Review: Royal Princess
Cruise - Ocean Cruise
Royal Princess cruise to Nowhere (Guernsey!)
91 people found this review helpful
We have just returned from a 2 night pre-maiden cruise on Royal Princess. This turned into a cruise to nowhere as the sea was too rough for us to get ashore at Guernsey.
So this review will be about the ship only.
It strikes me that the bow of Royal Princess looks like Independence of the Seas, midships looks like Azura/Ventura without the C deck balconies and the aft looks like Celebrity Eclipse.
The cruise was not without its hiccups. Priced as the most expensive 2 night cruise we have ever been on, our expectations were not exactly met as will be revealed during this review.
So, to start with the cabin, a balcony on Marina deck 15. This is the highest cabin deck and we had the overhang from the deck above us. We didn’t get much sun during our voyage so it is difficult to judge what impact it had. The cabin has a Ventura style wardrobe, lovely and open with loads of hanging space and hangers. The safe was in a cupboard there and the door to the bathroom which meant that, should one of you go to the loo in the night, then the light will not disturb the sleeper!
Yes, the bathroom was compact but we don’t spend long in there anyway. Shower cubicle was a nice size though. Not impressed that we had the previous occupants’ used towels. Major error somewhere.
The bed was firm but very comfortable. There was a huge flat screen TV on the wall at the foot of the bed. The TV wasn’t working when we boarded. Our Steward said he had reported it. We phoned down to Guest Relations too and it was finally fixed during the second afternoon but only when we visited Guest Relations to complain. There were 2 desks/dressing tables and an armchair. Not a huge space but adequate. Same with the balcony. Certainly not large. In fact, smaller than average but just big enough for 2 chairs and a small table. We managed to have our breakfast out there without too much problem.
So we set off to find the buffet and then to explore the ship. Unusually for us, our cabin was situated about midway between the lifts. We ventured forward to the central lifts to go up the one floor to the buffet. Where’s the stairs? Amazingly, there are no stairs by the mid-ship lifts! What? No stairs??
The buffet was well laid out in 3 sections with different culinary themes. Not too keen on the high tables and high stools but thankfully there were ‘normal’ tables and chairs too. And slap bang in the middle of the buffet was the Pastry Shop!! Oh my!! Instant inches on the waistline! Variety of cakes was brilliant, best I have seen on any ship. Aft of the buffet is a lovely outside bar and sitting area.
We then went up to the Sports Decks. There is some sort of Court (basketball?). Not our forte so didn’t really pay attention to it but there were 3 table tennis tables there. Not a great idea, Princess Cruises, as I always find that the windiest part of the ship is at the top and table tennis and wind never go together. We did try and play but Ron would hit the ball to me, it would go over the net and then return to him without me hitting it!!!
There was a small putting green up top too. The ‘Putting Competition’ was not a competition at all as the Sports Guy who came up to organise it just stood there like a lemon for 5 minutes and then left.
In the afternoon, the Open Croquet session was enabled by some anonymous person placing a pile of croquet hoops, mallets and balls in a heap in the corner of the putting green and then disappearing. Oh well, we had a good game with a couple of guys who turned up.
There were plenty of deck areas up top to sunbathe on and plenty of sunbeds there too.
The main pool area was lovely. There was a small pool, a flat area in the middle which doubled as a dance floor and turned into a water feature, and some sort of plunge pool. There are all sorts of areas to have sunbeds in the sunshine or undercover at the side. The whole area is dominated by the massive TV screen which seems to be active all the time. They did show a number of well known movies but, for me, I am not into constant media, and I found it rather distracting.
There are a number of fast food bars at one end of the pool area including a pizzeria and an ice cream bar.
Plus we have the SeaWalk. Ok, so we spent 5 or 10 minutes looking at it, walking on it and watching people walk on it. I have a good head for heights so it was no problem for me but it obviously bothered a lot of people. But once you have done it, is there any need to do it again? By the way, if you like privacy on your balcony, make sure you do not book one near the SeaWalk as those cabins are very overlooked! The SeaWalk Bar on the other side of the ship was fun though and the bar tenders were tossing the drinks bottles as they were shaking and stirring the drinks.
We visited the Retreat which is Adults Only for free. There are 6 cabanas and plenty of sunbeds plus a small pool. Altogether, a very pleasant area.
The Retreat led into the Sanctuary. Better sunbeds and the cabanas were much more substantial and each had a flat screen TV!! Lovely area with a canopied cover over much of it. There is a charge to use this area.
The heart of the ship is the Piazza. When you stand back and look, you can see just how wide this ship is and this area rises up 3 floors – a tall Atrium. I liked the ambiance of the place and there were plenty of levels to sit and watch the world go by with several different bars.
The Piazza is the main point for a lot of entertainment. The first evening, we had a Champagne Waterfall there. Second evening, there was a juggler which we missed. There was live music in the various bars at different times and at different levels which filled the whole area with music. There was a gelato there (pay for) and the International Café with nice cakes and snacks but you pay for your beverages.
The casino and shop were in there own mini atrium next door.
The theatre was quite large and I would imagine you would get a good view wherever you sit. Unfortunately, we missed half of the production show on the first evening as service in the dining room was far too slow. The show the second evening was an Abba tribute and we changed to Anytime Dining so we wouldn’t miss it.
And this brings me to dining! The dining rooms were well set up although there were a lot of bench seats which I found a little low. The food the first evening was not that good for me. Maybe I made the wrong choices. Also, service was so slow. There must have been major problems in the kitchen. Our friends on another table didn’t escape until after the late show had finished!!
The second evening, we switched to Any Time dining. The waiter was excellent as was the food. Top notch!
We didn’t use the alternative dining venues. There were a number of other bars and seating areas. It seems to be a well laid out ship.
We had a wonderful weekend. I wouldn’t say that the ship has a wow factor although she really is beautiful inside.
Overall, she is a lovely ship and, if the price and itinerary were right, then we would sail on her again.
91 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.