Not my favorite, but still nice
Royal Princess Cruise Review to Transatlantic
Sail Date: April 22, 2016
Ship: Royal Princess
Cabin Type: Balcony
Cabin Number: R541
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 2 years ago
This ship is HUGE! I would have to say that is why this wasn't my favorite ship, it seemed like there were people everywhere, no where to go for some peace and quiet. That said, it was a beautiful ship and the Princess level of service is still going strong.
The staff on the Royal Princess was attentive to detail and took very good care of the passengers. As always, there were a few places where it was hard to get some service but that was more because of the crowds than anything else. Dragan on deck 17 aft (smoking area) was particularly attentive, as was Luka in Churchill's. The wait staff in the dining room (early seating) seemed overwhelmed at times, but overall the service was good in the Concerto dining room. Our room steward was great, probably one of the best that we've had as far as taking care of us and our room goes. He wasn't chatty Cathy, so if you are looking for that type of steward, he wouldn't be the one for you. But he always kept our supplies full and we never had to ask for anything (not even ice). Emmanuel was very professional and really, really good at his job. I will talk more about the staff as I get to individual departments.
The room was much less spacious than we expected. We had a BA balcony on the Riviera deck. I'm not sure how many square feet they've taken out of the balcony rooms, but it felt much smaller than we've experienced before on Princess. The closet space was ample, the bathroom/shower was pretty standard. The entertainment system on the televisions is marvelous, there isn't much in the live tv department except for sports and news, but the movies are great. They'll show the movies from "Movies under the Stars" in your room the day after they show on deck. The great thing is that they are on demand, so no waiting for a specific time to be able to watch your favorite. We didn't use the balcony much, we rarely use one and the weather on this trip wasn't conducive to sunning very much.
The casino is large, great machines including some of the newest on the market. The casino host staff was very good, very attentive and helpful. I was a little sad that a few of my favorite machines weren't working on this cruise. Kevin, Joyce and an assistant host that was from China (sorry, don't remember her name) were always available for anything that you might need. I think this was one of the best casinos of all of our ships that we've visited.
This ship boasts one of the largest atriums of any Princess ship. Unfortunately, you can never get a seat there and if you happen to get one, it is so noisy in there from morning to night that you can't enjoy the serenity and beauty. I think the CD staff needs to move some of the events that happen in the atrium into different venues. Seems like everything was happening in the Atrium, but there was no where to sit to enjoy anything. I noticed lots of empty bars....probably for want of some live music. This particular cruise was filled with passengers that enjoyed late night entertainment. We would have enjoyed some as well, but couldn't find a bar with a nice piano player to visit.
The ports: Madiera was wonderful. We took the Princess tour that allowed us to slide down the hill on toboggans and loved it. We skipped Cadiz (Seville) because of weather, which was a huge disappointment. They added Lisbon to make up for it, honestly we could have done without Lisbon. Gibraltar was also a bust for me, after the port lecture we expected to be able to hire a taxi to take us around but all of them were taken. We were there for 12 hours, so it made for a pretty boring day (with a really long walk into town to look for a taxi that didn't exist). In Malaga, we again took a Princess tour to Alhambra. It was perfect, but not for anyone that has any mobility problems at all. I'm not talking just about wheelchairs, canes and walkers here.....I'm talking about being able to walk 4.5 km quickly. If you can't do that, you will suffer through this tour. Still, it was beautiful. After Malaga, I was hurting so badly that I couldn't even get off of the ship in Cartagena. My husband did, went to Elche and said I didn't miss much. Palma de Mallorca was beautiful, we hired a cab for a 2 hour tour with another couple. We were able to see everything that we wanted to see and had a great time. Barcelona is not my favorite port, so I'll leave that review to someone who likes Barcelona to talk about their experience.
So, the bottom line is that the cruise was nice, a few disappointments, but still very nice. We probably won't sail on Royal or Regal again unless they have some amazing itinerary that we just can't pass up. There are other ships that we've enjoyed so much that there isn't any sense in taking one that you don't.
BTW Princess, please start putting some covered pools on more of your ships.....