43 Venice Princess Royal Princess Cruise Reviews

The maiden voyage of the Royal Princess was truly a great vacation experience. My wife and I celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary on board and we had a blast. The Atrium is truly magnificent as shown in the Royal Princess You Tube ... Read More
The maiden voyage of the Royal Princess was truly a great vacation experience. My wife and I celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary on board and we had a blast. The Atrium is truly magnificent as shown in the Royal Princess You Tube videos. I will definitely cruise with Princess again! PROS: Our Stateroom Stewart at E402 was Naisy and she was truly a delightful and hard working young lady. In fact a film crew from the UK were filming her for a documentary when we were there. She is a true Superstar! Our dining room waiter, Florante, catered to our every whim. His sense of humor is truly infectious. Dining at the Allegro was always something we look forward to. His assistant Rodelio was also very attentive to our needs. What a superb pair of waiters! Our lunch at the Concerto was always memorable due to our waitress Aileen Fontanilla. She was spot on on her luncheon recommendations. Her assistant Forlett was a definite asset to the team. The Horizon Cafe team of Chefs and waiters were truly remarkable and the new Pastry Shop is a must. CONS: Our first night in our stateroom, our shower did not work. We had to wait 3 hours for someone to fix it thus missing our first dinner as we were exhausted from our 16 hour transatlantic flight. The nightly entertainment at the Princess Theater was below par and very short. Princess needs to work on this badly. I have never seen a show where guests started leaving after the first musical number. The way to the Allegro Dining room is confusing as there is no direct route from midship without taking the stairs first. Other guest were also right in stating that a stairway is badly needed at midship as it takes forever to wait for the elevators. The Seawalk is over-rated. The Promenade deck should be called the half Promenade most of it was eliminated. Lastly, there some guest in the Elite status who think they are royalty and insist on having preferential treatment in the choice of lounging chairs under the Movie Under the Stars. They ask that first timers vacate their seats or be the first to in line for services even if they come in late. Princess need to offer courses in proper etiquette and good manners for these people. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
The Royal is a beautiful ship, and we had a marvelous time on her Maiden TA voyage from Venice to Fort Lauderdale. It was our first cruise in the Mediterranean and first TA, so we really didn't know what to expect, but The Royal met ... Read More
The Royal is a beautiful ship, and we had a marvelous time on her Maiden TA voyage from Venice to Fort Lauderdale. It was our first cruise in the Mediterranean and first TA, so we really didn't know what to expect, but The Royal met and surpassed our expectations. First, despite the many negative reviews, we thoroughly enjoyed the ship. The service was exceptional and the food was wonderful. The entertainment was very enjoyable with lots of variety from the production shows to comedians to bands/musicians to local entertainment in certain ports. The highlight of the ship is the large and beautiful piazza where something was always going on--it was entertainment central for the ship with plenty of seating, bars and food options. We particularly enjoyed Alfredo's where the food, pasta and desserts were delicious and free as well as the 24 hour International Café--again variety and quality of the food were wonderful. We had a mid-ship minisuite under the Seaview Bar and loved the extra space of the stateroom and balcony. Our balcony was one of the larger angled balconies, and we enjoyed breakfast each morning and a special balcony dinner one evening. Privacy is not an issue on the port side under the Seaview Bar, especially if you are booked on a lower deck as we were (Baja). There were curtains that allowed the stateroom to be separated into bedroom and seating area, which we very much enjoyed. Storage space was more than adequate, and we loved the well equipped bathroom with tub/shower combo. The on demand television system was wonderful with a large selection of movies, TV shows and the usual lectures and daily wake show. We enjoyed the opportunity to watch first run movies in our cabin especially on port days when we returned exhausted from a long day of touring. The spa is large and luxurious, and I like the new location on Deck 5. I had very good treatments, and there was no pressure to buy additional products and services. The gym was on Deck 16 and had plenty of equipment and great views. I also enjoyed the walking track on Deck 17--again great views and outside exercise stations. There is a large court space where Zumba was held most mornings and also used for basketball, pickleball and other court games. Cruise staff had many activities planned for the sea days, and we enjoyed trivia, Pop Choir, lectures and lounging by the pools. There are three pools with lots of loungers in both sun and shade--we enjoyed the adult only retreat pool. We did not take advantage of the Sanctuary (fee based) or the Retreat Pool cabanas (fee based). The Movies Under the Stars was in operation day and night, and we enjoyed the fountain shows on special nights. There were very few children on our cruise so space in the pools and hot tubs was not an issue. The newly designed Horizon Court/Bistro buffet area was a huge improvement with good flow and a great variety of food. We usually ate in the dining room but we had lunch and snacks in Horizon Court. We also ate at the Crab Shack, which is a special area in Horizon Court offered on certain nights. The food was delicious although the hush puppies need some work. Princess continues to have the best pizza at sea which we enjoyed several days for lunch, and also the Trident grill offers freshly made burgers, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches. At night the grill also offers chili, barbecue beef and pork as part of the Smokehouse. The food was very good. The soft serve ice cream (free), Pastry Shop (free) and Gelato Shop (fee based) meant that snacks and desserts were always available. Afternoon Tea in the dining room was also excellent with delicious scones and other treats. Cruise staff were competent, friendly and professional, and we had some of the best service on the Royal that we've had on any of our cruises. Ports were interesting and varied, and we took mostly private excursions arranged through our roll call--all were excellent. The one Princess tour that I took in Barcelona was well organized and convenient-don't miss seeing La Sagrada Familia, which was the main reason I chose this particular tour. We were blessed with beautiful weather and calm seas on the Atlantic crossing and would definitely recommend this itinerary and the beautiful Royal. She is very spacious and it rarely felt crowded. We enjoyed the new feature of free intranet service accessed via cell phones and tablets to keep up with activities, locations and stateroom accounts conveniently and on-demand. I did miss the promenade deck for that "close to the sea" viewing and walking, but most of the other "negatives" were not an issue for us. The elevators were crowded during port days when people are coming and going at the same time, but most of the time they worked fine even without the central staircase. I didn't find it a problem to walk forward or aft when I wanted to take the stairs. The self-service laundry rooms on most passenger decks were very convenient and worked well with the new token machines--much easier to swipe your cruise card than carry quarters. The Library is very small and there is no card room. The aft dining room was the meeting place for cards and games--we didn't participate in those so I don't know how well that venue worked. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
The Royal Princess is an excellent ship and worth seeing. My wife & I are both 62 and sailed on the Royal and found her to be different from the other ships yes but.. beautiful, expansive and pure joy to be on. If you are concerned, ... Read More
The Royal Princess is an excellent ship and worth seeing. My wife & I are both 62 and sailed on the Royal and found her to be different from the other ships yes but.. beautiful, expansive and pure joy to be on. If you are concerned, don't be. Our biggest complaint is: All these old, Elite (read arrogant) and overweight cruisers complaining all day and night. Average age on board had to be above 70, average weight well above 200. So, let us please put the complaining in perspective (other than older people simply like to complain). Yes, the stairs amidships re for crew and for emergencies. If you want to walk, the walk fore or aft but... noooo.... most people COULD not or WOULD not walk so they used the elevators... for one floor. This caused the overcrowding of elevators. For us, not an issue. The technology is amazing... on demand movies (over 60), TV Shows, live TV, GPS, music and.. if you missed a presentation/lecture in Princess Live, the recording was on demand.. thus the reasons for Princess Live. The TVs were not 'out for days'.. user error, trust me. Laundry taking too long. Oh... there were 3,000+ Elite passengers on board with yes, you go tit, free laundry. These people could not go a day without turning in laundry which overloaded the ship. Unless you are on a cruise where only retired Elite people go, no issue. I got my laundry back in 2 days, normal. Only 2 pools... is not correct. There are 3, one is for adults only (thank you Princess). If you are going to pick a cruise to go swimming, go to a beach, OK? Oh.. I cannot put my drink down in the Theater. here is an idea.. don't drink so much. Really? You need to set a drink down for a 45 minute show? Wow, how can someone complain about this? The aisles are plentiful IF you walk around to the side but no one would walk and extra 2 feet to avoid inconveniencing anyone. The theaters is huge, amazing and a joy. Many complained it was too loud. Really, a live theater should be quiet? Noise complaints.. sheesh. First, we had absolute peace and quiet. We know how to choose a cabin. Everyone we met who complained about noise and vibration.. we asked, "where is your cabin?". You guessed it... bow or stern. Wow, you mean you have a room over the engines and the propellers and you thought it was a design flaw that your room had more motion and vibration? Same with the bow and wind noise or... getting a cabin below the upper deck. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? Take a course in cabin selection, OK? There is no bar in the Vista Lounge.. a complaint? Thank You Princess. Now, you can actually listen to the show/music without someone making noise in the back at the bar. And hey.. elitists... stop talking when the show is on, OK? You want to talk or drink? Go to a bar or up on deck. Now, the Promenade. Well.. let's start with the Atrium. It is amazing. Long, wide and the acoustics are awesome. One can listen to music on 3 decks.. wonderful. The Atrium is bounded by shops, restaurants, bars, sushi, pastry, coffee.. name it. Now.. where do you think the engineers got all that space? On the Emerald, peple complained that it was too narrow to walk through the Atrium. OK, solved here but where did the space come from? Yes, the Promenade. The life boats are pushed out over the side (vs. being over the Promenade deck) and now, we have all this extra space inside. it is truly amazing. So, personal preference.. if I had to choose.. I would take the larger space inside, more rooms, larger Atrium and simply miss the Promenade. Yes, it is nice to walk on but you know, for every get, there is a give. Ask yourself,, how often do you walk/sit on the Promenade vs. walk/sit/eat inside? The bathrooms are larger with a shower you fit into.. thank you Princess. And.. there is a step to put your foot on so certain body parts do not hang out of the shower when you are washing your legs. I did not find the staterooms to be smaller... same as Emerald I think or very close. Yes, the balcony is smaller. Very small, bummer. Interesting how everyone complains though.. for all the times I was on the balcony or looking over the side rarely did I see anyone using them. I didn't mind as I am happy having a larger bathroom/shower and if I have to give up a foot on the balcony, so be it. The SeaWalk is amazing. Beautiful photos from the walk... I certainly did not like the fact that the dress code was not enforced. I did complain about this. The again, consider the people on board and their attitudes towards.. well, everything. All retired, mostly from Florida and originally from NY, NJ or Miami. One person was screaming at the MaitreD that he had no right to stop him and he is going to his table. He made a big scene.. something Princess will avoid at all costs. What ever happened to common respect? We enjoyed the food and found it on par with Princess cruises. The entertainment was awesome.. they brought in some folks from the West End. Wow. If only the audience would be quiet, not talk and.... get this.. not record using their tablet/phone/camera thus putting a bright LED in the faces of fellow passengers. Again.. Elitists can do no wrong I suppose. What ever happened to common courtesy? So... when you hear all the issues.. forget it. there are pros and cons of building and change is inevitable. The Royal is a beautiful ship, sound, smooth ride, advanced technology... we loved it. If she is sailing a route we want, we would not hesitate to go back. Now, if we could only get Princess to issue a manual on how retired Floridians should behave.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
