We like to cruise most major cruise lines, especially if it goes from NYC or NJ and we don’t have to fly to a port. Occasionally we will fly to FL, especially in the winter. We had not been on Princess in quite a few years, and ... Read More
We like to cruise most major cruise lines, especially if it goes from NYC or NJ and we don’t have to fly to a port. Occasionally we will fly to FL, especially in the winter. We had not been on Princess in quite a few years, and wanted to try the Royal class ships, and Regal was beautiful. Did our online check-in and got Medallions early February. We flew into FLL Saturday and stayed overnight at Hilton beach resort. Stopped at Publix to get one bottle of wine each to bring onboard. We left the hotel around 11:30 Sunday morning and arrived to very heavy traffic into the port on 17th Street by the bridge. Fortunately we were the first ship (out of 7 that day) on the way in to the port. Arrived to a short security line and Preferred check-in went quickly after filling out a health form with two questions on it. Onboard!
Stopped at our aft corner suite to drop carry-ons off. Very nice cabin although different in layout than the mid-ship port or starboard suites appeared to be, or aft one we had on Caribbean Princess. Bedroom is separated by a curtain and the closets and second bathroom entrance are in kind of a hallway-type space, so it’s more like a right angle shaped cabin with the bathroom inside the right angle. The cabin space seemed a little smaller, less deep than other suites, although the large wrap balcony was wonderful. There was a slider to balcony access in the living room area and also the bedroom--so one on the stern aft-facing, and one on the side. We did not really have a soot problem due to the direction of the winds. Stocked mini bar, slippers and robes, some canapes the first night (not my thing so we did not reorder any for the week), bowl of fruit that was very hard. One night we got a chocolate tray and that went very quickly. Chocolates on pillows every night. Bar soap was in the bathroom (though we needed to ask room steward for more at one point) and bottles of body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. Salt by the bathtub. I thought the shower lacked power, and the tub water never got hot enough for me to bother wanting to take a bath. Layout flaw is the only place for bath towels is by the tub. So don’t forget to grab one before getting into the shower as it is NOT next to the tub. Toilet and sink in a separate section of the bathroom. Plenty of bathroom storage space. Closets in cabin had plenty of space for our stuff. No USB ports anywhere. One thing we found out about this suite was that the bedroom had weird noises around it at night--not people noises--creaks, cracks, bumps, tapping noises.
A friend who cruised with us had a balcony cabin on the Aloha deck and it was nice too. I understand people’s complaint about sitting areas in the balcony cabins.
We mustered in the Vista Lounge and they had songs about muster to the Love Boat tune. It was cute. And not too long, which is always good.
Went to our balcony for sailaway. Our ship was second to depart. Made it onto the PTZTV Port Everglades webcam for a wave.
DINING: Horizon Court buffet had very good food, yet I prefer the layout of ships where it is one large room with labeled stations. On Regal the buffet is broken up too much. When I'd get to our table, sometimes my plate was met with “Where did you find that?” by travel mates. So you miss a lot by not going to each area to check out what's there. Again, the food was very good. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yes, it had its crowded times, especially port day mornings. And it has a wonderful outdoor space all the way at the stern. If you cruise some NCL Jewel class ships, think the Great Outdoors. Anthem of the Seas also has this feature (although a much better buffet space layout IMO). Service outdoors and at the buffet itself was hit or miss. Sometimes we were approached and asked what we wanted to drink, sometimes we were totally ignored as employees walked around (doing what appeared to be nothing). We watched one gentleman at the outside area give up and go get his own coffee after two people were supposed to be bringing it. The Celebration of Chocolate did run out of items around 1:40pm so don’t wait to get your chocolate fix the last sea day. It was amusing to me that lemonade had to be requested from a server; it was not available to get yourself. Various tea options. I love that they had veggies even at breakfast, and beef tenderloin at dinnertime two nights! One particular chocolate dessert early in the cruise was outstanding. Love the double chocolate cookies every day. We had dinner in the buffet a couple times and we like the themed dinners. If you check the back of the Patter daily, the theme will be listed there. Only gripe is where was the sauerbraten for the Bavarian night! Goulash does not count!
We had 3 dinners in the Concerto dining room. We were seated quickly and the food was quite good. We were there usually between 6 and 6:30. By 7pm there is a line for anytime dining seating, but not much of one for Club Class seating.
