This was the newest Princess ship we have been on to date. It is also somewhat bigger so there is plenty to do and enough places to go, although the library was like "Old Mother Hubbard's Cupboard", so if you are a reader ... Read More
This was the newest Princess ship we have been on to date. It is also somewhat bigger so there is plenty to do and enough places to go, although the library was like "Old Mother Hubbard's Cupboard", so if you are a reader bring your own reading material.
We had a balcony cabin on the Aloha deck toward the rear of the ship. Comfortable and quiet. Easy access to the rear elevator to access the Allegro Dining hall or go top side for poolside activities and the Horizon.
We ate most of our meals in the Allegro -- breakfast, lunch (when not in port), and dinner basically for portion control. A few mornings we had early shore excursions and had to be in the departure point close to 7 am, which is when the Allegro opens, so we either got something from the International Cafe or in the Horizon Court. On port days, after our shore excursion, we would have lunch in Alfredo's, the grill, or the Horizon Court.. The HC didn't seem to vary their lunch menu much, unlike we had found on previous cruises. Basically same old, same old, so take out of one dish one day, and another the next, and so on. We found the service in the Allegro to be somewhat slow for our tastes as the average time for any meal was 1.5 hours, which made it close to get to a show in the evening. The CD recognized the problem and had 3 shows, one at 4:30, one that was at 7:30, but got moved to 7:15 or even 7:00, so he adjusted the wrong way, and the other one at 8:30, which is close to bed time for some of us (Hey, it's vacation :-))
After putting up with nothing but singers and musicians on previous cruises, we were pleasantly surprised to have 4 comedians during our 19 day cruise. So Thank You Princess for getting some entertainment worth going to. Also the production show -- The Secret of Silk was fantastic. Hopefully they don't run it into the ground like they did with Magic To Do. You know, you see it once and it's great, you see it on your next cruise and it's OK, you see it on successive cruises year after year and it's not worth going to. Also the in-room entertainment is greatly improved. Instead of a couple of.episodes of Love Boat repeating day after day and a movie running constantly all day, there was plenty of variety to keep one entertained if you're not into the casino and "children's party games" thing.
The ports were what you would expect on a cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Buenos Aires -- a small sampling of the Caribbean, a few ports in Brazil, then Montevideo, and finally BA. The Caribbean are still rebuilding following the 2017 hurricanes, so some of the scenery was remnants of the devastation. Fortaleza, Brazil is a mixture of rich and poor intertwined throughout the city, not much else to see. Salvador de Bahia is also an old city, some historic sites, the cobblestone roads are rough and difficult to walk through, and as we were there just before Carnival, the bands were practicing for the parades so the guide was difficult to hear at times. We had been to Rio, Montevideo, and BA on previous cruises, so we looked for something different in our shore excursions going to Petropolis, quite interesting; a winery via an old steam train, and then the debark. Rio, Montevideo, and Buenos Aires were all quite hot. In Rio, we docked in front of terminal 2, but after exiting the ship had to walk past terminal 3 and then into terminal 4 before we could get to our transportation. That seemed a little strange to me..
The ship had some problems with some people who did not have visas to enter Argentina. They hid on the ship which caused a delay in our departure because the ship could not sail with them on board. So they had to be located and escorted off the ship. This together with the replenishing of items for the stores on board caused a lengthy delay in our departure. As a result the captain lost his slot to enter the single lane channel between Montevideo and Buenos Aires. We had to anchor through the night until the next morning when the channel was clear of other vessels which had moved up in position to cross the channel. Instead of getting into Buenos Aires at roughly dawn and going on our excursions, we were delayed and unable to dock until almost 2 pm. Needless to say the excursions had to be cancelled. The luggage which would have been waiting for us at the airport following our excursion was still on the ship and only gradually off-loaded and taken to the terminal. Information for how we were to get off the ship was not very clear. Fortunately we got to stay in our cabins until we docked. Then had to wait another couple of hours for the ship to be cleared and the luggage taken to the terminal, which was quite a distance from he ship. Released in groups we made our way off the Royal and down to the pavement to walk some distance to crowd onto buses to be taken to the terminal. Getting to the terminal we were joined by passengers from an MSC ship and a Holland American ship which were also debarking. So everyone was in this hot, confined "warehouse" terminal trying to find their luggage. It was wall-to-wall people and trying to find their suitcases among thousands of other suitcases. Once we got out suitcases, we had to slowly make out way outside to the buses that would take us to the airport. Meanwhile, the Royal had a scheduled overnight in BA.before moving on down the Argentine coast. The embarkation was great, probably the best I have ever had. The debarkation was horrible and needs work.
Love Boat fans will be happy to know that sometimes when sailing away from a port, the ship's horn will sound the first notes of the theme song. When leaving other ports, it sounds like the home team team just scored a goal at the hockey stadium.
The few children that were on the ship were all well-behaved and mostly accompanied their parents. A big improvement over some previous cruises where they run wild on the decks, play elevator tag, and scream and shriek as they run past the cabins. Glad we didn't have to put up with that this time.
We are looking forward to our next cruise. Read Less