The Royal Princess was a fairly new ship on its first transatlantic crossing in October, 2013. So, why did we have towels and wash cloths that were frayed? Why is there rust everywhere you look? Ours was an obstructed-view balcony with up ... Read More
The Royal Princess was a fairly new ship on its first transatlantic crossing in October, 2013. So, why did we have towels and wash cloths that were frayed? Why is there rust everywhere you look? Ours was an obstructed-view balcony with up close views of the life boats and their hoists which had lots of rust showing – already, even the stainless steel posts on the balcony were spotted with rust! Plus, the wood railings were pitted with white flaky stuff in its surface. And, they'd used duct tape to secure some of the thick metal winch cables?!?! The nicest thing I can say about the cabin is there was a nice long, open-closet with plenty of hangers provided; however, the bathroom and balcony were very tiny. Then, and it wasn't too long into the cruise, we started noticing the coughing and hacking by fellow passengers – then it hit us. We had to get antibiotics and had several days of unrest and sickness. Overall our first impressions weren't so good, yet, our room stewardess, as it turned out, was very attentive and always referred to us by name when we saw her. The entertainment, including the lecturers, were top notch - certainly a highlight of our onboard activities. The Piazza is beautiful and a great place to hang out and people-watch and it seemed that they always had something going on in that area. Of the ports, Messina and Naples were the let downs – no need to re-visit either of those two cities, whereas Madeira island is, and has been, one of our favorite places – we definitely recommend touring the western side of the island – just fantastic – and beautiful – well worth the 6 ½ hours we spent with 10 others in a Mercedes van with guide/driver at only 22 euros per person!!! The food on this cruise was OK – nothing to rave about and the wait-staff service was mediocre, often very slow in bringing meals to the table, but not when trying to sell you bottled water! I think they finally got the message that most of us were not falling for that expensive ploy early into the cruise. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give a solid rating of a 5 – it just wasn't that special – even with it being a new ship on its less than stellar inaugural transatlantic cruise. Sorry, Princess. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Our Royal Adventure – 9 – 27 October 2013 Executive Summary My wife Louise and I booked this trip within an hour of the voyage being published. Although we have sailed 18 times with Princess we have never done a TA and we thought ... Read More
Our Royal Adventure – 9 – 27 October 2013 Executive Summary My wife Louise and I booked this trip within an hour of the voyage being published. Although we have sailed 18 times with Princess we have never done a TA and we thought that the opportunity to do it on a new ship could not be missed. Since there were many stops in the Med and we thought the Atlantic crossing could be cool we opted to settle for an interior cabin (A725). This is only the third time we have taken an interior cabin for more than two days. Having keenly followed the construction of the ship and avidly read the posts of this summer’s early passengers we must admit to having some reservations about the ship to the point of considering cancellation of the voyage. We have spent considerable time comparing the Royal to our favorite ships the Sapphire, Diamond and Ruby. Despite what we consider to be deficiencies of the Royal design we decided we had to make our own observations. Details of our actual cruise will be found after the summary. The summary expresses our opinions about the ship more or less as we discovered them and NOT in the order of their importance. PLUSES: • As usual we were impressed with the friendliness and professionalism displayed by all of the crew we interacted with. • Outstanding execution of the Piazza. It is larger, more elegant and welcoming than in other ships. • Much improved Horizon Court. The new design reduces congestion, offers more seating options and allows for specialty areas. Pastry area very inviting. • Great flat screen TV in the cabin with much enhanced programming. • Ability to verify account from personal computer. • The elimination of the Promenade has allowed for the creation of several new semi-private open deck lounge areas. • A much longer and improved walking/jogging track on the upper deck. • Enlarged and very up to date exercise room and equipment. • Great Crown Grill as part of the Wheelhouse Bar with a pianist. • Great theatre. • We had the misfortune to have a clothing item go astray in the laundry. Our steward advised us to make a claim at the Purser’s desk. The agent there was empowered to give us an immediate credit to our account. Late our last night our steward arrived with several missing laundry items. We had the desk remove the credit. Well done all around. NEGATIVES: • Elimination of the Promenade. We miss the opportunity to have our long morning walk there.. • Narrower balconies. I would never book a balcony cabin on this ship. • Many balconies are exposed from above, in particular the stern balconies and those below the new Sky walk. • The upper level walking/jogging track is subject to smoke and soot depending on the wind. • Water show is a waste of space and money. • New or increased charges for many items. • Steam rooms no longer available for everyone’s use. • Retreat area is of limited use when underway because of lack of adequate wind protection. • The centre pool arrangement under the MUTS will be a madhouse when there are many children aboard. • Princess seems unable to have their Spa tubs at the recommended 102 degrees F. At night they are barely body temperature and therefore uncomfortable. • Loss of the Explorer’s Lounge. • The terrible waste of space and environmental pollution devoted to and caused by the photo department. Why are they still printing thousands of useless pictures? Other cruise lines have fully digitized their operation allowing their guests to view only their pictures on kiosks then selecting what they want printed. • We find that the dinner menu choices are not to the same calibre as before. • Loss of the aft pool and spa. • No longer have trays or even glass holders in theatre seats. • Nautical chart of voyage not posted (usually posted on the LIDO deck aft of pools). • Menus not posted on both sides of dining room. • Senior Staff photos not posted as on other ships. • We find the seating in the center of the Vista lounge impractical. • The Princess Live Theatre is not a practical setting for the team games because of the row seating and its relatively small size. • The Library seems to have been an after-thought. Barely the size of a cabin, few chairs and very few books. • The laundry has been overwhelmed by the number of Elite passengers and their free laundry privilege. Many passengers arrived aboard with significant laundry because of previous touring. The laundry never caught up and it is taking 3 to 5 days to have things returned. Even then things come back piecemeal. • This has been the worst internet service I have experienced on any voyage perhaps due to too many Elite passengers. Even alongside it is next to useless. • Poor/broken TV reception of live TV programming. Might expect this in mid-Atlantic but not when tied alongside in Europe. • We’re disappointed that there are no “Special Edition” souvenirs for this inaugural crossing. All that is offered are souvenirs stating “Inaugural Season”. On other Princess ships there have always been at least coffee cups depicting the route of a particular voyage. Princess dropped the ball here. • In our opinion the ship is too cool. Not only that, but there are marked temperature differences between zones. What is the point of wearing a bare shouldered or backless dress if you have to wear a shawl? AC gone wild! • The starboard side of decks 7 and 17 have been designated as smoking areas. The only notice of this is in the first “Patter”. There are no signs on the port side of these decks indicating they are non-smoking. People are smoking throughout these deck areas and staff is not correcting the situation. A complaint to the Purser’s office brought no results. Considering the observations above the Royal is not the ship for us and we would not book another voyage on her or her sister the Regal. However, we remain loyal Princess passengers. Full Report For the first time we made our flight reservations through Princess eZair. We required flights from Ottawa, Canada to Venice and return from Fort Lauderdale. This was easy to accomplish and we obtained good flights at very competitive prices. We requested departure for 6 October with a return on Monday the 28th. The routing provided was Air Canada to Toronto followed by Air Canada’s new discount airline “Rouge” to Venice then using Westjet for Fort Lauderdale - Toronto – Ottawa. We arrived at Ottawa airport at 2:30 for our 4:00PM departure. To our surprise there was no one in line. We got our baggage tags from the kiosk and proceeded immediately to baggage drop off then to security. Again no one in front and quick process through security. This was the fastest airport processing we have ever encountered. Now we have time to kill. I hope the rest of the trip to Venice is as simple. Departure from Ottawa is on time aboard an A319. Easy flight to Toronto. After killing about three hours in the Terminal and a pub we board our Venice “Rouge” flight and push back about 10 minutes early. Flight is about 70% full and my gamble to re-book centre isle seats pays off with an empty centre seat. We receive an evening meal which was not indicated on our ticket. Nice surprise but it made up for a very disappointing continental breakfast. Overall good impression of this new airline. Arrival in Venice is impressive compared to North American misery. We’re quickly off the plane and Immigration /customs consists of nothing more than a smile and a stamp of the passport. Not one question to any passenger we saw. Canada Customs take note! Our bags also arrive much faster than they do in Canada and the US. We try to collect our pre-paid airport shuttle bus to the Mestre train station across from our hotel, from the available Kiosks, but the machines refuse. We go to the staffed counter, get the prepaid tickets and also buy a 72 hour bus/vaporetto pass. We get wrong directions to the bus platform and end up getting a bus to Venice proper. Eventually get returned to the right place. We drag our bags about 300 feet to our booked hotel the Bologna. We’re very pleased with the hotel and the price. After check-in we locate an Ali grocery store about four blocks away which also sells wine, beer and liquor . We make a purchase to tide us over. After further exploration we find a shop, Antica Botreza del Vino, located at the corner of Via Cavallotti and Via Felisati, that sells bulk wine near Hotel Aaron but it is closed when we visit. We return in the evening and find that there are about 10 to 12 varieties each of red and white wine that sell for under 2 Euro per liter. Bring your own collapsible bag. We have dinner at Soul Kitchen across the street from the Bologna which was quite good. See report in Trip Advisor. Tuesday 8 Oct - We enjoy a very good complimentary breakfast at the hotel. We are off early to visit Venice using our 3 day bus and Vaporetto pass. We no sooner board the water bus when I believe I failed to close the room safe. We get off at the next stop and get back to the hotel. Sure enough I had left the safe open but all is still there. I don’t believe anyone had yet been into the room. We return to Venice and spend about five hours walking about and exploring. The day is overcast with occasional sprinkles of rain. The tide is in and some canal side plazas have some water on them. We return to the hotel late in the afternoon. After a little rest we decide on an Asian dinner. We walk about 200 paces along Via Piave and discover Ristorante Oriental a small Asian restaurant next to the Ali grocery. This was an ideal for a casual inexpensive meal. See restaurant review in Trip Advisor. Wed. 9 Oct – Boarding day - On the advice of an experienced Venice traveller we take the airport bus at 10:40 back to the airport then join a group for our pre-paid Princess shuttle. Princess people are very well organized. We are met, identified, our bags are dropped off to next appear in our room and about 10 minutes later we leave on our coach. A 20 minute ride finds us at the pier. Processing has already begun so we walk directly to