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arowe6

The good, bad, and ugly from a Regal Princess Eastern Caribbean cruise

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Before I start, let me preface by saying I’ve been on these CC boards for almost 14 years. Longer than most, but certainly not as long as others. Within the last couple months, I’ve seen an increase in extreme negativity and, frankly, downright nasty comments from some posters. My hope is that this review is objective and thoughtful. I welcome disagreements, but I don’t welcome the nastiness. If that’s you, I kindly ask that you find another thread to troll. Ho Ho Ho!

 

Who are we:

Well that’s me (Andrew) in the red hat. My partner (Brad) and I have been together 14 years. This was our 21st cruise on Princess.

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Where did we go:

The Eastern Caribbean, which also sells souvenirs made in China like the Western Caribbean and Southern Caribbean.

 

When did we cruise:

Last week… December 8th – 15th

 

The good stuff:

  • Lago Mar Resort: Our “go to place” was the Hyatt Pier 66… Now Pier 66… and is currently defunct and being remodeled. We were forced to look and stay someplace else for pre cruise. Friends of ours stay for a few weeks every winter at Lago Mar and highly recommend it. We splurged and got an oceanfront 1-bedroom suite. While expensive, the grounds and staff and amenities were worth it. I think we just found our new “go to place” in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Embarkation: I think I say this every cruise, but this was the QUICKEST embarkation in our cruise history. We literally got from Park n Fly to the Piazza in under 15 minutes. There was no waiting. When we arrived at 10:35 we literally walked onto the ship. Crazy!!
  • The Princess Rock Band: Incredible. Go see it if you’re on the Regal. Do it right now! Made up of members of the ship, they have more talent than the actual performers in the production shows (yeah I said it!). My only gripe is that is was quite difficult to get a seat, let alone even see them perform because the piazza was so packed. I hope they move this to the theater at some point down the road to accommodate more people. We had a table for 2 in Crooners. We could hear but couldn’t see anything. The opened with a Journey song…. The woman who sang was taking me to church! Amazing vocals!!
  • Headwaiter Zaza: It’s very rare to come across a headwaiter who leaves an impact as much as Zaza did to us. She is one of the most hospitable, personable and professional headwaiters we’ve come across in our cruises. And easily rivals Godwin and Antonio.
  • Vines: Never thought I’d say this, but Vines Wine Bar wasn’t a train wreck this cruise! They had all the wines in stock (WHAT A SHOCKING CONCEPT!!!!) and you were able to pay the different in cost if you had the drink package.
  • Pool Bar Service: One of our gripes over the years is shockingly slow bar service by the pool, especially on sea days. Having one bartender and a 3 person deep bar doesn’t make for efficiency. This cruise, all the bars we saw had at least 2 bartenders working, which expedited service so I could get drunk off dirty bananas in record time.  
  • Crooners Bar Service: While our favorite bartenders are on other ships, we received amazing service from Yonica.
  • The Crown Grill, with the exception of the first night: We ate here six nights and enjoyed quick and efficient service from Aleksander and Luka. All but one steak was cooked properly. And the sides seem to have been brought back up to normal size (no more bowls of 11 french fries).
  • Singer Michelle Jolly: We’ve enjoyed her on past cruises. This one was no exception. We also got to know her a bit better after seeing her previously.
  • MedallionNet: While it wasn’t perfect, it was better than that archaic internet Princess used previously. In an increasingly connected world, I feel that accessible and “fast” internet is going to become the norm and not the exception. Kind of like color TV. And dishwashers. That seems to be a point of contention for many on these boards.
  • OnDemand Programming: I enjoyed watching Four Christmases, Christmas Vacation, The Holiday and episodes of the Love Boat in my cabin each night.
  • Bar Soap in my cabin bathroom: KIDDING! Just wanted to bring that up again after the epic thread a few weeks ago!! 🙂

 

The not-so-good stuff:

