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Old June 14th, 2007, 11:57 PM
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Default Royal Princess

I just booked the Royal Princess for the 16 night Rome to Stockholm itinerary for June 2008. Has anyone sailed on her recently? The last time we sailed on Princess was 1985. I've been with Celebrity on our last four cruises and we really have enjoyed those ships. I liked the Royal Princess intierary much better than the Summit's Northern Europe cruise itinerary. Any info you might have on the ship, balcony staterooms, food, service, etc. would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old June 15th, 2007, 06:06 PM
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Default Re: Royal Princess

SoCalGal,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I just booked the Royal Princess for the 16 night Rome to Stockholm itinerary for June 2008. Has anyone sailed on her recently? The last time we sailed on Princess was 1985. I've been with Celebrity on our last four cruises and we really have enjoyed those ships. I liked the Royal Princess intierary much better than the Summit's Northern Europe cruise itinerary. Any info you might have on the ship, balcony staterooms, food, service, etc. would be appreciated. Thanks!
The present MV Royal Princess (30,277 tons, 710 passengers IIRC) originally service as MV R8, the last ship of the R1 class, of Renaissance Cruises in 2000. Following that line's bankruptcy in the wake of the "9/11" attack, Princess's parent company acquired her and placed her in service as MV Minerva II of sister line Swan Hellenic Cruises. The line recently transferred her to the Princess Cruises unit. She is a not quite identical sister to MV Pacific Princess (nee MV R3) and MV Tahitian Princess (nee MV R4).

My last Princess cruise was a cruise to "French Polynesia & Samoa" aboard MV Tahitian Princess, so I can tell you from personal experience that these are great little ships that offer all of the significant amenities of modern cruises in a smaller package. The only facilities that they lack are children's, youth, and teen centers, though Princess does dispatch youth counsellors to these ships to run programs when there are enough minors aboard to make them worthwhile (when I last checked, the threshold was fifteen). There are a few minor clunks in the layout, but these vessels work anyway because they are small enough so you don't have to go very far to get to a facility that is not where it should be.

If you are a dedicated Princess cruiser, you should be aware that these ships do NOT offer the "Anytime Dining" option because they have only one main dining room. The shows also are not as sophisticated as on Princess's larger ships because the showrooms do not have stage elevators, turntables, and other equipment that's built into the showrooms on many modern ships, though Princess did a great job of developing shows tailored to the show facilities that these ships do have.

Have a great cruise!

Norm.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 11:33 PM
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Thanks Norm! As I said we haven't been on a Princess ship since 1985 so I know nothing about "anytime dining". We like to eat early and often...ha ha. Just wondering how the staterooms compare in size to the Summit. Our Summit rooms were 191 sq. ft. and it looks as if the Royal has much smaller rooms even though it says 214 sq. ft. Does that that include the balcony? Also I was wondering if Princess is on a par with Celebrity's wonderful service....we were really impressed by our last cruise this May 25 to Alaska as it was the best service we've had so far. I'm thinking that the smaller ship size will make a huge difference and will be very intimate and pleasing. Anyway, we're looking forward to what we believe will be a wonderful cruise in June 2008. Thanks again!

Patty
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Old June 18th, 2007, 09:45 PM
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Patty,

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Thanks Norm! As I said we haven't been on a Princess ship since 1985 so I know nothing about "anytime dining". We like to eat early and often...ha ha. Just wondering how the staterooms compare in size to the Summit. Our Summit rooms were 191 sq. ft. and it looks as if the Royal has much smaller rooms even though it says 214 sq. ft. Does that that include the balcony? Also I was wondering if Princess is on a par with Celebrity's wonderful service....we were really impressed by our last cruise this May 25 to Alaska as it was the best service we've had so far. I'm thinking that the smaller ship size will make a huge difference and will be very intimate and pleasing. Anyway, we're looking forward to what we believe will be a wonderful cruise in June 2008. Thanks again!
I first started cruising on Princess in 1998, but the product changed in a few significant areas in the 2000-2002 time frame.