check-in, go to the holding area and two minutes later our boarding color is called. We are in our cabin by noon. Very impressive boarding procedure! While waiting for our bags we take the opportunity to have a quick walk about. The ships appointments are very beautiful. It’s a delight to be on a brand new ship. Unusually slow baggage delivery. We have received 3 of 4 bags by 3:50PM. Of course the missing bag is one that I surrendered just before check-in and it contains a med which required refrigeration. On the other hand all liquid supplies have arrived intact. Missing bag arrives at 4:00pm. We complete our unpacking and head off to the city on foot looking for a “grocery” store. Walking from the pier we make our way to the causeway leading to the city, about 20 minutes. We turn left beside the motorcycle parking and head to the main bus stop and city parking building. Within 300 feet we spot a COOP sign which is a local supermarket chain and the shop turns out to be adjacent to the “A” vaporetto stop. We find our way there and make a further purchase of “supplies”. This time we return to the ship using the “People Mover”, one euro/person, and have no difficulty with security. We return to our cabin, freshen up and proceed to the deck area aft of the Horizon Court to watch all the water traffic while enjoying a bucket of beer. We’re established! First Impressions – Our cabin, interior A725 is a little larger than our previous experiences. The new flat screen TV is multi-purpose and seems to have much more capability than in the past. The TV has a USB pigtail to the right but no HDMI input. My wife’s opinion is that the overall cabin lighting is brighter. You can now check your account from the cabin by creating an account on your device. This is a separate account from the Internet account. Someone re-measured the shower curtain and it now reaches the inside of the shower pan. No more flooded bathroom! My wife reports the hair dryer which is installed and stored in the drawer is impractical as the power switch must be held on, there is only one heat setting with two speeds and no diffuser. Bring your own. On the other hand there are more power outlets. To the left of the vanity there is a 120 and 230v outlet, while on the right there is another 120v outlet. To the right of the wall mounted TV there is another 120v outlet. There is a duel voltage outlet in the bathroom. We are travelling with a “Belkin” three outlet surge suppressor with duel USB charging ports. This unit’s plug head rotates to four positions allowing it to be inserted to any wall outlets orientation. I purchased the unit on Ebay for about $15. In our opinion the vanity is wider and there is more space around the “queen” configured bed. We’re very happy with our cabin selection. We met Jason, our steward, shortly after boarding and we had an immediate rapport. This is a great start to our journey. We have explored more of the ship and have found more differences and changes. There is no more “power hour” on any of the ships. The coffee card is more expensive and the mug is no longer included (add $5.00). The steam rooms are no longer available to everyone. They have created a new area called the Enclave that has all the features of the Thermal Suite. For this voyage they require $499.00 per couple for their use. Limited sales available. We cast our lines about 4:30 PM. For us, long time boaters, one of the highlights was to watch the intense boat activity all around us. Many others have described the passage down the Grand Canal and out the lagoon so I won’t try to elaborate. Suffice to say that it was impressive despite the cool temperature and brisk wind. We had found a sheltered corner on the deck behind the Horizon Court. The very appropriate sailaway music was piped to this area as well as most of the ship. Oct., 11 – This morning started with a treadmill walk followed by a light breakfast in the Piazza. At 10:30 we had the CC meet and greet. There are over 400 people signed up for this roll call. There was a great turn out and a warm welcome from Samantha our CD. At 2:00PM we will have a slot pull. The group has many other activities planned for the remainder of the cruise. The slot pull resulted in a draw. Sixty seven people played 15 dollars each and after over an hour we were each about 17 cents ahead. Don’t think we would participate in this event again. Internet service reliability is always inconsistent but on this cruise it is extremely slow if not dysfunctional. Perhaps it is because of the over 3000 Platinum and Elite members using up their free minutes. During the day we have spoken with a number of experienced Princess cruisers that are less than enthusiastic with the Royal design. We attended our first Platinum/Elite lounge event. There are so many members aboard that the event is held in the Vista lounge. There was a very heavy turnout for a smoked salmon theme. We’re not impressed with the new layout of the Vista lounge which is now configured in essentially a theatre seating. We met a couple we had met in January on the Emerald and have agreed to meet for a walking tour of Messina tomorrow morning. Oct., 12 – Messina, Sicily. We arrived here very early in the morning in order to take advantage of high tides. The ship was cleared shortly after six AM. We met up with Alain and Helene and proceeded ashore shortly after nine. We purchased tickets for one of the walk on walk off bus tours (15 EU each). We did a complete circuit in about 50 minutes. This provided a good overview of the city. We took the bus again to the main shopping area then walked back to the “Duomo” a cathedral having a bell tower containing the world’s largest astronomical clock as well as many animated features that are activated at the stroke of noon. We purchased some inexpensive wine at a nearby super mercato, about 5 blocks south of the ship on Corso Vittorio Emanuele. We returned early to the ship for lunch and a sailaway about 4:00PM. Temperatures improved so we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on the aft deck. Oct., 13 – Naples. We awoke today to a bright sunny day. The port stop is from 7:00AM to 7:00PM. We leave the ship shortly before 10:00AM with the objective of seeing Naples Underground. The entrance to this site is at Piazza San Gaetano, 68. This turned out to be about a 25 minute walk from the ship. If you are not physically fit don’t read any further about this adventure. The entrance turned out to be down a short narrow alley left of a church. When we arrived there was a throng of people awaiting entrance. We discovered that tours were offered in different languages and those waiting were waiting for a specific tour. We purchased our tickets (EU9.5) and waited for about 10 minutes for the English tour. His tour takes your over 200 feet underground to the former Roman and Greek theatre, aqueducts and cisterns. Many of these areas were used as bomb shelters during the war. The tour lasted about one and a half hours and was really worth the visit. It is difficult to comprehend how these very extensive caverns were constructed about 2000 years ago. This experience is very worthwhile but you must be fit to climb the extensive stairs. We followed this with a walk down Via Tribunali. It was a Sunday and the street was alive with the colorful Neapolitan life. Highly recommended! Next we went to the Galeria Umberto located near the Palazzo Reale a short distance from the dock. This structure is remarkable for its incredible dome. Although a major shopping centre most of the shops were closed on Sunday. Nevertheless there were throngs of people in the area and it was fun to be among the crowd. The disappointment about all this walking was the amount of litter we saw. The people are careless and the city is dirty. Finally, we returned to the port area. Just outside the secure area there were several kiosks/restaurants catering to the ferry passengers. We enjoyed a large Peroni beer for EU3.5 each and were able to use the WIFI and toilet (may not be satisfactory for some ladies). That was the end of our day in Naples. Tonight we enjoyed dinner in the Concerto Dining room. We had a table for two (348) which is well removed from a serving station and separated from other diners. The noise level was good and we had excellent service from Lesly and Julius. After dinner we attended the Majority Rules game hosted by the Deputy Cruise Director (DCD) Dan the followed this by the comedian Rikki Jay in the Princess theater. Dan is a great entertainer and could be a full time comedian. Rikki Jay was less entertaining and many of his jokes were stale or re-hashed. Oct., 14 – Civitavecchia/Rome. We awoke to a sunny day and promising temperatures. The plan for today was to go to the town of Tarquinia about 20 km north of the port. We obtained bus tickets from a little ladies shop just to the south of the port exit. The tickets were EU5 each for a round trip. The bus runs about every one and a half hours (Blue bus route A) so check the schedule especially for the return. The purpose of the trip was to visit this walled town and in particular to see the Etruscan Tombs. Unfortunately our visit was on a Monday and the town visitor’s centre and the Tombs were closed. We returned to the port on the 13:35 bus and walked about the port and its walled portion. Many shops and restaurants were again closed because it was Monday. Walk up “Corso Centocelle” on the right side about 8 blocks (15 minutes) from the port to a Todis grocery store if you need supplies. This evening we had dinner in the Crown Grill. Service and food were very good. We enjoyed the quieter atmosphere and occasional piano music. We followed dinner with playing Liars Game with Sam, Dan and Rikki in the Princess Live theatre. The theatre was filled to capacity and we enjoyed a great game. Our next attraction was first opportunity to see the Water show at the pool. This was advertized as being from 10:30 to 11:30 with the show repeating every 15 minutes. We arrived between shows and caught the 11:00 display. The display was given to the background of James Bond music. Great music but the show only lasted 5 minutes. What a waste of valuable space and money. Big disappointment! Oct., 15 – Cannes. Arrive at about 8:00AM and anchor. Tender service began about 8:30AM. The Horizon Court area has experienced a really effective transformation on this ship. It has many more serving stations and corridors which go across the ship as well along the ship axis. This really disperses the crowd and allows for areas to offer theme dishes. This morning we used the Horizon Bistro. This is a relatively undiscovered area where you will find the waffle man and lighter breakfast fare. We took the 20 minute tender ride at about 10:00AM. No wait for the tender. At the tender dock there is free WIFI available. We walked the shore size promenade (La Croisette) to admire all the yachts and high end hotels and shops on the off shore side of the street. We returned to the “Cannes Cinema Tour” mini train stop and took this tour, the Big Tour, one of three offered (EU10 each). This was a very worthwhile tour lasting about an hour and taking us to the less travelled streets and to a church located on a mount overlooking the city. This is a recommended tour. Tonight we are dining in the Concerto dining room followed by the Name That Tune game then Showtime with Ventriloquist Jimmy Tamley and Vocalist Paul Baker. The Name That Tune show was well attended. We had an unofficial team which I think did fairly well but we left a few minutes early in order to attend the Show. The ventriloquist was excellent. He was followed by Paul Baker a star of the London stage. He sang a number of his major stage songs. He is a wonderful singer. Oct., 16 – Barcelona – We start the harbour approach about 8:00AM and finally get alongside and cleared about 9:00AM. Shuttles are provided by Princess and the Port Authority at a fee for transport to the World Trade Centre (About $10 round trip). We decide to walk to the World Train Centre which takes us about 25 minutes. There we board the Barcelona City Tour one of two operators giving very similar tours. This company offers two Hop on Hop Off routes for EU26 or seniors rate of EU20. This was an outstanding tour and we would highly recommend it. We left the tour at stop #1 then walked the length of Las Ramblas, a broad pedestrian thoroughfare back to the Trade Centre and this time took the city shuttle back to the ship for EU2.50 each. In our opinion Barcelona is the most beautiful and well maintained city we have ever visited. City planning at its best! We departed Barcelona at about 8:00PM and set out for Madeira, our final port of call. After dinner we went topside to participate in a Latin night deck party. Dancers from the theatre performed and it was a well attended and entertaining party. Oct., 17 – Sea Day -We awake to a bright warm day and find many ships around us. We are heading for the Strait of Gibraltar then out into the Atlantic. We enjoy a wonderful sea day starting with a workout then we attend two lectures and end with a few hours on one of the decks. The most enjoyable lecture was given by John Maxtone-Graham, a maritime historian, on the subject of “The Only Way To Cross” ocean liners of the past. We decide to go to the Symphony dining room for the