We did the repositioning cruise on the Regal Princess from New York to Fort Lauderdale. We have not been to New York before and thought it was a great opportunity to tick this off our bucket list. We have previously done 2 cruises on The Royal Princess and loved this class of ship and the Regal did not disappoint at all.
We j had just two days in New York but seemed to pack in a lot of sightseeing during this flying visit; including a 5 hour ‘New York at Night’ guided tour on the day we arrived. A bit ambitious perhaps and we had visions of falling asleep on the coach, but it was a terrific tour with an excellent guide which took us to many places which we probably wouldn’t have done on our own. Our only regret was that we were unable to access the viewing point of the Rockafeller Centre as it was shrouded in cloud for all of our visit. New York was preparing for their Christmas festivities so it was a bit surreal to be looking forward to bringing out our ‘sunshine wardrobe’ in the next few days.
Our Hotel in Manhatten organised a private taxi to take us to Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and we were handing over our cases to the luggage porter by 11.15 am. At this point I was asked if I would mind wearing a ‘tag’ as they were randomly monitoring how long it took passengers from kerbside to boarding. This was a very quick process as there were no long queus at this time and we had completed the ‘ocean ready’ process before leaving home. As we are from the UK we couldn’t have our medallions mailed to us but check in was no different from picking up the traditional cruise cards, except maybe quicker. On the subject of ‘The Medallions’ – we liked them and found them to be more user friendly than we anticipated. Both hubby and I are both ‘technically challenged’ so we were a bit anxious about using them, but we coped fine and even managed to order a drink from the relevant app on one occasion.
We stepped over the hallowed threshold into the Regal Princess by 12.00 noon and headed to ‘Alfredos’ for lunch. This is our usual ‘go to’ venue on boarding day as we find it more relaxing than the scrum of the buffet. I was quite surprised at how many passengers were availing themselves of this venue so word must be getting out that it is an included option.
Our cabin was a deluxe balcony on Caribe deck and as is usually the case, we had the services of an excellent stateroom steward, Alan. We loved the little additional space of this cabin.
The weather for sailaway was grey and blustery but we, like most passengers were determined to stick it out to enjoy the sail past the Statue of Liberty and beyond to experience passing under the Verizion Bridge. After this the outside decks cleared pretty quickly.
And so began a relaxing three days at sea which we filled with, chilling, eating, drinking, watching films and shows and trivia. We are keen trivia players and eventually managed to find some like- minded people to form a team and have some fun However, we were no match for a group whose cruise obviously revolved round winning the general knowledge trivias – every time! They appeared to have a ‘team leader’ who arrived half hour early for every session to secure the same seats and she was equipped with her own supplies of paper, sharpened pencils and a file of previously asked questions!. Still we did manage to win 3 of the specialist trivia on Sport and Movie posters and our team mates became firm friends during our time on the Regal.
We also donated our fair share of cash in the casino; it was always very busy and I am assuming that most people donated more than they won like us.
Food is always subjective but I didn’t feel the standard of some of the food in the MDR was as good as we had experienced on other cruises. DH would happily eat in the buffet every night but obliges me with the MDR. In the end we probably ended up half and half between the MDR and Buffet and I have to agree that on this cruise the food in the Buffet was on a par with the MDR.
Entertainment is another subjective area and there is usually something to interest everyone. On this particular cruise there were a lot of ‘fly in guest comedians’. We enjoy more of a variety with singers and musicians in the mix. One event we thoroughly enjoyed was a presentation on how shows are put on and a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the stage on the last day. Couldn’t believe they were willing to accommodate so many people on a tour of the back stage facilities for free.
We had 3 ports of call, St Maartin, Antigua and Aruba; we had been to all of these islands previously and they are amongst our favourite in the Caribbean. We had decided to do either beach or beach and town shopping, weather permitting in all three ports so didn’t take any organised excursions. This mostly went to plan and our only slight disappointment was Aruba which we loved on our last visit when we went to Eagle Beach. This time we took the service bus ($5 round trip) to Palm Beach and found it was very busy and quite commercialised. Subsequently we found out from another passenger that The Hilton Hotel would rent you chairs and you could use all their facilities so we would probably take advantage of this if we should return.
It was sad to leave The Regal when she docked at her home port for the Winter in Fort Lauderdale but we will be back on her again in 2020 on the other side of the world for The Singapore to Brisbane section of this repositioning cruise.
Nice with a little more space than the normal balcony