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6,608 Princess Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Cruise Reviews

This was my 5th Princess cruise and perhaps my last. It's been a few years since our last one on Princess -- we've used Royal Caribbean most recently. We never had a problem with embarkation before and didn't mind lines that ... Read More
This was my 5th Princess cruise and perhaps my last. It's been a few years since our last one on Princess -- we've used Royal Caribbean most recently. We never had a problem with embarkation before and didn't mind lines that moved relatively quickly. But now Princess has a policy that you board based on your deck. We were on Baja -- not the cheapest; not the most expensive -- and we had the last boarding slot before sailing. When I called Princess to inquire, I was told this was mandatory and I would not be allowed to board earlier. The passengers -- it was a floating assisted living facility. Make fun of Holland America but Princess is right there with HA. I've never seen so many walkers and wheel chairs in such a confined space before. Elderly are certainly entitled to travel but know before you go -- it makes a difference in your cruise experience when the average age seems to be 80. The fitness center -- despite my comment about the elderly, the fitness center was still inadequate. It must have been designed by someone who never set foot in a gym. Our last cruise was on Liberty of the Seas (3634 passengers; Royal Princess says it can accommodate 3600, so ships are equal in size) and the fitness center on Liberty of the Seas was 2-3 times the size of the one on Royal Princess. If there was a class or a seminar (frequently), there was no place to do stretching. There was adequate cardio equipment, but the weight section was a joke. Two benches squeezed in next to the barbells, making them inaccessible. Very limited equipment and no redundancy. No added a/c in the center so it got very, very hot when you exercised and the sun was beating in through the large glass windows. When I commented to a few senior crew members, they each said they had many complaints about the fitness center. Entertainment -- some wonderful (Kory Simon (lounge act), Al Katz (comedian); David Cats (illusionist) and an Elton John impersonator. The dancers and singers were very good but they were given horrible material to display their talent. I thought I was watching a Lawrence Welk show from the 50s or 60s during most of the production numbers. Princess needs a new production manager/choreographer. We went to see the jugglers in the Piazza one night -- their performance lasted 15-20 minutes and was a very routine juggling act. The food -- adequate but nothing to rave about. The fruit was horrible compared to what we buy in our local grocery store. There is a new layout that makes the Horizon Court & Bistro less congested. But for some unknown reason, despite multiple salad locations, not all of them have the full choice of dressing. Don't bother looking for low-fat or low-cal -- if there is any at all, there will be only one choice; and dressings were sometimes incorrectly labeled or not labeled at all. The Crown Grill was excellent -- both the service and the food, and well worth the $25 surcharge. Dining -- we chose Anytime dining but wanted to reserve a table for 8 pm for the entire cruise. There were 8 of us, so a reservation was almost required to avoid a long wait or start dinner at an even later time. (That's one reason I like to board early -- to make reservations.) When I called the dining phone number soon after we boarded, I was told I could only reserve for that night and would have to call each day for a reservation for that day. When we got to dinner that night, the headwaiter accommodated us. Why make us jump through hoops to provide us with dining reservations -- it helps us and Princess if we have them. The staff -- our cabin steward and our waiters could not have been nicer or more attentive. Bravo to them. Ports -- The only ports we really cared about were Princess Cays and Aruba for beach time and we were not disappointed. Dominica and Bonaire are nothing exceptional unless you plan to so snorkeling or diving -- certainly not what the majority on this cruise were interested in! Disembarkation -- went very smoothly with one exception. Our waiting area was in the casino -- a poor choice given the nature of the seating there. When we were allowed to proceed to disembark, there were no crew members to guide the group from the casino on Deck 6 to the gangway on a lower deck, so some people ended up walking around in circles to find their way. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Background Me and my wife are in our 60's and have been on 7 Norwegian cruises and 5 Princess cruises. On this trip we were traveling in a mini suite with my mother-in-law who is 86. Embarkation We arrived at the port at about ... Read More
Background Me and my wife are in our 60's and have been on 7 Norwegian cruises and 5 Princess cruises. On this trip we were traveling in a mini suite with my mother-in-law who is 86. Embarkation We arrived at the port at about 12:30 and were in our cabin by 1pm. I would definitely call that quick and painless. We easily walked around the area for the embarkation photo. This is something that has been impossible on some of our cruises where they funnel everyone to the photographers and leave no way to go around so that you have to wait your turn to say no thanks. Ship The ship was beautiful and I find that the complaints by some of the previous reviewers strange to say the least. I had no problem getting around from top to bottom. Other than during peak periods (after the shows, embarkation, debarkation and during the safety drills) we never waited very long for an elevator. It seems that some need to have an elevator at their beck and call at all times. So, if you feel that the ship should have 50 or 60 elevators, you might want to reconsider this cruise ship. Although you had to go to the bar to get your own drink most of the time, I found this to be quite refreshing compared to alternative of saying no thanks every five minutes as on most of our other cruises. The announcements for the most part were low key and not constantly blaring as on some cruises. The only complaint I had about announcements was when they blared an announcement about a jewelry seminar at a key point in the theater during a movie. Dining We only did one sit down in the main dining room and it was ok but nothing special. The rest of our meals were either in the buffet, Alfredo (lunch or dinner) or the Piazza (for a light lunch). All of the choices were excellent. If you could not find something that you like between these three you are way pickier than I. Breakfast at the buffet was fine although the choices were pretty much the same every day. But, let's face it, how much can you do to vary breakfast. I don't know what the "pay coffee" was like because I am not a pay for your coffee on a cruise kind of guy. But the free coffee was the worst I have ever had on a cruise. I had to make it 50/50 coffee and hot water to make it barely tolerable. If you like to drink your coffee with a fork (two hour old coffee drinkers may like this) be prepared for a poor experience. Cabin We had cabin R203. This was our first mini suite. We usually get a balcony cabin but with my mother-in-law traveling with us we thought that splitting the cost of a mini suite was better than separate balcony cabins for which my mother-in-law would have had to pay double. Compared to a Norwegian mini suite this was about $500 each more expensive. But, let me tell you, it was well worth the extra cost. It was bigger, had two televisions and a curtain to separate the pull out from the main bed. Things that did not come on the Norwegian. The balcony did seem small although I failed to bring a tape measure. It could also just seem smaller because the furniture that was provided seemed bigger than most that we have had. The towels were the worst. It was like drying yourself with the bath mat. The televisions had plenty of on demand movies and tv shows that would fit anyones taste and could be stopped and started without losing your place. The live news channels had a selection that would suit anyone. Misc. As with our previous experience on the Golden Princess the passengers seemed to average about 70 and was reflected in the crowds at the elevators at peak times. I saw people wait for elevators to just go up one or two decks. This cruise was during the Super Bowl and my wife had been sitting on a chair for me at noon so that I would have a place to watch the game from. I told her that I didn't want to sit for 7 hours just to have a seat for the game and returned to our cabin. When she returned she told me that one man and woman put towels on the chairs and commented that they were going on an excursion and wanted to make sure that they had a seat for the game. Good thing I wasn't there to hear that. As soon as they were out of sight I would have taken their towels and put them on the deck. Crew Everyone from our cabin steward to the captain were personable and seemed genuinely happy. Quite a task for the hours worked. The stewards are responsible for doing 17 cabins twice a day in addition to their other duties. People should keep this in mind when dealing with the crew. I won't do this ship again. We did it this time for the itinerary and other than checking out a new ship we would prefer a ship that has a full covered promenade deck.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We previously sailed for 7 and then 20 nights on the Royal and 10 this time. The Royal is a beautiful ship and the service is outstanding. I laugh at some of the critical remarks from other reviewers. You can't pleae everyone ... Read More
We previously sailed for 7 and then 20 nights on the Royal and 10 this time. The Royal is a beautiful ship and the service is outstanding. I laugh at some of the critical remarks from other reviewers. You can't pleae everyone everytime. Sure, there were some bumps on the cruise, but if you can't roll with the punches, you shouldn't be travelling, regardless of by ship, train, plane, bus or car. We were with another couple and selected our usual anytime dining. The first night is always a problem getting seated when you want, but after that night, we never had to wait more than 3 to 4 minutes. The food in the MDR lived up to our expectations, except the Caribbean entree every night. We never had anyone order it. I did have one appetizer and one soup from their Caribbean offerings, but will stick with the good old offerings from now own (we're going on the Regal in a month and then the Royal again in Nov. for another 20 days. The quality and temperature of the food was right where it should be....one of our traveling partners is a very finicky eater....she enjoyed the food. My wife needs food that is gluten, dairy, egg, and tomato free....every night a head waiter brings the menu for the following night and they decide what she can eat and how it's prepared. They even make her special desserts every night! The best one...cheesecake that was gluten, dairy, and egg free....it even tasted like cheese cake. Her only complaint is when she orders gluten free pasta, they bring a bowl with enough to feed 4 people!! We have 35 cruises, 28 of which are on Princess.....and we anticipate that the rest we take will be almost all on Princess. We're Elite members so embarkation and disembarking is no problem for us I only have one repeating complaint about Princess. They do not enforce the dress code in the MDR, not even on formal nights. They will fine me $250 if I light up a cigarette on my balcony, but won't tell someone they have to eat at the buffet because they're wearing worn jeans and a tee shirt on formal nights. and, the balconies on the Royal are much smaller than on other ships...my only complaint about the cabin We really enjoyed the production shows even though we've seen them several times before. One night they were cancelled due to a problem with the stage's elevator...so they had their band play instead. Speaking of elevators, we have no problem with them...yes, you might have to wait a few minutes at peak times, but the size and number of elevators is no problem. One of our bumps.....we couldn't tie up at Dominica...there were large swells that would have made using the gangplanks dangerous...disappointing but undertandable...and we were credited with the port fees and taxes. Too many wheelchairs, scooters and walkers? give me a break....it's great that those that need them can have a great cruise....more than once I was happy to help one on/off the elevators even though I had to wait another whole 2 mintues for another elevator.....and remember, some day, you might need one. Yes, I miss taking a half hour walk on the promenade deck...but I found a better way to walk....start at deck 15 on the port side at the front of the ship...walk to the back, cross over the the starboard side and go back to the front....go down to the 14th deck and repeat...and then to the 12th, 11th, 10th, 9th, and finish up on the 8th.....about 38 minutes and 2.5 miles....all air conditioned!!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
