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We cruised with a group from the Milwaukee area, about 40 in all. We spent 2 days in Manhattan and then boarded ship on a cool, cloudy day. My wife and I have enjoyed 35+ cruises, about 9 on Princess ships. We were excited to be cruising on the Regal Princess and to see the next generation of ships. Prior cruises on Princess included the Golden Princess (3 times), Star Princess, Coral, and one or two others. This cruise stopped in Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, St. John, NB, and Halifax. Final day was at sea. We prefer to have more sea days but one can always ignore the port and stay on board. If we were to do this cruise again, we'd probably skip St. John. Not really much to see or do. Our cruise frequency allows for Platinum status in the Captain's Circle which helped speed embarkation. The process seemed to go very well for everyone as the Brooklyn terminal handled the crowd very well. (In comparison, embarkation on the Norwegian Breakaway in March, 2015, had us standing in a line outside the Manhattan terminal (in rather miserable weather) for more than an hour despite our having platinum status in their frequent cruiser program as well. The ship is very nicely appointed. We liked the central atrium area; very nicely decorated. In fact, the ship is quite beautiful. Being somewhat mobility impaired, the lack of stair in the center of the ship was of no consequence. As in other Princess ships we've sailed, there are 6 elevators in the center of the ship. A common failing is that their controls are separated into 2 banks of elevators, one of 4 and one of 2. Once you get used to this, you just push the up or down button on each bank to get an elevator most promptly. While the elevators of each bank are synced, the two banks are not synced with each other. Once one pushes the two buttons, one gets into the first car to arrive, and a car in the second bank arrives with no one getting on or off. Also, it seems strange that a ship assigned fall voyages in cool/cold weather has no indoor pool option. If you hate the hassle of finding an empty deck chair, this cruise's for you. We had a balcony cabin which was as expected. The space, though small, was adequate. All the reviews I've read of the ship indicated that the cabin was smaller than on other ships and our expectations were fulfilled. This is a disappointing trend but of no particular significance for this review. Our cabin steward was pleasant and efficient although on the final evening, we were left with 2 thread-bare towels. (I guess we seemed the type to pilfer a couple and stash them in our luggage.) The most discouraging/disappointing aspect of the trip was the dining experience. We ate at the main dining room on 4 nights, Sabatini's and the Crown once each. Our first experience at Sabatini's, in 2002, was magical. One of the best dinners we've ever enjoyed - both food and service. This go-round was a bit less so. (Service was still very good, food seemed less spectacular but still very good). The Crown grill was very good. Excellent food and attentive service. As others have mentioned, Alfredo's pizza was fantastic - easily the best pizza we've enjoyed on any cruise. Then there was the rest. Generally, we had just a continental breakfast in our room. The coffee was good, as were the croissant. The danish were OK but seemed stale; every day. Something seemed off. Fruit, juice, etc. were top notch. On two occasions, we had breakfast in the buffet. While plentiful, the food was just adequate. We did not sample the omelets. Waffles and pancakes were pre-made and kept barely warm under heat lamps. By the time we got them to the table, butter wouldn't melt on them. Scrambled eggs were just weird. A bit watery (not runny, just watery) and the consistency was strange. Instead of random clumps of, say, 1/2 to 3/4 inch, the texture was similar to kernels of corn or baby peas. I don't know what machine they used to get the texture but they should replace them. (I generally look forward to the scrambled eggs in cruise ship buffets - not any more, at least not on the Regal Princess). Although we didn't hit the buffets at peak times, service was very good and replacing coffee and juice stations with servers worked for us. The one