I will have to admit I was very hesitant about going on our 2nd Royal Princess Cruise after the experience we had this past summer in the Mediterranean. But we had booked this cruise with friends before our Med cruise and we were looking forward to being with them. The Med cruise was less than optimal with 900 children (including lots of teen agers). Many times they took over the pools, hallways and elevators. Not against children on a cruise but behavior issues at 12 midnight - screaming and yelling down the halls many nights is not my idea of enjoyment. The captain had to even come on over the PA system to say some children would not be allowed on another cruise.
But that was then and we boarded our second Royal cruise. It was a very different experience. The Piazza area is very lovely as before. If you are used to having a promenade deck, you will be disappointed. There is none. We missed the deck. We also missed the Skywalkers on the Ruby Princess. Club 6 just didn't have the same feeling so we only visited it one evening. Vista Lounge seating was less than easy to get in and out. At times we had to climb over people because of the placing of the lounge chairs.
Princess Theater is lovely and OK but has an obvious safety flaw with no side entrances (exits). I will never understand why they have to crank up the music full blast. We aren't all hard of hearing although I felt like it when I departed. And it does have an effect on my feelings about the shows.
Enjoyed the Bistro/Horizon Court area. Although you might have to wander a bit to find the food you wanted, there was lots of room. We enjoyed the outside area at the rear for eating breakfast in the morning. We ate in the Symphony Dining Room every evening except one. Service was slow at first but did improve. Seemed to be less wait staff as the previous cruise. Food was always good but waiter was less than friendly. The junior waiter made up for it with his cheerful attitude.
Enjoyed our room more than the Med cruise room. We had booked a room with a sofa bed on the Med cruise and it always seemed to be in the way. Didn't use it much. This room had more space without the sofa. Balcony is still too small if both of you enjoy sitting out side. TV was working much better and enjoyed the options one could check out. Room steward wasn't the friendliest either. Barely had anything to say and didn't see him much. Internet still has the slowest service though.
Small pool size is still an issue. Regular pool area was always noisy (music, movies) so if you wanted a little peace and quiet for reading, you had to go to the adults only pool. Had seen the water show on the Med cruise but this time the water show was during the time we were eating. Don't think we ever did walk on the Skywalk this time. It's a one time thing to do and didn't feel the need to do it again.
Had small issue on Princess Cays. Friend and I ordered a Coke with separate cards. Friend got Coke, I asked for mine and waiter told me it was a different waiter who took my order. Other waiter would be here shortly. Half hour later, still no Coke but same waiter brought our group their bucket of beer. I again asked where my Coke was? We all told him he had taken my order and suddenly I received my Coke. No biggie but not good service when you have to wait 45 minutes - and you are thirsty.
Found that the Essence didn't have much in fragrances - has been my favorite place to buy a new fragrance. Disappointed so didn't buy anything this time. Not that important but just an observation.
Probably spent the least amount of money on extras on this cruise - didn't go to Club 6, not much in Essence, Casino machines only offered VERY minimal payoffs, couldn't find photos that were taken, shops offered same items as last time.
Would I cruise again on the Royal? None of what I wrote about would keep me from cruising it again. It would depend on the itinerary too but I know what the ship has to offer. If the safety issues of elevators at midship and aisles in the Princess Theater are addressed, it would be a much better ship.