e2011 Posted November 3, 2013 #1 Share Posted November 3, 2013 (edited) We just got home from the inaugural Caribbean 5 day cruise on the Royal. Ft. Lauderdale to Princess Cays to Grand Turk. Here is my very brief mixed review. The arrival at the cruise terminal was a nightmare. Princess really got shafted by Port Everglades to get stuck way at the end in the old terminal. There were three lanes of busses, vans, taxi's and private cars all funneling down to ONE lane to baggage drop off!!! We arrived at 12 noon and it took us 40 minutes to go about 150 yards to drop off luggage. We then parked in the garage and made our way to Suite/Elite check in which was very nice. The line moved quickly and without fuss. After the parking situation I needed some good karma! Once on board we went right to our mini suite, L106 right in the front of the ship above the bridge. ROOM: It was a very nice room with a huge balcony. The only complaint with the room was since it was right in the front of the ship, you get a lot of wind while under way. And one night enroute to Grand Turk we had a 25 knot head wind plus the 15 knot ship speed. Due to the design of the ship, the wind was howling so loud off the front of the ship I had to put on noise canceling headphones to sleep but that was the only night with a problem. I would highly recommend you never take a room on the back of the ship. There is a constant smell there from the funnel. Also beware of starboard side rooms under the skywalk. Everyone on the skywalk can see what you are doing on your balcony and in your room! First Stop: The tender service to Princess cays was a disaster. You have to tender in to the docks and the dock area can only hold 3 tenders at a time. It took 48 minutes to go from the ship to the island in the tender crammed in like sardines with your fellow passengers in 85 degree heat. If it would have been the 15 minutes as advertised it would have been ok. Princess was not ready for a ship the size of the Royal at that stop. Once on the island it was very fun and the snorkeling was very good right in the swim area. The BBQ food was good. Second Stop: Grand Turk. Loved it but it is a small, flat island. One visit there is enough for me but we had fun. Did a tour of the island and then snorkeling which was excellent. Ship: Beautiful. One of the most beautiful ships I have ever been on. The decor, art, light fixtures were impeccable. I loved the layout of the ship and the variety of food venues, shopping and activities. The pool area was beautiful and functional. The sea walk was amazing. Loved it! Food: The buffet food quality was excellent. There are really two buffet areas combined at the back, the Horizon Bistro and Horizon Court. The food selection was excellent. No shortage of choices here. Loved it. The pizza place by the pool and the grill by the pool were excellent. Loved the Pizza. We never tried the pizza downstairs but I was told it was good. The Gelato place was excellent but extra money. The regular dining room food was good. We liked it. Specialty Restaurants: We ate at Sabatini's the first night. We arrived for our 5:30 reservation and there was one line for reservations and those seeking reservations! When you finally got to the host desk, he was on the phone taking reservations while those of us with reservations listened to him. No other help to be found. This was absurd. We were finally seated at 6:00pm. We waited at the table with no water, no greeting, nothing until 6:15pm. Finally they were ready to get the operation up and running and took our order. The food was horrible. Shrimp was previously frozen water logged and limp. Lobster tails were tough and over cooked. Olive Garden puts this place to shame. I refused to pay the up charge and they took it off my tab with no argument. Everyone served that night had the same experience. On the third night we went to the Crown Grill. We had heard good things about it and after Sabatini's we were very excited. My daughter wanted steak so they prepared her just a plain butterfly cut Filet Mignon which is exactly what we wanted. We also ordered the Filet as well. When my daughters steak arrived first she said it was "Chewy". I tried a piece and it was very tough so I assumed they really just gave her a cut of the strip steak off the buffet line upstairs. Then my wife and I received our steaks and guess what...they were the quality you would get at a Denny's. Tough and chewy. They were cooked to a nice medium as requested, it was the actual meat was very low quality. I would say it was somewhere between stew meat and choice. The deserts however were wonderful. We also had a lobster tail as an appetizer and it was good. They really need a different purveyor of meats. Beverage: Excellent service but I found just getting a glass of water to be difficult. You had to go to a bar or find a server. Sometimes during busy times this was a difficult task. I felt getting water should not be so much work. The cocktails were excellent and the bar tenders were awesome. Entertainment: All excellent. We loved every show and every band. A+ Misc: There were only 31 children on the cruise so that was nice. Our daughter made some new friends and the kids got a lot of attention in the kids club. I did notice Princess caters to an older crowd and some of them were very mean and grouchy. One fellow made a snide comment to my wife on the elevator that she accidentally touched him while we were all crammed into these very small elevators. She apologized and his response to her apology was "I don;t need any attitude from you!" I wanted to just throw him over the rail but wasn't sure of maritime law on this topic! LOL. But seriously there were a few bad apples in the bunch but we just ignored them. We also found out that Princess either doesn't have a "saving deck chair" policy or does not enforce it. On sea days at 6 am people were putting towels and things on deck chairs only to go back to their cabin and sleep and arrive back at 10 am for their reserved chair. We typically used the pool very early and were gone by the time these people showed up and I do thank them for having my chair toweled for me! Sorry I left it wet if and when you ever showed up! LOL... Edited November 3, 2013 by e2011 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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