WE have never sailed with Princess, but are considering a Panama Canal cruise on Royal Princess. I know this is an older ship. Has anyone sailed on it lately? Is it in good condition? How does the personal dining work on this ship? Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated. Karen
We did the British Isles Itinerary on the Royal this past August and now consider the Royal our second favorite ship. Having sailed on the Sun class, Dawn (our first and favorite) and Sun, Crown, and Grand, the Royal definitely has a charm of its own. The service and food were the best we have enjoyed. The size and layout of the Royal make her easy to get around and the promenade deck and numerous private areas on deck are a true delight for the new or seasoned cruiser. The Horizon Court is used as a full-service pizzeria and a first-class Bistro at night. We ate there 3 nights and had excellent food and service thanks to a truly outstanding assistant maitre d'hotel, Frederico Mancuso. The personal service and attention to detail were top notch. Food in the main dining room was consistently very good.
I think you will enjoy the Royal although the entertainment and lack of "bells and whistles" found on the newer mega-liners are somewhat lacking. If you are going for a service-oriented personalized cruise, the Royal will be a great choice.
I took the "Scandanavia and Western Europe" cruise aboard MV Royal Princess last July, and had a great time. The ship was in very good condition and performed flawlessly, even riding very smoothly through a rather nasty gale. Additionally, she is going into a shipyard in Baltimore at the close of the Canada/New England season (or perhaps is already there?) for refurbishment so she should be in even better shape by the time of your planned cruise. She's a real class act, clearly superior to MV Grand Princess though perhaps just a whisker short of the very high standards of MV Sun Princess, MV Dawn Princess, MV Sea Princess, and MV Ocean Princess.
Please see my review on the "Member Reviews" section of the site for a description of her facilities and the cruising experience.
We sailed out of New York harbor on Royal Princess the night of Sept. 10th, the last ship to sail before the attack. Despite the the sadness and the horror, Princess and the staff aboard Royal gave us a wonderful cruise. I think she is still the most beautiful ship afloat.
Haven't been on her since '96 but am booking again for Feb/02. Even her obstructed view cabins are great. One of the prettiest ships in the water!! We did three weeks through the Panama Canal and back and would have just stayed onboard if we had had both the time and money :-)She is certainly one of our favorites.