>> 1. In 2000, Princess changed the prescrived dress to "casual" on the previously "informal" evenings so that seven night cruises now have two "formal" evenings and five "casual" evenings. (The term "smart casual" appears in Princess's literature, but the description of "smart casual" is identical to the description of "casual" before the change.) This change made Princess the most casual of the major cruise lines, and thus drew a significant contingent of passengers who don't want to dress up -- many of whom won't dress up for the "formal" evenings, either, but insist on going to the "formal" events anyway. Unfortunately, the line did absolutely nothing to enforce its dress codes. As a result, the ambiance of the evenings aboard ship deteriorated markedly.

>> 2. About the same time, Princess introduced the "Anytime Dining" gimmick on all ships with two or more main dining rooms (one main dining room always maintains the "Traditional Dining" arrangement). Unfortunately, "Traditional Dining" is usually well oversubscribed and the line does nothing to accommodate the additional passengers who want the "Traditional Dining" arrangement.

>> 3. MV Grand Princess has positively the most dysfunctional layout of any ship on which I have ever cruised. Unfortunately, the line has copied nearly all of flaws in that ship's layout not only on the rest of the vessels of the Grand Princess class, but also on the vessels of the Diamond Princess class and the vessels of the Caribbean Princess class. Together, these vessels now comprise over half of the Princess fleet and the line is still building nearly all of its new vessels to the same dysfunctional basic design.

>> 4. The line's parent company instituted a "Cost Reduction Programme" in 2001 that made some very deep cuts in the product, most notably in the cuisine. Nearly all of the flaming desserts vanished completely, as did the Crepes Suzettes at the Champagne Waterfall event. There was also a major cutback in entertainment (the live music disappeared from the Horizon Court aboard the ships of the Sun Princess class and the cabaret acts disappeared from the Explorer's Lounge aboard the Grand Princess class, for example).

For me, the last straw came when the stockholders of Princess's parent company, then known as P&O Princess Cruises Plc., voted to change the name of the company to Carnival Plc. (LSE: CCL) and to merge operations with Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL) right after the cruise aboard MV Tahitian Princess mentioned in my earlier reply. I think that Celebrity is now the cruise line whose product is closest to what Princess Cruises was a decade ago, and I am much happier cruising with Celebrity than with Princess now.

Of course, YMMV....

Norm.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 01:12 AM
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Norm,i agree with you in almost all of your comments however you will pay a premium to cruise with celebrity as compared to princess. My observation over the last year shows Princess in the same pricing category as carnival and personally offers a better product on Princess.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 06:49 PM
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tennisbum,

Quote:
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Norm,i agree with you in almost all of your comments however you will pay a premium to cruise with celebrity as compared to princess. My observation over the last year shows Princess in the same pricing category as carnival and personally offers a better product on Princess.
Yes, there's no doubt that Celebrity has considerable pricing power over Princess. Of course, such pricing power is purely governed by supply and demand, and it's fairly compelling evidence that I am not alone in thinking that Princess's product dropped a few notches. The real surprise, though, is that Royal Caribbean -- a "mainstream" line, which theoretically should be at least somewhat less expensive than a supposedly "premium" line like Princess -- also now has considerably more "pricing power" than Princess.

I should note here that both Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International have significant new capacity over the next four years. The real test will be whether the prices hold or drop when the new capacity comes on line. I think that the demand for cruises on both lines is sufficient to sustain the current fares as the new capacity comes on line.

And as the owner of a significant "long" position in Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL), the holding company that owns both Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International, this pricing power makes me very happy indeed!

Norm.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 06:57 PM
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Norm,well put and agree Tried Princess twice this last year based on price and was very satisfied with their product Might even try their new ship in Feb back to back 10 day cruises which they are now promoting.By the way my old name was bigapple but had computer problems which caused the change on this board Keep up the good work and those who have cruised the many lines know your comments are correct.
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