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slotl June 29th, 2006 11:40 PM

"New" Royal Princess
 
It is my understanding that Princess has acquired a ship which will be refitted and renamed the "Royal".

Does anyone have any further information about which ship is being converted??

Rev22:17 June 30th, 2006 12:44 AM

slotl,

It is my understanding that Princess has acquired a ship which will be refitted and renamed the "Royal".

No, that's not correct. The ship will be named MV Royal Princess.

Does anyone have any further information about which ship is being converted??

Yes, we do information. I actually posted a link to the press release a while ago on this web site.

Renaissance Cruises originally introduced the vessel as MV R8. She went to Swan Hellenic Cruises, for whom she now operates as MV Minerva II, through the Renaissance Cruises bankruptcy. Princess Cruises previously acquired two of her sisters, MV Pacific Princess (nee MV R3) and MV Tahitian Princess (nee MV R4), through the bankruptcy proceedings.

Norm.

slotl July 3rd, 2006 12:51 PM

Rev22:17,
Thank you for the info. I just got off the Pacific Princess, but it did need some TLC. I noticed in the press release that there will be a 2 week drydock to make some internal improvements. If the Minerva is in the same shape as the Pacific, that is not enough time.

First, let me say that the Pacific is a GREAT ship, with a GREAT staff, and wonderful food, but the ship is showing it's age.

We are experienced cruisers who prefer HAL, Princess, and RCCI as our primary lines of choice.

Here are my suggestions for improvement.
1. Replace the bedding. The sheets are ripped, the pillows are "indented" from use, the blanket is matty.
2. Replace the bedspreads and curtains in the rooms. They are dirty and faded and don't match each other or the carpets.
3. The ship's beauty shop does not offer acrylic nails nor face/body waxing. Remember, the ship goes on "long" cruises and these are very important for women's grooming.
4. No laundry or dry cleaning service was available. There are 4 washing machines and 4 dryers on the 7th floor for passenger convenience. They are reasonably priced at $1 per wash and $1 per dry.
5. No fresh flowers were on the ship. All floral arrangements on the ship were made of silk. If flower arrangements for the room were not pre-ordered, they were not available.
6. The casio had very unique penny, nickel, quarter, and dollar slot machines, but no video poker, or the usual bar, bar, bar/7,7,7 type of slot machines.

We had a wonderful time on the Pacific. We love the smaller more intemate ships (our next cruise is our 3rd on HAL Prinsendam in November). The smaller ships go to more exotic locations and their passengers are well traveled. But, the cruise lines cannot forget to update these "gems (ships)" to standards expected by today's travelers.

Rev22:17 July 3rd, 2006 06:48 PM

slotl,

Thank you for the info.

You're welcome!

I just got off the Pacific Princess, but it did need some TLC. I noticed in the press release that there will be a 2 week drydock to make some internal improvements. If the Minerva is in the same shape as the Pacific, that is not enough time.

You seem to be confusing your ships. MV Pacific is the former (that is, original) MV Pacific Princess of [i[The Love Boat[/i] fame. I have seen her in ports of call on several cruises since her departure from the Princess fleet. Renaissance Cruises introduced the new MV Pacific Princess as MV R3 in the late 1990's. She is still less than ten years old. That said, she has been cruising half of each year for Princess Cruises and the other half of each year for P&O Cruises Australia. I have heard that the time in the Australian market is rather rough on cruise ships, so she might be more in need of refurbishment than normal for a ship her age. Operaing for the British line Swan Hellenic Cruises, MV Minerva II probably is in better condition.

You would be amazed what a competent shipyard can do on a commercial cruise ship in two weeks. I would not be at all concerned about two weeks in the yards not being enough.

Norm.

slotl July 5th, 2006 04:40 PM

It is the Renaissance R3 (Pacific Princess) which I am talking about. I did the Beijing to Bangkok cruise on May 29th.

I have a friend who will be on the Tahitian Princess in a few months. It will be interested to see if that "old" Renaissance ship needs some TLC as well.

Slotl

Mike & Charlotte July 5th, 2006 07:25 PM

We were on the Tahitian Princess three years ago, and again this past March. I don't think that it needs any TLC, but that might be in the eye of the beholder. Remember that the Pacific Princess is only a Princess ship half the year, then she reverts to P&O, which is also owned by Carnival, for the other half of the year.

BTW, Swan Hellenic Line is operated mainly for Brits, and has a slightly different configuration; no minisuites like there are on the Tahitian Princess. Swan Hellenic is also owned by Carnival; since it's a one-ship subsidiary, I've been wondering what it will do--obtain another ship, take over one of the older Carnival or Costa ships, or just go into oblivion. Has anybody heard about the future of Swan Hellenic?

We're booked on the "new" Royal, departing for the Black Sea from Rome 7/7/07.

Charlotte

Rev22:17 July 5th, 2006 09:56 PM

Charlotte,

We were on the Tahitian Princess three years ago, and again this past March. I don't think that it needs any TLC, but that might be in the eye of the beholder. Remember that the Pacific Princess is only a Princess ship half the year, then she reverts to P&O, which is also owned by Carnival, for the other half of the year.

