Royal Princess Cruise Review by BettyCruiser
- Sail Date: October 2016
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Interior
This was kind of a bonus cruise. I had noticed it but didn’t book it way out like I usually do but kept an eye on it and our schedule in case we could work it in. I ended up booking the cruise one month out. I was hoping for better last minute new bookings only pricing but the price of air was going up so I booked and I think it ended up going down only $50 from the price we paid. The same day I booked the cruise I also bought the drink package for us. I much prefer the drink package to the reality print out of how much fun we had at the end of the cruise.
Since this was a bonus cruise I decided to use points and miles to book the air to keep costs down. We booked a nonstop flight to Fort Lauderdale on Delta and then we connected in Atlanta on Southwest back home. Our nonstop to the cruise was the same day we were to board the ship. I hadn’t flown in the day of sailing in years, but felt relatively safe doing it on a nonstop flight. Since we were celebrating a birthday the day after disembarkation we would stay a couple nights after instead of before the cruise. Princess was also warning of a delayed boarding process since the previous cruise was a transatlantic itinerary.
Our flight was uneventful and even arrived early. We retrieved our suitcase and found no line for cabs at the airport. What should’ve been a relatively small cab fare grew as we sat in a traffic jam at the port. The holdup was the result of an unusual check in process. We finally made it around to the usual pier 2 luggage drop area to turn over our suitcase. But then we were directed across to the pier 4 terminal to check in, this is what caused the traffic jam since everyone had to cross traffic twice over and twice back. We filled out the health form and then to the check in counter with no line. Once we got our platinum cards we could get back in line to cross back to the terminal 2 building, those lower than platinum were directed elsewhere. Now in terminal 2 building we went through the x-ray machine and metal detectors, then onto the ship and get our picture taken.
We stopped to drop our things in our room, a sideways inside on Marina deck. The sideways insides are a little bigger than the normal insides and have more storage space than balcony rooms. For a warm weather cruise we like a room close to the pools since that’s where we spend most of our time. This particular room never got as cool as I like it. It also had what must’ve been a brand new shower head since our friends had noticed their showerhead had a lot of buildup and ours had none.
Then up to the retreat pool bar for a drink before the muster drill. The muster drill a necessary chore, this time too long and standing the whole time, and it seems that Princess is the only cruise line that still makes you bring your life jacket. After the drill I met our cabin steward and our suitcase arrived, so I could unpack after sail away. We went to Outrigger the aft bar for sail away. A disappointing change at the Outrigger, they no longer muddle fresh fruit for the margaritas here, now they use the stuff from the cartons and a blender just like every other bar, nothing special at Outrigger anymore.
After sail away I unpacked, then we got ready for dinner. We stopped at Crooners for a martini before dinner. We found Crooners was a good meeting place before going to dinner. The first night we ate dinner at Alfredo’s. We shared an antipasto plate and then I had the ravioli and he had the eggplant dish, then for dessert was tiramisu and apple tart. The antipasto and ravioli was very good the tiramisu was nothing special.
After dinner we stopped at Bellini’s, on a previous cruise I made my way through their list. This time I started at the bottom. I didn’t like that one as much, not sure if it was the drink or the substitute bartender working. All the other bellinis I tried were very good. At Bellini’s I noticed they weren’t using the flutes at the bar and made everyone’s drink in a take away glass. We don’t go to shows so nothing to report there. Since we traveled today I didn’t do much after dinner.
The next day was a sea day. The weather was nice and we spent most of the day at the Retreat Pool. There were photographers on board, this morning they were taking pictures in a cabana and hot tub at the Retreat Pool and in the main pool. It was kind of an inconvenience but not too bad.
I had breakfast in the buffet, a made to order omelet that was tasty. One thing I don’t like about the buffet is the napkins and silverware are set on the tables. This morning I found many cleared off tables, but no napkin and silverware, when I finally found someone near a bus station I had to argue with him to get a fork.
This afternoon I stopped by the International Café I wanted some of the delicious cashew chicken salad I’ve gotten there on previous cruises. I was disappointed they didn’t have any then or any time throughout the cruise.
Tonight was formal night. Since this was a short cruise with only one formal night we didn’t bring our usual formal wear but did dress nicer than other nights. We took a picture at the champagne waterfall. We had dinner at Chops steakhouse. I had an awesome ribeye. When leaving we tried to get reservations for the last night, but they were booked.
Our first port was Costa Maya, it was cloudy and rainy today. We had no plans on shore, but thought we might walk around the shops in the port area. So we took our time eating breakfast in the buffet with friends. This morning I tried the eggs benedict, it wasn’t as good as on previous cruises. After breakfast I watched the Carnival Magic dock behind us. Late in the morning we decided to head to shore for a bit. When we were still walking up the pier I turned around to take a picture of the ship with its new paint job and noticed some stormy looking clouds. We decided we didn’t want to risk getting wet in port so we turned back.
We spent much of the afternoon at the Retreat Pool Bar, sitting under the overhang out of the periodic rain showers. We made it to Crooners in time to witness the happy hour there in the afternoon. Since we get the drink package the happy hours aren’t a priority for us so we never paid attention on prior cruises. We also stopped at Bellini’s, I’ve determined my favorite is Fruits of the Loom.
