As a family we like to try new ships particularly large ships. We have sailed about 10 cruises in the last 8 years including large ships such as NCL Breakaway and Epic, Carnival Breeze, Celebrity Silhouette, Liberty of the Seas. We booked last minute and got a very good deal . I had sailed once before many years ago on Princess in the Caribbean and enjoyed it but on a much smaller ship. For us the destinations were not that important as we had visited all the locations before. It was the ship we wanted to experience and visually it is beautiful.
We had two cabins one of which was a balcony for three and one an inside cabin for two. The inside cabin was very suitable for two while the balcony cabin was very tight for three. As we don't spend much time in the cabin that was not important to us. Bathroom was tight but acceptable.Air con was just about acceptable. We only could find one plug in the cabin so charging phones ipods etc was always a battle. Our cabin steward was excellent.
I thought the overall layout of the ship was very poor and does not just work well. Toilets were very hard to find and not signposted and lifts were always busy. However for me the biggest disappointment was the centre atrium area that takes in decks 5, 6 and 7.This is the hub of the ship with numerous bars on the various floors. My biggest issue was that if music was played on deck 5 for example that you didn't like you could not avoid it on any of the other decks above. For example I don't particularly like classical music if performed by a small quartet of musicians. It feels too much like a hotel lobby piped music and this was regularly the entertainment that was supplied in this area. Later on a piano guy performs in Crooners but after one or two nights you were hoping someone else would take his place to give a different night but it never happens. They have a second piano guy in another pub area near the grill restaurant but he is a replicate of the first with the same boring melodies.Overall entertainment is very poor on this ship except for a few shows in the theatre that were actually quite good. I spoke to staff about this and they all said we generally have an older crowd in their 60s. While there were a lot of 60+ on board there were also a lot of people under 50 and 40 and younger. Anyway people in their 60s grew up with Elvis, Beatles and the Stones so I don't think this argument on music holds up. Also we are in the middle of the summer season with many teens kids etc on holidays. The entertainment programme should change to accommodate this.
Food was good but not exceptional . I was not impressed by the look of the main dining area compared to every other ship I was on. No glamour at all.We booked any time dining but generally had to wait for 15 /30 minutes to get a table. If booking now I would book a fixed time dining and if that didn't work on a particular day all you need to do is join the any-time diners queue. The two paid restaurants were good and I thought the Italian was slightly better.
Pool area was nice but they often used movies during the day to entertain you on the big screen. While this is okay late at night for the non drinkers I think it is inappropriate during the afternoon. They also showed some live concert movies including Pavarotti during a sea day. Needless to say that took the fun out of the area very quickly. However they also showed a few other livelier concerts but nothing beats live upbeat music on that pool area. While live music did happen a few times it might only last an hour before the next movie would be on.The front of the ship had a nice pool area for adults only if you wanted to get away from the movie.
Casino was okay with one or two high rollers in operation. Churchills (smoking area) seemed to be full must days. Nightclub was empty most evenings. All staff were excellent but every cruise ship I was ever on appear to have good well trained staff.
So overall we were not impressed with the Regal Princess. It was boring for people like us that like to have a bit of party time on a vacation. We were regularly wandering around looking for some fun but to no avail. On the other hand if you want to get off the ship early at every location and want to get to bed by 11 this is probably a good choice. I assure you wont be kept awake by any noise on board.