3 Southampton to Europe - Western Mediterranean Princess Royal Princess Cruise Reviews

This was a multi-generational cruise to celebrate my mom's 85th birthday. Travellers were mom - 85, her sister - 83, myself - 47 and my daughter - 14. Having sailed on maiden voyages before, we all knew that a positive attitude and a ... Read More
This was a multi-generational cruise to celebrate my mom's 85th birthday. Travellers were mom - 85, her sister - 83, myself - 47 and my daughter - 14. Having sailed on maiden voyages before, we all knew that a positive attitude and a go-with-the-flow attitude would be key to a great time. I have to say that I was very impressed with nearly everything. As others have noted, the lack of a mid-ship staircase is a pain - those elevators get crowded. However, for my daughter and I it simply proved an added incentive to take the stairs and keep those extra pounds off! We sailed a 2-night preview, the 7-night from Southampton to Barcelona and the 12-night from Barcelona to Venice. We didn't do any ship excursions, so I won't comment on those. Cabin - we were in a BZ obstructed balcony on the Marina deck - this turned out to be a bargain as the "obstruction" - a solid railing - disappeared during construction. One minor glitch was the fact that the cabin was sold as sleeping 4 - upon arrival, we quickly determined that it only slept 2 - this was fixed before Mom arrived for the second leg and actually worked to her benefit - she was upgraded to a mid-ship mini-suite on the same deck. This cabin would have been crowded for 4 adults, so I was happy the deck plans were wrong! Small balcony, but not an issue - room for us to sit out and enjoy the view. Service - top notch! You could certainly tell that Princess had chosen the best of the best to be on board their new ship. Never had crew pass by without saying hello or good morning. All the cruise director staff were out and about, visible and approachable. The staff at the passenger service desk should all get raises for how professionally they dealt with some of the passengers...complaining about dust on your mirror and wanting to move? Seriously???? Food - again top notch. Had one or two meals that were just ok, but over 21-day period, more than acceptable. We did anytime dining and never waited more than 5-minutes for a table - even if we wanted to be just 4. Also ate at Alfredo's pizzaria - top notch, and used the buffet for breakfast. My one food complaint would have to be about the lack of fresh fruit - by mid-cruise, the bananas were black, kiwis had disappeared and there wasn't a berry in sight! Ordering a bowl of berries from room service for breakfast solved that problem. Chef's table - we were fortunate enough to experience this the night after my mom's birthday and it was amazing. The Head Chef, Sean Condon (sp?) is probably the most personable chef I have ever met on a ship - all the courses were amazing and we left full but not uncomfortable. The surroundings are stunning and in my opinion this was definitely worth the upcharge. Ultimate Ship Tour - not done on the 7-night, but I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time to be chosen to be part of their trial run on the 12-night sailing. It was complimentary, so no robe or apron, but we did still receive the photos and the stationary. We were unable to visit a couple of locations due to logistical reasons (the laundry and behind the scenes of the theatre) but it was still an interesting tour. The bridge is quite large and something to see - but the highlight had to be the mooring room - a massive place and the size of the anchor...wow! Embark and debark - both were painless - minimal waiting and if you followed the instructions on debark, you were off in no time. Kids club - my daughter really enjoyed the teen club the first week, but due to being under the weather for a couple of days, missed getting to know folks on the 12-night so didn't go for that leg. That being said, the facilities were amazing and she had a great time - so much so that she's asked to sail the Royal for our spring break next year instead of Disney! Platinum photo studio - definitely a unique experience. We went to try and get a photo for the grandmother who wasn't sailing with us and ended up with much more. It is a real photo shoot, with proper lighting etc. The finished product is amazing (I am NOT photogenic) but is not inexpensive. If you are looking for a special memory of a family trip, I would highly recommend this - I wish we had discovered it sooner and done it with my mom, instead of just my daughter and I. Entertainment - while I only went to a couple of the shows in the theatre, I absolutely loved the variety of entertainment in the Piazza - jugglers, acrobats, musicians, you name it, it was there. Easily accessible and could be viewed from all 3 levels - if you didn't like it, you moved on. Many things also took place in Princess Live - its a bit awkard as there is only one entrance but a great venue for shows such as the Magic show currently on board. It is also where the film the wake show each day. Miscellaneous - fountain show was fun, but the highlight had to be when they turned them on for the kids to play in on a really hot day - nice touch. Lots of seating around the pool and on the upper decks - sun and shade - plus the adult area is quite spacious (although it is windy being at the front) Used the gym - tried the TRX classes - what a hoot. Staff there are great and the place was always busy. Had a pedicure in the spa - expensive, but it lasted the whole trip and is just now ready to be changed (30 days!) Overall, I would give the Royal 4.5 out 5. We had a great time and are very glad we were fortunate enough to be among the first to experience her. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We chose to take the inaugural sailing on the Royal Princess for the novelty of an inaugural cruise. We came with open minds, understanding that any large construction project, be it on land or sea, can face deadline challenges. We were ... Read More
