First, we found the check in process rather cumbersome for people that went to the extra expense of purchasing a mini suite. While full suite and elite passengers were afforded expedited boarding, I felt that for the extra $1200 or so we spent per person above an interior or balcony stateroom, we should have been afforded expedited boarding as well.
The ship itself is beautiful but the floor plan is somewhat odd, as not all stairs and elevators go all the way from top to bottom, resulting in awkwardness in trying to get from one floor to another or aft to stern.
The Horizon Grill and the regular dining rooms offer run of the mill food. Nothing bad but also nothing fantastic. It was 'satisfactory". I would highly recommend going to the extra cost of the Crown Grill and Sabatini's, though for the price of a cruise, you shouldn't have to. We found the food at Crown Grill to be exceptional however the wait staff seemed a bit too inexperienced for the environment they are trying to create. Still, we would eat there again without question. The best rib chop I have ever had by far. The food and staff at Sabatini’s was fabulous. You could not get better service and the food was matched only by the Crown Grill. Regarding the Fondue Grill, the Crab Shack bucket dinner, we chose the King Crab and Shrimp meal at an additional cost of $20. While there was an abundance of shrimp, the king crab portion was unsatisfactory to say the least with approximately 1 leg (not rack of legs or half) per bucket, a king crab feast should have a significant amount of king crab. There was also not a consistency in drinks depending on where you were poured. So drinks at one bar were significantly different in pour and glass than drinks at another bar. I felt that a drink should be the same regardless of where in the house it is poured. Darwin the bartender on deck 5 was exceptional in service and attention to detail
Regarding excursions, we had an excursion cancelled on the evening prior to Livorno, while beyond their control, could have been handled better. We were notified via letter under our stateroom door rather late in the day and we inconvenienced by not being able to reach the excursion desk via telephone to make other arrangements. We arrived at the excursion desk at 6:50pm, the desk closing at 7. In my opinion, since the tour was cancelled at such a late time, a telephone call offering other arrangements would have been far more professional.
Overall, excursions were satisfactory, though I would note that the Naples excursion to Capri, Sorrento and Pompeii was rushed and disorganized. Our guide was the only guide in all of the tours I have ever taken that I failed to tip. He was completely disorganized and offered little knowledge of the sites other than Pompeii. I speak the Italian language and know the culture well so for us, it was not a problem but I felt that a first or second timer to these sites could have had a far better experience than was provided. On the other hand, I felt Kadri, our guide in Istanbul was exceptional. Extremely organized and knowledgeable, he made our visit to this city a memorable experience.
While the overall Regal cruising experience was satisfactory, had we paid full price for a suite as we originally considered, I would have been dissatisfied with the value for the dollar paid. When compared to similar cruise lines, it seems that the service and attention to detail is a notch below – not poor mind you, but a marked difference.
We had originally booked a mini suite but were upgraded at check in to a full suite. It was very nice of Princess but we would have preferred our original mini suite.We found the huge balcony of our suite nearly impossible to enjoy while the ship is at sea due to the fumes from the diesel engines of the ship. There was a constant smell of diesel fuel and a constant black coating of on our balcony glass and deck. The smell sometimes permeated the area surrounding the door inside the stateroom. Perhaps an increase in the height of the smokestack would help or possibly a roof-like structure or awning that would protect passengers while on the balcony? Our room attendant was conscious of this and very attentive in trying to remedy the situation but it was at best disappointing. This was also a problem once docked as there was a large amount of black soot on the deck which remained until our room and deck was cleaned. Further being on the top (passenger) deck we were disturbed early each morning by the sound of deck chairs being placed on the public deck above. Had we actually paid full price for this suite, I would have been very upset. Seeing as it was an upgrade, I didn't mind as much because it was very spacious and offered much more room inside the cabin.