lunch we had in the buffet was mediocre. The international section we've enjoyed on other ships seemed either reduced or missing. Our biggest complaints are reserved for the main dining rooms. Typically, Princess has one dining room with 2 shifts of fixed seating and two identically sized rooms with anytime dining. Since early dining is too early and late is too late, we are big advocates of the anytime dining option. On this particular cruise, the standard dining set-up was changed so that one "anytime" room was changed over to fixed, early, dining from 5:45 to 7:45, leaving one anytime room until 7:45. So, here's how our 4 evenings went. Embarkation night. Cocktails until about 7:00, then down to dinner. Wait in line for 35 minutes. (on other Princess cruises, you'd be given a buzzing/light flashing widget so you could roam the ship - drink, spend money, etc. - while waiting. Not on the Regal. YOU WILL WAIT YOUR TURN! AND LIKE IT!) We (6 of us) were then seated at a table where we met our waiter. We ordered our dinners from the menu. One of the items on the menu was "Texas Chili". One of our dinner partners and I had had a discussion while on the town in Manhattan about how a bowl of chili would be appreciated. Seeing the item on the menu, we each included, as an extra main course, the Texas Chili. Rolls and butter came to the table. Famished from the wait we dug into the rolls and butter. "More butter, please." "More rolls, please." Rolls came. Butter didn't. Over the course of the next hour or so while we were eating, the waiter was asked no less than 10 times for more butter. Finally, after the main course was served, a dish of butter showed up. This was better than the chili which, even though requested repeatedly by both my dining companion and me, never showed up. In that getting a second entree wasn't a repeated problem, I'm guessing this had more to do with this particular waiter than with Princess. Service that night was very slow. My wife and I left the group as dessert orders were being taken. It was well after 9:00. (He was easily the worst waiter we've had in 35 cruises and needs some re-education.) Sweets from the International Cafe hit the spot instead. Night 2 - Providence. We attempted to make reservations. They weren't being accepted over the phone, except for the extra fee dining venues. On past Princess cruises, you could make phone reservations for the anytime dining room. Back to cocktails (anesthesia helped), back to the line at about 7:00. Waited until 7:45. (by which time the other room opened so the line behind us all went upstairs to that room). At about 7:45 we were greeted. (group of 10) Told the dining captain that we didn't want one of the tables served by the previous night's waiter. We passed through the dining room which seemed at least 1/3 empty. We were shown to a table at the back of the room, right next to the door to the kitchen (or to the elevator/stairs leading to the kitchen). Also, right behind us was a station where waiters & staff dumped and cleaned dishes Asked to be seated at another table (remember, there were plenty available). Dining captain said that they could prepare another table (they all seemed fully set for service) if we were willing to go back outside the dining room to the back of the line and wait another turn. YOU WILL SIT NEXT TO THE KITCHEN AND ENJOY IT! Night 3 Boston. We ate on shore. Too full for more. Night 4 Bar Harbor. Crown Grill, yummy! Night 5, St. John's. One of our dining companions badgered the reservation staff enough that we were given reservations. Couldn't do the 7:00 we requested but they could do 7:45 in the other restaurant. (of course, at 7:45 the other anytime venue opened so there was never much wait at 7:45 but it seemed, at least, a small victory). 7:45 we showed up for dinner (8 people). Seated at the back of the room, same table as on Night 2. (but one floor higher) Same clatter and disruption. What fun. (Not-so-subtle message from dining staff - DON'T MESS WITH US ABOUT RESERVATIONS!) Night 6. Halifax. See night 1, except a different waiter and better service. Same excruciating wait. Night 7. At Sea. Sabatini's: Very good; not great. Another thing about dining in the main dining room was the reduced menu options. It's hard to be specific here as I don't collect menus for comparison, but the options seemed reduced. Breads, always a Princess strong point, were less varied. Menu choices were reduced. My recollection is a choice of 4-5 appetizers, 2-3 soups, 2-3 salads and maybe 5 entrees. That variety is reduced. 