first time. We’re warmly greeted by the Maitre D and given a very good table for two. Following a good dinner we are offered a standing reservation for the rest of the voyage. The warm welcome and better environment make us decide to accept. We try to go the Marriage Game show but are unable to get into the Princess Live theatre. This venue is too small for such a popular show. We follow this with a movie at MUTS. It’s a cool evening and a poor Tom Cruise movie forces us to quit. We go to the rail at about 11:30PM to watch the coastline as we sail pass Gibraltar. Oct., 18 – Sea Day - A cool and cloudy day. Too windy for the deck! We have an easy morning then attend the second lecture by Mr. Maxtone-Graham this time about Titanic survivors. He is a fascinating speaker. Prior to dinner we watched comedian Darrell Joyce give an extremely funny routine in the Princess theatre. We dine again in the Symphony dining room table 165 with Sopha as the waiter. Another great dinner! We follow dinner by watching the International Music Event from deck 7 of the Piazza. This was a varied and thoroughly enjoyable spectacle. Oct., 19 – Funchal, Madeira – We arrive here in the port just about sunrise around 8:00AM. From the sea the town looks very attractive. We learn that there are two hop on hop off operations the Red and Yellow. We opt for the Red promoting a two hour tour for EU12. This turns out to be money well spent. We have a very extensive tour of the area as well as a climb to a lookout well above the city. Recommended! We had planned to take the cable car to a hilltop but when we get there we see that cloud is building at the summit and decide against this option. Instead we opt to visit the Madeira Story Centre (local museum about EU8) just behind the cable car station. This turns out to be a worthwhile stop. We follow this with a walk of the nearby streets, the local market and a beer stop near the market before returning to the ship about 3:00PM. All aboard is at 5:30 when we will start out across the Atlantic! We had a good dinner again at table 165 with Sopha. Tried a couple of venues but nothing attracts. We make a nightcap and enjoy it on deck 16 aft. Good night. Oct., 20 – Sea Day. Awake to a mostly cloudy day. Sea slight with SW wind about 15. Easy morning and then we attend the lecture by Mr. Maxtone-Graham with part two of the only way to cross. Dinner with friends and early evening back to our cabin. Oct., 21 – Sea Day – Much the same as yesterday. Seas remain gentle. High wind across the deck make the Retreat area nearly unusable. Oct., 22 – Sea Day – Sunny and warm day. Tried the shooting gallery. Ate at Alfredo’s for dinner. First visit. Disappointed. Food good but service very rushed and indifferent. Evening entertainment very good tonight. We had comic impressionis Joey Vant then a Mentalist later. Mentatalist Brent Webb put on excellent show. Decided to end evening with a visit to the spa tub on deck 16 under MUTS. Lone Ranger is the movie playing again tonight. Spa again too cool so we leave after about 15 minutes. Why can’t these small problems be addressed? Oct., 23 – Sea Day. – We’re a little more than half way across the Atlantic. Terrific crossing so far. Warm day but seas a little choppy, maybe sea state 3. Afternoon turned out like the Caribbean. Seas abated to SS1 and very warm. Outstanding! Looking forward to comedian Al Katz before dinner tonight. Oct., 24 – Sea Day - Awake today to high thin overcast and SS 0. Warm already. Last formal night tonight. No other commitments. Oct., 25 – Sea Day – Another gorgeous day. SS about 1. We attended the final production show followed by a show in the Vista Lounge. We find the productions shows repetitive and dated. We ate in the Horizon Court then watched a new murder show in the Princess Lounge. Oct., 26 – Last sea day. Awoke to generally low overcast and higher winds. SS4 to 5. Plan to start packing this morning. Clouds broke and winds abated resulting in another great day at sea. Oct., 27 – Fort Lauderdale – We arrived alongside about 4:00AM. The ship plans to begin dis-embarkation at 7:00 with ours due at 10:10. At 8:00AM the usually difficult US Customs and Immigration have still not cleared the vessel. While waiting I’ve tried to use the Internet. Although I’ve been able to connect to the ship nothing downloads. This has been essentially an absolutely useless service on this ship. Summary This has been an exceptional voyage. We have been very pleased with the itinerary and we would be happy to repeat it at this time of year. We are amazed that we were fortunate enough to have light seas throughout. As usual the crew has been exceptional. We have been pleased with our inner cabin and would select this again for this type of crossing. We have not any significant complaints with the entertainment. We have found the food in the Horizon Count more varied and of very high quality. We have really enjoyed the enhanced Piazza and Horizon Count. We find the other design changes on the Royal have seriously detracted from the features we enjoyed on such ships as the Sapphire and Emerald. We are very unlikely to ever book another voyage on this class of ship.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
The Royal was launched 6-12 months before it was ready for passengers. It was understaffed with a large number of new hires who did not have the customer service skills that I have experienced on my 19 cruises with Princess. An example ... Read More
The Royal was launched 6-12 months before it was ready for passengers. It was understaffed with a large number of new hires who did not have the customer service skills that I have experienced on my 19 cruises with Princess. An example would be a clerk in the wrist watch boutiques, who when asked by a customer about a particular watch in the window, the clerk told her it cost $2,000 followed by, "can you afford it"!!! The free laundry service for Elite passengers took 4-6 or more days to be returned to passengers instead of next service which is what is an advertised perk for their top cruises. In many cases clothing items were lost and never found. Some laundry was not finished and returned to passengers the day of disembarkation. There are design flaws such as no staircase for the center of the ship. The elevators could not handle the numbers of passengers needing to use them because of lack of stairs to ease the load on the elevators. The frustration of the center of the ship cabin passengers was palpable and expressed with anger at the crowding as people stuffed and pushed into the elevator having missed full elevators for an extended period. There are other design flaws. Electronics in every area from daily non-working computers in the Internet area room, to cabin TV's, to the Princess Theater during presentation, and behind the scenes electronic issues that made the job of the Customer Service almost impossible for them to help passengers in a timely and effective way. My service in the dining room was so not up to my experience of first waiter and junior waiter that the frustration drove me to the Horizon Court and other venues. I must say, I have always enjoyed the food on Princess Cruise, but it was so bad in the dining room along with the bad service, that I never returned to the dining room once I left. I wish I could say something nice about this sailing for me, but chasing laundry, to find out where it was, the bad service in the areas that I functioned just made an unpleasant ordeal for me. I could never find my cabin stewardess when I needed her, needed my cabin make up, or trusting her to search out where my laundry when it went missing for 5-6 days. She liked to chit chat with her fellow stewards and stewardess on the floor near her. She just wasn't focused in the way the others in her area. They were working and she was no where to be found. The Royal was a big disappointment with the under-staffing in important areas, the design issues, the poor quality of items that passengers use daily, the automatic door to one of the small cutout decks on Deck 7 which fell off at the top where its swings open and fell on the door across from it. It was framed in wood with glass in the rest of the door. Fortunately, the glass didn't shatter. I came upon it just after it happened and before the proper engineers arrived. The Regal, the sister ship of Royal, is due to be launched in 2014. Think twice before signing up for a cruise early on and see if some of the Royal's problems have been ironed out.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We were VERY pleased with our Trans-Atlantic cruise aboard the new Royal. Our main complaint was that there were TOO MANY " Elite" level passengers on board...and we are at that level. They flooded the laundry to a ridiculous ... Read More
We were VERY pleased with our Trans-Atlantic cruise aboard the new Royal. Our main complaint was that there were TOO MANY " Elite" level passengers on board...and we are at that level. They flooded the laundry to a ridiculous situation. Yes, Princess should have expected that and had a plan in effect. The ship is beautiful and functional in most ways. Change is hard for many to face. The Horizon's spaciousness can cause one to "wonder " to find their way around. But, the fact that food handlers are available to keep food fresh and are in clean condition sure beats the crowded Horizons on other ships! I think it also keeps us from heaping our plates then deciding we can't eat all we took! We missed the center stairway but loved the larger open atrium. I would turn down the speakers in the atrium and the theater. I had to remove my hearing aides and still too loud. In all, best food and service ever was had. Thanks, Princess! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was our 12th Princess Cruise and had a wonderful time. The ship was everything and more than we expected. The new piazza design was a great place to gather, enjoy a coffee, gelato, pizza or just sit and listen to the music and watch ... Read More
This was our 12th Princess Cruise and had a wonderful time. The ship was everything and more than we expected. The new piazza design was a great place to gather, enjoy a coffee, gelato, pizza or just sit and listen to the music and watch others dance. I love that the coffee card from the international café allows you a 3 scoop gelato sundae for one punch and as always your coffee card is good from one cruise to the next. No other cruise line offers that! Our deluxe cabin was great, love the new size. The décor is peaceful and we found now complained of any noise from neighboring cabins.  Nice size cabin, very comfortable and quiet. Balcony is obstructed as the sides and rail are white steel. However the balcony is very large making it a great space to enjoy the reclining chair and ottoman. The new princess live is a great space to watch the taping of the wake show and enjoy other game shows. The layout of Horizon Court is the best of any ship and any other cruise line (we've been on 4 other cruise lines). The food and variety was great. Princess is and will continue to be our 1st choice. They are consistent, have the best travel itinerary and the best spa area. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
First let me say that I have been on five other transatlantic cruises, two of which were on the Ruby and Emerald Princess (nice ships). This ship just does not measure up to the hype and is not designed for the passenger. The bean counters ... Read More
First let me say that I have been on five other transatlantic cruises, two of which were on the Ruby and Emerald Princess (nice ships). This ship just does not measure up to the hype and is not designed for the passenger. The bean counters got hold of what could have been a really great ship and really messed it up. Complaints on this ship were the primary source of conversation during my recent voyage. I was able to break the ice with anyone just by mentioning our mutual disdain for this ship. Things like: (1) Mid-ship stairwell does not go up to the Lido deck and is not useable by passengers. (2) Cannot walk around the outside of the ship on the Promenade Deck. (3) The gym is not where it belongs, forward on the bow of the ship. As an after-thought they stuck it mid-ship with a passageway running through it. (4) The ships theater somehow seems claustrophobic and the chairs do not have a place to put your drink. (5) The balcony's are very small. (6) The indoor electronic shooting range is usually closed. On the odd occasion , that it was open there is a large crowd wanting to use it. (7) The sauna and steam room are not located with the gym and are extra charge items. (8) The Princess Live Theater was cramped and uses fold-out chairs that have been known to collapse with people in them. (9) I had a cabin below the Lido deck and the noise of the deck chairs being slid around was really annoying. To be fair, on the plus side: (1) The Piazza was very large and well laid out. (2) The food was very good and of excellent quality. (3) The entertainment was OK and wasn't in bad taste. (4) I'm sure there are other good things about this ship, but considering all the negatives, it is hard to remember them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Beautiful new ship... Piazza grand, spacious and always something going on! With the international cafe and wine bar a great place to have tea, a snack or light lunch and enjoy the entertainment. Horizon court larger than on other ships, ... Read More
