I mentioned in my July Instabits that my parents took me on a Mediterranean Cruise this summer. This is my 3rd time cruising with Princess and I love them more every time. (Technically it’s my 3rd AND 4th cruise with them since we were on the ship for 2 weeks, so they counted it as two consecutive cruises.) This time I was blessed to be aboard one of the largest ships in the Princess Cruise line – the Royal Princess.
Our adventure began in Rome. We were greeted by the Princess Cruise staff as soon as we made it through immigration.
They were very organized when it came to ushering their passengers to the meet up point. Our flight landed at around 7:30am and our shuttle to the port was scheduled to leave at around 9am. Since check in time at the ship isn’t usually until around 11am, our bus gave us a panoramic tour of the city before taking us to the Civitavecchia port, where the Royal Princess was waiting for us. We weren’t allowed to go down the bus during our short tour, but at least we were able to see some of Rome’s famous landmarks in that short period.
It was a 1 and 1/2 hour drive from Rome to the Civitavecchia port. Once we got there, we were surprised to find how quickly we were able to check in and board the ship. Usually it takes us at least 40 minutes.
Later we discovered that there weren’t a lot of us checking in because this cruise consisted of several consecutive cruises. Some people leave after a week, some after two, three, etc. So unlike our previous cruises where there are 3000 passengers checking in at the same time, there were only a few of us who would be taking the place of some guests who left.
This is the first time we’re cruising without my sister, so our room was a little different. Normally we get two rooms with two beds, but this time we had a room with two beds and 2 extra beds. Being the “baby”, I was automatically assigned the top bunk.
The beds were folded on the wall and you have to flip them out
Ta-dah! I can’t tell you how many times I hit my head on the ceiling during our cruise. (Probably the same amount of time my dad hit his head on the underside of my bed.)
I kept my previous cruise cards as remembrance and now I have one more to add to my collection.
You get a Blue card on your first cruise, then you’ll be upgraded to Gold for your next two cruises, two more cruises as a Ruby member then you make it to Platinum. I’m pretty excited about becoming a Platinum member because it comes with 150 mins of free internet for each cruise. Internet on the ship is EXPENSIVE! 200 minutes costs $99, so those free minutes are definitely something to look forward to.
In the beginning we didn’t have internet access but fortunately a lot of the towns we went to were generous with their wifi and we were able to go online for a few minutes every day. My dad took this photo of my mom and me checking Facebook in Heraklion Square.
As I mentioned earlier, this counted as two cruises, so on our second week onboard, I got upgraded to a Ruby member 😀
It’s actually an interesting story how I got upgraded. My card got demagnetized (it happens sometimes) on our 7th day on board, which supposedly marks the end of the first cruise. So the following day, I went to the Passenger Services desk to get a new card issued. I gave them my gold card and the lady went to the back to get me a new card. When she returned, I was surprised when she handed me a ruby card! That’s when we learned that our second week on the ship counted as a new cruise. Cool!
When I told my parents, they wondered if they could get upgraded too. This was their 5th cruise, which meant they were supposed to be upgraded to a Platinum card on their next one. So the next day they went down to Passenger Services and asked if they could be upgraded too – and of course the crew happily obliged. This is also when they informed us that Platinum members get 150 mins of free internet (and preferred boarding).
The next card is the black Elite card, but they still have a long way to go before they reach that. You get upgraded to Elite on your 15th (or 16th?) cruise.
Since they’re now platinum members, they were invited to the special Captain’s Circle party during one of the formal nights 🙂
Here are some pictures of the beautiful Royal Princess
The majestic Piazza which is one of my favorite places on the ship. This is where a lot of events are held, including the famous champagne waterfall which took place on the first formal night.
This was one of my favorite picture from our cruise 🙂 The Maitre D’ was so kind! He let people take their time which gave them a better chance to get a good photo. My dad must have taken at least 10 photos of me while I was up there. In our other cruises we were lucky have 3 photos before we were ushered down the steps.
