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Author Topic: Royal Princess inside look by Host Mike  (Read 4028 times)
Host Mike
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« on: November 26, 2013, 06:38:04 AM »

Watch this thread for an inside look at the Royal Princess starting next week.  All of your questions posted here will be answered.  My first reveal will be how I got a balcony on the Royal Princess as an ordinary passenger for $83.64 per day including taxes and port fees.  Stay tuned. 
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f-mattox
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2013, 06:05:11 PM »

I'm looking forward to this, Host Mike.
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« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2013, 07:46:45 PM »

At that price it still beats in inside cabin.  Cheesy
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Host Mike
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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2013, 06:04:34 AM »

Reporting from the Renaissance cruise port hotel a little after 5 am.  Somehow I was granted an 8th floor Marriott corner room directly overlooking the cruise ships for $121 including two free breakfasts and free Internet for Marriott club people.  No $20 sandwich was even offered, just a smile.  The nice part of this hotel is there is a $6 pp shuttle over to the Royal at terminal 2.  The cruise ships are starting to pull in.  Am I ever ready to provide my usual snarky comments about the ship.  I brought along my point and shoot camera with room for more than 700 pictures, my audio level meter, my portable frequency counter, my portable radio scanner and my old battle weary laptop.  I brought the CC groupie schedule which looks like what you would normally expect.  An inexperienced cruiser couple is with us and their main question so far has been "What should we expect about tips?"  Our plan is to hit the dining room at lunch and visit the Crown Grill at 6.  Mainly just trying to avoid mingling with the, shall we say, steerage passengers just unfresh from their flights into FLL.  While I have been typing the Royal Princess snuck into the harbor and has docked almost right next to 17th Street, aft end to the north.  The ship has a huge gold neon tubed or LED sea witch symbol in a very intricate outline form up on the funnels and a brilliantly lit Royal Princess sign high up toward the bow.  There's a red lighting glow of something coming from up above the bridge.  The MUTS screen sure looks like a wind catcher.  Oh well, lots of dirty low grade diesel fuel can deal with the wind.  More Royal Princess news at ten.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 06:58:42 AM by Host Mike » Logged
Host Mike
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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2013, 06:23:27 AM »

My inside class ID cabin price was $723 including tax and port fees.  Then I subtracted military, travel agent promotion, onboard sales promotion and shareholders benefits OBCs and plus a free Princess upgrade to a BB balcony that happened in a non-surprise this last Monday.  That comes to $585.50 pp for the week for the balcony.  All the food I can eat and entertainment I can stand plus the cruise essentially for free. Cheesy  My low price does not include the more than 20 Princess cruises extra OBC that will be granted once we are on the ship.  Also have to mention that the very high priced Princess wine can bought on the cheap at Walgreens on 17th Street next to the port.  I bought 750 ML Beringer for $4.99 to carry on the ship.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 06:58:06 AM by Host Mike » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2013, 10:59:11 AM »

sounds like all bases are covered.  Looking forward to your day by day review.  If you like it we might try it. Thanks for this. (y)
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« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2013, 01:26:51 PM »

Sounds like Walgreens will be our stop for the New Years eve cruise on Ruby
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Host Mike
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2013, 08:14:53 PM »

Day 1 Continued

Princess or their Internet provider is blocking posting access to Princess Chatter.  I am now posting from my iPhone which is a real pain.

All the things you’ve read about the Royal Princess in Suzy Crusy’s write up appear to be true.  The butt of all jokes all across the ship is the placement of the T.P. holder so far behind the commode.

The answer the question about inputs on the back of the TV is the flat panel TV in my balcony cabin is basically glued flat to the wall so I can’t view the inputs.  There is no way to access the input connectors anyway without knowing how to remove the TV from the wall.  Basically, forget about it.

A couple of biggies are worth noting.  The first biggie is Horizon Court and related serving areas are beyond HUGE.   The atrium, as you already know, is large.  You can look down at what seems to be the middle of 6th floor casino from deck seven.  The second biggie is that the audio levels for the act in the atrium tonight and the dancers in Princess Theater blasted my ears off.  My sound level meter is going to come in very handy this week.  You MUST bring ear plugs to save your hearing.  The third biggie is the bathroom in this balcony cabin is impossibly small.