My last Princess cruise was aboard MV Tahitian Princess during her inaugural season. I thinght that she needed some major work to bring her up to Princess standards including (1) installation of teak in place of rubber deck matting on the pomenades, (2) provision of the standard teak lounges on the Promenades (which supposedly were on order but had not yet arrived in Papeete), (3) elimiation of the tacky faux display case photos on the doors of storage cabinets in public areas, (4) replacement of the faux wrought iron (painted on glass) on the stairways, (5) serious upgrade of the show lounge, and (6) installation of refrigerators in standard cabins (some passengers need these to store certain medicines). Overall, though, the cruise to "French Polynesian and Samoa" was absolutely wonderful. I'm disappointed that Princess dropped this itienrary.

Remember that the Pacific Princess is only a Princess ship half the year, then she reverts to P&O, which is also owned by Carnival, for the other half of the year.

She actually has been spending the other half of the year with "P&O Cruises Australia," which is a line based in Australia, separate from "P&O Cruises" which is based in the United Kingdom. Both lines are part of Carnival's P&O Princess group, which also includes Swan Hellenic Cruises, Ocean Villiage, and Cunard Lines Limited, all based in the United Kingdom, and Princess Cruises based here in the States. The swap that brought Cunard to the P&O Princess group sent the former P&O Princess German lines, Aida Cruies and A'Rosa Cruises (now merged into Aida), to Carnival's continental European group, which also includes Costa Crociere. I'm not sure if Seaborne remained part of Cunard Lines Limited in the swap or got detached and reassigned elsewhere.

BTW, Swan Hellenic Line is operated mainly for Brits, and has a slightly different configuration; no minisuites like there are on the Tahitian Princess. Swan Hellenic is also owned by Carnival; since it's a one-ship subsidiary, I've been wondering what it will do--obtain another ship, take over one of the older Carnival or Costa ships, or just go into oblivion. Has anybody heard about the future of Swan Hellenic?

Swan Hellenic Cruises was always a specialty/niche product that, as I understand it, focused on educational cruises. The line's web site shows neither cruises beyond March 2007 nor any evidence of plans to acquire another ship, though a letter to past passengers does indicate that the line is "pursuing various alternatives" to acquire another vessel. Based on the content of the letter indicating that the decision to redeploy MV Minerva II with Princess Cruises as MV Royal Princess, I'm more than a little suspicious that the real plan is to shut down the line.

MV R6, MV R7, and MV R8 have a slightly different cabin arrangement than the first five vessels of the R1 class. I doubt that Swan Hellenic Cruises would have done anything to change it.

We're booked on the "new" Royal, departing for the Black Sea from Rome 7/7/07.

That sounds exciting! I'm also eyeing a "Black Sea" cruise for next year, but on Celebrity, because I found one with a fare that I'm willing to pay. I'm waiting until my mext cruise to book aboard, though.

Have a great cruise!

Norm.

slotl July 6th, 2006 12:47 PM

We did the Black Sea and Dalmatian Coast cruise on Holland America. We did Yalta, Odessa, and Nessibur (Bulgaria) in the Black Sea, of course, Istanbul and Kusadashi (Turkey), and then Dubrovnik and Split ending in Venice.

We did this on the Prinsendam, but I understand HAL has more ships doing this type of itinerary in 2006/2007.

In any case, whichever cruise line you choose, It is a great itinerary....enjoy.

Slotl

Trackypup July 6th, 2006 12:56 PM

We're on the new Royal Princess, August 24th. Barcelona to Athens - Can't wait!! We've never sailed on anything so small - should be a different experience!

Rev22:17 July 6th, 2006 01:34 PM

Trackypup,

We're on the new Royal Princess, August 24th. Barcelona to Athens - Can't wait!! We've never sailed on anything so small - should be a different experience!

There are only a couple amenities that you won't find. Thre's no "Anytime Dining" and there are no dedicated facilities for children. On my cruise to "French Polynesia and Samoa" aboard sister MV Tahitian Princess, they used the card room for the youth/teen program with the unfortunate consequence that bridge (only informal -- there were no bridge directors in spite of four full days and two additional afternoons at sea on a ten day cruise) got relegated to the library, which was not exactly set up for it. There's also only one show room, so you won't have a choice of shows. Everything else is smaller, but there -- including two specialty restaurants, Sabatini's and Sterling Steakhouse, one deck above the buffet area.

Norm.

slotl July 6th, 2006 02:18 PM

The MV Pacific Princess had a dedicated "children's playroom". There were 5 children (from two "related" families).

The children's playroom was located on deck 9 next to the Internet room and across the "hall" from the salon.

You will also find a smaller casino. There was no crap table. The slots were penny, nickel, quarter, and dollar, but there were no bar, bar, bar, 7/7/7 or poker machines. They are the more "gamey" x lines, by x times with a theme: Boot'n Scoot'n, the traveling penguins, Cleopatra, etc. very different than what I was used to.

