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Jim Thornton

Age: 71

Occupation:Retired Telephone Engineering Manager

Number of Cruises: 14

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Regal Princess

Sailing Date: February 11th, 2006

Itinerary: South America


This was our 14th cruise and the first on a Princess ship. Our cabin was a portside Oceanview Double With Balcony on the Aloha Deck near of the stern of the ship.

We sailed on a 14-day South America cruise from Buenos Aires (Argentina) to Montevideo (Uruguay), Puerto Madryn (Argentina), Stanley (Falkland Islands with tender service), Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego, Argentina), Punta Arenas (Chile), Puero Montt (Chile with tender service), and Valparaiso (Santiago, Chile). Every port was most interesting. Saw lots of different types of penguins, visited several estanias (ranches) with demonstrations of horsemanship and horse breaking, sheep shearing, and a Chilean rodeo with lots of good lunches, a motorized catamaran wildlife cruise, a narrow-gauge train ride at the “end of the world”. Plus cruising around the Cape Horn and glacier viewing. During the entire cruise, we had good weather and smooth seas. The two earlier cruises bypassed the Falkland Islands due to rough seas.

FLIGHTS - Princess used America Airlines for the flight to Buenos Aires via Miami from Los Angeles - very long flight (going was over 13 hours plus a two hour layover in Miami) and Lan Chile Airlines from Santiago via Lima (Peru) back to Los Angeles (12 hours with an one hour layover in Lima). The seats were too close together and half of the audio and video entertainment and in-flight announcements were in Spanish.

CHECK-IN – Faster than usual. During initial check-in, a digital camera records your photograph. Each time thereafter when you leave or re-board the ship, your ship ID card is scanned and your photograph is displayed to the ship's security personnel. Thus, eliminating the need to carry a second form of ID with your photograph (driver's license, etc.). Also, every time you re-board the ship, all carry-on items (purses, cameras, etc.) are scanned just like in the airports.

SHIP - This is one of the larger-sized ships that Princess calls its Explorer class. It has 11 decks with three groups of three elevators. The ship carries 1,596 passengers with a crew of 660 and was built in 1990.

CABIN - Our room seemed smaller than on previous cruises that we sailed on. Its square footage was 210 as compared the similar Holland America ships who average is 264. There are lots of small drawers in the single bedside nightstand, in the small desk next to the bed, and in the clothes closet. The queen bed consists of two single beds pushed together and fitted with bedding for a queen size bed. There is no space for the storage of the suitcases as the space under the beds is less than six inches tall. We used the overhead shelf in the closet, the floor in the closet, and the knee well space under the desk. The bathroom contains a raised toilet (very noisy whenever flushed), small sink, shower, and two medicine cabinets.

VERANDAH - It has two small plastic chairs and a small table. The partition between the verandahs on this ship are permanent sealed and may not be opened for easy access to the adjacent cabin if you travel with other passengers who are staying next door as we were.

IN-CABIN TV AND SOUND SYSTEM - A small TV set with a 14-inch screen showed about 11 channels – some via satellite (CNN, ESPN, TNT, etc.) and others previously recorded movies, etc., with a mixture of Spanish and English. There were no separate audio channels into the cabin, nor a special channel for hearing all ship announcements as on other ships. Approximately 50 percent of the time at sea, the satellite stations weren’t available including the shipboard Internet service.

LAUNDRY - There are two self-service laundry rooms with irons.

DINING ROOM - The Palm Court room has two sittings - Early (6:00 p.m.) and Main (8:15 p.m.). The serving of dinner was slow every day as the servers appeared to be understaffed; frequently the table captains perform some of the server's duties, etc. The overall food seemed bland.

OUTSIDE ON DECK GRILL– Next to pool and serves hot dogs and hamburgers.

UPSCALE DINING – There is no upscale dining room. The only other place to eat was back to the buffet line (Café Del Sol), which is open 24/7. In the evenings, there was a small corner of the room where you could sit and order from a menu but the food came from the buffet line.

TIPS - There’s an automatic assessment of $10 per day per guest and 15% is added to all drinks.

EVENING ENTERTAINMENT - At an Argentina and Chile ports, local professional dancers and musicians were provided. The other nightly entertainment were the typically "Broadway" type of dance shows, the single singer, comedian, magician, etc.

MOVIES - Movies were shown in the movie theatre.

INTERNET – Has an Internet café serviced via satellite with about 12 computers which a charge of $21 per hour and the service seemed as slow as a dial-up telephone line.

BARS - The ship has about four bars including the Dome (the highest forward looking area) being located in the same room with the casino.

CAPTAIN'S PARTY - The same as usual.

SHOPS - There seemed to be fewer.

OVERALL OPINION - I'm sorry, but I'm not impressed with the Regal Princess. It is a large ship with small cabins, seems poorly maintained, and doesn’t have enough crew to promptly service its passengers – especially in the dining rooms, bars, tour office, reception desk, etc.

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