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Author Topic: A Closer Look At The [new] Royal Princess Essentials  (Read 1915 times)
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« on: May 09, 2012, 04:16:57 AM »

"A Closer Look At The Royal Princess Essentials:

Dining & Entertainment

When it comes to the process of unveiling new ships, it's the unique new features
that are publicized first in order to create excitement. A case in point is the
trumpeting of the dramatic-sounding Sea Walk on the upcoming Royal Princess;
it extends 28 feet over the side of the ship for views of the ocean 128 feet below.

But after the headlines come details on the essentials, like dining and
entertainment. For Royal Princess, Exec VP Rai Caluori emphasizes it's
evolution, not revolution, that's the theme for both areas and, indeed, the entire
ship. "Our strategy was not to create an outlier ship," he notes. "Our strategy is
that ultimately some of those new features could be retrofitted on existing ships."

Zoning In On The Atrium

One noticeable change for Royal is more emphasis on the atrium area on Decks
5, 6, 7. "The Atrium zone on Royal is 50% bigger than Ruby [Princess' most
recent newbuild]," says Caluori. "The atrium is where we've added a number of
new features, like the Bellini Bar, the Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar, the new
pizzeria."

The pizzeria, on Deck 6, open from 11 a.m. to the wee hours of morning, is no-
charge, restaurant-style eating. There's also pizza by the slice on the top deck,
which will operate the same hours.

And 24-hour dining moves to the atrium. "We were finding that the Horizon Court
Buffet was very much underutilized in the early morning hours," reports Caluori of
the site that traditionally houses the 24-hour buffet. "It wasn't a good use of
resources, wasn't a particularly warm experience for the guest. So we transferred
the 24-hour service to the International Cafe in the atrium." He adds that the
International Cafe on Royal Princess' Deck 5 will be larger than those on existing
ships.

Moving Sabatini's closer to the atrium area is another example of the adjacency
concept on this newbuild. "What really drove the relocation of Sabatini's from its
existing locations (Deck 7 on the older Grand-class ships and Deck 15 on the
Crown, Emerald, and Ruby) was we wanted to have a restaurant that was
adjacent to this main, busy atrium zone," says Caluori.

The Vines Wine and Seafood Bar will be there as well. "You're very much going
to feel like you're going to be in one single space, emphasized by a 5-meter
opening with sliding (not hinged) fire screen doors between the two forward
zones," notes Caluori.

Exclusivity In Main Dining Rooms

The main dining rooms, too, are evolving. The two forward dining rooms will have
a separate circular space called the Wine Cellar, in which diners are surrounded
by wine displays. The biggest change in the aft dining room is the tweaking of the
Chef's Table concept, in this case to be called Chef's Table Lumiere.

"Our Chef's Table experience [on existing ships] is extremely popular, in fact it is
oversubscribed," explains Caluori. "Presently, participants are met in the dining
room, they go in the galley during full service, they meet the chef, they have
canapes, a glass of champagne, etc. They're able to see the galley in full swing.
Then they return to the dining room for this fantastic meal."

On Royal Princess, "We wanted to evolve it so you felt a somewhat higher
degree of exclusivity," reports Caluori. Now when guests return from the galley,
they sit down at a beautiful table, seating up to 12, with flatware and glassware
very different from anything in the dining room. Following a signal by the maitre
d', a fiber optic curtain surrounds the diners.

"So it's a moment for the participants and a moment for the audience that is
sitting outside," sums up Caluori.

Horizon Court & Evolving Environs

The Horizon Court is not only bigger but is being redefined. The line used in the
Princess video is the changes "would all but eliminate lines."

The allocated space is increasing by 35% versus Ruby, though capacity is up by
15%. There are 900 seats indoors and more than 300 seats outside, both
forward and aft of the Horizon Court and the Horizon Bistro.

"We just didn't want to make it bigger--we also wanted to make it different," says
Caluori, adding, "The biggest difference is the Pastry Shop."

That dessert venue will operate for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner.
"The transition in what is going to be served there will be quite dramatic," notes
Caluori. "After breakfast, you'll be going into a very different fare for lunch,
different for afternoon tea, and then different for dinner desserts as well."

Alternative dining is also evolving. "In the Bistro buffet in the evening, which will
be complimentary, there's going to be a lot more emphasis on themed dining
events, such as the Brazilian Churrascaria, a taste of Europe night, and a
German beer fest evening," he says.

In the Horizon Court, there will be an extra charge Crab Shack, complete with
mallets, bibs, and buckets.

"The other thing we have in the alternative dining is fondues from around the
world," says Caluori. "This would include a Swiss cheese fondue and firepots and
a chocolate fondue, as well. Again, there will be a nominal charge for that."

Good Morning, Princess

With entertainment, the big change is the addition of Princess Live. "The strategy
with the TV Studio [which seats 281 guests] was to create something that's new
but wasn't out of the realm of what Princess was doing in the past," says Caluori.
"We see that as a venue….operating from early morning, where passengers
(almost like sitting in the audience of Good Morning America) sit in the audience
of the Wake Show."

Princess is leveraging the television facilities on the ship. "We found that our in-
house television productions onboard the ship are very popular, even more
popular than wanting to watch a satellite feed or other programming," he says.
"In-house is unique."

Myriad events go on throughout the day, particularly on days at sea. "There will
be an interview with the captain in the morning, a culinary demonstration, a
special lecture, game shows, etc., running right through to the evening," says
Caluori of programming. "It will be a very interactive room, and we foresee a free
flow in and out as events segue throughout the day."

The adjacency concept comes into play again, as the Princess Live! Studio on
Deck 7 is just aft of the atrium/piazza.

And just outside of the Princess Live! Studio is the Princess Live! Studio Cafe, a
coffee bar, which will also serve light bites, pastries, etc. "You'll be able to hang
around in the cafe area, surf the net, etc.," he says.

Theater Presentations

Continuity is the theme in the two main showroom venues: the Princess Theater
and the Vista Lounge. "The main theater in the aft lounge [Vista] tends to be
underutilized during the day, and this is why we decided not to make them that
much bigger," reports Caluori. "We managed to get more seats in the Princess
Theater [1,000 total] by having a different and improved layout, again with great
sightlines, no pillars."

As with existing ships, main presentations in the theater will be shorter than in
the past. "We're finding that passengers don't want to sit in the main theaters
now for 45-50 minutes," he explains. "They prefer shorter presentations. We've
gone down to 30- to 35-minute productions and are repeating those three times
in the evening."

There will also be a push for entertainment outside. "Weather permitting and
warm weather cruising, we really want to promote entertainment on the open
decks more than we have on our existing ships," he says. "Indicative of that is
the larger Movies Under the Stars screen. We will also be enhancing that
experience."

And look for sound, lights, and water on deck. "We're anticipating that every
evening there will be a fantastic, different spectacle of great music with dancing
fountains and beautiful lighting," Caluori reports. "So we've certainly taken the
entertainment features of the open decks to another level."

So what's the big picture with dining and entertainment onboard Royal Princess?
"There are some specific differences, but if you take it holistically, it's very much
conducive to our existing ships and peppered and sprinkled with new and
exciting features," sums up Caluori."

Source: Cruise Week News http://cruise-week.com/ Reprinted with copyright permission.

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