Age: 36 to 45
Number of Cruises: 3 to 5
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Royal Princess
Sailing Date: May 18, 1998
Stateroom: Adequate size. Two twin beds, desk, TV, and minifridge. Closet space was limited. Bathrooms lacked a fan and doorstop. I had to use a towel to keep the bathroom door open.
Cabin Steward: The cabin was always spotless after she left, but some mornings it took longer to be cleaned. Room service order was incorrect the first morning, but was correct every other day. She also delivered breakfast early one morning when I had an early tour. Kudos to her for that!
Dining Staff: Excellent. Orders were always correct. The junior waiter and waiter remembered our coffee orders after the second day. A very nice touch. Service was never intrusive.
Head Waiter: Very accommodating. Ensured my dietary restrictions (Kosher/Vegetarian) were always met, he even special made pasta without meat. How wonderful of him!
Food: Satisfactory. Buffets had ample selections. Sit-down breakfast excellent. Dinner always had quite a few well-prepared choices. Desserts were fantastic, especially the soufflés. "Alternative dining" in the Bistro is a true plus, like a private dining room at sea.
Ports: Interesting itinerary-- Dover to Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Two days in St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and Gdansk before returning to Dover. Gdansk, Poland was extremely interesting and a "must" on Scandinavia/Baltic itineraries. Not every cruise line includes this fascinating port.
Shore Excursions: A good value. Special accommodations made at the Hermitage for our group. I recommend taking a morning Hermitage tour to avoid the late morning/afternoon crowds. The shore excursion staff did an excellent job of directing traffic when hundreds of people were waiting for various tours. They were very friendly and accommodating. Shore excursion talks broadcast throughout the day via on-board closed circuit TV.
Entertainment: Shows were fair. If you've sailed on Princess within the last three years, you've probably seen them ("Ports of Call," "London Pub Night," etc.)
Gaming: Small casino. Bingo and horse racing very fun. Usually two daily bingo sessions on sea days.
Lectures: Very interesting guest speaker.
Religious Services: Well-attended Friday night Sabbath services held in the movie theatre with wine, challah, and gefilte fish. Sunday religious services, I can't comment on those...
Cruise Director Staff: Fun and friendly. The cruise director's on board lectures were very worthwhile. These talks are also broadcast throughout the day.
Overall, this was a great vacation. An interesting itinerary, good mix of passengers, fun crew, with plenty of activities to pass the time. The Royal Princess is a small ship when compared to some of the megaships sailing, but never felt claustrophobic. She was the first ship with all outside staterooms. A good value for your vacation dollar.