Day 1 We made it to the Royal Princess with only one minor issue. The traffic at and around Pier 2 was insane today, with three lanes merging into two and then merging into one lane as you drop your luggage. It took us 35 minutes to get from the entrance of pier 2 to the bag drop. However, once we were inside the terminal we noticed some of the great features of our newly acquired platinum status. We were whisked right into a preferred line, our bags were scanned. I was asked by the agent if I had two bottles of wine in my bag and soda, I replied yes and was waived on. Five minutes later we were checked in and on our way to the ship.
What a beautiful ship! The piazza is much grander than we expected, the ascending staircases are stunning and the overall feel of the ship is spectacular. Really haven’t checked out the entire ship but overall we are impressed, she is so nice, new and squeaky clean, we will explore some more later! We are in Lido 208, our second inside cabin. Pretty cozy room and as we spend little time in our room it works out just fine. Our bags were up very quick, probably the fastest ever. Spent some time unpacking, plenty of room in here for all that we brought. Not flying we have the ability to bring everything we need and more, so we often do!
Lunch in the HC (Horizon Court) was great, haven’t checed the whole thing experience yet and I need to get my bearings, but initial impressions were very nice and bright, food as always was good! Service was great, as soon as we sat down we were greeted and provided with drinks! They are pushing the Crab Shack, it will be M,T,W,& Friday night in the HC $20 per person.
We had about 42 show up for the sail away and were able to put a name with all the faces were have been chatting with for the last year. Nice folks, looking forward to our group excursion Thursday in St. Maarten.
Dinner, as with many first night dinners was the HC. Food was very good, plenty to eat with nothing to complain about. The food was well prepared and suited us just fine for a rushed first day. Starting to get my bearings in the Bistro and Café and haven’t been duplicating serving stations as I did the first time there.
Small letdown for DW as she found there are no true penny slot machines that let you bet a penny or one line. The least amount of money you can bet in a penny slot machine is twenty cents, with most being forty cents. I guess this puts more revenue in Princess’ pockets and can understand why this may have changed.
We received notification from Princess that our St. Thomas excursion which was the Virgin Gorda Excursion to the Baths had been cancelled. The paperwork we received indicated that it was for operation reasons; however the young man at the excursion desk indicated that it was because the numbers were lacking. He indicated that they require sixty people to run this excursion and have not met it all year. I guess that explains why when posting for information on the St. Thomas boards, I received interest in my posts but no responses from anyone that had actually completed this excursion.
Hit the gym at 8:00 AM, most days at 8:00AM, pretty crowded, did find a couple of treadmills not in use. Wife likes the gym in front of ship as with Ruby, Emerald and Caribbean Princess, either way you get a sea view so no complaining about that! After our workouts we always ate breakfast in the HC, seem like we have spent lots of time in the HC as we always do. One of the perks about being on the Lido Deck, everything we need is a quick walk and there is always fresh pizza just at the end of my hall!
Princess Cays today and there was a bit of a wait for the tenders, got to the pre-designated dining room about 9:45AM thinking we would be fine making our 11:15 paddleboard adventure, but made it with 10 minutes to spare. Seas were a bit choppy today and pretty windy for paddle boarding. DW was able to stand up most of the time, I however, was on my knees or butt most of the time. Had the typical burger, hotdog and rib lunch while on the island and it hit the spot. DW made a few purchases at some of the shops and we caught a tender back about 1:30 PM.
Got back on board and booked a kayaking adventure for St. Thomas, since we were shut out at Virgin Gorda. Went to the pool and there were available chairs front and center of the big pool. We took advantage of that as we serenaded by Tom Jones. No evidence of extreme chair hogging, but tomorrow will be the test, our first sea day!
Checked with scoops and according to the ice cream guy there are no milkshakes on the Royal, he did state you can get a smoothie at the bar but no shakes!
We went to see comedian Steve White in the Princess theater. The show started at 8:30 and there were pretty much only single seats left at about 8:20 and by 8:25 all the seats were gone. I must say that the show was worth the wait as this young comedian was really funny. We enjoyed the show immensely and from the reaction of the crowd this guy is a hit. Looking forward to seeing him again tonight for another show in the Vista Lounge.
Gym was packed today and we did have to wait for a treadmill, by the way there are 24 treadmills on this ship and they all have nice little flat screen TV’s, bring your ear buds from home if you want to try them out. There is also a scale in the gym and vending machines for power type drinks. Plenty of towels and disinfectant wipes for the machines and everyone seemed to use proper gym etiquette wiping down there machines when finished.
Pool was a madhouse today with so many people and so few chairs. We were traveling 20 knots directly into a 30 knot wind, so you can imagine the wind problems on the higher decks. We sat poolside with our feet in the water for about 15 minutes until I spied a couple leaving there loungers and sprang into action to secure the chairs for my wife and I. There were some chair hogs at the pool, seats I saw that sat empty of people for the two hours we were there. I also witnessed many people that left the pool and left there towels behind, when this happens no one is sure if folks are coming back or not. There has got to be a better way to handle this situation.
