The Ship…is….really, really….big. In the grand scheme of things it is not the biggest cruise liner on the oceans today. That designation belongs to Royal Caribbean and likely to remain in their firm grasp for quite some time. It is, however, Princess Cruise Lines largest and most technologically up-to-date.
This is The Royal Princess and this sailing is her maiden voyage.
A first voyage is one of discovery for passengers and crew. Even for those that have been on Princess vessels before, this one brings its own unique qualities. The crew has been selected from all around other Princess ships for their own levels of expertise and friendliness. Every outside room has a balcony. Some areas have been expanded substantially (The Atrium is 50% larger for instance) and other areas are completely new (The Pastry Shop and the Seafood Bar to name but two).
With all its refinements and innovations there also some quirks that need tweaking. The touch screen facial recognition system (to find those photos taken of you while on board) is not quite fully functional. The ships location channel (on the very nice 42″ plasma in your room!) is not quite up to speed (so to speak) with where the ship really is. Undoubtedly there are other little things that need their own adjustments. Having said all that, there are many more success than failures and certainly nothing to hamper the overall very enjoyable experience.
Having left Southampton Sunday night, the ship is now in the Bay of Biscay with Vigo, Spain as the next destination. The weather outside is less than wonderful at only 13 C and there is enough wind to just bring a 2 m ruffle to the seas. However, inside the ship the weather is perfect with just enough roll to remind you you’re not in Kansas any more.
Port days will be filled with little excursions of their own, but sea days like today, are really no less busy…if you want them to be.
One of the new additions to this ship is Live TV. A complete television studio, with seating for a large audience. provides a setting for live talk shows, games shows and demonstrations. Most are broadcast live to your room and also re-broadcast later. An art auction (with the familiar free champagne) later in the afternoon, an informational talk covering Vigo (things to do, places to see/go), the Casino…the list goes on.
If it’s not the 35 m screen above the pool (think drive-in theatre with a better picture and in the middle of the ocean rather than an enlarged parking lot), then maybe it’s the live Broadway type productions in the main indoor theatre. Or perhaps the orchestral quartet in the main Atrium, or the jazz trio in the Wheelhouse bar.
Perhaps the realization has come (after less than 24 hours!!) that the food choices assaulting you from all sides could actually overpower your (successful up till now) eyes-vs.-stomach control. The fabulous fitness facilities and 5 pools could help bring back at least a perception of weight-management.
On the other hand, if sitting to people-watch or simply to read is more to your liking, there are only about 100 different places to do just that. That’s…places…not just seats. And it doesn’t include staying in your room or on your balcony. If boredom overtakes you, then you just haven’t explored the ship enough.
Another sea day awaits and so does more of the ship.