I confess to not being blindly dedicated to the Princess brand that so many of the elites we met on this cruise were. It should be obvious to all that while some elements of this ship are new and different like princess live and the expanded buffet while others are just one-time cute (sea walk, piazza and their light show). Other choices are just downright annoying or if ur educated about them eliminators of the ship from future consideration.
1. Fantastic itinerary - Ports were all fantastic and we only stopped in dumps at a couple of ports (Gothenburg and warnemunde come to mind). But the ship is too big for several of the ports and there was little or no planning for a ship of over 3500 people.
2. Better than expected accommodations, I thought the small balconies would be a bigger deal than they were. Our cabin steward probably had the worst personality ( not bad just blah) of any steward we've ever had but he did his job perfectly to his More
minimal standards and when we asked something to be corrected it was.
3. TV entertainment was a significant upgrade from celebrity etc. only thing I wish was that you had a channel to look at your bill and maybe one for room service but that's just picky.
1. There is just no getting around it, the lack of central staircase and limited number of elevators make this ship a MONSTER to get around in. You learn to push all the elevator buttons and go up to go down or vice versa. We all are used to full elevators on day 1 and maybe now and then at ports or formal nights but on the royal it is virtually unrelenting and at unpredictable times. I must comment on the change the cruise line made in the middle of the cruise, the middle bank of elevators you had to push 3 buttons to call all the elevators but one button worked all 4 elevators front and aft, mid cruise they subtlety changed it to 1 button per 2 elevators. NOTE: the worst decks for elevators are decks 9-12 where people would have to wait 3 or 4 calls to get an elevator with space available going up in the day or down in the evening.
2. Service standards - we believe that they want to do a good job but have poor training. We only had one REALLY bad evening in the dining room but while the maître d's try to level the load between stations it was very clear that some just we're not up to the job (this is an area where the auto-tip custom of today is inferior to prior days as I think the cruise line no longer emphasizes dining service like they used to). The problem as we see it is not a lack of effort as a lack of training and some service was high quality and would have been in any era.
3. Design - beyond the elevators and the stupid overhyped sea walk is who thinks its a good idea to put linoleum on a deck exposed to weather and then make sure there are no rails to hang onto. When called to their attention the ship personnel try to claim that a warning placed sideways into the wall is sufficient warning. So i guess while ur falling u have something to read. This is special to me because I fell on this and they tried to stick me with a bill and then I proceeded to limp my way through the last two weeks of the cruise and am still to fix my knee a month later.
4. Buffet - a wide and varied selection but scattered over 3 areas which open and close unpredictably in the middle of meals. This results in adding one or more items that we would prefer after having selected something not so good 10 minutes earlier. We love ethnic food especially Asian and this happened to us frequently. Frankly it was frustrating that after awhile we just started going elsewhere because the choices were more obvious and less long walks involved. Seating is also a problem on port days u need to get up pretty early or order routine room service.
Lastly a special commendation to the member of the cruise staff who suggested that if the bridge group that the ship organized wanted to have good cards they should go buy them at the casino. No further comment necessary. Less