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We expected the New Year's Eve cruise to have different demographics than normal, given the holiday nature, and it did ... lots of well behaved children, and all cabins sold out. Embarkation: a snap - 30 mins from handing off the luggage to walking onto the Royal Princess - time of arrival at Port Everglades 1100 Cabin: Ready when boarded .. dropped off our hand luggage and proceeded to lunch in the Concerto Dining Room Ship: Clean and well appointed, everything was working (which we encountered) - Casino smelled of cigarette smoke, even when closed on port days (we react to such, so we avoided transiting). Piazza (5-7 decks) was the center of activities, and the fountain pool on the 16th Deck for activities. Dining: Concerto - We had Club Class dining - the "special dishes" were lazy on the part of the kitchen, when they push "Caesar Salad" multiple times, you know they didn't think this one through. The service (especially Daniel/Milos and Alex/Lenore) was top notch. The never waiting was never challenged. All dishes arrived hot or cold as expected (a challenge sometimes) and were tasteful and well presented. Getting a second helping was easily accommodated. Breakfast menu was basic, and changed daily. Asked and learned - coffee in dining room is DRIP not syrup. Horizon Buffet - excellent stop for cheese/meats for an afternoon snack on the balcony ... superior to the in-room "canapes" which were teeny-weeny. Lunch and dinner menu matched the dining room. The soups were amazing and HOT. The meats/veggies/fish/etc were a challenge to keep hot. Pizza/Burgers on 16th Deck -- they were crazy good. International Cafe - amazing good pastries in the AM and salads/appetizers in the afternoon. Coffee fix -- their baristas do magic. Alfredo's -- it is a sleeper. Lunched there one afternoon and the Antipasto was amazing. Hooked, we ate there on the last night of the cruise. Pizza is about 9-10 inches, big enough to split. Room Service - Rocks! We enjoy late night burgers and they were delish ... mid-afternoon soups or sandwich ... great. Breakfast menu is adequate and write-in requests were always fulfilled (we didn't go overboard, but would ask for carafe of coffee or some bacon, and it would appear). Drinks Piazza -- find Grace .. let her spoil you Vines -- you sometime encounter folks who just aren't having a good day ... they seem to always be in that mood at Vines the three times we engaged with them and for that reason, we found somewhere else to sip our libations Wheelhouse Bar - there is such a thing as too much steel-drum ... great service for libations Club Six - felt tight .. stopped only once Crooners -- big crowd few servers .. they were challenged. Entertainment: New Year's Eve -- there was something for everyone Love Boat Festival on the 16th Deck -- Great fun for all ages (90 minutes in duration) Mardi Gras celebration - they dropped some banners but they could have dropped the whole concept as the "celebration" lasted 20-30 mins. Crooners - we normally are big fans of the piano bar ... and .. the piano player on this trip had the place packed with his shtick and show tunes. Found his humor tasteless, especially jokes about suicide (YMMV) - we found other activities. Ports of Call: Princess Cay -- we enjoyed the sun and the quiet ... disembarking early involves waits, disembark at around 11-12 and you zip onto a boat. St Thomas -- they continue to recover from hurricane damage - snorkel excursion via Princess was nice to St. Johns. Water remains disturbed so actual snorkeling was a bit hit and miss Martinique - we opted to walk the city. If you don't speak/read/understand french you might find the populace cold and disinterested. Grenada - wonderful place and people. Truly enjoyed visiting a small herb farm and learning about the spices. Nutmeg co-op and a rum distillery rounded things out nicely. Bonaire - the highlight of the trip - swim in an aquarium Curacao - took a city tour and visit to Senior distillery, a brewery and aloe vera farm Disembarkation: A snap -- highly recommend using the US Mobile Passport app -- blazed through customs/immigration following pickup of luggage. All in all, we were apprehensive about the size of the Royal, but never had an issue finding a seat at any location we were interested in visiting, service was generally top notch and the crew were there to say *yes* to your needs. We'll be back ...

Royal (Princess) ending to 2017

Royal Princess Cruise Review by Woodinville

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2017
  • Destination: Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Premium Club Class Mini-Suite with Balcony
We expected the New Year's Eve cruise to have different demographics than normal, given the holiday nature, and it did ... lots of well behaved children, and all cabins sold out.

Embarkation: a snap - 30 mins from handing off the luggage to walking onto the Royal Princess - time of arrival at Port Everglades 1100

Cabin: Ready when boarded .. dropped off our hand luggage and proceeded to lunch in the Concerto Dining Room

Ship: Clean and well appointed, everything was working (which we encountered) - Casino smelled of cigarette smoke, even when closed on port days (we react to such, so we avoided transiting). Piazza (5-7 decks) was the center of activities, and the fountain pool on the 16th Deck for activities.

Dining:

Concerto - We had Club Class dining - the "special dishes" were lazy on the part of the kitchen, when they push "Caesar Salad" multiple times, you know they didn't think this one through. The service (especially Daniel/Milos and Alex/Lenore) was top notch. The never waiting was never challenged. All dishes arrived hot or cold as expected (a challenge sometimes) and were tasteful and well presented. Getting a second helping was easily accommodated. Breakfast menu was basic, and changed daily. Asked and learned - coffee in dining room is DRIP not syrup.