Princess Theater shows this week are Welcome Aboard Showtime with Troy Thirdgill (so so), Comedian Troy Thirdgill (again), Production Show: Colors of the World, Master Illusionist David Cats,  Beatlemaniacs, Production show: Sweet Soul Music (I look forward to seeing this twice), and Production Show: Spectacular.  MUTS movies are: World War Z, Monday Night Football, The Way, Way Back, Man of Steel, The Lone Ranger, Now You See Me, Star Trek Into Darkness and The Wolverine.  MUTS seating appears to be pretty limited due to the water fountain in the way.  Maybe they will put chairs on top of the fountain surface but I doubt it.  Our captain is Dino Sagari and our Cruise Director is Sam Hawker-Thomas, a 13 year veteran with Princess.

Our standard balcony cabin seems smaller than I remember.  The two chairs and round table get in the way of what little floor space we have.  We have banished our table to the closet for the time being.  Next to go to the closet will be one of the chairs.  Gone are the dimmers on the bed side tables.  Just on- off switches and no lamp electrical outlets.

Embarkation Dinner tonight with our friends was at the Crown Grill which, trust me, is worth every penny.

Very few children are on this cruise.  Most passengers are the usual types with only a couple of biker types here and there.  There are a large group of Asian ancestry folks from Canada on this cruise who seem to be kind of in their own zone.

I was concerned when my bag didn’t arrive in the cabin until 5 even though it was put in the wire cage outside at 10:30 am.  It was delivered by a sullen employee who had been like that all afternoon. Other bags placed in the wire cage with mine arrived around 1 pm.  Maybe mine was delayed by Princess security because it contained a $4.99 bottle of wine from Walgreens.

 

More news tomorrow which is Princess Cays day.  Please post some Royal Princess questions right here in this thread.  I’m ready to get to work on answers.
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2013, 09:55:18 PM »

Royal Princess Day 2

Internet on this this ship is acting very strangely.  Email from MS Outlook is quick however.  Connecting to web sites other than the ones the ship has in cache are almost impossible to connect to, even in the wee hours of the morning.  My posts are now being relayed by my daughter in Houston.

Here are a few observations, so far starting, from the front of the ship.  Princess Theater stage is a bit small.  Entry from deck 6 comes from the back of the theater not the sides.  Entry from deck 7 is as expected but the aisles are very narrow.  There are no upper side balconies.

Deck 4 – Sick Bay is mid ship and the entry is where you exit the ship.  Deck 5 forward is the Lotus Spa, moving to the back is the passenger services desk and  just beyond that is the International café.  Across the atrium is the gelato place and in the back is the Internet café and the Symphony dining room which opens at 5 pm for anytime dining.  Got that people?  It opens at 5pm with wide open seating until around 7pm when they start handing out pagers.  No more having waiters coming to your table asking for your room number.  They just look at your card briefly when you enter.  Deck 6 is the casino at the front and the photo gallery, which I have yet to find, at the back plus the Concerto dining room for fixed seating until 7:30pm then it opens up for anytime dining.  Deck 7 from the front you’ll find the usual shops and such.  Where the photo gallery used to be on other Princess ships is a dinky Wheelhouse bar and behind that is the wonderful Crown Grill.  I think that the Princess Live area is a complete wasted space.   In the very back is the fixed seating Allegro dining room and the Vista Lounge. Right above the Outrigger bar deck is a smoking back deck.

Listen up.  The standard and deluxe balcony cabins, especially the standard cabin are small, repeat small.  The bathroom is the smallest that I’ve ever seen but the shower is ever so slightly wider than the Island and Coral showers.  What were the ship designers thinking?  They spent all that money on the ship and went cheap on the size of the balcony cabins, both inside and outside.  Our friend s with an aft Riviera balcony cabin said their bed was saggy and they found some soot on their balcony in the morning which the cabin steward swept up during the day.

