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stevenr597

Regal Princess Review: Scandanavia and Russia

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We just got back from our 11 day cruise on the M.S. Regal Princess, touring the North countries including Russia and Berlin. I will try to give a review of what our experiences have been, what we found great, and what were somewhat disappointing.

 

My wife and I are extensive cruisers, cruising for over 20 years. Rather than staying with one line, we have tried to sample as many of the different lines as possible. This has included Princess (of course) as well as Holland America and Carnival. We have also cruised on Disney, as well as RCCL, and Celebrity. In addition we have also cruised Azamara.

 

We/I believe that his has enabled use to have a fairly good perspective in regards to cruising. Note that we are Platinum level on Princess.

 

What type of ship is Regal Princess. To start off we would rate if 4 1/2 stars out of five.

 

 

 

It is one of the largest ships we have sailed on, being over 140,000 tons in displacement and holding over 3000 guests. However, despite the size, we found the ship easy to get around. Note that one of the major problems in the past was an absence of a central staircase, and that has now been corrected with the opening of the central crew staircase, allowing the public to use it. In addition, we never felt that the ship was crowded. The only time we faced crowds was eating lunch at the Horizon Court on a sea day when it was rainy and individuals did not wish to eat outside.

 

In regards to dining, the ship has both the Horizon Court and the Horizon Bistro, both located on deck 16. One cannot really describe this area, it is huge, with practically any type of dish one could ask for or even dream up. Traditional American food, as well as Mexican, Oriental, and even Indian. The area was quite clean, tables were quickly cleaned after an individual finished his or her meal. The Horizon Bistro severed more lighter fare such as sandwiches, while the Horizon Court served more traditional heavier food.

 

Outdoors Princess served Pizza which we felt was fairly good. There was also a burger station. Burgers were decent, but this is one of the areas where I believe the ship did not meet expectations.

 

There are several other restaurants and bistro's including Sabatini's Italian Grill and the Crown Grill Restaurant. Note that we had booked Club Class, and because of this we did not elect to eat in these two restaurants. On the Piazza deck (deck 5) they had an ice cream restaurant as well as an International Cafe where one could get light food 24 hours/day. Another restaurant where one could also get Pizza was Alfredo's.

 

There were three separate dining rooms. We did have Club Class, and I can say that it was worth it. The waiters and Maitre'D knew us by name, and we had absolutely no wait, even on crowded days. They did, several times, prepare a "special dish" but not at tableside. Usually some type of seafood such as shrimp or lobster which we had an as appetizer.

 

In the main dining room, the selection was limited, portions were rather small, but overall, the quality of the food was excellent. Service with Club Class was outstanding.

 

Where I think that the ship fell down was the the dining rooms were not nearly as spectacular as similar areas on the Celebrity ships.

 

Have to get back to work. Will continue later.

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The swimming area is located on Deck 16. They also have Pizza, Burger Station, several bars, and free custard. One of the nice thinks was the transparent walkway which gave an individual the sensation of walking above the ocean.

 

 

 

There is plenty of room, including shaded areas. Finding a deck lounge never seemed to be a problem. However, one deficiency is the lack of a covered pool. Can make a difference on rainy days. At night Pricess had "Movie under the Stars" with padded lounges and free popcorn. Gave a nice touch to the entertainment.

 

 

 

Speaking of entertainment there were several Broadway Type Shows in the main theater. We did have no problem finding seating, although we did show up approximately 30 minutes before the show. In respect to the theater, here again, Princess did not come up to expectations. The theater was rather plain, could not be compared to the theater on the Queen Victoria or Equinox. The shows, while short, more than made up for this however.

 

A lot of happening in the Piazza on Dec 5 which is the main focus of the ship. One can sit, listen to entertainment with made be some individuals playing Classical, to a group imitating the Beatles. While sitting up can help themselves to some foods from the International Care or perhaps a double espresso.

 

Entertainment was throughout the day, with the ship starting to wind down after midnight.