"Coral Princess in the Caribbean----The Good, Bad and the Ugly. Really like the layout of this ship and enjoyed the cruise with one big first time noticeable exception, which I hated to see since we are close to achieving 600 days of ... Read More
"Coral Princess in the Caribbean----The Good, Bad and the Ugly. Really like the layout of this ship and enjoyed the cruise with one big first time noticeable exception, which I hated to see since we are close to achieving 600 days of sailing. VERY GOOD: ---We found the Coral Princess to be a vessel I really like, particularly the decor throughout most of the public space and lounges, sea and marine pictures everywhere, dark rich oak beams and molding backed up with lighter backgrounds. I'm tired of pastels and nonsensical modern art hung everywhere on ships. Excellent lounges, lots of room with rich furniture where peace and quiet is found, which makes it a simple enjoyment just to sit and relax in one. Also, super is the abundance of getaway nooks and crannies throughout the ship. The passenger to space ration is great but actually is even better than the numbers suggest. Nice to have some elbow room for a change, for instance the three elevator and stair towers were not ever crowded, even during the first boarding day. Contrast this to the new Royal Princess, where the stairway towers were claustrophobic with consistently long elevator waits; for instance a midship public stair case is non existent. Maybe Princess should begin having the French build and design their ships (Coral) rather than Italians (Royal). Like the good old days of yore, the Coral has a complete wrap around teak promenade deck, fairly wide in many stretches where old fashion reclining deck chairs are provided. The two level Lotus Spar area is great at no extra charge, two well heated hot tubs by the pool and lots of quiet areas above and below, to read and relax in. GOOD: ---The specialty restaurants, particularly Sabatini's, but also the Bayou Cafe and its special "Crab Shack" luncheon were exquisite. Meals in these venues, which you pay extra for, represent top of the line gourmet dining. Well staffed by knowledgeable and friendly personnel and your dining experience takes place in a wonderful, quiet, well decorated environment. Unfortunately, the main dining room(s), are not so good, stink. ---Ample public hot tubs, five in all, the three by the main pool though were usually a little on the cool side and occasionally youngsters using them as swimming pools was not good. ---We had a mini-suite, nice decor and fairly large balcony on deck nine. Our cabin attendant was pretty good and very amenable and friendly even though he was probably burden by way too many cabins to service which often does not translate into fine personal service. Complimentary laundry service was excellent. ---Staff, for the most part were very friendly all over the ship and tried to help, whatever the need or problem. Unfortunately, some areas like in the main dining room, were grossly understaffed. ---Horizon Court, the main buffet area had adequate seating, unlike on the new larger ships, Regal and Royal. Food was mediocre but the friendly and helpful staff partially made up for lack of exceptional quality food. In this case the buffet did not appear to be understaffed, so, in all, it made for a worthwhile dining experience. In fact, out of frustration we abandoned using the Main Dining Room and chose this venue for dinner instead whenever we decided not to eat in the specialty restaurants. ---TV--Nice to have MSNBC and BBS and not just FOX News--One of the things we like about Princess they understand not all guests are cut out of the same political persuasion cloth. ---Internet and library--Very fast and ample bandwidth and easy to use, staffed by an internet guy who knows his stuff. Wish the rates were lower but then, not all that bad if you are an elite like we are as you get some free time plus a good deal on more time if you buy it the first day or so. Library is very large for the size of ship, perfect layout for an exploration type voyaging ship. ---Interdenominational Church Services---Two Sunday services on sea days this voyage. Really enjoyed both, thanks so much for the opportunity to fellowship, Princess. ---Enrichment lectures---One of the things I like best about cruising is the theme lecturers the three lines we frequent usually have on board. Princess used to be super great at this, slipping a little though as of late. During this cruise they had---Dr. Dean Papavassiliou, an historical expert on the Caribbean as well as the famous Pacific navigators, his presentations brought on an impressive crowd. But the only other lecturer they had was a half retired airline captain---Captain Ted McCourt---His subject was not anywhere close to the theme of the voyage, so why was he there? Perhaps because everybody, almost, had to fly to get to or from the ship, so maybe it was an okay subject for some, attendance indicated few were interested though. For me, I was born and raised and made my career in the airplane game, so I found his lectures of interest. His creditability could be challenged from time to time due factual errors, but then subjects this complex are very hard to make a delivery on without making mistakes here and there. Other than that, I learned a bit, would dearly have loved to hear a rebuttal though to some of his points as they were certainly argumentative. In short, his presentations were not ideally suited for the average cruiser booking this voyage. Only a few guests are airplane buffs, industry types and age old pilots like myself. Princess should have put on another cruise specific lecture, instead. ---Shore excursions--We booked a Princess excursion at every port. As usual for Princess, the guides and quality of excursion were top rate. Guides spoke well and were very knowledgeable about the subject they were task with, and coaches were top rated from a vehicle and driver standpoint. Only complaint is that I recall, at least I think I do, the day when Princess didn't pack the coach up to 100% full, which they came close to doing at each port and excursion on this cruise. BAD: ---Theater, okay for daytime lectures, I attended many in the theater, but that is it. For evening shows, count us out. No balcony but good steep stadium seating, unfortunately all isles have only two stairways so that those wanting to sit in the higher levels at mid-theatre had to tip-toe past up to 12 already seated if they were caught having to work into the middle of a row. First comers for the evening shows usually showed up very early, then they took the isle seats and were generally "very" reluctant to even standup in order to allow somebody else to occupy a vacant seat beyond them in the same isle. One nice feature was the little tables on each seat which pulled up, sort of like some first class airline seats do, don't know what they were there for though unless you brought your own drink, no service and hard to get to if there were waiters. All in all, for the big shows, the theater was terrible, we never did take in a top line performance due to this jumble, too bad as some shows were pretty good, we were told. ---Over the last 15 months we have been on 5 cruises counting this one, Regent, HAL, Princess, Regent, Princess, 115 sailing days. 5 captains. Coincidentally, on each voyage unique circumstances developed, such as man overboard one time, un-commanded turn on another requiring emergency reverse thrust and dropping the anchor to avoid hitting the beach, etc. The situation was somewhat the same on this voyage as a lady went missing for the better part of a day, the crew scoured the vessel, of course all passengers were aware due all the announcements asking her to call. Turned out she had been hiding. Anyway, except for this captain, the other four captains were exemplary in their efforts to familiarize the guests with all developments thusly reducing the anxiety factor, such as occurred in this instance which originated over concern for a fellow passenger. This captain was anything but a plethora of information. A day after the lady was found the ships grapevine made everybody aware she had not went overboard. On other occasions the captain would come on and attempt to explain what was going on with missed ports, etc. but most often one had to read between the lines in order to figure out what he wanted to say and what had happened. Very nice person if you meet him at a Captain's Circle event but he needs to do a lot of work on articulation and diplomacy. Perhaps, put him under the tutelage of the captain who commanded the Royal Princess in September 2014, for a stint. ---Princess has now completely adopted the business model of all the large mainstream cruise lines, we are witnessing what is either going to be the success or the degradation of this trend. From a profit motive standpoint it is likely to last. The concept leans toward building more and more very large vessels. The Royal Princess is 3.5 times the size of the Titanic and can hold 4610 passengers, the Coral, about 2000, to procure a vessel like these huge investment dollars are required. In order to fill up these ships most lines have adopted a policy of getting passengers on board for a very low initial fee. Then charging extra for just about everything except the basic stateroom and food served in the main dining rooms and the buffet areas, also there are pizzerias and hamburger grills with no extra charge. The ships function more or less like large floating resorts, with all sorts of premium type restaurants and other meal venues where additional payments are required, not to mention all the boutiques and other retail outlets trying to sell you something. By cutting down the size of, quality of, and service within the main dining rooms and other no extra charge areas, guests are more or less forcibly channeled into the nickel and dime game. UGLY: ----Up until this voyage the Main Dining Room (MDR) on Princess was still tolerable, this time though, either we experienced a fluke or cost cutting has caught up with Princess rendering their product in the MDR undesirable for us. We have never ran into a situation like this before even though the "hand writing was on the wall" that it was bound to come. In my opinion this results from understaffing of both service and kitchen personnel. Each time we tried to use the MDR we were told there was a 40 minute wait time. They gave us a pager, but on the three occasions we decided to carry on and eat in the MDR the wait was only 10-15 minutes, which was not a problem. We don't like traditional seating for a variety of reasons, one of which is we dislike being relegated to eating at either 5:30 PM or 7:45 PM., even if we secure a table for two. Normally nowadays we usually try to get there by 6:30 using anytime dining. Our principal problem(s) trying to eat dinner in the MDR was the lack of service and poor quality meals. For instance, there used to be a sommelier to take your wine order immediately after being seated, this practice gave way to no sommelier--instead, head waiters were given extra training in wine selection, then that gave way to what you have now, wine only if you are lucky enough to get someone's attention and forget about ordering a bottle to be carried over for the following evening, they will lose it for sure. You usually sit there waiting and watching a harried flurry of activity by the understaffed help forging a losing battle trying to keep up. Made dressing up in my tux on formal nights and trying to dine there a joke. So, in order to continue enjoying the cruise we made do, by booking dinner in one of the excellent specialty restaurants on board whenever we felt inclined to really enjoy dinner, if not, simply going up to the Horizon Court buffet. I have a theory that there will be a drift completely away from providing MDR service on the major cruise lines in the future. Instead cruisers will experience more of and larger specialty extra charge venues and expanded no extra charge buffet area service. We only use Princess, HAL and Regent. Regent being an all inclusive voyage, but ironically, the food and service in the specialty restaurants on HAL and Princess are much better than those on Regent which you can hardly ever get into due no extra charge. However, the MDR on Regent is far superior to those on HAL and Princess."   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
DH & I returned from our first Princess Cruise recently. Overall, it was ok, but there were good and bad things during the week, like all cruise lines. First the Good: We arrived at Port Everglades about 12:30 and it looked bad, with ... Read More
