Hi everyone, I joined this roll call for the Jan 27 Regal sailing a few days before we departed for Florida for a Dec 9 Regal sailing. We are home once again and I wanted to share a few comments.
When we checked in at Port Everglades to board, we were given a cruise card and the new Medallion. They both were affixed to a "Medallion Lanyard". The cruise card was in a plastic sleeve, and the Medallion was encased in a hard plastic case. (Photo attached) Boarding, they were "both" used. Security did the usual photo with the cruise card using a long time very functional scanner. Medallion reps scanned the medallion and also did a photo. When you approach your cabin door, the medallion DOES unlock your door as it senses your proximity. Gone are the plastic "mail boxes" and name tags at the door, replaced with what looks like an IPAD in the same general location. (No more checking doors for names/cruise status (ELITE/Ruby/platinum etc)). I LOVED not fiddling with the cruise card for opening the door. Watch either the screen for the "door is unlocked" or the green light on the actual door handle.
We had a "soda" package, purchased in advance of sailing. It was apparent right away that the Medallions were NOT working at the bars. Every time during the first 3 days that we asked for a soda, they simply asked "did we have a package". Only waiters took our cards to the bar. Only a few of the bartenders were interested in checking our cards during that time. They were not asking for the Medallion. By day 4, the Medallion "scanners" were up on the bar and in use. So, if you are a walk up customer, look for the scanner box near the register. YOU scan your Medallion or you hand it off to the waiter/bartender. The entire week, waiters were using cruise cards to bring drink orders. Previous cruises I have always had a sticker on my card indicating soda package and never had to pass the card off to the waiter or bartender. I did notice that once the bartenders started using the Medallion, that your photo showed up on the screen when you put your device on the reader.
Getting off the ship at Princess Cays on the day after sailing, we used our cruise card with security. Special note - Sometime during my arrival at the dining room for the tender and a quick trip to the bar for a soda, I discovered my Medallion "case" (clear hard plastic) was empty. I found the blue "paper" that surrounded the Medallion on the floor where we were seated in the dining room, but never found the Medallion. I did not search long as we were leaving for the tender. I dashed over to the Guest Services desk and reported it and was "brushed off" and told to talk to the Medallion Desk at 4 pm. I was shocked that the staff at Guest Services did not even jot down my name, and did not like the response when I asked them to put a FREEZE on the device. My concern, of course, was it would be found and used, but that did not happen. (It felt like losing your credit card, and I got bad vibes at the desk like "not our problem".)
On our return from the beach at Princess Cays, I went straight to the Medallion desk (located next to the photo's on Deck 6). The area was "under construction" with plastic sheeting hiding the Medallion Desk, and I actually had to find a security person to get me to the right location. The technician was working out of the photo desk while the area was being worked on. They were VERY helpful and within an hour, a new Medallion was hand delivered to my cabin by the same technician. You will notice that your name and sailing date are imprinted on the device in tiny little print. Thankfully no charges appeared during the time my device went missing.
(It is at that Medallion Desk/department where you can buy the fancy jewelry to wear with your device. ) Anyway, once I had the new device, I dug out my roll of clear packing tape, and made a quick job of sealing the device into the plastic case, and did the same with my husbands.
We also "unclipped our cruise card" plastic sleeve and rotated it so the opening was a the top, and reclipped it on the provided lanyard. Several people I spoke to had their cruise cards "sliding out" of the sideways sleeve by the end of the first day, and were "reattaching" the sleeve .
We did not use our Medallion anywhere else on the ship, only the bars and for room entry. (I can't speak about any shopping or casino, because we did neither) There are NO key card slots on the door handles.
This was my first trip on the Regal, and I was impressed with the scale of the Piazza, and how much seating there was on deck 5, and deck 6 & 7. (Photo attached) Honestly, we never had a problem finding empty seats to watch activities in the Piazza. The usual "debarkation" day hunt for a seat did not happen. We saw lots of open seats in public areas. (We had an 8:15 debarkation, so that may be part of the reason). The LIDO deck (16) had tons of seating. Lots of tables and chairs, and lovely "patio" type couches and chairs, besides the usual loungers and tables. My absolute favorite place was the aft of deck 16 where there were two "patio" type groupings of couches and chairs. I failed to get good photos of that area.