Beautiful new ship... Piazza grand, spacious and always something going on! With the international cafe and wine bar a great place to have tea, a snack or light lunch and enjoy the entertainment. Horizon court larger than on other ships, not crowded, plenty of seating and plenty of choices on the food. The pasty section is fantastic, and you can watch the pastry chefs at work. The pool area comfortable, the lounges plentiful, we never had problems with no seating available. The couches and table and chairs a definite plus. The movies could be enjoyed, and I must say it was great as there was no smoking in that area. Smoking restricted to several other areas, not around pool. Dining choices plentiful, for both lunch and dinner. Entertainment was varied with shows, comedians, music and dancing. It is there for you, it is up to you to partake in what you want. The crew is more than willing to make sure you enjoy your cruise, select what interests you. We found the room to be spacious, the couch enabled us to sit and relax with our morning coffee, and we liked the table by the couch. Many people talk of the small balconies, we found it spacious enough to sit and relax and enjoy the view. The room has less drawer space than other ships, but the closet space is more than adequate, the shelves in the closet area are great for shirts and sweaters, and the drawers and shelf by the bed are fine for undergarments, night attire and accessories. The bathroom has shelves and a large under sink shelf, again storage for cosmetics not needed daily. The TV easy to see and operate across from the bed. The location of this cabin was great..a short walk to the rear elevators, easy access to Horizon Court, pool, and down to Vista and deck 7 to get to center of ship! This was an 18 day cruise, plenty of storage for us, and I don't pack light! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
EMBARKATION: easy, peasy. We arrived about 2pm and walked right on CABIN: we had a deluxe balcony on Emerald deck with obstructed view - but there was NO obstruction, we had an unimpeded view thru glass. Also the extended angled balcony ... Read More
EMBARKATION: easy, peasy. We arrived about 2pm and walked right on CABIN: we had a deluxe balcony on Emerald deck with obstructed view - but there was NO obstruction, we had an unimpeded view thru glass. Also the extended angled balcony was bigger than the standard balcony so we could turn our chairs outward to view the ocean. There was a 2 cushion loveseat, and desk, with a nice handy drawer to hoÅ‚d hairdryer, toiletries, etc. Bath was standard except for the larger shower with handheld shower head and wall mounted shampoo/ shower gel dispensers. Bed was very comfy ( no gap in the middle) and the down pillows were big and fluffy. AC worked well. The flat screen TV was great except that it broke 4 times. We called and someone always came within 24 hrs to fix it. The on demand selection of movies, tv shows, HBO, Showtime, and misc ship lectures was fantastic. For news, you had Fox, BBC, and MSNBC, no CNN. Closet space and lighting were adequate. Our room steward was not good, had to ask for towels, ice, water glasses, breakfast cards, etc. Could not get Internet in our room, had to stand in the hallway to connect. DINING: We did anytime dining and loved CONCERTO dining room mainly because of the maître d Elena. We always asked for a table for 2 and only had to wait 1 night ( about 5 minutes) out of 18. Food was exceptional, we liked almost everything and only sent 1 entree back. Service was not good IMO. Sometimes we sat down to a table which was not completely set. We had to ask for butter dishes, butter knives, wine glasses, water glasses, etc. Generally, although not always, the servers did not introduce themselves, or suggest special appetizers or entrees as they did on other ships. They immediately asked us what we wanted to order, and then we had to ask for a wine list and explain we weren't ready to order until we had time to peruse the wine menu and food menu. Everything seemed rushed. The waiters were not trained well, and insisted on filling our wine glasses to the top instead of half way, & were bringing food almost before we were ready. Maybe they are used to being rushed because people want to go to shows? WINE PKG: we bought the silver for wines up to $29. Be careful if u order a more expensive wine - Twice they did not credit us the $29 & charged us for the full amt of the more expensive wine instead of the difference. Got resolved at Passenger Services. BELLINIS: menu looked good, reasonable, but we did not eat there Ditto for the CRAB SHACK. VINES: nice venue for wine w/complimentary sushi appetizers while overlooking the goings on in the Piazza. ALFREDOS: this was a highlight and very popular for lunch and dinner. Free venue with salads, pizza and several pasta entrees. The veal ravioli in white sauce was to die for! CROWN GRILL: food was good but it was not private - it was open to EXPLORERS which was a kind of weird venue. Open on both sides it offered no intimacy. SABATINIS: was a delight! Great service, quiet, intimate, good food. HORIZON COURT; I was not a fan. There were lots of seats, and the salad bar was great, that's the only good things I can say. Food was spread out all over the place - English muffins waaaaay at the other end of croissants - I never did get the hang of it. People just wandered around till they found something they liked. Food was warm/cold buffet food and not very tasteful to me. (Others loved it). The pastry shop was a huge waste of space and was nothing more than what was offered anywhere else on the ship - ok they did have fondue there one day I saw. HORIZON BISTRO was closed it seemed randomly, I don't know why. Coffee wasn't very good either place ENTERTAINMENT: I did not go to any shows, but the piano player in Explorers & all the musical combos/acrobats/demonstrations, etc in the Piazza were enjoyable. INTRANET: this was a great feature! you could check the Patter, browse the Princess website, or check your account balance anytime. POOL/OUTDOOR AREAS: pool area is noisy because of MUTS. Lots of people r ok w noise, I'm not. There were lots of loungers on 2-3 decks and also rattan sofa groupings people were using a lot. I found some quiet areas aft on deck 7 with real deck chairs/cushions for reading/relaxing to the sound of the ocean. 2 outdoor deck areas on deck 7 midship were also nice and quiet. Deck 16 Aft of HC also had great seating areas for playing cards, talking, relaxing, getting online. 3 hot tubs were never really crowded. The pizza poolside was outstanding, hamburgers not so much - they tasted like cardboard. Brats were good. Ice cream was delicious. I did not use the Retreat or Sanctuary areas. No promenade, but many people on the walking track aft at the top of the ship. There were outdoor stationary exercise stations which were easy and convenient for a quick workout. SEAWALK & Seawalk Bar: both were a novelty and not well used. You def COULD see fully onto the balconies and partially into the actual cabins on deck 14 under Seawalk. The lower the deck, the more privacy you had. INDOOR PUBLIC AREAS: PRINCESS LIVE a TV studio, had several interesting lectures, and trivia and Zumba was there, as well as the morning show. INTL CAFE: loved this. Paninis, Cubans, mozzarella/tomato, tuna salad, Waldorf salad, desserts, pastries, cappuccino, latte, espresso. I bought a COFFEE CARD -15 punches was just right for an 18 day cruise. CROONERS: great bar, great bartenders - Raphael & Tatiana, this was the place for the get-togethers, always crowded at night. VISTA LOUNGE: ok but tables r crowded with no knee room. PRINCESS THEATER: no tables for drinks, no center aisle CASINO: large w spiral staircase up to deck 7. Unfortunately this allowed smoke to waft up. Bad design!! CLUB 6 next door was nice at night and didn't smell smoke there. PIAZZA: is huge, elegant, lots centered here at night and is the place to see and be seen. Nice for evening dancing. ELEVATORS: midship a total disaster!!! Take the stairs or stay forward or aft & use those elevators. LOTUS SPA: located on deck 5 forward, much more convenient and more likely to get walk-in business. Had a great massage/facial combo w/Chachi. PASSENGER SERVICES/FCC/SHORE EXCURSIONS: never seemed to be long lines here. In the FCC area, there were no computers to browse while waiting for a consultant. INTERNET CAFE: was always crowded, long lines. Don't understand why more people don't use smart phones, laptops, or tablets. Wifi signal was strong in most public parts of the ship. DEBARKATION: a mess as always OVERALL IMPRESSION: this is an indoor oriented ship with smaller balconies, no aft pool and no promenade. I think lack of shaded lounges will be a problem in the Caribbean (attention chair hogs). And it has many more indoor pay-for options. My impression is that not many people used the new pay-for options, I don't know how profitable they will be. That being said, the ship never seemed crowded, but it did seem understaffed. Major flaws r: no midship stairs, no promenade, no aft pool, Internet did not work in many staterooms, and open casino allowing smoke out. Best things not found on other Princess ships: intranet, larger showers, more outdoor rattan sofa groupings, & large elegant atrium for evening gatherings. If I didn't write about something, that means I either didn't do it or didn't go there. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Royal Princess Review – Maiden Trans Atlantic Voyage, October 2013. Since this is a new ship I will review the ship first, then the cruise. The Royal Princess – Princess has done a lot of things RIGHT with this ship. The first ... Read More
Royal Princess Review – Maiden Trans Atlantic Voyage, October 2013. Since this is a new ship I will review the ship first, then the cruise. The Royal Princess – Princess has done a lot of things RIGHT with this ship. The first impression is one of quality construction and fixtures with a lot of attention to detail – lots of marble and granite, decorative grating, nice lighting etc. The ship is beautiful overall and is as nice as any ship I have ever sailed on. Princess seems to have taken a lot of the criticisms from previous cruiser evaluations of the Grand Class ships and attempted to fix them; Examples of this are as follows: 1. The Horizon Court – Much better Traffic Pattern and much less crowded. It also has a lovely covered outdoor deck eating and lounge area 2. Shade and quiet – On the Crown, Emerald, Ruby etc finding a shady area to sit is a real problem and finding a quiet area is almost as difficult, especially on a Caribbean Cruise. That’s why the Sanctuary sells out so quickly on those ships – I’m usually first in line and buy it for the whole cruise. The Royal has solved that problem with an ADULTS ONLY AREA with it’s own shade and pool and cushions on the lounges. They have also extended shade coverings on the sides of the stacks aft of the main Pool area. While the promenade deck does not go all around the ship there are a number of very nice sitting areas on that deck as well as throughout the ship. The Sanctuary is also very nice and they have put restrooms in the sanctuary area – a great idea. 3. The Royal has much larger tenders which speed tendering operations significantly. 4. The new In Room entertainment system features a large screen TV with a nice choice of programming including Live TV – BBC, Fox News etc., A selection of movies including those shown on deck and in the ships theatres, a selection of TV series such as Homeland, Game of Thrones etc. In addition, you can get your up to date statement of charges and credits, the onboard lectures and shore excursion information on the system. The system in my room worked fine. 5. Theatres – The Royal has Two Theatre venues, The Princess Theatre and the Vista Lounge. The Princess theatre has a very high tech stage and lighting systems and the Vista Lounge is larger and has a couch like seating area. They have done moved the Game shows and Karaoke to a new venue called Princess Live. My only criticism of the Vista Lounge is that they have tried to make it a theatre venue as well a conversation area which really doesn’t work too well in the couch section as the chairs they have placed between the couches make it difficult to get in and out. The ship internet technology worked well. The shower and sink in a regular balcony room were bigger than on the Grand Class which is an improvement. The Balcony area was a bit smaller but was fine for two people. My only real complaint with the ship is the elevator system , the programming of which made no sense at all. Empty elevators passed the floor and full elevators stopped with no logic whatsoever. The passenger elevators are too small and one scooter and 4 people fill the car. Overall we really liked the ship and will be back on it in 2015. The cruise – The service overall was excellent. The food selection and quality at the Horizon Court was the BEST I have ever seen on a cruise ship – a large selection of meats, cheeses, nuts, shrimp (cold and fried) and almost anything else you might want was available at all meals – Princess can do buffets right when it wants to. Even on a transatlantic with 3600 passengers aboard we were always able to find a seat in the Horizon Court without a problem. Great News -- here are new coffee and hot chocolate machines in the Horizon Court with FRESH GROUND COFFEE. The entertainment was pretty standard with two excellent guest entertainers. They tried to make a headliner out of one of the Princess cast singers which didn’t work out so well and quite a few people walked out. There were no long lines to get into the dining rooms, even at the 6 – 7 PM Dinner hours. We were very happy with the whole experience and will do it again when the new Regal arrives next year.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
