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Missing costume jewelry
Publication Date: November 13, 2014

We traveled this October 2014 on Carnival Magic and like a dummy I did not lock up my costume jewelry thinking it was only valuable to me. They were between 23 to 70 years old. Now I admit I am really stupid but had them buried in a rather tall bag. Well when I got home 4 necklaces, a ring and some others items I probably do not know about were missing. They were in a cardboard box and a tie jewelry bag. The cruise line said that if the items are not found in 30 days they will be deemed "lost" and it is my word against theirs that I even had these items. In one of the pictures taken on the ship I was wearing one of the "lost" necklaces. My opinion is that the Carnival Staff knows of this policy so it is very easy to have items deemed "lost". Spread the word that Carnival Cruise Lines Policies make it easier for items to "lost" and be sure to lock up every item no matter how valuable they are.......

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Regal Princess - A big Step back
Publication Date: November 11, 2014

Regal Princess, a big step back

We did the 17 days transatlantic tour on the new Regal Princess leaving Venice on October 17, 2014. We had a mini suite on the Riviera Deck. After the huge advertisement made by Prin-cess for the apparently most beautiful ship, we were very interested to build our own opinion. Here is our report:

When you judge a new ship which according to the advertisement is the best ship which Prin-cess has ever built, you compare it automatically with the older ships, the Ruby class of ships and the Coral/Island class of ships. Generally it can be said that the Regal Princess is a big step back in comparison to those older ships. In detail:

Cabins (Mini Suites)

The new mini suites have a much smaller – about 50 %! - balcony than the minisuites of the older ships. The distance between the wall which separates the bed from the wardrobe is also much smaller. You have to pay attention when you get up in the night in particular older peo-ple. The bathrobes are no more of “Terrycloth†but of a much worse quality. It positively must be noticed

that Princess offers now a wide variety of new movie films without any costs in all staterooms. A plus is the bigger water basin. We would assess the minisuites of the Regal Princess with three stars versus four stars of the Ruby Class ships.

Public Rooms

Generally it can be said that the ratio of the size of the public rooms to the quantity of the passengers is considerably smaller than of the old ships.

About the staircase in the middle of the ship much has already been written. It is true the lack of stairs in the upper part is a catastrophe and you ask yourself how apparently experienced ship planners can make such a great mistake. It does not throw a competent light on the man-agement of Princess Lines. As we could not take the steps from the Riviera Deck to the Hori-zon Court, we always had to use the lift. First thing when you arrive at the lifts in the middle of the ship is running around – when no other waiting passengers have already done so - and to push four times the buttons because the lifts run independently. On average we had to wait during the normal business hours 90 seconds for a ride. One lift out of six was often out of service or reserved. If you have to use the lift 12 times per day which is quite normal, you have to wait 18 minutes per day in front of the lifts. In 17 days that adds up to 306 minutes which is more than 5 hours waiting time. Then you have to add the lift travel time because the lifts stop on nearly all floors due to the fact that the stop order only expires for the lift you have pushed. The other stop orders remain. If in an office building employees would have to wait such a long time during normal labor hours, the employer would be in great trouble. The next problem is that the lifts in the middle are very often overcrowded. This is a wonderful environment for passengers who have a cold to pass their symptoms to other fellow passen-gers. A gold mine for the doctors on board!

The Wheelhouse Bar has shrunk to about one fourth of the size of the older ships. It is not a separate room any more. Room for a band or dancing does not exist anymore. The library does not disserve its name; it has shrunk to the size of a lavatory. The Explorer Lounge has been rationalized away in favor of a TV Studio.

The Atrium of the ship is really beautiful and a plus. The Elite and Platinum lounge is now in the Vista Lounge. It is a big room at the end of the ship which is used as a second theatre; it has nearly no windows and is extremely inpersonal. It is not comparable with the beautiful lounge on the 19th floor of the Ruby class ships.

The Princess Theatre in the front of the ship is too small for the number of passengers. For the great shows (two per evening) not all the passengers found seats which means that they missed the shows. At the end of the cruise they performed three shows per evening to elimi-nate this problem. The Atrium is quite large and beautiful.