3-4 appetizers, 1-2 soups, 1 salad. There is also a section of items available every day. Caesar salad, chicken soup. Chicken breast. Salmon (I think). Also, a sirloin hamburger! - I guess the steak they used to have wasn't popular. I also noticed that some of the intriguing items I'd enjoyed on past cruises were missing, but I can't expect them to keep menu items just in the event I might cruise every year of so. Entertainment and activities. Well, with the mess made of dining times, we managed to miss the main show every night. We did go up for the late show a couple of times but were unwilling to stand in the back. Others we talked to said the shows were good. Entertainment in the atrium at the center of the ship was very good. Movies under the stars were good but it being autumn in the north Atlantic, bring a blankee. Strangely, in-room TV was quite good. Channel selection fol live TV was as poor as usual but they actually had a fairly full range of movies and old television shows. Also, a week without political advertising was a significant blessing. The ship stopped at Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, St. John, and Halifax. Our group had pre-arranged private tours for Newport, Bar Harbor, and Halifax. In Boston, 10 of our group set up a "Boston Foodie" tour. It was great; meeting at a hotel and eating our way through a part of the north end. From discussions with others who took a similar tour offered by Princess, the Boston Foodie tour was superior. There were only a few tours offering any activity beyond getting on and off a bus. This is probably in keeping with the age of the passenger cohort. I am 69 and I'm pretty sure I was younger than most of my fellow passengers. In Bar Harbor, our group was split into groups of 3 or 4 and taken on tours by taxis. We drove through Acacia National Park, stopping and getting out a few times for closer inspection of certain areas in the park. Smaller groups permitted us to stop and stay longer in places which piqued our individual interests so that was very nice. We finished the tour by stopping for a lobster lunch in Southwest Harbor. Our only ship-based tour was the Pink Bus tour in St. John. This in a hop-on; hop-off tour with about 20 minute gaps between buses. There was a tour guide with each bus who detailed city history, points of interest, and so on. The beginning and end of the tour for us was just outside the cruise terminal making it very convenient. The buses were quite old. This made for an uncomfortable ride and the windows were scratched enough that picture taking through the windows was difficult. In Newport, we were tendered from the ship to long wharf, just in front of the Newport Marriott. This is right in the middle of a shopping/restaurant district but a fair distance from the city's biggest tourist draws, the Newport Mansions. In Boston. the terminal is well away from the city tourist and business area. On our cruise, a free bus shuttle to the Aquarium was available. The Aquarium is centrally located, a couple of blocks from Faneuil Hall. We got to shore in Bar Harbor by tender. Once on shore you are right in the middle of the town. The piers/terminals at both St. John and Halifax are quite lose to their respective city centers so walking off the boat and touring on your own are viable options (although both cities are hilly enough that walking is exercise). In the terminal at St. John there is a market whose vendors sold many locally made products. They are very proud of their maple syrup. That pier holds two ships. There was a third ship in port the day we visited and we did not see that terminal. The pier was well located even though it was well away from our ship. The Halifax harbor is much larger but there were many shops and restaurants along the waterfront. The Halifax Maritime Museum is on the waterfront and within a mile of all the passenger terminals we saw. For disembarkation, our tour group was among the first off the ship as we had an early flight from La Guardia. Disembarkation was a snap.