Slotl

Rev22:17 July 7th, 2006 02:33 PM

slotl,

The MV Pacific Princess had a dedicated "children's playroom". There were 5 children (from two "related" families).

The children's playroom was located on deck 9 next to the Internet room and across the "hall" from the salon.


The deck plan still shows that room as the Card Room.

You will also find a smaller casino.

Yes, of course. It's a smaller ship, so there will be proportionately fewer passengers using the casino.

There was no crap table.

I wasn't aware of that until you mentioned it here, but I can see why. Renaissance probably had to choose between Craps and Roulette because tehre was not enough room for both, and Roulette won. I doubt that Princess has reconfigured the casino since taking over the vessel.

Norm.

Mike & Charlotte July 7th, 2006 03:02 PM

Norm, your standards and memory of the details you mentioned some posts up are different than mine. Most of those were things that I really don't pay any attention to.

My big complaint about the Tahitian Princess, though, and I'm sure it's the same on both the Pacific and all the others, is the showroom, and you didn't get into that. It's nothing that be fixed because of the way it was initially made. however, the showroom was designed for multiple purposes, with a fairly good sized dance floor and a very small stage. The stage can hold a very small orchestra, which is where Princess puts it. On Ren, it also had room for the singer, the magician, the harpist, or whatever other single entertainer was scheduled. However, it's not at all large enough for Princess' production shows. In fact, we saw two new shows in March on her, and didn't even recognize them on the Diamond in May! A show that was designed to be on a large stage in front of the audience isn't the same when done on a small dance floor, theater in the round style. Additionally, because of the size of the area, shows and dances that were written for a cast of 16 are necessarily cut down to 8 performers. But that's not my complaint. The problem is the chairs in the showroom, which are the most uncomfortable that I've ever sat in. This March's cruise reaffirmed what I'd decided three years ago. They might be Ok for large men, but the seat is way too deep so people myu size (5'6") either have to let their legs dangle in the air or sit with their butt about 6 inches away from the back of the chair--slouching for an hour or sitting up on your own with no back rest. Finally, the show and the audience are all on one level so the sightlines from all but the front rows of chairs are not good.

We did go to the production shows and snagged a couple of bar stools in the back (only a few, but tall, and you can see very well from them, but you have to get there early). Didn't go to any of the other shows; they held the Tahitial Mamas and Papas show out on deck this time.

However, note that the design of the showroom isn't keeping me away; we've booked the Royal for 2007, and suspect that the showroom will be the same. We book a cruise for the itinerary, not shows.
Charlotte

slotl July 8th, 2006 03:43 PM

Mike and Charlotte,
I did not mention the show room because we usually went to the casino after dinner (2nd seating) and not the shows.

I would agree that the stage and seating are not up to "today's" showroom standards. I'm sure they do the best they can with the space available.

Slotl

Rev22:17 July 8th, 2006 04:07 PM

Mike & Charlotte,

My big complaint about the Tahitian Princess, though, and I'm sure it's the same on both the Pacific and all the others, is the showroom, and you didn't get into that.

When I was aboard the showroom, Princess's staff were drawing up a list of upgrades for the ship's next shipyard visit. The discussion at the time was that a major upgrade and reconfiguration of the show lounge was very high on the list. I don't know how extensive the actual upgrade to the showroom may or may not have been.

Norm.

susancruzs July 8th, 2006 06:52 PM

I'm on the Royal Princess for B2B cruises, May/June 2007 and looking forward to it.

I still favor smaller ships and the size of the showroom doesn't concern me. All of my early cruises (except for the Norway) had the shows in lounges without theater style seating, no biggie.

I expect to be pretty busy and not overly interested in the entertainment onboard, although I have 3 sea days each cruise, which is nice.

Mike & Charlotte July 8th, 2006 08:34 PM

Norm,

Somewhere above you say that your last time on the Tahitian Princess was her inagural season. We were on here that season, to, but then again about four months ago. No changes had been made to the showroom.

And just to be clear, we didn't object to not having theater seating; we had a problem with the chairs. They are not club chairs like are in many lounges, but wooden framed chairs with upholstered pads. The seats are deeper than most, and the wood rims on the back hit both of us in just the wrong place so that they were extremely uncomfortable. Additionally, from the 10th or so row back, it was difficult to see. We spent very little time in the showroom, but don't gamble so we enjoyed wine on our balcony in the balmy evenings.

Charlotte

Rev22:17 July 8th, 2006 11:42 PM

Charlotte,

No changes had been made to the showroom.

That's too bad. I think that the discussion was about a major rearrangement of the room with completely new seating and a major upgrade to the facilities for lighting, special effects, and space backstage, but they might have decided that it was impractical. If anything, it just means that the shows on these ships will be less elaborate than on the fleet's larger vessels.

Norm.

Mike & Charlotte July 9th, 2006 02:19 AM

They did install new stage lighting and added the capability for special effects--even fireworks on stage, but that's something I could have done without on a ship. Methinks you're right; the plans were too big for a small ship. It works; I just wish that Ren hadn't bought such well built chairs; you'd think that at some point they'd start breaking and have to be replaced!

Charlotte


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