Tonight we ate in the dining room after predinner drinks at Crooners. This was our only time eating in the dining room for this sailing. The four of us were seated immediately and served delicious food promptly. After dinner we went back to Crooners for an after dinner chocolate martini and then to the Lobby Bar for after dinner coffee drinks.
The following day we were in Cozumel. Today was still cloudy but not stormy and raining. Again we had no excursions booked, we just wanted to get off the ship and look around port, he wanted to get Cuban cigars since it’s legal to bring them home now. Again we took our time having breakfast, then left the ship late in the morning. I got a couple good pictures of the ship, plus there was a ship photographer taking pictures with the ship in the background so we took a picture there too. There was only one other ship at that pier. With only one other ship on that pier it was difficult getting through the new funneling store they have on that pier. There is a long narrow store that sells pretty much anything that you must walk through both leaving and entering the pier. I don’t look forward to our next visit that is likely to have four ships at that pier.
We were back on the ship by lunch time. Most every day I had pizza from the Lido deck pizza place for lunch. It is probably the best pizza at sea. Before each cruise I usually get a pedicure at home since it’s cheaper. This time I was avoiding a pedicure since I had sprained my ankle. But as I sat at the Retreat Pool I determined my feet were in bad shape and it was time for a pedicure. So I went down to the spa to inquire, they gave me a price that was about double my normal price and said they could accommodate me at 3:30. I took the appointment and went back up to the pool until it was time.
My pedicure turned out to be a bit cheaper than quoted, I guessing I was quoted normal pricing and received port pricing, so that was a nice surprise and the upsell pitch was there but easily refused. I’m happy with my spa experience.
After our customary predinner drinks at Crooners we had dinner at the Crab Shack. Recently Princess had raised the price of the Crab Shack so that it’s the same as Chops steakhouse. I don’t find them comparable and think the Crab Shack is now overpriced. Crab Shack has a limited menu in the corner of the buffet and you wear a bib, as opposed to the nice ambiance and varied menu available at the steakhouse. We arrived on time for our reservation and were seated promptly. After donning our bibs our order was taken, drinks arrived and even our first course arrived. But after that even though we were seated right in the middle we were forgotten. We saw several tables that were seated a good while after us receive their main course while we continued to wait. We were in good company and chatting but before long the discussion turned to our absent meal. Finally our main course arrived, my crab legs were very good. But again based on the price increase and poor service I don’t think I’ll eat at the Crab Shack again.
Our last day was a sea day. The weather was cloudy and very windy. It was too windy for the Retreat Pool so I sat by the main pool in the morning. I was able to finish my book and they played Ghostbusters on the big screen at 10AM. Throughout the entire morning is wasn’t very crowded at the main pool. At about noon it started getting more crowded and more kids were out at the pool so I decided to get some packing started.
For lunch today I tried the pub lunch for the first time. The pub lunch was served at the steakhouse, we were seated immediately. I ordered the fish and chips and a New Castle, both were very good. I think I also had some kind of bread pudding for dessert, which was also good.
After lunch we stopped at the photo studio. We bought two photos, the formal night champagne waterfall and the Cozumel port photo with the ship in the background. Each photo was only $10 each which sounded like a good deal after spending $25 for one photo on our last cruise on a different cruise line.
After our usual predinner drinks at Crooners we had dinner at Alfredo’s tonight. This time I had the eggplant/pasta dish as a starter and had a pizza as a main course. The pasta dish was good, the pizza was soggy. I like the pizza up by the pool better than the pizza at Alfredo’s. After dinner we sat at Vines and watched the balloon drop and final night festivities. I finished packing before dinner and was ready for a later last night, but everything wrapped up pretty early.
Since we were staying in Fort Lauderdale we requested a late disembarkation number. Our number wasn’t scheduled to be called until 10:20AM, which seemed pretty late. After cleaning up and vacating our room by 8AM we spent time out at the Outrigger bar. The weather in Fort Lauderdale was cloudy and very windy still. Disembarkation was very easy when our number was called, with maybe a ten minute wait for immigration and no taxi line.
After the cruise we spent two nights at the Marriott Courtyard on Seabreeze Blvd across the street from the beach. We had never stayed here before but like to find a place by the beach when spending more than one night. We arrived before noon and were upgraded to a King Suite with views to the south. We could see the ships in port and when they left port out to sea. The room was very nice and clean. My only negative observation was the sofa was not very comfortable to sit on, but with the help of a pillow was better.
While in Fort Lauderdale we ate at several places. LuLu’s Bait Shack for lunch and snacks, we’ve been there before have always liked it and did again this time. Coconut’s for oyster happy hour also been before liked it and was again good. We had dinner at the Quarterdeck one night wasn’t impressed. We had dinner at Texas de Brazil on Sunrise across from the Galleria, this meal was awesome.
Our flight home on Southwest was on time and uneventful.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
CozumelThere was only one other ship at that pier. With only one other ship on that pier it was difficult getting through the new funneling store they have on that pier. There is a long narrow store that sells pretty much anything that you must walk through both leaving and entering the pier. I don’t look forward to our next visit that is likely to have four ships at that pier.View All 6,622 Cozumel Cruise Port Reviews
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