Big problem occurred today at the Princess Cays stop.  Seas were moderate in the morning for the tenders but during the noon hour the winds picked up to 25 to 30 knots.  The captain suspended tender service from the ship to shore but we were one of the unlucky ones on shore at the time.  The tender ride back to the ship was absolutely the wildest tender ride I have ever experienced.  My dear wife and many others got very sea sick.  Dinner was good but I didn’t much enjoy the singing waiters and their guitars with a birthday song  for the lady at the next table.  Dear wife didn’t mind it.

That’s all for now.  Sea day tomorrow and possibly I’ll hear your questions being relayed by my daughter.

More Royal Princess news at five.
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Host Mike
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2013, 07:39:40 PM »

Royal Princess Day 3 - At Sea.

The day more or less started for me with the CC party.  The Captain came and posed for many pictures.  I asked him if he was aware in advance of the high wind weather front that passed over Princess Cays around noon yesterday.  That high wind, white capping, weather front caused real havoc with the tenders.  The Captain said he was fully aware of the approaching weather front but since the day had started as a sunny day he dared not skip the stop.  A ship officer told me that if the Captain had skipped the stop he would have gotten a lot of complaints from the passengers.  Well he got a lot of complaints from people getting sick on the tenders on the way back to the ship.  The captain was also hit up with complaints about the elevator buttons on individual floors not being synchronized.  He said that Princess is aware of those complaints.  The CC’ers discussed the soot on the aft decks but that issue is being overblown so to speak.  At the CC party I learned that Princess still has a retirement plan and Princess staff allegedly have more perks that Carnival staff.  I also heard a Cruise Director staffer say “If you think you have small cabins, you should see ours.”

I visited the Captain’s Circle lady to clear up a question about loyalty OBCs for couples who both have  more than 20 Princess cruises.  The answer is that there is just one combined loyalty credit awarded “per family” per cabin.

The most informative part of the day was the CC cabin crawl.  Other than the handicap rooms the Interior cabins, the Balcony cabins and the Deluxe Balcony cabins all have the exact same bathroom design and size and that size is dimensioned for . . . little people.  When you get to the mini-suites you move to a whole new world.  The mini-suites are top notch.  In my view based on the bang for the buck the mini-suites far outweigh the suites and anything less than mini-suites on the Royal (& Regal) should be considered steerage class.   While on the cabin crawl I heard a lady yelling into the phone by the Caribe elevators complaining that her door card had stopped working and somebody should do something real quick to replace it along with bringing her a replacement coke sticker.

As I sort of suspected, they only operate the fountain light show in late afternoon daylight, then they fill the flat fountain floor with deck chairs for MUTS.

Last night I compared the sound level of a band playing in the atrium/piazza with the band playing by the pool at noon.  Both measured around 95 decibels with 98 decibel peaks.  This is really loud but not yet at imminent OSHA danger levels.

This afternoon I went to the ship bible study that Sam the Cruise Director had scheduled for 4 pm.  Well, surprise, surprise, there was a wedding going on at 4pm in the Wedding Chapel so the bible study met in the passenger corridor just  outside the wedding chapel.  There sort of secret Concierge Lounge hiding next to the Wedding Chapel.   I guess it takes some big bucks to be allowed in there as there were people inside who apparently can only get it with door cards.

Tonight was formal night.  We dined with friends in the nearly empty Horizon Court.  The waiters were plentiful and the food was very good.

Tomorrow is St Thomas.  Been there.  Done that.

More Royal Princess news tomorrow.

Host Mike on the Royal Princess

 
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« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2013, 10:28:29 PM »

Royal Princess Day 4

The Patter said we would dock in the St. Thomas West Indian Company pier (WICO) but actually we docked at Crown Bay pier right next to the Carnival Glory.  Those on some excursions in St Thomas were met by rain but it was dry all day at the dock.  Mid-morning the Captain ordered a crew emergency drill and I swear the entire ship’s crew was involved.  There was a never ending sea of crew men and women marching all across the ship with their life jackets while multiple emergency signals were continually sounding.  The drill went on for quite some time.    During late morning and all of the rest of the day the central part of piazza aka atrium was closed off with safety tape while scaffolds were assembled and disassembled in order to hang Christmas lights and decorations.  Since the ship was just launched last summer this was the first time the Royal Princess Christmas lights had been hung.  The lights and decorations came in large boxes which were marked as to their intended location.  I was impressed with the care for safety displayed by the installation crew.  The crewmen appeared to know exactly what they were doing at all times and were taking their time to do things correctly.