 

There was a fairly mixed group with individuals from Australia, New Zealand, England, China, Japan, Canada, India, the Middle East, and of course the United States. Surprisingly there were a lot of children on the trip.

 

Of course numerous bars on the ship.

 

Since we were Platinum/Elite, everyday there was a "happy hour" where one could get a discounted beverage and enjoy some appetizers such as shrimp, Sushi etc.

 

Breakfast was also served in the main dining room, and lunch on sea days. Being with Club Class we did have a separate entrance and seating area for these meals. The number of items on the menu was limited, but quality of food and the service was excellent.

 

 

 

We had booked a Club Class Mini-suite. Fairly large room, and except for Club Class, no amenities one would usually find with a standard or real suite. Balcony was small, but this was not a problem to us. Plenty of closet space, and the bed was quite comfortable, did sleep well. We had little contact with the individual(s) who made up our room, but it was done quickly, and efficiently. No problems there.

 

We were supposed to be Ocean Medallion, but several weeks before the cruise we were informed that it would not be ready. Didn't miss it.

 

By the way, T.V. service was excellent. Plenty of movies on demand, as well as news including CNN and Fox.

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Great review so far! Will be sailing the Regal in February so am following this thread for all the info I can get. Thank You!

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We are on the Regal Next month. Could you tell me what Zumba was like? Was it once a day or more and where was it held. Do you remember the name of the zumba coach? Love Zumba, one of the best reasons to go on Princess. Thanks in advance..

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Where did you put the free custard.Was there apple pie served,lol.

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Thank you for a very well written balanced review.

I am sailing on my first Royal class ship next month so some interesting points raised.

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We are on the Regal Next month. Could you tell me what Zumba was like? Was it once a day or more and where was it held. Do you remember the name of the zumba coach? Love Zumba, one of the best reasons to go on Princess. Thanks in advance..

 

You have me there. I do know that they had dance classes in the Piazza.

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We had been staying in the Marriott Copenhagen (great hotel) and took the shuttle at 12:30 P.M. to board the Regal. Being Platinum Class we did have preferred boarding, and within 15 minutes we were on the ship and within 30 minutes, we were eating lunch. Our room was ready when we arrived. Upon boarding we were given complementary Champagne and we had two small bottles of wine, courtesy of Princess waiting in our room..

 

As I had noted we were Club Class. We arrived for dinner at 7:00 and were greeted by the maitre'd and staff. The Club Class section was not crowded and we were seated up near the window. Delightful dinner. Service was quick, efficient, never rushed.

 

The production shows are done twice/evening at either 7:00 or 8:00 P.M., and again at 10:00. Since we had Club Class we often went to the early show and just walked in after the show for dinner in the main dining room. We usually followed this with a trip to the Piano Bar, where they would play songs at your request. The Piazza also was a center for nightime entertainment. We saw a "Beatles" type group, playing their songs, an opera singer, as well as several nights devoted to dancing. They also had their famous Champagne Fountain, as well as a balloon drop in the Piazza.

 

The amenities in the Spa are outstanding, although I must admit that this was a rather port intensive cruise and we had little time to take advantage of this. They also had a fairly large gym to work out.

 

We are believer's in booking the tours offered by the ship (Princess), rather than private tours. Princess was very efficient in respect to this. We did meet at the assigned time in the theater, and according to the group were escorted to the buses. In Celebrity we often found that many individuals who wanted to be "first" on the buses, would crowd the exits of the theater. Princess to their credit did not permit this. On one occasion, and individual had forgotten his ticket, and the bus did wait, holding seats for him and his family, until he retrieved his ticket. Very courteous.

 

Scandinavia was very crowded, and one had to be attentive that they did not lose the group. I would have liked to see a crew member from Princess accompany the group on our tours, we have seen this with Celebrity. We were warned in Berlin and in Russia about pick-pockets, but this did not appear to be a problem. My wife and I wore small bags that had metal inserts in the straps and locks on the zippers, hence documents such as passports could not be taken.

