ABOARD THE ROYAL PRINCESS-There are plenty of things that are new or improved on the Royal Princess, compared to other Princess ships or the cruise industry in general. Some are small tweaks, others are massive changes.
For instance, The Pastry Shop – the largest at sea! Located adjacent to Horizon Court, The Pastry Shop is your anytime fix for something sweet. Trays of treats are on display. They’re a definite temptation for the kids who are playing in the pool not too far away.
The addition of waffles is an intriguing alternative, complete with whipped cream and toppings. A coffee shop is located inside, too
The Pastry Shop seamlessly integrates into Horizon Court, the buffet dining area on the top deck with great views and nearly all day dining. The Horizon Court on the Royal Princess has doubled in size and has more food stations and experiences. In fact, it was a little easy to get lost while trying to look at all the offerings for breakfast each morning.
Alfredo’s Pizzeria isn’t new on Princess Ships, but the location on the Royal Princess is expanded and feels like a specialty restaurant. The 121-seat restaurant is more upscale than an in-and-out pizza station and with an updated menu that includes pasta, soup, calzones, desserts and more, Alfredo’s is an excellent choice any time of day, especially for dinner.
Princess is known for having the best pizza at sea, thanks to Alfredo’s, and I’d have to agree. The thin crust pizza was fresh and delicious, with large portions. After returning to the ship from a shore excursion, the restaurant was filled to capacity for lunch. This is the largest restaurant at sea to offer complimentary pizza – and it’s so good!
The SeaWalk is a new feature that juts 28 feet out from the ship for a unique experience. The glass walkway lets you feel as if you are walking on air, as you can see the waves 128 feet below you. The walkway is fun for everyone, and more than a few adults were stopped to get their pictures made standing on the glass. Though dramatically lit at night, it is better to experience it during the day when you can appreciate the views.
Movies Under the Stars is 30% bigger, too, meaning that the screen is 30% larger than other Princess ships and now the largest one at sea. I roamed the decks at night and was actually surprised at how packed the decks were with people watching the movies. The enormous screen dominated the decks, as cruisers wrapped in old-fashioned plaid blankets snuggled under the cool ocean breeze. The irony of a new generation of sea goers watching a gigantic LED screen while bundled up like the transatlantic crossers of the cruise industry’s early days was not lost on me.
A water show is new, too, on the Royal Princess. Only held on select nights, it was fun to watch dancing waters choreographed to music and colorful lights. The show that I witnessed, set to Frank Sinatra tunes, was only five minutes long, but I had a great view standing underneath the Movies Under the Stars screen.
This is still just a taste of what’s new and improved on the Royal Princess. There’s more to be seen here than could ever be done in one sailing, unless you never left the ship for port!
Photos and video by Kimberly Button