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This cruise was an excellent way to explore the British Isles without having to take a U.K. driving course. The cruise itinerary was inclusive of many of the best ports of Ireland and Scotland and there was ample transportation options if you wanted to explore on your own versus taking shore excursions. Ports of call included South Hampton (Embark/Disembark), St. Peter Port, Cobh (Cork), Dublin, Belfast, Greenock (Glasgow), Kirkwall (Orkney islands), Invergordon, South Queensferry and finally Le Havre, France. The region is rich in history, culture, architecture, royal bloodlines, and maybe even a visit or two from ancient aliens in the Orkney Islands (Ring of Brodgar). No matter one's taste, you would be hard pressed not to find something of interest. On a mostly clear and mild Friday, we set sail from South Hampton, England (The 1912 departure point for the ill-fated RMS Titanic) on the 19 deck Royal Princess (2013). With approximately 1,780 guest rooms, 3,500 guest passengers and 1,350 crew members, the Royal Princess is a big beautiful ship, but not so large that one feels as if they can't find their way from deck to deck. The focal point of the ship is the glittering piazza with boutiques, food venues, and bars strategically located around the open spiral staircases inviting the guests to mingle with shipmates, browse from shop to shop, or maybe even meet new friends from other parts of the world. The embarkation was extremely smooth and efficient as the guests progressed from the terminal to the ship in a very organized manner with the ship's staff and a bountiful buffet awaiting their arrival. So, with adventure at hand, let the journey begin. My wife and I stayed on deck 11 in cabin B108, the Baja deck. We always try to book a room that has guest rooms above and below so that noise generally isn't an issue when we are relaxing or have retired for the evening. We also try to book a room that is somewhat in the middle of the Lido deck and the Piazza so that we can take the stairs throughout the cruise to counter having dessert with our evening meal every night, not to mention pizza, ice cream etc. The room was a smaller balcony, queen bed, clean, and welcoming with plenty of space for the two of us. The bathroom was average size for a cruise ship, but manageable, with ample room for the normal toiletries. There was plenty of closet space and sufficient storage for clothing. Julio was our room steward and he was fantastic. Julio kept the room spotless, went above and beyond expectations, answered any question we posed to him, and always had a smile. If he ever had a bad day during the cruise it was impossible to tell. The available food and dining options, as always, is far and above our everyday hum-drum meal plans. We always choose the anytime dining (Usually anywhere between 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM) as it is easiest for guests that don't usually stick to a set meal time, but there are also traditional meal times with scheduled seating, generally at the same time, table, and with the same table guests. My wife and I prefer to share a table and meet other cruise guests throughout the duration of the cruise, however, you can also request a table just for two if that is your preference. The menu is adequate with a variety of seafood, steaks, poultry, and pastas with a few interesting options for those that may be a bit more adventurous. The buffets offer a wide variety of choices including regional fare, and of course you can simply grab a hamburger, hot dog, or a slice of pizza on the Lido deck. If you are a foodie or a chef then maybe you won't be happy, but if you can't find something you like to eat on a cruise I would be extremely surprised. Overall, there are well over a dozen different locations on the Royal Princess to satisfy your hunger with one of my favorites being the International Cafe open 24 hours a day. The Cafe offers sandwiches, salads, soups, quiche, and the best coffee on the ship. If you are in a hurry or just enjoy a small meal, then this is the place to go! Overall the ship's food service was good, but the dining rooms seemed to be understaffed and somewhat slow. The good part, at least in my opinion, everyone was on vacation and hopefully in chill mode instead of the normal hectic everyday hustle and bustle of routine life, so it didn't matter. I rather enjoy talking with the other table guests and getting to know a little bit about their background as well as what brought them to this particular cruise. The buffets were plentiful with decent variety and service on the Lido deck, at least my experience, was very good. For the size of the ship and guest count the lines were never daunting, table service was readily available, drinks were brought to the table quickly, and refills were non-stop. We also used room service on several occasions and it always arrived on time or before estimated time of arrival. The entertainment provided on this cruise was family oriented with a magician, comedian, Opera vocalist, local musicians, singers and dancers (Think bag pipes or River Dance) as well as the Princess orchestra, singers, dancers, and excellent (Usually standing room only) Piazza music venues including a Classical String Trio, Prestige Quartet, Piano Classics, Guitarists, and even the Beetles stopped by to perform (Okay, it wasn't really the Beetles, but it was still a lot of fun and dancing!). There was definitely something for everyone and you didn't need to worry about bringing the kids. I felt the