  • Our cabin steward: My god he was just awful. Multiple occasions where he didn’t bring ice. No clean glasses left in the room. And two occasions where he let himself into the room. The first, we were on the balcony and we heard a knock on the balcony door and he was standing there waving at us from inside our cabin. Not a huge deal. The second was on disembarkation morning, and I found this quite disturbing. We left the cabin around 6:45am to get coffee and passed him in the hallway. He asked if we were leaving and I said “No, we’ll be back. Just getting coffee.” In the half hour we were gone, he took it upon himself to let himself into our cabin, clear away the clothes, electronics and money on our bed (that we took from the safe), and remake the bed with new sheets and also clean out our entire bathroom. Then, he had propped the door open and we found our cabin wide open when we returned. I find this to be an egregious violation of my privacy. I understand turnaround day is challenging, but we “have” the cabin until 8am. Had this not been disembarkation morning, I would have been at the Purser’s Desk raising holy hell with the HGM. Suffice to say, I’ve made my displeasure known on the survey.
  • Sabatinis: It continues to be a dumpster fire. We tried this restaurant AGAIN (Brad’s idea, not mine) because they changed the menu yet again. It was disappointing, yet again. And their chicken parm pasta, which was cubed pieces of boiled chicken would be laughed at by even Olive Garden.
  • The first night in Crown Grill: I won’t go into extreme detail. We sat at 8:20. At 9:40 we were served our steaks. That’s when we got to know Zaza really well after she swooped in to save the day.
  • The entertainment schedule: Weird, man. Just weird. A lot of the entertainment was focused in the Wheelhouse or Piazza. Very little happening at Crooners. Or it was happening at odd times (like 5pm or 10pm). We saw Michelle in Crooners twice in a 7 night cruise.
  • My book: Obviously not a Princess problem. But don’t you hate when the book you pack for vacation absolutely sucks? John Grisham—The Guardians. It has now been proudly donated to the Princess Library. Not recommended.
  • Lines, lines and more lines: There were a few smaller groups on board this cruise. Combine the smaller groups together and you get a larger group. And they all sort of traveled in packs. I hope they all had a great time, but it made for some challenges for some non-group people. It was most noticeable out by the pool in line for the grill, or with lounge chairs by the pool. And to the lady who asked if I was in line at the grill, I’m sorry I snapped at you. After standing in line for 20 minutes for a sub par cheeseburger, I was probably just hangry.
  • The Princess Bedding: JUST KIDDING we didn’t have it because Princess can’t get their act together. Our cabin (the usual aft we stay in… D 731) still had the old mattress. It did have the new sheets and comforter though. I found it to be entirely too heavy and hot for a Caribbean cruise. I woke up sweating every night.

 

The ugly stuff:

  • The Regal Princess condition: This ship has been rode hard and put away wet. She remains a favorite of ours, but she’s showing her age. Like that one family member we all have who’s been through 3 divorces and smoked too many Marlboro reds… she once was a beauty but it’s time for that facelift and spf. Lots of worn carpet around the ship. Rust, rust and more rust. Nasty ripped and stained pool towels. Cracked tiles in our bathroom. Missing grout. Disgusting carpet in our cabin from the balcony soot (that poor excuse of a door mat outside the balcony door doesn’t help.) Ohhhh and lots of fingernail clippings and a clump of hair on our balcony. Luckily the rain we had washed away the mani/pedi residue since our cabin steward wasn’t about to do it.

 

Some miscellaneous thoughts:

  • Dress code: Princess seems to be going more of a casual route. I have no opinion either way, but I saw jean shorts, hats and t-shirts in the specialty restaurants and dining room. If you’re going to have a dress code, enforce it. Or….. crazy idea….. just don’t have one. **shrugs** 
  • The medallion: I still think it’s dumb. This concludes my TED talk.
  • My favorite moment of the cruise: We befriended an older gentlemen in Vines one day.
    • He is 90. I’m 33.
    • He shared stories about his wife. We shared stories about how we met in Key West. 
    • He shared stories of his war experience. I share stories of my digital marketing experience.
    • He pulled the paper patter from his pocked. I pulled the patter up on my iPhone.

 

You see? It’s very possible for old school cruising and new school cruising to collide. Maybe not on these boards, but it’s alive and well in real life. We saw him dining solo in Crown Grill and paid for his cover charge. He’ll never know it was us because he doesn’t like computers and will never read this. And that’s perfectly ok with us.

 

Below are some of my favorite photos of the cruise. A link to the full album can be found here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/yhDttHuhCmLBTazW8

 

Any questions, ask away!