First formal night tonight. In the Princess Theater, Colors of the World 6:30, 8:30 & 10:30. Comedian Steve White 7:15, 9:15 & 11:15 in the Vista Lounge. Movies Under the Stars is Captain Phillips at 7:15 & 10:30. Captains Welcome aboard Party 7:15- 8:00.
Last night we were able to accomplish a lot after dinner. We watched the Captains Champagne Toast midship. The introduction of all his senior executive staff, either I am getting old or this is a pretty young looking crew! The Cruise Director made all the introductions and she does seem to have a keen sense of humor. We then went to the Princess Theater to view their production of Colors of the World. Not a big fan of the Princess theater productions and this one did not make me change my opinion on that subject. I think we may skip further production shows, seems like we may have seen previous shows form last year. We then went to watch the Comedian Steve White again and this time was not nearly as funny as the first time. I feel as though one night of his show is perfect, especially his first night.
This morning, as you know, we arrived in St. Thomas, Crown Bay Center. We thoroughly enjoyed our excursion; Wildlife Sanctuary, Kayak, Hike & Snorkel. This was a nice excursion that gave you the opportunity to move around a bit and to do some exploring. Our guide Lisa was wonderful and she made our adventure fun and educational. I would recommend this tour for outdoors people, those that don’t like big crowds and feeling trapped on a tour bus all day. I think this may have been the same tour GeoHerb took, based on his description; we too spoke about buying a kayak today!
After the tour we skipped downtown and breezed through the shops in Crown Bay. Found a place where we could make all the phone calls we wanted for $4.00 that was a bargain! Look for the internet hot spot and the crowds of people, just off the ship bear a hard left!
Back on the ship around 2PM, just in time for a late lunch at Alfredo’s. This was a nice treat and we had been looking forward to trying this venue the entire cruise. The pizza is not exactly the same as the pizza at the pool, but it is just as good. Crust is a little thicker and you get your choice of toppings. We also had antipasto, and that was nice too, you will also get some fresh baked hard rolls with olive oil and vinegar on a plate for dipping. The calzone was the big order there today as it seemed every order had a calzone with it! Check this out, you will not be disappointed.
Since we are skipping dinner tonight in the dining room tonight we have no plans. Movies under the Stars features Gravity, In the princess Theater tonight is master Illusionists David Katz, which we will skip. In the vista Lounge is the Ye Olde Pub Night! Tonight you can get a full body massage and a facial, 75 minutes $139.00.
Greetings from the Beautiful Royal Princess in St. Maarten! What a beautiful day here in the island, weather is still a little windy, but the sun is out, the water is 10 different shades of blue and you can see the bottom at 50 feet.
A little about last night, a little tired for the kayaking excursion we had planned to do little. Turns out, that’s just what we did! After a meal in the HC we opted to return to the cabin and call it an early night. I wanted to also mention how wonderful the staff are in the HC, they greet you and are at your table as soon as you sit to take your drink order, someone is doing something right in that department!
We did watch Captain Phillips in our room on the 40 inch Samsung and had a nice quiet night, sometimes required, even on a cruise! Satellite TV is definitely not HD, although I believe the in room movies are. Either way the television fits the needs for us, still wish it was more centered in the room. For those that always ask on the boards, I can find no inputs or jacks with the feel of my hand in the rear of the television, I would not count on being able to view photo or playing movies form your video camera. Did I mention the pillows on board are great!
Up early this morning and as we do on every day we leave the ship early, we had breakfast delivered. This is an easy way to get the day off to a quick start without any stress. Sure miss our night-side alarm clock, we usually bring our digital alarm clock from home, however, somehow we forgot to bring it this time. The breakfast delivery also serves as our back up wake-up call!
Met the 27 people from our roll call at 8:00 AM at the International Café, today was our group excursion on-board the Swalgia 2! All the hype on the cruise critic boards and TripAdvisor did not disappoint and we had a wonderful 4hour boat trip on the Caribbean side of the island, swimming and snorkeling. Everyone seemed to enjoy their time aboard and I will write more on the excursion on the proper board upon my return.
After a quick bite and a change of clothes back at the ship we hit a very hot downtown St. Maarten picking up some souvenirs and our allotment of alcohol. We were anxious to get back to the ship for some air-conditioning and cold drinks. We will watch our sail away from the sundeck tonight as I still not have heard the “love boat” horns.
Sailaway last night was fun as our ship blared out the love boat theme as the Celebrity Summit blew back her horn and their passengers cheered and clapped when the Royal blared out the love boat theme for the third time.
Well another beautiful day with nearly flat seas and sunny skies. The gym is waiting and so is breakfast in the HC. Going to try the Pub Lunch today and explore the ship a little more.
There is a small notice in the Patter today reminding passengers that any belongings left on chairs at the pool will be removed by crew after 30 minutes time. Today's list of activities include Mr. Sexy Legs Contest, Singles & Solos Luncheon, Pop Choir Rehearsal, Party Bridge Play, Knitter's and Crafters Get Together and Snowball Jackpot Bingo.
Tonight is also a formal night, so there will be plenty to do.