overall service received on this cruise was adequate, the dining service tried extremely hard to please, the bars, clubs and lounges was generally quick (However, not always accurate), while the stateroom services was exemplary. We didn't use the Captain's Circle desk or shore excursions desk on this cruise, so it wouldn't be fair to critique those items provided by Princess. In regards to the cruise itinerary and the ports of call we couldn't have been happier. My wife and I tend to go off on our own and explore and this cruise definitely didn't disappoint. At every port one could just exit the ship and seek their own adventure. There was plenty of transportation options from bus shuttles, hop-on-hop off buses, taxis, trains, and simply walking. The locals were extremely friendly and eager to assist if you were looking for a specific location or just interested in the local history. I was truly amazed at how easy it was to strike up a conversation with the local residents and shop keepers as well as the amount of time they were willing to spend talking with tourists and sharing their knowledge. The history, architecture, and landscapes were the primary reasoning for booking this cruise and there were castles, cathedrals, palaces, universities, and culture to be explored at every port. Unfortunately, we missed St. Peter Port due to weather conditions, but we were able to dock at all of the other scheduled ports. Cork, Ireland (Cobh Harbor) was a small port that visitors could easily explore on foot in one day. A visit to St. Colman's Cathedral, the local history museum, and of course Kelly's Pub are musts if you're staying in port or you can venture out on an excursion and visit the Blarney Castle, Killarney National Park, or any number of other locations. Dublin was the first major city to visit and a shuttle to the city center was provided by Princess. Again once in the city, there are numerous attractions within walking distance including St. Patrick's Cathedral (A stunning example of early architecture and history), Trinity College, and Dublin Castle to name just a few that we visited. And don't forget the Guinness Storehouse and Pub if you are so inclined (You can't visit Dublin without having a pint, right?). Belfast was the next port of call and Princess again offered a shuttle into the city center. There is plenty to see in this port, but it is much more spread out, so I would recommend a hop-on-hop-off bus to see as many of the points of interest as you may be interested in. Greenock followed and this was another port in which you could stroll off the ship and walk to different city buildings that were architecturally worth viewing, but many guests from the cruise ship went on excursions in the neighboring city of Glasgow known for art galleries, museums, castles and cathedrals. One of my favorite ports of call was Kirkwall, Scotland and the Orkney Islands. This is the only port that we took a planned excursion and it was worth every penny. We were able to book a small private guide (Pat from "About Orkney") who made the day everything we had hoped and then some. We visited the majority of the main points of interest including Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar, the Italian Chapel, Scapa Flow, St. Magnus Cathedral, the Kirkwall Museum, and even had time to stop for ice cream before heading back to the ship. It was a great day and if you are only going to splurge on one port of call this would be a good option. Invergordon was the next port of call and although it doesn't have the fanfare of some of the larger cities, it was still a nice village to take a leisurely walk to explore churches, a small museum, and many beautiful murals painted throughout the town. The city was inviting, the people very friendly, and be sure to take the time to walk to the local train station to view and photograph the war murals. Invergordon was also the stepping stone to get to Inverness, Scotland for those who wanted to visit numerous castles or even try to catch a glimpse of Nessie at Loch Ness. There were many options depending on one's interests. South Queensferry was the next port which is also the gateway to Ediniburgh, Scotland. Edinburgh has both Old Town and New Town which is a striking contrast between the past and the present. There are several means of transportation from the port to the city including buses, taxis, and train with the train being the cheapest. There is probably too much to see in one day, but it is definitely worth the effort to walk the Royal Mile starting with the stunning Edinburgh Castle, the many shops and boutiques, and ending with Holyrood Palace, the official home for the monarch while in Scotland. We explored Edinburgh on our own and enjoyed every minute of our time there with the only regret being that it was just one day. The final stop was Le Havre, France, but we opted to spend a relaxing day on the ship instead of taking the long trip into Paris. Disembarkation was just as efficient as embarkation and at least for our group went without a hiccup from beginning to end right up to our arrival at the airport. This was one of those bucket list type of trips and we were fortunate that everything went as planned from start to finish. The ship was beautiful, the staff was wonderful, the weather cooperated, and the sights were stunning. Definitely the type of trip you don't want to end and would jump at the chance to do it all over again. The Royal Princess was the largest ship my wife and I have ever cruised on, but we wouldn't hesitate to book a cruise on her again.

