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Terry Robinson

Age: 42


Number of Cruises: 10

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Regal Princess

Sailing Date: August 14th, 2006

Itinerary: South America

We boarded the Regal Princess in San Francisco for a 10 day roundtrip cruise up to Alaska, visiting Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan, Glacier Bay and Victoria, British Columbia.

Our first impression of the Regal Princess was that despite being a smaller, older ship in the Princess fleet, it was quite comfortable and well maintained. Embarkation was ever so easy, and we had boarded the ship before noon and had lunch up on the Lido deck.

The Regal was nice, and despite being an older ship, showed some style after having a facelift back in 2000. The public lounges were comfortable and pleasant, accommodating the crowds who used them with ease. The International Lounge, whilst on the smaller scale compared to other larger ships, seemed to adequately cope with the number of passengers who used it for various shows or activities.

The Lido restaurant and Palm Court dining room were fairly contemporary and plain, with no eye catching features that make it distinct from the others. The size of both restaurants was disappointing, with the dining room extremely full during the evening and the lido overflowing during the lunch time period.

I felt as though the Regal was lacking in some aspects and in many ways, this was due to its relatively small 70,000 tonne size. The library and internet centers were extremely small, and on many occasions did not cater for the number of people using them, particularly on sea days. The Regal did not have a sports deck where you could play minature golf, basketball or tennis, which restricted the physically active passenger to using the jogging track or the extremely small gymnasium on the lower deck of the ship.

The casino in the crows nest however was a fantastic idea. It enabled passengers to walkthrough the ship without having to pace through the casino to get to another area, and also catered for those passengers who just wanted to relax up top and soak in the view.

The staterooms were of a usual size, however the showers were a little larger than past cruise ships I have traveled on. The Regal, being of an older class of ship and not catering to modern traditions, had very few balcony staterooms, which on a voyage to Alaska, seemed to be of annoyance to some of my fellow passengers who would have liked the privacy of a private balcony.
Score (1 being low, 5 being high): 3

Generally, all of the crew were fairly helpful and attentive in ensuring we had an enjoyable cruise. Many of the crew obliged politely and quickly to our ordinary and not so ordinary requests, and overall the crew were quite good.

There were only two specifics that I would mention because I found that in some respects, they spoilt the reputation of the other, hard working crew. A junior waiter from Poland by the name of Izabela was one crew member who Princess could certainly do without. In 10 cruises, I have never seen a member of crew who actually poked fun of a fellow passenger I was dining with who had a disability. Unfortunately, my dining companion was quite embarrassed by the whole incident and shortly left the table. An absolute disgrace of an employee and a black mark on Princess cruises.

Our cabin steward was also a crew member who was disappointing. We frequently came back to our cabin to find that certain things we had requested not be available. Ice, fresh fruit and clean towels were often forgotten items that our cabin steward Jose neglected to leave for us. Overall, it was a disappointing service.
Score (1 being low, 5 being high): 3

The food overall was a little disappointing compared to past cruises we have had with Princess. Its seems that in an effort to cut costs, Princess has cut the food budget too. That is not to say that Princess do not provide quality food, presented perfectly and cooked to perfection. For us, it just seemed that we were eating cheaper products, with the more expensive meals being reserved for one particular night in the Palm Dining Room. The variety was also a little astray, with some particular meals becoming quite boring. Not quite up to scratch with the old Princess menu but still enjoyable.
Score (1 being low, 5 being high): 3

I believe the staff really attempted to create activities to suit the wide range of ages of the passengers on board. Kelvin, Matt, Sam and Anja did a great job in keeping both the older and younger generations entertained with various activities on board. My only complaint was that there were periods, particularly on sea days, where hours would pass by for a specific age group activity to come along and in some cases, it was all too short.
Score (1 being low, 5 being high): 4

The entertainment on board the Regal Princess was a little hit and miss for our liking. A few of the production shows were quite good, the others not so. Why we were so generous to give the comedian a second chance I will never know, as his second show was just as bad as the first. The piano bar singer/ comedian, Sammy Goldstein was a fantastic entertainer and regularly played before and after dinner in the Adagio bar. A real talent and a fantastic personality. The instrumentalist Den West was also very good and kept the crowds entertained.
Score (1 being low, 5 being high): 4

Overall, not the best ship or best cruising experience I have had and was a little below what I had expected from a Princess cruise. However, it was an enjoyable cruise in which we made some lovely friends and thoroughly enjoyed visiting Alaska and all it has to offer. It was just a shame that particular individuals and changes made in the Princess experience dulled our overall experience.
Overall Score (1 being low, 5 being high): 3


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