Seating in the Princess Theater seemed adequate for the shows we attended. We arrived "late" once and found seats, and "early" on 2 other occasions. The seating in Princess Live is the WORST. CRUMMY CHAIRS, hard to get to the end far end of rows, and not enough. POOR design. Got there early, took end of row seats and had to exit the row to let others come in when they arrived. Really tacky set up in any event. Poor replacement for Explorers lounge.
Cabin - Caribe 330 - Mini Suite. GREAT Space, good storage, didn't use all the drawers. Nice to have the larger bathroom with tub and never felt cramped for space, except on the balcony. The scale of the table on the balcony and the scale of the coffee table in the suite did suit the space. We used both spaces a lot, and that is my only complaint. (I usually travel "inside cabin" with my sister, but this trip I took the husband and the mini suite is the only way to go with him!) We did pop in and look at an inside cabin (C328)on departure day when our cabin steward was making beds, so I can anticipate the space for the Jan 27 trip. We will be on Emerald, and the layout is not the same. :(
FOOD - We did not eat in the dining room. My husband likes really plain simple food, and he got his fill of burgers from the Grill on Deck 16. You can ask for them to be cooked the way you like (medium rare in his case) and ask for a "DOUBLE". I found the Horizon court to be well laid out in contrast to other ships. GREAT SEATING ! Things were spread out into different areas, and the seating was terrific. The food was pretty blah......seemed like the same food every day. The carving station was heavy on the roast pork, and only had beef twice. The sides the same every day. I usually take an entire tour before I pick up a plate. The set up is better, as the staff had enclosed areas to restock from and made more room for those filling a salad plate etc. Note - Lunch time...there was a TACO bar set up, plenty of Guac, salsa, chips, hard and soft tortilla, ground meat, etc. We ate at Alfredo's Pizzaria on Deck 6 once for dinner and it was nice to be waited on. Pizza and Calzone were delicious. Husband said the pizza was the "same" as on Deck 16. I thought it was better. Tiramisu for dessert was good. We had a birthday celebration and that Princess cake with the chocolate is divine. SO much better than any other chocolate cakes in the buffet Pastry area. We also did the CRAB SHACK on our last night and selected the King Crab/Shrimp and found that it was wonderful. They split the crab legs for you, so little need to use the crab tools other than the picks. The fried shrimp in the appetizer basket with the hush puppies was great, much better than the fried shrimp in the buffet. They were more like PRAWNS than shrimp. Desserts were just "ok". Now, that said, it could be I was bored with the food. I much prefer the dining room and look forward to dinner on the January 27 trip. We have 5pm dining (which seems terribly early), but I enjoy not standing in the anytime dining line, and like to be waited on! I like my food HOT when it arrives at the table and that is part of my objection to the Horizon Court. I'm known to eat breakfast & lunch in the dining room if time permits.
INTERNET - As a "Platinum" I get 150 free minutes of internet. You can now "pre-pay" for 7 days of UNLIMITED for $9.99 per day. This was available ON BOARD the first day also. This now makes my "platinum perk" seek irrelevant. Make sure you type LOGOUT.com in your browser when you finish if you are on a timed plan. (After the first day it was $19.99 per day). I had to "pace myself" on board with internet during the week to ensure I had time left to check in for my flight etc. But honestly, I left minutes behind the last day.\ and don't tend to stay online other than to check in quickly with family.
EXPRESS BAGS - something new to me was an option to pay a small fee (about $25 per person) to have your baggage go directly to the airport and be put through with the airline, and not have to claim them on your return in the Port building for going through US Customs. I figure it might be worth it if you use porters at the port or the airport or don't want to struggle with bags.
NEW to me also was Customs & Border protection MOBILE PASSPORT App for smart phones. I downloaded the app, scanned my passport, took the required photo, and filled in the information for our trip. When we went went into the Customs area, I didn't see a sign as had been indicated on the Princess disembarkation paper. I asked the person directing the lines and they "opened" a rope and sent us directly to the counter. The CBP agent didn't use the app, still looked at our passports, but it saved us 15 minutes of standing in line, so it was worth the effort on the phone! You MUST download the MOBILE PASSPORT App before you get into the port building, and I would recommend you do it prior to going on the trip.
I will cross post this on CC "reviews" but thought sharing it on this roll call might help those on the Jan 27 sailing.
Mary (ps...can anybody tell me where to find the area to change my signature here on CC? I haven't figured out this latest update of CC yet!)