Wedding review on the Regal
I have been meaning to write this review for 6 months now. Darn it Krista, get on top of things. I’m going to provide two reviews, First for the wedding a second for the cruise. Scroll down if you just want ... Read More
Wedding review on the Regal
I have been meaning to write this review for 6 months now. Darn it Krista, get on top of things. I’m going to provide two reviews, First for the wedding a second for the cruise. Scroll down if you just want to know about the cruise.
We decided in June/14 to get married aboard a princess cruise ship which we did on January 11, 2015. We would then have any/all bridal party members who wished to join us come on the cruise with us. We ended up with a party of 12 and 8 sailing, including us. The majority (6) of us were under 27 and the remaining two were in their late 50s. None of us had ever been on a cruise before. I had stalked these boards like crazy prior to our leave and found the information incredibly helpful so I wanted to write a review of my own.
The wedding: If you are planning a wedding with the cruise, I would change mine from a docked-wedding to either an ashore wedding or an at-sea wedding. Ours was held in Port Everglades because of the 4 people not joining us. The upside- Once the wedding was over there were no more worries, we were able to enjoy our entire cruise with no hesitation and those who did not wish to cruise were able to come. Also, after 3-6 days of cruise food there would have been no promises of me fitting into my dress. Oh dear. Down side- you have to deal with Royal Ocean Events and the Princess Crew do not have much time to correct ROE’s mistakes (and there were so many) though they will try very hard given their extremely limited time to do so.
I will detail each piece separately below.
I want to start off by saying that, because of the Regal Cruise Team, my wedding was perfect. I came away with amazing photos I was more than happy to hand over my money for, a wonderful video and would not change a single thing the Princess did. They are amazing and I am now a permanent and loyal princess customer because of my experience with them on my wedding day. I want to follow that by telling you the actual wedding planning company did everything they could to make my wedding day a disaster. I had the misfortune of dealing with Michelle Pyke of Royal Ocean Events prior to our cruise. She messed up every single thing she could. I was almost not legally married because of her paperwork error and I have found out from the Princess crew that she has done this to other brides as well, who did not catch the error and had to leave the ship not legally married (which is the whole point of a wedding!). I’m still mad. 6 months later and I’m still upset that these people are allowed to put their name next to Princess’ and call themselves an official business. What’s worse is that princess doesn’t seem to want to do anything about it. Letting them know, being told that others have complained, speaking to the help line afterwards, they denied having ever had a complaint against ROE when every single Regal Princess employee I spoke to said they had received numerous complaints and they weren’t surprised, they always have to scramble to fix the mistakes of ROE. That’s a real shame.
To give you an idea of what I experienced I’ll list off a handful of the items I dealt with:
-Michelle wouldn’t get back to me on things, I would send 4 emails and 2 phonecalls to get a response on ANYTHING I needed and it was a nightmare to get her to confirm anything in writing.
-I am from Canada and explained that I did not know the marriage laws and want to ensure this is a legal wedding. On the DAY BEFORE I LEAVE FOR FLORIDA Michelle FINALLY sends me the final paperwork which has in the far right corner of the second (of six) pages “symbolic wedding” checked off with no explanation. I had to call the office 10 times that day to get a response. The receptionist just kept telling me michelle is busy and didn’t care that I had no way of fixing things if it wasn’t dealt with that day. I was leaving my country in 8 hours when I finally got a response from michelle. I HAPPENED to be lucky enough to have decided to go to florida 3 days early so she flippantly emails me “just go down to the courthouse, you’re there early, pick up the license. *gives address*” that’s it. No, I’m sorry, no wow I’m glad you caught that I’ll never make that mistake again. I almost wasn’t legally married, the whole point of this darn cruise, and she did not care in the least. Gosh I’m still mad.
-I wasted an entire day going to the least appealing courthouse I’ve ever seen (who puts the wedding registry next to the mental facilities? Seriously.) and signed all the paperwork, was legally married earlier than expected, because I couldn’t trust these people to actually do what I needed them to.
-The cruiseship wedding planner, Bobbi (still a ROE employee, but not the same one I had to deal with this entire time) was supposed to call me the evening before the wedding. Of course she didn’t. Of course not. I’m a first time cruiser AND this is my wedding, I have no idea what’s going on and, if it had been a big wedding and I hadn’t had my maid of honour to talk me off a ledge I would have lost it. So I look up the information Michelle gave me and call this planner at 11PM. Well. No surprises, Michelle gave me the wrong contact information and I called the Officiant. Let me tell you that Arlene saved me from losing all my hair from the stress. Our officiant and the Princess employees saved my wedding from ROE. Arlene could have said “wrong number, sorry.” And hung up (if she’d been employed by ROE I’m sure she would have) but she spent an hour listening to me freak out and explained everything to me. SHE met me and the whole wedding party the next day at the ship and she did everything for our “Coordinator” Bobbie
-Bobbi, the ROE Coordinator on the ship (who is about my size and I’m a plus size girl), decided that it is appropriate to attend a wedding with skin tight leggings and a tshirt. Seeing her in our photos upsets me all over again.