DH & I returned from our first Princess Cruise recently. Overall, it was ok, but there were good and bad things during the week, like all cruise lines. First the Good: We arrived at Port Everglades about 12:30 and it looked bad, with lines half way down the walkway outside, but the line moved forward quickly and we were aboard by about 1:15 PM (the most efficient boarding we've ever experienced). Our cabin was ready once we boarded, so we were able to drop off our carry-on luggage right away. We were in a mini-suite and were pleased with the size, functionality and cleanliness of the cabin. Our steward, James, arrived soon after we entered the room and told us what we needed to know to reach him. He was highly professional and efficient - our cabin was always cleaned by the time we returned from breakfast, and needed supplies were promptly restocked without asking. DH wanted to take the "behind the scenes" ship tour, so we signed up for that as soon as we boarded, and he was among the first 15 to sign up so was able to do something he's wanted to do for years (more on that later). The safety drill was efficient, organized and perfectly adequate. Sail away was pretty much a non-event onboard, but it was still fun to wave at the folks on their condo balconies on land who were holding their Saturday afternoon "sail-away" drink and waving to the cruisers aboard. Overall, the ship was very clean and well maintained, and the staff was very efficient, if somewhat reserved (I, personally, can't imagine having to deal with 3,000 new passengers every seven days). We especially liked International Café for morning coffee and Vines for our afternoon glass of wine. The OK: I'd say that pretty much explains most of the rest of the cruise. Food was generally adequate, if not outstanding, there were plenty of onboard activities, but since most were organized to sell something from the shops, etc. we didn't participate much. We called every morning to set reservations for the anytime dining venue, so we had no long waits for a table, but those in the "no reservations" line looked like they were going to have quite a wait. The Bad: The layout of the ship is strange. We were on Dolphin deck (9) near the rear elevators, and we had the only elevator to Deck 19, but in order to go to dinner we had to go to mid-ship, go down to Decks 5 or 6 and then back aft to the dining rooms; even though there were stairs down on Deck 7 they were always blocked off. The photographers were fairly "in your face" and one entire section of the ship was taken up with their fold-out displays trying to hawk their photos; in addition their backdrops and light reflectors for "portraits" were on several places around the ship until the second-to-last day, including the balconies over the central Piazza, so you had to watch where you walked in order to not trip over their equipment. We also had to deal with them disembarking the ship in port, and you just had to wait if people in front wanted their photos taken - the photographers were stationed, literally, at the end of the gangway. They weren't rude or pushy, just omnipresent. The noise levels at both main pools were WAY to loud (music at one and MUTS at the other) so we spent minimal time there. The Sanctuary pool was much quieter, as was the pool deck on Deck 17 aft, but again the strange layout of the ship meant having to backtrack elevators/stairs to get there, which made it less fun. Finally, disembarkation was a nightmare. We got off only about 45 minutes after we were scheduled (occasioned, obviously by the fact there were only five customs agents on duty that day for the nearly 3,000 people disembarking), but someone we were travelling with had a disembarkation time about 20 minutes after us and something obviously broke down between when we left and they did. It took them another 3 hours (!) to get to disembark; luckily they had scheduled an evening flight, but they were NOT happy. This was their first cruise, and for this reason will likely be their last. The Ports: This wasn't a cruise we had chosen; we were going with a large group for an onboard activity. I would NOT take this itinerary again. Princess Cay - MEH! - fine if you're a beach bunny, but little else to do. St. Thomas - a nightmare - there were 6 (yes, 6!) large cruise ships in port that day (based on my research, if everyone got off all six ships that poor little town was inundated with nearly 20,000 passengers that day). We went downtown, but it was shoulder to shoulder people, so we simply went back aboard and spend the day reading. Pretty much the same for Grand Turk and San Marteen, although not to the same extent. It's sad that the Caribbean today has become so cookie-cutter (Margaritaville and Carlos and Charlies in view of the ship!) It used to be so much more interesting. Too many cruise ships in port and no other economic engines? Maybe Cubans are lucky the U.S. tourist hasn't had easy access all these years - it sounds like they still do have their own distinct culture, which the folks on these three islands are losing quickly, or have lost entirely. Overall: Would I cruise Ruby Princess again? Probably not. While she was clean and well maintained, I found the ship to be somewhat claustrophobic, from the relatively small 3-story high Piazza, to the low ceilings and closed curtains in the dining rooms. I felt "nickeled and dimed" by Princess with the constant presence of the photographers, the "buy this now" mentality of many of the onboard activities, and the general feel of the ship. I'd personally much rather pay more for a cruise so I don't have to dodge the sales pitches during the week. Nothing wrong with Princess, just not really my demographic. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We boarded the Ruby Princess in Fort Lauderdale for our 24th cruise on January 3rd for a 14 day eastern and western Caribbean cruise. We had stayed overnight at the Best Western on Stirling Road using the stay and park package. The hotel ... Read More
We boarded the Ruby Princess in Fort Lauderdale for our 24th cruise on January 3rd for a 14 day eastern and western Caribbean cruise. We had stayed overnight at the Best Western on Stirling Road using the stay and park package. The hotel now charges a $10 fee per person for shuttle service to the port. Using the 12:00 o’clock shuttle and Priority boarding we were aboard shortly after 1:00 PM despite heavy traffic delays reaching the port. We had one of our favorite cabins (B749) an aft corner cabin with a larger than normal balcony. Despite the large balcony Princess only furnishes it with two reclining chairs. Thanks to the resourcefulness of our Steward Jun , he was able to at least secure us two foot stools. Being a large premium balcony I believe at least two loungers and two chairs should be provided. We learned that although booked as a single cruise, since the cruise is also marketed as two separate seven day cruises, Princess automatically gave us credit for two cruises and provided two Elite bar setups, two wine tastings and two CC invitations. We soon discovered that our cabin had no hot water at either the sink or shower. After speaking with Jun and the Passenger Services desk and eventually the Supervisor of Passenger Services we finally had shower hot water Wednesday afternoon but still only tepid water at the sink. The shower water soon turned warm and remained this way for the remainder of the cruise. We resorted to using the showers at the spa to get a "Hot" water shower. Since reaching Platinum level we have usually made use of the lounge most evenings. In the past it has been the practice to allow guests to have any of the specialty drinks not just the daily special at the reduced price. Apparently Headquarters have issued a directive that only the daily special is now offered at the reduced price. Another frustration we found was that the wine card promotion was not offered. Reason given was that these were seven day sailings. We had over 700 people doing back to backs! Why can’t the wine card be offered the same way the coffee card is marketed? Our major disappointment was the fact that the aft spa tub on deck 17 was out of service for the first week. On Saturday of the second week it was in service for a few hours then again drained and remained out of service for the second week as well. This was frustrating as it is our practice to go there, directly above our cabin, just before retiring for a late night drink under the stars. The service throughout the voyage was of the usual high Princess standard. We managed to get a standing dinner reservation(306 Michaelangello) and had a great server team headed by Benjamin with Immanuel as his second. Benjamin usually had time to fascinate us with his quite impressive magic tricks. We found the level of entertainment in the showrooms to be a little lacking, however Al Katz, who we have seen before, was the highlight of the first week. The first entertainer of the second week, Miguel Washington, a comedian was outstanding. He had the overflow crowd in Explorers asking for more of his rapid fire contemporary comedy. It was a pleasant surprise not to have to listen to a lot of common comedy about ships accommodation, plumbing food and passengers. Monday we enjoyed the Stardust show a musical review of popular old classics . This was a new show for us and it was well performed. Jun, our Steward, took great care of us and keep us supplied exactly as we requested. We could not have asked for a friendlier or competent Steward. The changes and inconsistencies of Princess practices, the lack of longer cruises in the Caribbean (no return to FLL) and the changes to Elite privileges is rapidly eroding our loyalty to Princess.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Our group consisted of my wife and I, 2 daughters, 1 son-in-law and four grandchildren, ages 4, 4, 8 and 11. We had a pre-cruise stay at Springhill Suites. The hotel sent a shuttle to pick up the 9 of us and our luggage within minutes. I ... Read More
Our group consisted of my wife and I, 2 daughters, 1 son-in-law and four grandchildren, ages 4, 4, 8 and 11. We had a pre-cruise stay at Springhill Suites. The hotel sent a shuttle to pick up the 9 of us and our luggage within minutes. I had requested early check-in at the hotel if available. We arrived at the hotel about noon. They had 1 room available, 723 and said that they would notify us when 724 and 725 were available. We took all the luggage into the room and then went to Burger King for lunch.. Burger King is just across a small street that had no traffic. We went to BK again in the evening. When we returned to the hotel, everyone went to the room. About 1/2 hour later the other two rooms were available. One of the rooms. 725 connected with ours, 723. The grandchildren wee able to play hide and seek using those 2 rooms. I would recommend getting rooms across the hall from the highway side of the hotel as the highway noise was somewhat bothersome at night. I was told that to schedule the shuttle to the ship the next day, I had to meet with "Jonathan" after 4:00 PM. I came down at 4 and met with him. He told me that even though I had booked our 3 rooms a year in advance. 224 people form a group were ahead of us. The earliest shuttle we could schedule was at 12:45. The hotel's breakfast the next day was great. The lady that ran the breakfast area was fantastic. Jonathan's shuttle company kept falling behind. We had to wait in a very crowded lobby while shuttle after shuttle slowly filled since checkout was at noon.. They finally brought more shuttles and started catching up, We finally left the hotel at about 1:00 PM. Princess handled the embarkation process very well and we were quickly onboard. I have long felt that the cruise lines are going downhill and treat the passengers no longer as guests, but merely as "cash cows." You used to be able to bring al the wine that you wanted onboard. Rose and I followed the rules and had one bottle in each of our 2 carry-ons. After going through security, we were sent to a table where our bottles were examined. We felt like some sort of criminals. Maybe the next time I have "guests" to my house and they bring wine, I will set up a table to examine it. We had planned to have lunch in the dining room since We thought that it would be hard to find a table for 9 in the buffet. However, because of the shuttle situation, we had to go to the buffet since the dining room closed at 1:30 PM for lunch. To my surprise, we were able to find a table for 9 in the buffet with little trouble. Rose and I had cabin C710. We always get Caribe deck balconies because of the size. Our children and grandchildren were in inside cabins across the hall. I picked this location since the buffet and children's area were directly above and the Botticelli dining room was directly below and this is where they have Traditional Dining. All 3 cabins were confirmed for early dining at 6:00 PM. To my surprise, when we all looked at our cruise cards, we were all switched to 5:30 "Enhanced Dining" in the DaVinci dining room. I was disappointed that Princess couldn't have asked or even notified us about this. DaVinci has 5:30 as a fixed dining time and then it becomes any time dining. My impression was that the wait staff in DaVinci is used to Any Time dining as the service did not seem as good, fast or friendly compared to what we were used to. There were some unforeseen advantages to the 5:30 dining. Once the 4 grandchildren went to the Pelican and Shockwaves rooms in the children's area, they couldn't wait to go back. The early dining helped with that. Also we could beat all the 6:00 PM diners to the theater for good seats for the shows. For breakfast an lunch, we always went