Have you seen the ITV television series that first aired in 2015, The Cruise? Well I certainly had and it features the very ship I had the pleasure of visiting on Friday 17th August 2018. Princess Cruise Lines, star of the show – Royal Princess. The Royal Princess came into Service in 2013 after being christened by our own Princess – Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge.
Did you know that Princess Cruises are not just for adults? No! I didn’t either, until a couple of months ago when my interest was aroused. We had always, foolishly looked over Princess Cruises when booking our family cruise vacation. Why? Because like so many other people we had previously spoken to, we wrongly assumed this the cruise line was specifically for adults only. A ridiculous assumption and a mistake that we will not be making again.
Royal Princess – Quick View ship Statistics
Royal Princess came into service in 2013.
Registered: Hamilton, Bermuda
Gross Tonage: 142,714
Currently with 18 stunning ships to the fleet, Princess Cruises are soon to expand with the anticipated arrival of Sky Princess, debuting in the Mediterranean and Caribbean in 2019. Sky Princess will feature all of the luxurious attractions you would expect from a Royal-Class Ship, with a sprinkle of extra magic. For the latest news on Sky Princess, head over to Princess.com.
Royal Princess Arrival
My family and I, that is my two daughters, Hollie and Eden and also my mother Carol arrived at the docks in our local city of Southampton on the morning of Friday 17th August 2018. We spent some 10 minutes or so gazing up at the beauty, towering above the rooftop belonging to the Ocean Terminal. Whilst you might expect, or perhaps assume it was just mother and I doing the staring, you would be incorrect. Hollie and Eden, the toughest two little cruise critics in attendance that day were also aimlessly admiring the view. Both of the girls were snap happy on their cameras, pointing and shooting at the spectacular ship -The Royal Princess.
Our visit on board was hosted by a Princess Cruises general book of knowledge, metaphorically speaking of course. The informative and professional Canadian Crew Member Kyler was on hand for our first two hours on board. He certainly made new friends in Hollie and Eden, who were immediately heading towards the sweet and tantalizing smell of pastries coming from the International Cafe. Kyler and two other attentive members of staff in the cafe offered us all a pastry of choice. Thankfully this moment produced a window of opportunity for me. Whilst the 2 mini members and mother member of firstinitialsea.com sat blissfully eating their pastries, glaring outwards at the sumptuous gold and glistening atrium, I ceased my opportunity to begin the days exploration on board the Royal Princess…
Deck 5 – Plaza
Unmistakably the Piazza is the heart and soul of the ship and in our opinion one of the finest atrium’s at sea. Royal Princess’ Piazza is golden grand and certainly breathtaking. The Piazza features numerous dazzling, whirling staircases, chandeliers and stunning light features. The Piazza strategically stretches from deck 5 to deck 7, allowing passengers ample space to relax whilst watching watching live entertainment.
The Mini Piazza, adds a charming touch to deck 5 with its shimmering and alluring water feature. This is also where you will find the shore excursions and passenger services desk, home to Timothy Gallant, the admirable member of staff who was heavily featured in ITV’s The Cruise.
Top Tip: For those of you who love to capture memories, I would highly recommend an early rise to capture the perfect Piazza perspective.
The Lotus Spa is situated on deck 5, it is incredibly luxurious and is complimented with a contemporary style. Here you can immerse yourself in the elite of relaxation. Indulge in a Turkish style steam room, hydro pool or dry heat sauna. You will find an array of pampering options on the menu.
Tantalizing, sweet and savory treats are served 24 hours a day in the International Cafe. If you fancy a light bite in between your main meals, then this is just one of the many eateries you can choose from. Freshly baked pastries, paninies, rolls, sandwiches, salads and sweet treats are calling your name. With plenty of seats, why not tickle your taste buds with your favorite snack whilst enjoying the entertainment? The International Cafe looks out on to the Piazza floor, where much of the ships entertainment can be viewed. Eden, aged 10, commented “These donuts are delicious, I already know where I would have my breakfast every day.”
If you would like a cup of coffee or perhaps your favorite cup of tea to warmly wash down your treat then you are in the right place. Strategically placed – Towers of Tea. Solid wooden cabinets with a generous genre of teas. I never knew so many different types of teas even existed. If like me you wouldn’t know where to start, don’t worry for Royal Princess have on board a Tea Sommelier (tea expert). Hollie has recently started to enjoy a cup of tea, she was fascinated by the various tea types and wished we had more time on board to sample some of the flavors.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. Gelato is situated across from International Cafe, we popped over to see what was on offer and we were not disappointed; sweet sundaes of choice, smoothies, shakes and crepes to name a few. Obviously the mini cruise critics were thoroughly impressed. Although after their pastries just minutes before, I had to insist that we would come back later…
Deck 5 also includes: Sabatini’s, a Tuscan inspired specialty restaurant. Symphony Dining Room, one of the three main dining rooms featuring a wine cellar table. Vines, a passenger favorite wine and tapas bar. Celebrations Gift Shop and the Internet Cafe.
