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For John & I, the seven night January 12, 2019 sailing aboard Royal Princess was our first ever experience with Princess Cruises. It was my 13th cruise and John's 16th. We delayed our first cruise with Princess for many years due to their previous environmental pollution scandals, including the latest one on the Caribbean Princess, but cautiously decided to give them a try on account of their supposedly overhauled environmental protection initiatives. This is what we experienced. Boarding: Check-in and embarkation were swift and efficient at Port Everglades. Demographic: It was immediately evident during check in that the passengers onboard—officially just over 3,500 as we learned later—were almost exclusively caucasian, with the exception of a mere four non-caucasians (my final count at the end of the cruise). As a child of South Florida, this was bizarre and even off-putting. Ship: The initial impression once onboard the ship was that it emanated a premium feel—perhaps more like a hotel than a ship. Throughout the interior, subtle earth-toned decor (pastel turquoise, soft shades of tan and beige, and gentle golden colors) reigned, as well as a prevalent use of a myriad of tile, stone, and golden chrome finishes. The water feature on the pool deck made a positive first impression, greeting us excitedly during embarkation with subtle pulses of water shot into the air. The area converted between usable desk space and a stage for a nightly water show, which we did not witness during the cruise. The Seawalk was actually more impressive than we were expecting. Exterior lighting was very attractive at night on the top decks and beyond. Surprisingly, the ship never felt crowded—in fact, most of the time we wondered where all of our fellow passengers were hiding. We enjoyed the navigational announcement from the captain every day at noon. Whilst underway, the ship felt incredibly stable, albeit we had fantastic whether throughout the week. Vibe: The vibe onboard was very low-key and calm, with an emphasis on relaxation and rejuvenation. It was in stark contrast from other ships we’ve traveled on that focused on excessive parties and loud activities. Unfortunately, the ship did not have an excited international ambience, but it made up for it with a tranquil, restful feel. Crew: The crowning feature—pun intended—of Royal Princess is, without hesitation, her amazing crew. They were incredibly professional and really added to the experience. Itinerary: During our cruise, Royal visited Princess Cays, St. Thomas, and Philipsburg. It was the only seven night cruise I have participated in that visited fewer than four ports of call, but they were all delicious as usual, and our first visit to Princess Cays was excellent. Cons: The single most disappointing realization, which will absolutely play a role in my decision making when planning my next cruise, was the lack of guest-facing emphasis on environmental sustainability, which came across as an afterthought to say the very least. You may accidentally find a sign outdoors that, in very subtle lettering, reminds guests to use waste bins instead of throwing waste overboard (which I disturbingly witnessed a number of times during our voyage from inside the ship whilst looking out of the windows in the public areas), but it is not nearly enough. It should never be considered an inconvenience by any stretch of the imagination to require that ship guests participate in ocean preservation initiatives. The enforcement of ocean sustainability should be considered the single most important initiative of any cruise line, especially an esteemed line such as Princess, when considering that the only reason their empire thrives is due to the health of the oceans. Princess: If you’re listening, please consider making a verbal announcement at the start of each cruise condemning the act of throwing waste of any kind overboard (I did not once notice any such announcement), discontinuing the use of unnecessary plastics such as but not limited to straws that are served with alcoholic and many cafe-purchased beverages, making environmental sustainability signage more obvious and apparent, and adding prominent sustainability notices to your daily, in-print “Princess Patter” (which I hope you recycle).

Large & Low-key

Royal Princess Cruise Review by Smichstewart

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Trip Details
For John & I, the seven night January 12, 2019 sailing aboard Royal Princess was our first ever experience with Princess Cruises. It was my 13th cruise and John's 16th. We delayed our first cruise with Princess for many years due to their previous environmental pollution scandals, including the latest one on the Caribbean Princess, but cautiously decided to give them a try on account of their supposedly overhauled environmental protection initiatives. This is what we experienced.

Boarding:

Check-in and embarkation were swift and efficient at Port Everglades.

