We chose this particular cruise because of free gratuities, new ship (to us), new ports (4), and considerable cabin credit we received. This was a "back-to-back" cruise that first transited north to Canadian ports and then ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because of free gratuities, new ship (to us), new ports (4), and considerable cabin credit we received. This was a "back-to-back" cruise that first transited north to Canadian ports and then southbound to several southern Caribbean ports for a total of 15 nights aboard. Ship was repositioning for the winter from NYC to Fort Lauderdale. We flew into New York the night prior to embarkation, staying at the Hampton Inn at LGA. UBered to the Brooklyn cruise port. The embarkation system there seemed to be in need of better direction. We had set up our "medallion" disc prior to leaving home, so we popped right up on their system on the first effort. Being Elite passengers, we were able to by-pass the standard line, but here is where it becomes confusing. We had wine we were bringing on board to declare, but there was no table/staff to declare it to.....at least not very visible with hundreds of people milling around. There was a table we found by chance that had a form required by Canadian authorities we needed to fill out, with no signage about it. We were directed by one staff member to proceed in one direction, only to be told by staff at that direction to turn around and retrace our steps. Eventually we found the right staff person whom could process our account and sent us onto the ship....whew!!
The ship itself is nicely laid out. The Piazza seems wider than that space on other Princess ships. All the inside activities occur on the 5-6-7 decks, as is standard on Princess. Regal is a big girl, almost 1100' long, and has a capacity of about 3,600 passengers, but we sailed with about 3,000, as we were told. Our Balcony cabin felt spacious, and the bathroom space is improved. Sound blockage is quite good between adjoining staterooms....never heard our neighbors through the walls. The medallion "stateroom door unlock" was convenient when you approached with items in your hands. We choose late "traditional" dining so that we can develop a relationship with our wait staff over the course of the cruise. We chose a table for two, surrounded by like tables of two around us. Our waitstaff, Victor and Jay, were professional, with excellent English skills.
The MDR (Allegro) is nicely laid out at the stern of deck 6, and it never seemed overly loud in there. Food and beverage orders were quickly dispatched to our table and presented well. The majority of foods presented were delicious, with a few "unknowns" we experimented with, we scratched off the "must-try" list.
The ship itself is in good shape. Despite round-the-clock maintenance, there will always be a scrape of rust here and there.....just the nature of ships in a marine atmosphere, they work hard at keeping it up. The dedicated walking/running track located aft on deck 17 is a better fit for the active set avoiding the "strollers" on the old promenade walkways. The water feature is entertaining.
Food is available everywhere on the ship...burgers, hotdogs, pizza, cocktails, ice cream on the pool deck. Alfredo's pizza was good for a generous pizza and beer during the day. Pub lunches in the Wheelhouse bar were well attended. The Princess theatre located forward is well laid out, with plenty of exits, allowing rapid entry/exit into there. Perfect sightlines throughout. Casino is quite large if that's your thing. The internet speed on this ship was the fastest we have experienced on Princess ships....hope it spreads to the rest of the fleet!
We had a lecturer on board (Franz Schneider) who knew all things about ships and seas and provided excellent information on these topics during his lectures. Activities throughout the ship were constant from sunup til night owl hours, offering something for everyone. We had two different ship Captains during this voyage (Captains Stringer and Maresca) whom kept us highly informed about the ship itself. The new medallion system in place on this ship does expedite the purchase of goods and beverages on board (more about medallion later in this review). The cruise director Dan, and asst CD Kyle were funny, energetic, quick-witted, and fun to be around. Entertainment on board was top shelf....funny comedians, song/dance performances, Opera, etc. Princess offered a "rock-n-roll night" one evening in the Piazza base, composed of performers mingled together from all the bands/singers on board, and we feel it was the BEST live musical performance we have ever encountered on a Princess ship!.....we hope it goes fleetwide. Easy on-off access in all ports we visited. Used Princess excursions for Antigua and "Bernard's Tours" on St Maarten, (highly recommend Bernard's….have used them before with great results).
All crew members were pleasant to us, always a smile. One bar waiter offered us a way to purchase ship wine by the bottle, which lowered our per-glass expense. Disembarkation in Ft Lauderdale was super-smooth.... the time it took to exit the ship was dictated by how fast you chose to walk.
90% of our cruise experience was positive. Now, we'll mention a few of the "speedbumps" we encountered....
1. Sauna and steamroom …. these offerings have been "standard complementary" on the grand class and other class Princess ships, and located adjacent to the fitness center. On this ship, they have been moved to the opposite end of the ship and placed in the "Lotus Spa", requiring you to purchase a spa package to utilize these functions which are free on other ships. Left a bad taste in our mouth with the new "nickel and diming" policy.
2. The "medallion system" …. the jury is still out on this one. It opens your stateroom door for you upon your approach, which is good. We could never get the app to do a food order through our stateroom smart TV. It would routinely boot us off after a few hours, requiring input of your personal info multiple times over the day. It knows where you are at all times, which can be a little too-much big brother. It does expedite the purchase of beverages, goods, and services on board, because the staff member you are interacting with already knows your name, your face, and room number as they interact with you. No signing for anything anymore aboard this ship. We think the system needs a lot more tweaking to make it user-friendly/foolproof, especially for the senior crowd.
3. Noticed in several of the men's restrooms in the public area's that the floor layout/design prevents rapid use of these facilities...… paper towel dispensers located directly in front of a swing-in door, one sink for 3-4 simultaneous guests, just poor design flaws.
Other than these few "speedbumps", the Regal is a classy, elegant, ship that we wouldn't hesitate to call a temporary home, sometime again in the future. Sorry to disappoint the "Debbie-downers" we encountered on this ship, but you will have fun on a cruise ship if YOU choose to do so. Hope this review helps! Read Less