The cabins on Royal Princess are generally smaller than you find on older Princess ships, with noticeably smaller balconies. They do, however, feature the line's Princess Luxury Bed, designed in collaboration with "Dr. Sleep." It's one of the most comfortable that we've experienced at sea, and while it takes up more space, the extra size is worth it.
The 1,780 cabins fall into five different categories: 36 Suites, which are made up of Owner's Suites (14), Penthouse Suites (14) and Premium Suites (eight), of which one is accessible; 314 Mini-Suites (six are accessible); 358 Deluxe Balcony; 730 Standard Balcony cabins (22 accessible) and 342 Inside cabins (seven accessible).
Fifty adjoining cabins are available for large families needing more than one cabin.
All cabins have two twin beds or one queen and all the usual amenities, such as a flat-screen television with video on demand, small desk, in-room safe, direct dial telephone, a small armchair and a small fridge. There's a small closet with some storage, and suitcases can go under the bed. One noticeable fault we saw: Power sockets are on the vanity, not near the bed, and do not have USB ports.
Bathrooms have large showers with hand-held showerheads, although the shower curtains are clingy. Sinks are square to provide more vanity space, mirrors feature built-in vanity lighting and beds have pillow-top mattresses and upholstered headboards. Basic toiletries (shampoo and shower gel) are located in the shower.
Interior: Inside cabins come in at 161 square feet, which is fairly standard for Princess. The seven accessible inside cabins are a generous 240 square feet.
Balcony: Standard balcony cabins are 222 square feet (181-square-foot cabins with 41-square-foot balconies). They include all the features of an inside cabin, plus spacious closets. Private verandas are each outfitted with two mesh chairs and a cocktail table.
The Deluxe Balcony cabin is only deluxe if you compare it with the standard balconies; while pleasant, they are small. They come in at 233 square feet (192 square feet inside, plus a 41-square-foot balcony) and include some of the upgrades found in a Mini-Suite stateroom, including enhanced bathroom amenities (lotion in addition to the pumps of shower gel and shampoo), waffle bathrobes (you must request them, however) and upgraded duvet. The only real difference is a couple of extra feet in each stateroom for a loveseat. They each have a decent-sized space for hanging clothes, but the shower-only bathroom, the same as those found in the lower-category cabins, is ridiculously cramped for a modern cruise ship -- and it's got the dreaded clingy shower curtain. Its balcony layout is identical to that of the standard veranda staterooms.
Mini-Suites: These cabins measure 299 square feet each (258 square feet inside, plus a 41-square-foot balcony). The big draw here is a curtain -- you can draw it close -- which has been added to separate living and sleeping areas. Mini-suites get the same general stateroom amenities and decorative central lighting fixtures, marble-topped counters and two flat-screen TV's instead of one. The biggest disappointment with mini-suites? They get the same tiny, narrow balconies as standard staterooms, with the same furnishings.
The solution is to book a Club Class mini-suite, which come with extra benefits such as priority embarkation and debarkation, a special open-seating area in the dining room and evening canapes. Note that not all mini-suites are Club Class; generally, these are midship or at the back of the ship. Club Class isn't a good choice, however, if you are traveling in a group with people in a non-Club Class cabin, as they won't be able to eat with you in the special dining area.
Suites: There are three styles of suite accommodations on Royal Princess. Owner's Suites are the largest and range in size from 576 square feet to 705 square feet. Each features separate living and sleeping rooms, a mini-fridge, an extrawide balcony with upgraded furnishings, a bath with separate shower and tub, and a powder room. These are corner cabins, so balconies wrap around two sides of the ship.
Penthouse suites (440 square feet, with balcony) also feature separate sleeping and living spaces, a full bath and a powder room. The plus is that these are located adjacent to the new-to-Princess Concierge Lounge. The minus? Despite attractive wooden balcony furnishings, the verandas aren't very big.
Premium suites (554 square feet, with balcony) are located all the way forward, though, oddly, there is no view out of the front of the ship -- just to the side. The Premium suites are the exact same layout as Penthouse suites, and they enjoy the same features with slightly larger balconies and indoor space.
Each suite, regardless of category, features a 42-inch television, a bathroom with two sinks, a separate bath and shower with both hand-held and fixed sprays, marble floors and countertops, special toiletries and accent lighting. Suite passengers (not including those in mini-suites) also are entitled to a number of extras, including complimentary laundry and cleaning services, suite-only breakfast from Sabatini's and an extended in-cabin dining menu, and access to the Concierge Lounge.
A first for Princess Cruises is the Concierge Lounge on Deck 14, beside the Wedding Chapel. It caters exclusively to suite passengers (which could be tricky if they all come at once -- it seats only 24 people) and serves a selection of hot and cold snacks and beverages that include wine (for a fee). There is limited space and no views, but it's a nice place to relax, read a magazine and have an aperitif before dinner.
The real benefit is that you can avoid traipsing down to Guest Services and having to deal with the lines there. A dedicated staff member deals with queries on shore excursions, accounts, specialty dining and spa reservations.