Deck 6 – Fiesta
Calming, perhaps sounds like an odd word to describe a theater on board a cruise ship, despite this, it will remain the word I am going to use for good reason. Carol (my mother, who I mentioned earlier) enjoys a cruise approximately 3 times a year and has done so every year since 1999. That is a lot of cruises! In my opinion, this makes Carol a bit of an expert. ” I love everything about this theater, not too big or too small, the color scheme and lighting is just so calming, this is quite possibly the finest theater I have ever seen on a cruise ship.” We were all super impressed when Kyler explained the seats in the theater are not reserved for those guests who are residing in a suite. Quite simply Princess Cruises operates a first come first serve policy in the theater. What’s more every single seat within has unobstructed views. A genre of musical, magical and theatrical arts can be enjoyed by passengers, all complimented by sumptuous seating and the intelligent lighting system. Inclusion is key in the Princess Theater.
After enjoying a show in the Princess Theater you can head to conveniently located Club 6. Put on you dancing shoes and prepare to dance the night away. With a resident DJ, ample space and seating, for those of you who like to people watch, this is the place to be after hours. Effectively an on board night club for ages 18 and above, Club 6 also regularly holds a family disco, to be enjoyed by all ages. Personally for us, we have always treated our children to the family discos on board previous cruises, they adore this energetic, fun and quality time spent together and will often be heard re-telling these memories to their friends and family.
The Princess Casino features all of the modern table games and slot machines. If you want to try your luck, whether you’re a professional or amateur, the Princess Casino has something for everyone aged 18 and over. Unless of course you are on a ship visit, and passing by, then any age is acceptable. A stunning staircase spirals in the center from deck 6 to deck 7.
The Pizzeria on board serves up some of the best pizza at sea. Traditional pizzas can be enjoyed and if you don’t fancy those you can personalize your very own.
The cocktail and champagne bar has an extensive menu. Take a seat, order your favorite tipple, or two, sit back and watch the entertainment. Bellini’s is perfectly situated for optimum enjoyment.
Concerto and Allegero Dining Rooms
The two remaining, main dining rooms: Concerto and Allegro are also located on deck 6. Just like Symphony, Concerto features a wine cellar table. Allegro is our favorite, for Allegro features the Chef’s Table Lumiere. The table is out of this world, whilst passengers can expect to pay extra for sitting at this specialty table, we consider it to be well worth the experience. The restaurant has a unique use of light, the table itself seats 12. The 12 passengers can expect to choose 5 courses, whilst encased in the curtain of light.
Deck 6 also includes the photo and video gallery and the aptly named Churchill’s – A cigar lounge.
Deck 7 – Promenade
The Ambient and elegant Princess Theater is laid out over the two decks: deck 6 and deck 7.
Deck 7 – Promenade
The Royal Princess has a television studio, yep that’s it, a television studio. The Cruise Director often films the live wake up shows from here. News, talk shows and game shows such as marriage match, who is the cuckoo, liars club and the yes no game are also recorded here. We all enjoyed our time in the modern and spacious Live Lounge and had fun pretending to be a Cruise Director for the morning.
The on board Martini Lounge offers 70 plus unique martinis. Sip on a martini or give in to temptation to the irresistible gourmet olives on offer. The Martini and Piano lounge will have you feeling as though you’ve stepped back in time to the era of swing.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the piano in Crooners was designed and painted by the famous olive painter – Michael Godard?
Crown Grill and Wheelhouse Bar
Our mouths were watering at just the look of the menu. The Crown Grill and Wheelhouse Bar offers specialty dining, from silver steaks to seafood. With 5 courses of premium dining on the menu, you cant go wrong. There is even a salt menu!
A must: In our experience, we will always recommend trying specialty restaurants whilst on board a cruise, it is always a delightful and memorable experience.
Deck 7 also consists of the Princess Live Cafe, Vista Lounge, Ocean Terrace, numerous shops, the library, cruise sales and the fine arts gallery.
Staterooms Decks 8 – 14
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see any of the staterooms on board during our visit. However you can find more about them here.
Whether you’re booking an inside cabin or a suite, there is accommodation to suit everyone’s needs on board Royal Princess.
Deck 14 – Riviera
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This is exclusive to suite passengers, who will have the use of this lounge to work, rest, book shore excursions and make reservations. In addition to this, the Concierge Lounge will serve as the private area for disembarkation to all suite guests.
Deck 16 – Lido
This is where the fun really began for Hollie and Eden. We enjoyed our buffet style lunch in Horizon Court, which was full of choice. Eden (aged 10) is such a fussy eater, so much so she is under a consultant as her weight centile is down for her age. However she found lots to eat and even went back for seconds and pudding, maybe we all did but that would be telling. Eden even managed to make a friend in a member of staff telling him “I could get used to this.”
