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In case the title didn't give it away, this was the first cruise that my wife and I had ever taken. In fact, this was the first time we'd ever even been to the Caribbean. We had done months of research leading up to this. Where did we want to go? What activities were important to us? Compared cruise lines, and just about every other thing you can think of we looked into it. I had actually spent years looking into this stuff as I had spent the last two years trying to convince my wife this was something we should try. Once I finally convinced her, here is what we ended up doing. Against the better advice of most people, we flew down to Fort Lauderdale the morning of our cruise. Most would suggest you not do this, and I would have to agree. We did this simply because it saved $200CAD per person on the flight ($400CAD for both of us combined), but it was a relatively stressful way to start the trip and I suggest going down the night before if you can. After receiving some advice from a travel agent friend we opted not to take the airport transfers offered by Princess. By doing so, we saved ourselves about $50CAD on arrival and on departure. The cab driver on the way down was great and got us there is plenty of time, but the port is jam packed on weekends. The cab driver ensured us we had plenty of time, but as we sat behind hundreds of cars waiting we were somewhat concerned. When my wife and I talked about it afterwards we decided that the savings were great, but again, piece of mind may have been a better choice in the long run. When we arrived at our terminal things seemed a little busy, and at first we weren't quite sure where to go. In the end, we left our bags at the bag drop and then proceeded pretty quickly through the various aspect of checking in (going through security, filling in a short form, and then actually checking in at the registration desk). When you look at the number of people your first thought is that it will take forever, but in the end the whole process took us no more than 30 minutes. After that, it was off to the ship! When we got on board we went straight for our cabin. We obviously wanted to put down our bags and get settled in, but I was really interested in seeing what it looked like. I had heard they were very small, so to be prepared. Our room (Deck 9 Dolphin, D729) was amazing! Unlike what had been described to us, it really wasn't much smaller than a typical hotel room. We had two twins pushed together to make a king sized bed, a sitting area with a love seat and table, and finally a small desk that my wife used to get ready most of the week. The bathroom was the only part that was small, so this desk was handy for her. The room was aft facing with a larger than normal balcony, so if you plan to cruise on the Regal Princess book this cabin! We ate most of our meals at the buffet, though we did eat once in the main dining hall, once at the Crown Grill steakhouse and once at the Alfredo’s Pizzeria. I found the buffet to be hit and miss for dinner, but breakfast and lunch we always spot on. For dinner they had these great daily themes to the food like Asian, Italian and Mexican. Some were spot on, but I wasn't impressed by all. That being said, Alfredo’s and the Crown Grill were phenomenal! We paid a small up charge for the Crown Grill, but it was well worth it! We also spent an hour or two each night at Vines or Bellini’s, the two bars in the Piazza. The drink selections were quite good, and the live entertainment was incredibly relaxing. Just the right touch to get you settled for a nice evening. Our days were filled with various things depending on whether or not we were in port or at sea. In the Bahamas we booked an incredible dune buggy tour through Princess. I know you can save bundles by booking elsewhere, but this particular one was well worth the price! It was approximately two hours and we drove a few miles in the dune buggies. We were treated to parts of the island that you’d never see otherwise. And when they decided to give us an extra 15 minutes at the end because we were the final tour of the day it was nice to know the ship wasn’t going to leave without us because we were on an affiliated tour. I guess the last thing to talk about are the activities on the ship. We did everything from laying around by the pool, to interactive TV style shows, as well as comedy and magic shows. I have to say, I was beyond impressed with the entertainment on the ship. The people who were brought in like the magician and comedian were excellent, but the actual Princess staff that kept us entertained by the pool were equally good. I know this is quite a detailed review, but I hope it helps to serve another first time cruiser well.

First Cruise of Many!

Regal Princess Cruise Review by balconywinds

11 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2016
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Premium Deluxe Balcony
In case the title didn't give it away, this was the first cruise that my wife and I had ever taken. In fact, this was the first time we'd ever even been to the Caribbean. We had done months of research leading up to this. Where did we want to go? What activities were important to us? Compared cruise lines, and just about every other thing you can think of we looked into it. I had actually spent years looking into this stuff as I had spent the last two years trying to convince my wife this was something we should try. Once I finally convinced her, here is what we ended up doing.

Against the better advice of most people, we flew down to Fort Lauderdale the morning of our cruise. Most would suggest you not do this, and I would have to agree. We did this simply because it saved $200CAD per person on the flight ($400CAD for both of us combined), but it was a relatively stressful way to start the trip and I suggest going down the night before if you can.

