Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Regal Princess
Sailing Date: August 4th, 2006
Itinerary: South America
This was my first time cruising on Princess, and I went into it with extremely high expectations, which usually mean that I will be disappointed. This was also our first cruise since 9/11/01, though I am not sure as to the effects of that on the cruise industry/experience. I have heard that like other areas, cruise lines were hit with reduced demand, and had to look at ways to cut expenses.
on the Baja Deck. The room was quite nice, and my wife and I felt it had plenty of room. The bathroom was very comfortable, and the shower was huge, large enough for both of us. The balcony was a bit disappointing at first sight, because it wasn't very wide, but it was quite useful, especially when we cruised into Tracy Arm Fjord. Our room steward was absolutely fabulous.
The casino is small, and at the time didn't have a poker table, but that is supposed to be changing very soon.
The fitness center is down in the bottom of the ship, and very small. If you want to use a treadmill, you have to sign up for a time by 8 AM the morning BEFORE you want to use it. I just chose to run in ports or on the track on sea days.
Food: The food was probably the biggest disappointment. We ate every dinner in the main dining room. The first two nights, the dinner wasn't very impressive at all. It did get much better as the cruised progressed, highlighted by Alaskan King Crab on Friday night. The breakfast menu was very boring, and not very impressive at all. Our wait staff was very friendly, but very slow. A couple of nights we were the last table to leave, and were walking out as the second seating was about to begin. The buffet was hit and miss for all meals. The desserts were good, and the ice cream was excellent. The room service menu was pathetic, only listing sandwiches and salads. The pizza was good, but the service was lacking in the pizzeria.
Staff: The staff was very friendly, with a couple very limited exceptions. The most obvious was the casino manager. The female who was the lead during the days was extremely rude. Because of her, I didn't gamble on the ship. She should be fired. The other people that I observed as being less than enthusiastic is the staff in the buffet. Most were nice, but there were a couple of the guys in there that were rude. It may have been a cultural thing, it may have been that they have the worst job on the ship, but either way, they are supposed to treat the customers with the utmost respect. Those were the only 2 complaints I had. The Cruise Staff was excellent, the entertainment was good, and the bar staff/waiters were fabulous.
Overall, I enjoyed this cruise. If I had to grade it, I would give it a B, but I was expecting an A. I am unsure if I would cruise Princess again, but I think that the more one cruises, the less in awe they are over the entire experience. I was also told that cruise lines have cut back on the food and personnel since 9/11/01. This may be true, and help explain why my expectations of an A cruise were not met.