Those people who have read my previous reviews know that my wife and I are senior citizens and basically, cruise potatoes. We cruise because we love being on cruise ships. We don't care about the itinerary since we rarely get off at ... Read More
Those people who have read my previous reviews know that my wife and I are senior citizens and basically, cruise potatoes. We cruise because we love being on cruise ships. We don't care about the itinerary since we rarely get off at the ports. We don't do excursions.
The ship is our destination. Therefore, my reviews consist of commenting on the on board aspects that are important to me which are food, service, entertainment/activities, stateroom and general ambiance - pretty much in that order.
We cruised the Royal Princess on January 11, 2020 to the Mexican Riviera. The same ports we have been to at least 18 times before.
Food grade B+
I realize food is very subjective. What I think is mediocre, you might think is terrific and vice versa. Most of the main dining room food was quite good. The Horizon buffet food was more hit and miss. The buffet was divided into three sections, a small buffet at the front/aft part of the lido deck, a pastry section and then a larger, more encompassing buffet at the aft/aft part of the lido deck. They repeated some items and changed others. The fresh fruit in the buffet was mostly hard and not very flavorful. The cantaloupe seemed to be the best of the bunch.
In the main dining room, you had the option to order a steak from the Crown Grill. If you go to the Crown Grill, you pay an up charge of $29. If you order it in the main dining room, the up charge is $19. I ordered a filet mignon from the main dining room. It was cooked to order correctly but by the time I got it, it was dry, lacked flavor and was barely warm. The MDR dinner menu on Princess has a this night specialty selection on one side of the menu and an every night repeating choice on the other side, in case you do not like any of the specialty options. This is common among most cruise lines. The problem with Princess which really annoys me and why they will never get a 5 star review from me unless they change, is that every other cruise line on their every night options has a seafood dish, a chicken dish and a meat dish and perhaps a vegetarian option. The meat dish on the other cruise lines consists of some kind of steak. On Carnival, for instance, it is a flat iron steak. On Princess, the meat dish consists of a HAMBURGER!!! Yup, hamburger. Talk about being classy!!?!. You are in a relatively elegant dining room, served impeccably on white linen, china and crystal tableware and if you are a meat eater and don’t like the specialty option that evening, you can order a….hamburger or if you don’t feel like McDonalding it that evening, you can order, let’s see…a HAMBURGER. No other choices. Princess used to have a reputation of having some of the best food of the major market cruise lines. Why they have made a decision to cheapen down their brand I do not understand. They could at least serve a chopped sirloin steak with choice of potato but nope….hamburger and fries. No other cruise line of the six I have cruised, Carnival, RCCL. HAL, NCL & Celebrity does this. I guess other lines care more about their image than Princess does. OK, done with my rant over my pet peeve with Princess.
Princess has seldom disappointed in the caliber of performers and production shows and they did not on this ship either. They did have to cancel half of one of the production shows because of “technical difficulties”. Toward the end of the cruise, there was a culinary show on which they had lowered a kitchen backdrop toward the front of the stage. Once lowered they were unable to raise it again and when we disembarked it was still down. This would prevent ANY production type shows from occurring during the next cruise unless they found a way to raise it. The comedian, singers, dancers were all very good. The production show that we only saw half of, I could not follow the story line and what I did follow seemed stupid. The costumes and lighting tended to be dark and I thought it was a bad show. I would have walked out before it was over anyway. The fact that the dancers and singers were quite talented could not save it. Singer Barbi McCullough (sp) who performed on the last day was exceptional. What a voice! She knocked it out of the park. My wife and I are readers and we usually spend a lot of time reading on our cruises. The library should have been called the game room. There were lots of games but maybe 7 books total in the whole library!!!. My wife loves perusing ship’s libraries. Needless to say, she was quite disappointed with this one. We did not do many activities this trip, but looking in the Princess Patter, the daily guide to what was happening, there seemed to be a fair amount of activities to partake of, should one want to.
Our stateroom was classified as an obstructed balcony class stateroom but there was very little obstruction. We lucked out and got a stateroom that had no lifeboat outside our balcony. The room was adequate in size except for the bathroom which was really tiny. Typically bathrooms are small on cruise ships but this was smaller than most. Other than that, there was more than enough storage space for two people. The only problem was there was limited space under the bed to store our suitcases. There was a large plastic something under the bed that stored linens or covers or something for, I assume, housekeeping. Large screen TV on the wall facing the bed with limited channels but a fair selection of on demand free movies and shows.
Everyone from our room steward, Igor, who was exceptional, to our dining staff and every crew member we encountered with the exception of one crew member in the Horizon buffet and one in the casino, rendered excellent service, provided a cheery greeting with a smile and made you feel warmly welcomed and cared about. You can see from my previous comments how picky I am and I have no complaints about the service I received from crew members. It was top notch.
General Ambiance A
The ship is beautiful. Public areas are gorgeous. You are surrounded by elegant décor. This is a Medallion class ship and frankly, the Medallion app has some bugs that need to be worked out. It works quite well for opening doors but as far as finding your shipmates, ordering food and drink, etc., sometimes it works OK, sometimes not. My wife could locate me via a diagram of where I was on the ship – my exact location. When I tried to locate her, all it would give me was the floor she was on without a diagram. I could not find how to order food to where I was on the app, only drinks. My wife tried to send me messages via chat. Either it never let me know there was a message or I could not hear the notification due to ambient noise. In any case, the message was not instant and frequently would not show up until 15 minutes to an hour after she sent it. Others have commented on this and I will too. The main elevators – the ones that are used by most people most of the time – are inadequate for the number of passengers. They are packed full a great deal of the time so unless you are on floor 4 or 5 or 16, there will be many times when you wait for a long time only to find that when your elevator comes it is packed full and there is no room for you. This is very frustrating. You need to use the forward or aft elevators most of the time but the aft elevators cannot get you to some places. The main elevators are the most convenient and the ones that will get you to wherever you need to go but are a problem.
Did we enjoy the ship? Yes, yes and yes. Will we go on her again in the future? Probably - more likely than not. Since we live near the west coast, we favor ships that cruise out of the west coast. They are the easiest and most cost effective for us to get to. This was our 27th cruise since we started cruising together in 2012. Hopefully, there will be many more cruises in our future. Read Less