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Royal Princess
Princess Cruises Introduces A New Ship Class

The stunning Atrium, made possible
by Royal Princess
' size

Part One

by Linda Coffman

December 2013Princess Cruises has succeeded royally with the introduction of Royal Princess, the first a new class of ships for the line. The largest ship in their fleet now measures a whopping 142,229 gross registered tons and carries 3,560 passengers in double occupancy. Christened in Southampton by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge in June 2013, following a season of European cruises she made her North American debut in Fort Lauderdale, Florida this fall to launch her maiden Caribbean season.

While not the world's largest ship these days, the new Royal Princess is certainly a huge step up in size for Princess Cruises. Loyal past passengers will be pleased that she contains the tradition of Princess Cruises' signature features, as well as introduces some innovative ones that expand the on board experience to a higher level. The atrium is simply stunning with its wide open space surrounded by intimate places to dine and enjoy cocktails and entertainment.

Accommodations
One of the first things most people notice about any Princess ship is their abundance of balconies. With Royal Princess the line has gone one step further—all outside accommodations feature balconies, although they are not stepped out in wedding cake fashion as found on previous ship classes. Instead of the graceful curve of the Grand-class vessels, Royal Princess balconies march in a solid wall. My Deluxe Balcony balcony on  Deck 9 (D402, featured a balcony with clear panels beneath the railing, but was barely deep enough for two chairs and a tiny table. Even mini-suites fared no better with balconies diminutive in size.

Princess standard accommodations have traditionally featured numerous amenities and the line continues to provide Royal Princess passengers with staples such as hairdryers, small refrigerators, television, telephone with voice mail, personal safe, large walk-in closet, and robes for use throughout the cruise. Beds are dressed in European-style duvets and linens and have posh fluffy pillows. Real conveniences for passengers who must remain in touch with family or the office are ship-wide WiFi and cell phone connectivity.

Debuting on Royal Princess is a new category of stateroom the Deluxe Balcony pictured herean extra spacious balcony cabin with a comfortable sofa bed (in place of a side chair) and some of the upgraded amenities found in mini-suites, including enhanced bathroom amenities, waffle bathrobe, and an upgraded duvet. Royal Princess features 358 deluxe balcony staterooms throughout the ship.

More space and comforts are available to mini-suite and suite occupants, including separate sitting areas, luxury bedding and towels, a choice of pillow styles, and bathtubs in mini-suites. Additionally, mini-suites feature a decorative central lighting fixture, a privacy curtain between the bed and sitting area, and marble-topped counters. Suites offer larger televisions, two sinks in the bathroom, accent lighting and a glass-paneled shower. Suite passengers can also take advantage of Royal Princess’ new Concierge Lounge, offering an exclusive space to enjoy refreshments, make reservations for dining, spa services and shore excursions.

Thirty-six wheelchair accessible cabins are available in a variety of categories, including 22 with balcony, 1 suite, 6 mini-suites, and 7 inside. Oddly, while there are 780 Upper berths in various accommodations categories, there are no interconnecting 'family' suites on Royal Princess, such as those found on earlier ships.

Dining
If I had to pick the one thing I like best about a Princess cruise, it would be the Personal Choice Dining concept. I prefer the idea of eating when I'm hungry and not planning my day around a set schedule. Tailoring a cruise vacation to my lifestyle is high on my list of priorities.

Royal Princess still offers set seating dining for traditionalists who prefer it, but also takes choices to a new level for those of us who are a bit more spontaneous.

 

 Princess' signature  Crown Grill

Dining options include:

  • Symphony, Allegro, and Concerto dining rooms (one traditional seating, two for personal choice) are elegant and intimate. Each features sophisticated modern decor, most notable in the aft-facing Allegro dining room where the Chef's Table Lumiere is surrounded by a curtain of fiber optic lights that create privacy for the ultimate dining experience (for an extra charge).
  • Horizon Court is the casual buffet restaurant with sea views from floor to ceiling windows. Servers are on hand to provide beverages and assistance. New on Royal Princess in the Horizon Court is the Pastry Shop, offering a variety of specialty treats and a coffee bar. Also new to the Horizon Court are two specialty dining spots with cover charges—Crab Shack  for seafood lovers with a wide variety of seafood, including crabs to crack themselves, and Fondues, where a variety of cheese fondues highlight the menu.
  • International Cafe is an expansion of the patisserie found on other Princess ships. Open 24-hours, it features specialty coffees, pastries, salads, panini sandwiches, and tapas. Aside from some specialty items, there is no charge.
  • Vines wine and seafood bar serves fine wines accompanied by artisan cheeses, sushi, and other chilled seafood appetizers, for a modest charge.
  • Sabatini's, Princess' signature Italian trattoria has a central location off the atrium near Vines. The cover charge that applies is well worth it for the tasting courses alone, not to mention the entrees and desserts. Exclusively for full-suite passengers is the opportunity to start the day with a leisurely breakfast in Sabatini’s.
  • Crown Grill is paired with Princess Cruises' signature Wheelhouse Bar in a warm, inviting setting. In addition to steaks and chops, seafood items such as lobster are available. Cover charges apply. The location also features a free daily pub lunch.

New to Royal Princess are:

  • Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar, offers an array of la carte treasures of the sea as well as fresh sushi and sashimi
  • Alfredo's Pizzeria. offering authentic Italian pasta dishes and pizza
  • Gelato, serving frozen gelato confections and crepes.

In addition to dining rooms and restaurants, the b>Trident Grill is a handy poolside spot to get a burger and fries for lunch. Nearby is the Prego for pizza and Swirls Ice Cream Bar. Complimentary ice cream is also served in the Horizon Court for a short time every afternoon.

Other dining choices for passengers with balcony accommodations are the Champagne Balcony Breakfast and the Ultimate Balcony Dinner,, served course-by-course. Cover charges apply

If that isn't enough choice, there's 24-hour room service and you can even order pizza delivered to your cabin for a nominal service charge.


More -> Royal Princess Preview - Part Two

Cruise Diva's Royal Princess Blogs:


Princess Cruise Reviews

Princess Cruises - Cruise Line Profile

Photos Linda Coffman


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