Cruise Preview: Royal Princess, Florida Inaugural 2013
Following the ship’s christening by godmother Kate Middleton earlier this year, the new Royal Princess from Princess Cruises has spent an entire summer in Europe, but now she is on her way across the Atlantic Ocean to make her U.S. debut in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Popular Cruising will be on for her inaugural preview cruise on October 27, 2013, and we’ll be sharing the experience with our readers on Facebook and Twitter while onboard and in new articles once we return. Be sure to post your Royal Princess questions in the comments section below this preview to ensure that we answer them all.
The 1984 Royal Princess was the very first cruise ship I ever sailed on, and so it seems more than fitting that my 60th cruise ever will be onboard the new Royal Princess, having now come full circle. The original ship made waves with never-before-seen industry innovations, and while the new ship is lighter on entirely new features, she still has a lot to offer including improvements on fan favorites.
First off, the ship looks downright beautiful. As you can see from above, the atrium is an absolute stunner with its double helix staircases and classic golden hues. Architecturally from the outside, a lot has been made about the ship’s SeaWalk feature, a glass-enclosed and -floored catwalk suspended off the side of the ship, but I’m more interested in checking out the SeaView Bar on the opposite side where one can similarly enjoy the ocean views below while leisurely sipping on a cocktail.
The 141,000-gross-ton, 3,600-passenger Royal Princess is the largest ever in the Princess Cruises fleet, and with it comes a new stateroom category that we will have the pleasure of trying out personally. Deluxe Balcony rooms are a sort of hybrid between Princess’ usual Balcony cabins and Mini-suites with balconies. The line’s balcony cabins in the past have not included sofa beds unless one upgraded to a mini-suite, but now the larger deluxe category rooms accommodate such a convertible couch and also feature upgraded bathroom amenities.
Other luxuries we look forward to checking out onboard are The Sanctuary and Lotus Spa. The Sanctuary has become a signature adults-only element on Princess Cruises ships, and the one on the Royal Princess features lovely new private cabanas with refrigerators and flatscreen televisions. As for the spa, it has been appropriately located on a lower deck freeing up the forward top deck space for more suites and staterooms.
The Piazza always smells great as whiffs of delicious baking pizzas call to guests, and now new flavors are being added to the ship’s central atrium. The Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar serves up sushi, sashimi, ceviche and caviar, and Gelato dishes up Italian ice creams, crespelle, sundaes, smoothies and shakes. We will definitely be trying this one out. Also, the Horizon Court buffet, itself doubled in size, includes The Pastry Shop, a new bakery and coffee bar concept in a uniquely designed independent space.
The Royal Princess continues the Princess tradition of offering three separate main dining rooms that are more intimate and less noisy. The Allegro Dining Room is set for traditionally scheduled dining and features the new Chef’s Table Lumiere enshrouded in a “curtain of light.” The other two are reserved for anytime dining. The specialty restaurants onboard are Sabatini’s for Italian cuisine and Crown Grill for steaks and seafood such as lobster.
As the first TV studio at sea, Princess Live! is a very intriguing entertainment offering. It’s here that culinary shows, live concerts, and late night comedy and games shows are broadcast from. Princess Cruises has always had great stage productions as well, and those will continue on in the ship’s Princess Theater. Plus, off from the Princess Casino is the line’s new Club 6 nightclub.
On the upper pool decks, Movies Under the Stars, Princess’ outdoor movie screen, returns with a high definition display that is twice the size of those mounted on the rest of the fleet. Also at the Fountain Pool is a raised island stage that presents an all new water and light show similar to the famous fountain at the Bellagio hotel in Vegas, albeit much smaller in scale. It should make for a neat display that we will certainly watch out for.
There’s a lot to see and do onboard the Royal Princess, and we can’t wait to share the new cruise ship with all of you. For more information, visit Princess Cruises‘ website here.
Do you have any questions about the Royal Princess? Ask away in the comments section below, and we’ll be sure to answer you…
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: PRINCESS CRUISES