All text and photographs (unless stated otherwise) © Paul Timmerman
After almost two decades of service, Royal Princess still is a gem of a ship, with her sleek lines, her long tapered bow, and her traditional profile that sets her apart from today's mega ships with their boxy exterior designs.
Royal Princess looks like a graceful cruise ship should.
Royal Princess at the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam
When introduced in 1984 at a cost of over 150 mio dollars, she sailed together with the well-known "Love Boat" ships, Island and Pacific Princess, and Sun Princess.
She was christened by Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, Princess Diana, whose portrait still graces the Princess Court Lounge.
Royal Princess introduced a new concept for large cruise ships , AOC, meaning All Outside Cabins and indeed, all of her cabins face the ocean. They all have a large picture window, not an "ordinary" porthole.
Bridge Lounge, Riviera deck
Most of the 600 cabins are located on the upper decks, far away from noisy machinery and public spaces. in all, 150 cabins have verandah's: 2 deluxe suites, 12 suites, 52 mini suites and another 84 standard cabins. another first for a cruise ship when Royal Princess entered service in 1984. All cabins have twin beds, convertible to queen-size, individual climate control, telephone, music, television, safe, refrigerator, and a bath tub (!) with shower (robes provided).
The atmosphere on board Royal Princess is a bit more sophisticated than on many other contemporary cruise ships, especially those sailing the shorter 1-week itineraries. Her cruises are mostly 10-14 day long, and these attract an older clientele with more time and money to take a longer cruise, mostly well-travelled passengers.
Those cruising onboard Royal Princess find themselves in elegant surroundings with soft colours, spacious public rooms where much brass and glass are used. In total, more than 15.000 square feet of windows make this an open ship.
The Plaza on..... Plaza deck
Royal Princess´s interiors are designed by Hirsch & Bedner from Los Angeles. They have succeeded in creating warm, elegant public spaces. In corridors and stairways neutral colours are used, while in bars and lounges brighter colours and brass can be found.
Starting on Sun Deck, Royal Princess' top deck, we find the spa, where one can exercise, visit the sauna, indoor whirlpools or massage rooms, all with an ocean-view. Aft on this deck, we enter the Horizon Lounge, an observation lounge by day, a place to dance at night. It reminds one off RCCL's famous Viking Crown lounges. It seats 200 passengers.
Let us descend to Lido Deck, also an outside oriented deck where we find several circular formed pools. For those who have become thirsty, the Lido Bar and Cafe are nearby........ Here you can enjoy round the clock dining. Plants and colourful tiles and murals make this a most enjoyable spot.
The Riviera Bar, Riviera deck
Downstairs five decks to Riviera deck! On this deck starting forward, we find the International Lounge, where six levels of seats offer good views for watching spectacular Las Vegas style shows. The Princess Boutique, Crown Casino, the Princess (movie) theatre and the game room called The Bridge Lounge are found midships on this deck, as well as the Princess Court Lounge which encircles the top level of the two deck-atrium The Plaza. The Princess Court Lounge is a piano lounge, an ideal place for enjoying cocktails. A portrait of Princess Diana, who christened the ship in 1984 graces this room.
Aft on this deck we enter the cabaret style Riviera Club Bar and the terrace room which is lavishly decorated. It features distinctive red leather furnishings and several pieces of artwork. The art collection aboard Royal Princess was chosen by art consultant Neil Menzies from California.
Riviera Club, Riviera deck
The Pursers lobby and foyer is situated on Plaza deck, in one of the first small atria aboard a modern cruise vessel. It features a brass staircase leading to the above mentioned Princess Court on Riviera deck. The foyer is dominated by "Spindrift", a two deck high sculpture featuring bronze seagulls, a fountain and lots of greenery.
Proceeding aft the Continental Dining room is located, a two tiered restaurant with large windows, where splendid food is served, one of the other aspects with which Royal Princess earned an impeccable reputation.
A reputation she still holds today after almost 25 years of service.
After her 2004 season she was transferred to sister company P&O Cruises for further service as the Artemis, catering for a British clientele.
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View on Horizon Lounge Sun deck Pool & Jacuzzi' s Princess Boutique, Riviera deck
Riviera Bar, Riviera deck Horizon Bar, Sun deck Princess Court,Riviera deck Riviera Bar, Riviera deck