British Isles Adventure

Royal Princess Cruise Review by dhughesk9

Trip Details
This cruise was an excellent way to explore the British Isles without having to take a U.K. driving course. The cruise itinerary was inclusive of many of the best ports of Ireland and Scotland and there was ample transportation options if you wanted to explore on your own versus taking shore excursions. Ports of call included South Hampton (Embark/Disembark), St. Peter Port, Cobh (Cork), Dublin, Belfast, Greenock (Glasgow), Kirkwall (Orkney islands), Invergordon, South Queensferry and finally Le Havre, France. The region is rich in history, culture, architecture, royal bloodlines, and maybe even a visit or two from ancient aliens in the Orkney Islands (Ring of Brodgar). No matter one's taste, you would be hard pressed not to find something of interest.

On a mostly clear and mild Friday, we set sail from South Hampton, England (The 1912 departure point for the ill-fated RMS Titanic) on the 19 deck Royal Princess (2013). With approximately 1,780 guest rooms, 3,500 guest passengers and 1,350 crew members, the Royal Princess is a big beautiful ship, but not so large that one feels as if they can't find their way from deck to deck. The focal point of the ship is the glittering piazza with boutiques, food venues, and bars strategically located around the open spiral staircases inviting the guests to mingle with shipmates, browse from shop to shop, or maybe even meet new friends from other parts of the world.

The embarkation was extremely smooth and efficient as the guests progressed from the terminal to the ship in a very organized manner with the ship's staff and a bountiful buffet awaiting their arrival. So, with adventure at hand, let the journey begin.

My wife and I stayed on deck 11 in cabin B108, the Baja deck. We always try to book a room that has guest rooms above and below so that noise generally isn't an issue when we are relaxing or have retired for the evening. We also try to book a room that is somewhat in the middle of the Lido deck and the Piazza so that we can take the stairs throughout the cruise to counter having dessert with our evening meal every night, not to mention pizza, ice cream etc. The room was a smaller balcony, queen bed, clean, and welcoming with plenty of space for the two of us. The bathroom was average size for a cruise ship, but manageable, with ample room for the normal toiletries. There was plenty of closet space and sufficient storage for clothing. Julio was our room steward and he was fantastic. Julio kept the room spotless, went above and beyond expectations, answered any question we posed to him, and always had a smile. If he ever had a bad day during the cruise it was impossible to tell.

The available food and dining options, as always, is far and above our everyday hum-drum meal plans. We always choose the anytime dining (Usually anywhere between 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM) as it is easiest for guests that don't usually stick to a set meal time, but there are also traditional meal times with scheduled seating, generally at the same time, table, and with the same table guests. My wife and I prefer to share a table and meet other cruise guests throughout the duration of the cruise, however, you can also request a table just for two if that is your preference. The menu is adequate with a variety of seafood, steaks, poultry, and pastas with a few interesting options for those that may be a bit more adventurous. The buffets offer a wide variety of choices including regional fare, and of course you can simply grab a hamburger, hot dog, or a slice of pizza on the Lido deck. If you are a foodie or a chef then maybe you won't be happy, but if you can't find something you like to eat on a cruise I would be extremely surprised. Overall, there are well over a dozen different locations on the Royal Princess to satisfy your hunger with one of my favorites being the International Cafe open 24 hours a day. The Cafe offers sandwiches, salads, soups, quiche, and the best coffee on the ship. If you are in a hurry or just enjoy a small meal, then this is the place to go!

Overall the ship's food service was good, but the dining rooms seemed to be understaffed and somewhat slow. The good part, at least in my opinion, everyone was on vacation and hopefully in chill mode instead of the normal hectic everyday hustle and bustle of routine life, so it didn't matter. I rather enjoy talking with the other table guests and getting to know a little bit about their background as well as what brought them to this particular cruise. The buffets were plentiful with decent variety and service on the Lido deck, at least my experience, was very good. For the size of the ship and guest count the lines were never daunting, table service was readily available, drinks were brought to the table quickly, and refills were non-stop. We also used room service on several occasions and it always arrived on time or before estimated time of arrival.

The entertainment provided on this cruise was family oriented with a magician, comedian, Opera vocalist, local musicians, singers and dancers (Think bag pipes or River Dance) as well as the Princess orchestra, singers, dancers, and excellent (Usually standing room only) Piazza music venues including a Classical String Trio, Prestige Quartet, Piano Classics, Guitarists, and even the Beetles stopped by to perform (Okay, it wasn't really the Beetles, but it was still a lot of fun and dancing!). There was definitely something for everyone and you didn't need to worry about bringing the kids.