Princess pizza is still the best at sea. Soft ice cream machine at the aft area.
We ate at Crown Grill once and it was fantastic. The servers were very good, and Zaza (I think hostess?) was great too. I did buy the $3 souvenir shot glass with the homemade lemoncello in it and it was delicious. IMO Crown Grill is much better than Cagney’s on Norwegian.
ENTERTAINMENT: We only made it to the theater for the broadway show (Bravo?) which was excellent. The second show was full already upon our arrival, and the third one, I think we watched a MUTS (Movies Under the Stars) movie instead. Comedian was entertaining and there was an illusionist in the Vista lounge too. Theater not large enough for a ship this size. 9 rows are flat on one level, then they start to become more stadium seating upwards. Various entertainers around the ship were good but we didn’t watch any of them for long. We did enjoy watching the dance classes in the atrium.
Speaking of the atrium, Princess does a beautiful job in their ship atrium areas. Very attractive space. Not sure where there's gelato store; didn't see the need to pay for this.
We did a $25 wine tasting in a dining room which was the first sea day, and it was enjoyable. I think it was 5 different wines along with some snacks. There was another one scheduled for later in the cruise too.
Remember to use your medallion app to order one free drink onboard! People aren’t using this feature as we learned in the platinum/elites Captain’s Circle event. Only 4 of us in the whole room had redeemed our free drink and this was on day 5 or 6 already. Your cabin door also will unlock as you approach it and your photo will appear. Note that erroneous charges may appear on your bill so check it regularly. One in our party had a gift shop charge on her card and she did not buy anything there. Though it was removed when challenged, the cashier said “but I asked if you were [her name] and you said yes.” Um, shouldn’t you be asking the purchaser to verify their name and not assuming that people will be honest and say, "no, that’s not me.” So, way to go Princess cruiser who agreed to charge to someone else’s portfolio. Not nice.
We LOVE the MUTS feature on Princess (and other) ships. I don’t know what it is about a movie outside under the night sky in warm weather, but we love it. We watched Judy and also Ford vs. Ferrari.
We played the trivia game of 70s songs which was fun. I hope they change things up next time I play so the songs aren’t the same so it can be a challenge. Some hosts want you to switch papers to “grade,” some don’t. They did an 80s rock tune trivia later in the cruise but we arrived late to that one. Why are these scheduled at 7pm?! dinner time! Ryan was funny as host of some games, but he made cracks about not needing to switch papers to grade because we weren’t on Carnival (yet Princess is owned by Carnival Corporation). And he obviously has not read various threads on CC Princess board about people cheating at trivia, yes, on Princess. I’m in favor of trading papers—regardless of cruise line. And some of us take our trivia seriously! I do have this gripe as we arrived late to watch the answers to the “where in the world” trivia game. One of the last pictures was the Pyramids (known as Pyramids of Giza). They are in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, therefore Giza should be accepted as correct. Google it. Ryan said the couple who put Giza were wrong and the pyramids are in Cairo. I did later challenge him and tell him they are indeed actually in Giza, but he did not agree. So arm yourself if you’re going on Regal and join me in telling Ryan that Giza should be accepted as a correct answer—because it is!
What was with all the news channels on the tv? Don’t plan to watch TNT or other channels because you won’t have the option. Some reruns like Cheers and a few The Love Boat episodes were available. Bow cam clarity was not good. We like the bow cams because we are facing aft and can then see what we’re approaching on the cam.
Because we were in a S3 suite, we had access to the concierge lounge on this Royal class ship and Magdalena the concierge was wonderful. And I hope she reads this! A new suite perk for 2020 is open bar from 5-7 in the lounge! Did not know this before arriving on the ship. There are snacks all the time, and a wonderful machine to make cappuccino. We enjoyed this perk a lot. There were some yummy (and not sweet) yogurt parfaits in the concierge lounge in the morning along with muffins and donuts and other stuff that I don't recall right now. We ate suite breakfast in Sabatini’s once and it was good but if I’m going to have breakfast, I prefer to go to the buffet and pick a little of this and that.
Room steward was ok. We saw that a perk for suites was shoe shine service. So my man put his shoes in the “shoe shine” bag and left it out. The shoes were returned (don’t think they ever left) with a shoe shine sponge in them to do it yourself. So if that’s their shoe shine service, should it really be on the perks list? I think not.
