The Royal Princess was a fairly new ship on its first transatlantic crossing in October, 2013. So, why did we have towels and wash cloths that were frayed? Why is there rust everywhere you look? Ours was an obstructed-view balcony with up close views of the life boats and their hoists which had lots of rust showing – already, even the stainless steel posts on the balcony were spotted with rust! Plus, the wood railings were pitted with white flaky stuff in its surface. And, they'd used duct tape to secure some of the thick metal winch cables?!?! The nicest thing I can say about the cabin is there was a nice long, open-closet with plenty of hangers provided; however, the bathroom and balcony were very tiny. Then, and it wasn't too long into the cruise, we started noticing the coughing and hacking by fellow passengers – then it hit us. We had to get antibiotics and had several days of unrest and sickness.
Overall our first impressions weren't so good, yet, our room stewardess, as it turned out, was very attentive and always referred to us by name when we saw her. The entertainment, including the lecturers, were top notch - certainly a highlight of our onboard activities. The Piazza is beautiful and a great place to hang out and people-watch and it seemed that they always had something going on in that area.
Of the ports, Messina and Naples were the let downs – no need to re-visit either of those two cities, whereas Madeira island is, and has been, one of our favorite places – we definitely recommend touring the western side of the island – just fantastic – and beautiful – well worth the 6 ½ hours we spent with 10 others in a Mercedes van with guide/driver at only 22 euros per person!!! The food on this cruise was OK – nothing to rave about and the wait-staff service was mediocre, often very slow in bringing meals to the table, but not when trying to sell you bottled water! I think they finally got the message that most of us were not falling for that expensive ploy early into the cruise. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give a solid rating of a 5 – it just wasn't that special – even with it being a new ship on its less than stellar inaugural transatlantic cruise. Sorry, Princess.