We chose to take the inaugural sailing on the Royal Princess for the novelty of an inaugural cruise. We came with open minds, understanding that any large construction project, be it on land or sea, can face deadline challenges. We were well-prepared for some things to not be available or completed. In fact, we were very surprised how ready the ship and her crew were. Boarding was delayed somewhat at Southampton, but proceeded efficiently once it began, with the staff using a color and lettering system to call passengers to the counter in groups. Because so many of us upper-tier Captains Circle members were onboard for the inaugural, the standard Preferred Check-In area and process went out the window. Instead, Preferred passengers were called in groups and in order from the afore-mentioned letter system, followed by general passengers. Boarding itself was a breeze, as Princess funneled passengers into three separate and adjacent chutes to scan cards and photo-ID passengers. The new entry way, through an elegant portal adjacent to the new Facets on the Promenade Desk, made the entry and arrival experience classier and with an opportunity to gain one's bearings in the Piazza. Speaking of the Piazza, it is absolutely stunning, with much more space and quite elegant lighting touches throughout. In fact, we loved how the ship and its interior spaces seemed much more bright and welcoming than her sister ships. I am pleased that the Fitness Center has been separated from the Lotus Spa and instead incorporated into a larger aggregate sport activities area, including a large outdoor running/walking track, much larger basketball court than other Princess ships, and the usual putting range/virtual driving range combo. The Fitness Center had tons of machines and never a wait. Our two favorite enhancements introduced on the Royal Princess are the Concierge Lounge on the Riveria Deck (for the use of suite Guests), and the incredibly upgraded Horizon Court. The Concierge Lounge is an elegant, quiet area combining a lounging and reading space, a complimentary refreshment area offering gourmet coffees, juices, and an assortment of finger foods, and a dedicated representative from the Passenger Services desk. Not having to wait on the phone or travel eight floors down to have your questions addressed was so handy. We were steps away from the lounge in one of the Penthouse Suites also on Rivieria Deck, so the lounge quickly became a favorite haunt of ours. Back to the Horizon Court, the biggest improvement is in the amount of circulation space. There is tons of room to roam and decide what you want - no more waiting in line first for a plate, then for the sequence of serving stations. Plus the food presentation is far more appealing than in older Horizon Courts. This location is a home run for those of us who like the convenience of the Horizon Court, but felt that quality and service could and should have been improved. Another nice new perk is the fact that the fountain area up on the Lido Deck doubles as a kids water play area (interactive popping water jets and sprays). This will be a big hit with families when the Royal sails into the Caribbean this fall. What a nice new amenity! If there is one glaring opportunity, it is with internet access and speed. It truly was the slowest of all the Princess ships I've sailed on, and am certainly hoping it is a temporary issue. It seemed odd that my question about the speed, which when posed to the representative from the Internet Cafe, was met with, "Well so many people are using it right now." The problem was, it was slow at any time of the day, never once matching speeds I am familiar with on other Princess ships - and I would have expected if anything I would have enjoyed better service. The absence of a mid-ship staircase serving the upper decks at first seemed odd, but the elevator capacity mid-ship was fine and was easy to adjust to. Plus we knew we always had the option of staircases at the front and back of the ship, conveniently serving the Princess Theater and Vista Lounge. It was an east adjustment. Our family has unanimously ranked the Royal as our new favorite, and have booked an 11-night cruise on it for summer 2014. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We recently returned from the Maiden Voyage of the Royal Princess. Princess really hyped this ship up, and as such we were excited to sail, even to the point of getting up early to watch the Princess Kate christen the ship. Perhaps all of ... Read More
We recently returned from the Maiden Voyage of the Royal Princess. Princess really hyped this ship up, and as such we were excited to sail, even to the point of getting up early to watch the Princess Kate christen the ship. Perhaps all of this hype caused us all to have greater expectations, and as such, we perhaps had a more negative experience when that hype was not met with the experience on board. Embarkation was okay, except that it felt weird having to walk outside along the deck before entering the ship, especially since it was wet and still drizzling rain. Nothing like getting wet before getting on-board. Welcoming champagne while boarding? None. Actually, nothing at all, which felt very strange considering it was a maiden voyage. We had a double outside cabin (category BB) and were immediately struck by the size of the balcony. It is barely comfortable for two people sitting and very narrow. Perhaps we were spoiled on the Equinox last year, when we would have friends over on our balcony to sip some wine upon our returns from the ports before getting ready for supper and the evening. Due to the weather, the balcony was not much of an issue on this trip, but if I was travelling to warmer climes where I would want to sit outside more frequently, particularly enjoying the company of friends, I would not want to cruise on this ship. The rest of the room was adequate, although you had to be careful when opening the bathroom door if the other person was getting clothes from the closet or going into the safe, lest you whack them unconscious. We gave up on the toilet paper roll dispenser, and simply took the spare roll and left it on the vanity, since the dispenser is a joke to try to use. The TV in the room, however, was another source of frustration. There is no way to check your room charges on the screen, forcing you to use your laptop or smartphone to access the Princess intranet. Convenient for some (and yes, I had a netbook so I could do it), but a horrible and inconvenient policy. There were many glitches that I suspect that they will fix, such as the weather forecast never being correct (one day it showed a temperature of 54 with a forecast high of 114...huh?). Not sure if it is a glitch or policy, but there was also no information on upcoming ports or on available excursions. Just TV shows and movies. Speaking of the technology, the internet service was horrible. Even connection to the main Princess gateway was a