to the buffet. We only had trouble finding a table for 9 one time. You have to search for large tables. There were many people that have little concern for others and they would be occupying many of the large tables because they couldn't walk the additional 10 feet to an empty table for 2 or 4. The muster drill was incredibly long and boring. Our muster station was Club Fusion and they couldn't find 3 of the hotel stall that were supposed to be there, so everything was delayed. We enjoyed all of the shows except the guy that thinks that he is Elton John. We chose Ruby Princess for 3 reasons. We had checked out the children's area on several ships and liked Ruby's the best. We wanted to take the grandchildren to Princess Cays and take the twins in particular to Pelican Perch. We wanted to take everyone on the Princess excursion to Coral World with includes the semi-submersible boat with your private seat and window. We had been to Coral World before and it just keeps getting better. In St. Martin, we stopped briefly at St. Martin of Tours Church and then went shopping. I had checked the port schedule a couple of weeks ahead of time and in St. Thomas, we were scheduled to be docked at Crown Point. Instead, we ended up anchoring near downtown and had to take tenders back and forth. The only downside to the itinerary is that we had to stop at Nassau, which we all hate. Princess publishes a security warning from the State Department about crime in Nassau and basically announces, "Welcome to Nassau. If you are robbed or assaulted it is not Princess' fault." We got off and did some shopping in the fenced in area right by the pier. we seemed to be the last ship into each port. I don't know if they were having mechanical problems that were slowing her up. On our sea day after St. Thomas, the ship suddenly listed to the port side. I was sitting on our balcony and could not hear the announcement, but the others said they announced that the ship listed due to a mechanical problem and that the ship would have to slow down. Later they announced that the problem was corrected and that we would get to Nassau on schedule. For debarkation, we went to Club Fusion as is was a priority debarkation lounge for Platinum members. Debarkation was quick. A lady in uniform put our luggage on a cart and escorted us through security and outside terminal. I had scheduled Super Shuttle for a private shuttle to the Fort Lauderdale airport. All 9 of us plus 16 pieces of luggage for $68.00 plus tip. Summary: Ruby Princess was is good shape. The weather was great, the seas were calm. Food was good. Children's area was great Most shows were good. Coral World was great.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Princess is a professional operation, but they're pinching pennies, and you can feel it. The Ruby is a beautiful ship, but it's getting tired. Rust is visible in many places, our head (toilet) seat was chipped, the outdoor movie ... Read More
Princess is a professional operation, but they're pinching pennies, and you can feel it. The Ruby is a beautiful ship, but it's getting tired. Rust is visible in many places, our head (toilet) seat was chipped, the outdoor movie screen malfunctioned and had many dead or dying tiles, and so on. The merchandizing pressure has increased too. Selling is front and center 24x7 -- in ships activities, TV programming, and port access: each port terminal is designed as a narrow tunnel/gauntlet, so passengers are funneled past the usual blitz of booze, poor quality jewelry and watches, and the omnipresent tourist crap, like refrigerator magnates and T-shirts, all at huge markup. Disembarkation was invariably delayed by Princess staff in goofy costumes forcing every passenger to pose for pictures that could be sold later on... We'd rather just pay a little more up front and avoid the constant sales press, but I guess we're in the minority. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Our quick 7-day Caribbean Cruise started and ended at the Port Everglades Cruise Port. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale late the evening prior to cruise and stayed at the Marriott Courtyard. This was a great choice as the hotel had a ... Read More
Our quick 7-day Caribbean Cruise started and ended at the Port Everglades Cruise Port. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale late the evening prior to cruise and stayed at the Marriott Courtyard. This was a great choice as the hotel had a complimentary shuttle from the airport and to the cruise port. We arrived for embarkation at about 11:30. Since we are Princess Platinum, we moved quickly through the check-in process and were on-board and unpacking by Noon. We always carry our bags on so we don’t have to wait for luggage to be delivered. After grabbing a quick lunch at the buffet we were off to explore the ship. Staterooms are pretty much the same on all Princess ships and on the Ruby we had a balcony cabin on Baja. I specifically chose this deck because of the balcony configuration. The decks above do not look down on our balcony as opposed to those below, which we over looked. The Ruby Princess carries just over 3000 passengers but never felt crowded. I attributed this to the nice weather which spread everyone out around the ship. We had been on the Crown Princess, which is the same size ship, for a Transatlantic cruise. With the cold weather keeping everyone inside, every venue on the boat was always crowded. For breakfast, we generally went to the dining room, especially if we wanted eggs. I’d rather have eggs cooked to order rather than getting them off the buffet. Service was very good. We also like the International Café with its excellent morning pastries and donuts, tasty afternoon salads, sandwiches, and cookies. We took advantage of the British ‘pub’ lunch and afternoon tea. As usual, the pizza and burger grill were excellent for lunch. Our evening meals on the Ruby Princess were all excellent. We prefer traditional seating and ended up eating in the dining room every night. We had thought about going to one of the specialty restaurants but the food was so good in the regular dining room we could not justify the additional expense. They still have escargot, lobster, soufflés for dessert, and Baked Alaska on the last night. One of my favorite things on Princess is the ever excellent Fettuccine Alfredo. I think I had it as an appetizer at least 4 times. Between that, the desserts, and the late evening cookies, the only thing that saved me was always taking the stairs and making to the gym most mornings. Our first stop was their island in the Bahamas, Princess Quay. Having never been there before, we have to say it was much better than we expected. It has a beautiful beach and great view of the ship anchored just offshore. We had to tender in but it was efficient without any waiting. We had reserved a beach Clamshell which helped us enjoy the sun when we wanted and get some shade when needed. Princess does a very nice BBQ on the beach. They had a nice variety of burgers, hotdogs, chicken, ribs, salads, fruit, and cookies. They also have waiters roaming around so that we could have a Pina Colada on the beach and sign it to our shipboard account. It was a very enjoyable day. Next stop was Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Only thing we planned to do was shop and this was the best place to do it. Although we attended the shopping host’s talk on the ship about the ‘recommended’ shops, we found nicer merchandise at other stores. You gotta know they get a cut by sending customers to the ‘preferred’ stores. I did find the bracelet I was looking for at what I considered an excellent price from Boolchand’s. We did find it interesting that in several stores, comments were made about what must agreed to in order to be ‘ship recommended’. Part of the reason we shopped in St. Maarten, was our time in St. Thomas was so short. We did a catamaran cruise and snorkel to St. John which lasted 5 hours, leaving us only 2 hours remaining. By the time we got back we did not have the time to make it to the main shopping area in Charlotte Amalie given the traffic from the port to town. One of the suggestions we had for Princess was to be about to stay overnight in some of the ports. It would be really nice to enjoy an evening in St. Thomas rather than having to be back on the ship at 3:30. Our last stop was Grand Turk, which they really could have renamed ‘Carnival Quay’. The company built the dock and the cruise port area. Apart from it, there is really nothing on Grand Turk. There are then normal group of Jewelry and T-shirt stores. But with a captive audience at the last port, it would not be the place to look for a bargain. Prior to arrival, I had reserved a scooter from Tony’s rentals. His scooters were located just outside the port gate. We drove all around the small island. Since it’s only 7 miles long, this was pretty quick. We missed the ‘downtown’ on our first pass and went out to the Lighthouse. There are LOTS of donkey’s roaming around. They were not a problem for us on the scooter, but the huge potholes were. The roads are in really bad shape and we had to be pretty careful to not fall into one as I’m sure the scooter would not have survived. On our way back, we finally did find Old Cockburn Town. We didn’t miss it on our first pass, we just didn’t think that the dozen or so shacks we passed was ‘downtown’. We did make a stop at Governor’s Beach. It was beautiful and easily walkable from the ship. I know that there are some gorgeous resorts in the Turks & Caicos…but none are on Grand Turk. After making our way back to Ft. Lauderdale, disembarkation was also very easy. Only wait was the understaffed US Customs desks. You would think that with a ship unloading they would have more than 2 officers clearing passengers. Oh wait, there were also 2 going on break at 8:00am. We reserved a Hertz rental car which does run a shuttle to Port Everglades for pick-up only. This was our 8th Princess cruise, and it was as enjoyable as all the others. Our only complaint was that 7 days was too short.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Our cruise took in a wide sweep of the Caribbean with calls at Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel, St Thomas , St Maarten and Princess Cays. Although we purchased the trip as one cruise, Princess treated at as two cruises as it sailed in and ... Read More
Our cruise took in a wide sweep of the Caribbean with calls at Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel, St Thomas , St Maarten and Princess Cays. Although we purchased the trip as one cruise, Princess treated at as two cruises as it sailed in and out of Lauderdale on the Middle weekend. This had positive and negative aspects which I will mention in the body of this review. We made our own flight and hotel arrangements so our first interaction with Princess was at embarkation which was a breeze, so much so that it might be the easiest way of travelling to the USA in future! Ten minutes waiting in line compared to the good hour long experience at most airports!. Admittedly the process was a little slower re-embarking on the Middle weekend, but disembarkation at the end of the cruise was also slick. Our cabin was on the Lido deck and was well appointed with a decent balcony large enough to sit and catch early morning and late afternoon sun and enjoy drinks and the few sunsets we got. Our cabin steward, Marian, was great, attending to the cabin most discreetly and providing us with useful tips throughout the cruise. For the most part we dined at Da Vinci Restaurant, although we did have one meal at Michelangelo and one at the premium restaurant, Crown Grill. Our meal pattern was Anytime Dining and worked extremely well. Apart from the first evening, we never had to wait in line and, through a willingness to share, met some great people, some of whom became regular dining partners as the cruise progressed. Apart from our evening meals we also took breakfast at Da Vinci and so avoided the scramble of Horizon Court. We did take one lunch at Da Vinci but found it a little too filling for midday, and our experience of the pub lunch in The Wheelhouse was disappointing with unbelievably soggy batter on the fish.in every other instance we found the main dining room experience to be very good. The menus were interesting and varied and the food of a very good standard. The service was generally excellent despite a few teething issues with staff changeovers at the Middle weekend. Must mention Daniella the hostess at front desk at Da Vinci, always bright and cheerful and most helpful in getting diners sat promptly. As a rule we did not worry too greatly about excursions as they are often hugely overcharged and generally equalled for quality at dock side. As a result we only did two. One was a boat trip to Passion Island, a somewhat disappointing affair with wTered down drinks and an uninspiring buffet at a reasonable but crowded beach. The other was the day package at Mahogay bay on Roatan, adjacent to the port. There's a cable car to the beach and the ticket allowed all day access, as well as providing a beach clamshell with loungers. In addition we took the optional snorkelling equipment. At first that seemed