This was our 4th cruise, all on Princess, but 1st on the Royal. For those not interested in reading the longer version of my review, here is an Executive Summary - nice ship, great itinerary, wonderful service, good food, lots to do. So, ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise, all on Princess, but 1st on the Royal. For those not interested in reading the longer version of my review, here is an Executive Summary - nice ship, great itinerary, wonderful service, good food, lots to do. So, "don't worry, be happy."
Now for the longer version:
We are M57 & F56 from the eastern part of Canada. We have had the good fortune to be able to travel quite regularly and over the past few years have been to several AI resorts in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica as well as on cruises. Chose this voyage based on combination of price (net of OBC), length (we love 10 day vs 7 day voyages), itinerary, and time of year.
Flew via Air Canada Rouge through Toronto and arrived on time to FLL. Not a huge fan of the trend by airlines to eliminate seat back entertainment in favour of using your own mobile device with an onboard wifi system. Notwithstanding, decent selection of music, movies and TV available if you download the app in advance.
Stayed one night at the Four Points by Sheraton Airport/Cruiseport. Decent facility. Free shuttle from FLL was nice although seemed to take forever to arrive for pick up after we called. Perhaps we were a little anxious to get going? :) :)
Due to time change we were up very early so had breakfast and then summoned an Uber to take us to the port. Cheaper ($7.31 !!) than the hotel shuttle ($6 pp).
Dropped our bags with the porter ($5 tip) around 10 am, into the terminal, directly to a check-in agent, processed in a couple of minutes and then into a lounge to await boarding. We were on board shortly after 11, dropped our bags in our cabin (Inside, Deck 16, L121) and then headed off to explore the ship. Much about it is similar to the Emerald and the Crown on which we have traveled before but several differences as well so felt like we were "newbies" to some extent. Our checked bags were late to be delivered but guessing its because I put both wine bottles we were bringing on board in the same suitcase rather than 1 & 1 so my bag was held up for inspection. Note to self - put one bottle in each bag in future.
Things we particularly liked:
1. The service was consistently great from the room steward to the serving staff to the front desk personnel, etc.
2. The entertainment - house orchestra, Sunset Quartet, Tyrone the steel drum player, the string trio, the comedian Troy Thurgill, the movies, etc. were all wonderful. We did not attend any of the production shows.
3. The food was very fine and we sampled from almost all venues - Horizon Court, Horizon Bistro, International Cafe, Crown Grill, Anytime Dining, Alfredo's, pool area grill, pizza and ice cream, etc. We did not try Sabbatini's nor did we have room service.
4. The ports of call - especially Martinique (where we took an island tour with Beyond The Beach 5*), Bonaire (where we did a snorkeling trip with Woodwind 5*) and Curacao (where we did a self-guided walking tour and visited the Maritime Museum).
5. The gym - we used the facility on 7 of 10 days and it was never over-crowded, always well-maintained and excellent variety of top equipment.
Things we weren't as keen on:
1. There is no great venue for ballroom dancing on the Royal and since this is something that my wife and I enjoy, we found the Emerald's layout superior.
All-in-all this was a great cruise and we would highly recommend Princess, the Royal Princess and the 10-day Southern Caribbean itinerary. Read Less