 

Scandinavia was undergoing a heat wave with temperatures reaching into the 90's. The North countries were not prepared for this. However, most of our tour buses, especially in Russia were air-conditioned.

 

We had warnings from the U.S. State Department about the danger of losing one's passport since the Consulate in St. Petersburg was closed. We had heard horrors in regards to Russian Immigration. However, the Russian Immigration officers were very courteous welcoming us to their country. Our tour guides in Russia were great. I can say that our stop for two days in St. Petersburg was the highlight of the trip.

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We’re heading to Copenhagen for the Regal’s transatlantic in a few weeks. Enjoying reading your review.

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We are on the Regal Next month. Could you tell me what Zumba was like? Was it once a day or more and where was it held. Do you remember the name of the zumba coach? Love Zumba, one of the best reasons to go on Princess. Thanks in advance..

 

 

 

On the Royal class ships Zumba is held in the Piazza in the morning, usually at 9 on sea days. I have seen it held up on the sports court also but only on warm weather cruises.

 

 

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Thanks for the Zumba answers. This is a great review by SteveR597 and since we will be going on the Regal in less than 24 days it is making us even more excited. Thanks for taking the time to write this all up, will be looking forward to more from you.....

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On the Royal class ships Zumba is held in the Piazza in the morning, usually at 9 on sea days. I have seen it held up on the sports court also but only on warm weather cruises.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

 

 

 

Exactly, zumba was on sea days, at 8:45 , 9:00 or 9:15, twice in the piazza and once outside on the sports courts.

The trainer was one cruise director staff member (we saw him sometimes around the ship in the evenings as well) but I don’t recall his name.

 

 

 

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To stevenr597: would you please tell us which Princess excursions you took in Russia. What did you see and do? Did your guide speak English well? How exhausting was the experience? Would you recommend this trip? I am just full of questions today :) Thank you.

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To stevenr597: would you please tell us which Princess excursions you took in Russia. What did you see and do? Did your guide speak English well? How exhausting was the experience? Would you recommend this trip? I am just full of questions today :) Thank you.

 

I was on the 7/15 Baltic Regal sailing. We used SPB Tours in St. Petersburg and were extremely happy with our decision. They took care of obtaining our visas. The groups were smaller; there were 15 of us on our bus and we rode on a small wonderfully clean mini bus so we could maneuver easily at the tourist sites. Our tour guide was excellent and her English was great!! She gave us transmitters for use at the sites and that made it easy for us to hear her. I would use SPB again in a heartbeat! And we saved almost $400pp compared to the similar Princess tour. And we saw all of the same sites; the Hermitage, Church of the Spilled Blood, St. Isaac’s, Peterof Palace, Catherine’s Palace and more! I loved St. Petersburg and the Baltic cruise!!! It was my BEST cruise out of the 35 cruises I have completed.

 

Some folks are not comfortable booking independently but I still wanted to share so you know there are options.

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To stevenr597: would you please tell us which Princess excursions you took in Russia. What did you see and do? Did your guide speak English well? How exhausting was the experience? Would you recommend this trip? I am just full of questions today :) Thank you.

We were in Russia for two days. On Day 1 we took the Hermitage tour which was fantastic. On Day 2 we covered the palaces which was the entire days. The palace of Peter and Catherine are several miles outside the city.

 

To us, St. Petersburg was the best stop of the cruise. Was very tiring, but we certainly were glad at the end of the day to be back at the ship, enjoy a great meal and shows. The ship did have some local talent from St. Petersburg on evening of Day 1 which we enjoyed.

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By the way, we did book a ship's tour. One can debate, for which there will never be a definitive answer, which way to go. All I can say is that we were first off of the ship, and through Russian Immigration within 15 minutes. We had a warning in respect to passports posted by the U.S. State Department, warning us in respect to the fact that there was no longer an American Consulate in the city, and if we lost our passports we would have to travel to Moscow.