The ship is very elegant in it's design. The Piazza is stunning and filled with lots of beautiful music, with different types of music rotating all day and evening. Our cabin was very comfortable with lots of storage, a comfortable ... Read More
The ship is very elegant in it's design. The Piazza is stunning and filled with lots of beautiful music, with different types of music rotating all day and evening. Our cabin was very comfortable with lots of storage, a comfortable bed, and I think the improvement on the bathroom size and step in the shower, which helped when shaving my legs, was good. I love the color scheme of the ship decor. I found it very calming. The food was so good in the Horizon Buffet, we, for the first time, ate most of our dinners up there. I especially liked the seating in the back of the ship outside of Horizon Court, and are out there many times. There was always plenty to do on sea days, which we love, and especially enjoy on a Transatlantic. Loved the On Demand and TV on the wall. Never heard anything through walls or in hallway. Liked the new venues but there definitely are design flaws in the lack of leg room in the Vista Lounge, and lack of additional aisle in Princess Theater. I liked Princess Live, however the seats are very uncomfortable and the camera placement is not well thought out. If you arrived a few minutes late, say for Karaoke, and they were filming, you had no way of crossing the theater to get a seat without walking in front of the camera. They would ask for more volunteers but it was impossible to get over there to choose a song. Same was true if other things were going on. We loved our cruise and would sail on the Royal again in a heartbeat.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
The Royal Princess received some much press prior to its sailing, that we were expecting great tings from her...however, we were somewhat disappointed. The design of the ship needs to be changed before the Regal is launched. The center ... Read More
The Royal Princess received some much press prior to its sailing, that we were expecting great tings from her...however, we were somewhat disappointed. The design of the ship needs to be changed before the Regal is launched. The center staircase only goes from 4-7 with no access to the upper floors making the use of the elevators a necessity. The Princess theatre has no aisles on the orchestra seats on either side making the entire row having to get up and down when someone wants to entire the row. We must say that the pillows and bed were extremely comfortable and the cabin was roomy enough. The bathroom now has shampoo/conditioner and bath gel in the shower in dispensers rather than in separate bottles. The shore excursions have not been changed in years so if you have traveled to these ports before perhaps you might look into doing your own private tour or connecting with others. The entertainment on the ship was terrific! There were plenty of things to do during the day with lectures, movies, trivia and watching movies under the stars/sun. Hopefully, Princess will work out the kinks and make the ship truly "Royal". Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We were on the Royal Princess for the maiden transatlantic voyage, from Venice. The ship looks nice from the outside, but when you come in, you see there a lot of bling-bling to show off. The bigger atrium is nice, more space for the ... Read More
We were on the Royal Princess for the maiden transatlantic voyage, from Venice. The ship looks nice from the outside, but when you come in, you see there a lot of bling-bling to show off. The bigger atrium is nice, more space for the senoir to play card or sleep, during the day and during the performance from the entertainers....... That right, the stateroom are smaller, balcony are tiny. The most inconvenient is there is no mid-ship staircase, so, from the pool or the buffet, you have to wait for the elevator that are crowded. The configuration of the Vista lounge need to be rethink. What is a lounge without a bar????? We really missed the Explorer lounge, in mid-ship on the other ship. The Princess Live studio is OK, but really to small for trivia, zumba. And then, there is NO Promenade around the ship on Promenade deck!!!! Princess begin to charge more for the extras: Chef's tables, fondues night, Crab shack dinner, Wine list. Finally, I can't imagine that ship in the Caribbean, for the Thanksgiving or Christmas weeks, with 1000 kids onboard. There's only 2 pools +1 baby pool on lido deck. For me, the name Carnival start to melted down on the name Princess. Food quality, service and production shows( 35 minutes) are getting worst than ever. I've seen the Royal, but, no more for me. And the way Princess are heading ( cutting corner to save money ), I have different vacation option. Celebrity cruises or all inclusives resort are some of them!   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
The cruise was fine, so I'll limit my comments specifically to the ship and thoughts that i came away with. I have always thought that a lot of weight is given to feedback from cruisers, particularly in the responses to the surveys ... Read More
The cruise was fine, so I'll limit my comments specifically to the ship and thoughts that i came away with. I have always thought that a lot of weight is given to feedback from cruisers, particularly in the responses to the surveys and that a lot of the features on new ships would result from what people like or ask for. Therefore, I am a bit mystified by several things I encountered on Royal that I find hard to believe were incorporated due to customer input. I doubt people asked for more difficult access to seats in the Princess Theatre or Vista Lounge. I doubt survey comments suggested Princess should remove the foldup trays in the Princess Theatre seats. Did people ask for less pool area in favor of a baby Bellagio fountain? How many requests were there for a skywalk? A Promenade Deck I could stroll, walk, or run on is gone in favor of limited deck areas with a few loungers for the chair hogs. How could a walking/jogging track up high in the sun and wind be a replacement? I doubt people trying to maintain a level of fitness asked for a gym with the latest equipment, but with a lack of adequate ventilation and AC. Every morning I would come back to my cabin totally drenched in sweat. At least, it made my wife think i had really been working out. What led to the decisions that brought about a minuscule library, an equally small internet cafe with bigger monitors, a Club Six that served as a passageway for people avoiding the casino, and a Princess Live that is being used for things it is not designed for? As I said, I had a nice cruise. I just wonder about the thinking behind so many things that I don't think anyone wanted or asked for. The Royal is a beautiful five star floating hotel, but in my opinion lacks the functionality I am looking for in a Princess cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This new ship simply did not cut it with us. The disappointments included: - A "Promenade Deck" that wasn't. Most of the promenade deck was closed to passengers, although it doesn't show that on the deck plan on the ... Read More
This new ship simply did not cut it with us. The disappointments included: - A "Promenade Deck" that wasn't. Most of the promenade deck was closed to passengers, although it doesn't show that on the deck plan on the Princess website. The deck is mostly taken up by the life boats, which block the windows entirely on Deck 7 (which are Public Spaces). Facets jewelry sales has great views while the Crown Grill Restaurant has no view at all. Most of the windows remained covered, which we found depressing. - The mini-suite balcony is ridiculously small. If you just want to stand on it, it works. If you want to actually use it, forget it. There's not enough room to open one of the chairs, much less both of them. The bathroom is much smaller than the mini suite on the Caribbean Princess, the shower water pressure very limp, & the rubber shower curtain blocked off all light, making me feel like I was showering in a closet & needed a flashlight. - We were unable to see the bow of the ship from any area that we could find. Perhaps the Sanctuary had a view of the bow, but we didn't pay the $425 per person for entrance to the Sanctuary. I've never liked this feature on Princess ships & judging by the amount of people I saw using it, neither do most others. The Retreat, right next to the Sanctuary, was secluded & quiet enough for us. The private cabanas in the Retreat were never used that I saw, & were a ridiculous waste of prime real estate. People began taking the cushions for use on the regular chaises. - I looked forward to trying the Enclave, but you could not access it unless you paid the full $450 fee. Even if you had a massage, you could not use it. The exception was a couples massage. If you paid the $350 for the couples massage, then for an extra $40 per person, you would be allowed in to the Enclave. The fee prices I'm quoting were for an 18 day cruise, & are what I'm remembering, so I may be off a bit. It's annoying that you can't get full, written information on fees prior to sailing. - The Sea Walk is a design gimmick that sounded nice, & IS nice to walk on, but it also blocks the views for many balconies & takes away from their privacy. Beware of choosing a balcony below or near the Sea Walks. - The "Plunge Pool" is actually a children's wading pool. The "Water & Light Show" only happened once a week, about 4 times in one hour, at 10pm. That was it. Maybe they were too labor intensive, I have no idea. - The huge buffet areas were really more of the same offerings ... not the great variety I hoped for. I stopped trying to have a hot breakfast. Cold eggs & potatoes are very unappetizing, so I stuck with the cereal. My husband doesn't mind cold eggs. The food in the dining room was mostly terrible to inedible & we stopped going there. - Embarkation was chaos. The initial check in was quick & easy, but then we had to wait for our boarding group. The room was large, over-filled with people, no seating was available, no services except bathrooms. We waited 2 hours there. It dampened my excitement substantially. I spoke with one woman who had been on a Princess pre-cruise tour & she had been "dumped" off by the tour bus - & had been waiting over 2 hours to board. - Disembarkation was delayed an hour, but otherwise was very smooth & quick. From our group being called to getting in the cab was only 45 minutes, & included finding our luggage & going through Customs. It doesn't get any better than that. We really did not like this new ship, sorry to report, & would not sail on her again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We sailed on the Royal Princess in October on its first transatlantic cruise from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale. We are experienced cruisers and our 30th cruise on Princess and probably the worst. First of all, when we walked into our balcony ... Read More