So, clearly, there were issues. Every single one of them with ROE. What a nightmare company they are. Hearing all that, believe me when I tell you princess pulled off a miracle. The Public Relations Officer was wonderful. My hubby mistakenly put all the champagne in one bag rather than separating it one per attendee, but she found it and had it all ready for us at the reception, no problem at all. And she made sure we were ushered onto the ship without a hitch, found our rooms and everything. The walk to the wedding location (we chose Club 6) was interesting. Everyone but Bobbi the “coordinator” left us and Bobbi got us lost on the ship. My maid of honour had to find us a map to get us where we needed to go.
The flowers were stunning. I really didn’t expect much given what I paid for, but they were beautiful. My bouquet and maid of honour bouquet were beyond spectacular. Get the upgrade for the extra flowers, it’s so worth it. Arlene officiated amazingly, she let me read my vows first (I never would have made it through if Hubby had gone first) and (because ROE never provided her with the ceremony words I wanted said) she had to wing the whole ceremony and she did excellently. You would never have guessed we didn’t get to practice.
Overall I would happily get married aboard a Princess ship again (though I never plan to get married again, but you know, vow renewal maybe), but I would always double check the paperwork, definitely minimize ROE contact and certainly book it later in the cruise so I had the opportunity to work with the on-board staff. Our photos were amazing, the cake was beautiful and stellar, we got the adorable bride and groom strawberries that everyone loved, the flowers were beyond anything I expected, The staffer with DJ equipment did a great job with songs and I have amazing memories. I just truly hope princess fires ROE because holymole, that’s an embarrassment for the princess name.
Overview for the cruise: overall not a single one of us had any complaints. I feel like there are 2 types of people on cruises, those who want to have fun and those who want to nit-pick. After 7 days of living in what one can only describe as utter paradise, I can see how the nitpicking starts because you’re so used to perfection that waiting 2 minutes for a drink starts to feel like foreeeever. Nevertheless, it is, in fact, perfection. The ship is clean. And I don’t mean hotel clean, I mean surgical clean. I am a clean freak, I have at least 3 types of hand sanitizer on me at all times, so when I tell you it sparkles, I know what I’m talking about. I’ve never received exceptional service, ate delicious food, enjoyed entertainment that consistently and spectacularly before. The actual cruise and the Princess staff are amazing (Except maybe the front desk staff, but there’s that nitpicking I was referring to and there are many ways around dealing with them, especially if you have an on-board wedding!).
Holymole that’s a big ship. I can’t believe they make them bigger. I have nothing to compare it to so take this with a grain of salt if you’re one of the complainers I mentioned in the overview. I read a lot of complaints about the ship design. It was challenging for the first 24-38 hours but then we figured it out and would whip around the ship no problem. Because of the (absolutely stunning) Piazza, I believe, the central ship elevators only go to certain levels. You have to go to the back/front of the ship to reach all levels. This didn’t matter to us too much. But I don’t have a walker, so maybe this becomes more of a struggle. Our rooms were in between the 2 elevators as well so we had access to both and had very few issues.
Again, the ship sparkles with new-ness and cleanliness. I feel like after this I would be disappointed with the older ships based solely on how much I loved the cleanliness of the ship. Nevertheless it was a spectacular experience.
I know the whole safety drill at the beginning was mandatory, but I wish they just had a mandatory video you could watch in your cabin, I imagine it gets very tedious to attend those after a certain point. Especially dragging the floaties around and all the halls being clogged with people. I don’t know. I wasn’t a fan. I imagine that isn’t in their control though and it’s important for those of us who are first time cruisers, but if you think I remembered anything other than “Life vest good, drowning bad, no elevators” after it was over, you’re kidding yourself.
Holy. Hooooly. This topic excites me all over again. Can I just tell you the fact that they host gameshows you get to be a part of made my life? My maid of honour, best man and myself won the Disney trivia session against someone who works for Disney and it’s one of the top 5 highlights of my cruise that I insist on telling everyone. I’m SO disappointed that the newlyweds gameshow coincided with our lobster night dinner (we picked the late shift) and I had to miss it. SO SAD. We will go back on an anniversary just so I can do that.
They had everything. Everything. The groomsmen did steel drum lessons, my maid of honour and I did Zumba, we all enjoyed Movies under the stars where they BRING YOU COOKIES, MILK AND POPCORN WHAT? We missed all the big shows they on the second last day to opt for packing assuming the last day would be a big hurrah. We chose wrong. That’s my biggest regret, wasting the second last day on packing.
I think the one strange thing I found is how everything absolutely shuts down at 10:30-11pm. The ship is dead. I’m a night owl so this wasn’t my favourite. There is only the little deli thing open for food (I don’t like sandwiches but of course these were magical delicious sandwiches so I can’t complain too much) and there were maybe 5 non-staffers awake aside from us. We learned to go to bed early. Honestly, if you’re a morning person it’s really not bad at all. I learned to be a morning person and I didn’t even mind. Next time I would bring a boardgame with us, though, for a late night activity.