The other side of the Piazza
Here’s what it looks like from the 7th floor
They also had dance lessons in the Piazza everyday. My mom joined one of their salsa class
It was led by the cruise director
They also had the Balloon Drop party there, but we didn’t participate this time
They would occasionally have trivia games there. My parents joined in on the one about sharks and they got to take a picture with this shark mascot.
During the champagne waterfall, the ship’s officers are introduced to the guests. Here’s a picture of our captain welcoming people on board.
Another place I liked to visit on the ship was the fountain pool. It was surprisingly almost always packed with people. In the last two cruises I went on I very rarely saw people use the pools.
In the evenings they light the place up and it looks beautiful:
Right next to the pool are these lounge chairs which they turn into comfortable seats at night for their Movies Under the Stars
Free popcorn, yay! I tried to watch a couple of movies while we were there but I was never able to finish an entire one because there was always so much to do on the ship.
Sometimes we would watch shows at The Princess Theater. They had shows there every day but we don’t always get the chance to drop by.
One of the shows we did watch was the culinary show. It’s always funny to see the Maitre D’ and the Head Chef bickering with each other.
We also caught a magic show by Jonathan Hawley, one of the finalists in America’s Got Talent season 7
He was amazing! We watched his show twice and both times we were equally impressed.
They also invited a ventriloquist one night who did fantastic impersonations of famous singers.
During our free time (which was very limited) we liked going to the 7th floor deck to just sit and enjoy the sea breeze
Sometimes we would bring our laptops and tablets with us so we could watch our favorite shows (or in my case, edit videos) while we were there.
I also liked going out there with my iPod and a good book. (I was reading the Ascension trilogy at the time, which I absolutely loved. If you’re looking for a good easy book to read, please give that a try)
At night we would drop by the exercise deck on the 18th floor to burn off some of the calories we consumed from the delicious buffet
It’s a jogging track with a few exercise equipment scattered around. Seven laps was equivalent to a mile, so I tried to do at least that much each day. And I would take advantage of the free equipment there too.
They also had a gym, a basketball court and a table tennis section which we unfortunately didn’t get to try. But we did go mini golfing one evening:
The reason we forced ourselves to exercise was because of all the calories we were consuming on the cruise. There’s no way I can talk about my cruise experience and not mention the food. This is one of the things we look forward to the most whenever we go on a cruise. The buffet room is HUGE! It’s so big that we would sometimes get lost on our way back to our table. It’s comprised of the usual Horizon Court and a new addition – the Horizon Bistro. I especially love the desserts so I was thrilled to discover that the Royal Princess has a room dedicated to just desserts in their Horizon Bistro! They called it the Pastry Room and it was my favorite section in the whole buffet.
If I could, I would just eat desserts all the time
This one wasn’t part of the Pastry Room – it was served only in the formal dining room and it’s my favorite dessert on the ship. It tasted like a giant Ferrero! OMG!
Speaking of formal dining, this was the first time we were assigned a waiter who wasn’t Filipino. We usually enjoy having a Filipino waiter because we like chatting with them, but Anton was very kind and attentive so we had some really nice dining experiences with him too.
This cruise was a late birthday celebration for my dad so they gave him a cake and sang to him during one of the formal evenings
The tables next to us were handled by a Filipino waiter and he often talked to us whenever he wasn’t too busy
We were also often visited by Generoso, the ship’s Maitre D’. I mentioned it earlier but I’ll say it again, he’s extremely kind! He’s such a sweet guy and he never failed to make us feel special whenever we saw him on the ship, we love him 😀
There’s still so much I want to share about my Royal Princess experience but I guess I’ll save those for when I make individual entries about each day of our tour.
Thank you so much to my parents for taking me with them on this trip. We wish Ezra could have come but she had to work. Hopefully in the future we’ll be on a cruise together again.
It will probably be a while before I post individual blog entries about our adventures, but I did make a quick vlog summary of our cruise, so I’ll leave you with that:
**All my blog entries related to this trip can be found here : Europe 2016