We sailed on the Royal Princess in October on its first transatlantic cruise from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale. We are experienced cruisers and our 30th cruise on Princess and probably the worst. First of all, when we walked into our balcony cabin (deluxe) off the back of the ship the carpet was filthy, and the drapes torn and dirty.. Mind you the ship was only not even 6 months old! We asked our cabin steward what was going on here-he shrugged his shoulders and told us that our balcony was virtually unusable because the smokestacks blow ash on our balcony and when you walk out, and then back in you bring the ash on your feet onto the carpet. (this is on all balcony back off the ship cabins) The carpet was shampooed before we got there, but it still was so dirty. So we couldn't use our balcony at all. Next we sent our laundry to be cleaned the minute we got on. After 7 days I was begging our steward to find our underwear and clothes!!! This was due they said to so many elite passengers being onboard. Well, they should know in advance how many elite passengers they have and plan for that!! 19 nights is a long cruise and the cruise line should be prepared. Then for 7 days-I said 7 days we had no HOT WATER!!! They would come and fix it and then it would break etc. Not acceptable!! Can you imagine showering for 7 days in cold water? Then three days the T. V.'s were not working, just another technical problem. Also beware of where your cabin is-We were below the Vista lounge and could hear the music late into the night in our cabin-very disturbing!!! Sometimes they have very late shows and its hard to sleep when you have boom,boom going on in your cabin. Last three days no internet because it was down. Dining room service was disappointing also-ate first seating because we like to have the same waiter, so they get to know your likes and dislikes-but food was sometimes cold. The headwaiter was excellent and did the best he could to please us, but our waiter-not so good. On the plus side the Atrium was nice although they did away with the center stairs so this makes the elevators a nightmare! The Horizon grill is great-we love the way it is set up and the food and service was terrific. The pool area is too small and the fake trees a joke and a waste of good space. So is the fountain waters-stupid, and again a waste of space. The cruise director Sam is not great either-for a 19 night cruise she never had enough going on, so we spent a lot of time at the pool. Luckily for us the sailing was smooth and warm for a transatlantic sailing. I read a ton of books. Princess has a lot of work to do to catch up with RCCL especially when it comes to entertainment-It was just O.K. some nights we skipped it altogether. The T.V. system is good and is on demand and there are plenty of movies to watch-but that's not what your on a cruise to do. All in all- lets just say it was disappointing, but we still like Princess (believe it or not) and will sail with them again just not on this ship!!!. Princess really spent a lot of money on a less then perfect ship-it has so many flaws-its know wonder the prices are falling for this ship-word of mouth travels fast. Don't waste your money-go on another Princess ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
First: The staff, food and service aboard the Royal could not be better. EXTREMELY satisfied in those regards. Our issues deal with the overall ship design. They eliminated some of the most popular venues, (e.g., Explorer's) and the ... Read More
First: The staff, food and service aboard the Royal could not be better. EXTREMELY satisfied in those regards. Our issues deal with the overall ship design. They eliminated some of the most popular venues, (e.g., Explorer's) and the dance floor in the Wheelhouse. The Wheelhouse lounge is now merged with the Crown Grill: it's hard to tell where one starts and the other stops. The only entertainment in the Wheelhouse is a piano!! The Explorer's Lounge has been replaced with the most ridiculous waste of space on the seven seas named "Princess Live!". The hold game shows, etc. in this small theater. They try and hold trivia in there - but how can you play any team games in auditorium seating? The promenade deck is virtually eliminated. You can't walk around the ship on deck 7 on the Royal. And who designed the elevators? They have four elevators fore and aft, working as a set of two rather than all four working in harmony. You can stand for five minutes waiting on an elevator only to see it whiz by your floor for reasons unknown. And what is up with this "Club 6"? Who in their right mind would ever create a lounge 100 feet in length and put a postage stamp size dance floor in one far corner? What was wrong with the center of the space? The eliminated the video screens in the Vista Lounge, anchored the small tables and narrowed the isles. Once you're in a seat in the middle of a row, you'd better hope you don't need a bathroom soon. It's nearly impossible to navigate a fully populated isle thanks to tables, immovable chairs and non-existent knee room. Same for the Princess Theater. The seats have been jammed together like a U.S. Airways flight. No more drinks in the Princess Theater folks! No more trays. Sad. But they try and sell everyone on the new expanded Piazza that is supposed to allow for more centralized entertainment. Well, if you like dancing on a marble floor, you'll thoroughly enjoy yourself. But unlike the older ships, due to the open design, you can't have anything going on in the Piazza if someone is at the piano in the Crooner's bar. The Internet Cafe has been downsized due to portable, personal tools such as smart phones, etc. But the speed of the service is extremely slow and was down several times during the cruise. The ship is more for the younger Carnival crowd than seasoned cruisers. With the right bands and plenty of booze and young people in swim wear, they'll never know what they're missing. But my bet is, that crowd had better like it because most of the preferred cruisers (Elite and Platinum) won't be back - and are already cancelling cruises booked on the Regal for the reasons stated above. We'll continue to cruise with Princess on their other ships (e.g., Ruby, Coral, Sapphire, etc.) but we'll not sail on the Royal again or the Regal. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
DW & I just returned from the inaugural 18 day Western Med/Trans-Atlantic cruise on the Royal Princess. This was our seventh cruise in a row on Princess and the fourth time we've done this itinerary. I must admit that I really ... Read More
DW & I just returned from the inaugural 18 day Western Med/Trans-Atlantic cruise on the Royal Princess. This was our seventh cruise in a row on Princess and the fourth time we've done this itinerary. I must admit that I really love the sea days. We spent the previous eighteen months preparing for this cruise on a brand new ship. Our roll call was very active and was a great way to get to know everyone and to gather information. For our three night pre-cruise stay in Venice, we again stayed at the Locanda Orseolo Hotel. The "LO" as it's referred to by us regulars is a wonderful boutique hotel. There are only 12 rooms and I believe many, if not all, we're taken up by roll call members. Since there are only 12 rooms and the hotel is so popular, we actually booked the hotel about a week before we booked the cruise in March 2012. The staff at the LO is amazing. I can't say enough good things about them. During our three days in Venice, we just played it by ear. I walked around and look a ton of pictures and we had dinner each night at our favorite pizza restaurant which is just off St. Mark's Square. The weather for the three days was a little dreary. The highlight of our pre-cruise stay was watching the Royal as it sailed into Venice. I must admit that I was impressed now that I had finally seen her in person. The Royal is a beautiful ship and has very impressive lines. When it came time to make our way to the Royal, we hitched a ride on a water taxi that was per arranged by a fellow roll call member. When we arrived at the dock, we made our way into the terminal. I was dreading the embarkation process due to the absolute bedlam we experienced during the 2011 embarkation on our Ruby T/A. I must admit that I was blown away by how smoothly the entire process went. We were on the ship in no time. After boarding the Royal, we walked directly into the Piazza. All of the artist renderings and actual photos, I had previously seen, do not do it justice. The Piazza is simply amazing the first time you see it. After looking around the Piazza, we made our way to Dolphin deck aft to our Owner's suite D726. At this point in my review, I want to say that my initial disappointment with the suite somewhat clouded my judgment about the ship overall and caused me in some instances to judge rather harshly. I knew going in that all of the cabins were going to be a little smaller but when we first walked inside, I was amazed on just how small this "best suite" on the ship really was. In my opinion, the suite was nothing more than two cabins joined together. The living room area consisted of a small sofa and one chair. There was also a desk with one US plug and one European plug. In addition, there was a dry bar. There was no wet bar due to the fact the small refrigerator was directly under the dry bar. The bathroom was divided into two sections. In one section there was the toilet and a sink. The other section had a full size tub and a separate shower. The tub was not whirlpool equipped as in previous suites we sailed on other ships. The shower gave us issues flooding the bathroom on three occasions. We received prompt attention fixing the issue when I called passenger services. Our balcony was arguably the best balcony we had on any of our cruises. We were however unable to fully enjoy it due to a daily buildup of soot. To my knowledge the soot problem was also experienced by a number of fellow aft facing passengers. I cannot say enough positive and great things about our cabin attendant, "Gina", from the Philippines. She always had a smile on her face and did everything in her power to ensure we had a great cruise. Our room was always spotless and every request was handled promptly and professionally. Gina is a true asset to Princess. Interesting enough was the fact that Gina’s supervisor "Frank” was a newly promoted housekeeping supervisor. Frank was actually our cabin attendant on the Sapphire in March of this year. The new on demand television system was a little temperamental in that it was out over several days. Another bone of contention was that before the cruise, I noted that Princess was still marketing the suite perk of having a DVD player available for suite passengers. I was also told this personally when I called Princess two days before we left for Venice. When we boarded the Royal I discovered this was not the case as DVD players were not provided in any suite. I did bring a Blue Ray player that did not work when I tried hooking it up via a HDMI cable. I did remember that information was promulgated prior to the cruise that hook ups to the televisions would not work. However being a little stubborn, I wanted to see it for myself. Public areas on the ship were generally very beautiful and appealing. There were however a couple of areas I failed to understand the purpose of including. Princess Live seemed like an afterthought. I also did not understand the concept of Club 6 as about the only thing I saw it used for was daily trivia games. The previously mentioned issue of no central staircase did seem to be a problem. This seemed made worse by the central elevators that always seemed crowded and at times, seemed to go right by a floor without stopping. The Piazza was definitely the focal point for entertainment. There were two bands, along with a string quartet, that performed nightly. These groups were very good. We didn't make it to the Princess Theater so I can't comment on any production shows. I was able to enjoy Vines and the Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar. Both venues were great and had very knowledge and friendly staff. DW and I both liked the Lotus Spa. I paid the extra fee and had use of the Enclave. She enjoyed several massages and hair appointments. She stated the Steiner girls were very professional; adding the hard sell was somewhat noticeable but it didn’t really bother her. I also spend a number of days in the Fitness Center. I found a nice variety and quantity of machines that were always in good repair. I never spent much time by the pools, but saw they were being used. I never once saw a for fee cabana being used in the Retreat pool area. I also noted only a few people using the Sanctuary. It will be interesting to see how the Royal’s pool areas handle the Caribbean crowds. For the very subjective point of food, we had chosen late seating traditional dining in the Allegro dining room. The Allegro seemed to be designed differently than the Concerto and Symphony rooms which appeared to be more of the old traditional style. The Allegro was also the location of the Chef’s Table. We never got a chance to try it, but heard it was a very enjoyable experience. We only ate in the dining room one time. We found the food and service very good. On other days we ate at Sabatini's, Crown Grill, Alfredo's, and the Horizon Court. Since we were in a suite, we also ordered several dinners from the dining room menu. We also enjoyed the suite perk of breakfast in Sabatini's on a number of days. We found food in Sabatini's, Crown Grill, and Alfredo's to be very good to excellent. We especially enjoyed Alfredo's as the head waiter, "Franco", was a true gem. The dining room food we had in our suite was very good as well. The food served in the HC however was not so good. Again with food being very subjective, I thought 90% of the HC food was truly terrible. I noted that a majority of hot dishes were barely warm at best. Many of the dishes also, to me, appeared to be way over spiced. The presentation left something to be desired and the variety in my opinion was also sorely lacking. In the HC we also experienced some less than good service. One instance involved a waiter who tried to grab my DW's plate before she was finished. In addition to the previously mentioned areas, we also enjoyed the tasty treats served in the International Cafe and the Trident Grill. I was not however overly impressed with the "Smoke House BBQ" which was served nightly in the Trident Grill. A couple of other negatives regarding dining concerns dealt with the location of the Crown Grill and Sabatini's. On the Royal, the Wheelhouse bar is joined with the Crown Grill. In the Wheelhouse there was a piano player that performed nightly. While his playing was good it, along with the audience participation, made it hard to enjoy a quiet meal. In Sabatini's I noticed music coming from the Piazza that made it also hard to enjoy a quiet meal. Bar service throughout the ship seemed not up to the usual Princess standards. I spent a number of nights in the casino where I saw very few bar waiters. I also noted they wouldn’t ask you if you would like a drink. On another night in Crooners’ I waited over 30 minutes before I was asked if I wanted another drink. As far as excursions go I had organized private excursions for Messina, Naples, and Rome. All of the participants seemed to have a great time. We also participated in a private excursion in Maderia. We did one Princess excursion in Canne that I enjoyed but thought was overpriced for what we actually experienced. In Barcelona, we didn't get off the ship since this was our fourth time visiting this port. We had a very large roll call for this cruise. There numerous events scheduled that were well attended. In closing, I'd like to say that overall I did enjoy the cruise and the Royal itself. The only real drawback for me was paying top dollar for the best class of suites on the ship but ended up with something worth far less. Another related disappointment was the fact I had cancelled a cruise in March so I could afford the OS suite. The inability to use the balcony (soot issues) was also a big letdown. I will continue to sail with Princess, but will find it hard to book the Royal or Regal unless there was an itinerary I just had to sail.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Was looking forward to this cruise, all the aft rooms had soot all over the balconies. Food was not good in the dining room we only ate there 3 to 4 times. Had turkey one night is was tough white meat, corn bread was bad also. They put a ... Read More
