Cruising on the new Royal Princess

The Duchess of Cambridge at the Royal naming

The Duchess of Cambridge at the Royal naming

With all the hoopla about George Alexander Louis, also known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge, I’m reminding my friends that I saw Kate’s first baby weeks ago.

That was the occasion of another naming, the cruise ship Royal Princess, of which the Duchess of Cambridge is godmother. Just sayin’.

Significantly pregnant with George Alexander Louis, she wowed the crowd in Southampton, England, with a short speech, followed by the crashing of a Nebuchadnezzar  of Moet et Chandon across the bow of the new ship.

The new Royal Princess is the largest “Love Boat” ever.

The ship, with a capacity of 3,560 passengers, is  cruising now in the Mediterranean until October, then in the Caribbean out of Fort Lauderdale through April 2014.

Life at sea from a bar stool

As Fran Golden and I wrote in a review for the Miami Herald, Princess fans need not worry about the introduction of gaudy new gadgets, rock-climbing walls, or waterslides. There are none.

The most pizzazz on Royal Princess — once Her Royal Highness disembarked after a private tour — was the three-story Piazza atrium, which hums with activities, entertainment, and people-watchers.

 
Stools at the SeaView Bar, swirling water below (Photo by David G. Molyneaux, TheTravelMavens.com)
Stools at the SeaView Bar, swirling water below (Photo by David G. Molyneaux, TheTravelMavens.com)

My favorite spot on Royal Princess, however, is an outdoor bar stool.

Princess is touting its new SeaWalk, a glass-bottomed, curved walkway that extends 28 feet beyond the starboard side of the ship on the pool deck, 128 feet above the ocean.

Unless you are afraid of heights, SeaWalk is tame.

I’d rather be on the port side, which also has a curved walkway that extends 28 feet. This side has bar stools, part of the SeaView Bar.

Depending on the sea conditions below, the sloshings from these stools  promise some memorable experiences.

The Brits know formal attire

The Royal Princess, third Princess ship to carry the name, is the first new vessel from Princess Cruises in five years (Ruby Princess was 2008). Its debut was a formal affair.

The last time I donned a tux and black tie for a gala party at a naming ceremony was on  Oasis of the Seas in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. My invitation said formal, so I packed the full outfit when I flew south from Ohio.

I should have considered the location. In Florida, formal party duds are slightly better than what you would wear to McDonald’s.

The only man clad in black, I felt like a penguin on the desert.

“We should have said Florida formal,” acknowledged a public relations man from Royal Caribbean.

That was not a problem in England, where nearly every man at the Royal Princess gala knew exactly what “black tie” meant. And the dining room chefs did a fine job on the Dover sole. Neither was a surprise in a country of great expectations.

David Molyneaux writes regularly about cruising news, tips and trends at TheTravelMavens.com.

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