I spent 34 days on 3 back to back cruises, same cabin, on the Royal, beginning with this one. I have been on the Royal before, the Regal as well.
I did this 7 day Caribbean, the 15 day Southern Atlantic crossing, then the 12 day British Isles. What a great “made up” itinerary for a great fun journey. If you have the time, this is something I will always look for at the turn of the seasons. It was my mini world cruise. With that said:
The Royal is a pretty ship. She has some design flaws in midships, but all and all, the Royal and the Regal do a good 4 star hotel job of keeping 3500 people from being on top of one another.
She is big, and does have a midships stairs issue, so the elevators midship are generally very busy. If you are able bodied, well go Aft and up that way. Forward works too, but sometimes clogged by the theater.
Cabins are nice. The bed is comfortable, there are good size to spaces. The closet separator is good for friends traveling together providing a little changing privacy. One of the things I like about Princess ships. Princess really needs to do better on the towels. They are motel 6 sized, silly things like that make the difference in how your stateroom feels. I was recently on P&O Britannia...same Carnival brands, and exactly same make/model as Royal, but such better linens, decor, toiletries.
There are plenty of outdoor spaces, reasonably designed. The challenge I find with my princess cruises is often not the space but the lack of adherence to rules, whether dress code, or saving chairs by the pool, or washing hands, or just plain I rudeness of the passengers. I will say after 34 days of some inexcusable behavior on Princess, i went to a P&O Norway cruise. The British have such better manners.
Food & Beverages
Food is hit and miss. I’d seen everything on the menu. My advice, take it slow, find things you like...Breakfast is always just fine, there’s an omelette station and fresh eggs, Oatmeal is good. At lunch I found a little side right near the entry by midships, they made gyro meat, chicken, tzatziki, tortillas, pitas, grilled delicious veggies....it was a lovely way to have a lunch with light good for y ou food. Crown Grille is good, I think the Italian is overrated. The pizzeria in the Atrium is very good, and always pleases when not wanting dining room. The princess favorites on the menu never fail to be exactly what you expect.
It was better than average. However, none of the waiters knew their wines, nor did the dining room bar staff. Additionally, there were wines not in stock although on the menu in the dining room but available at the wine bar. In fact these were their signature wines.
Bars and Bar Staff
Princess, Carnival and I’m told Cunard have some of the best bar pours by far, the best brands and good variety and to top that off, some very incredible BAR STAFF. The bartenders, the bar wait staff know their drinks, their wines, and most importantly their customers. Many a repeat Princess Cruiser, cruiseaholics, frequent and befriend their most favorite bartenders.....and bars, or wherever their bartender resides. These people work hard. I watched them remember hundreds of passengers names and drink preferences in the 34 days. Tip your bartender!
Wine venue is a nice change. Personal favorite is Crooners (but depends on the entertainment)
Outside food and beverage there are so many nameless folks that make a cruise wonderful. You meet your cabin attendant, but we often overlook the bathroom guy/girl, the busboy, the baggage guy. Please smile at them, and if they go the extra mile think about a tip. It will make their day.
There was a young lady that was in charge of the restrooms at the end of the ship. I saw her day in and day out ....from my balcony, when in the common areas, on Lido, on Promenade. My friend bought her a box of chocolates and gave her a small tip, thanking her and citing how we’d seen her diligent in her duties. (She would step out on Promenade every time she was cleaning those restrooms, and always look at the port, weather, etc.)
Extremely long queues at tour desks. Understaffed, not open many hours. Similarly at future cruise desk, this is ridiculous to me, as those of us who are repeaters love to think of booking whilst we are on.
Customer Service is awful at the reception desk.
Passport handling, some interesting ideas, but overall there are some risks being taken with valuable personal documents that really need some better structure. I’ve sent a separate letter to Carnival Corp in both UK, and USA to address these concerns.
I made up my own. The crossing was lovely, broken up into maximum 4 days at sea by Bermuda and Azores. The British Isles was a great itinerary.
Princess is a good value, with good ports and this ship is a nice ship. I recognize that the itineraries I chose may attract a much older crowd, however, It was clear princess was catering to a very high average age here. I’m no spring chicken, but when the rules are there that no scooters are allowed on tenders, they are there for a purpose, and your complaining about rules that protect the majoritiy of passengers’ safety does nothing for everyone else’s experience.
This was also true of some of the entertainment. It was clearly geared to some quite older generations. Nothing wrong with Sinatra, but let’s not go back to “1928” as one of the most horrible entertainers would routinely play (daily). I luckily got to see the entertainers switch up a bit.
Princess will lose folks like me, the upscale chronic Gen X late Boomer cruiser. I’m already looking at other lines.
Generally to all passengers, Don’t cut the lines, don’t save the chairs. Wash your hands, cover you coughs with your sleeve, wash your hands again!
Good Size, Closet partitions are good for “friends” cruising for privacy. Towels could be better. Cabin steward wonderful