Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 415 out of 500
Accommodation: 161 out of 200
Food: 268 out of 400
Service: 295 out of 400
Entertainment: 83 out of 100
Cruise: 306 out of 400
Overall Score: 1528 out of 2000
Royal Princess Statistics
Size: Large Resort Ship
Cruise Line: Princess Cruises
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 9584712
Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)
Original Cost: €775 million
Entered Service: Jun 2013
Length (ft/m): 1,082.6/330.0
Beam (ft/m): 126.3/38.5
Draft (ft/m): 27.8/8.5
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (52,000kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 17
Total Crew: 1,346
Passengers (lower beds): 3,560
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 39.6
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.6
Cabins (total): 1,780
Size Range (sq ft/m): 161.4-554.3/15-51.5
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 1,438
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 36
Wheelchair accessibility: Best
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 2
Hot Tubs (on deck): 6
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
This is a large, family-friendly, multi-choice contemporary resort ship
Overview. Royal Princess really is a grand resort, a playground in which to roam when not ashore. Princess Cruises has taken the best features of its Grand-class ships, fine-tuned them to the latest passenger tastes, and included more hedonistic retreats and food venues. The company delivers a consistent and well-packaged cruise vacation at an attractive price, which is why passengers keep returning.
The Ship. Royal Princess has quite a streamlined look for its size. When the ship first debuted there was no complete walk-around promenade deck. But, due to many passenger complaints, this has been changed, so now you can enjoy a complete walk-around deck. Also added in the retro-fit was an aft-deck swimming pool. Although this reduced some open deck space, it is now a much-appreciated facility. Lifeboats are, practically, located outside the main public room areas, so that they don’t impair the view from balcony cabins.
One notable innovation are two ‘over-the-water’ SeaWalks, top-deck glass-floor enclosed walkways (stiletto heels not advisable!) on both sides; these extend almost 30ft (9.1m) beyond the vessel’s edge. Go there for dramatic views of the sea - some 128ft (39m) below.
For real escapees, an extra-cost adults-only retreat called The Sanctuary is larger than aboard the Grand-class ships and has more amenities. It includes four rentable cabanas, two extra-cost Lotus-Spa-operated ‘couples’ cabanas, and has its own retreat pool and relaxation areas (in both sunny and shaded positions). The adjacent Retreat area has grown in size, and so other passengers have less open deck space.
The Piazza Atrium is the ship’s multi-faceted social hub. It combines specialty eateries, for light meals, snack food items, pastries, beverages, entertainment, shopping, and passenger services all in one area, with multi-level horseshoe-shaped ‘flowing’ stairways, mood lighting effects, and a small dance floor.
The base level of the atrium includes a large International Café, for coffees, teas, panini, and pastries; Sabatini’s (it’s adjacent to the atrium, not exactly in it), a Tuscan specialty extra-cost restaurant, with both regular and à-la-carte menus; and a gift shop. Upstairs, level two includes a 121-seat Alfredo’s Pizzeria (pizzas are free), Bellini’s (featuring Bellini drinks) a photo gallery, and the reception and shore excursion counters. On the third level is Crooners Bar, with solo pianist entertainers, and a small Seafood Bar.
Families. Children have their own playrooms (Pelicans, Shockwaves), teens-only chill-out room, pools, fitness and open deck areas, away from adult areas, plus a host of energetic, dedicated children’s and youth counselors. There are good sports facilities for younger cruisers, too, so that they can be kept really active. Children can eat in a dedicated section of the Horizon Court buffet area equipped with kid-height tables and chairs. A total of 50 cabins have interconnecting doors - good for families with children. Children and teens have their own fitness rooms adjacent to their age-related facilities.
Accommodation. There are six main types of accommodation and a bewildering number of different price grades: (a) Grand Suite; (b) 40 suites with balcony; (c) 306 mini-suites with balcony; (d) 360 deluxe outside-view balcony cabins; (e) 732 outside-view cabins with balcony; and (f) 342 interior cabins. Pricing depends on two things: size and location. Outside-view cabins account for about 81 percent of all accommodation, and have a balcony; those located at the stern are the quietest and most sought-after. Note that some 68 cabins have lifeboat-obstructed views, and the 52 cabins on Deck 8 above the showlounge are subject to noise pollution from the shows until late in the evening.