Fountain and Plunge Pool
After lunch the girls grew super powers, in the flash of light, both were enjoying the pool areas on the lido deck. They “Island hopped” many times between the three pools. By day I can imagine passengers on board, basking in the heat of the sun and then fully submerging themselves in the lido or plunge pool, or cooling off in the soothing waters of the fountain pool.
By night, the Fountain Pool doubles as a spectacular light show, something that is unique to Princess Cruises.
Wow, just wow. There are many reasons to cruise on Royal Princess, for me this is a pretty major reason – to brave the Sea walk whilst cruising the open ocean. We all courageously walked over the glass flooring whilst the ship was docked and if I am honest it was a little daunting and exhilarating at the same time. I can only imagine how awesome this would be at sea. The Sea walk is extended 128 feet above the ocean and is a first for any cruise line.
Fun fact: Did you know that the bridge on a cruise ship often has a glass floor so the Captain can keep a close eye on what’s below.
Yes Swirls gets its own subheading, why? Because my daughters asked early on if the ship did free ice cream by the pools, this is what they have become accustomed to on board a cruise ship. Their opinions matter the most when choosing our next cruise. Happy children equals happy parents. Both Hollie and Eden consider it an absolute must to have ice cream available by the pools.
Deck 16 also includes Prego Pizzeria, Mermaids Tail, Trident Grill, Sea view Bar and the Outrigger Bar and Calypso Cabana.
Deck 17 – Sun Deck
Deck 17 is a playground for both adults and children. Here you will find the Sanctuary, the Retreat pool and bar. A luxurious space for passengers who want that little bit extra from their cruise. The Sanctuary features private Cabanas and two Lotus Cabanas where passengers can enjoy various spa treatments.
The Retreat Pool and bar is a space for adults where they can unwind and rejuvenate. This is not included in the price of your cruise.
The gymnasium is also found on deck 17, stare out on to the endless horizon whilst working up a sweat on the treadmill.
Welcome to the house of fun. Children from the ages of 3 to 17 can enjoy an extensive range of activities in Camp Discovery and The Beach House. The youth center on board Royal Princess has separate large rooms depending on age of your child. Once your child has registered and been grouped accordingly, the fun can begin. From experience, our girls have loved being part of youth centers on board cruise ships, this allows them to grow independently, meet new friends and grow as an individual. Whilst we also like our children to be with us for the majority of time on our cruise, they do get fed up of being around us boring adults, so this doesn’t just offer the parents a break, believe it or not, the children like a break from us too! Hollie and Eden both reported back that their time in the youth center was too short and asked if they could come back on the ship to join Camp Discovery. Now there is a recommendation for you.
Deck 18 – Sports
Movies under the stars
If you have ever been on a cruise then you will know that one of the nicest things to do is catch a movie under the stars whilst sailing to your next destination. You can certainly do this on board Royal Princess. Grab a blanket, some popcorn, a chair or lounger and relax.
Tennis, basket ball, baseball, volley ball, badminton and golf. The list goes on, you name it, Sports Central pretty much has it. If none of these sports appeal, you could always arrange to meet with friends in the games lounge, for a sociable game of table tennis or virtual gaming.
What better way to explore the perfect perspective of the endless ocean and marine life than on one of the highest points of the ship. If you like to meander along or run like the wind, then the jogging track is for you. With double lanes, one for running and one for walking, you can feel the sea breeze and taste the salty air whilst enjoying your natural surroundings.
Fun Fact: I have completed a Walk for Wishes on board a cruise ship. Whilst doing so I witnessed a large pod of dolphins playing in the waves. A memory that is as clear as the day I saw them and one that will last a lifetime.
Deck 19 – Sky
The top deck of the sports court is a lawned area where games such as lawn bowls and croquet can be enjoyed by passengers. There are further sunbeds up here, if Passengers feel they’d like a change from the pool areas.
So after the ship tour and spending a day on board I asked myself the question that remained unanswered until I had acquired the proof myself – Does this Cruise Line and Cruise Ship cater for children?
On Friday 17th August 2018, 24 years collectively of experienced cruisers visited Royal Princess, each with a different perspective on what it is they each want our of their cruise. Did this cruise ship tick all of our boxes?
May I take this opportunity to thank Princess Cruises for the wonderful invitation on board Royal Princess. I would also like to thank the staff on board Royal Princess for being attentive and willing. My mum, Hollie, Eden and myself had a delightful day on board the luxurious Royal Princess.
If you are thinking of booking a Princess Cruise, click here.
Thank you to you, my readers for your continued support. I hope you enjoyed this review and continue to enjoy my future posts.
Forever grateful – Claire. xx
Reader Participation – Make Your Prediction Now
The buzz and hype around the new arrival of Sky Princess is peaking, with the same question on everyone’s mind:
Who will be the Godmother/Godfather of Sky Princess?
If like me you are a self confessed cruising addict and total ship geek, or you would just like to make a prediction then please feel free to enter your thoughts in the comments box. I will be sure to respond with my prediction.
I wonder if anyone will predict correctly?