Everything Families Need to Know about the Royal Princess Cruise Ship

We do love a nosy around a cruise ship, so couldn’t resist accepting an invite to board the Royal Princess cruise ship during a turnaround day in Southampton. Royal Princess has just celebrated her fifth birthday and since being launched by the Duchess of Cambridge she has sailed more than 600,000 miles – that’s equivalent to 25 times around the world. What five-year-old can top that mileage?

Fountain Pool Royal Princess - cruise ship for families

Royal Princess cruise ship guide for families

Facts about the Royal Princess cruise ship:

  • 3,560 guests
  • 1,780 staterooms
  • 19 decks
  • 1,350 crew
  • 16 bars and restaurants including three dining rooms and a buffet

Royal Princess tour

While I was absolutely blown away by the glittering atrium, goose bump inducing SeaWalk and indulgent adults-only Retreat Pool, it was the family features that I was keen to explore during my Royal Princess tour.

Atrium Royal Princess - cruise ship for families

Fun around the pool

The Fountain Pool would be the hub of any family cruise on Royal Princess. Aside from taking a dip in one of two inviting fresh water pools you can snuggle up on a padded lounger at night to enjoy the Princess Watercolor Fantasy Show. This takes me back to seeing the magic fountain show at Montjuïc in Barcelona where jets of water are combined with light and music with awesome effect. As if that isn’t enough, the Fountain Pool is where you can also come to enjoy Movies Under the Stars. You can even grab complimentary cookies and milk during the day or popcorn at night.

Fountain Pool Royal Princess - cruise ship for families

Movies Under The Stars screen Royal Princess - cruise ship for families

Cookies in Horizon Court Buffet Royal Princess - cruise ship for families

Sports on deck

Princess Sports Central on Deck 18 is the place to head for a game of basketball, volley ball, table tennis or golf. This is also where you’ll find the jogging track for working off those inevitable extra cruise pounds. Plus there’s a gym on the deck directly below.

Sports court Royal Princess - cruise ship for families

Royal Princess kids clubs – Princess Cruises Camp Discover

In 2017 Princess Cruises teamed up with the Discovery Channel to revamp its children’s clubs across the fleet. Onboard the Royal Princess cruise ship there are three age groups with their own separate club facilities, which looked amazing.

The Treehouse, ages 3 to 7: this is a light and airy forest and animal-themed space with soft play, an outdoor area with ride on toys, television for quiet time, crafting space and story-telling area.

The Lodge, ages 8 to12: inspired by the great outdoors, this space is packed full of sports activities, arcade games and sofas for chilling.

The Beach House, ages 13 to 17: I loved this funky urban-themed lounge with sofas, books, computers and arcade games. The teens also get their own party nights with mocktails and a disco.

The Beach House Royal Princess - cruise ship for families

Camp Discover activities include hands on science experiments, activities to help kids understand the cultures and nature found in some of their ports of call, scavenger hunts, puppet making and cake decorating.

Royal Princess family activities

Outside of the children’s clubs families have plenty going on that they can enjoy together. Dance classes, mini golf tournaments, talent shows, video game play, theme nights, paper airplane challenges and LEGO boat-building competitions are all part of the programme of activities onboard Princess Cruises. You can also experience a Princess Cruises carnival in the piazza once on each sailing.

Royal Princess entertainment

Princess Cruises offer Broadway-style shows with casts gathered from all over the world and trained in Los Angeles. The 946 seat Princess Theatre on Royal Princess is the venue to see performances for all ages including the new family show, The Secret Silk, with puppets created with the Jim Henson creative team in America. Princess Cruises shows change every five years and when you see the production that goes in these shows at sea you can understand why they have a substantial run.

Princess Theatre Royal Princess - cruise ship for families

I had a back stage tour to view some of the huge props and the three floor dressing room with a conveyor dress rack packed with Swarovski crystal encrusted costumes. It’s an incredible set up, even more so when you know the performers sometimes have just 20 seconds to make a costume change. I didn’t experience a show onboard Royal Princess, but I’d love to do so in the future having had a taster of what happens behind the scenes.

Ronald from The Secret Silk Royal Princess - cruise ship for families

Royal Princess restaurants

You can grab breakfast onboard Royal Princess in one of the three dining rooms from 7.30am to 9.30am or in the Horizon Court Buffet which is open for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner from 5am until 11.30pm.

Apples in Horizon Court Buffet Royal Princess - cruise ship for families

During the day there are plenty of options for lunch and snacks from 11am: pick up a slice at the Pizzeria by the pool or Alfredos Pizzeria; enjoy proper pub grub at the English Pub; or dine American-style at the Burger & Hot Dog Grill. For a sweet treat visit the Pastry Shop from 6am until midnight or the Ice Cream Bar from 11am. There’s also the International Cafe which is open 24 hours a day.