I really don’t have much to say on this other than it was what I imagine heaven is like. I could explain in details how amazing it was, but it would be superfluous. Just assume every service imaginable was perfect and you will be correct. But when they threaten all the employees by taking away their days off if they get any complaints at all against them, you can imagine that’s effective in ensuring exemplary service. Human rights issue? Possible, but I’ll figure that out when I’m not on vacation. But please consider what you are doing before you complain. Give the service employees a chance to correct anything you don’t like, it’s only fair. I watched a lady reduce the kitchen staff to tears because she had to build her own eggs benedict. I wish the service staff could rate the customers back and if you get enough dings, you aren’t able to go on that cruise line anymore. Cest la vie.
Port & shore excursions
First stop was princess Cays. I know a lot of people complain. This island is prettymuch consumerism made into a beach. But I truly don’t mind and absolutely loved it. The beach is stunning, the beach toys are very nifty and the people are super helpful and friendly. I got most of my souvenirs here, put them on my room card, and enjoyed the beach. They have big black butterflies on the island in January. They look like bats when they’re flying at you. If you scream and hide under a table for fear of rabies, people will laugh at you for the rest of the cruise. Everyone on the cruise knew me as either “The bride we saw on the first day” or “That girl who is terrified of butterflies” that’s all I’m going to say about that! Haha.
Next stop St. Thomas. Uhm. Well. I don’t know. I wish I had stayed on the boat or just gone to the beach. I will probably stay on the boat because it’s so spectacular next time. The shopping areas are all grocery stores, the alcohol is the same price it is in Canada and the people are extremely rude. I had a lady tell me to get out of her store because I was too fat. (I mean, I’m not small but I’m not like 300lbs or something. Not that that is an excuse to throw someone out of your store). I went back to the boat after that pretty dejected and rather upset. Should have stuck to the beach. Oh well. Half of our cruisemates went to Black Beards Castle. I guess it’s not very castle, but not bad. They enjoyed it. It says you must be able to do 100 steps but they aren’t 100 steps at once, just over a period of a few hours. This would be an island I would suggest booking an excursion beforehand. They all filled up fast. The zipline wasn’t even available the first day aboard the ship.
We saved the best for last with St. Martin. I don’t have words. It’s what I imagine heaven being. I still remember waking up in the morning, pulling open the blinds and seeing billions of these white butterflies flying over the crystal blue water. I’m not a romantic kind of person but staring at it actually made me tear up from the beauty of it. I would so very happily come here again. We took a cab tour of the island down to the airplane beach. We had a funny cab driver who gave us interesting details about the island and just enjoyed the ride. All of the people we met were much friendlier than St. Thomas and much less pushy. The island was beautiful. We ate jerk chicken for lunch. It was all and all a wonderful day.
I wanted to mention Fort Lauderdale as well. There is a little known bar called the Pirate Republic. You can either take a water taxi or a regular taxi to it. It has the most amazing food and service you will find. I can’t say enough about this place. Mojitos for everyone!!
Travel to embarkation Port
I’m not sure what this is? We stayed at the Hyatt 66 and had the concierge book us a shuttle for the entire wedding party. The men were at the Pelican and they did the same.
I think this is a dangerous category because I could go on for years about how amazing the food was. I’ve been to high end restaurants that weren’t as tasty. Their ability to put out perfect dishes both timely and consistently across the board is amazing. The most spectacular things we had were: The prawns on the first day. It was in a wine butter sauce and cooked til it was still translucent in the center. I imagine it was butter poached. It was, bar none, the best thing I ate. The escargot comes in at a close second. That was almost all we ate that night. This is followed closely by the nightly crème brulee. Our waiter would just bring me two and send 2 to me room because he knew. It was going to happen. I loved him too, haha. The fourth item was the breakfast bacon. Every single piece was crispy perfection. I can’t. I won’t. I am unable to use words to describe the perfection. And my final favourite is a tie between the lunch taco bar which I had every day and the tomato, mozzarella, basil bun panini they had available at the piazza.
The only disappointment I had was the lobster. Shockingly, since this is my favourite food. It was overcooked, they only gave you the tail, you had to order red meat with it and it was maine lobster rather than the warm water spiney tail lobster I was looking forward to trying for the first time? I found that very, very strange.
Overall, though, it was beyond superb. We never went to one of the cover charge restaurants because we didn’t need to. I would pick day 4 next time to try it out. That was the most lacklustre meal for me, it was a late shore day, but my parents refused to come and we wanted to have dinner with them so dining hall it is!
I also tried to get us seats for the chef’s table but I never got a call back and have no idea what happened there. I still don’t know how to make that happen.
Well. All the glory of the wedding embarkation was taken from us in disembarkation and we had to stand in line with the peons. I learned an extremely valuable lesson. Don’t bring dufflebags. Bring roller luggage. What a nightmare dragging the giant duffle bag and the big garment back containing my wedding dress everywhere. I went out and purchased spinner cases the next day.
I don’t know, what can you expect? They have to get everyone off the ship. It was nice to have a chance to say goodbye to all the staff we met and enjoyed taking one last rip around the ship before leaving. Can’t complain, can’t congratulate. It was just a regular disembarkation. Read Less