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Featured Member Review: Royal Princess

A Ship Review by Tobyn

Review of the Royal Princess and cruise 30 March 2014. Let me begin with this: This is by far, the most beautifully decorated ship I have ever had the pleasure of cruising on.


The care that was taken in each detail is incredible. The mood lighting in the corridors on the promenade deck sets the tone for various venues. The Piazza is designed with great sightlines, open expanses, and very, very good acoustics.

Deck five includes the Lotus spa, forward, just beyond the Passenger services and shore excursion desks. They are both forward of the Piazza. Sabatini’s is adjacent to shore excursion desk, somewhat out of the way. The International Café, Vines, Gelato, Celebrations and internet café are all in the Piazza. The area is well laid out with plenty of seating for events held there.

 Deck six Piazza includes the photo and video gallery, Belini’s (a small intimate bar) and Alfredo’s. I appreciated Alfredo’s much more than other alternative dining venues for multiple reasons. It had the best wait staff (BY FAR!), very good menu choices, and to top it off, no additional charge!

For Deck seven, we will begin at the front of the ship and work our way back. The princess theater. In a word, beautiful! Not a bad seat to be had in the entire venue. Mood lighting, acoustics, and design are all top notch. Some found the lack of tray tables in the arm rests to be a problem. Wasn’t for us as it is not an area we usually drink in. Just after the elevators is Calypso Cove and Art Gallery. The gallery is set up in somewhat of an odd fashion. Most folks will walk by without much attention to the art and may never know what the area is intended for. Following that are Essence, Meridian Bay and Facets stores. There are outside seating areas on each side of the ship, but there is no walking area that goes all the way around the ship as in other Promenade decks. Across from the stores is Crooners. Adjacent to the mid-ship elevators are the Captain’s Circle and Future Cruise Desks. Here is where the layout starts getting odd to me. Just beyond the elevators the traffic flow is limited to the starboard side and it gets rather congested with foot traffic. The hallway is beautifully decorated with dark toned woods, mood lighting, and multiple pictures (murals?) of old fashioned modes of transportation. A newly designed venue is the Princess Live Café. Fresh brewed coffee, drinks, and snacks (cookies, brownies, etc) are available. On the bar is a projection of the activity in another new venue, Princess Live. This is where they film the Wakee Show and hold some of the entertainment activities. It is setup like a mini TV studio with cameras and seating. We then come to the Wheelhouse Bar / Crown Grill. More open than on previous ships and as always, well decorated. The library is in this area and seems to be placed here as an afterthought to take up some spare space. There is a small open area by the rear elevators and finally, the Vista Lounge. This venue appears to be bigger than on previous ships and the seating is just a bit closer together making getting through the area slightly more difficult for large folks or those with minor mobility issues than on other ships.


Jumping past all the floors with the cabins, we go all the way up to deck 16, yes 16, the Lido Deck. Again, from forward to aft. First portion is cabins as on other Lido decks. Just beyond the forward elevators is the standard Trident Grill, Mermaid’s Tail bar, and Prego Pizzeria. The main pool area is a new layout and seating is WONDERFUL! We enjoyed the sofa seating and tables design. The water fountain deck is center to the area. On either side is the Sea Walk and Sea View bar. This new design feature very interesting and it can be fun people watching here to see if they step on the glass or walk around without looking down at the water. If you have the slightest vertigo or fear of heights, you may want to avoid these. I enjoyed them. In the area of Calypso Cabana (seating area just outside Horizon Court) is comfortable and the wait staff ensure there is a cart with water, ice and cups available. Just beyond the mid ship elevators is the Horizon Court. This redesigned area set up in sections with various food styles throughout. When dining here, be sure to get all the way through each section / style to get your meal of choice. At the aft is another newly designed seating area called The Terrace. There is more sofa seating near the Outrigger bar.


My deck by deck review will stop at Deck 17. This deck begins forward with the Sanctuary. Well laid out, quiet, intimate location to get away from the hustle and bustle of crowds, kids and noise. We walked though on embarkation day, but did not partake of the location during the cruise. Just behind the Sanctuary is the adults only pool area called the Retreat. It includes a pool, two hot tubs, and plenty of loungers. Along with these are cabanas that are available for rental. The down side of these is that the curtains around them down close. They are there for looks, not functionality. If you are in the sun in the cabana, you can’t close them to get the shade. Continuing aft from here is the standard open deck above the Lido with additional loungers and such.

Our cabin was on deck 8. It was a Deluxe Balcony Cabin that included a small love seat sofa bed. The cabin was well appointed and laid out comfortably. The bathroom is slightly redesigned, for the better in my opinion. The shower is ever so slightly larger and now includes a ledge to prop your foot on for leg shaving (ladies) or for ease of washing legs / feet (gentlemen). It also has a handheld wand with adjustable height. Makes for easy rinsing from top to bottom. The toilet tissue was moved to under the sink counter. This eliminated the metal cover, but it is in a slightly awkward location for some people, slightly behind and to the left of someone using the facility. The sink is deeper, larger, and more square than oval. Lighting and shelving are in line with previous designs. The television is a thin screen mounted on the wall at the foot of the bed. It is easily visible from the love seat as well as the bed. The desk lacks drawer space and this can be a problem for some people. The single drawer above the refrigerator has the hair dryer inside and wired to the outlet through the drawer. This takes up the very limited drawer space and makes using the hairdryer less than optimum. It does however move the dryer from the wall mounted locations on other ships. The refrigerator has an adjustable shelf and I found it to be well designed and able to hold more bottles and cans than on other ships. Finally, the balcony. While it is definitely smaller, it was large enough for us to enjoy our morning coffee and breakfast. Also large enough for the two chairs and small round table. The view is listed as ‘obstructed’. The only thing it obstructed was the view down. The lifeboat roof was just below the railing, so we could see plenty off to the side of the ship, just couldn’t look down. It was a real non-issue for us.

