Royal Princess Cruise Review by GolfMom321
- Sail Date: July 2015
- Destination: British Isles & Western Europe
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Balcony
We flew in the day before the cruise, and stayed at the Premier Inn West Quay. If we had to do it over again, we'd have gone with the Grand Harbour--nicer hotel, better location. But the PI was fine.
Boarding was easy and reasonably quick--checkin was very efficient. We were among the first aboard, so we got to walk through a nearly deserted ship! Kind of surreal, but nice. We went to lunch in the MDR, as rooms were not ready yet. We were seated at a table for 8, with 2 couples already there. It was the first of many pleasant dining experiences shared with "strangers"--we always lucked out with good people.
After lunch we headed up to the cabins, and found our bags already there. We unpacked, and then wandered around until it was time for the muster drill. As on the past two R-class ships, we were in Muster station G, the Crown Grill area. We got there early, grabbed seats near the exit, and settled in. When it ended, we were able to get an elevator back up to our cabin without a wait.
Our cabin steward, Geoffrey, was very good, and quickly responded to our request for extra hangers (can you say OVERPACKED?) Anything we needed, he was on it! The shower IS small, and I am not a fan of the clingy curtain--I'd much prefer a shower door. But it worked. I tried using the provided shampoo/conditioner and body wash, and they worked fine except for the conditioning part. When I used my own conditioner after their shampoo, it was fine. Yay--less to pack next time! The cabin size was fine for just me, but with 2 it might have been a bit crowded. I certainly used up all the storage space! Yes, the balcony is small. But I didn't want to sit out there anyway, and there was plenty of room to stand out there and look at the port, or the waves, or the sunset.
Dining room service was very good, although we did have a couple of times were it was really, really slow. We never had to wait for a table, either for just two, or to share. The food was always good, often excellent. We ate at Alfredo's 2 nights and it was outstanding. The angliotti (I think that was it) with veal and beef was amazing. Interesting pizza selections as well, athough I wasn't really a fan of their sauce. (Hey, I'm a Jersey girl!!!)
I'm not much for production shows, so we skipped most of those. The Beatles tribute act was excellent, and I can't imagine why they only had 2 showings. The theater was jam packed well before the show started. It was so cool singing along with the entire audience. We also enjoyed the "Fireworks on Four Strings"--all I can say is "WOW". The singers in the Piazza were quite varied. The one featured couple nearly brought tears to my eyes with their version of "Let This Be Our Prayer". I could close my eyes and almost think I was listening to Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli. But some fo the others--well lets just say I've heard better singing at karaoke night. Indigo, the house band, was excellent each time I heard them. The pianist at Crooners was also great, and really funny to boot.
We are huge trivia buffs, so we went to most sessions. It did seem that on sea days there were less opportunities than on port days, so that on port days we were trying to cram everything in, and on sea days we were kind of..at sea? Looking for things to do. Seems to me it should be the opposite. The cruise director, Sam, was great, and her staff as well. Our favorite was Alan. One day we showed up for Scattergories, and it was just the two of us and him. So, rather than play, we sat and talked, and he told us about his home, family, life onboard, etc. It was one of the highlights for us! I do wonder why there wasn't much BINGO--only one day. We had days where we were back onboard for departure early enough that we could have had a round. Oh well, it saved money!
We did all the shore excursions on our own rather than through Princess. Mostly we were with other people from CC, which was great. Our groups ranged from just the 2 of us to one group of 14. All were excellent. The ports (Guernsey, Cork/Cobh, Liverpool, Dublin, Belfast, Greenock, Invergordon, Edinburgh, and LeHavre offered a really good variety. Guernsey was an unexpected pleasure! And the Beatles tour in Liverpool was great. The only port we did not like was Belfast. Would definitely NOT go back there again, ever.
Common complaints are the lack of central stairs, and Princess Live. Having a mid-aft cabin, we usually used the aft elevators, so the stair thing didn't bother us most of the time. I can see where it would be an issue if you had a mid-ship cabin. Princess Live IS kind of closed in. On the Regal, it has a second entrance and a big window, which I like a lot better. But I enjoy the venue, and I spent a LOT of time in there!
My biggest complaint was that it was so darned COLD! The Vista Lounge and Symphony Dining Room especially. You could hang meat in there! My sister actually requested a tablecloth to wrap around herself at dinner a couple of nights, it was so cold. There's got to be a happy medium. Our cabins were also quite chilly, and adjusting the thermostat did almost nothing to change that. I began to think it was not really a thermostat, just a dummy!
Disembarking was a piece of cake. We had an 8 am time slot, and they were running early. On our way to the departure lounge, we were told "you can go now", so off we went. It was very nice to have luggage carts available at No charge (remember, I overpacked...) Before we knew it, we were on our way to London.
In Summary, it was a great cruise. So much so, that I have booked a third cruise on the Royal for January 2016.
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