The WOW factor – The Royal Princess Cruise Atrium
Now with a full complement of three staircases and lift stations – just like its sister ships – Princess Royal is probably still the most glamorous of the cruise line’s 17 ships.
To add to the glitz is an onboard collection of Kate Middleton memorabilia, including the dress she wore for the naming and scissors she used to cut loose the champagne – plus a letter to the captain and crew signed simply Catherine.
And fittingly, for 2018, Royal Princess has returned to Southampton from the USA for a summer of round-Britain cruises.
THE WOW FACTOR
Royal Princess’s three-deck atrium is at the heart of the ship and the liveliest place onboard, whatever the weather.
In the evening there’s music from groups such as the tribute band Yeah Beatles playing in its Deck 5 Piazza, with dancing on the white marble floor and audiences singing along from the glass and gilt balconies on Deck 6 and Deck 7.
Earlier in the evening there might be a singer playing acoustic guitar and during the day it’s the place to sit with a cappuccino from the 24-hour International Café or an artisan ice cream from Gelato.
Exercise or dance classes sometimes take place in the morning – especially on sea days – and this bright, spacious, area is also home to bars on Deck 6 and 7 such as the New York-style Crooners and sophisticated Bellini’s.
The Seawall Deck is a glass bottomed deck on board The Royal Princess
Princess Cruises ships are noted for their luxuriously understated interiors, and Royal Princess has a touch of art deco style with modern coffee and cream colour palettes to match its fine-dining restaurants.
In the evenings people dress up a little – not too over-the-top but smart casual – and during the day they are in shorts, jeans or swimming gear, depending on the weather.
Most get off in port to go on excursions or do their own thing but on sunny sea days the loungers are full with the hot tubs extremely popular.
The main pool area is lively – the famous Movie Under The Stars screen is in use during the day as well as at night – but there’s a complimentary adults-only Retreat Pool on Deck 17 next to the paid-for Sanctuary.
Princess Cruises ships all cater well for families, with free children’s clubs for toddlers to teenagers and special club rooms and even outdoor areas just for them.
And if you want to find a little peace and quiet there’s a small library and Internet Café, while the Lotus Spa offers the ultimate (paid-for) relaxation treatments including bespoke facials and a choice of massages.
Keep fit fans should also be happy with the well-equipped free gym, the open-air sports court for ball games and the jogging track that runs right around the ship.
There is also a putting green (artificial grass), small driving range and outdoor gym equipment next to the jogging track.
English is the only language used for announcements and signage onboard, mainly because most of the passengers are American and British, with just a sprinkling of European but a significant number from the Far East.
A new musical, The Secret Silk, written by the creator of Wicked and Godspell, Stephen Schwartz, has had its debut on Royal Princess.
It’s based on an Asian folk story with a magical twist, partly thanks to its life-size puppets made by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, and will appear on Island Princess and Diamond Princess later this year.
But there is something to please everyone in the theatre with a programme of shows and singer, magicians and comedians that changes every night.
And if you can’t find what you want in the Princess Theatre, there’s bound to be something going on elsewhere.
Princess Live! is a TV studio and the venue for trivia quizzes, night and day, as well as after-dinner karaoke – with some of the events televised so you can watch them from the comfort of your cabin.
Then there’s dancing until the early hours in Club 6, Movies Under The Stars on Deck 16 and 17, plus more than half a dozen bars.
Stateroom Princess Suite on board the Royal Princess.
From Penthouse Suites to mini-suites, balcony and interior cabins, the choice is considerable and includes staterooms suitable for wheelchairs, connecting staterooms for families and staterooms that will take two, three and four passengers.
Standard balcony rooms for two have a large double bed that can be made into twin beds, a shower-room and walk-in wardrobe plus large wall-mounted TV screen, a fridge and desk with drawers for extra storage.
All cabins have hair dryers, a safe and in-room entertainment available on the television, which includes complimentary newish release films, a choice of news and sport live TV channels and recorded TV shows.
You can also use your TV to check out excursions or spa treatments, which you can book using your stateroom telephone, and you can also catch up on the port lectures if you didn’t manage to make the live event.
Chef’s Table Lumiere Dining – Royal Princess
The three main waiter-served dining rooms – Allegro, Concerto and Symphony – all serve the same evening meals although only Concerto is open for breakfast and lunch.
Like the rest of the ship they have a slightly art deco feel to them and – as with all the dining options – the food really is excellent with dining available on an any-time or set-time basis.
For those who don’t like the fuss of a waiter-served meal there is plenty of choice in the self-serve Horizon Court and Horizon Bistro on Deck 16 – including plenty of Asian food – and you can sit outside at the back of the ship or near the pool to eat too.
Within the Horizon Bistro there’s also a free Pastry Shop, while near the main pool there is Trident Grill for burgers and hot dogs, Prego – serving slices of pizza – and Swirls for free ice cream.
Complimentary snacks and desserts are also available in the International Café, on Deck 5 beside the atrium, or Alfredo’s serves complimentary fresh-made pizzas on Deck 6.
If you’re celebrating a special event, though, the paid-for Sabatini’s has outstanding Italian food – lots of prawns, calamari and superb pasta to choose from – while the paid-for Crown Grill is a seafood and chop house with a club-like atmosphere and steaks to match.
To really push out the boat, though, you can book Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience within Allegro Dining Room for a small group with a cover charge of $115.
The Royal Princess Cruise Ship
Royal Princess is sailing around the British Isles all summer until September with two main itineraries, British Isles with Liverpool or Kirkwall and British Isles with an overnight in Dublin.
There are several departure dates available including August 17 when the 12-day round-trip from Southampton includes calls at Guernsey, Cobh (near Cork) in Ireland, two days in Dublin, Belfast, Greenock near Glasgow, Invergordon in the Highlands, South Queensferry near Edinburgh and Le Havre in France, from £1,114pp, two sharing.
For details call 0344 338 8663 or go to princess.com.