Desserts in Pastry Shop Royal Princess - cruise ship for families

Anytime dining on Princess Cruises ship is ideal for families who want to mix up when they eat each evening. You can dine early with the kids from 5.30pm or drop them into the children’s clubs and enjoy a later meal with your partner or friends in one of the three dining rooms up to 10pm. I ate in the Concerto Dining Room during my visit and can highly recommend the Chateaubriand of Beef Tenderloin.

Concerto Dining Room Royal Princess - cruise ship for families

With so many dining options included in your cruise on Royal Princess you might opt to give the restaurants with cover charges a miss. However, if you did decide to splash out on speciality dining then I think families would enjoy tucking into delicious seafood served in the Crab Shack. Cover charges range from $29 for adults and $14.50 for children in Sabatini’s to $115 per person in the Chef’s Table Lumiere.

Cabins for families – Royal Princess mini suite vs balcony

A rather exciting part of my Royal Princess tour was being given access to six cabins on deck 14. While not all of the cabins I saw were suitable for families because they were only two berth, it was fabulous to be able to size up the advantages of the Royal Princess mini suite vs balcony cabin and the corner suite vs the penthouse. Cabins with additional third and fourth berths are available in each accommodation grade. In the four berth cabins that I toured bunk beds pulled down from the ceiling.

The Royal Princess mini suite was 299 sq ft and came with a proper bath, balcony, a sitting area, and queen size bed or twin beds. Extra berths for up to four people are available in some mini suites.

Mini Suite Royal Princess - cruise ship for families

The Royal Princess balcony cabin was 222 sq ft and came with a balcony, queen sized bed or twin beds. Extra berths for up to four people are available in some balcony cabins.

Balcony cabin Royal Princess - cruise ship for families

Every cabin has:

  • a refrigerator
  • private bathroom with shower
  • 100% cotton linens
  • at least one flat screen TV
  • complimentary 24-hour room service
  • plenty of closet spacepacious close
  • a desk
  • hair dryer
  • a safe.

If money was no object then I’d love to opt for the Mini Suite over the Balcony cabin when cruising with children as it’s good to have a bath and some extra living space.

Royal Princess videos: our YouTube favourites

Have I got your attention now? If you’re looking for more information on Royal Princess then YouTube has plenty. Here’s my video from a day touring the ship:

And here are some of our favourite Royal Princess videos on YouTube by bloggers and vloggers who visited on the same turnaround day:

Royal Princess wifi cost

Princess Cruises wifi access is sold in four time plans ranging from 100 minutes ($69) to 600 minutes ($199). If you pre-pruchase your wifi package on your Cruise Personalizer you can get bonus minutes added to your plan for a few extra dollars. If you are a frequent cruiser with Princess Cruises you get credits towards your wifi package.

Royal Princess itinerary 2019

If I’ve tempted you to book a Royal Princess Cruise in 2019 then next year she will be the first ‘Royal class’ ship to call at Alaska, and will also spend time in the Caribbean, California and South America. Find out more about the Royal Princess itinerary 2019.

Have you sailed on Princess Cruises ships before? We’d love to hear about your experiences. If you’ve got any more questions about Royal Princess then leave them in the comments below.

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If you're on the cusp of booking Princess Cruises for a cruise with kids then we have the low down on what the Royal Princess cruise ship offers families #PrincessCruises #shiptour #RoyalPrincess #cruisingwithkids #familytravel #travel #cruise #cruising

Claire Hall

Claire has always had a strong connection to the sea and grew up on the south coast of England, within half an hour of the cruise port of Southampton. Her own cruising adventures began when she was 14 with a school trip around the Eastern Mediterranean. Since then she’s played taxi driver to her parents as they’ve embarked on numerous cruises around the world.

Now with two young children of her own she’s reacquainting herself with family cruising and is loving every minute. Her first family cruise was onboard Carnival Vista in 2016. Claire also writes, Tin Box Traveller, sharing holidays ranging from camping trips to spa breaks with kids, as well as outdoor fun, family days out and travel tips.

Claire now lives in Devon with her husband, two children and sea dog.

4 Comments

  1. July 12, 2018 / 8:04 am

    Ah this brings back happy memories we have sailed on the Grand and Sea Princess, we used to love the Movies under the stars I remember singing along to Mama Mia with a cocktail in hand. I so need to go on another cruise x

    • July 12, 2018 / 11:44 am

      My girls would love to see Mama Mia on a cruise ship – it’s their favourite film at the moment. You’re just described their dream evening. Oh, and the cocktail for me 🙂

  2. July 13, 2018 / 7:06 am

    Such a beautiful ship and a fabulous day out. So good to meet you too! Princess certainly have made an impression on us and we will be definitely cruising with them in the future!

  3. July 14, 2018 / 10:37 am

    Great photos, the Royal Princess is stunning and I think it has a lot to offer for families cruising together.

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