Formal nights were Tuesday and Thursday. Lobster in the main dining rooms Thursday.
Dining room attire varied. Many men did have suits on, maybe 2 tuxes. We were not in formals and we did not see anyone turned away. So just look nice and you won’t have an issue. Cruising attire has become more relaxed—just go with it. If you want to dress up, do so. Don't judge others who aren't in formals.
I like that there are launderettes to do your own laundry. I prefer to do my own vs. ship washing everything in hot water. $3 per load for washer, $3 for dryer, $1.50 for detergent. You use your cruise card to choose # of loads, then a coin is dispensed to put in the washer/dryer/detergent machine. I brought a 3 oz. bottle of detergent onboard.
Lotus Spa. Didn’t use massage or other services. The stunning Enclave shower pool never showered after the first afternoon…and there wasn’t a way to trip the bubbles to come on…at $149 for the week, the Enclave is not a good value. They have one dry sauna that is not very warm and 2 very similar hot steam saunas which are nice. Won’t buy it again on this ship.
There was a game room and library room (all in one). Lots of books and a space to leave your own books for others to enjoy. The concierge lounge also had a games cabinet.
I did occasionally smell cigarette smoke on the balcony. Especially late at night. While I mentioned it to the cabin steward, I doubt he did anything about it.
Why are they still printing photos? Modern ships let you scan your card and then your photos come up on a screen and you buy digital or prints from there. Unfortunately one nice casual shot of us was not clear enough to warrant purchase. It would be smart business if you could still buy photos after your cruise; I would think some people would like this feature. We were told we could buy a memory stick sort of thing for $15 and all future digital photos would be free—not sure exactly how this works. We didn’t do it.
Princess Cays. Please clear the beaches of some of the rocks. Wasn’t a favorite private island when I was first there 10 years ago, and still isn’t on my list of “must go back to.” Forgot my water shoes on the ship. Food was good. Plenty of loungers and shade. Tendering isn’t a favorite activity of mine even though we had priority tendering. We stayed (with the remaining maybe 5% of people) on the island until 3:30 or so, then headed to the tender, and they waited to get as many on it as possible so we headed back to the ship at probably 4:10, which I’m assuming was the last tender before the rest of the employees left on the other tender.
Falmouth, Jamaica. We bought (ahead of time) a day pass at Royalton White Sands. Was a beautiful time there. Getting a taxi wasn’t too simple as they wanted to group us with others and we ended up waiting a bit. But the return taxi was there on time as requested and we were back at the port in 10 minutes or so.
Grand Cayman. We have done the Stingray City tour, and also went sailing here once. So this time we were going to 7 mile beach. After tendering (joy of joys) we took a taxi to the public beach for $6 each. Was $20 for 2 chairs and an umbrella. Lovely beach. Was really perfect. Taxi’d back. We were grouped with others who wanted a 2pm return to the ship. Got good ship pix here, and also on the tender back we got great photos. We were with one of my other favorite ships, Celebrity Equinox. Also Carnival Glory which we’ve cruised on when it was home ported in NYC, and a Regent ship.
Cozumel. We pre-booked Nachi Cocum. Wow, there were a lot of ships in port. We were the 6th to arrive, and Carnival Glory came in behind us. So there were good photo opportunities if you like ships. Like us. Your bags will be randomly searched as you enter Cozumel. Nachi Cocum was not too crowded and we enjoyed our time there. $18 taxi ride each way for 3 of us. Dropped our stuff off on the ship and came back out to check shopping at the port. Got a nice, blue leather bag at Rogers leather goods. They have very nice shoes, boots, bags, and belts. Meant to buy some rum cake but forgot. We left port at 10pm.
Next up was a glorious day at sea to enjoy our loungers on our balcony. And we did for sure. The pool areas were crowded on sea days, as on most ships.
Medallion. It should be able to locate traveling companions, but several times we tried and they weren't where it said they were. Maybe a delayed response?
Debarkation is simple. We had flights from FLL so we walked off with our one suitcase around 7:30am. Didn't even need to use mobile passport--just showed them our passport. Very easy. Got Uber quickly.
We enjoyed our cruise on Regal. It was relaxing and fun. Read Less