Overall Review: Royal Princess does not have all the attractions of the ships catering to high activity family entertainment. This ship cannot provide the thrills of wave riders/skating rinks/water slides etc. It is an excellent choice if you are looking for a relaxing slow paced vacation without the line ups. The youth clubs are excellent and there is plenty of classic style entertainment for all ages. Be ready for a pampered beautiful cruise.
Cruisers: Mostly an older group. Some middle agers, and some families. We never felt crowded. There were few waits for any service. Princess is very good at catering to all ages and offers entertainment in the Piazza and on the Lido deck at the same time. Lido is the dance party movies pool fun space and the Piazza is the classy gorgeous ballroom venue. Some of the RP cruises are older, and move a bit slower, this is a slow paced ship. No hurry here! We could always find loungers at the pool on sea days and seats for the bands. Some of the cruisers were so experienced they were looking for RP to be like all the other ships, its not, it has some of the old favourites but also has some great features for families. There had been some cruisers not appreciating having kids on the dance floor but Princess encourages that these activities were "for Families" the staff were great about assisting when other dancers complained about the kids joining in. There were 44 kids on our cruise with 100 on dec 15th cruise and 300 over Christmas.
Entertainment: Lido had movies under the stars, a few were family suitable some were very violent. Check your Patter so you can avoid the inappropriate ones. Popcorn and Swirls ice cream were a big hit as the kids shows were during the day. Lido also had a dj fun dance party, lots of pool room for swimming, make sure to attend the fountains kids play option in the morning 9-11 twice during our cruise, we had a blast playing in the fountains. The 5pm bands were always appropriate and had some fun dance alongs and sing songs.
Piazza was more formal, with ballroom style dancing and talented musicians. The acrobatist was very cool to watch, 15 mins early will get you a seat. Go on the 6th floor so the kids can look through the glass railing to see the show. Kids preferred the Lido when not in the kids club.
Nightly shows were family appropriate before 10pm. Magician was a delight, but bring ear plugs for the wee ones as it is very loud. The early show for comedian was appropriate. Later, not so much. Princess marks some activities at 13PG I would call them Adult. The other shows had nice costumes and lovely singing but more suited for older folks.
The Library has some great games suitable for families.
Princess Live can have some racy adult type content, chose with discretion. Some of the shows were excellent fun.
Horizon Court/Bistro: Alot of asian and many tasty favorites. Bavarian night offered 5 kinds of sausages! There were no crowds with exception of the embarkation lunch and the disembarkation breakfast. All other times plenty of tables and excellent service. There is always several types of fruit, broccoli, carrots, cookies(double chocolate, chocolate chip, peanut butter or oatmeal), skim and regular milk, noodles and white rice along with lots and lots of other dishes, chicken, fish, beef, pork. For baby food, ask any of the cooks and they will puree anything you request.
Kid friendly foods such as Hot dogs, hamburgers and fries along with pizza are found at the other end of the Lido deck Trident grill and Prego Pizza (they are not usually on the horizon court buffet line). We grabbed kid type food first walked across the lido deck and sat them down at the horizon tables while we got ours.
Lemon aid and ice tea (unsweetened) and milk are included in your regular fare. Pop is extra. Orange juice is included in the morning. We loved their chicken fingers :)
Note: Pepperoni and cheese pizza are offered at Prego however, Alfredos offers cheese and many more other gourmet types but no pepperoni (oh this was an issue!)
Formal dining: Expect an hour to an hour and a half. They prefer kids dress up collared shirts and dress pants or dresses.
Photos: No charge to pose for the photos on formal nights, lots of options of backdrops and also of the crystals on the stairs. Photographers were excellent with kids. No cost to take them. Prices to purchase are $24.99 each plus $10.00 for the digital. Take lots of shots and get the perfect one! They have a free sitting portrait option by appointment with no sitting fee, but be prepared for the purchase costs.
Wonderful space, never crowded and lots of fun programming. Kids are removed for lunch and dinner by parents on sea days. After 10 pm is $5 per hour. Clean, bright, appropriate and fun with excellent supervision. They have an great security program, the door only opens if staff activate the release. The kids had a blast and made new friends. 9 year olds and up can have parental supervision to sign themselves out or you can chose parental pick up only.
Rooms: Two types of Balcony, one with the pull out couch and the other adds a drop down bed. We were not kean on the drop down bed its like a bunk bed only wobblier, however the couch can easily fit two kids comfortably. When the bed was out we could not open our fridge and had to climb over the bed to the balcony.
The shower has a curtain that doesn't stay closed but there is a shower head with handle. The sink is deep enough to bath a baby. We had to ask for extra towels, just two? There are no bath robes for kids, but adult ones are available if you ask. The laundry room at the back of the ship on each floor is large and never busy.
There are several kid friendly on demand movies on your flat screen tv, great for down time. Take advantage of the daily afternoon fruit order. The order cards are sent out the night before, we added milk and cookies to our order so we always had some in our stateroom fridge. Room service was also a free useful friend when we needed a break.
The bads: On embarkation day Our room was dirty even though we were told it was ready. Schmutz on the carpet, in the fridge, on the bed runner, in the bathroom. It was quickly cleaned and was fabulous every day after. Carpet stains spurned us to ask for an extra blanket to lay on the floor for floor time through out the week.
On one occaision our neighbours were smoking on thier deck, tell the stewards. The smoke will soon be in your room as it blows into the open balcony doors and its very difficult to air out. Besides the casino there is actually very little smoke on this ship! Nice!
There is a soot problem with the aft because of the engine. Don't book an aft balcony room until they get this sorted out. On windy days there is some black small flecks of soot on the Lido deck, its cleaned up quickly by staff. The engineers are working on this issue and will have it resolved soon. We were not bothered at all as we had a forward room.
Princess can't dictate how the other cruisers will act, so go have fun, avoid the naysayers looking to complain and enjoy this truly beautiful ship.
Feel free to contact me if you have any other family centred questions!