a potentially disappointing choice as our neighbour said there was nothing to see. However we trusted to luck and met a diving enthusiast on the pier who told us it was one of the best snorkelling experiences he'd ever had. He pointed out an area roughly 50 yards out at a 45 degree angle to the left of the pier end. It was great. Huge, colourful fish and attractive coral plants visible even though it was a cloudy, drizzly day. If that diver ever reads this review... Thank you sir! For the most part our evening entertainment was the great people we met whilst dining and we rarely left therestUrant before 9:30. That said we did attend some shows and other entertainment sessions. The "Once Upon A Dream" and "Colours of the World" shows were both very good with excellent video wall backdrops. The Ballroom theme show was mixed. Whilst the dancing was very impressive, some of the singing was poor. We only saw the tail end of Marlon(?) Washington's comedy set but he seemed very good and Carl Strong's comedy set was great. The pianist in Crooners was interesting! His playing was very good but some of his vocal performances missed the mark. We used the Wheelhouse as as pre dinner meeting point for drinks with friends and often found that spoiled by the over amplification of the dancing music. I used the treadmills or promenade deck for running, as with many ships the jogging track it short and tight for comfort. My wife took advantage of the Lotus Spa Sanctuary and thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing time there. It's a pity that some negatives crop up in review but we all have our cruise expectations and it's a shame when some aren't met. We booked a 14 day cruise but we're told there was no wine card over as this is only provided on cruises exceeding 10 days and Princess considered this to be two 7 day cruises. OK that got us to Platimum status mid cruise but it did mean we were paying premium price for our wine. We were offered a beverage card at a rate of $49 per day, but as we don't drink coffee or more than one cocktail a day this was never an economic benefit, so we declined. The wifi was pitifully slow and, as we had no great need for access, we were better served by seeking out free access on shore days. During the second week the ship was joined by a group of 800 Rock and roll enthusiasts who had their own private functions around the ship at different times. This did seem to reduce the number and nature of entertainment options available to all other passengers, which was unfortunate. I never saw any indication that this was acknowledged by Princess prior to the cruise. Our only concern was that areas could become congested outside their show venues at the end of concerts and they could be slow clearing the area, but otherwise they caused us no direct problem. Our greatest disappointment came on the final evening at Crown Grill where a party of 20 diners occupying 2 tables were allowed to holler across the two tables with no comment from management. That they stopped was only because I requested them to do so in an assertive man er. I reported this to Customer Serviceand they were very apologetic but, as this was the final evening, I got no further response from the ship. I will take this up with the company on return home. None of these issues would deter us from joining another cruise on this ship in the future. As we should we are returning home with many fond memories and will look forward to our next cruise with Princess later this year. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Last time we cruised, we notice those cool looking balcony rooms next to the small Terrace Pool (aft) near Horizon dining area. There are two on each side on the Riviera floor. We always get a balcony on that floor but usually it is near ... Read More
Last time we cruised, we notice those cool looking balcony rooms next to the small Terrace Pool (aft) near Horizon dining area. There are two on each side on the Riviera floor. We always get a balcony on that floor but usually it is near the center Starboard side (around 607). But this time, we decided to try a rear balcony. BIG mistake. Normally, we spent about an hour a day (or more) on our balcony reading, snacking, watching things go by and I love to go out late at night and read. This time we spent about a tenth of the normal balcony time out there. Most of the day, the sun was beating down on us. If the sun wasn't there, it was raining OR even worse, someone above will wash down the upper deck and the water comes right down on our balcony. I sat down on what appeared to be a dry chair several times and my shorts were soaked!!! We finally learned to keep a towel handy to sit on whenever (which was rarely) we sat out there. Also you will get toothpicks from folks hanging off the rails above dropping them "overboard". This trip also had a lot of rough seas so the door kept sliding open whenever we were outside!! Imagine hearing that door open and close, open and close, again and again......just not worth being out there most of the time. Now the only good thing about that room is the view.....there were a few times when the view was absolutely incredible. In fact, one of my favorite things that we saw/experienced was the water spout. Without that rear balcony, we'd never have seen it!! I even managed to get photos. So final verdict is that we will never again get a rear balcony. Other than that, the trip was good as always!! Our room steward, Douglas was wonderful. Loved the trivia, especially the Who Sang What music trivia. Not enough other games like Scattergories, Taboo, etc., though. They are apparently timed for when then ship is in port. Since we get off on the islands, it means that we were never on board when the games were scheduled. Wish that there were some indoor movies and also would love to see some actual classes like watercolor, photography (without trying to sell us something)--something for those of us who aren't into movies on the deck and pools. Food in Horizon was wonderful!!!! Especially loved the Indian food this time. Overall, the trip was fun and we will be back next year and look forward to our regular balcony on the side!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We've sailed Princess five times. We like the line, even with the sales push, but this cruise was just okay. You have to pay for some things that used to be included, like king crab and lobster, and the ship needs repairs and ... Read More
We've sailed Princess five times. We like the line, even with the sales push, but this cruise was just okay. You have to pay for some things that used to be included, like king crab and lobster, and the ship needs repairs and upgrades... The ship just feels worn, and some failing systems are evident. Our shower sprayed dark brown dirty water one morning. It was disgusting, it turned my towel brown, and we could see grit in the water. The maintenance guys were fast and had the shower fixed in less than four hours. We were allowed to clean up in the spa. The big screen is dying too, which made the movies under the stars less enjoyable. According to the maintenance workers examining the screen from the pool deck, it's been dying for several years, "but it costs over $1,000,000 to repair because the supporting framework around the screen has to be cut out, and that can only be done with the ship out of service in dry dock. The crew did a great job with the various failures we encountered, but there would be fewer challenges if the ship was in better shape. My husband and I would also prefer to pay a few bucks more to avoid the constant sales pressure, but you see that nowadays on most cruise lines. Cruise pricing hasn't changed much over the last twenty years, so the lines have had to make more and more money from the extras, like those annoying photo-ops that block the crowd from getting off the boat. My husband and are are grateful the Princess has further restricted smoking areas. We'd be tickled pink if they'd stop the smoking in the casino too. If that happened we might enjoy a little gambling, and we wouldn't have to hold our breath walking through to the theatre! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Left Ft Lauderdale on the Ruby on January 10th. Embarkation a breeze. Went right up to the Sanctuary to reserve our spot for the week. Some of our luggage came quickly but one bag did not come till about 6:30pm and had a large sticker on ... Read More
Left Ft Lauderdale on the Ruby on January 10th. Embarkation a breeze. Went right up to the Sanctuary to reserve our spot for the week. Some of our luggage came quickly but one bag did not come till about 6:30pm and had a large sticker on it "Security inspected". Same thing happened to our friend's luggage. Cruise was a pleasure. Well run, clean ship, good meals, nice cabin (aft balcony). Never a long wait for our anytime dining. Sailed on the Royal last year and can say I really enjoyed this one better. Never saw anyone in the dining room in the evening in shorts and tee shirts (unlike the Royal). Saw the captain a few times walking around the ship and he was always friendly. Balcony was bigger than the Royal. Other guests seemed more seasoned. Just a nice group of a few thousand people with only a few exceptions! This is our 6th Princess cruise and have booked for next year. Thankfully we don't take the cruises for the ports any more. Nothing exciting about any of them... Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Traveled as a couple on this 18 day "Brazilian Adventure", going out of Ft. Lauderdale, through the Southern Caribbean, down to Brazil and ending up in Rio (on the last Carnival day). As always, my wife and I had a blast and a ... Read More
Traveled as a couple on this 18 day "Brazilian Adventure", going out of Ft. Lauderdale, through the Southern Caribbean, down to Brazil and ending up in Rio (on the last Carnival day). As always, my wife and I had a blast and a great experience. However, it is hard not to reminisce about how much better the quality of food and service on Princess were in the past - but such are our times, and we know for a fact, that it is no different on other cruise lines, including the so called "luxury cruise lines" - so we adapt and adjust and still love cruising. Embarkation: As always the worst part of the cruise. Arrived at 1:30PM and encountered two lines, a huge line wrapping around the back of the embarkation building and a shorter one - and of course the long line was for "preferred boarding" (Elite, Platinum and suite guests) - and so our "escape completely" did not include escaping moving slowly in a long queue in the heat and sun of Ft Lauderdale. The only relief from the usual dread of standing in a long line and listening to order-barking-officials/volunteers ot whatever they are, were to see the DYKWIA people briskly walking up to the beginning of the queue waving their priority BP, only to be shown to the w-a-y back (that you couldn’t see because it wrapped around the building) by the line police. Once inside the building (30+ minutes), things as usual went smoother, and our check-in clerk was friendly enough, and we were soon on the ship. The Ship Ruby Princess while laid out like the other Grand Class ships is truly beautiful as stated by many, very well kept up, with all the familiar mile posts on the various levels of the Piazza. With our last cruise being on the Royal P. (which we loved) - we did enjoy the wrap- around promenade deck (sort of - going up one deck in the front) and the central staircase. But the ship was in as good a shape as we had experienced on any Princess ship. Our Stateroom We had a PH suite, the only available when we booked, and being used to aft suites with huge balcony's, we knew the PH balcony would be smaller and narrower (basically being the size of 2 balcony staterooms balcony). True enough, it was a little crammed, but we were able to have comfortable meals on the balcony for 2 – w would not cut it) and we learned to live with it. The inside was standard suite size and furnishing, not quite sure what we were paying premium price (+$2,000/p) for compared to other suites like the VS. Service Our stateroom attendant was very attentive and discreet, did a good job trying to please us and keeping the suite tidy in the context of having to cover a lot of staterooms and being worked very hard. With that he did a great job. Laundry was included in the suite benefit, but a note on the desk when we first entered alerted us to the fact that laundry turn-around was likely to be “72+” hours due to the "great demand" - Translation: high number of Elites on this journey. Room service was excellent, and as we always tip room service generously (in Cash), we were only served by 2 different room service waiters (who, I am sure, pulled seniority to bring things to us) and always went out of their way to present the food nicely and show appreciation for our tips. Canopies arrived punctually if we remembered to order them every day. We were called daily by someone who wanted to make sure we had reservations for our dinner, which was a nice touch, but far from the absolute pleasure of having a Suite-only-concierge lounge on the Royal with special coffees, foods and orange juice