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Royal Princess

It’s time to talk a bit more about Royal Princess. Remember, the significance of this particular ship to UK cruisers is that she is the first of three to the same overall design, and the third of these will go to P&O, in 2015. Royal Princess herself will go into service this June – she will be named by the Duchess of Cambridge in Southampton on 13 June. Unless she’s sprogged by then, of course…. But the baby isn’t due until ‘around mid-July’ so Princess – the cruise line, not the Duchess – ought to be safe with this appointment. Still you never know….

So what do we know about her? (the ship, not the Duchess…) Well, quite a lot: her gross tonnage will be 141,000 (definitely the ship!), and standard passenger capacity will be 3,600. This probably means that fully laden – i.e. with all third & fourth beds taken, there could be over 4,000 passengers on board. In some respects she will be an expanded version of the current (already enlarged) Grand Princess class ships such as Ventura, Azura or Crown Princess.

  • There will be three decks of facilities low-down where the main dining rooms, bars, and entertainment venues will be.
  • Like the current ships she will have three smaller ‘main’ restaurants rather than a single multi-deck dining room in the Royal Caribbean or Celebrity style.
  • The Atrium will be three decks high, as now – nothing like the bottom-to-top open atriums of the Solstice class, for example.
  • The highest of these decks will be the Promenade deck – but see below for a significant difference on that deck.

Above the Promenade deck there will be no less than seven accommodation decks before the Lido deck is reached. That will contain some open deck space around a pool, but not a lot, as the buffets and more cabins will also take up space on that deck. Then there will be two more supposedly ‘open’ decks above the Lido deck, the Sun and Sports decks. The former of these will include a big reserved Sanctuary space.

Most cabins will be balcony cabins, but this will be another area of difference from the current ships as there will be no less than 13 different categories of balcony cabin, 7 different categories of ‘obstructed view’ balcony cabins, and 9 categories of suite. While some of these differences are just about position, there are also real differences in cabin size, balcony size and even balcony shape – no more double-depth C deck balconies of the same category and the same price as normal balconies!

Now about that Promenade deck. I’ve been musing in earlier posts as to whether the new ship would have a proper promenade deck. Well, it seems she won’t. The Promenade deck is simply a passage-way to get to the boats, if required. On their deck-plan page, Princess make this pretty blunt statement:

“The Royal Princess Promenade deck will have limited access to passengers. In order to transit fore/aft from the forward passenger area, passengers will have to go inside the ship.”

So that’s that – very much a Solstice-style approach.

7 Responses to “Royal Princess”

  1. Terry, UK says:

    The Royal Princess has a sister ship sailing in 2014 called the Regal Princess but do you know if they are going to be identical? Or the same but marginally different like the Oasis and Allure?

    This is what the Royal is expected to look like.

    • Tom says:

      Thanks for the comment, Terry.

      I’m pretty sure that they will be near-as-dammit the same. There may be some detailed differences in internal decor (as between, say, Ventura and Azura) but the hulls and overall superstructure will be the same, I’m sure. Whether or not the third ship will be quite as similar is a consideration. Again, I’m pretty sure the hull, etc, will be the same; but just as Ventura & Azura have restaurants and bars, etc, in different locations from their Princess sisters built during the same period (e.g. Crown Princess, Ruby Princess), so that third ship is likely to differ in the same details. But the overall structure will be the same for all three, I’m sure. Just as the first three Grand-class ships, Grand Princess, Golden Princess & Star Princess, were identical – the changes only started with the orders for further ships after them.

  2. Malcolm Oliver says:

    Hi Tom, I do find it a little sad when cruise lines share ship designs. There was a time when P&O, Cunard and princess all had their own unique ships.

    Personally I think that there is a risk that when you clone ships, you risk cloning the cruise experience itself. With the introduction of Princess designed ships into the P&O fleet, I think P&O have lost some of their ‘tradition’ and ‘originality’, and are in danger of becoming just another mass-market cruise line.

    P&O’s quest for bigger and bigger ships also go against what many tradition P&O customers want. However I guess P&O want to capture the new breed of customers and their kids.

    • Hazel Herbert says:

      I agree with you Malcolm, it will be sad day indeed when Aurora and Oriana sail no more. I don’t like either Ventura or Azura, they can never fill them so why on earth order that bigger one coming 2015. Repeat passengers used to be important, now they don’t seem to care. I am trying Adonia next year, friends tell me she is how P&O used to be – we shall see!

      • Malcolm Oliver says:

        I’ve only cruised with P&O once and that was on Ventura last July/August.

        Now I can only cruise in the School holidays, so I’m used to that. I’ve cruised with the likes of RCI and NCL in the summer, but much to my surprise Ventura felt more mass-market than both RCI and NCL. It was not so much the ship (Ventura is certainly not a bad ships) it was the on-board experience and the passengers!

        Maybe I should have picked Oriana or Aurora.

        I think P&O are in danger of throwing the baby away with the bath water.

        • Tom says:

          Well, what’s wrong with mass market?

          I think people sometimes look back with very rose-tinted spectacles. For the great majority of passengers, P&O was a practical, no-nonsense but also no frills way of getting around the globe. If they’ve brought that tradition into the cruising age, then so be it. Take Oriana: yes, there’s Anderson’s which is very sophisticated and discrete, but there’s also Lords Tavern which is very different. P&O have always catered to people from different strata in British society, and it seems odd that that’s not recognised and reflected in today’s provision.

          • Malcolm Oliver says:

            Tom said: “Well, what’s wrong with mass market?” If you were on my Ventura cruise you would understand! I’m not a snob, I’m part of the ‘masses’, but some of the things I observed on-board were the bad bits of the masses: each morning the food plates and bottles left in the lifts, the bottles, broken glass a fag butts on the prom-deck.

            A guy jumped into the pool (a grown man) landed on another guys spine and he had to be air-lifted to hospital. Then there was the fight over a lounge chair and the chair throw to a balcony below etc.

            I knew that RCI and NCL could attract the ‘party crowd’, but P&O surpassed them.

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