Below Expectations

Regal Princess Cruise Review by P-3-Cruiser

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
We cruised with a group from the Milwaukee area, about 40 in all. We spent 2 days in Manhattan and then boarded ship on a cool, cloudy day. My wife and I have enjoyed 35+ cruises, about 9 on Princess ships. We were excited to be cruising on the Regal Princess and to see the next generation of ships. Prior cruises on Princess included the Golden Princess (3 times), Star Princess, Coral, and one or two others. This cruise stopped in Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, St. John, NB, and Halifax. Final day was at sea. We prefer to have more sea days but one can always ignore the port and stay on board. If we were to do this cruise again, we'd probably skip St. John. Not really much to see or do.

Our cruise frequency allows for Platinum status in the Captain's Circle which helped speed embarkation. The process seemed to go very well for everyone as the Brooklyn terminal handled the crowd very well. (In comparison, embarkation on the Norwegian Breakaway in March, 2015, had us standing in a line outside the Manhattan terminal (in rather miserable weather) for more than an hour despite our having platinum status in their frequent cruiser program as well.

The ship is very nicely appointed. We liked the central atrium area; very nicely decorated. In fact, the ship is quite beautiful. Being somewhat mobility impaired, the lack of stair in the center of the ship was of no consequence. As in other Princess ships we've sailed, there are 6 elevators in the center of the ship. A common failing is that their controls are separated into 2 banks of elevators, one of 4 and one of 2. Once you get used to this, you just push the up or down button on each bank to get an elevator most promptly. While the elevators of each bank are synced, the two banks are not synced with each other. Once one pushes the two buttons, one gets into the first car to arrive, and a car in the second bank arrives with no one getting on or off.

Also, it seems strange that a ship assigned fall voyages in cool/cold weather has no indoor pool option. If you hate the hassle of finding an empty deck chair, this cruise's for you.

We had a balcony cabin which was as expected. The space, though small, was adequate. All the reviews I've read of the ship indicated that the cabin was smaller than on other ships and our expectations were fulfilled. This is a disappointing trend but of no particular significance for this review. Our cabin steward was pleasant and efficient although on the final evening, we were left with 2 thread-bare towels. (I guess we seemed the type to pilfer a couple and stash them in our luggage.)

The most discouraging/disappointing aspect of the trip was the dining experience. We ate at the main dining room on 4 nights, Sabatini's and the Crown once each. Our first experience at Sabatini's, in 2002, was magical. One of the best dinners we've ever enjoyed - both food and service. This go-round was a bit less so. (Service was still very good, food seemed less spectacular but still very good). The Crown grill was very good. Excellent food and attentive service. As others have mentioned, Alfredo's pizza was fantastic - easily the best pizza we've enjoyed on any cruise.

Then there was the rest. Generally, we had just a continental breakfast in our room. The coffee was good, as were the croissant. The danish were OK but seemed stale; every day. Something seemed off. Fruit, juice, etc. were top notch.

On two occasions, we had breakfast in the buffet. While plentiful, the food was just adequate. We did not sample the omelets. Waffles and pancakes were pre-made and kept barely warm under heat lamps. By the time we got them to the table, butter wouldn't melt on them. Scrambled eggs were just weird. A bit watery (not runny, just watery) and the consistency was strange. Instead of random clumps of, say, 1/2 to 3/4 inch, the texture was similar to kernels of corn or baby peas. I don't know what machine they used to get the texture but they should replace them. (I generally look forward to the scrambled eggs in cruise ship buffets - not any more, at least not on the Regal Princess). Although we didn't hit the buffets at peak times, service was very good and replacing coffee and juice stations with servers worked for us. The one lunch we had in the buffet was mediocre. The international section we've enjoyed on other ships seemed either reduced or missing.

Our biggest complaints are reserved for the main dining rooms. Typically, Princess has one dining room with 2 shifts of fixed seating and two identically sized rooms with anytime dining. Since early dining is too early and late is too late, we are big advocates of the anytime dining option. On this particular cruise, the standard dining set-up was changed so that one "anytime" room was changed over to fixed, early, dining from 5:45 to 7:45, leaving one anytime room until 7:45. So, here's how our 4 evenings went.

Embarkation night. Cocktails until about 7:00, then down to dinner. Wait in line for 35 minutes. (on other Princess cruises, you'd be given a buzzing/light flashing widget so you could roam the ship - drink, spend money, etc. - while waiting. Not on the Regal. YOU WILL WAIT YOUR TURN! AND LIKE IT!) We (6 of us) were then seated at a table where we met our waiter. We ordered our dinners from the menu. One of the items on the menu was "Texas Chili". One of our dinner partners and I had had a discussion while on the town in Manhattan about how a bowl of chili would be appreciated. Seeing the item on the menu, we each included, as an extra main course, the Texas Chili. Rolls and butter came to the table. Famished from the wait we dug into the rolls and butter. "More butter, please." "More rolls, please." Rolls came. Butter didn't. Over the course of the next hour or so while we were eating, the waiter was asked no less than 10 times for more butter. Finally, after the main course was served, a dish of butter showed up. This was better than the chili which, even though requested repeatedly by both my dining companion and me, never showed up. In that getting a second entree wasn't a repeated problem, I'm guessing this had more to do with this particular waiter than with Princess. Service that night was very slow. My wife and I left the group as dessert orders were being taken. It was well after 9:00. (He was easily the worst waiter we've had in 35 cruises and needs some re-education.) Sweets from the International Cafe hit the spot instead.

