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?
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
The ship 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 cruise ship 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.
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.
Royal Princess cruise ship 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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