Royal Princess, Mexican Riviera, April 2019
My wife and I are both Elite with more than 280 days on Princess. However, up to this point, our cruises on Princess were all with the smaller to medium-sized ships. The Grand class ships ... Read More
Royal Princess, Mexican Riviera, April 2019
My wife and I are both Elite with more than 280 days on Princess. However, up to this point, our cruises on Princess were all with the smaller to medium-sized ships. The Grand class ships had prior been the largest in the fleet which we had sailed. This was our first cruise onboard Royal Princess and will likely be our last. We have not given up on Princess, but do not care for the larger ships (Royal, Regal, etc.).
First of all, larger does not necessarily mean larger. We were very aware that the ship cut corners in order to fit in more cabins, more seats, more of everything. It gave the ship a very crowded feeling and made it difficult to get around the ship.
The low point for us was our cabin. We paid extra to get a Deluxe Balcony, but there was nothing deluxe about it. Even being “Deluxe” it was the smallest balcony cabin we have ever had on any cruise line. The balcony itself was barely large enough for two chairs and a small table. And if a person wanted to get to the far chair, the other person had to get up and let them into the “aisle” to get there. Think of the seats in economy class on an airline and you will get the idea of the lack of space on the balcony. Also, the room design was such where the bathroom door swung out into the closet area, creating a bump zone. The bathroom was extremely small and the shower was one of the smallest we’ve ever seen.
On the plus side, the production shows in the Princess Theater were first rate. Great singers, good dancers and very nice staging. The only negative was that the choreography was severely lacking. The dancers were good, but they simply were not given much in the way of choreography to work with. The Princess Theater itself had excellent sight lines with no pillars, yet the chairs did not have anywhere to put a drink, apparently another effort to cram as many seats as possible into the space.
A strong caution to you if you are thinking of taking this ship, late dining will mean that you will miss out on many of the events and even the evening entertainment on the last evening (which was only one performance at 8:00). The Cruise Director (Matt O) was entertaining while hosting events, but sorely lacking when it comes to scheduling the events. There were several events in the evening that were simply off limits to late diners. The scheduling only allowed early diners to attend. And during the day, there was a general lack of active activities, such as sports. Two ping pong tables onboard, yet zero ping pong tournaments the entire week. Pickleball onboard, yet no tournaments, only “open play” on the calendar. Same for basketball. The closest they came to a sporting event was golf putting. The emphasis on events appeared to be where they could upsell you something (art auctions, wine testing, beauty seminars, etc.).
Main dining was good, but not great. The signature Princess dishes (eggplant parmesan, goat cheese souffle, etc.) have either changed their recipes over the years or were overdone by the chef onboard. And a particular annoyance was the “add on” menu where you would have to pay $19-$29 if you wanted a good steak or lobster.
We went to the buffet the three sea days for lunch. The first sea day it was outstanding with fresh sushi. The other two days, not as much. Even with all of the choices, I had difficulty finding something fresh and quality to eat.
This cruise was trying out the new medallion technology. While it may be a plus for future cruises, it was a negative for this cruise, since it didn’t always work and we had to scan both the medallion and our card (so that they could test it) when getting on and off the ship. They said they will eventually go to just a medallion, although it’s not clear how the waiters will charge for drinks, etc., since they always wanted to see the card (not the medallion) to get the number. There is no number on the medallion. Also, you would think simple things like having your billing available online would be part of the new system, but it is not.
The deck party on the pool deck was essentially a line dance party. We stayed, hoping to dance, but line dancing is not our thing. We thought maybe they would only be doing a couple of line dances, but gave up and left after 30 minutes of line dancing. Like many other activities on the ship, they seem to be geared toward what the Cruise Director enjoyed doing, rather than what the guests enjoyed doing. This was the first time that we left a deck party without dancing a single dance.
Overall an average at best experience. We will continue to sail on Princess in the future, but not on Royal or Regal or other large ships. Celebrity and Royal Caribbean cover the large ship category much better than Princess. Read Less