We stayed at Townplace Suites Fort Lauderadale West prior to our cruise. Nice hotel with full kitchen. Would stay there again.
We boarded around 1pm and got right through with only a few people ahead of us. Fast and friendly service at Port Everglades Cruise Port.
We boarded Royal Princess for our 5th Princess cruise. (We've previously cruised one time each with RCI & Carnival).
We were "wowed" by Royal. We 1st stopped off at our interior cabin on the Lido deck. We were greeted by our fantastic cabin steward Rommei then entered our beautiful cabin. Comfy and cozy with awesome bedding.
We then headed for the Lido deck. Unfortunately, the weather was not the best, cloudy and light rain. Loved the sail away anyway with the ship's horn playing the theme from the Love Boat series. Grabbed a couple sail away drinks and enjoyed it even in a drizzling rain.
Then we headed for the Piazza atrium. Larger than other Princess ships, the Piazza has 3 floors with plenty of seating on each floor overlooking the Piazza where there was much entertainment throughout the days and evenings. Lots of music and dancing took place here and lots of fun people watching. There were bars/lounges, shops, and eating establishments (24 hr International Cafe and Alfredo's Pizza) surrounding the Piazza. This was one of our favorite areas on the ship.
Our 1st stop was at Princess Cays. Beautiful private beach with plenty of lounge chairs. We got off an hour or so after 1st tender and had no problem getting great loungers in the 1st row. Didn't swim as the water was too cool for us but there were plenty of people swimming. The seas were rough that afternoon which made tendering back to the ship a challenge. They stopped the tenders at one point because they had to wait for the waters to calm down to let people the people who had already tendered get off and onto the ship. The tender ride back was like an amusement park ride, swaying back and forth, several people didn't fare too well but many of us enjoyed the thrill of the massive rocking of the tender.
Next port was St. Thomas. Weather was drizzle rain and we had a kyack, snorkel, hike excursion booked through the ship. Was a lot of fun despite the less than perfect weather. They were running late but knowing Princess would wait on us since we booked through them was comforting.
Next port was St. Maarten. We took a privte tour, hired off ship. It was an all day island tour with stops along the way suggested by our driver. We also asked him to stop at other places which he was more than happy to do. One stop was Orient Beach where one way was the nude beach, the other clothing. We shopped at the clothing side a bit, took a quick look from the beginning side of the nude beach (with a few laughs), and went on to several others stops before we asked for our final stop in the main part of shopping near our port. We were with our driver 6 1/2 hrs for only $36 a piece (there were 8 of us). There is a large sign at the port that has the prices of tours. This was the last selection listed on the board and defiantly the best value. Our driver was super friendly and very knowledgable about the island. We toured both sides, Dutch and French, with stops at both.
Back on the ship we enjoyed the Lido deck with live music twice a day, ice sculpting, pool games, and great movies as we soaked up the sun.
Had great entertainment with our favorite The Beatlemaniacs. They were one of our favorite cruise memories from this cruise. They played one night in the theater and one night in the Piazza. People including myself and husband had a most enjoyable time feeling like we were actually at a Beatles concert. They sang all the classics and changed costumes to fit many of the songs. They played again at 10:30pm one night in the Piazza, with people singing and lots of fun dancing. Best of all ship entertainment I have experienced. Also great entertainment was the comedian Troy Thirdgood. This guy was hilarious with good clean shows. He also participated in the game show Liar's Club which was also a hoot. Other game shows such as the marriage show was fantastic.
We dined everywhere on the ship, all being great quality food and service. Melchor in the Symphony anytime dining room was fantastic. Funny and friendly as well as knowledgeable about the food selections. Donuts in the morning in the International Cafe were a treat! New dessert station was also great, just wish they had an ice cream machine in there to top off desserts. Large eating area and never had a problem finding a seat, most often eating on the aft deck.
One other things i loved were the free in room movies. Many series including Love Boat, Mike and Molly, as well as drama, family, sections, and many many movies. You could stop your movie and and come back later to resume. Always nice to start my day and unwind at night. Hope this happens on all Princess ships.
Disembarkation was as easy as embarking. We did the walk off at 7:25am, and it was well organized and went quickly ans smoothly.
Royal is beautiful, classy but comfortable, with excellent crew. Would sail on her again, wish I could have her on all the iteneraries of my choosing. Fantastic 5 stars from beginning to end.