Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Regal Princess
Sailing Date: April 28th, 2007
My review of Regal Princess April 28th –
May 13th cruise. The cruise was from Los Angeles to Hawaii and back. Regal
Princess is an older, smaller ship. This was my wife’s and mine second cruise.
Our first one was on Carnival Paradise, 4 day Baja cruise. We really liked the
first one so we were excited to go on this one. The excitement ended as soon as
we got on board.
Embarkation went fine. We flew into LAX, found the Princess shuttle van. I prepaid for the shuttle at $75 per person round trip and found out Princess was charging $25 per person each way at the airport. I got overcharged by prepaying, oh well. The ride from LAX to the harbor went smooth. Got through registration and security in about 45 minutes, that was not bad. A word of caution about baggage, we got on board at 12:30, got the first suitcase at 4:30, second at 6:30, by 8:30 I went looking for the final suitcase and found it sitting in front of someone else’s door. Dress appropriately and don’t expect to have your suitcases until late evening, we were told that that is the norm.
Our room was D138, an outer room with no window. The size of the room was decent, the bed mattresses were old and sagged. Pillows and covers were old and beat up. The room was clean and the steward was nice. The biggest complaint about the room was the squeaking and popping of the walls as the ship swayed and rocked up and down, and it did that a lot. Outside our cabin there was a smell of diesel coming out of the engine room.
There is Café Del Sol, buffet style restaurant, on Lido deck. Food is good, the desserts are much lower quality then Carnival. Your drink options are tea, coffee and water. You can get tiny glasses of orange or cranberry juice from the counter in the mornings, not in the afternoons. During the 15 days they did not have one cheesecake at Café Del Sol. There is also a pizza restaurant, Bravo, it’s ok, the pizza style is thin, crunchy crust.
There is only one dinner restaurant, The Palm Court. It’s nice, food is good, the service a little slow. We signed up for early sitting, but got assigned second sitting. Tried switching, no success. It seems to me that the assignments are based on cabin size. Just like everything else on this ship, you are treated based on the amount you spend. Since the second sitting is at 8:15, we only ate at the Palm Court three times. Us being from Chicago, for us it was like eating 1:15AM, and you finished at 3:15am. Our digestive systems could not adjust that quickly, so we felt bad after eating that late.
The shows at the International Show Lounge were good. The activities during sea days were uneventful and conducted without much effort. We went to a trivia contest and the staff person running is was 30 min late and came with attitude. We expected games similar to Carnival’s and we were disappointed. The cruise director on Regal, Frank, was only visible on the morning show on TV, and in the evening after the show. The only entertainment staff person to get praise from us was Lucinda, she was in charge of line dancing lessons and ball-room dancing lessons. We got to witness two almost fight incidents, one in Café Del Sol restaurant, where two passengers got into it over being too loud. The other in the Adagio bar where a British lady passenger touched Frank the cruise director, complaining about the “rubbish” shows, and he threatened to get security. I was a little surprised how loud Frank got.
My biggest peeve on the ship was the badgering by the bar stewards. You could not sit down anywhere peacefully without being asked if you need a drink. If you sat down on deck at 9:00 am, try to suntan, read, or relax at the show, you would get attacked. There would be four or five of them constantly circling, you would be asked by each of them and then re-asked by the same one. I think if I ever cruise with Princess I will bring an “I don’t want a drink” sign with me. As far as complimentary drinks go, be aware, you snooze, you loose. At the captain’s intro, drinks were served for about 15 minutes, if you were slow to ask, you missed out. On the final sea night there was a New Year revisited party with “all the champagne you can drink”, well the champagne was served for about 15 minutes and then there was none to be found.
Ports of call: one phrase summarizes them, “not enough time”. We were to have five stops, Hilo 11:00am – 6:00pm, Kona 8:00am – 6:00pm, Honolulu 7:00am – 11:00pm, Lahaina 8:00am – 6:00pm, Nawiliiwili 8:00am – 5:00pm. The Nawiliiwili got canceled because one of the anchors on Regal was broken, so we stayed at Lahaina on final day from 8:00am till 2:00pm. That amount of time did now give us enough time to do much. I hope that for future cruises, Princes sails from one island to the next and gives passengers 7:00am to 11:00pm every port stay.
Disembarkation on Regal goes according to you ticket color. We got purple, which meant 10:30am, our flight was 2:30pm, so I figured I was fine. The night before I checked with Café Del Sol, and was told they would be serving till 10:00am. We packed the evening before, put out the suitcases, and went to the final show. Instead of the show there was a “not so newly-weds game”, we sat through that and went to bed. My plan was to sleep-in in the morning, have a late breakfast, and then relax in our room till our depart time. Luckily we went to breakfast early, because the restaurant closed at 9:00am and at 9:15am our room steward politely asked us to leave the room because he has to get it ready for next passengers. At 10:45am our color was called and got off the ship into a line that stretched for a block. It took another hour to go through customs, at this point I started to get a little nervous about making our flight. We did make the flight and got home without any more adventures. As for the cruise, I did not turn out to be all we imagined. Maybe we expected too much, will we ever cruise with Princess, probably not.