A $760 million ship that has a few nice features but lots of problems and should probably be taken back to the yard for MAJOR alterations.
The Good--Very nice atrium, large, bright and the center for lots of activity. Clever skywalks where you can look through a glass floor down to the sea 15 levels below your feet. Horizon Court (food cafe) laid out very nicely with nice choice and good display of food.
The Mediocre--very narrow balconies--why even call them a balcony? Just put a rail next to the door so you don't fall overboard and forget trying to cram 2 chairs and a table onto a balcony that is not wide enough to qualify as a balcony. The Theatre--only 2 levels with narrow seats such that any large person must side "sideways". From the seats front of center and off to the sides, the narrow stage opening doesn't permit a complete view. Not near enough capacity for a ship designed to carry 4,000 passengers. Unless you arrived at least 30 minutes early--good luck finding more than two seats together. After the second night, we never again went to the theatre and at least in our cruising pleasures, the theatre is a place we usually love--not on this ship.
The Worst--Elevators that say "Capacity 18" yet I never ever counted more than 12. There is no staircase in the center bank of elevators and only 6 small capacity lifts so no choice but to wait for long periods of time in hopes of finding space. In the front and back there were only 4 lifts again with small capacity. In addition, two of the four lifts in the back bank were "out of service" our entire cruise. In the center and front stacks elevators were "out of service" periodically. We observed near "fist fights" as people waited for two, three, four elevators to open--only to find no room. Then the "rush" to push another "button" which held the doors open for the people on the open but filled elevator or the "PUSH" to try to get in while the folks on the elevator were screaming at them that there is no room. And no choice to use the stairway--at least in the center bank where no stairway exists.
The Bottom Feature--Soot from the stacks all over the ship anywhere aft of the stacks. That included some of the most expensive rooms on the ship--the aft balcony suites, and every outside place on the ship whether balcony, jogging track or decks. The beige mats on the outside chairs were covered with black greasy soot making them unusable except if you didn't care about staining your clothes. This is not only inconvenient but is a health hazard. Princess had to have known this, yet decided to bring the ship to the US knowing this soot would be breathed in by anyone outside anywhere behind those stacks.
We cruise a lot, and generally enjoy the experience. For the first time ever--we were happy to get back to port and get off. We had expected the Royal to be one of, if not our favorite ship and left feeling it was the worst ship and worst experience we ever had on any cruise ship.
It appears that Princess underspent and over packed this ship to maximize profit and minimize passenger comfort in order to squeeze out a few more cabins. Doesn't compare with other Princess Ships and without major changes, this ship will destroy the Princess "brand."