As long standing and loyal Elite members of this line who have sailed on most of their ships, we were deeply disappointed with the design on this new addition to the fleet.
If you have cruised with Princess before, and especially if you have enjoyed sailing on several of their ships, you will might be shocked on boarding this vessel which is a drastic and dramatic departure from their other ships. While the atrium and some other public spaces dazzle with expanses of marble and woodwork which is beautifully crafted, this creation lacks many of the creature comforts and features which are so beloved by this companies loyal followers. Had I been told that the Royal had actually been built for another cruise line which had cancelled the order and Princess had acquired her, it would have answered the many questions raised in my mind and in those of other passengers. In my view many of the features found on of other ships in the fleet that make them endearing, are entirely lacking. Other treatments of public areas are highly questionable
1. Cabins are nicely furnished and comfortable, but major difference is tiny balcony so narrow that chairs have to be set sideways. If a balcony is something you use and enjoy this minimalist effort imay mean this ship is not for you.
2. The heavily touted features of super sized outdoor moviie screen and dramatic over-the-side- walkway, plus the fountain show, may be very interesting, but in the writers opinion are not significant in the basic enjoyment one would expect. The huge atrium with all marble flooring at its base is impressive but not significant to the minor activities held there. Around its perimeter on each deck there are cafes and lounges, so one must conclude that this was done more for the benefit of Princess than its passengers.
3. The theater is notable for its lack of support pillars which would obscure the view. The shows seemed to be produced more in mind for younger passengers despite the very large number of mature adults who are attracted to this companies ships. Entertainment was of a disappointing type which is not a reflection on the singers, dancers, and musicans, all of whom were really excellent.
4. The alternate showplace cum nightclub, Club Fusion, was very comfortable and well thought out.
5. On other Princess ships there is always a Crown Grill, plus a separate Bar, and another lounge bar,
here the designer has seen fit to have one side of the grill completely open and immediately adjoining the bar both of which abut an open lounge with a featured pianist placed at the edge of a a throughway which is notable for the continuing stream of people. The noise from the restaurant and the smell of cooking intrudes on passengers trying to enjoy the pianist who has frequently to contend with the sound of diners singing "Happy Birthday" or making other noise. Who the heck thought up this idea. On other ships there is a another separate loung which is used for different thing, it is lacking on the Royal. The idea of having the pianist in this spot when there is an entirely separate lounge for this purpose is a mystery.
5. Restaurant food is very good as is the service. On the lido deck there is a huge buffet which has a great selection of food which is excellent. What is NOT excellent is the way diabetics or those wishing to avoid sugar are treated. In fact they are largely ignored. While there is a huge nujmber of pastries and desserts on display, dabetics have to be content wit Jello, or a token dessert....just one. There is absolutely no excuse for this considering the very large number of chefs. Its about time that a reasonable choice of dietary and sugar free food be available.
The Lido buffet is very large and covers both sides of the ship. It is extremely busy and noisy most of the time.
Sorry Princess, we love you, but not this effort. Many passengers who are familiar with your other ships disliked this one and will sail on others, but not return to the Royal. You need to rethink what you are doing with your designs.