ad libitum 24h/7 with dedicated concierges in that suite there only to to take care of our every want and need. Getting fruit, and fruit we liked, turned out to be very difficult on the Ruby. There was no door order tab provided – even when requested, and when it came down to the sad kiwis and apples lingering at the bottom of our bowl, they were just sitting there getting sadder by the day. I asked our stateroom attendant for a fruit order form to no avail, and finally made one up myself, punched a hole in it and hung it out in the evening – that helped, even though we still got small portions, including of fruits we did not put on the list, and missing fruit (like bananas) that we did want– and thus continued to be a minor irritant throughout the journey. Breakfast in Sabatini We do like the upgraded food, espressos and juices (including mimosas) in Sabatini at their suites only breakfast in the morning. Still feel the pomp-and-circumstances of presenting the menu every morning is over the top when it hasn't been changed since these breakfasts started years ago, meaning that we know every single item on the menu by heart having sailed in suites on many Princess sailings now. But the food is good as they truly make it to order, with whatever twist you desire, whereas the in-suite breakfast, while fancy, is a little more generic. The obligatory over-the-top Serbian waiter complimenting the women for merely existing was on hand as usual - which does get to be a little old (for the man at least!!) Dinner in the main dining room It took us a week before we found "our table" in Michelangelo - and while we really appreciated the helpfulness of the head waiter (Francesco) and our waiter (Rhona) and assistant waiter (Hilton), and while the food at times was great, we were disappointed by the food overall seemingly having gotten a click down in quality compared to last year/the Royal. Turkey dishes had proliferated, and the more exotic dishes becoming more rare. No lobster night for the first time in 10 years – “surf and turf” the closest resemblance. Often the garnish was inedible (and unidentifiable), and even though I was dutifully asked how I wanted my high end meat cooked, whether I said "rare" or "medium rare", it didn’t matter, it always arrived "well done". The breadbasket had been downgraded to only have 2-3 different kinds of rolls, not as fresh baked and delicious as we remember them (and more of the same (I am sure) of dry-as-a-bone bread sticks that looked and felt to be identical to those on our last cruise. But we did enjoy our dinners, if not because of the food, then because of the service, banter with the waiter/assistant waiter and ambience. The Head waiter of Michelangelo was very gracious, and arranged for us to have the same table every evening at 7:00 PM independent of the dine line, and the fact the time was out of “sync” with the seatings, and we truly appreciated that (we did feel our suite “priority” came in handy here). We always sign up for the Chef’s table (and always get selected) and as always, enjoy the greatly upgraded food and paired drinks, part of that experience, as well as being able to commiserate with the Maître Di and Executive Chef. Horizon court food was a mixed bag as well. Sometimes good, especially the salads, sometimes a bust when having unexciting soups and ethnic/geographic themed main dishes which were not appetizing to those not a fan of the theme, with no alternatives if not into the theme. Just not like the “old days” (and not like on the Royal) – but adequate – that is the word: adequate and edible in a pinch. “Bland” as a general theme. Entertainment For as long as we have cruised, we have watched one production show (on our first on the Sea Princess back in the day) and didn’t like it, and never got into that – so we can’t comment on that on the Ruby. Comedians, magicians and jugglers usually are on right in the middle of our dinner (either too early or too late), so we didn’t see any of those either. But we loved the game shows and cruise-staff entertainments. In particular Kess and Charles were in OHO as funny as can be individually, and hilarious together. As groupies, we followed all the games, quizzes and events they were involved in, and that was plenty entertainment for us. Costumer Service Did not have good experience with this. When we lost electricity in most of our stateroom (including a pitch dark bathroom) – the agent at the service desk had great difficulty hiding his annoyance when we “interrupted him” reporting this – did get fixed within a few hours though, but had to take a shower inb the dark after a sweaty excursion prior to dinner. Bar service I had the “all inclusive beverage package” which for the most part worked fine, and with the bartenders at my most frequented bars quickly learning my cruise card ID and preferences. However, there were a few bartenders who would not speak a word after you gave your order and pretty much appeared quite unfriendly, however, that was clearly a minority, with most being very attentive and interactive. But when you stick out for being unfriendly on Princess you do get remembered! Spa Service We are suckers for Spa services, one of our “vices” when cruising. The spa area and services were no different than other Princess cruises – you quickly learn who to pick and who not to, and we as usual enjoyed this part of the cruise Fitness The fitness area was by-and-large underequipped, and we often had to waiting for TM, elliptical or bicycle. The weight and machine choices were adequate, but far from being as elaborate as on the Royal – but most of the time I was able to put in my 1 hour of cardio and 1 hour of weights/machines per day without too many problems. Internet An absolutely disgrace! – Despite getting 500 minutes for free (elite/suite) – never were able to use them. The connection consistently was so slow that pages consistently expired and you had to start over. Was only able to connect to my simple work-email within an hour twice (out of 5) when I finally gave up using time and frustration on this exercise in futility. It is a disgrace that you can not connect to a simple email server without using hours and being kicked out constantly because of “timed out”. And we did disconnect pictures and never tried to send anything but a simple email. Instead joined hundreds at the cruise terminal at our destinations, paying a few dollars to get the same emails done in 30 minutes that hours on Princess failed to do. Shame on Princess to narrow the bandwidth and basically taking money for fictitious internet connection. (Every day for duration of the 18 days cruise, there were a l-o-n-g line of people with all sorts of devices at the Internet cafe not looking too happy! Princess Excursions: Very few choices, basically sucked for our destinations – no other word, very few, and mostly “Scenic bus drives” of one sort or another. Set up much more interesting (and cheaper I am sure) excursions through Costco including SCUBA diving that Princess didn’t offer at all despite being at some of the best diving spots in the Caribbean, and a Carnival street party tour in Rio through guide discussed in the roll call, which turned out to be an absolute highlight of the cruise – absolutely riveting and fantastic, has to be experienced, no pictures or video can accurately depict the energy and fun of these mass carnival street parties for the ordinary Brazilians. Princess offered nothing related to the carnival going on in Salvador, Santos and Rio, only the same tired “scenic city highlight tours”. Disembarkation Chose a Princess disembark tour which was OK, mostly to make sure we saw some of Rio and had our luggage safely transported to the airport with ouyr flight leaving at 21:30P. Once there, they had put our luggage nicely on carts and the day was actually better than expected, seeing the stock highlights of the big C statue and Sugar Loaf Mountain with a surprisingly nice lunch intertwined. Thus, disembarkment was as if you went on any Princess excursion, meeting in the restaurant and being herded when the “bla-Bla” on the walkie-talkie said so. In summary A great cruise on a great ship with hick-ups as mentioned, and an acknowledgement of the ever (however thinly) slicing away at food quality and consistently good service. But having no illusions that it is different on any other cruise line, it is what it is – and we learn to live with it. Paying $15,000 for 2 for the cruise, and $5,000 for onboard activities for a total of 20K I did – again – explore Seaborn, Silversea and RSS to see if the time had come to re-try the grass on the other side of the fence, but when looking in detail at the reviews and remembering our own not too good experience on RSS, we have reconciled, that with warts and all, Princess still seem to hit what we like about a cruise the best on the balance of scales. So yes, we did reserve our next annual cruise for March 2016 on the Grand Princess to Hawaii – for the first time in a “Grand Suite” – which we are looking forward to, as we do spend a lot of time in our suite. Since part of the problem is, that the hundreds if not thousands of Elites on the ship (and we are elite ourselves) having the exact same benefits as we had, with us staying in a $15,000 suite for a couple compared to $4,000 for an inside stateroom, I really would like to see Princess doing more of what other cruise lines like Celebrity are doing: giving more value for money to the high paying guests and in addition to Sabatini have lunch and dinner restaurants for suite guests with upgraded food – now that I would not mind paying big bucks for.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I took my family on this ship and we were totally horrified of some of the things we experienced. First of all this is not a cruise to take a family with kids. The staff were uncaring and did not go out the way to assist with anything. ... Read More
I took my family on this ship and we were totally horrified of some of the things we experienced. First of all this is not a cruise to take a family with kids. The staff were uncaring and did not go out the way to assist with anything. During formal night, my grand daughter stomach was upset so I asked our wait staff if they could bring her claim chowder soup .... the waiter looked me in the eyes and said "no". I was totally surprised of his answer. The following night, I asked the waiter if there was anything we could do for entertainment for the kids, this was our second night on the ship and could not find anything in the program, again the waiter replied "no". Every time I would ask a question or for assistance it was if no one really cared to help. The ship is beautiful and the food pretty good but entertainment for kids is non existing and the staff is terrible! While riding the guest elevator alone, one of the staff member pushed 2 tall towel racks on to the elevator, causing me to squeeze into a corner. One night while eating in the restaurant I witnessed a staff member sitting in the guest area eating desert. On another occasion I saw a staff member sitting in the guest area texting. I have been on 9 cruises, just about all with my family. I can say this was the worst cruise by far I had the displeasure of going on. We were so discontent and unhappy that we could not wait to get off the ship. During disembarkation, we were instructed to wait in the casino until our number was called. Clearly the attendant saw my grand kids standing with us... vociferously I refused to take the kids into the casino, so I was told sit off to the side with my family. The elevators only has buttons on one side of the door which was frustrating as well...you would have to ask someone to press the button for you and often times that person didn't speak/understand English well. Really, how much more would it have cost to put button on both sides of the elevator? There is a rest room located at the entrance of the Horizontal Cafe which so malodorous, we would encounter the smell every time we entered the restaurant. It was quite noticeable! The hand sanitizer was dispensed by a electronic dispenser that hardly ever worked. Standing there dashing your hand back and forward under the sensor was time consuming and caused a back up in the line. Princess' private island was absolutely terrible. There were so many large rocks the lined the swimming area that it was almost impossible to get into the water without injuring yourself. I was amazed they even allowed guest to go into the water. My wife cut her leg and injured her toe, my grand kids took a pretty good beating and I injured my foot. When passing staff members whether in the dinning areas or the hall, seldom would they speak or initiate conversation. On 3 occasion our evening wait staff responded "no" to requests made, but at the end of the cruise he came to our table and ask that we write good reviews regarding the service rendered. I didn't have the heart to discuss it with him but I was offended that he would even ask. I would not recommend this ship to anyone... especially to those who are going with a family!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was a family holiday trip. We has 3 cabins-one on deck 11 and 2 on 8 but at different ends of the ship. The rooms were really small, think of the old Norwegian Sky small. We has 2 Balconies-WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY!!! They said our room ... Read More