All accommodation grades share energy-efficient lighting and key card readers that automatically turn off lights when occupants leave their cabins. All cabins get beds with upholstered headboards, wall-mounted TV sets, 220v electrical sockets, turndown service and heart-shaped chocolates on pillows each night, bathrobes (on request unless you are in suite-grade accommodation), and toiletries. A hairdryer is provided in all cabins, sensibly located at the vanity desk unit in the living area. Bathrooms generally have a good amount of open shelf storage space for toiletries.
Suite- and mini-suite-grade occupants have their own Concierge Lounge - useful for making dining, spa, and shore excursion reservations. They also get more amenities and larger TV sets, larger towels, and two washbasins.
Some of the most sought-after suites are located aft, occupying the corner (port and starboard) positions.
Dining. There are three ‘formal’ main dining rooms: Allegro, Concerto, and Symphony. You can choose either traditional two-seating dining (typically 6pm and 8.15pm for dinner), or ‘anytime dining’ - where you choose when and with whom you want to eat. However, if you want to see a show in the evening, then your dining time will be dictated by the time of the show, which limits your choice.
A 12-seat circular table is located within the Wine Cellar of the Allegro and Symphony dining rooms. This extra-cost, reservations-required venue is good for private functions and celebrations. Also available is a private Chef’s Table Lumière, located within the Concerto dining room. It has a custom-made glass dining table and fine dining utensils. In both Allegro and Symphony, you can reserve a private table (at extra cost) for up to 12 in each venue’s wine room, for meals that are paired with specific wines.
Other dining options. Extra-cost, reservations-required Sabatini’s (Vines Bar is located adjacent) just off the lower atrium level, is an Italian restaurant with colorful Tuscany-themed decor. Named after Trattoria Sabatini, the 200-year-old institution in Florence, it serves Italian-style pasta dishes with a choice of sauces, all provided with flair and entertainment by energetic waiters. This venue also hosts Italian wine tasting.
Alfredo’s is a sit-down pizzeria named after Alfredo Marzi, corporate chef for Princess Cruises, and the venue specializes in ‘authentic’ family-friendly-size pizzas.
Ocean Terrace, located on the upper level of the three-deck-high atrium lobby, is a seafood bar. International Café, on the lowest level of the Piazza Atrium, is the place for extra-cost coffees, pastries, paninis, and more.
Vines Wine Bar is close to Sabatini’s and provides an escape from all the noise and hubbub elsewhere - for a glass of extra-cost wine and tapas. It’s a pleasant area in which to while away a late afternoon, trying out new wines.
Crown Grill is for all-American premium-quality steaks and grilled seafood. It is an extra-cost, reservations-required, à-la-carte venue, located close to the aft stairway.
For casual meals, the self-serve buffet venue Horizon Court (it seats 900 indoors and 350 outdoors at the adjacent Horizon Terrace) has multiple active cooking stations. Sections highlight specific themes, such as Mediterranean, Asian, and Italian cuisine; there’s also a deli section. At night, the aft section becomes the Horizon Bistro, for casual dinners. Certain evenings feature special themes and foods, such as British pub food or as a Brazilian churrascaria (for carved meat dishes). A hibachi grill and other ‘active’ cooking stations (for regional specialties) are part of the scenario. It all translates to a more flexible large-scale eatery - but useful as a change to the main dining rooms. Additionally, Horizon Court now has its own bakery; as a separate area.
Outside, the poolside Trident Grill (for hamburgers, hot dogs, and other fast-food grilled items during the day) becomes a traditional smokehouse barbecue in the evenings. Meanwhile, Mexican-style eats can be obtained from the Outrigger Bar.
Entertainment. The 1,000 seat Princess Theater is the main showlounge. Two decks high, it is designed for the large-scale production shows that Princess Cruises is renowned for, and has fine views from all seats (no pillars to spoil the view - an outstanding achievement in such a large room).
Spa/Fitness. The Lotus Spa is large, and is forward on the lower level of the atrium, so it doesn’t take away premium outdoor-view real estate space (it’s adjacent to Sabatini’s Italian Restaurant). Separate facilities for men and women include a sauna, steam room, and changing rooms; common facilities include a relaxation/waiting zone, body-pampering treatment rooms, (a gymnasium packed with the latest high-tech, muscle-pumping cardio-vascular equipment is located aft on a higher deck).