Review: Royal Princess
Cruise - Ocean Cruise
131 people found this review helpful
Biggest may not always be best but in the instance of Royal Princess it certainly is. Royal Princess is the latest addition to the Princess Cruises fleet and their largest ship yet. Big it certainly is at 1082 ft. Long, 126 ft. Wide, weighing in at close on 143,000 gross tonnes and 20 decks high. Of the 1,780 staterooms accommodating 3,600 passengers only 342 are inside no view staterooms. I was very happy to accept an invitation to spend a day and a night on board whilst she was at Southampton.
On arrival at Ocean Terminal Southampton you could not help but stare at this huge white cruise ship standing out against a background of blue sky and sunshine. It looked resplendent decorated with flags that fluttered in the warm breeze including a large Red Ensign from her stern.
Check in was simplicity itself and within minutes we were on board the ship looking for our cabin, B215, a balcony stateroom on deck 11, Baja Deck. Our cabin steward Irwin greeted us with a warm smile and bid us welcome and then showed us where everything was located and took time to explain the emergency procedure, where our life jackets and muster station were located. Very efficient and professional. The cabin though fairly small compared with some, made good use of the space available. Laid out in the style of twin beds with bedside cabinets, dressing table unit and chairs. The beds were very comfortable and gave a good night’s sleep. Ladies you don’t need to take a hairdryer, there is a hand held in the top drawer of the vanity unit. My wife said it was excellent. There was also a fridge to keep those mixers and ice bucket cold until wanted.
The bathroom again was compact but the shower stall was big enough to accept my fairly large bulk. I was a little surprised to find a shower curtain instead of a cubicle with door like many of the new ships. Also the range of toiletries that once greeted you are now gone. Just dispensers, soap bar and a small tube of hand lotion. Toilet paper? Yes it is there, but hidden under the wash basin unit!! The balcony was large enough for a small table and two chairs. The glass under the balcony rail was clear so that your view was unimpeded. Passengers should note that the electric sockets in the room only accept American and Continental style plugs so you will need to take adaptors if you have English plugs for example on your phone charger. The hot sun was shining through the balcony door but the air conditioning system did a good job of keeping the room at the selected temperature.
Having unpacked it was time to try and explore this ship. The problem is that being so big you would need several days to visit and take everything in.
Deck 19, the highest passenger deck, comprises of the ‘Lawn Court’. Drop down to deck 18 aft brings you to the ‘Princess, Sports Central’ which as the name implies houses the Driving Range, Game Lounge, Jogging track and much more. Below this on deck 17 is a vast gymnasium that will cater for all abilities and is the place to work off the pounds that you have accumulated from the 16 onboard dining and food venues. Also on this deck is the ‘Youth and Teen Centres’ where young people will be kept amused for hours on end. It really is well equipped and caters for all ages. Staying on this deck but moving to midships brings you to ‘Movies Under the Stars’ with a seating area for viewing the latest films on one of the largest cinema screens at sea. Drop to the deck below and you will find ‘Fountain Pools’, based on a tropical island with whirl pools and palm trees. Surrounding this, seats and loungers for sun bathing or watching the film screen. Back up to deck 17 forward you arrive at the ‘Retreat Pool’ and ‘The Sanctuary’. Adults only, Cabanas that are fitted out with flat screen televisions and fridges, very comfortable loungers, swimming pool and your own bar. This is an area of total relaxation and serenity and where you would find me if I were to cruise on this ship.
Back down to 16 and the ‘Fountain Pool’ area which houses Prego Pizzeria where you can have a pizza of your choice and then wash it down with a drink from Mermaids Tail. Nearby is the ‘Trident Grill’ and ‘Swirls’ the ice cream venue. Moving aft on the same deck takes you first to ‘The Pastry Shop’ with its huge selection of cakes and pastries topped with mouth watering delights such as strawberries, kiwi fruit and many others. This leads through to ‘Horizon Bistro, Court and Terrace’, the main buffet area of the ship. Furnished and decorated in light colours makes for a very pleasant area to be in where you can anything from a cup of tea to a full meal. We had breakfast there and it was a delight to have the places already laid with napkin, cups, tumblers and cutlery. A waiter to get your tea/coffee and juice, something other cruise lines could do well to copy.
By now it was time to return to the cabin to shower and change for the evening activities. First stop after this was ‘Vines’ the wine bar to meet friends. Everyone agreed that it was a lovely ship with some great features. The main Atrium with bars, shops and various attractions, on its several levels. The carpeted and marble floors with extensive use of glass, brass and other reflecting surfaces. The ground floor with its beautiful inlaid design that is used as a dance floor in the evenings when the ships quartet are playing. All this makes it a rather nice place to be. Time for dinner.
There are three main dining rooms, Allegro, Concerto and Symphony. We were in Allegro situated at the aft of deck 6 and have windows on 3 sides. The dinner it has to be said was excellent. Every course beautifully presented. The ‘Study of Seafood’ with Tuna, Salmon and Lobster proved a great starter. Next the ‘Cream of Green Peas’ soup with curry and mint foam was different, Roasted Orange and Ginger Sorbet to clean the palate. As a main course I chose the ‘Peppered Medium-Roasted Fillet of Beef’. What can I say but fabulous, one of the best I have had on a ship. The knife glided through the meat just the way it should. To finish it had to be the ‘Semi-Frozen Honey-Hazelnut Parfait’, what a great end to a great meal. If that is an example of the normal offerings then no one will be disappointed.
Dinner over it was up to deck 16 and the Fountain Pool which was ablaze with colour from the light machines which turn this area into an extravaganza of different colours. The performance by the singer Lemar had the area reverberating with shouting and cheering as he was watched by hundreds of enthusiastic passengers, most of whom were younger than my daughters!! Time to move on to somewhere a little quieter.
As the hour was getting late it was a stop at ‘Bellini’s’ the champagne bar to meet up with friends. Here I had my first ever Bellini. I am told it is White Peach and Grenadine topped with Champagne. Whatever it was my only comment is ‘another one please’.
Time to head back to the cabin and reflect on the ship. What did I think of it? Everyone will have their own opinion. I like large ships so this is my type of ship. From the moment I boarded I knew I was going to enjoy it but not sure what to expect bearing in mind this was the new ‘Flagship’.
The Atrium with the various venues overlooking it is impressive without having that immediate ‘WOW’ factor. I think more tasteful and reserved than some other ships which appealed to me. The large number of bars and places where there is some form of entertainment going on. The long lists of eateries that help you attain that status of coming on as a 13 stone passenger and going off at 14 stone. The food really is up there with the top cruise lines. The Fountain Pool area for that party feeling with its light shows, palm trees and whirl pools and finally my favourites, The Retreat and The Sanctuary. What fabulous places to relax in the sun or under the white awning of your own private Cabana.
There are so many features on this ship that to describe them all would need a book not an article. I didn’t see it all, there just wasn’t time but what I did see impressed me. Anything I didn’t like? Yes, having to leave the ship the following morning.
131 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.