A royal berth

By Michael McHugh

A royal berth
The latest addition to Princess Cruises’ luxury fleet is a right royal affair indeed. MiNDFOOD takes a tour of the luxury liner.

The Royal Princess, a vessel which weighs in at 141,000 tonnes and can carry 3560 passengers comfortably, was christened by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge in June 2013. It was her last official duty before she went on to to have her own royal birth. She is 330 metres long (the ship, not the duchess), 66 metres high and has a service speed of 22 knots. The latest addition to Princess Cruises is not only a right royal affair, she is modern, sleek and everything you would imagine a superliner to be.

The SeaWalk is the ship’s most distinguishing design element. The top-deck glass-bottomed enclosed walkway on the ship’s starboard side extends more than 8.5 metres beyond the edge of the vessel. For passengers who dare to look, the sea lies 39 metres below.

It is perhaps the ship’s atrium, the heart of the Royal Princess, that is the most impressive.  The social hub of the ship, the soaring atrium offers a vibrant collection of always-changing snacks and light meals, beverages, entertainment, shopping and guest services. New features such as Bellini’s bar which serves Italian-inspired cocktails, Ocean Terrace seafood bar and a gelateria add to the piazza’s lively atmosphere and experience. The Chef’s Table Lumiere is a private dining experience where passengers are surrounded by a magical-looking curtain of light that provides a soft wall that envelops diners and provides an intimate space as they enjoy the chef’s special menu.

The water and music shows in the central pool area feature daily and nightly performances of four separately themed sequences made up of dancing fountains, special music and live performers. The extravaganzas are very much in the theme of director Baz Luhrmann’s films, and could be the set for a terrific party scene from Luhrmann’s latest film The Great Gatsby. The Movies Under the Stars screen is also worth a visit, with popcorn and drinks on order. Princess Live! is the ship’s new television studio and a first for Princess Cruises. It features programming throughout the day from 8am until midnight. Passengers can enjoy live talk shows, demonstrations and performers.

There’s a dedicated pastry shop on board and the Horizon Court buffet, one of Princess’ casual dining options, offers intriguing choices such as Asian cuisine, Mediterranean dishes, a pasta corner and salad-tossing stations. Diners will also be able to indulge in new specialty experiences such as a crab shack and fondue restaurant. For a new twist in relaxation there are private cabanas in The Sanctuary and the Retreat Pool, giving passengers the opportunity to personalise their relaxation time. Cabana guests looking for a gourmet treat can order one of the ship’s new picnic baskets, packed with artisan edibles paired with a premium wine.

As the duchess gets accustomed to being a new mother, cruise passengers now have their own recent royal addition to enjoy too.


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