Royal Princess Cruise Review by Highwaydude
- Sail Date: February 2016
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Originally we booked a Mini-Suite because I prefer the larger bathroom shower/tub combo. About two months before the cruise we were offered an up-sell offer from Princess from a Mini-Suite to a Suite for $399/person. We pounced on the offer and luckily we got it. Our room was
R603. The room was beautiful. The first thing I did was go to the balcony and see how narrow they are since all the reviews online talk about how small they are. Now considering I was in a suite, which was like having two balconies in one, I never thought they were too narrow thou. Now if you compare them to the mini-suites on the Ruby/Emerald/Grand class ships, then yes they are smaller because the balconies do not extend out further like those ships. But overall, my first thoughts were when I walked out on the balcony was..what are all those negative reviews for? It wasn’t that bad. So lets squash that complaint. Now I did tour a mini-suite on the Royal and I felt the mini-suites on the Ruby/Crown/Grand class ships were a tad better. I liked the bathroom but the main room seemed to lack some of the storage areas that I recall on the Ruby/Crown/Grand class ships.
One of the perks Suite Owners have is your own Concierge Lounge which offered a variety of snacks and drinks you could pick up and take back to your room. You could also make reservations thru out the ship with the Concierge Lounge staff. She took care of all our dinner reservations and request all week. Suite owners also get to have dinner on embarkation evening at any of the speciality dinning venues. We choose the Crown Grill and was very nice and quiet since only Suite guest can dine that evening. Another perk was breakfast in Sabatini’s which we ate at a few times for breakfast. The list of perks goes on and on so if you do get a chance for an up-sell offer to a suite I would highly recommend jumping on the offer.
Dining - we went with the anytime dinning and our 2nd night we dined in the Concerto Dining Room and that is where we got off to a bad start. Our service was slow and then the waiter goofed up on a few of our orders. So the 3rd night we decided to go to Symphony Dining Room and that is were we had excellent service from there on out. Our waiter Larry really made for some memorable dinning. The food I felt was very good as well thru out the cruise. I had no major complaints there. Even the buffet area which we dined in one evening was very good. So overall I was very satisfied with the food onboard the Royal Princess.
Entertainment - We went to both the major production shows and we had a taste of two different performing crews. The 1st production show was that crews last performances for their contract and they really performed the show well. The new cast who performed on the 2nd production show felt new and nervous since it was their first time performing on the ship. So I am sure as they get more comfortable in performing that will improve. My recommendation would be to find the string quartet who plays sometimes in the Piazza or near the Crown Grill and sit back and relax listening to these very talented young ladies. If you enjoy classical music played on strings, then this is a must see venue. As for the other entertainment, I can’t comment on since I didn’t go to those.
Overall Ship Layout - Yes especially on Day 1 those middle elevators are a nightmare as everyone is boarding the ship and using those. I did feel thou as the week went on I became used to the fact that the mid ship elevators are usually more crowded then the front/rear elevators and stairs. But was it a major nightmare that so many reviews say it is? NO. Just calm down people, your on a cruise and vacation so relax and enjoy yourself. If your familiar with the flow on the Grand/Ruby/Crown class ships then you’ll learn the layout of these ships very quickly as well.
Favorite Area to relax - Outrigger Bar in the lounge seats. At the end of the day this was the area we always migrated to for a drink and socialize with friends while looking out at the ocean.
Lotus Spa/The Enclave - We also purchased the Enclave package which is $175/person if purchase as a couple. You purchase this on embarkation day because they only sell 60 passes and you get access to a very nice relaxing area to wind down in. The large hot tub sure beats the over crowded hot tubs on the lido/sun decks. Plus you get steam rooms and many other features.
St. Martin Tip - We booked a tour thru Bernard's Tours which I found on TripAdvisor and was very satisfied with our tour. Highly recommend them!
Now to my complaints I didn’t like. I miss the wrap around promenade which you could walk around the ship. Very sad that Princess decided to get rid of this. I sure hope in future new builds that they bring this back. My 2nd complaint was the lack of bar service staff while laying out in the sun or just sitting outside relaxing. Almost all times we would have to go to the bar to get a drink instead of ordering it from a bar waiter walking around serving drinks. Which brings me to the subject that we learned thru staff that they were running the ship on a smaller staff then they should be. Now I don’t know if this is related to the fact that the Royal was scheduled for dry dock soon and many of the staff’s contracts may have expired, but overall I just felt that area of service was lacking onboard this ship.
Overall I was very please with the cruise and I would give it a solid 4 stars out of 5.
Now for a quick dis-embarkation tip - for $20 you can have Princess check you into your flight and print out your luggage tags and you place them outside your room the last evening of the cruise and you pick them up when you get back to your home airport. That means no hauling around your luggage in taxi’s or to the airport and just made coming home so much easier. Highly recommend taking advantage of that option.
So if your soon to be cruising on the Royal Princess, don’t get all nervous from some of the negative reviews on here. Just go and relax and enjoy yourself. I sure did. =)
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