Classic Cruising: Review of the Royal Princess
Royal Princess Cruise Review to Caribbean - Southern
Review summaryThat Princess picked Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, to christen the Royal Princess in 2013 reflects what the cruise line delivers—a classic cruise experience. You won’t find zip-lines, go-karts or tattoo parlors on this ship. But what you will find are excellent shows, varied food, elegant décor and a laid back, relaxing vibe that helps you, says Princess, “come back new.” Eating The MDR. The main dining room food was, well, main dining room food. The Norman Love desserts were a standout, but the rest was a mixed bag. The buffet. Horizon Court was truly the most expansive I’ve seen on a cruise ship. There were very good roasts, many vegetable choices, multiple salad bars, and premium foods like mussels, calamari, shrimp and salmon, a big variety of cheeses (brie! Gorgonzola! Edam! Stilton!), terrific fresh rolls and focaccia, smoked fish, prosciutto and quiches, as well as a few Asian dishes, for foodies like me. There were also typical buffet foods, from fried chicken to meatloaf to lasagna. Theme nights were fun—German, Italian, Brazilian and American. While not everything is terrific, it’s hard to imagine not finding something to like. The specialty restaurants. At Crown Grill, the service matched the food—both were outstanding. The 8 ounce filet mignon was fork tender and flavorful, and the molten chocolate cake was deliciously decadent. My travel companion had the sampler plate—four mini versions of their desserts—and I was jealous. The nibbling. There’s also a 24-hour International Café with good quality sandwiches, quiches and desserts, and pizza thought to be the best at sea. Watching The shows. Princess has upped its game significantly on its production shows and two in particular were outstanding. “Encore” had a romantic, old-world set with tunes both familiar and new, with a bit of opera thrown in. But the best was “The Secret Silk,” which featured a sweet story, amazingly elaborate and colorful costumes, and constantly changing interesting sets with an Asian theme. All showcased Broadway quality singers. The movies. Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) is like a drive-in without the car (but with better audio!). This trip, they were showing “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again,” among others. Snuggle up under their red plaid blanket on a padded lounger, load up on free popcorn and you’ve got yourself a different way to do the night. The fountains. While some complain that the fountains take up precious pool space, they are fun to watch. The water spurts out every which way, in color and to music, with the movie screen doing something or other in the background. Playing The Royal Princess has some great activities, such as an inexpensive wine tasting ($9.50), interesting lecture by ship officer on navigation (here’s a tidbit: life boat capacity on the ship well exceeds the capacity of passengers plus crew), galley tour and behind-the-scenes event by the production show staff. These last two events were offered free—there’s often a charge on other cruise lines. You’ll also find the usual cruise events—game shows, contests, bingo, ice sculpture demo, karaoke, dance lessons—as well as the spa, casino, etc. And then…Princess’ mini-suite can cost not much more than a balcony if you time your trip right…Horizon Court buffet is well staffed with waiters who will bring beverages such as orange juice, coffee and water to your table…The buffet is open with a full dinner until 11 p.m.…the balloon drop on the second formal night was a colorful and lively party combining bopping to music with balloon popping…music around the ship varied from steel drums to solo guitar…there was a wedding chapel tailor-made for vow renewals… In fact, there’s quite a lot to like about Princess. And it’s why we find ourselves on the line again and again. - Musing About Cruising
Food and Dining
In the past, we've been reluctant to spend extra money on specialty restaurants. But once we decided to try them, we've found them to significantly add to the cruise experience. Crown Grill on the Royal Princess was worth every additional penny--the 8 oz. filet mignon was tender and tasty, and the desserts were wonderful, particularly the four mini-dessert sampler. The service was excellent and attentive. In short, everything the main dining room is not.
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Mini-suites can be had for almost the price of a balcony, if you time your trip right (e.g., off season).