Demographic:

It was immediately evident during check in that the passengers onboard—officially just over 3,500 as we learned later—were almost exclusively caucasian, with the exception of a mere four non-caucasians (my final count at the end of the cruise). As a child of South Florida, this was bizarre and even off-putting.

Ship:

The initial impression once onboard the ship was that it emanated a premium feel—perhaps more like a hotel than a ship. Throughout the interior, subtle earth-toned decor (pastel turquoise, soft shades of tan and beige, and gentle golden colors) reigned, as well as a prevalent use of a myriad of tile, stone, and golden chrome finishes.

The water feature on the pool deck made a positive first impression, greeting us excitedly during embarkation with subtle pulses of water shot into the air. The area converted between usable desk space and a stage for a nightly water show, which we did not witness during the cruise.

The Seawalk was actually more impressive than we were expecting. Exterior lighting was very attractive at night on the top decks and beyond.

Surprisingly, the ship never felt crowded—in fact, most of the time we wondered where all of our fellow passengers were hiding.

We enjoyed the navigational announcement from the captain every day at noon.

Whilst underway, the ship felt incredibly stable, albeit we had fantastic whether throughout the week.

Vibe:

The vibe onboard was very low-key and calm, with an emphasis on relaxation and rejuvenation. It was in stark contrast from other ships we’ve traveled on that focused on excessive parties and loud activities.

Unfortunately, the ship did not have an excited international ambience, but it made up for it with a tranquil, restful feel.

Crew:

The crowning feature—pun intended—of Royal Princess is, without hesitation, her amazing crew. They were incredibly professional and really added to the experience.

Itinerary:

During our cruise, Royal visited Princess Cays, St. Thomas, and Philipsburg. It was the only seven night cruise I have participated in that visited fewer than four ports of call, but they were all delicious as usual, and our first visit to Princess Cays was excellent.

Cons:

The single most disappointing realization, which will absolutely play a role in my decision making when planning my next cruise, was the lack of guest-facing emphasis on environmental sustainability, which came across as an afterthought to say the very least.

You may accidentally find a sign outdoors that, in very subtle lettering, reminds guests to use waste bins instead of throwing waste overboard (which I disturbingly witnessed a number of times during our voyage from inside the ship whilst looking out of the windows in the public areas), but it is not nearly enough.

It should never be considered an inconvenience by any stretch of the imagination to require that ship guests participate in ocean preservation initiatives. The enforcement of ocean sustainability should be considered the single most important initiative of any cruise line, especially an esteemed line such as Princess, when considering that the only reason their empire thrives is due to the health of the oceans.

Princess: If you’re listening, please consider making a verbal announcement at the start of each cruise condemning the act of throwing waste of any kind overboard (I did not once notice any such announcement), discontinuing the use of unnecessary plastics such as but not limited to straws that are served with alcoholic and many cafe-purchased beverages, making environmental sustainability signage more obvious and apparent, and adding prominent sustainability notices to your daily, in-print “Princess Patter” (which I hope you recycle).
Smichstewart’s Full Rating Summary
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Cabin
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BA A633
We reserved a standard balcony stateroom in the aft part of the ship on Aloha Deck (12). The stateroom layout was among my favorites at sea, and the room was pleasantly spacious and calming.

Finishes were light and airy, the beds were comfortable, and the lighting was pleasant. It felt more like a hotel room rather than a ship cabin.

The entertainment system was also top-notch.

Cons:

We were located aft and depending on the direction of the wind, exhaust from the ship’s funnel would find its way to our balcony. This occasionally occurred while underway but was especially evident on days in port, where we often chose not to enjoy sitting on our balcony due to the emissions.

More disappointingly, while underway, we could see thick, intense emissions—even at night—coming from the funnel and consider emissions management something that Princess needs to address as an environmental concern. I have traveled on cleaner-burning vessels of the same size (140k ton range) and will consider a more environmentally responsible cruise line when planning my next cruise.
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