There are enough lounges for sunbathing. However, the cabanas in the adult part of the sun deck were never used. Nobody was prepared to pay the $ 40.00 pro cabana per day. One of the new gadgets is the fountain on deck 16 midship which can be operated in many colors and designs in combination with music. The only problem is that this fountain can be hardly oper-ated on sea due to the wind. So at the end it is a waste of space, space which could be used for other purposes. Most passengers would be happy if Princess would built in an indoor pool like on the Coral/Island ships.

Restaurants

The three main restaurants are nicer equipped than the older ships. We ate in the Allegro Res-taurant which is reserved for fixed dinners. It is on deck 6 at the end of the ship. Here you feel and hear the engines of the ship quite well and sometimes we had the feeling that the drive shafts which connect the engines with the ship’s propellers are running untrue. We also ate twice in the Crown Grill. We liked the design of the Crown Grill resp. of the Bayou Cafés in the older ships better than on the Regal. If you have a table near the kitchen and the piano player any decent discussions among the guests are impossible. One of the benches of the ta-ble next to the hostess desk was defective. Nevertheless it was offered to guests but not to the officers of the ship which also eat in the Crown Grill. The quality of the food in the Crown Grill is not better than the dinners in the main restaurant. The portions, however, are bigger. If you want to eat in the Crown Grill insist to be seated next to the windows where the noise is much lower. A definite advantage in comparison to the older ships is the newly laid out Hori-zon Court and Bistro on the 16th deck. However, if you order a freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast it takes the waiter at least ten minutes because the Horizon court has not the ap-propriate machine to squeeze oranges (or other fruits).

Jogging around the complete ship like you can do on the Promenade Deck of the Ruby Class ships is no longer possible. There is a much smaller jogging track on deck 18. A negative point is also that the passengers have no possibility to see the front of the ship when in sea. On the Ruby class of ships you could see the front from the fitness center resp. from front verandas on the Coral/Island ships.

In spite of the beautiful atrium and remodeled Horizon Court we would assess the public rooms with three stars versus four stars of the Ruby Class ships.

Quality of food

Food was good like on the Ruby Class ships. The variety of pastry was greater, which is really a positive point. We would assess the quality of the food with four stars.

Entertainment

The big shows were really fantastic also the bands and singers. Some of the comedians were under average. However, Mark Preston from the former Lettermen and Linda Gentille were absolutely great. We would assess the entertainment with four and a half stars versus four stars of the Ruby Class ships.

Service

The service and the quality of Princess Staff was always excellent. Here no difference can be found between the Regal Princess and the older ships.

What we also found is that Princess is now starting to charge money for any perks for example all transfers from the landing position to the center of the city. Before passengers returned to the ship they received cold fruit punch. This has been deleted. If you bought previously a cof-fee card on the first day of the cruise you received a second coffee card without extra charge. The live musician at the English afternoon tea has been taken away.

We like the older Princess ships and we think that Princess is a fine cruise line which we rec-ommended until now to our friends. But we will never book again the Regal Princess class of ships because they are a big step back. If the management of Princess continues this way, the Company will lose its good reputation and the passengers will change to other cruise lines. The small gap between Celebrity Cruises and Princess Cruises has with the appearance of the new ships been widened in favor for Celebrity Cruises.

Overall we would assess the complete rating of the Regal Princess with only 3.5 stars in par-ticular due to the very small balconies, the missing staircase in the upper middle of the ship and the smaller resp. missing public rooms. You get the feeling that the Princess management tried to squeeze in this ship the most possible cabins. Our opinion that the new ship is a great step back was shared by many fellow passengers. This ship and the Royal Princess may be a financial success but only with the “older†ships you have still the “old†Princess feeling. But CEO Jan Swartz, you know that the competitors do not sleep and passengers must be newly conquered in every sailing. We will not sail again with this class of ships.

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Good value but daytime activities were lacking
Publication Date: October 23, 2014

We sailed from Vancouver down to San Diego and then on to Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. The food was top notch, but the specialty restaurants was similar to the dining room. Our stateroom was fine, and the ship was well cared for... the staff was constantly cleaning and working.

The evening entertainment was definitely one of the high points of the cruise and was very professional. My only complaint was the daytime activities, or rather, the lack of daytime activities... NO enrichment speakers or crafts, just bingo and selling stuff. The poor activity director tried to give some talk that were "not very good," to be kind. Her talks were more like a school report of "What I did during the summer." If Holland thinks they are saving money by using the crew as "enrichment speakers," they are missing the boat and loosing rating stars.

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