Peter Tolan | February 14, 2019 | Princess Cruises
This majestic maiden of the Med exudes magnificence fitting of a Regal Princess. It was regal in every way with opulence radiating in every area. The new Piazza is a dazzling arena of activity – the centre-piece of the onboard activities variously hosting a beautiful violin quartet, the grand piano, acrobats and other entertainment in an area buzzing with interest and excitement. This Princess ship was on only its third voyage, leaving from Venice and returning to Barcelona with exciting ports in between. The entertainment on board was also lavish and the ship’s song and dance company gave three quite spectacular shows the like of which I have not seen on cruise ships before. Regal Princess’s troupe have certainly raised the bar so high that others will have difficulty in surpassing. The pulsating shows featured imaginative sets, special effects, great choreography, colourful costs and lively dancing and great singing. The food was excellent in the main dining rooms although service was at times a little slow – and The Horizon Court buffet layout and furnishings were such that many of the queues and table-searching associated with this dining style, were eliminated. The pool and sports decks were well equipped with modern sun loungers and there always seemed to be plenty available. The Sanctuary provided a peaceful haven for those who liked a quieter atmosphere and child free.
A couple of irritations: The dress codes were not strictly applied, particularly on formal nights when casually dressed people were allowed in without comment from the restaurant, which is unfair on those who have taken the trouble to dress up, seeing it as one of the features of cruising. Perhaps one of the main restaurants could be set aside for those who dont want to go formal and prefer not to eat in the specialist restaurants or buffet?
The second irritation was the question of shuttles. Our schedule said the cruise took us to Toulon, but we berthed outside – a few miles away across the bay, even though there was only one cruise ship berthed in the main port. We did get to Toulon on the water shuttle provided from the quay – but we had to pay for it. How can Princess save money by berthing at an inconvenient location and then expect the passengers to pay to get to the promised destination? A similar situation occured in Livorno. Passengers were not allowed to walk from the port so Princess provided a shuttle bus into the town at the passengers’ cost. If we didn’t wish to pay we would have had to stay on the ship. Needs addressing.
Overall, this was a fantastic ship and a fantastic cruise.
Be prepared to manage your expectations.
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