Now for the nitty gritty. There are a LOT of positive things about this ship. It is almost a destination in and of itself. Like I said at the beginning, it is the most beautifully decorated ship I have ever been on. The ‘in room entertainment’ system is the best we have experienced. If you are watching a movie and need to leave before it is over, no worries! When you return to your room, you can begin where you left off. There are quite a number of movies and other shows available at any time. Additionally, activities that are filmed in Princess Live can be watched in your stateroom. We were able to see the Yes / No game, and the Newlywed / not so newlywed game on TV at our leisure rather than worrying about getting to the venue on time. Allowed us to enjoy other activities and still see the games. I LOVED this feature!

Here are the things I thought were ‘less than optimal’: The lack of stairs at the mid ship elevators is a real detraction. To go one level up or down from here requires one use elevators or walk to one of the stairwells forward or aft. And that is a LOT of walking for one level. The elevators! UGH! They are excruciatingly slow and their call button operation is odd to say the least. On most ships, you push one button and all the elevators in that bank are called. Here, it is only the two on that side. If you want a chance at any of the four, you must push both buttons. This causes elevators on both sides to stop at every floor even when no one is there, further slowing down the process. The panoramic elevators at mid ship have the same problem. Each of them operates on their own call button. So at mid ship, you have to press all four buttons to call all elevators, but then, it slows the process on all other floors. Occasionally, an elevator will not stop at the floor you are on. Don’t know why, but this happened on more than one occasion to me while waiting for them. The light would indicate it is stopping, but then go off as though it wasn’t supposed to stop. Sometimes it was quicker and easier to get on an elevator going the opposite way you want, just to eventually get headed in the right direction,

The muster drill exercise was a bit of a hassle. They open the center stairwell for the trip down to the Promenade deck, but close them before its over so you cannot return to your floor with the stairwell. This led to massive unnecessary congestion of everyone trying to get to the OMG slow elevators, or move to another stairwell. The resulting frustration leads some to allow the situation to ruin the start of a wonderful cruise. Additionally, since Calypso Cove is closed until after they leave port, the mass of humanity is further restricted to one side of the ship causing even more congestion and frustration. You can imagine the mass of people from Princess Theater and other muster stations all funneling into the forward elevator / stairwell area trying to return to their cabins prior to sailaway.

Now, all that said, this issue will not prevent me from cruising on this ship again. While a minor distraction, it is not enough to compel me to avoid the ship, it is a bit of a frustration. Bottom line, this is a beautiful ship that has a significant number of things going for it and make it a wonderful ship to cruise on. I still prefer the newer Grand class ships (Ruby, Emerald, Crown etc), but would not avoid this ship if the itinerary was what I was looking for. We are already scheduled to cruise on her again in October and really look forward to it.

If you have any questions, please feel free to message me. Now for the nitty gritty. There are a LOT of positive things about this ship. It is almost a destination in and of itself. Like I said at the beginning, it is the most beautifully decorated ship I have ever been on. The ‘in room entertainment’ system is the best we have experienced. If you are watching a movie and need to leave before it is over, no worries! When you return to your room, you can begin where you left off. There are quite a number of movies and other shows available at any time. Additionally, activities that are filmed in Princess Live can be watched in your stateroom. We were able to see the Yes / No game, and the Newlywed / not so newlywed game on TV at our leisure rather than worrying about getting to the venue on time. Allowed us to enjoy other activities and still see the games. I LOVED this feature!

Here are the things I thought were ‘less than optimal’: The lack of stairs at the mid ship elevators is a real detraction. To go one level up or down from here requires one use elevators or walk to one of the stairwells forward or aft. And that is a LOT of walking for one level. The elevators! UGH! They are excruciatingly slow and their call button operation is odd to say the least. On most ships, you push one button and all the elevators in that bank are called. Here, it is only the two on that side. If you want a chance at any of the four, you must push both buttons. This causes elevators on both sides to stop at every floor even when no one is there, further slowing down the process. The panoramic elevators at mid ship have the same problem. Each of them operates on their own call button. So at mid ship, you have to press all four buttons to call all elevators, but then, it slows the process on all other floors. Occasionally, an elevator will not stop at the floor you are on. Don’t know why, but this happened on more than one occasion to me while waiting for them. The light would indicate it is stopping, but then go off as though it wasn’t supposed to stop. Sometimes it was quicker and easier to get on an elevator going the opposite way you want, just to eventually get headed in the right direction,

The muster drill exercise was a bit of a hassle. They open the center stairwell for the trip down to the Promenade deck, but close them before its over so you cannot return to your floor with the stairwell. This led to massive unnecessary congestion of everyone trying to get to the OMG slow elevators, or move to another stairwell. The resulting frustration leads some to allow the situation to ruin the start of a wonderful cruise. Additionally, since Calypso Cove is closed until after they leave port, the mass of humanity is further restricted to one side of the ship causing even more congestion and frustration. You can imagine the mass of people from Princess Theater and other muster stations all funneling into the forward elevator / stairwell area trying to return to their cabins prior to sailaway.

Now, all that said, this issue will not prevent me from cruising on this ship again. While a minor distraction, it is not enough to compel me to avoid the ship, it is a bit of a frustration. Bottom line, this is a beautiful ship that has a significant number of things going for it and make it a wonderful ship to cruise on. I still prefer the newer Grand class ships (Ruby, Emerald, Crown etc), but would not avoid this ship if the itinerary was what I was looking for. We are already scheduled to cruise on her again in October and really look forward to it.

If you have any questions, please feel free to message me.

Read the Full Review by Member TobynClick Here.

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