After receiving some advice from a travel agent friend we opted not to take the airport transfers offered by Princess. By doing so, we saved ourselves about $50CAD on arrival and on departure. The cab driver on the way down was great and got us there is plenty of time, but the port is jam packed on weekends. The cab driver ensured us we had plenty of time, but as we sat behind hundreds of cars waiting we were somewhat concerned. When my wife and I talked about it afterwards we decided that the savings were great, but again, piece of mind may have been a better choice in the long run.

When we arrived at our terminal things seemed a little busy, and at first we weren't quite sure where to go. In the end, we left our bags at the bag drop and then proceeded pretty quickly through the various aspect of checking in (going through security, filling in a short form, and then actually checking in at the registration desk). When you look at the number of people your first thought is that it will take forever, but in the end the whole process took us no more than 30 minutes. After that, it was off to the ship!

When we got on board we went straight for our cabin. We obviously wanted to put down our bags and get settled in, but I was really interested in seeing what it looked like. I had heard they were very small, so to be prepared. Our room (Deck 9 Dolphin, D729) was amazing! Unlike what had been described to us, it really wasn't much smaller than a typical hotel room. We had two twins pushed together to make a king sized bed, a sitting area with a love seat and table, and finally a small desk that my wife used to get ready most of the week. The bathroom was the only part that was small, so this desk was handy for her. The room was aft facing with a larger than normal balcony, so if you plan to cruise on the Regal Princess book this cabin!

We ate most of our meals at the buffet, though we did eat once in the main dining hall, once at the Crown Grill steakhouse and once at the Alfredo’s Pizzeria. I found the buffet to be hit and miss for dinner, but breakfast and lunch we always spot on. For dinner they had these great daily themes to the food like Asian, Italian and Mexican. Some were spot on, but I wasn't impressed by all. That being said, Alfredo’s and the Crown Grill were phenomenal! We paid a small up charge for the Crown Grill, but it was well worth it! We also spent an hour or two each night at Vines or Bellini’s, the two bars in the Piazza. The drink selections were quite good, and the live entertainment was incredibly relaxing. Just the right touch to get you settled for a nice evening.

Our days were filled with various things depending on whether or not we were in port or at sea. In the Bahamas we booked an incredible dune buggy tour through Princess. I know you can save bundles by booking elsewhere, but this particular one was well worth the price! It was approximately two hours and we drove a few miles in the dune buggies. We were treated to parts of the island that you’d never see otherwise. And when they decided to give us an extra 15 minutes at the end because we were the final tour of the day it was nice to know the ship wasn’t going to leave without us because we were on an affiliated tour.

I guess the last thing to talk about are the activities on the ship. We did everything from laying around by the pool, to interactive TV style shows, as well as comedy and magic shows. I have to say, I was beyond impressed with the entertainment on the ship. The people who were brought in like the magician and comedian were excellent, but the actual Princess staff that kept us entertained by the pool were equally good.

I know this is quite a detailed review, but I hope it helps to serve another first time cruiser well.
balconywinds’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Dining
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Cabin Review

Premium Deluxe Balcony
Cabin D4 D729
When we got on board we went straight for our cabin. We obviously wanted to put down our bags and get settled in, but I was really interested in seeing what it looked like. I had heard they were very small, so to be prepared. Our room (Deck 9 Dolphin, D729) was amazing! Unlike what had been described to us, it really wasn't much smaller than a typical hotel room. We had two twins pushed together to make a king sized bed, a sitting area with a love seat and table, and finally a small desk that my wife used to get ready most of the week. The bathroom was the only part that was small, so this desk was handy for her. The room was aft facing with a larger than normal balcony, so if you plan to cruise on the Regal Princess book this cabin!
Marina Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Princess Cays
    This was likely the highlight of our trip! While the weather wasn't the greatest, the tour itself made up for everything! The tour guide was incredibly knowledgable and was able to answer just about any questions thrown her way. We saw parts of the island we likely would have never seen had we been on our own. Things like a random abandoned lighthouse that gave some breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea. The price was a bit steep, but worth every bit we paid.
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  • St. Maarten
    It could just be that we did St. Thomas first, but we did feel that St. Marten looked quite a bit similar. We also found the main shopping area, which apparently St. Marteen is know for, to be very crowded. This is not to say that St. Marteen isn't beautiful, but we found it a little busy and chaotic.
    View All 4,811 St. Maarten Cruise Port Reviews
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  • St. Thomas
    We absolutely loved St. Thomas and the US Virgin Islands! We did our own thing here, taking a taxi from the port to Magen's Bay. The beach was very busy, but if you were willing to walk down the shore line a little way you could get away from the crowds and really enjoy it. Some of our most beautiful pictures we got came from St. Thomas! Simply gorgeous.
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