Was looking forward to this cruise, all the aft rooms had soot all over the balconies. Food was not good in the dining room we only ate there 3 to 4 times. Had turkey one night is was tough white meat, corn bread was bad also. They put a slice of sweet potato on the my plate. Desert was almost the same every night. Food was good in the Crown grill but there was a charge for that $50 a couple. Bathrooms were so small toilet paper you had to twist your body up to reach it. Had to ask for soap to wash your hands. The whole ship was boring mostly a geriatric cruise ship. Laser light show wasn't working at all. TV was constantly not working. Shows limited to 30 min. only. Princess theater has no tables in it to hold drinks or even cup holders built into chairs. Coming from Deck 12 you take the elevator to Decl 7 then walk down the hall a ways to center of the ship then take another elevator to deck 5 were the dining rooms are. Not enough people working on the ship and for sure they do not smile much at all. Would not use this cruise lines again. Ship had a lot of hipe but thats it. Just not an upbeat experience. Seems most of there passengers play scrabble and play cards thats it. Even at times the music is boring. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We loved our cruise on Royal Princess for the first nine days, unfortunately the ship had mechanical problems and we had to disembark in Naples. No ones fault and we were compensated very well by the cruise company and eventually ended in ... Read More
We loved our cruise on Royal Princess for the first nine days, unfortunately the ship had mechanical problems and we had to disembark in Naples. No ones fault and we were compensated very well by the cruise company and eventually ended in Barcelona. The ship was fantastic and we loved our cabin mini suite on Aloha deck. Our balcony was plenty big enough to sit outside and enjoy breakfast of just relax with a book. We had anytime dining and it worked very well and we enjoyed all our main dining room meals. Also the buffet was a huge improvement with a very spread out layout and a lot more seating, the food was very good as well, lots to choose from and a high quality. We also enjoyed the International Café for casual meals and great coffee. The service all over the ship was excellent and our cabin steward was very good. The atrium has a real WOW factor, and is a great place to relax, dance or watch some form of entertainment. The shows in the main theatre were good and there were plenty of other activities through out the day. We enjoyed the adults pool area and the Sanctuary on a couple of days. All in all we really enjoyed our cruise and loved the ship. We would book the Royal again in a heart beat. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Although our cruise was shortened due to a mechanical issue, our time on the Royal Princess was incredible. I cannot say enough about the staff, they were personable, entertaining, knowledgable and had a complete understanding of what ... Read More
Although our cruise was shortened due to a mechanical issue, our time on the Royal Princess was incredible. I cannot say enough about the staff, they were personable, entertaining, knowledgable and had a complete understanding of what "customer service" is, and how service can make or break a persons vacation. Food We made it our mission not to over- eat as it is easy to do on cruise ships. We ate a healthy breakfast, light lunch and a late dinner. The food made available in the dining rooms was excellent. There was something for everyone, and our waiters always steered us away from items they felt were not the best. The food quality is amazing particularly when they are preparing over 20,000 meals a day. Bars The entertainment was great in all the bars we visited, and I believe we visited them all into the wee hours of the morning. Rooms Our mini suite at the front of the ship had a huge balcony. Our rooms was great, and all that is needed as not much time is spent in the cabin. On board entertainment The few shows we saw all were well received by all. Pools There was a number of comments on the lack of pools on the royal princess. During our few days at sea, we were at the pool all day long, and never was there more than a hand full of people in the pool. There wasn't any issue on our cruise with pool access, and it was hot during these days. What amazed us most is knowing we were on-board with 3500 other passengers and expecting line ups for everything. Not once did we line up to get on or off the ship, for dinner, or for getting into any of the bars or entertainment venues. Princess has figured out the traffic flows. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We were on the Royal Princess September 15th for 12 days from Venice to Barcelona.We flew into Venice, arriving at 6:30 pm. Princess was there for our transfer from the airport with no problems at all.The embarkation was a breeze. We went ... Read More
We were on the Royal Princess September 15th for 12 days from Venice to Barcelona.We flew into Venice, arriving at 6:30 pm. Princess was there for our transfer from the airport with no problems at all.The embarkation was a breeze. We went to dinner and really felt happy to be aboard this lovely new ship. It was truly a beautiful, massive ship with such splendor. We have been aboard the other Princess ships which we enjoyed too, but this one really was so lovely. The expanded atrium, the new additions such as Alfredos, the Gelateria with crepes and waffles (yum), and the Horizon Cafe and new Pastry Cafe, All came a notch above others. The style and grandeur of the Royal made us feel like we were really somewhere special. We loved the usual Movies Under the Stars, the delicious international cuisine with Asian, Mexican, German, Italian, American, British, French and more. There are far more choices on this ship than we've seen before. We loved the entertainment, mostly the singers and dancers and also the shows in the Atrium. The casino was always abuzz and lots of fun machines to try as well as Black Jack sizzling tables. We visited the ports of Athens, Kusadasi (Ephesus), Istanbul, Mykonos and Naples. Our first port of Athens, unfortunately had strikers in the streets which caused our tour bus to detour en route to the Acropolis. Be sure to wear comfortable rubber soled shoes so as not to slip on the marble and stone ground in climbing. It surely was a sight to behold but very strenuous and exhausting for people who are not accustomed to physical activity. Kusadasi was a marvel with Ephesus as the star attraction. What a sight to behold! This Celsus Library is a must-see for first-timers. We returned after 17 years and still got a thrill. The Visit to "Mary's House," where Christians believed Mary spent her last days on earth, was a place for contemplation and reverence. The market for visitors, especially the Turkish carpet vendors, gave one so many ideas to redecorate with a beauty of one's own. Then on to Istanbul to visit the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofya and Basilica Cistern, all the main sights of this interesting city of 15 million. We also loved the actual cruising, relaxing out on our balcony with a glass of wine. Very beautiful and relaxing. The Royal's clubs and music venues were all alive with laughter and cruisers delighting in the evening's gay atmosphere. We arrived in Mykonos, tendered in with ease by the Royal's crew. What a beautiful island! The shops and the vistas are worth the visit. We didn't take time to eat, just for a drink of the famous ouzo at a local cafe overlooking the teal sea. Then it happened that the ship could not retrieve the anchor which weighs something near 30,000 tons. It took them about 5 hours to pull it up from the sea and set sail for Naples. Finally the ship set sail and all went well until the afternoon when the ship lost power. The captain kept us apprised every hour or so. It seemed that too much power was drawn from one area of use and it caused an outage. They had a backup generator so all was well within 5 hours time. The crew and the captain handled every detail with professionalism, especially the crisis points such as elevators and the kitchens. We didn't feel frightened but rather more curious about the situation. The excellent communication skills of the captain in total were astonishing. Services continued as well as they could with ease and smiles. After much deliberation, the Princess administrative network coupled with the maritime professionals decided to cut our cruise short by disembarking in Naples. Care coordinators were there every step of the way. Princess made sure everyone got to their final destinations safely. They made arrangements for some 3500 people to fly to their respective countries in a safe, timely manner. Unfortunately, many people had tours and longer stays in Barcelona post cruise where they needed to get to Barcelona to proceed onward. The problem for the others was that Barcelona had some 70,000 extra visitors from a pharmaceutical convention using the hotels whereby causing our people a loss of potential lodgings. Personally, we had been to Rome,Florence, Provence and Barcelona before, so we were not at odds about this matter. Many others didn't take their early disembarkation well. They flew in from places like Australia, NZ, China, Canada, South Africa, Russia, South America and more, and they wanted to visit these last 3 ports. Some people did pay their own way and others used the arrangements by the Princess. Many people disembarked on the Tuesday, depending on one's airflight situation. We spent Tuesday sightseeing all over Naples, since we took the Hop On Hop Off bus. The churches, museums and piazzas were all worth seeing. We went on the red and the green lines. The beach drive was more than we expected...just gorgeous! It was a beautifully sunny day, about 75 F. On Wed. we disembarked about noon time, and were almost hand-carried to hotel. Princess workers guaranteed our safety and comfort thankfully. We settled in and relaxed with a delicious dinner at the hotel. The next day we had a full breakfast (complimentary of the hotel) then took a shuttle to a stylish shopping center with cafes and restaurants as well as designer hot spot outlets. We spent the afternoon there and dined at a traditional Neopolitan restaurant. Then the shuttle bus returned us. When we returned to the hotel the care coordinators were still working on all the arrangements. No stone was left unturned by Princess and their workers. They arranged for buses to leave from our hotel in the middle of the night for Rome's airport. They accompanied us to Rome, which was a three hour drive from our hotel. When we arrived, they escorted us to our respective terminal check-in points while assisting with our bags. They made a crisis situation into a pleasant one. While at the airport, we had breakfast and visited the many shops for last minute buys. All in all the Princess Corporation handled this situation with professionalism and placing the cruiser's safety first. That was their priority. What surprised us most of all was the continuity of the care they provided us in this crisis. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Royal Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.5 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 4.0 4.2
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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