Lunch was as Alfredo’s Pizzeria in the atrium on deck six.  I counted eight different Alfredo’s waiters making sure that we were properly being served.  The Alfredo’s menu is mainly non-pizza Italian fare and it was delicious.

After lunch was a nap.  Well it was a short nap because our friends wanted to get on my laptop to check their Yahoo mail.  I warned them that the Internet would be painfully slow and it was.

Tonight in the dining room I observed a man wearing a crew neck T-shirt.  Princess continues to claim that they have a dress code but I find zero evidence that it is ever enforced.  To prove that point a year ago on the Grand Princess I asked the roving ship photographer in the dining room to take a formal night picture of me wearing my Princess bathrobe at our table.  The photograph was taken and no objections were heard.  Since there are few, if any rules in the dining room anymore I tried to order a banana split off of the Children’s menu and got it.  When folks near out table heard about this they ordered and received banana splits as well.

The magic show in Princess Theater tonight lasted 45 minutes, of course with blasting sound so I guess the Princess 30 minute show time schedule has been changed.

I’m starting to believe that there are more Canadians of various cultural backgrounds on this cruise than there are Americans.

My coffee card from a year ago is still good for free brewed coffee on the Royal Princess.  That old coffee card is the gift that keeps on giving.  Up in Horizon court in the pastry area they have an expresso machine but no brewed coffee.

Sam the cruise director pointed out to the magic show audience that there are nude beaches in St Maarten and told the audience about the taxi fare to get to a beach right off of the airport runway.  Now if St Maarten would move the nude beach to the beach at the end of the runway they would have a blow your socks off  and more tourist hit on their hands.

More Royal Princess news tomorrow at five.

 
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« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2013, 08:58:45 PM »

Royal Princess – Day 5 – St Maarten Ramblings

All shore excursions left on time even though it was raining when we docked.  A   Celebrity cruise ship and others were docked next to the Royal Princess.  The Celebrity staff was handing out warm wash cloths to their returning passengers on the dock but the Royal Princess Shore party wasn’t.   Princess was too busy confiscating and holding duty free liquor that was bought ashore.

All dining rooms on the Royal Princess and maybe fleet wide are closed at lunch on shore days.   Unlike most days, today the Horizon Court had very few waiters at noon.  Passengers were fetching their own coffee and tea from the beverage areas.  The hot chocolate machine in the beverage area makes very weak watery hot chocolate.  That said, I really love Horizon Court/Horizon Bistro which is actually a super-sized Horizon court buffet.  There is very little crowding in the Horizon food area.  The apparently little used $20 pp crab and fondue section in Horizon Court at night is kind of a joke, at least to me.

My little Cosmo time alarm clock is losing time and I know why.  I’m monitoring the voltage and Hz with my Kill A Watt meter from time to time.  The Hz is constantly varying from 59.9 Hz to 60.1 Hz.  The voltage seems to bounce up and down in the 121 volt range.

The Beatlemaniacs show in Princess Theater ran audio levels of 105 to 108 decibels.  The reading was taken in the Deck 6 aisle midway back.  This is beyond extremely ear splitting loud.  I talked with two young sound board guys before the show.  They expressed zero concern about their cranking up sound to human body shaking levels.   One 6’8” 75 year old guy in the aisle kept bumping repeatedly against my wife during the show as he tried to twist and shout.

Speaking of loud, the dining rooms can get very loud at times due to very boisterous waiters and passengers getting into a party spirit.  Fortunately I didn’t see any t-shirts being worn in the dining room tonight.

I played “Name that Song: One Hit Wonder” in Princess Live this evening.  My team didn’t win because we didn’t know any of the included rap songs.

The many hallways in the Lotus Spa down on deck 5 seem very dark and dreary.

The ride on this ship has been very smooth so far.  The real test will come during our two day voyage back to Ft Lauderdale.