This was a family holiday trip. We has 3 cabins-one on deck 11 and 2 on 8 but at different ends of the ship. The rooms were really small, think of the old Norwegian Sky small. We has 2 Balconies-WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY!!! They said our room had a partly blocked view. The life boat was a good 12inches over the rail, the full length of the balcony. It was not partly it was completely blocked!!! You could not see over or around standing. If you were sitting down you could see water if you looked thur the window of the boat in front of you. Guess the view didn't really matter cause if you were sitting out there you could only look at each other as the balcony was only about 3 feet wide. Food was not that great and the service in the dinning room was very slow. Always liked Princess Line but after that trip, it may be awhile before I go back and when I do, It will NOT be on the regal again!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I had high hopes for this cruise as my husband as well as my Dad had been on multiple cruises and raved about the excitement, activities and overall fun. I am 37 and my husband is 44. It did not take long (figured it out during the safety ... Read More
I had high hopes for this cruise as my husband as well as my Dad had been on multiple cruises and raved about the excitement, activities and overall fun. I am 37 and my husband is 44. It did not take long (figured it out during the safety drill) that we were probably the youngest on this ship by a solid 30 years. However, I still was excited for the formal nights and activities. We received the Princess Patter newsletter at our cabin and it lists the daily activities. The activities listed included: Bridge, shuffleboard, intro to steel drums, book club, LGB meet ups, single cruisers meet ups, etc. There was nothing for 30-50 year olds to meet up with other people in the same age group. I began searching the ship for magazines to read and was told they don't sell magazines. Basically, you can lay around the deck and get some sun, go to the fitness center or stay in your cabin and watch movies. Due to the lack of entertainment geared toward our age group, we ended up watching movies in our cabin at night. Formal night...........I had envisioned large round tables in a fabulous ballroom. Nope! You throw on a cocktail dress and go to the same restaurants you eat at any other night and have the option to eat alone or with others. There was no special entertainment in the restaurants on these nights, just everyone was dressed a tad bit better. Finally, getting bottled water on the ship was like winning the lottery except you have to PAY for it! That's right! Bottled water is not complimentary on this ship and it's totally ridiculous. It's also not available at any of the gift shops so you must call room service to have it delivered. Unreal. If you are under the age of 50 (really 65) please consider another cruise line. I would blame the geriatric demographic on the time of year we set sail but when we docked at St. Thomas and St. Maarten along with other cruise ships, there we obviously younger people cruising this time of year. The only game we played all week was dodge the wheelchairs and scooters because they were EVERYWHERE. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
After being on the Royal 3 times, we were anxious to see how the Regal compared. Other than a little added promenade deck, it still doesn't go around the whole ship. There was also an added small pool but we had a hard time finding ... Read More
After being on the Royal 3 times, we were anxious to see how the Regal compared. Other than a little added promenade deck, it still doesn't go around the whole ship. There was also an added small pool but we had a hard time finding it. Other than that, it is the same beautiful ship. Checkin went very smoothly but as Elite, we were put into the wrong holding area. After I noticed other Elites being allowed on the ship, I showed a Rep our cruise card and she said we should have been let on earlier. But it was only an extra 10-15 minutes. Our original reservation was for a regular balcony suite but then a special was offered - giving us a mini suite for only a little more for 2 - a great deal. When we found our room, we noticed the refrig hadn't been stocked yet. Checking things out there were no washcloths, no lotion, only one TV clicker and bottle caps and sacks from the previous guests. And we couldn't find the name of our Room Steward. While we waited for friends to checkin next door, our luggage was brought into our room - probably the shortest time we have had to wait. With our friends we went to lunch and walked around the ship. Back in our room, we unpacked but still no room steward coming and introducing him(her) self. Someone brought us champagne - a perk of the mini suite - but he didn't introduce himself and I didn't recognize him. We met other friends and went to dinner. Back in our room about 8, the refrig was stocked but everything else was missing and our bed had been turned down for the evening. Next morning after returning from breakfast, someone said hello to us outside our door. I assumed it was our room steward. I asked was he our room steward. He said "Should I introduce myself?" I said "Yes and my husband in out on the balcony." "Should I introduce myself to him too?" DAH! I told him we needed washcloths and lotion. I did talk to passenger services and just told them that I thought the room steward should be a little more out front. The 3rd day I noticed he was being talked to by staff and from then on he obviously was trying much harder. He even found the lost TV clicker under the bed. From there on, he always said hello and had something to say. I give credit to passenger service as she called me back and wondered if we were getting better service. There were 6 of us in our group and we ended up with a reserved table in the Symphony Dining Room at 6pm. I will say we had 2 of the best waiters that I remember from all our cruises. Amarin and Ares were tops. They remembered how we liked our meat, what we liked to drink and it was always done with a smile - more than pleasant!!! And our group agreed that our meals were some of the best (although after that was said, one person got a pretty bad meal.) It is enjoyable to eat at Horizons Court too in the morning - lots of room to check things out and then we all met in the back of the ship for a good start to the day. A few times it took a while to get our orange juice and coffee but not a big deal. We attended the first nights Elite/Platinum evening in Club 6. Unfortunately the waiter was so confused both with who ordered what and whose card should be charged for what. Compared to the Skywalker area on Ruby Princess, this just doesn't have the atmosphere. Along with the waiter problems we didn't go back there again. Saturday night we booked our dinner in Crown Grill. Again we had a waiter who couldn't get it straight about who ordered what. And then he dropped a salad right in back of us. Two men ordered their steak medium and both were blood red. One man asked to have his done a little more and it was obvious that all the kitchen did was sear the meat on one side because the steak was still blood red. It wasn't the best at all - and we almost always eat there at least one time during a cruise. The entertainment was good but most of the time the music would drown out the singing. It always seems that the music has be to turned up full blast. I've said this before - we are not all hard of hearing. I enjoyed having 2 TV's in our room but it was a little tricky turning on one TV without the other one turning on. Then if you turned one off, the other one turned off. We were not happy campers when we were in the middle of a movie on one TV and then turning off the other TV turned off the movie!!! Did watch 2 Oscar nominated movies which was good. Probably spent the least amount of money on board as we ever have. Missed seeing things for sale that had been out on other cruises. T Shirts etc seemed to be the same along with other items in the shops. Always shop for a few cosmetics because of the extra 10% off the first day and then another 10% for Elite. We spent a morning in Megan's Beach in St Thomas but have NEVER seen so many people at the beach. Didn't enjoy that. Ate at the Green House for lunch as we have always done on other cruises. Thought we would go to Dawn Beach on St Martens but were told it was in bad shape because of the high winds and sea weed all over. Ended up at Orient Beach instead and had a very good time. Pool side was always crowded but noticed towels being taken away after no one was there for 30 minutes. Glad they are following through on that. Still miss having a quiet pool area without a movie (or music) blaring. Went back to Adult's only pool but chairs were always taken. Don't understand why there are the small cabana's sitting empty at the front of the pool. Move them to the back of the area. All in all it was a good cruise. It was a real treat to be in a mini suite - I told my husband I am spoiled now. We always cruise with the same friends every year and we all agreed that Princess needs to find some longer cruises with new ports. But I'm sure we will be back. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Will as usual, we had a fantastic time on a princess ship. The regal is an amazing ship, new and elegant. From the moment you step on the ship you are blown away by it's beauty. The piazza is a great place to sit and relax with a good ... Read More
Will as usual, we had a fantastic time on a princess ship. The regal is an amazing ship, new and elegant. From the moment you step on the ship you are blown away by it's beauty. The piazza is a great place to sit and relax with a good coffee or to dance to the music by some great performers. As usual the food was very good in both the horizon court as well as the dining rooms. The issue we had on this cruise, that we never encountered on our previous cruises was the staff in the horizon court did not seem very welcoming or as attentive. A lot of times the tables were not cleaned off and if they were , the staff put new utensils on without wiping the table off and you could see they were dirty. I would think that if you have a hand washing station at the entrance of the buffet, it would also be good to keep the tables clean. There is also a person standing at the hand washing station who could be better served helping the staff as they seem to need it, and a sign would suffice at the hand washing station. One of the things I love about princess is how welcoming the staff is, so this was a bit disappointing. Although it did not affect our cruise overall, I think it is something Princess needs to work on. Now I room steward was the opposite, he was excellent and as always very had working and attentive. We did not see many shows, but the ones we did were very good. One thing we did miss on the new Regal, is not having a promenade that goes around the complete 7 th deck like on older princess ships. They have a jogging track on the upper decks, but is sometimes very windy and you have to walk around it many times compared to if you were walking around the promenade. All in all this was a very nice cruise and the Regal is a beautiful ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I have read the reviews here and it really feels as if I was on a different ship than some of the negative comments I have seen. My experience was highly positive and of my 13 cruises to date, half of which are with Celebrity who I rate ... Read More