I felt the overall service received on this cruise was adequate, the dining service tried extremely hard to please, the bars, clubs and lounges was generally quick (However, not always accurate), while the stateroom services was exemplary. We didn't use the Captain's Circle desk or shore excursions desk on this cruise, so it wouldn't be fair to critique those items provided by Princess.

In regards to the cruise itinerary and the ports of call we couldn't have been happier. My wife and I tend to go off on our own and explore and this cruise definitely didn't disappoint. At every port one could just exit the ship and seek their own adventure. There was plenty of transportation options from bus shuttles, hop-on-hop off buses, taxis, trains, and simply walking. The locals were extremely friendly and eager to assist if you were looking for a specific location or just interested in the local history. I was truly amazed at how easy it was to strike up a conversation with the local residents and shop keepers as well as the amount of time they were willing to spend talking with tourists and sharing their knowledge.

The history, architecture, and landscapes were the primary reasoning for booking this cruise and there were castles, cathedrals, palaces, universities, and culture to be explored at every port. Unfortunately, we missed St. Peter Port due to weather conditions, but we were able to dock at all of the other scheduled ports. Cork, Ireland (Cobh Harbor) was a small port that visitors could easily explore on foot in one day. A visit to St. Colman's Cathedral, the local history museum, and of course Kelly's Pub are musts if you're staying in port or you can venture out on an excursion and visit the Blarney Castle, Killarney National Park, or any number of other locations. Dublin was the first major city to visit and a shuttle to the city center was provided by Princess. Again once in the city, there are numerous attractions within walking distance including St. Patrick's Cathedral (A stunning example of early architecture and history), Trinity College, and Dublin Castle to name just a few that we visited. And don't forget the Guinness Storehouse and Pub if you are so inclined (You can't visit Dublin without having a pint, right?).

Belfast was the next port of call and Princess again offered a shuttle into the city center. There is plenty to see in this port, but it is much more spread out, so I would recommend a hop-on-hop-off bus to see as many of the points of interest as you may be interested in. Greenock followed and this was another port in which you could stroll off the ship and walk to different city buildings that were architecturally worth viewing, but many guests from the cruise ship went on excursions in the neighboring city of Glasgow known for art galleries, museums, castles and cathedrals.

One of my favorite ports of call was Kirkwall, Scotland and the Orkney Islands. This is the only port that we took a planned excursion and it was worth every penny. We were able to book a small private guide (Pat from "About Orkney") who made the day everything we had hoped and then some. We visited the majority of the main points of interest including Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar, the Italian Chapel, Scapa Flow, St. Magnus Cathedral, the Kirkwall Museum, and even had time to stop for ice cream before heading back to the ship. It was a great day and if you are only going to splurge on one port of call this would be a good option.

Invergordon was the next port of call and although it doesn't have the fanfare of some of the larger cities, it was still a nice village to take a leisurely walk to explore churches, a small museum, and many beautiful murals painted throughout the town. The city was inviting, the people very friendly, and be sure to take the time to walk to the local train station to view and photograph the war murals. Invergordon was also the stepping stone to get to Inverness, Scotland for those who wanted to visit numerous castles or even try to catch a glimpse of Nessie at Loch Ness. There were many options depending on one's interests.

South Queensferry was the next port which is also the gateway to Ediniburgh, Scotland. Edinburgh has both Old Town and New Town which is a striking contrast between the past and the present. There are several means of transportation from the port to the city including buses, taxis, and train with the train being the cheapest. There is probably too much to see in one day, but it is definitely worth the effort to walk the Royal Mile starting with the stunning Edinburgh Castle, the many shops and boutiques, and ending with Holyrood Palace, the official home for the monarch while in Scotland. We explored Edinburgh on our own and enjoyed every minute of our time there with the only regret being that it was just one day. The final stop was Le Havre, France, but we opted to spend a relaxing day on the ship instead of taking the long trip into Paris.

Disembarkation was just as efficient as embarkation and at least for our group went without a hiccup from beginning to end right up to our arrival at the airport.

This was one of those bucket list type of trips and we were fortunate that everything went as planned from start to finish. The ship was beautiful, the staff was wonderful, the weather cooperated, and the sights were stunning. Definitely the type of trip you don't want to end and would jump at the chance to do it all over again. The Royal Princess was the largest ship my wife and I have ever cruised on, but we wouldn't hesitate to book a cruise on her again.
dhughesk9’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BE B108
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