Night 2 - Providence. We attempted to make reservations. They weren't being accepted over the phone, except for the extra fee dining venues. On past Princess cruises, you could make phone reservations for the anytime dining room. Back to cocktails (anesthesia helped), back to the line at about 7:00. Waited until 7:45. (by which time the other room opened so the line behind us all went upstairs to that room). At about 7:45 we were greeted. (group of 10) Told the dining captain that we didn't want one of the tables served by the previous night's waiter. We passed through the dining room which seemed at least 1/3 empty. We were shown to a table at the back of the room, right next to the door to the kitchen (or to the elevator/stairs leading to the kitchen). Also, right behind us was a station where waiters & staff dumped and cleaned dishes

Asked to be seated at another table (remember, there were plenty available). Dining captain said that they could prepare another table (they all seemed fully set for service) if we were willing to go back outside the dining room to the back of the line and wait another turn. YOU WILL SIT NEXT TO THE KITCHEN AND ENJOY IT!

Night 3 Boston. We ate on shore. Too full for more.

Night 4 Bar Harbor. Crown Grill, yummy!

Night 5, St. John's. One of our dining companions badgered the reservation staff enough that we were given reservations. Couldn't do the 7:00 we requested but they could do 7:45 in the other restaurant. (of course, at 7:45 the other anytime venue opened so there was never much wait at 7:45 but it seemed, at least, a small victory). 7:45 we showed up for dinner (8 people). Seated at the back of the room, same table as on Night 2. (but one floor higher) Same clatter and disruption. What fun. (Not-so-subtle message from dining staff - DON'T MESS WITH US ABOUT RESERVATIONS!)

Night 6. Halifax. See night 1, except a different waiter and better service. Same excruciating wait.

Night 7. At Sea. Sabatini's: Very good; not great.

Another thing about dining in the main dining room was the reduced menu options. It's hard to be specific here as I don't collect menus for comparison, but the options seemed reduced. Breads, always a Princess strong point, were less varied. Menu choices were reduced. My recollection is a choice of 4-5 appetizers, 2-3 soups, 2-3 salads and maybe 5 entrees. That variety is reduced. 3-4 appetizers, 1-2 soups, 1 salad. There is also a section of items available every day. Caesar salad, chicken soup. Chicken breast. Salmon (I think). Also, a sirloin hamburger! - I guess the steak they used to have wasn't popular. I also noticed that some of the intriguing items I'd enjoyed on past cruises were missing, but I can't expect them to keep menu items just in the event I might cruise every year of so.

Entertainment and activities. Well, with the mess made of dining times, we managed to miss the main show every night. We did go up for the late show a couple of times but were unwilling to stand in the back. Others we talked to said the shows were good. Entertainment in the atrium at the center of the ship was very good. Movies under the stars were good but it being autumn in the north Atlantic, bring a blankee. Strangely, in-room TV was quite good. Channel selection fol live TV was as poor as usual but they actually had a fairly full range of movies and old television shows. Also, a week without political advertising was a significant blessing.

