The Royal Princess cruise ship cabins are generally smaller than you find on older Princess ships, with noticeably smaller balconies. They do, however, feature the line's Princess Luxury Bed, designed in collaboration with "Dr. Sleep." It's one of the most comfortable that we've experienced at sea, and while it takes up more space, the extra size is worth it.
Staterooms fall into four different categories: Suites, which are made up of Penthouse Suites (to many, the best cabins on Royal Princess) and Premium Suites; Mini-Suites; Balcony (including Premium Deluxe, Deluxe and standard Balcony cabins), and Inside cabins. Adjoining staterooms are available for large families needing more than one cabin.
All cabins on Royal Princess have two twin beds or one queen and all the usual amenities, such as a flat-screen television with video on demand, small desk, in-room safe, direct dial telephone, a small armchair and a small fridge. There's a small closet with some storage, and suitcases can go under the bed. One noticeable fault we saw: There are no USB ports.
Bathrooms have large showers with hand-held showerheads, although the shower curtains are clingy. Sinks are square to provide more vanity space, mirrors feature built-in vanity lighting and beds have pillow-top mattresses and upholstered headboards. Basic toiletries (shampoo and shower gel) are located in the shower.
Interior: The standard Royal Princess Inside cabin comes in at 166 to 175 square feet, which is fairly standard for the cruise line.
Balcony: Royal Princess Balcony cabins are 222 square feet (181-square-foot cabins with 41-square-foot balconies). They include all the features of an inside cabin, plus spacious closets. Private verandas are each outfitted with two mesh chairs and a cocktail table.
The Deluxe Balcony cabin is only deluxe if you compare it with the standard balconies; while pleasant, they are small. They come in at 233 square feet (192 square feet inside, plus a 41-square-foot balcony), and the only real difference is a couple of extra feet in each stateroom for a loveseat. They each have a decent-sized space for hanging clothes, but the shower-only bathroom, the same as those found in the lower-category cabins, is ridiculously cramped for a modern cruise ship -- and it's got the dreaded clingy shower curtain. Its balcony layout is identical to that of the standard veranda staterooms.
A number of standard Balcony and Deluxe Balcony cabins on decks 8, 15 and 16 have obstructed views.
At 242 to 312 square feet, Premium Deluxe Balcony staterooms have the largest balconies of non-suite staterooms on Royal Princess. These cabins can be found in the aft section of decks 8 through 15.
Mini-Suites: Mini-Suites measure between 299 and 329 square feet. The big draw here is a curtain -- you can draw it close -- which has been added to separate living and sleeping areas. Mini-suites get the same general stateroom amenities, plus decorative central lighting fixtures, marble-topped counters and two flat-screen TV's instead of one. The biggest disappointment with the Royal Princess mini-suite? They get the same tiny, narrow balconies as standard staterooms, with the same furnishings.
The solution is to book a Club Class mini-suite, which come with extra benefits such as priority embarkation and debarkation, a special open-seating area in the dining room and evening canapes. Note that not all mini-suites are Club Class; generally, these are midship or at the back of the ship. Club Class isn't a good choice, however, if you are traveling in a group with people in a non-Club Class cabin, as they won't be able to eat with you in the special dining area.
There are two styles of suite accommodations on Royal Princess. Penthouse Suites are the largest and range in size from 587 and 682square feet. Each features separate living and sleeping rooms, a mini-fridge, a balcony with upgraded furnishings, a bath with separate shower and tub, and a powder room. Penthouse Suites on decks 8 through 12 and 15 are corner cabins, so balconies wrap around two sides of the ship. Those on Deck 14 midship have slightly smaller balconies, but they are located adjacent to the Concierge Lounge.
Premium suites (554 square feet, with balcony) are located all the way forward, though, oddly, there is no view out of the front of the ship -- just to the side. The Premium suites are the exact same layout as Penthouse suites, and they enjoy the same features with slightly larger balconies and indoor space.
Each suite, regardless of category, features a 42-inch television, a bathroom with two sinks, a separate bath and shower with both hand-held and fixed sprays, marble floors and countertops, special toiletries and accent lighting. Suite passengers (not including those in mini-suites) also are entitled to a number of extras, including complimentary laundry and cleaning services, suite-only breakfast from Sabatini's and an extended in-cabin dining menu, and access to the Concierge Lounge.
The Concierge Lounge on Deck 14 caters exclusively to suite passengers (which could be tricky if they all come at once -- it seats only 24 people) and serves a selection of hot and cold snacks and beverages that include wine (for a fee). There is limited space and no views, but it's a nice place to relax, read a magazine and have an aperitif before dinner.
The real benefit is that you can avoid traipsing down to Guest Services and having to deal with the lines there. A dedicated staff member deals with queries on shore excursions, accounts, specialty dining and spa reservations.