Overall the Royal Princess has the color scheme that you have come to expect on Princess.   Maybe the atrium is a bit glitzy but over all they did a good job on ship color coordination other than making the port and starboard carpet color all the same.  Some say the designers goofed by not including a central stairway from deck seven to Lido deck sixteen.

Host Mike – over and out from this seriously Internet impaired cruise ship.

p.s. Princess says that you have to leave your cruise card in a special slot to keep your cabin lights on.  What they don’t say is that a simple piece of cardboard the size of a Princess coffee card works just as well.

 
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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2013, 10:22:34 AM »

Royal Princess – Day 6 – At Sea

I observed the taping of The Wake show which is produced at noon for the following morning airing.  At the end of the taping the assistant cruise director announced that the cruise director Sam Hawker-Thomas had left the ship for a family emergency.  What he didn’t tell the audience was Sam’s husband, the Royal Princess Hotel controller, fell off of some exercise equipment and broke his arm and injured his back.  Sam left the ship to be with her husband at our St Maartin stop.  The assistant cruise director is doing a great job subbing for Sam but doesn’t know what is going to happen as far as what Princess will do to find a replacement when we dock in Ft Lauderdale on Sunday.

Following the taping was a presentation “The Birth of a Cruise Ship with Chris Joly.”  Mr. Joly, a man of vast cruise ship construction experience, did a really good job giving us details about the construction of this ship and others.    He answered all questions after his slide show presentation and has already heard each and every complaint that Royal Princess passengers have made about the ship.  He said that, where possible, Princess is working to resolve as many of these new ship issues as possible.  He agreed that most complaints would have been his as well.  I was happy to know that there is an emergency generator topside that is tested each week.

Tonight’s Sweet Show Music show in Princess Theater started averaging around 95 decibels with 98 decible peaks which is somewhat typical of Princess theater and piazza shows.  When the Sweet Show Music presented their last song “Rivers deep and mountains high” the sound increased to around 100 decibels average with around 105 decibels peak.  On a Princess cruise a few years ago I recorded a deck party band averaging 115 decibels with 120 decibel peaks.  This is what OSHA says is permanent hearing loss levels for passengers and waiters over the time that the band performed.  Hello Princess.  Are you reading this?  You should be.  Tonight’s show lasted exactly 30 minutes, as expected, followed by assistant cruise director jokes and promos for about 10 minutes.

In the Captain’s Circle Host talk in the Captain’s Circle party and in the Patter it was mentioned that “Ruby members”, those that have completed 3 cruises or 30 cruise days(excluding cruise tours), will receive an automatic upgrade to Princess Platinum Vacation Protection and a discount on the Reflections DVD.  The most travelled passenger from Colorado had over 1,627 days at sea, the second from Michigan and the third from (drum roll) Florida all had two or more years at sea.

It’s 4 degrees F. tonight at home in Oklahoma so I think I would rather stay on this nice Princess ship.

Over and out.

Host Mike
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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2013, 08:34:57 PM »

Day 7 - Ryan, unknown last name, has been promoted to Royal Princess cruise director starting tomorrow.  Other than the last song of the show the Princess Theater show "Spectacular" tonight was very poor quality with a LOT of Princess created lyrics and songs. At the first of the show very few people in the audience clapped.  Please Princess, if you are listening, bring back the Motor City motown show.  The deck 16 pool party, mid day, was being announced at 105 decibels.  Nothing else to report tonight other than it looks like they are collecting bags from the hall by color group.  I'll post anything else worth mentioning tomorrow.  This is being posted live for the very first time from the ship due to absolutely terrible Internet connectivity even at 2 am in the morning.  Previously my daughter in Houston was reposting for me via email relay.  Thank you Rebecca.

Host Mike signing off on the final night of a 7 day Royal Princess cruise.  Thanks for listening to my sometimes snarky comments.
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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2013, 10:29:35 PM »

Thanks for your comments re: sound levels. I'm just off a RCI Cruise, and for the first time ever I didn't need ear plugs in the main theater.

Princess: If Royal can limit the sound levels, so can you!
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