Just returned from a 12 day British Isles cruise aboard the Royal Princess. This was our tenth cruise -- and first on the Princess line. My family and I decided to try Princess based upon the itinerary -- embark in Paris, then visit England, Ireland and Scotland. Would say that the itinerary was GREAT! Spent two days in Paris before boarding the ship -- which gave us time to hit all the main spots -- Notre Dame, Palace of Versailles, Arc de Triumphe, and Eiffel Tower. Then spent a day in Normandy visiting Omaha beach and the American museum. Would HIGHLY recommend this plan --- a one day excursion from the ship would actually only allow you about 4 hours in either Paris or Normandy. Not enough time at all!
In terms of the Royal Princess, I was painfully disappointed in most aspects of the cruise. First and foremost --- I missed the stipulation that men must wear long pants at all dinners. I realized this would be the case for the two formal nights -- but thought that tailored shorts and a collared shirt would be suitable for the other nights. On the first night we just ate at the buffet -- shorts were okay there. However, on the second night we went to eat at Symphony restaurant. My 34 year old son was wearing classic "dressy" shorts -- and we were told that he couldn't eat in that restaurant without long pants. Now it was about 8:50 pm and the restaurant was about half full .... additionally as we were held up at the front desk ... a young man about age 17 or 18 entered was seated while wearing polyester athletic shorts. I asked for a manager ... engaged in heated dialogue .. and was told by this employee that "your son is not a gentleman." I was in total disbelief that a worker would make such an offensive comment to a client!! I replied "Sir, my son is more of a gentleman in his Ralph Lauren shorts that you are in your white dinner jacket ... for my son would NEVER make such an offensive comment." At that moment, another waiter said we could be served in an obscure area of the restaurant ... where we did indeed eat our meal. Later that evening I contacted the Front Desk Manager and the Maitre' D to report this incident. Nicolli - the Maitre' D -- offered his sincere apologies. He said that the restaurant staff routinely have to deal with this situation -- banning men wearing shorts from dinner. He explained that it is a very uncomfortable problem for them. I promised Nicolli that I would write a review on Cruise Critic to inform future clients that men MUST WEAR LONG PANTS TO DINNER. So client beware -- Princess is a very traditional cruise line. Formal nights mean tuxedos and dinner jackets for men ... and gowns or cocktail dresses for women. If that is your pleasure, then Princess is your cruise line. For my family and I, we prefer more casual approach to our vacation. So this will definitely be our last Princess cruise :(