Royal Princess – an early Guided Tour

 

My wife and I were most fortunate to be offered the opportunity of an overnight visit to Princess Cruises newest ship, The Royal Princess the day following her arrival in Southampton. We are both most Grateful to Victoria Travel,   www.cruise.co.uk   for their invitation to join a number of their cruise consultants and Forum members      http://www.cruises.co.uk/    on this most prestigious of visits.
 
Check-in was very efficient and invitation included free car-parking and shuttle bus service.
We were presented with a neat and  comprehensive Self Tour Guide to assist us in finding both the primary attractions and points of interest on Royal Princess…
Royal Princess is a 141,000 Ton, 1082 long modern cruise ship with a passenger capacity of 3,600 with a  crew of around 1,346 to look after the guests.  A total of 1,780 Staterooms are divided between 36 Suites, 314 Mini-Suites, 1,070 balcony staterooms and, if my sums are correct, 360 interior cabins.
Our accommodation for the overnight stay was a Deluxe Balcony Cabin on 8 Deck…
Following our Self Guide Booklet there were a number of other cabin grades available to view including this S2 Suite…
 
…with a wrap around balcony at the stern….
By design, and through evolution,  the central hub, or  heart  of the ship,  is the awe inspiring Atrium with its marbled floors and circular staircases:  the lower level  on Deck 5 being appropriately called The Piazza
Looking Forward…
Viewed looking aft…
 
 …and viewed from Piazza Level ( 5 Deck)
The Atrium has three levels, designed on all-contrasting geometric shapes, some of which give the illusion of ‘floating spaces’. Each level is accessed by spiral marbled staircases under backlit glass domes. Each of the three Atrium levels has  multiple entertainment and dining venues which surround the central Piazza.
Venues such as Alfredo’s, an Italian style pizzeria…
Vines, an  elegant though traditional wine bar that also serves tapas…
Gelato, the ice cream parlour…
The Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar
Crooners, the cool Martini Bar…
with its Crooners Lounge…
 with its entertaining Pianos…
and  the new to Princess Cruises , Italian inspired Bellini’s…
and of course many other venues, too many to catalogue,  but including the Photo and Video gallery and Internet Cafe.
Away from the Atrium/Piazza area other entertainment venues include  an English style pub, The Wheelhouse…
 …which additionally has live music.
The Princess Theatre…
and the Vista Show Lounge
With such an almost  plethoric choice of entertainment one would expect to feel a trifle hungry and passengers certainly have choices in abundance here on this ship: dining venues everywhere.
There are 3 Main Dining Restaurants onboard. 
For those wishing Traditional Dining where passengers dine at a set time, with the same tablemates, and the same waiters each evening,  there is The Allegro Dining Room
…with its option to  choose to dine at the Chef’s Table Lumiere: 
a private dining experience amidst a softly-lit curtain that encloses your extravagant table…
 
 
 
Alternatively there are two Main Restaurants where  ‘Anytime’ flexible dining is the option. In these restaurants passengers  can eat whenever and with whomever they choose.
The Concerto Dining Room…
and The Symphony Dining Room…
 These two restaurants have the additional feature option to dine in one of the  private wine cellar rooms within the restaurant…
 
Speciality Restaurants: There are also two elegant specialty restaurants, each subject to a cover charge of $25.00 per person.
 Sabatini’s, with a menu specializing in Italian cuisine and premium seafood…
or  Crown Grill…
…a classic steakhouse restaurant set in an opulent, rich wood surrounding with a theatre style ‘open’ kitchen where chefs custom-prepare fresh seafood, such as lobster, scallops, clams and mussels, and cooked-to-order prime steaks
No modern cruise ship would be without its ‘Buffet’ facility and Royal Princess has one amazingly large facility at that, Horizon Court…
…with it’s very own Pastry Shop…
And so our tour moves out onto the open decks. No shortage of space for those who yearn for the sun…
and so good to note that sunbeds are not squeezed together like sardines in a tin….
Additionally,  Royal Princess  has two distinct deck areas worth a mention, particularly  as they are designated ‘Adult Only’.
The Retreat…
…and The Sanctuary…

Central Cabana

…a blissful Princess Signature Haven:  an oasis of tranquillity that also features private cabanas with refrigerators and flat-screen TVs…
And why not while out on deck sample the  SeaWalk – Extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship, this unique glass-panelled walkway offers an incredible view of the ocean by day and lights up for romantic strolls by night – a Princess first…
That basically  concludes the ‘objective’ tour of Royal Princess. Our visit did include a Champagne Reception and Dinner in the Concerto Dining Room where we were treated to an excellent meal which included, as an appetizer, a ‘Study of Seafood’.  In reality it was a medley of seafood from the Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar Menu: Ahi Tuna poke, Vodka and Red Beet Cured Salmon and Lobster Medallions…
A varied programme of entertainment continued throughout the evening and into the early hours. A Deck Party  included the singer and songwriter Lemar while a selection of the various acts and entertainers gave taste of what to expect in the Piazza.
So what was Mrs and Solent Richard’s impression of Royal Princess. Actually we were impressed. This was our first time with Princess Cruises and we liked what we saw. Neither of us believe that any period under 5 days is reasonable to get a full and proper feel for a cruise ship. There was certainly a range of dining and entertainment options to make for choices we would like to experience and we  certainly  saw enough to tempt us to place Princess Cruises, and most certainly  Royal Princess, on our ‘lets give it a try’ list.
The carpets weren’t bad either…
Our thanks are extended to Princess Cruises and Sukie of Cruises.co.uk for their kind invitation and the immaculate administration arrangements that made our day so successful.

7 responses to “Royal Princess – an early Guided Tour

  1. Pingback: The Forum Visit to Royal Princess·

  2. An excellent well-presented review and I can’t wait to boarding it on Sunday!

    Thank you – and not one mention of beige!

  3. Thank You for the comprehensive report and photographs, it is really kind of You to make the effort in sharing Your experience with others, well done

  4. Yes, Princess has been ahead for a long time and its dining options and Wheelhouse Bar with Princess Theatre and Vista Lounge are standard features across its fleet.
    On the Royal Princess , having watched its building and design over the last two years has been informative and exciting.
    You both have been given a great privilege to sample all of its features.
    Will I do the Sea Walk, not sure 🙂
    Its Buffet Area has been finally lengthen to be more open for passengers and the addition of the Pastry area vis. just a buffet section is a major move and as you observed the whole new approach to the centre of the ship Atrium is well thought out.
    As to the Sun beds, wait till you have 2,000 Brits onboard wanting the sun and they will be moved all over the map. The Sanctuary has been a new feature over the last few years and is well worth the privacy/
    Good review

  5. Thank you so much for sharing these first impressions. What a beautiful work performed (yours – of course! – and the craftsmen’s job on the marble floor in the lobby etc..) Great!

  6. Excellent pictures SR, just as we remembered from our two night “speed date” of Royal Princess

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