We are on! And right away we feel right at home. We spent 30 days on her in Jan/Feb this year, and 30 days last year so this ship feels so familiar.
This trip we ended up booking an inside cabin - actually one of those sideway inside cabins.
The story starts when we originally booked we booked a balcony. The price was good and we definately prefer a balcony but when the price for an inside dropped considerably saving us almost $500 US each we moved down to an inside. Money talks and if we want to continue to cruise it really is a no brainer.
About a month prior they offered us an upsell to a balcony for $300 US each but we ignored it. Again it is a good deal but we have to be smart with the costs and instead decided to get Bernie the drink package for this voyage. Priorities I guess - lol.
We are in cabin A217. Many friends (Dave, Roy, Alice) have stayed in these sideways cabins are really liked it so we thought we would try it out.
We right away notice that there is tons of storage, way more than the standard inside/balcony layout and a lot more than the deluxe balcony cabins which we found lacked in storage.
This cabin has open closet area and across from it is the standard cupboard with more shelves then another set of shelves beside it that are open. The desk area is much longer and has the drawers and the side shelves.
We head down to Michael Prasse's (Hotel General Manager) office to catch up with him.
The ship has just come out of a two week drydock. He and his crew have been very busy.
Changes from drydock:
- new carpets throughout
- mid ship stairs converted from crew only to passenger area (not finished but should be soon)
- Large LCD screen at aft stairwells on each floor
- LCD screens on each side of the ship at each elevator bank where the ship map use to be. Electronic map with details on each floor. There are still some glitches her but it is coming together.
- Aft staircase installed at Outrigger Bar on Lido deck that takes you up to the Sun Deck
- Sea Witch painted on the bow of the ship
- Gold colored plates placed at mail slots (not sure why)
- Princess Theater now has side aisles to go up and down which improves flow of passengers.
Our cabin is experiencing some issues. Right now the TV is not working, certain lights including the bathroom lights don't work. We are not the only cabin experiencing these types of problems. We report and by the time we go to bed all the lights are working correctly, but TV takes a day to work.
Muster is at 1645 and our station is Princess Theater. Definitely a much older crowd and so far a lot of complainers. So much so I have to get away from them or may snap. What is there to complain about, so you don't have a tv currently - you are on vacation, relax!
Sail away is as port traffic is heavy. Since we are sailing late we opt to miss the sailaway and unpack. Love this cabin! We even have shelves with nothing on them.
Bernie and I go to Vines where well we end up not leaving. Ronnie and Adonis are back! So nice to see them again. Along with Marc who we meet and who joined the ship two months ago.
Since Bernie purchased the All Inclusive Drink Package (I just can't drink enough to make it worth it) he orders his favorite drink and he buys bottles of wine at 40% off and I enjoy them.
Sanja and Marty (Shopping Hosts) just got on today too. We were so happy to hear they would be returning to the Royal and consider Sanja like a daughter and now that her and Marty are engaged we are so happy and can't wait for the wedding.
We grab cheese from the International Cafe (IC) then later sandwiches when we realize we will be skipping dinner.
Later Dylan (Senior Doctor) and Ben (Purser Staff) join us for a few drinks and it is so great to catch up with them. Ben is getting off in Barcelona to attend a course so we won't see him before we get off. But we have a few days and we are planning a trip to Peru with them both in January so we discuss plans briefly.
Other crew we run into are: Natalia - Purser's staff who got married since we saw her last; Yami - Shorex Staff from Italy; Michelle and Gary - cruise staff; Kelly - Deputy Cruise Director; Basil - Buffet Steward who served us in the Sanctuary last time; Danni our Steward - who we had on the Grand a few years ago.
We are truly blessed.