Introduces A New Ship Class
in Fort Lauderdale
the Action Is
If you've sailed on other Princess
ships you'll find Royal Princess' layout similar in some regards and
different in others. As noted in Part One of this preview, specialty
restaurants are "paired" with lounges on Decks 5 and 7.
Additionally, the Lotus Spa is found on Deck 5 and no longer
"paired" with the adult retreat, the Sanctuary.
Lounges are located
throughout Decks 5, 6, and 7 and there are a lot of them, which contributes
to the lack of crowding—passengers
fan out to their favorites. Like old friends, you'll find the
traditional Princess Theater where production shows and other
entertainment is scheduled; the Wheelhouse Bar, a cozy and
clubby room with nautical flair; and Crooners, which
serves up designer martinis accompanied by a pianist
and Rat Pack vibe.
Also new is Princess Live! the
television studio with a nearby Princess Live! Cafe.
The secondary show lounge,
is a venue for interactive
entertainment where there's continuous action...
of action, gentlemen, try your luck in the Casino and
then relax in the adjacent Club 6 or Churchill's Cigar Lounge, while your
sweetheart spends your winnings in one of the nearby boutiques.
Take in a high-action
performance by the entertainers high atop the ship where the stage
is set adjacent to the main pool for a gorgeous light-and-water show when the singers and
dancers finish their performance.
Where There's More Action & None At All
Veg out or work out? The Lotus
Spa and Fitness Center goes to both extremes. Those who choose
the latter will find a exercise
machines to get the heart pumping, free weights, and an aerobics
room. Some classes are complimentary, while there's a fee for
others such as yoga, spinning, and pilates. One deck up are the
Sports Center, the Driving Range, and a
Jogging Track. Complimentary steam rooms and saunas are
located in Fitness Center changing rooms, so for true relaxation after a work out
sport fans will have to
give the Enclave thermal suite a try
in the Lotus Spa, located down on Deck 5—heated
stone loungers, a Hammam (Turkish-style steam room), Caldarium
(herbal steam room), Laconium (dry heat sauna), a hydro-therapy pool, and rain and fog
showers are included in the fee. Be forewarned—the Enclave has
proven to be so popular that weekly passes sell out and day passes
may not be available. The Lotus Spa and
Salon offers treatments and services by Steiner Leisure, including a
new Couples Villa for the ultimate in pampering and privacy.
true adults-only indulgence, look no further than the Retreat
Pool and Sanctuary where peace and tranquility are only a
thickly padded lounge chair away. New on Royal Princess are
Retreat Pool Cabanas (rental fees of $50 for a half day and
$80 for a full day apply) and Sanctuary Cabanas
(rental fees of $80 for a half day and $130 for a full day apply). A
generous portion of the deck
is shaded for comfort and passengers needn't lift a finger after
being greeted by Sanctuary Stewards with a chilled towel. Forgot
your iPod? No problem, MP3 players loaded with soothing sounds are available for rent. Servers
circulate offering healthy snacks and beverages (a nominal service charge
applies for food). Cabanas are located at the bow where massages
with a view can be booked through the Spa. A $15 per
half day charge or $25 per full day is levied for use of the Sanctuary
Loungers to insure
the serene atmosphere. A centrally located cabana is available to
all who want to cool off in the shade.
sisters ships, the heart of Royal Princess is the atrium's Piazza.
And why not? Adjacent is the International Cafe and it's
perfect place for coffee and a pastry in the morning, sandwiches and
salads at lunch, tapas before
dinner, and to people
watch at any time. Overlooking the Piazza is the all-new
where the signature Italian cocktail is tops on the bar menu.
Throughout the day and evening you'll often find
passengers lined up along the overhead railings while a 'street
performer' entertains on the main floor. You never know who or what you'll see during
these serendipitous interludes.
Stuff For Families
No one gets
overlooked on Royal Princess and the youth and teen areas are as
appealing as the programs' names. Remix (ages 13-17), Shockwaves (ages 8-12),
and Princess Pelicans (ages 3-7) offer age-specific spaces and activities.
Indoors and outside, play areas for younger children are extensive
and teens even have their own
private outdoor retreat with a whirlpool spa (pictured here).
new, but not to be overlooked is MUTS, Movies Under The Stars—the
giant Times Square style movie screen where concerts and movies are
featured at the main pool. After dark it's kind of like
going to a drive-n movie (remember those?), only without the car or
an admission charge.
For passengers interested in the
behind-the-scenes workings of a cruise ship, and who don't mind
paying $150 for the experience, the “Ultimate Ship Tour” offers the
unique opportunity to explore areas normally off limits to
passengers. Participants also receive a variety of themed mementos at many of the stops
along the three-hour route, which takes in the ship’s engine control
room, medical center, print shop, laundry, photo lab, bridge, and
other spaces typically seen only by the ship’s crew.
Cruises, the Future
With the trend toward more
meaningful travel experiences, Princess strives to enrich their
passengers’ lives by offering in-depth experiences. The range of
ship sizes in the fleet adds itinerary flexibility and even Royal
Princess—the largest Princess ship to date—can potentially visit
every port that is most important to the line.
While on board Royal Princess, we found a lot to like. Nothing
struck us as revolutionary and that was part of the Princess Cruises
plan. Royal Princess is an evolution in design and all
passengers—not only those who are returning to the line, but those
who are new to Princess—will find intimate spaces on a human scale
and a lot to like.
The launch of Royal
Princess signals the direction of Princess Cruises' new ship building program
for the immediate future. Next up will be the introduction of the
second in the new ship class, Regal Princess.
Princess Fast Stats
1,082 feet long
155 feet wide
Speed 22 knots
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Princess Preview - Part One
Cruise Diva's Royal Princess Blogs:
Cruises - Cruise Line Profile
Photos © Linda Coffman