Our cruise started with a fairly easy embarkation process. Our ship, the Regal Princess, was one of many in port. After we maneuvered through the arrival area, we found our long line to board the ship. We had decided, after our first-time cruisers research, to not leave our bags with the porters to be delivered late to our stateroom. Many travelers reported instances of extremely long waiting times for their baggage to be delivered to their rooms. We kept ours with us as we navigated the on-boarding process. This turned out to be a very advantageous choice. As we wound our way through the large arrivals room there were stations where we had our passports reviewed, filled out a medical questionnaire, and put our bags and ourselves through an airport style screening process.
On arrival in our stateroom, we felt the size was small but the balcony added a lot of light and a feeling of spaciousness. We were impressed with the use of space in the cabin, from the large closet for hanging clothes, the small cabinet with many shelves to place clothes and other items, and the layout of the small bathroom allowing for two passenger’s personal products. Though only one person at a time could take care of their needs. After settling on where our things would live during our voyage, we headed out to find some lunch. During the previously mentioned research, we were clued in to the International Café, a small coffee shop that also serves savory and sweet dishes such as sandwiches, salads, and such. The word was that this spot, while a limited menu, was a good option to the embarkation day crush at the lunch buffet. And it was a great choice. The tuna sandwich, quiche, prawn & fennel salad, and roasted vegetables we chose were all quite good. Served in a quiet area inside the “Piazza”, the 3 story open-air atrium style section at the center of the ship.
The first difficulty we encountered came as we arrived at the Spa for my wife’s facial appointment. This appointment was made, as recommended by the cruise line, prior to departure through their website. Site allows choice of day and time for spa service and massage appointments. My wife’s choice was 2:30pm on our departure day. Upon check-in, she was told that her appointment time had been changed to 4:00pm due to a conflict with the timing of the full ship muster drill. Imagine our surprise that the appointment time available through the cruise line’s website was actually unavailable to anyone because spa services are not allowed during the muster drill. This is a problem that needs to be rectified by Princess Cruises as soon as possible to prevent future customers from encountering this same disappointing situation. Take those early appointment times out of the system for the arrival day and start after the muster drill is finished.
neat clean colorful well laid out balcony adds a lot furnishings comfortable