RichC, it was a mixed bag. It was beautiful inside and out; everything shiny and new. The Piazza was nothing short of spectacular. The dining rooms are beautiful. We were traveling with 6 other Princess veterans and we all agreed the food was the best it's been since the old "Love Boat" days. But the dining room service has really slipped; not that the waiters and assistants weren't good--they just had too many tables each and were always rushed. Not once did they scrape crumbs between courses or bring ground pepper without being asked. The poolside burgers and pizza were really good and Alfredo's was a real disappointment--both food and service. The Chef's Table was even more spectacular than the last time--as well it should be for the price; and the new setting, The Lumiere, was other-worldly.
Horizon Court, for all the hoopla and added space, is still the same ol' Horizon Court--noisy, hot, crowded; although the Pastry Shop and the coffee bar are nice additions.
The Princess Theater has the same old problems--even with 3 shows a night: you have to get there at least 30 minutes early to get a good seat for a 35 minute show. And somebody still thinks louder is better--and the spots and strobes flashing into the audience are even more annoying now that they are even brighter. But the Princess Live TV studio makes a nice venue for the cabaret-style shows--up close and personal.
The pool situation is just as I expected: too many people trying to fit into too little space. Whoever thought two pools would be enough for 3500 passengers was way off base. On sea days it was hard to find a lounger in a decent location after 9:00 a.m. And there was not nearly enough shade . . . anyplace!
And the problems we hear the most about--soot, no promenade to speak of, no midship stairs, tiny balconies--are all very real. I had an aft balcony that was covered in soot every morning. The steward did his best with sweeping and wiping, but it was oily and her never really got rid of it.
The big comfy chairs and sofas all the way aft on Lido Deck looked great but people sprawled out all over them, sometimes one person taking up a whole sofa, and SLEPT there all morning or afternoon. What a waste.
So yes, the ship is beautiful and yes, I had a wonderful time but no, I will not be booking Royal Princess again any time soon--or Regal Princess either.
Well it's finally happened. We booked on the Royal ....only because we want a longer cruise then 7 days & from FT Lauderdale we only have a choice between the Ruby (7 day) and Royal (10 days). It's against my better judgement but I thought I'd give it a shot. With all the bar raps I can't say I'm all that excited about going but it's still a cruise for better or worse. I'll have to check out all your negative items to see if I agree (as well as many others) & report back in Dec.