10 New York (Brooklyn, Red Hook) to Canada & New England Princess Royal Princess Cruise Reviews

First, a small introduction. My wife and I are Platinum Members and have cruised 11 times, all previous voyages were on Grand Class ships: Ruby, Emerald, Crown, etc. We have only sailed with Princess Lines. We are both 62 and in good ... Read More
First, a small introduction. My wife and I are Platinum Members and have cruised 11 times, all previous voyages were on Grand Class ships: Ruby, Emerald, Crown, etc. We have only sailed with Princess Lines. We are both 62 and in good health. We have always had a good experience with Princess Lines with only a few small problems that were readily and graciously resolved by the staff. We have always stayed in a regular balcony stateroom at mid-forward. My review can only compare the Royal Princess with other Princess ships and not other cruise lines. The Royal Princess is a beautiful ship, both inside and outside. I personally think the overall colors and patterns used are effective and pleasant to look at. Much of the ship stays with the design of the Grand Class ships with some modifications. Some modifications work well, but others do not which I'll discuss in more detail. The Atrium has been enlarged and the new design has added shops, bars, chairs and tables. I think the new design works exceptionally well and is easier to move around in and through. The Italian specialty restaurant is directly off the Atrium. We did not eat there but my wife and I thought it was a convenient location for a specialty restaurant. The photo gallery is also located in the Atrium. I have mixed feelings about the photo gallery design. I think the older design that has it away from the Atrium was easier to manage and find your photos. But I think it will vary from person to person how they feel about it. The Lotus Spa has been moved so the entrance is off the Atrium. In some ways this might be more convenient because it is in the center of the ship and within easy access for all passengers. However, it seemed odd that it wasn't next to a pool. It is a very nice spa with a new area called The Enclave. If you want to use the saunas or The Enclave, you have to book for the entire cruise and the expense doesn't make that a good value unless you don't do anything else but go to the spa everyday. They offer specials, especially near the end of the cruise and one should watch for them. I want to call attention to the lack of a mid-ship staircase between deck 7 and the top deck at mid-ship. You can only use the elevators between deck 7 and top deck. What makes the design worse is the elevators are not properly programmed and synced to accommodate the flow of passengers that need to use the elevators. Passengers had to wait unacceptable amounts of time. It was a disgruntlement with every passenger I talked to about it. My wife and I decided to use the staircase and elevators at the forward section of the ship and that worked much better for us. There are stairs available at mid-ship in case of emergency, but they are narrow, hidden and only used by the staff during normal operations. I think the design fails completely and needs to be changed. The main dining rooms are very similar and in the same locations as the Grand Class and work well. The food was good with just a couple minor complaints that was resolved by our staff in a gracious and friendly manner. The menu allows you to select from the specials for the night or from standards. One thing some passenger don't know is that you can order food not listed on the menu like a hamburger or a slice of pizza. We have always chosen traditional dining and early sitting. We have not experienced problems with having to wait for a table like some have with anytime dining. Early sitting always allowed us enough time to eat and then leave to get a decent seat for the major shows. We always choose one night to eat at the Crown Grill. It has always been special and well worth the extra $25 per person. The food has always been prepared well and the service has always been excellent. It is a special treat and if you go early, it is a quiet and secluded dining experience. It makes for a nice romantic interlude. The Horizon Court has been redesigned and it is much better. You can walk through from starboard to port side and the buffet is much easier to manage. There is also a new area within the Horizon Court called the The Pastry Shop for those who have a sweet tooth. The food is about the same as before with some things very good and some things not so good. You have to explore for yourself and discover what you like and don't. Our balcony stateroom was mostly like the balcony staterooms we had on the other ships. There is not a lot of space and I noticed that a set of drawers has been removed. The bath has a much improved design but it is still a small bathroom. The bed was too firm for my wife but we asked for a mattress topper and they brought one to us and that worked well for my wife. I understand that the entire fleet is converting to pillow-top beds. If you need more space, you have to get a larger stateroom and pay for it. We don't spend much time in our stateroom except to shower and sleep so the lack of space wasn't a big deal for us. The Retreat Pool is basically the adults only pool. It has been enlarged and moved up to the sun deck and has a much more open space feel to it. They added a bar just for that area, which is very convenient. We think the change of location was a good idea and improved the feel of the area but there is less available shade area. The fitness center is located near the rear of the ship instead of forward. There is a good selection of equipment to use and the design works except the men's and women's dressing rooms are very small and need to be larger. I think the designers figured passengers would do all their changing in their staterooms. Although we don't use the areas set aside for teenagers and children, there are added and enlarged areas and should be a welcomed accommodation to the parents and the children as well. The Princess Theater was changed. The stage is much larger but it seemed to me that the space within the seating area was reduced. We explored the theater when we first came aboard and decided beforehand where we would like to sit and what would be the best way to enter and exit so we didn't have any problems. We heard discussion among other passengers that did complain about the size and accessibility of the theater. The Sanctuary is a very nice place to rent a day or half-day to have a calm and restful atmosphere away from the noise and excitement at the main pool. It depends on the individual whether it is a worth the money. We have used it just once and enjoyed it. A change in design that we were really disappointed in was the Promenade Deck. You can no long walk around the entire ship. It really isn't a Promenade Deck. There are two sections on both port and starboard that you need to access by walking through the ship. The design makes the decks more like large balconies from the public areas. If you want to just go out there and sit, then they will work for you. However, if you wanted to stroll, walk or run on them, you can't. If you want a jogging or walking track, it is located on deck 18 (Sports) that wraps around the smoke stack area near the rear of the ship. It has a nice view of the ocean or port but you have to go around several times to get your workout in. It was somewhat boring for me and my wife on our morning walks. We missed the old Promenade Deck. I don't think the new Princess Live will last. We didn't go, but when we walked past it was mostly empty and didn't seem like much excitement was going on. The area should be turned into a sports bar. The Royal Princess doesn't have a regular sports bar. The entertainment provided by Princess Lines has always been a mixed bag. Sometimes the shows and entertainers are very good and sometimes mediocre. When they are good, they are really good. As for the service, it has always been very, very good on all the ships we traveled on. The general staff was friendly and serviced us well and we didn't have any real complaints. Sometimes you encounter a bartender or some other server that seems to ignore you are there, but every bar or cafe I have been to seems to have one or two of them. If you have a complaint, find a manager and let them know. We have always been graciously accommodated when we found it necessary to complain. My wife and I didn't use the casino but it seemed similar to the other ships we have been on. I did like the addition of a bar area off to the side of the casino. The shore excursions can vary from voyage to voyage. We have been on some that we thought were worth the money and interesting and others that were not. It can be a mixed bag of results. If you do some research and see what others say about the excursions before you select them it would serve you well. In summary we thought the Royal Princess is a very nice ship to sail on but our favorite ship remains the Ruby Princess. We have observed that the average age on the cruises we have been on is 40-70. There are young adults and older adults as well, but a small percentage. We have seen children too, but not very many. We think the Princess Lines caters to our age group 40-70 that we fall within, but there is a lot of things to do and something for everyone on the ship. Our cruise on the Royal Princess was to New England and Canada. It was a wonderful cruise. The age group was much older than usual. We nicknamed it 'The Senior Cruise'. We are 62 and we thought of ourselves as the youngsters. I hope this review of the Royal Princess is helpful and I wish you great sailing!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Can't believe I sailed on the Royal for the 3rd time after the first encounter on the Royal but it was for the itinerary. I was traveling with a travel agent friend who doesn't cruise much. Can't say the ship is bad (it is ... Read More
Can't believe I sailed on the Royal for the 3rd time after the first encounter on the Royal but it was for the itinerary. I was traveling with a travel agent friend who doesn't cruise much. Can't say the ship is bad (it is beautiful) but there were little things that kept coming up. Room Steward said this was his last cruise so service was obviously less than great. Being an Elite passenger, you know what to expect when you come into your room. So far so good until I looked for the Elite evening listing of the Cocktails/Appetizers. It's always a time my husband and I enjoyed winding down. No list. Walked around with my friend to show her the ship - then stopped at passenger services and asked if they had the list for the Elite cocktail hour. "Oh, we don't do that any more!" she said. OK, took her at her word. No laundry bags or coupon book available but didn't need them right away. There was only one body lotion too for 2 women! 3rd night my friend and I went out early and walked past the Vista Lounge. Imagine my surprise when we walked in and there was the Elite Cocktail/Appetizer evening set up. Went to passenger service and all they could say was "sorry" and gave me the list for the rest of the cruise. Said she would report it to Captain Circle Hostess but didn't take my room number. Talked to the Captain Circle Hostess myself the next day and she was not happy so did give us a couple of free drink coupons. Night before formal night, put out list on the door for the canapés we wanted for the next evening at 5:00. That night we came back to our room and no canapés. Found our room steward and he said he would deliver them "right away!" 6:00 - no canapés, 6:30 none. At 7:00 I called passenger service and she told me they didn't have a record of me ordering anything. Said steward may have forgotten to turn the request in BUT she would send some to us right away. 7:20 we received our canapés. Went for dinner etc etc. Came back to room about 9:45 and we had another order of canapés. A little warm though. Later passenger service said that person probably couldn't read my handwriting - not smart to blame me and I have very good handwriting!!! The afternoon we came back from Boston, we decided to eat at Alfredo's. It was a little after 5:30. There were 2 other tables seated and both of them were eating their dinners. We ordered 2 salads and 2 different pizzas. Our salads were served. My friend and I spent a long time talking and then realized our salad dishes hadn't been cleared. Finally someone came by, cleared our dishes and said our pizza would be served "soon". It was now 6:30. Alfredo's became very busy by that time and a waiter told us they were busy. We tried to find our waiter and ask about our pizza. No one seemed to respond. At 7:00 we got the attention of the maitre d, Luigi. We asked about our pizzas. He walked away and returned within 2 minutes with our 2 very dry pizzas. I commented to Luigi that this was not very good service. His response was "This is good service, you got your pizzas!!!" No sorry, no comment about the dry pizza. If this is good service, I wonder what bad service it. Twin bed was not as comfortable as a full size bed but realized after looking under the bed that the full size bed has a plump mattress pad - none on the twin. Did find a few Fruit Loops under the bed though! Enjoy the large area for the Horizon Court and Bistro. At times it gets a little confusing especially if you are with someone looking for their meal. Only complaint for breakfast was the omellette - no onions or mushrooms - both times got onions and mushrooms. One potential issue (and this was the first time it happened to me on the Royal) is that the TV's are positioned on the wall so when the TV is on in the next cabin, you can hear their TV. Our issue was that the people in the room next door only turned their TV on at midnight or 1am. The first night this happened, if I had known what channel they were tuned into, I wouldn't have had to have my sound on. After a half hour I called passenger service and they said they would call them. It took another 15 minutes before the TV was turned down but we could still hear it. One night the TV was on at 2am - not loud but still enough chatter and laughter to keep us awake. If there is one thing for passengers to understand - the TV needs to be turned way down at night. Personally I think this is a flaw for Princess although I do like the big screen TV. Just wish we could have CNN back - not Fox or MSNBC! Only tour that I was disappointed in was the bus ride through Acadia Park. Guide said buses can't stop so we just kept on driving. Would have liked to stop and see the coast line and other areas of the park. So just kept on driving with a very boring guide - of course he thought his jokes were funny but they weren't. Enjoyed the tour to Peggy's Cove. Even though it was in full fog, it was a very interesting place. We then drove to the cemetery where some of the Titanic victims were buried. Had seen it before with very few people around but this time there were several groups all trying to see the same thing. Glad I had been able to see it before. Would I sail again on the Royal? Again it would depend on the itinerary. The few things that happened could be perfect next time. But I wonder what my travel agent friend thought about Princess. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We chose Royal Princess for our New England/Canada cruise because it was new, even though we were a bit concerned with some of the adverse comments on Cruise Critic. Unfortunately the reviews were mostly correct. Despite the fact that ... Read More
We chose Royal Princess for our New England/Canada cruise because it was new, even though we were a bit concerned with some of the adverse comments on Cruise Critic. Unfortunately the reviews were mostly correct. Despite the fact that Princess very kindly gave us an upgrade to a mini-suite, we disembarked somewhat disappointed, and we still feel that way. Here is why. We thought the Royal Princess was a difficult ship in which to move around. Even after 7 days we were not able to easily find our way. One of the main reasons for this is that the ship does not have a central staircase that allows access above level 7, which is not very helpful. You have to go forward or aft to find the stairs, which we prefer to use instead of the elevators, which are often very crowded. And, it is so difficult to know whether you are walking forward or aft. This frustrated us several times every day. Surely it would not be difficult to devise some sign or marking that provided an indication of the direction in which you were walking. We do not enjoy large meals every day so often use the buffet instead of one of the main dining rooms. We like the informality of it. However, the buffet in Horizon Court and Horizon Bistro on deck 16 had the most illogical food layout that we have ever seen and this made for a frustrating experience. For example, why would the milk/cream not be with the oatmeal, or the jam and marmalade with the toast, or the salad dressings with the salads? And why were the desserts in the Horizon Bistro when the other food was in the Horizon Court? And every day the layout seemed to change so that you spent the first 10 minutes of every meal walking around the very large buffet areas trying to figure out what items were on the menu. There were passengers everywhere asking stewards where to find certain food types. The food quality in the buffet was fine, but compared to the superb buffet on the Celebrity Equinox, which we sailed on in 2013, the food selections were limited and uninspiring. Not much changed at every meal. Maybe Princess expect that most people will not visit the buffet more than a couple of times per cruise. We did venture to the formal dining rooms on three occasions, and the food was very good, as was the service. No complaints at all. But the cruise wasn't all bad. The ship is new and beautiful. Despite the very large number of passengers on board, it hardly ever felt crowded. The staff were pleasant and helpful. We thoroughly enjoyed the on-board entertainment, although there was a surprising lack of enrichment activities, particularly those related to New England. We pre-purchased excursions from Princess for every port and they were well organised and reasonable value. We especially liked the end of cruise tour of New York prior to our transfer to JFK airport for our evening flight home. We had a great driver and tour guide and think it was good value for money. We would highly recommend it for those whose flight home is late on the day of disembarkation. Will we sail with Princess again? Possibly, but not on Royal Princess.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We chose Royal Princess for our Canada & New England cruise because it was a new ship and we wanted to try it. As Platinum cruisers we had been on most of the others. The cruise experience was disappointing, from the lack of oceanview ... Read More
We chose Royal Princess for our Canada & New England cruise because it was a new ship and we wanted to try it. As Platinum cruisers we had been on most of the others. The cruise experience was disappointing, from the lack of oceanview staterooms, to the very slow elevators, to the lack of anytime dining. We dislike interior cabins but were unwilling to pay triple the price for a balcony for such a short cruise. The Royal has more passengers than most of their other ships but the same number of elevators. These elevators are also very slow with the annoying habit of stopping at every deck regardless of whether anyone was waiting or not. Also the doors wouldn't close if anyone pushed the elevator button while they were still open. When you have 40 or 50 frustrated people waiting outside the theater for an elevator, there's a lot of button pushing. After the elevator door opened and closed a few times without moving, eventually someone stuck their head out and yelled "Take your finger off the *** button" and the elevator finally moved. By the time the cruise was over, most people had learned that keeping their finger off the button until the doors closed really did speed things up. We prefer Anytime Dining as we enjoy shipboard activities and often don't want to cut an activity short to rush back to change for dinner. On Royal princess there was no anytime dining. Two of the three dining rooms were reserved for set seating and the third was supposed to be anytime, but it was anything but! Lineups started around 4:30 and by 5:15 the dining room was full. As dinner usually takes about two hours, that meant no more openings until 7:15. If you came anytime after 5:15 or 5:30 you got a pager and were told to wait in one of the public rooms. By 6 pm the Piazza was filled with impatient diners holding pagers and fending off waiters every few minutes who asked if they wanted to order a drink. For the next hour until pagers started going off, no one who actually wanted to sit and have a drink could get near the place. On most cruises when you sit down to dinner with a stranger, the first question is usually "Where are you from?". On this one it was "How long did you wait with your pager?" The beautiful ship, the friendly staff, the great entertainment and food, were unfortunately overshadowed by these annoyances. We will cruise on Princess again, but not on Royal Princess or her sister ship, Regal. Holidays are supposed to be enjoyable, not frustrating. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We have done 32 cruises and this was our first Princess cruise. From beginning to end we enjoyed the cruise. We were on deck 12. The ship is new and beautifully appointed. The balcony cabins are a bit small but not uncomfortable. The ... Read More
We have done 32 cruises and this was our first Princess cruise. From beginning to end we enjoyed the cruise. We were on deck 12. The ship is new and beautifully appointed. The balcony cabins are a bit small but not uncomfortable. The balcony is fine for two people. The bathroom is smaller then we are used to. The shower, for a big/tall guy, is very tricky. Our cabin steward Michael was over the top great. Professional, personable and when you went to breakfast the cabin was made up perfectly when you returned after breakfast. As we spend so little time in the cabin these issues weren't that bad but a bit larger would have been better. Entertainment: Like so many other cruise ships the entertainment is either just ok or a waste of time. In the past several years many cruise lines are really cutting back on quality entertainment and Princess is no exception. Many high school productions are better. Breakfast: 3 dining rooms and only 1 open for 2 hrs. for breakfast. So you go to the Horizon Buffet. Same food everyday and not very good. Hot food is usually warm at best. They have a nice touch where the staff bring coffee/tea & drinks so you don't need to go to the coffee/drinks stations for refills. Lunch: 7 days and 1 dining room open twice during the cruise for lunch. Buffet again. Except for a different carving meat each day the buffet was the same. But no sandwiches, at all. You could get some cheese and either sliced ham/turkey and make your own but no sandwich station. There was a pizza station near the pool and not bad but the hamburger/hot dog station was abysmal. Seems they precook the burgers and put them in a warming drawer. You ask for a burger and he puts the precooked burger on the grill to "warm up". You get a burger so well done it looks grey, dry and tasteless. Seems no one goes back for seconds. Same with the hot dogs. The fries are always cold. There is the pool bar between the pizza & burger stations. People would even just get fries to have with their drinks and the poor bartender was constantly throwing away the plates of cold uneaten fries. Dinner: 3 dining rooms, 2 specialty (extra charge) dining rooms, the buffet and two stack areas are your options. Anytime dining is great with no set time and we had no problems with getting a table and a table for 2 was also easy. Thankfully, they designed the ship with many tables for 2. The staff were great and professional and personable. The food is edible, almost institutional in presentation and quality. Some wonderful individual items but each meal had food that hopefully we will never see again. Bars/Lounges: There are many and all nicely appointed. We purchased the drinks package so we didn't need to be passing our cards over and signing receipts and just for the convenience. Forget it! They asked for our card every time we asked of a liquor, soda, specialty coffee, etc. And we had to sign a receipt for each drink and the receipt stated $0.00!!! I know they want to keep an inventory but the receipt nonsense get really annoying. Excursions: Now, they were expensive. But all ships are really upping the pricing on excursions and we have found that we see more, do more and enjoy our own tours. We walk on our own, get a cab and in many places the cabbie is our guide for a fraction of the ships cost. And if the port is special for us , we pay & plan in advance, to have our own private tours. Sometimes the cost is greater but it is the two of us and our driver/guide and not 40+ people complaining and needing to go to the bathroom at every stop. Activities: Other then spa treatments and all the other beauty seminars - trivia - and the awful art department that tries to sell you one the "original works of art" that is just a paper copy, there we no activities on board. No enrichment lectures or port lectures, nothing. Again, the entertainment department downsizing. We wanted to get away for just a week and not use an airline. This roundtrip NYC was perfect as we parked our car in the pier parking lot. Our travel agent got us a great deal on our balcony cabin that was almost cheaper then the inside pricing. And plenty of shipboard credits too. It was a nice getaway and we would sail with this ship again as we keep our expectations low so we are not greatly disappointed. But I will say that all during the cruise we kept comparing the Royal Princess with the Cunard line and it just about every category, Princess was better the Cunard. And they are both owned by Carnival LLC. We have done 15 cruises with Cunard and unfortunately since Carnival LLC took over it is just living off it's former glory. At least Princess is faring a little better. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I had booked this cruise without reading the reviews. After reading some of the reviews, I was scared to death. I found many of the complaints to be very silly. This is my 3rd Princess cruise and this is definitely the nicest ship of the ... Read More
I had booked this cruise without reading the reviews. After reading some of the reviews, I was scared to death. I found many of the complaints to be very silly. This is my 3rd Princess cruise and this is definitely the nicest ship of the three. It is beautiful and new and all you could ask for as far as the look of a ship. The port of Brooklyn is rather cramped and hard to access, but short of asking the cruise line to sail from somewhere else, what can you do. Luckily we took the Princess shuttle bus and did not have to wait in line behind all the taxis and vans. At first glance, you look at the line to check in and panic, but in truth it was one hour from the start of the line to being on the ship. Seems about average and for a ship this size that was 100% full, not all that bad. This coming from someone who hates waiting in line. Once aboard we proceeded to our cabin. Balcony cabin M115 in the front of the ship on deck 15. From previous reviews, I was afraid that we would wait for an elevator forever. Not the case at all. We never waited for an elevator for over 5 minutes, the entire cruise. I read about the horrible flaw design of not having center stairs going to the cabin decks. Do you think that, if they were there, the 70 year old and older people on the cruise would climb 4 to 8 flights of stairs? The elevators could have been larger, but how picky can you get? The room was pretty much a standard cruise ship cabin. Is it small? Yes, but it's a cruise ship and not a suite. The flat panel TV with much more watching content was really nice. The shower is larger and that's a great feature. Read a review that the balcony was so small that 2 people couldn't fit on it. Really? If so those two people have spent way too much time at the Horizon Court. It is slightly narrower than most, didn't see any difference in width. The overall service on board was good. Our cabin steward was very efficient and friendly. There is a lot of walking. It is a big ship. We had anytime dining and never waited for a table over 5 minutes. We were a party of 2 and prefer to eat alone. This is another big improvement from prior ships that I've been on, many more tables for two in the dining room. OK, I did say there were a few flaws. I found the food at the Horizon Court and Bistro to be average at best. Some days not even average. There is increased seating and never had a problem finding a spot to sit. This style of dining can be hit and miss but in this case more misses than hits. Food in the dining room was good but not great. The meal we had at the Crown Grill was excellent. I was also very surprised that there is not a covered pool area. The other ships that I had been on had them. I feel it would be a great help when taking a cooler weather cruise. I never saw anyone in the pool. For this cruise a big waste of space despite having good weather for this time of year. I also think that the communication could have been better at times. We almost didn't make our tour in Saint John because we failed to fill out the proper form. We just assumed we were stupid until there were a dozen people right behind us that did the same thing. Overall, it was a excellent experience. Again, not perfect but I can't recall anything in life that was perfect. Beautiful ship, good service, most of the ports were excellent. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our 21st Princess Cruise, our fifth Canada/New England Cruise. I have elite status with Princess and booked a BA balcony cabin last March. I drove to the Best Western off exit 5 and I287 in New Jersey the day before and we stayed ... Read More
This was our 21st Princess Cruise, our fifth Canada/New England Cruise. I have elite status with Princess and booked a BA balcony cabin last March. I drove to the Best Western off exit 5 and I287 in New Jersey the day before and we stayed the night. We had dinner at the Ruby Tuesday next to the motel and had breakfast at the motel prior to leaving for Red Hook at 11 AM on Saturday morning. We arrived at the port and parked the car at noon, checked the bags in and entered embarkation building after filling out our forms. Embarkation: We were directed to the handicap lane since I was carrying a cane. It only took us 10 minutes to get our cards and be on our way to the ship. We were in our cabin by 1 PM. Cabins: The cabin A443 (cat. BA) was attractively decorated and good sized for the price. The balcony, while good size and offers good privacy. The bath room was nice and we enjoyed the shower. Cabin service was efficient and unobtrusive. I got a free mini bar set up and we enjoyed it. Took advantage for the free laundry for elite members on one occasion. The 10% discount in the shops was used more than once. Public Areas: The public areas are nice and never feel crowded. The ship doesn't feel 142,000 grt. Enjoyed the small intimate bars. They had good shows on board and the comedians were great. The bars had a buy 5, pay for four beer special on the Lido bars. I got this all cruise long and put them in the cabin fridge. A bottle opener was in the room. There was plenty of activities to keep you busy all day including lectures and classes of all kinds. I went to the free wine tasting for elite members and enjoyed the library on board. You will not be bored on a Princess ship. Dining: We opted for anytime dining and after waiting in line the first night for what seemed forever, I wrote a nice letter to the Maitre d’hotel requesting a table near the door at 8 PM as my wife has a problem standing long times. We got a nice letter from the Maitre d’hotel and stickers for our cards with our table assignment which was table 215 in the Concerto dining room near the door at 8 PM/ Our waiter was excellent. We ate all our evening meals there and had good company every night. We went to open seating for breakfast in the Dining room every day when not on tour. The attendance in the main dining rooms was far less that capacity due to number eating in Lido. We requested tables with a short walk since my wife hurt her knee on the first tour. We had pizza several times for a snack. All the restaurants were nicely decorated and the food in all the Dining rooms was generally good, but not up to Celebrity standards. The food in the Lido was also good and we had breakfast there before tours and lunch when in port. Tours: We did tours in two ports. We did the Doris Duke mansion in Newport and the wife enjoyed it. We also did the whale watching in Bar Harbor and got money back as we saw no whales. We had a tour planned for St. John’s but they by passed the port due to bad weather. We did no tours in Boston and Halifax as we were there four times before and had seen it all. Disembarkation: This was smooth we did express walk off and were to meet in the Concerto dining room. We arrived at 8 AM expecting to leave at 8:45 AM and were told we could go right away. We were in our car and on our way by 8:20 AM. The trip home went smooth and we were home by 5 PM. We stopped only to use the rest rooms, get gas and have lunch at the Dutch Pantry at milepost 150 off I80 in Pennsylvania. We went to Denny near home for dinner and refilled the gas tank prior to going into the house for the night. Overall, I was satisfied with the cruise and have booked a Princess cruise for Alaska in the spring.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Just back from 7 nights on the Royal. All the complaints are correct - the missing stairs from 7 and up are a hassle. We gave up on riding down to dinner and walked the aft stairs.Overall it was a good time because there is much to like ... Read More
Just back from 7 nights on the Royal. All the complaints are correct - the missing stairs from 7 and up are a hassle. We gave up on riding down to dinner and walked the aft stairs.Overall it was a good time because there is much to like about the Royal. We arranged a 2 night precruise and enjoyed the Intercontinetal on Times Square. Our transport to the port ran late, so we waited in check in lines for an hour. Once on board, our luggage did not arrive until nearly 4:00 so our emarbarkation day was a waste. We enjoyed the MDR on most nights. We had early tradtional seating with a lovely group of people that included some very experienced cruisers. The first night it took over 2 hours for dinner. One of the Elites at our table spoke to the waiters and the rest of the dinners were closer to 1.5 hours. We found the food to be above average for cruise quisine. The service should be better. The food court was as advertised - more spread out and not as congested. Be sure to check all the buffets before making your selections, as you might miss something really tasty if you settle for the first tasty item you see. The entertainment is the highlight of this cruise. I have never seen more talented singers, dancers, and musicians. The magic shows were fair. My only gripe is that we had to wait unitl our final sea day to have all the entertainers working on the same night. Most nights there were 2-3 options, whereas the last night there were 5-6. The cabins were smaller. There is plenty of hanging storage, but not tooo many drawers. With the mini frig, there is only 1 drawer in the corner, 2 on each night srand, and 1 cabinet in the dressing area. The walls are a little thin. We heard the TV from next door the first 2 nights (literally all night). I mentioned it to our steward and he suggested we report it to the front desk. He also told his supervisor. We were pleasantly surprised on night 3 when the noise went away around 10:00. What a relief. This and other little "helps" landed our cabin steward a nice bonus at the end of the cruise.. We asked for and received an early exit off the ship upon our return to NYC. We were concerned about meeting our noon flight at LGA. Our group was called early, we went through customs quicckly, then waited on the bus for 30 minutes for some not so considerate fellow passengers. Our trip to the airport went well and we cleared security with 2 hours to spare. We were crusing the Northern US and Canada, so the outdoor areas of the shhip were nearly useless. If we cruise on the Royal again, I will make sure it is in warmer climes. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Just got home from the 7 day New England-Canada cruise on the Royal Princess. I'd like to save you about 5 or 6 headaches. First: Shuttle Bus to the Cruise Terminal. We took the shuttle Bus arranged and prepaid to Princess. - WRONG! ... Read More
Just got home from the 7 day New England-Canada cruise on the Royal Princess. I'd like to save you about 5 or 6 headaches. First: Shuttle Bus to the Cruise Terminal. We took the shuttle Bus arranged and prepaid to Princess. - WRONG! - Our flight arrived at 6:00AM the Shuttle arrived at 11:00AM. A taxi is about $50 and cabs will carry 4 and luggage. They have Livery Car Service in New York. That’s a licensed limo or a "Black Cab" (Like a Chrysler 300). You can make arrangements in advance on line. Cost is a little more, but it is a private reserved car. You can also reserve and pre-pay with the Blue Super Shuttle. $125 for 10 in a van or about $20 each with 5 in a minivan. That’s round trip, and you can prepay online. (look for a discount coupon) It’s only 20 miles, but takes well over an hour. There are other shuttles that run more often from JFK and cost as low as $13 per person. For safety’s sake, don’t get in anything unless it is a REAL taxi or you have made prepaid arrangements. The pre-boarding was just unbelieveable! Traffic into the terminal goes at a snail’s pace. Add to that about another 3 hours to get aboard. Add it all up, -- 5hours waiting for the bus, 1 ½ ride to Brooklyn, 3 hours processing. This is a beautiful ship, but the design flaws are glaring. First, The Elevators. Really poorly designed and not programmed. You stand in the lobby and push the 'up' button. there are 4 or six elevators in three locations and they are going everywhere except sideways. They pass your floor, and when they do stop there are 16 people on it. The average age on our cruise was about 82 and the average weight was about 195. First day we had muster drill. Everybody meets on muster deck 5. EVERYBODY. So all 3,500 people and half the crew are going to muster deck 5. They are all coming from the upper decks, their staterooms, because that’s where your life jackets are. After the lifeboat drill, everyone, EVERYONE, all 3,500 are going back up to the cabin to put your life jacket away. Remember ALL the cabins are on the upper decks. After you stow your jacket, it's back down to dining rooms. All the dining rooms are on deck 5&6. Everyone, EVERYONE all 3,500 people are going back down to the dining rooms, on deck 5&6. (Unless you skip the dining room and go to the Buffet) And the elevators have a mind of their own. My suggestion? For Princess: For just the first day? Assign one crew member to each elevator with a key. Operate the elevator manually. Start on deck 5 and load up. Go all the way to 16, then go down floor by floor and drop people off at each floor down to deck 9. Then go express back to deck 5 and pick up people from the muster drill. and do it again, and again. Later duplicate the process, except assign elevators to pick up people on the upper floors and then go express to 5&6. Next, hire an engineer to reprogram the elevators so they are synchronized. The Allegro dining room, (traditional dining) is almost impossible to find. It's on deck 6 at the very rear of the ship. To get there you walk aft on deck 7 and then go down the stairs. (Down the stairs) We like the traditional dining. You get to meet other passengers. Unfortunately the food was just average and uninspiring. The service was poor also. We left a comment card, and a cash envelope for the waiter from the next station, because our waiter was so busy trying to be funny and charming with other tables. (all 6 nights) We brought wine for dinner and our waiter decided to serve it with dessert. (Mummm, Cabernet and Merlot with dessert) We ordered coffee after dinner; I got a cup and saucer, but no coffee. Every cruise we have been on, I remember some outstanding meal in the dining room. Nothing this time from the dining room... all mediocre. The quality reminded me of "Hometown Buffet" However the gelatto (Extra cost) and the pizza at Alfredo's were very, very good. Alfredo's Pizza. Sit down table service, no extra charge. Classic New York style, very thin crispy crust, very light tomato sauce. Baked in a very, very hot oven on stone. Terrific. Comes with an antipasto and desert. And no charge. The Horizon Buffet and Horizon Court are very good, not much variety from day to day. A little confusing layout, but plenty of tables and chairs. I recommend you walk thru the buffet and court to see what is offered. In one area they would have meat. Beef, Chicken, carved Ham, baked fish. But if you wanted vegetables or rice or potatoes to go with your meal, they are over in a different area. I can see desserts and salads being separated, but beef and potatoes? We took an inside cabin because it was about $300 cheaper and the weather in New England and Canada are not too good to use the balcony. The room was about a foot and a half wider on either side of the bed. The bathroom was a little bigger than that on the airplane, (with a shower) and I’ve seen bigger bathrooms in RV’s. Good points? The Piazza. A three deck large open atrium. Something was always going on in the atrium. Music, dancing, zumba, a magician, a juggler. Surrounding the Piazza are bars, coffee shop, Alfredos pizza, gift shops, and the photo gallery, Getting off the ship was a lot smoother., Luggage outside at night. We even put our hand carry outside. We kept with us in the little blue shopping bag they gave us, our sleeping gear dirty laundry and toiletries. You get out of the room at 8:00am, go up to Horizon for breakfast, and hang out there. Later you meet by luggage tag colors in the dining room, then off the ship. Down in the Terminal UNION stevedores who make $50-$75 an hour straight time will schlep your luggage to your return bus and then they expect you to tip them a few dollars a bag. Getting back to the airport wasn’t as difficult as arriving… but not by much. It was cold and raining and that just added to the experience. Princess sends you a comment survey when you get home. They want you to give them all 5 star ratings. I know someone from customer service reads “Cruise Critic” We tend to be a little more frank and honest here.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We sailed in a Deluxe Balcony Cabin, two of us (myself and wife, age 37 and 36). Overall, I would give the cruise 4 of 5 stars, there were a couple of issues that stood out as negatives, but taken in total it was an excellent cruise. The ... Read More
We sailed in a Deluxe Balcony Cabin, two of us (myself and wife, age 37 and 36). Overall, I would give the cruise 4 of 5 stars, there were a couple of issues that stood out as negatives, but taken in total it was an excellent cruise. The ship is absolutely magnificent, it is obviously new as everything sparkles and is in excellent condition. The public spaces are well appointed and very well-lit, in fact, improvements in lighting, including more LED lights made all of the spaces feel more open and clean. Despite the large number of passengers the ship can carry and a sold-out cruise, we never struggled to find a seat in an entertainment venue, bar or the Horizon Court. The ship is large, so a certain amount of walking was required, but I did not notice it to be significantly different than previous Princess Cruises on other ships. The highlight of the physical ship features was certainly the Horizon Court! The new open layout and wide spaces between the serving lines made for much less crowding and prevented much of the aggressive behavior that I have seen from fellow passengers in the past. The new Princess Live television studio seems like a novel concept, but I generally found that it didn't add much utility to my experience. The lack of center stair case is a bit misleading, there are central stairs between decks 5 and 7, but no higher. I think it was occasionally inconvenient and it would be better to have it, but it wasn't a deal breaker or maker for me. Across the board, the food was outstanding! There is always room for interpretation and stylistic preferences, but execution was spot on. We had traditional second seating in the Allegro Dining Room and had a fantastic experience. The first night, our service team seemed a little disheveled and thus the service was a little slow, but they started clicking the second night and I give them very high marks across the board. We also ate in Sabatini's and Alfredo's for sit-down service. Alfredo's food is excellent and I enjoyed it both times we ate there. Sabatini's was, as always, a treat and the service was fantastic. The buffet is not usually my favorite meal, but I found that the options in the Horizon Court were very diverse and well-delivered. The new wine list is stream-lined, but the offerings we explored were a good value and all excellent bottles. I think drinks were reasonably priced and mixed strong enough to feel like I was getting good value. The bar staff was friendly and efficient, but I felt that the ship, in general, and bars in particular, were understaffed, which led to some delays in service. Our room was a fairly standard balcony cabin, can't say that I noticed an appreciable difference between it and a standard balcony room. The new flat screen TV certainly allowed a much larger screen with little impact on space, but I don't cruise to watch TV. All the features worked and climate control was sufficient, if not a touch slow to respond to desired changes. Shower water pressure was a little weak and temperature control was not as easy or precise as it should be. The only major negative of the cruise was the towels in the room. They were far from upgraded towels, in fact, they were some of the worst I have seen on a ship or hotel in a very long time. They were stiff, thread-bare and we even had one with a stain on it. This was far from what we have come to expect from Princess. Our steward was efficient and the perfect ghost, we rarely saw him, but his work was obvious. The room was kept spotlessly clean and the twice daily service was always delivered while we were out and about. I also noticed that generally the carts spent less time in the passageway than on previous cruises. I think that port visits are very subjective, but the mix of Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, St. John and Halifax provided wide variety of small town, nature, history and urban environments. We were blessed with mild weather and seas which made for a very enjoyable weather cruise. Overall, a great cruise on a fantastic new ship. The two big negatives: poor quality towels and a general sense of under-manning in key service areas, were noticeable, but weren't enough to ruin an otherwise great trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Royal Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.5 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.2

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