I have read the reviews here and it really feels as if I was on a different ship than some of the negative comments I have seen. My experience was highly positive and of my 13 cruises to date, half of which are with Celebrity who I rate highly, this cruise was excellent. The ship is magnificent and the Piazza or central atrium is a masterpiece in design. It took me around 20 minutes from getting out of the taxi and onto the ship at Port Everglades terminal 2. I ate lunch in the superb Horizon Court where the variety and quality of the food is excellent. The layout and design of that buffet is very efficient and there is a a lot of choice as to the types of food on offer. The cabins were made available at 1pm on the dot as Princess said they would be and I was in a mini suite on deck 10. My cabin attendant introduced herself to me shortly after arrival and was the epitome of superb friendly service all week. Always smiling and happy and extremely good at her job. That cabin was comfortable and the new beds were the among the best I have slept in at sea. No issue of the two joined beds separating in the middle as often happens. I chose anytime dining and found the wait staff in the dining room and the food itself to be of a consistently high standard. No real issues with having to wait although I learned that 730p after the first show ends the line gets longer for a while. The solution was to alter your dining times by 20-30 minutes and no longer a wait. I tend to have a latte and pastries for breakfast and the International Cafe and its staff were great for that every morning. I note Princess charges for specialty coffees are quite a bit lower than my other favorite cruise line which was a pleasant surprise. Likewise the 25USD charge for specialty restaurants is a good deal. I ate in Sabatinis and thoroughly enjoyed the Italian dinner but was unable to get a reservation in the Crown Grill steak house, having left it late to book. Alfredo s pizzeria in the Piazza was a good quality dining alternative with table service. The entertainment was a good mix but again of a high standard, I enjoyed the Beatles show and the new Fiera and Spectacular shows were both beautifully presented. The comedian was not to my taste but it was evident that a lot of people liked him. I also liked the cruise director Ron Goodman who is a little less abrasive and loud than others I have experienced. All the bar and wait staff were friendly and professional. There are a number of design choices that could have been better. You cannot get to the back of the ship from the 17th or main top deck without going up and down steps or elevators, no mid ships stairs next to the elevators caused longer than usual wait times and I do not like that the only forward facing location on the ship is occupied by the Sanctuary on deck 17, for which you have to pay an entry fee starting at 20 USD. None of these things are show stoppers as far as future Princess cruises are concerned. One thing I really like about Princess is movies, in your stateroom you have a large choice of nearly new movies to pick from, free of charge and the big screen on the top deck with its sound system provides a good choice of entertainment. I did find the remote control with 2 TVs in the room to be awkward and it was difficult to turn both of them off at the same time. Debarkation was quick and easy, again 20 minutes all in followed by a very long wait for taxis which is not the fault of Princess. All told, this was a highly enjoyable cruise and I was impressed by Princess and as for Regal, she is magnificent.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We had a wonderful week on the lovely Regal Princess. We arrived early at port, and were pleased to discover that they were letting people embark. By noon, we were already eating lunch by the pool. We were allowed in our cabin around 1pm. ... Read More
We had a wonderful week on the lovely Regal Princess. We arrived early at port, and were pleased to discover that they were letting people embark. By noon, we were already eating lunch by the pool. We were allowed in our cabin around 1pm. The cabin had a fair amount of storage space, and my husband and I had no trouble storing our things (and we totally overpacked!). My husband then proceeded to cut his finger on the ice tongs, and we went to the medical center for a band aid. The medical center wasn't open yet, but a random crew member happened to see our plight and actually ran to his own cabin to get us a band aid!). This was indicative of our experience with the crew and staff in general--always eager to help and serve. The ship itself was beautiful, and I especially loved the photographs all along the cabin corridors taken by actual passengers while on previous cruises with Princess. We used the fitness center every morning, and had no problems ever getting a machine. The buffet had a wide variety of food, which was very tasty, but we really enjoyed the food in the dining room and specialty restaurants. There were many local Caribbean dishes, as well, which we enjoyed trying. If you want a reservation at the specialty restaurants, I would suggest booking them the first day, or you will be stuck eating at 9pm, which we had to do one evening, but it was worth it. We also did the fish and chips lunch at the Wheelhouse Bar, which was pretty good. The entertainment was fantastic-we especially enjoyed the band, Evolution, and the show, Fiera, which we thought was exceptional. The deck chairs fill up quickly, with many people dropping their things off there at 8 am, and hogging the chair all day. You really can't do anything about that, except if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Next time, we will do that, as well, especially on sea days, or you will be stuck sitting in the hot tub because it's the only seat available (like we had to). There was always something fun or interesting playing on the huge screen by the pool. We didn't get a chance to partake in the Movies Under the Stars, but next time we definitely will. My husband enjoyed having his cigars on the smoking portion of Deck 17. Churchills (the cigar lounge) had horrible ventilation. I couldn't stay in there for more than 10 seconds---but then again, I'm not a smoker. The ship is a nice mix of elegance and fun. We are already planning our next cruise on Princess. I can't say enough good things about it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
My wife and I cruised on the Royal in October, 2014. We honestly did not like the deluxe balcony cabin and many features of the ship, feeling that they had been "down-sized". In fact, we contacted our travel agent while on board ... Read More
My wife and I cruised on the Royal in October, 2014. We honestly did not like the deluxe balcony cabin and many features of the ship, feeling that they had been "down-sized". In fact, we contacted our travel agent while on board and told her to either get us a mini on the Regal, or cancel our cruise. She was able to book a mini. Our selection of this ship at this time was due to our neighbors scheduling this cruise. We had noticed Horizons was a huge improvement on the Royal over other Princess ships, both in selection and food quality. On the Regal food in all the dining areas was a notch better than anything we have experienced on previous Princess cruises. Service was also a notch better, likely due to Princess staffing their newest ship with their best crew. We were visited by the upgrade fairy and offered the Auckland Suite at a very slight increase in price over our mini. We quickly snapped up this option. The suite was fabulous, with a large seating area, including a sofa, table, desk, and two chairs. There was an incredible marble bathroom, with toilet in a separate room, and full bathtub and large glass enclosed shower. Closets lined the hall to the adjoining bedroom. The suite featured two sliding doors to separate balcony areas. This is a wake view suite, with the balcony wrapping around from the side of the ship to the rear. Furniture included two lounge chairs, four chairs, and a small table. Unfortunately, this balcony is overlooked by several higher levels of balconies, so it may not be as private as you might wish. We'll be writing a separate review of this cabin and uploading pictures soon. Our steward was friendly and proficient, and the suite "extras" were very nice. Having said that, since you are at the very rear of the ship, considerable walking is necessary to reach food and entertainment. The casino, as on the Royal, is quite small and can be difficult to move around in during peak times. The stores were a bit larger. The seats in the theater did not have the cup holders found on Crown class Princess ships. Also, The Crown Grill is an outcropping of the Wheelhouse Bar. We honestly did not feel the ambiance was nearly as nice, but the food is superb. As on the Royal, the elevators are smaller, and crowding can occur during peak times. Something we were not used to on the Crown class. The trade off for smaller cabins and elevators is the Piazza. On the Royal and Regal, this area is absolutely spectacular! Seating areas are far more generous, and the entertainment there is a notch above other Princess ships. The "Movies" screen quality on the Royal and Regal is jaw dropping! Plus, the "dancing waters" fountain is a fun feature at night.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
before I went on this cruise I read some of the reviews and was confused. this was our sixth cruise with princess and is our favorite cruise line. this ship is beautiful!!!! the buffet is unbelievable!!!!! the variety of food day to day is ... Read More
before I went on this cruise I read some of the reviews and was confused. this was our sixth cruise with princess and is our favorite cruise line. this ship is beautiful!!!! the buffet is unbelievable!!!!! the variety of food day to day is amazing!!!! the staff was great. our room steward did a great job we had dinner in the symphony dining room the menu was great!!!! prime rib, surf and turf, lobster tails, ect!!!!!!! the wait staff nelson and alajandro were awesome!!!!!! all I can say is this was a great cruise and I highly recommend it. the balcony rooms are a little tighter than some of the older princess ships but its good for 2 people. the only!!!!! thing they need to do is on sea days they need more steel drum or Caribbean music by the pool when people are drinking and are in the Caribbean we need more Caribbean music by the pool not movies Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I was shocked to read several of the negative reviews. They certainly did not reflect our experience. We booked with two other couples this Fall and picked up a great value on a balcony room. We have cruised 20+ cruises and this was one ... Read More
I was shocked to read several of the negative reviews. They certainly did not reflect our experience. We booked with two other couples this Fall and picked up a great value on a balcony room. We have cruised 20+ cruises and this was one our best. We drove in the night before and had a great great Latin meal at El Tamarindo. Close to the port and food/service/price was excellent. It was outstanding. Embarkation was easy and we were in our room by noon. Upon boarding we were impressed with the perfect decor and the cleanliness of this brand new ship. Ship was big and it was a sold out week. Despite the number on board, nothing seemed crowded. Horizon buffet was nicely laid out and never had lines. Got into all the shows. Only capacity problem was sold out specialty restaurants, but the Main Dining Room was just fine. As for dinner, we had anytime dining and seldom waited more than a few minutes for seating. Out of the six in our party, nobody had a bad meal in the MDR. Go to an early show then have a relaxed 1.5 hour dinner. The table will be all yours. Service throughout the week was very good. Shows were all well done. Some strong voices. Beach Boy show could do with more music and less tired dialogue. Ports. Princess Cays-- head left when you get off the tender and hike along shore about 3 blocks to get away from the crowds. St. Thomas -- take a short cab ride to Limbergh Beach. Good swimming, chairs, umbrellas...and small crowds. St Maarten -- take a cheap cab ride to Busbys at Dawn Beach. Paradise with a great $1.00 beer deal and nice chairs and umbrellas. Paradise just 10 mins from ship. Service on ship was very good. Food everywhere was as good as we have ever had. If you can get a good deal on this ship....take it.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We have cruised Carnival, Norwegian, and RCL and our last two have been with Princess. We had a great time on Ruby Princess last year, but everything on the new Regal was better. Granted we had a balcony this time instead of a porthole ... Read More
We have cruised Carnival, Norwegian, and RCL and our last two have been with Princess. We had a great time on Ruby Princess last year, but everything on the new Regal was better. Granted we had a balcony this time instead of a porthole (I'll never cruise again w/o a balcony). But right down the line there was improvement - the entertainment/shows, the food, the service, and of course...the ship. I never held the ship-board worn spots against any cruise line...we can make our fun anywhere...but there is something to be said for New Everywhere. As awesome as RCL's Liberty was, we had stains galore in our cabin and there were other signs of age throughout. Not so with the Regal, and that'll probably affect my judgement of future ships going forward. The crowd is mostly retirees, but my wife and I are in our 50s so it almost makes us part of the younger set by default (heh). I think if I went back to a Carnival ship with a lot of daytime partying around the pool deck I'd be more annoyed. Everything about the sea days were relaxing, although a little more music instead of instead of 10 year old movies would be preferred. The Piazza is elegant and a great place to while away the evening hours with a cocktail. The shows were first rate, and the CD was a pro of the first order. Princess Cay is alright as far as captive islands go. St. Thomas was great, as was the snorkel excursion to St.Johns/Turtle Cove. St. Maartan was terrific as well (but be prepared to have a target on your back for locals pushing massages and tshirts). All in all, this was my favorite cruise to date and I believe we'll stick with Princess for the foreseeable future. And the star of the show was indeed the ship...Regal, as the name implies.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
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