challenge at times. Yes, I know that satellite internet on ships is very slow, but this one was glacial, the worst I have experienced. I heard many complaints of overcharges due to logouts not being registered, etc. For those of us who depend to be connected occasionally for business or other matters, not a good situation. On to the main rooms. We thought the piazza was very nice and pleasant, and we would often pick up something from the bakery and sit down and enjoy the violinists in the afternoon. Some people complain about the monochrome aspects of the colors, but overall we thought it was a pleasant place. Most of the other common areas were fine, such as the theatre, etc. with one caveat. Very often it seemed that the air conditioning was either set too warm or not functioning, and it was stifling at times. The food overall was quite good. I found one of my steaks, I think it was the prime rib, oddly dry (despite medium rare), but other than that the food was fine. We always go with our eyes wide open that you are getting good banquet food, and not visiting a gourmet restaurant. The menu appears a touch quirky the first few nights, but the Italian night menu was excellent as were some of the other nights. Service was good, even if it did not appear that our servers had a great knowledge of the menu items. We ate in the main Allegro dining room at late sitting, and it is indeed odd that you have to either take the elevator directly down or else go to another floor and then take the stairs to the dining room. Kind of weird, but not the end of the world. We had a table centrally located near the entrance, and the shaking of the table was unbearable the first night. Glass, dishes, flowers, US...one long continuous massage which got very irritating. Not wanting to take a chance that it would be like that every night, we had our table changed to another location further in and beside a window, which was better with regards to the vibrations, and outstanding the night that a team of dolphins decided to play in the wake next to our window after sailing away from Malaga. We decided against any specialty restaurants this time only due to the length of the cruise, although we did eat at the Horizon twice for lunch. It's a buffet and decent, but not very exciting. We also ate a few times at Alfredo's; very good authentic Italian pizza that was well prepared and not cheap on the toppings. Enjoyed that a lot. The casino was fine except for the configuration of the smoking section, which is simply on the opposite side of the row of tables. Due to this, there were many nights I had to cut short my time on the craps table or not play altogether (saved myself some money perhaps???) because of a smoker right next to the table and having to inhale the smoke. Perhaps I am super-sensitive, but to me it just did not make sense. It definitely took away from enjoying the casino for me. Most nights were cool so we did not try the movies under the stars, and since the cruise was a short one, we did other things on nights when it was warmer. I guess a cool thing to do, although frankly I do not go on a cruise to watch movies or tv of any kind. The pool area was adequate for the weather, and there seemed to be ample chairs. Our steward did tell us to take the pool towels that she left for us in the room, though, since she said they run out on the pool deck often, something we have seen on previous cruises with others as well. Not to compare to other lines, but one thing we appreciated when we sailed on the Equinox last year was the greeting when coming back after visiting the ports, with lemonade, water and damp towels waiting at the gangway upon your return. On this cruise, absolutely nothing. I am assuming that is a Princess procedure, but it would be a nice touch. The onboard entertainment was quite good. The Atomic band which played on the pool deck and in other venues was very good, and the 4 girl strings playing in the late PM in the piazza was relaxing after a long day in port. We saw the Beatles impersonation band which was not too bad, and the magician from Venice was very good, although it was disappointing that he only gave one 30-minute show (which he repeated at least once). You would think that they would have somebody do more than one show and when they did, that they would not simply repeat the same illusions as the first one. The embarkation procedure was probably the absolute best that we have experienced. Very organized, very smooth, and very quick. Good job there. I am afraid that this review may appear to negative. It is not meant to be, and our attitude is that we make the best out of every situation so we still enjoyed ourselves a lot. Overall, the ship is quite beautiful and comfortable, the food was good, the room was decent. But considering the amount of hype that this ship had, there were far too many deficiencies to fulfill the promises of the cruise. Perhaps, too, since this was my first Princess cruise, I seemed to miss some of the things I was used to, which may not be fair. Would I sail on the Royal again? I can only say perhaps. Definitely not, if it was an itinerary where I expected to be on the balcony a lot, due to its size. But I would consider it for others. I would make one more point, as related to the hype. There is no question that we paid a premium to go on the Maiden Voyage. Or as some people I met called it, the Maiden Glitches Voyage. For that, you would think that Princess would have reciprocated to show how much they VALUE their customers. But overall, there did not appear to anything special to give that WOW factor on this cruise. Yes, they handed up Union Jacks upon our leaving Southampton, but other than that, nothing. I had read many posts claiming that in the past, they received some token or gift of appreciation to commemorate the maiden voyage, but there was nothing on this cruise. To be honest, I don't really care to receive something that will collect dust on the bookshelf, but I think it speaks volumes as to the attitude of the company and how much they value their customers who went out of their way to book the maiden voyage. That they appeared to take an attitude of indifference to that was disappointing, especially in the current economic state of cruising.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Royal Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.5 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.2

Find a Royal Princess Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click