Arthur R. Friedman
Age: 56 to 65
Number of Cruises: 11
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Regal Princess
Sailing Date: February 14, 2000
Itinerary: Mexican Riviera
Valentines day is a National Holiday on the Love Boat and everything for the first few days was keyed to that theme! This was our second Princess cruise and we absolutely loved it! As ballroom dancers, Princess often had 4 venues available with wonderful dance music from early evening until 1:00am. All of the groups were great and enthusiastic. There were a number of dancers on this cruise that made it a lot of fun. Several of the dance floors were quite large as well.
Regal is an unusual ship with a profile something like a 747! The Dome as it is called houses the casino, with a wrap around lounge and was one of our favorite late night dance venues. The views are spectacular and the room itself incredible.
We found the service and attitude to be superb. Posted on the ship and in each cabin is the Princess philosophy. One of the items is a prohibition on any crew member saying "no" to a passenger. Instead they must refer the request to a supervisor. We never had occasion to test that out as every one of our requests was responded to in a cheery and prompt manner.
Cabin size is unbelievable. There were only 2 ships with this design (Regal and Crown). While there are some design issues that I will mention later, we have not been on any ships with standard cabins that come close in size and layout. As with most of the newer ships (Regal -92) all but the top categories are essentially the same size, price depending only on location. Our cabin was on the next to lowest deck all the way forward. We had a picture window and a room that was essentially a minature Marriott! We have not had so much room since sailing in the upper cabins on the QE2 or the second category on the Noordam. This has obviously been "corrected" on newer princess and similar, i.e. RCI!
We actually could practice some of our dance steps. If you want a large cabin, this is the ship for you! The other drawback is that both the dining room and bistro (only other place to eat) are at the back of the ship. Just a little bit of sea creates a lot of movement. Likewise the showroom is at the bow with similar effects. Most later ships moved the dining room closer to mid ships. Although our seas were quite smooth on most of the trip, there was enough movement on a couple of days to create a little queazyness for some passengers. (And yes, you are a "passenger" -- not a "guest".
Mark the cruise director is truly a living legend. We never have had a cruise director that was more involved or more entertaining than Mark. He is on the TV for his morning show at 7AM and closes the last show in the evening after 11:30! He often verges on hysterical and is among the most quick witted and funniest people you will ever see. It is worth cruising on any ship that he is on. (Has been with Princess etc. for around 20 years and picks his cruises!) I can't say too much about him. He was in skits and activities, was always around for any activity -- he hosted the cooking demonstration that had the audience laughing and rocking in the isles!! What's funny about cooking? You have to see it to believe it!!!
Cabin service was fine. Nothing special. Our attendant was from Romania and was probably new. Did a fine job. Dining room waiter and assistant also appeared to be new and were below average most of the time, but they were likeable and no one had any real complaints.
Food: We have sailed on 3 cruise lines and 4 ships in the past 13 months. Food is definitely not what it used to be. However, if you are following prices, they are dropping quickly. Our 10 day cruise was $899. It's hard to be too fussy at that price. Actually, the food is fine, it's just nothing special.
Cruise: There really isn't much along the West coast of Mexico. Most of the stops are pretty much 3rd world. The only exception is Cabo San Lucas, it is quite a nice little resort. Beach and beach related activities are about the only thing to do. There are lots of shore excursions, but if you read them carefully, there just isn't anything there. That was confirmed by one of our table mates that went on tours at each port! We really like the ship and don't care much where it goes. There were 4 sea days and that was fine with us.
We were told this cruise will not be continued next year. Probably an over supply resulting in our fantastic rate. Also sailing from LA was Carnival on 7 days and in Cabo we anchored with Zenith and Rhapsody. That's a lot of ships for this market.