Horizon Buffet - excellent stop for cheese/meats for an afternoon snack on the balcony ... superior to the in-room "canapes" which were teeny-weeny. Lunch and dinner menu matched the dining room. The soups were amazing and HOT. The meats/veggies/fish/etc were a challenge to keep hot.

Pizza/Burgers on 16th Deck -- they were crazy good.

International Cafe - amazing good pastries in the AM and salads/appetizers in the afternoon. Coffee fix -- their baristas do magic.

Alfredo's -- it is a sleeper. Lunched there one afternoon and the Antipasto was amazing. Hooked, we ate there on the last night of the cruise. Pizza is about 9-10 inches, big enough to split.

Room Service - Rocks! We enjoy late night burgers and they were delish ... mid-afternoon soups or sandwich ... great. Breakfast menu is adequate and write-in requests were always fulfilled (we didn't go overboard, but would ask for carafe of coffee or some bacon, and it would appear).

Drinks

Piazza -- find Grace .. let her spoil you

Vines -- you sometime encounter folks who just aren't having a good day ... they seem to always be in that mood at Vines the three times we engaged with them and for that reason, we found somewhere else to sip our libations

Wheelhouse Bar - there is such a thing as too much steel-drum ... great service for libations

Club Six - felt tight .. stopped only once

Crooners -- big crowd few servers .. they were challenged.

Entertainment:

New Year's Eve -- there was something for everyone

Love Boat Festival on the 16th Deck -- Great fun for all ages (90 minutes in duration)

Mardi Gras celebration - they dropped some banners but they could have dropped the whole concept as the "celebration" lasted 20-30 mins.

Crooners - we normally are big fans of the piano bar ... and .. the piano player on this trip had the place packed with his shtick and show tunes. Found his humor tasteless, especially jokes about suicide (YMMV) - we found other activities.

Ports of Call:

Princess Cay -- we enjoyed the sun and the quiet ... disembarking early involves waits, disembark at around 11-12 and you zip onto a boat.

St Thomas -- they continue to recover from hurricane damage - snorkel excursion via Princess was nice to St. Johns. Water remains disturbed so actual snorkeling was a bit hit and miss

Martinique - we opted to walk the city. If you don't speak/read/understand french you might find the populace cold and disinterested.

Grenada - wonderful place and people. Truly enjoyed visiting a small herb farm and learning about the spices. Nutmeg co-op and a rum distillery rounded things out nicely.

Bonaire - the highlight of the trip - swim in an aquarium

Curacao - took a city tour and visit to Senior distillery, a brewery and aloe vera farm

Disembarkation:

A snap -- highly recommend using the US Mobile Passport app -- blazed through customs/immigration following pickup of luggage.

All in all, we were apprehensive about the size of the Royal, but never had an issue finding a seat at any location we were interested in visiting, service was generally top notch and the crew were there to say *yes* to your needs. We'll be back ...
Woodinville’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
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Cabin Review

Premium Club Class Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin M1 B429
Minisuite cabin design on the Royal differs from the design encountered on the Ruby ... the sitting area and the bed area had the option of pulling a curtain (which was a nice heavy noise deadening and blackout curtain) and the televisions were big-screen wall mounted.

The closet area is the signature open design (with plenty of light) and one stacked shelf. The safe can hold tablets, but a 15-17in laptop would be have to go elsewhere (you can chain it down to the numerous stationary items in the room if necessary).

We were glad we brought a small table cloth and towel clips (made the afternoon and evenings on the balcony more vacation like and nothing slid on the table top with a slight list when at sea) Also bring along a corkscrew if you carry on wine ... room service will scoot up to open yours if you don't so no panic (they wont leave the corkscrew).

Handiwipes came in handy to wipe down surfaces and instruments

Steward provided extension cord for CPAP -- but wasn't necessary ... two 110V outlets at the desk .. and two 220V -- a travel outlet with USB and additional outlets did the trick for us.

WiFi signal is this cabin was strong and fast-ish (not lightening fast like home, but not interminable like on many cruises)
Riviera Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Snorkeling
    High marks to the contractor - Compass - for a first rate sail and snorkel.

    Would recommend this be an over night visit as the snorkeling here is amazing
    View All 146 Snorkeling Reviews
  • Distillery Tour
    Enjoyed visiting the Curacao blue distillery and learning the history of the Senior Distillery, followed by a quick visit and taste at the only craft brewery and then on to the Aleo Vera plantation for an educational visit. The tour was in the afternoon so we made the all-aboard by 10 mins ... do your visit to the fort and city in the morning - self-tour or get a taxi to take you about.
    View All 61 Distillery Tour Reviews
  • Spice Tour
    Loved the visit to the nutmeg factory, spice farm and distillery ... informative and just the right length
    View All 18 Spice Tour Reviews
  • Princess Cays
    When getting off the tender go to the right not the left ... fewer people, more room on the beach and an empty bar with food nearby ... perfect for a day at the beach.
    View All 560 Princess Cays Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Princess Cays Cruise Port Review
  • St. John Snorkel/Sail
    The snorkel was ok .. the sail was excellent .. the crew first class ... the ride in the open air jeep/truck was worthy of Disney E-tickets
    View All 181 St. John Snorkel/Sail Reviews