was absolutely the best we have ever experiences. May be the best filet mignon I’ve had – land or sea. Service was wonderful. The Piazza/lobby is very nice – large – wide open and nice spot to relax.
Horizon Court. Princess finally got this right. They took some ideas from the Queen Mary 2 to arrange the serving areas to allow cross traffic from port to starboard. Creates and easier flow of people. I never felt “buffeted” by folks trying to get food. Even the dessert area allows entry and exit from both sides of the ship. Very smart.
Our full suite was nice. 46” flat screen TVs are wonderful when they work. They often have an error message and shut off by themselves. Not sure the “on demand” technology is ready. Stateroom steward was fantastic – attentive and kind. The suite does show signs of cost cutting. No wet bar – no jetted tub – the most ridiculously narrow balcony. Hardly room to step outside. Seriously I’m guessing the depth of the balcony is about 36”/1m. max. When you did step out you always bang your shins on the deck chairs/tables crammed on the balcony.
The weird – The skywalk which allows you to walk on a slippery glass bridge to look down. Unfortunately, you look down on about 3 floors of balcony rooms. These poor people had to put up with folks looking at them for a week.
The ship has no promenade to walk outside. In fact, you cannot go forward to see the front of the ship at all. Only sanctuary visitors see a partial forward view. That is very strange. There is no central stair case. To take the stairs you go all the way forward or aft. Yuck. There is also very little public space aft. The Horizon Court does have outdoor aft dining, but there is no pool here. I understand the need to maximize revenue, but on sunny sea days, your only real choice for sunning is the center pool/big screen/loud music area. The adult pool area is nice, but every chair was “reserved” by early morning.
The fitness center has no locker room or changing area. The fitness center is aft on deck 17 and the spa is on deck 5 forward. Just about as far as they can be separated. The spa is for a fee only ($159.00) for 7 days. Although there are some similarities in the spa to the Queen Mary, this spa does not live up the hype. Dark – hot and muggy everywhere and not a very large hot tub area. My favorite weirdness, the dry sauna has an air-conditioning vent blowing cold air into the sauna. Needless to say the room is not hot. For such a new ship, I was surprised to see dirty tile, empty cabinets, speakers that don’t work. The spa reception desk ladies seem a bit bored. There were always 4 to 6 of them just standing there chatting. I do not recommend the spa.
I would not book the Royal again. Not because it was all bad – I just found it strange. I much prefer the Diamond/Emerald/Crown. Still love the Love Boats, just not this one.