The ship stopped at Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, St. John, and Halifax. Our group had pre-arranged private tours for Newport, Bar Harbor, and Halifax. In Boston, 10 of our group set up a "Boston Foodie" tour. It was great; meeting at a hotel and eating our way through a part of the north end. From discussions with others who took a similar tour offered by Princess, the Boston Foodie tour was superior. There were only a few tours offering any activity beyond getting on and off a bus. This is probably in keeping with the age of the passenger cohort. I am 69 and I'm pretty sure I was younger than most of my fellow passengers.

In Bar Harbor, our group was split into groups of 3 or 4 and taken on tours by taxis. We drove through Acacia National Park, stopping and getting out a few times for closer inspection of certain areas in the park. Smaller groups permitted us to stop and stay longer in places which piqued our individual interests so that was very nice. We finished the tour by stopping for a lobster lunch in Southwest Harbor.

Our only ship-based tour was the Pink Bus tour in St. John. This in a hop-on; hop-off tour with about 20 minute gaps between buses. There was a tour guide with each bus who detailed city history, points of interest, and so on. The beginning and end of the tour for us was just outside the cruise terminal making it very convenient. The buses were quite old. This made for an uncomfortable ride and the windows were scratched enough that picture taking through the windows was difficult.

In Newport, we were tendered from the ship to long wharf, just in front of the Newport Marriott. This is right in the middle of a shopping/restaurant district but a fair distance from the city's biggest tourist draws, the Newport Mansions.

In Boston. the terminal is well away from the city tourist and business area. On our cruise, a free bus shuttle to the Aquarium was available. The Aquarium is centrally located, a couple of blocks from Faneuil Hall. We got to shore in Bar Harbor by tender. Once on shore you are right in the middle of the town.

The piers/terminals at both St. John and Halifax are quite lose to their respective city centers so walking off the boat and touring on your own are viable options (although both cities are hilly enough that walking is exercise). In the terminal at St. John there is a market whose vendors sold many locally made products. They are very proud of their maple syrup. That pier holds two ships. There was a third ship in port the day we visited and we did not see that terminal. The pier was well located even though it was well away from our ship.

The Halifax harbor is much larger but there were many shops and restaurants along the waterfront. The Halifax Maritime Museum is on the waterfront and within a mile of all the passenger terminals we saw.

For disembarkation, our tour group was among the first off the ship as we had an early flight from La Guardia. Disembarkation was a snap.
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Balcony
Cabin DB R-509
Small but efficient. Small balcony. Otherwise, very good.
Riviera Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Bar Harbor
    Our group was spread out in a fleet of taxi min-vans for a driving tour through Acadia National Park and then on to a lobster lunch at Biels Lobster Pier in Southwest Harbor. Best lobster ever, and we love lobster. Then back to town. Our driver was great and we enjoyed the trip fully. You could easily contact a taxi company for a similar tour.
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  • Boston
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    Took a bus tour of the city. Bus stopped at a cemetery where we could have visited the Titanic graves, at a very nice city park, and at the Maritime Museum. Our guide seemed a bit over the top in talking about disasters which have befallen Halifax and other morbid topics. Maybe she was just having a bad day. The park and the maritime museum were great. If you're a Titanic junkie, I suppose the cemetery would be interesting. Much livelier city than St. John.
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    New York is a great place to begin a cruise. As always, we arrived a couple of days early and saw a couple of Broadway plays and did a bit of touring.
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  • Newport
    Took a bus tour of the community counter-clockwise from the harbor along the shore road to the mansion area and back to the harbor. Stopped at the Breakers and Rosecliff. Both mansions had self-guided tours on audio players. Sets allowed for general tour as well as extra information as available and chosen by the user. While it puts some tour guides out of business, this is a great idea and permits as leisurely a tour as one wishes. Both mansions are well worth the visit. The bus tour, while nice, is not critical.
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  • Hop On Hop Off
    Decent tour. Pink bus was from about 1950. Very old. Terrible ride. Driver had trouble operating the clutch so this was clearly a lurching tour. Not much to see in town but the tour allowed for easy on and off so you could get off, look around, and catch the next bus. Not particularly great tour but convenient.
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