Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Royal Princess Makes Her Fort Lauderdale Debut

It isn’t every day that you get to meet a princess so Mel and I felt fortunate to be in Fort Lauderdale to greet Princess Cruises’ new ship Royal Princess and embark on a preview sailing before she set sail on her maiden Caribbean season.

As we made our way to the terminal Royal Princess’ most noticeable feature caught our eye—all outside accommodations have balconies. Of the 1,780 staterooms and suites, only 342 are located inside.

Once aboard, we made ourselves at home in a deluxe balcony stateroom—a new accommodation category that is larger than a standard balcony stateroom. With the additional space there is room for a plush sofa-bed for a third guest and the new category also has upgraded bathroom amenities and bed linens.

Deluxe Balcony D402
Other features include a desk/vanity with two sets of electric outlets; an adjacent drawer with hairdryer; mini-refrigerator; nightstands with two small drawers each; a generous walk-in closet; and an adjacent shelving unit with a personal safe. Bathrobes are provided for use during the cruise.

Initially, the bathroom seemed compact, but it functioned quite well with plenty of storage for personal toiletries. The shower has a narrow ledge that can be used by the ladies when shaving their legs or as a handy spot to keep personal shampoo, although the products provided in wall mounted dispensers—conditioning shampoo and body wash—are so nice that I didn’t use my own.

Also somewhat compact is the balcony when compared to previous classes of Princess ships. However, there is room for a small table and two chairs for relaxation and Ultimate Balcony Dining is on tap for a special treat. As with the rest of the Princess Cruises fleet, smoking is not allowed in accommodations or balconies. In fact, Royal Princess is a virtually smoke-free ship with smoking limited to two out-of-the-way areas outside, Churchill’s cigar lounge, and a section of the casino.

It was difficult to see everything in the two nights and a day that we were on board, but we did our best to experience as much as possible. Stay tuned, there’s more to share in the coming days.

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