We chose this cruise to celebrate 50 years of friendship of our husbands, dating back to their Navy days in Italy. We chose this week because we figured it was not a "Spring Break" week, and the few children on board were ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate 50 years of friendship of our husbands, dating back to their Navy days in Italy. We chose this week because we figured it was not a "Spring Break" week, and the few children on board were well-behaved.
The Royal Princess met all of our expectations. It has attractive and elegant public areas. It took a day or two to figure out how to get around the ship because of the central piazza area - there are some decks where you have to go up or down in order to get from the forward to the aft part of the ship. There were about 3500 passengers on the ship, but most of the time it didn't feel crowded.
From the moment we arrived at LAX to the moment we left, we were greeted and taken care of by Princess employees. Our transfers to and from the ship and the embarkation/disembarkation process were very smooth and efficient with plenty of friendly personnel to direct passengers. Our cabin, aft-facing E-733, was smallish, but perfectly adequate, and was well-maintained by Emmanuel, our cabin steward. There was plenty of room for clothing and toiletries. If hair care is important to you, bring your own products, since there is only "shampoo-conditioner" provided. We had some trouble with the toilet not flushing occasionally, and there was some minor soot on the balcony. However, the cabin was nice and quiet, and we enjoyed the aft view. There were lots of loungers all over the ship, so it was never a problem to find a place to relax.
We chose Anytime Dining and enjoyed our meals in both of the MDRs and the Crown Grill and Alfredo's. We never had to wait for a table in the MDRs. The buffet was extensive - massive, really - with many choices. We were pleased to see so many staff members keeping the buffet clean and refreshed, and there were many servers in the buffet dining area clearing tables and serving beverages.
As far as entertainment goes, Matt O is an enthusiastic and energetic CD, and his staff members were all very fun and friendly. We played a lot of trivia games and they had a nice variety of topics. As often happens, there were either many enjoyable activities that happened at the same time, or occasionally there were no events that appealed to us. However, that was a good reason to do some reading or lounge by the pool or walk a few laps on the track. The production shows were good, if not outstanding. We particularly enjoyed the presentation by Paul Burrell, Princess Diana's assistant.
Service from every employee (stewards, bartenders, wait staff, cleaning staff, front desk) was polite and friendly.
We took shore excursions in each port, and I expect I'll be able to report on those below. In brief, we really enjoyed our half-day sailing experience in Cabo, but thought the Mazatlan City Highlights was just OK, and we couldn't really recommend the Best of Puerto Vallarta tour. The tour guides on both excursions were fine, but the PV tour included a long drive over rough roads, and we got back to the ship more than 2 hours later than we expected.
We absolutely would take another Princess Cruise - this was our third cruise with Princess. We really enjoyed it! Read Less