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Royal Princess
Princess Cruises  Introduces A New Ship Class


Royal Princess in Fort Lauderdale

by Linda Coffman

Part Two

Where 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, Vista Lounge is a venue for interactive entertainment where there's continuous action...

Speaking 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. Or...

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 no longer 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.

The Sanctuary Cabana

For 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.

The Piazza
Like her sisters ships, the heart of Royal Princess is the atrium's Piazza. And why not? Adjacent is the International Cafe and it's the 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 Bellini's 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.

Fun 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).

Not 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.

Princess 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.

Royal Princess Fast Stats

  • 142,229 tons
  • 1,082 feet long
  • 155 feet wide
  • Speed 22 knots
  • 3,560 guests, double occupancy

Back to --> Royal Princess Preview - Part One

Cruise Diva's Royal Princess Blogs:

  • Royal Princess Makes Her Fort Lauderdale Debut
  • Designing the Royal Princess

Princess Cruise Reviews

Princess Cruises - Cruise Line Profile 

Photos © Linda Coffman 

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