"Celebrate Romance," part of Princess' ScholarShip@Sea enrichment program, basically consists of four offerings. The two most impressive -- as we experienced on our recent cruise on Emerald Princess -- were the Romance Channel (which shows flicks, such as "Sleepless in Seattle" and "An Affair to Remember" on in-cabin televisions) and the fabulously decadent "Romance by Room Service." The latter, a package purchased for $150 per couple, includes (on a designated evening) a bottle of Champagne, gourmet chocolates, a series of flameless scented candles (alas, you don't get to take those home) and the piece de resistance: fresh rose petals scattered on the bed -- and in the bath if you so desire. It's a pricey indulgence (though here's a hint -- it's a great gift for anyone wanting to provide honeymooners with an onboard treat), and is the only element of the romance program incurring a charge from passengers.
Celebrate Romance will also feature special attractions -- could be a talk by Trish McDermott, the line's romance guru (she formerly worked as a vice president for Match.com); a lecture by the always entertaining Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a sex therapist; or, as we were lucky enough to witness, a production of the charming "Love Letters," featuring Love Boat "captain" Gavin McLeod and his wife, Patti. That play, written by A.R. Gurney, chronicles a couple's love story as they exchange letters throughout their life; it's been awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
All cool stuff. Less successful are elements that range from a 45-minute multimedia presentation on the history of love, which ranged from embarrassingly silly to downright boring (neither of those come close to being aphrodisiacal), and mundane tidbits about love that appear in each day's Princess Patter.
Princess is so in the throes of romance it's even created a Web site with tidbits, anecdotes and information. You can see it here.
Crown Princess will be the next to get the full set-up later this month; other ships will follow suit.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor