This was our 8th cruise on Princess (Platinum) and 2nd time on The Royal Princess. This was our 37th cruise. We have also sailed on Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Costa, Holland America and MSC. Our itinerary was Princess Cays, St. Thomas and ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise on Princess (Platinum) and 2nd time on The Royal Princess. This was our 37th cruise. We have also sailed on Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Costa, Holland America and MSC. Our itinerary was Princess Cays, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.
We had rented a car from Budget which was convenient and was only a 2 minute shuttle ride to the cruise port.
We arrived at the cruise port at 9:30 AM because we are diehard cruisers and want to be the first ones onboard. We stood in line for 45 minutes or so and then they let us check-in. We sat in the Platinum embarkation lounge for another 30 minutes and had a coffee and a danish while we waited. We boarded the ship just after 11:00 AM. Overall, it was a pleasant embarkation experience
The Ship: The Royal is a beautiful ship. It really gives that wow factor when you first walk on. The Piazza looked so pretty all decorated for Christmas and New Years. The ship itself is starting to show a bit of wear and tear but nothing major. You could tell that ship was full this cruise. There was a lot of younger people and large families this time. Staff in the dining rooms, Horizon Court, International Cafe, Princess Theatre, bars and lounges were pleasant and seemed much happier compared to our last time on Royal.
Cabin: We had an inside cabin on Deck 15 (Marina) all the way Aft. The cabin was a few doors down from the aft elevators and was directly below the Lido. The location of this cabin was perfect. Our room steward, Greennich, was efficient and pleasant. He really liked to chit-chat with the passengers and he put the effort in.
Food: The food on this ship was pretty good as usual. There was always eating options available and you could find something to eat any time of day or night. We throughly enjoyed the International Cafe food and speciality coffees. Also a side note, they don’t give out coffee cards anymore, instead, they swipe your cruise card and tell you how many are left. For dinners, we had Anytime Dining. We had mostly good waitstaff. The food/desserts in the Dining Room were also very good.
Entertainment: The Sail Away Party was fun and different from what they usually do. We went to the deck party for New Years Eve. The party was fun and it was neat to see all of the ships locations on the screen. The party band “Static” was very good and they played a variety of music. The production shows, Encore and Colours of the World, were repeats and we have already seen them multiple times before. We watched Secret Silk again and it was good but was better the first time we saw it. The comedian, AJ Jamel, was hilarious. Kory Simon, the piano player from Canada, was also good. The classic rock impressionist, Greg London, wasn’t very good at all though. He was clearly lip-syncing. We left after the first few songs and we rarely leave shows. Overall, the entertainment was alright but the production shows need a change-up.
Fitness centre: The fitness centre is the biggest I have ever been in while on a cruise. It is equipped with a variety of cardio machines and treadmills to choose from. I like the bikes that have the interactive games on them. It is very hot in there but that’s ok because it will help you burn off all of the danish and donuts faster.
Itinerary: All ports were great. We had phenomenal weather and we came back with nice tans. In Princess Cays, we got off the tender and went to the opposite side. There is better snorkelling and it less crowded on that side. We went to Linquvist Beach in St.Thomas. Absolutely stunning beach with clear water and lots of snorkelling. You can get there either by taking the city bus which is $2.00 per person or by taxi which is $10.00 per person. In St.Maarten, we went to the beach across from the cruise port. We took the water taxi over for $7.00 per person round trip and rented some chairs and bought a bucket of beer for $25.00. Frozen drinks were reasonable as well. You just have to walk up and down the beach in order to scope out the best deal. Some places will negotiate a lower price.
Disembarkation: It was quick and stress-free. They let us get off around 8:15 AM and we had our luggage shortly after that. We rented a car from Alamo and took the free shuttle to the car pickup location. We were on the road by 8:45 AM
Now for the bad,
We had a not so good experience while in Princess Cay. The island is beautiful and the water is always a clear blue. We always try to sit on the opposite side to avoid the massive crowds and there is also better snorkeling. A few passengers who had a few beers started to talk with the lifeguard. Normal chitchatting didn’t last long. The lifeguard proceeded to talk about inappropriate topics such as hooking-up with passengers and started making derogatory comments and pointing at other females in the water. This went on for a good 45 minutes. I felt super uncomfortable and didn’t want to get out of the water until they had left. I look at it like the staff on the island, whether they be the lifeguards, waitstaff, security etc, are representing Princess and should always remain professional. However, the female lifeguard who swapped out with the male lifeguard, was actually doing her job and was watching the people in the water in a more appropriate way.
The first two nights of Anytime Dining were a mess. People were getting all fired up and were yelling at the front staff. They say it could be long wait and they give you a beeper like they do at Olive Garden. We are pretty patient and figure we will get fed eventually so waiting isn’t the issue. We made reservations every night for the rest of the cruise after Day 2. They tell you to call at 8 AM and wait in the cue. Some days we would get a reservation and other days they wouldn’t take reservations and we were told to just show up after 7:30 PM at the Concerto which ended up working out good. Franco (Food and Beverage Supervisor) and Staff working the front in the Concerto were trying very hard to manage and props to them for putting up with it all. The ones in the Symphony, not so much.
This ship could really use an extra pool or two. This ship only has the two and then a circle dip pool. The pools were super crowded and both of them looked super icky gross by 1 PM. This ship needs another pool located at the back of the ship.
They don’t serve you and they don’t enforce the use of the tongs at the buffet at all. I watched passengers dig in to things with their hands while staff watched it. They enforce hand washing for the first two days but then after that it’s a free-for-all. They had a notice in the patter about hand washing and to avoid using the public bathrooms unless absolutely necessary but I don’t think that made much difference.
We were fortunate enough to have Matt O and his Entertainment Assistant Team last time on Royal and they were great. Alex, the Cruise Director this time wasn’t the best. He wasn’t very involved and told the same jokes every night. I was mad because we saw that Bohemian Rhapsody was going to be playing on MUTS. It would have been a highlight to see it on the big screen. It never did play and they put on Tea with the Dames instead. I wasn’t happy.
And of course the ugly,
During The New Years Eve festivities, a passenger was high on some kind of drug or really drunk, and proceeded to challenge random people to fights. One of us was randomly approached and threatened by this guy. We think he got kicked off the ship for his antics because we didn’t see him again for the rest of the cruise and he stuck out like a sore thumb. The party was great fun otherwise.
Good luck finding a chair by the pool unless you get up at 5 AM like we did. People would get up early, spread all of their belongings around and not come back until 2 pm. We witnessed multiple people yelling at each other over chairs and one almost resulted in coffee being thrown. People were on edge with this and I don’t think security even cared. We just stayed in our chairs and tried to ignore the tension amongst passengers. It just isn’t something you want to have to deal with on a cruise.
We have had nothing but good experiences at Alfredo’s up until this cruise. The staff member at the front sent us away twice for being dressed inappropriately and told us to change. The first time, we had on bathing suits but were dry and had on full cover-ups and a t-shirt with shorts. The second time, we were sent away because one of us was wearing a tank top however, it was loose fit and covered the shoulders. We went to complain at guest services and then changed into something else. We went back to eat there and were seated by the same staff member who told us to change. A waiter took our order shortly after. We were left waiting for 45 minutes and watched people who came in after us wearing bathing suits get served within 10 minutes. We eventually asked what was taking so long and it turns out they never did put in our order and the staff member who kicked us out had disappeared all of a sudden. Shoutout to Darwin who was the only staff who noticed we had been waiting for 45 minutes and he made sure we got our pizza. We think they were unhappy we complained so just decided we were undeserving and that we would eventually leave. All the other staff were wondering around and didn’t even refill our water. I think this could have been avoided by posting a dress code in front of the restaurant. If there is a dress code, it should be enforced and not selective.
Overall, the cruise was good and we managed to have a good time even when unpredictable situations occur. The situation at Alfredo’s tarnished our overall cruise experience this time. However, we love the perks associated with being Platinum and we have had some great cruises on Princess. We will probably sail with princess again. 3.5 is my rating. Read Less