We have completed more than twenty cruises traveling all over the world. Princess has always been our favorite cruise line but our latest cruise on the new Royal Princess ship was very disappointing. The most troubling aspect of this cruise was the poorly designed ship itself where convenience and the comfort of passengers was obviously not a consideration.
• Stairways are located forward and aft but there are no stairs in the midship area. This added longer wait time for the elevators which were smaller than usual and there was always at least one elevator out of service. People where cramming themselves into already filled elevators because they refused to wait any longer.
• The Princess Theater had no center aisle, two main aisles dividing the theater in thirds and only limited access from the sides of the theater. If there ever was an emergency, getting out of the theater would be a huge issue. Side rows consisted of about fifteen seats and the center rows were about twenty five seats across. Watching people bob up and down in their seats as others tried to get in and out actually became quite humorous. We witnessed an elderly gentleman climbed over the seats in one row to get to the next row after finding the seat he was going for was “saved” for someone else. Seating was very tight without even a cupholder for a drink.
• The atrium was beautiful and seated about 75 people on the main floor and if you were lucky enough to get a seat, you could dance on the crowded dance floor. Unfortunately with several thousand passengers onboard, as a dance space or performance space, it was grossly inadequate. You could stand along the railings on the upper decks looking down into the atrium but standing all night is not my idea of an enjoyable evening. Shows in the atrium consisted of the same acrobat doing the same show at least two or three times a night. The other entertainment venue was the Vista Lounge. It also is very small and many times was closed for a private party.
• Entertainment on board (other than the comedian who was great) generally was poor or non-existent so we were usually back in our cabin by 10:30 p.m. We saw almost all the shows even though arriving thirty minutes early to get a seat was necessary. We would have preferred to dance the night away in the Wheelhouse Lounge but, unlike the other Princess ships, there was no dance floor in this Wheelhouse Lounge.
• Our cabin was average size but the bathroom was smaller making it necessary to dry off inside the shower. The balcony was so narrow it barely accommodated the two small chairs and tiny round table.
• The temperature in the cabin was always warm even though the thermostat was down as low as possible.
• There were six hot tubs on board. Each hot tub could accommodate only five small people at one time. Also, the “adult only Retreat pool area” was closed for a private party on a sea day.
• Internet service was incredibly slow and TV in the cabins offered very few choices. The "movies under the stars" featured older movies that were already available on DVD.
The one positive feature on this cruise was the service in the Horizon Court. We ate breakfast there daily and the service was outstanding which was a very welcome change from most other ships.
But in conclusion, I cannot recommend the Royal Princess. I have serious safety concerns about this ship and was very glad to get off. If Princess continues building these “people unfriendly” ships, I’ll choose a different cruise line.