After a Princess cruise to the Panama Canal on Coral Princess, we had wanted to do another Princess cruise. The Regal Princess was doing the Baltic and then repositioning to North America. We really liked the variety of ports and wanted to do a Trans-Atlantic. We were not disappointed on either itinerary.
The Regal Princess is an incredible ship and it offers much in terms of comfort, dining and activities.
What was not good about it? The ship is very large and there are steps (or the nautical, ladders) at forward and aft that go to all levels. The amidship ladder is a bit awkward with the intent being that one use the staircases in the atrium. Generally, that works. We got used to it. It would also be nice to have a bar or lounge on one of the higher decks. The Regal Princess, like most cruise ships, looks for ways to maximize onboard spending. They have made the forward, open deck area into what is called The Sanctuary. This is a nice area that they charge for use of. I wasn't crazy about this but as the temperatures were in the 50's and 60's (F) for most of the trip, it wasn't really an issue.
For the first time we did "Anytime Dining" and it worked. We tend to eat early and see the earlier show. Even with 3500 onboard, this was not an issue. We enjoyed all three dining rooms and ate at tables for two, four, six, eight and ten. This gave us a lot of variety in dining partners and we got to know many onboard. Several days onboard they had the pub lunch at the Wheelhouse Bar. This was excellent. I enjoyed the Princess craft beers - Sea Witch (Especially the Red Ale). The Horizon Buffet is very good. An incredible variety of types of food and choices. We ate there a number of times for breakfast and lunch but almost every night made one of the dining rooms. The Horizon Bistro has some incredible desserts. We ate at Alfredo's Pizzeria (Excellent pizza!) and the International Cafe (no charge for a snack or meal but a charge for premium coffees and teas) - both in the Atrium. I recommend the coffee card from the International Cafe. It is open 24 hours a day. I did a fair amount of whisky sipping at the Wheelhouse and send out a salute to Ninad, who provided me with direction on the various single malt scotch whiskies on their menu. He exemplified "consummate host" as many did onboard. I will give the same praise to Ref of Vines, the very good wine bar. I highly recommend their wine flights and tastings.
The entertainment onboard was fun! We enjoyed the ships talented singers and dancers and the special performers ranged from very good to extraordinary. The best performance was by the multi-talented Nathan Foley. Martyn Moss is an excellent cruise director and is quite entertaining himself. Sarah, the music director, is the best I've ever seen on a cruise ship. All of the ship's musicians were excellent and adjusted to whatever and whomever came onboard with words of praise from all performers. I also want to acknowledge the enrichment speaker - Dr. Angel Colon. His talks on the development of medical procedures and practices, the Panama Canal and climate changes in the Atlantic were all extremely interesting and educational.
The ports were all interesting. We did a few excursions and I highly recommend, when in St. Petersburg, Russia, the two day excursion. This gives you a pretty broad view of the city and its many wonders. Also, you don't have to apply for your own visa in Russia if you use the ship's excursions. I was told by several who did something different that it took several weeks up to over a month to get a visa from Russia. In many ports we used the Hop-on, Hop-off buses and made our own way about the cities. In Greenock, Scotland, we took the excursion to Glengoyne Distillery, where we saw how Scotch Whisky is produced and a single malt whiskey comes to be. I left with a bottle of the 18 year old whisky, my best souvenir of the trip. We also did an excursion in Belfast of the highlights. This is a city we want to go back to and delve deeper into its interesting history. Also, any trip that includes Norway is always a good trip. We had two ports in Norway - Kristiansand and Bergen. As we came onboard in Berlin, we missed Oslo.
Generally, I would say that the average age was in the 60's. Too late in the year and too long for very many who aren't retired. There were a few younger couples and even some children onboard but I don't think many were on the entire time but either the Baltic portion or the Trans-Atlantic. Interestingly, It seemed as though people got on and off at every stop. I know that's probably not true but it was different and I didn't even realize that the cruise actually "started" in Copenhagen three days earlier than our arrival in Berlin. Apparently, the ship was completely booked and there was no availability until September 2nd.
We did take advantage of the Princess Onboard Deposit Program and look forward to our next Princess cruise.
Our cabin - Caribe 740 - was unique for us. It faced aft. That has it's pros and a con. It is really neat. You can see port and starboard and it is very nice to sit on the balcony and watch the ship's wake. But - even on a ship of it's size and technology - we felt more movement at this location (of course). When we left Cobh, Ireland, enroute to Boston, the seas were a bit rough for a couple of days. Our steward - Mark - was excellent. I was amazed at his ability to keep our room refreshed 2-3 times a day with 12 cabins to take care of. He always had a smile and a cheery disposition.