Another great day on the Royal Princess with more great weather! The winds are behind us on the way back as we both are traveling at 20 knots, there is barley any wind on deck today and it is a little hot to camp out at the pool all day. So as far as chair hogging goes today, not too bad, if you wanted a chair somewhere you could find one with patience. We were able to grab some loungers at the retreat pool in the front of the ship. Due to the heat we lasted all of 90 minutes. I suppose some folks feel that there is a fee for this pool, however, the only fee is for the cabanas which were not all occupied.
Went to the traditional pub lunch today in the crown grill and the food was good, but not great. Seems as though the fish we had sat for a bit at the bottom of a serving pan and was a little greasy. I simply peeled my batter off the fish and ate it that way, probably a more healthy way to eat it anyway. The fries were not too hot, but serving the masses comes with glitches. This did not ruin our lunch as we ate what we wanted and went to the HC for some salad afterwards. Another Observation in the HC - The Crab Shack doesn't seem to be well attended, maybe it's the cover charge.
We watched the vegetable carving demonstration in the piazza after lunch and then went to the onboard outlet sale in the Symphony Dining Room, no deals at all here for us, T-Shirts starting at $16.99 were not tempting enough for me to purchase. Lots of people there not sure how folks purchase at these prices, oh well, I guess someone buys the stuff!
DW played a bit in the Casino this afternoon and I took some more photos of the ship. Did a bit more exploring including the sports areas on deck 17. Checked out the putt putt, shuffleboards, ping pong, shooting simulator and walking track. Also checked out the very short Promenade deck on the ship. Looking up from the Promenade I really don’t think the sky bride on deck 17 actually goes out over the sea, I may be wrong.
Getting ready for formal night and may check out the Princess Captains Circle Cocktail Party from 5:00 to 5:45 in the Vista Lounge on Deck 7. Sweet Soul Music is in the Princess Theater at 6:45 – 8:30 & 10:30 PM. Movies Under the Stars is The Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug. Late Night Dancing on Deck 6 at Club 6.
Tomorrow is our last Sea Day then back to reality!
Well it finally had to happen and into each life a little rain must fall and today it did! After six glorious days of sunshine and sunburn it happened today, but it really happened at a good time. There were periods of sun and clouds and any day on a cruise ship is better than a day at work. First time all week there were available lounge chairs by the pool!
Gym was dead this morning, with half of the treadmills opened. Seems everyone is sleeping in this morning or tired of the routine in the gym. For some reason the volume on the treadmill TV’s only went to 40% and we could not use our ear buds. Gym staff said they would resolve the problem soon.
We did sit for formal photos last night and prior to each sitting we were asked to present out room card to the photographer. This morning we went to check our photos by simply swiping our card on the numerous large screen monitors in the photo area. Our photos then all appeared and we were able to choose our photos from the screen. The same photos were also available the old fashioned way by hunting them out through the masses.
For those that recommended that I try the Crab Margarita, on the way to the casino I finally did try it today and was not disappointed. I really thought I would be getting a Margarita with some crab in it; boy was I wrong but was I in for a treat!
Our slot pull took place today at 2PM in the casino, we had eighteen participants. Each participant contributed $10 and we played the max bet on a one dollar machine. Well after a hour and a half were actually up to $360 and we decided to cut any potential losses and walked out with $20 each. How often can I play for an hour and a half and double my money? We had a great time and then many of us did a cabin crawl to check out the various rooms on the Royal. A cabin crawl on a ship like this was well worth the time invested to check out all the offerings.
Suit cases packed and ready to be placed outside the room for the pickup, a true indication that this vacation is coming to an end. As asked by Dave for the good, bad and ugly I will make a post tomorrow after returning home giving you some additional likes and dislikes of the trip.
Final day today on the Royal Princess, disembarkation delayed 30 minutes but hey, I got to check out the Platinum Lounge (Vista) on Deck 7. No one checked my room card to determine my status but there were not many passengers there form 7:30 to 8:30 when we were awaiting our light blue#1 call. There was water, coffee, tea and orange juice available along with some pastries. There is also a Princess Sales video playing on the screen that shows all the wonderful places this ship can take you. Other than the small delay it was a pleasant experience.
Here is my Good, bad and the ugly from my 7 day voyage on the Royal Princess!
Staff in Horizon Court (Charles)
Room Attendant (Ramil)
Roses from the Flower Shop
Sideways facing inside rooms
Inability to swivel TV sets to desired location
Promenade or lack thereof
The Elevators or lack thereof
The pool towels are bigger softer and better for use in the bathroom than the little non absorbent ones provided, grab a few pool towels for your shower
Overall, this was a very enjoyable cruise and a great vacation! We enjoy cruising Princess and we happy with the new perks we received by our Platinum Status. However, we wished Princess would consider adding some different ports in the Caribbean as HAL has recently done. Is this ship too big? For us probably, we seem to prefer the Caribbean & Crown Class ship and there size. Would we cruise on the Royal again? If the itinerary was to our liking we would in a minute. I guess destination is as important as the ship.