 

The ship staff told us not to worry, and I must admit that the Russian Immigration officers were very very friendly and courteous.

 

In addition, we had the pleasure or honor of being admitted to the Hermitage before normal opening hours, and because of this, for the first part of our visit to the Palace it was fairly empty. We also saw students who were painting reproductions of the great works.

 

I must state that my and my wife's impression of what Russia is was changed by the 2 days we stayed in St. Petersburg.

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We had decided to book our own air-travel and we did book Delta Business Class from Orlando to JFK, and then on to Copenhagen. Great great service by Delta. The flight attendants do work very hard, and they were very quick in regards to meals and service. Passed right through Customs and Immigration at Copenhagen, no problem booking a taxi to the city.

 

By the way, we were told that the individuals frowned on tips. We did tip the taxi cab driver anyway.

 

In Copenhagen we stayed at the Copenhagen, Marriott. We were surprised to find the temperate in Copenhagen, to be in the mid 90's, and we were very thankful that the hotel was air conditioned. We walked around the area of Tivoli Gardens, we had planned to visit the gardens, but to be honest we didn't have a chance.

 

We booked a tour of Copenhagen through our travel agent by Gray lines and found it very disappointing. The bus was a two decker, not air-conditioned, and temperature in the bus was well over 90 degrees. Our tour guide, who was an elderly gentleman, and the bus driver were often arguing. The bus driver stated that if anybody was late back to the bus, he would not wait. In addition, he would not guarantee the safety of items left on the bus. We were scheduled to have a boat tour of the canals, but in that there was no shade on the boat, and considering the temperature we passed. Several passengers had elected to leave the tour group early.

 

We did walk down, and also took the Metro (which is very easy to use) to Nyhavn, which is a can't miss area. Sampled their ice-cream which on a hot summer day, was out of this world.

 

By the way, sunset was after 10:00 P.M. and sunrise about 3:30 A.M. Found myself up at 4:00 AM in the morning.

 

Copenhagen is a bicycle city, I think that there are more bikes than cars. There are specified bike lines. One must be careful crossing.

 

We had complementary breakfast at the Marriott, and we did have dinner twice at the hotel. Many of the restaurants in the city are outdoors, and it was just too hot to eat outdoors.

 

We took the hotel shuttle to the Regal, no problem.

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Thanks for info. How were customs coming back into U.S? Did your return flight come into JFK? Was it a zoo? More questions from me -- thanks for your patience! :) My DH and I are interested in taking this cruise; however, we are in our mid-70's and want to make it as easy as we can.

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Thanks for the interesting review, I’m enjoying following along. I’m comparing your experiences as we took the same cruise on the Regal in 2016. The only difference was we embarked in Warnemunde instead of Copenhagen.

 

 

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I am considering taking the Regal Princess next year in a club class mini suite. I notice that there are club class mini suites on Decks 11, 12 and 14. On which deck were you and were you happy with the location of your mini suite? Thanks.

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Thanks for info. How were customs coming back into U.S? Did your return flight come into JFK? Was it a zoo? More questions from me -- thanks for your patience! :) My DH and I are interested in taking this cruise; however, we are in our mid-70's and want to make it as easy as we can.

We took Delta Business Class, from Copenhagen to Amsterdam, then direct flight to our home in Orlando. The service on Delta was excellent. Food was great. Before landing they served a quick lunch, either a hamburger or chicken salad.

 

We have GOES, and we were through Customs and Immigration within 10 minutes after we arrived. I am a big fan of Pre-screen/check and GOES.

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I am considering taking the Regal Princess next year in a club class mini suite. I notice that there are club class mini suites on Decks 11, 12 and 14. On which deck were you and were you happy with the location of your mini suite? Thanks.

We were on deck 14, cabin R 426. It was an excellent cabin, with a larger balcony because of the configuration of the ship. Very quiet. We did have a soft blue light from the walkway above us at night, did not disturb us, in fact we rather liked it. Would highly recommend this room and Club Class.

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