 

Andrew

 

Pre cruise stay--

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Embarkation evening--

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Princess Cays--

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Formal night--

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St. Thomas day--

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St. Maarten day--

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Sea day--

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Disembarkation morning--

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And a holiday treat for you all.

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We will be on Regal 12/22 for their Christmas sailing. I can say I read your "Ugly" comment with concern. Sounds like the ship is in bad need of a refurb! Gross description of nail clippings and hair on your balcony-no excuse for that. That is the job of your attendant!

I would also have a blue fit if I returned to my room only to see it and all contents open for the viewing by anyone passing by. Incredible lack of competency on the part of your attendant.

Did you eat in anyplace other than Sabatini's (sounds meh) and Crown Grill?

Horizon Court? MDR? Trying to see if there is hope to find some decent eats.

I am reading a "Live" thread from Geoherb who is sailing on the Caribbean Princess and the food is sounding much better but he has not gone to either Sabatini's or Crown Grill.

Thanks for your post. I will be interested to see what others ask and what you have to say.

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8 minutes ago, Loucat said:

We will be on Regal 12/22 for their Christmas sailing. I can say I read your "Ugly" comment with concern. Sounds like the ship is in bad need of a refurb! Gross description of nail clippings and hair on your balcony-no excuse for that. That is the job of your attendant!

I would also have a blue fit if I returned to my room only to see it and all contents open for the viewing by anyone passing by. Incredible lack of competency on the part of your attendant.

Did you eat in anyplace other than Sabatini's (sounds meh) and Crown Grill?

Horizon Court? MDR? Trying to see if there is hope to find some decent eats.

I am reading a "Live" thread from Geoherb who is sailing on the Caribbean Princess and the food is sounding much better but he has not gone to either Sabatini's or Crown Grill.

Thanks for your post. I will be interested to see what others ask and what you have to say.

You'll have a wonderful time. It's not like the ship was broken, but from sailing on the Regal at least 7 times I noticed the little things. 

 

To  answer your questions... We try to avoid the buffets (just because of crowds) but did have lunch their once and breakfast another day. The buffet continues to be excellent, as does Alfredos (although they are a bit slow). 

 

Crown Grill is excellent. Highly recommend it. Sabatinis is not our favorite. But many on these boards love it. 

 

We gave up eating in the dining room many years ago due to service issues, but heard lots of compliments this cruise from other passengers.

 

Enjoy your cruise!

Andrew 

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21 minutes ago, JennyB1977 said:

Thank you! I loved reading this. You and Brad are a gorgeous couple!

With the right amount of filter, anything is possible! Thank you, Jenny! 🙂

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Really enjoyed your review.  Love the selfie in the tuxes!  I've always had good experiences in the MDR but I do love the Crown Grill too, we go there at least once per cruise.

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Thanks for the review...one of the best I've read on CC.

 

We board the Regal for a B2B on 1/19/20. Would love to read about your port experiences if you have time to share.

 

Merry Christmas to you both!

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1 hour ago, Loucat said:

Horizon Court? MDR? Trying to see if there is hope to find some decent eats.

 

the food at Horizon Court and MDR was just as wonderful as it was 2 and 3 years ago. However, some fish dishes were dry in MDR (with the exception of Basa on the first night which was great!). Shrimp dishes were great, and so were the beef dishes. We rarely ordered anything chicken related, since we eat that at home.

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Thanks so much for sharing. Love following you and Brad on your adventures.

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43 minutes ago, wkwthme said:

Thanks for the review...one of the best I've read on CC.

 

We board the Regal for a B2B on 1/19/20. Would love to read about your port experiences if you have time to share.

 

Merry Christmas to you both!

Ha... what port experiences? 

 

We been to the Caribbean so...many...times. That's not meant to sound boastful, it's to give you context about the below.

 

In Princess Cays, we rented our cabana and laid in the sun drinking adult beverages and floating in the water. We are beach people. PC is a favorite of ours. And if you happen to catch an older review I've written, our days in PC all sound familiar because it's the only thing we do there. Tan. Drink. Float. Repeat.

 

In St Thomas, we sauntered off the ship, walked to downtown, bought two frozen rum drinks and a pair of flip flops, then took a taxi back to the ship. We were on dry land a grand total of 1.5 hours. In past years, we've done island tours, the sky ride thingy, Blackbeard's castle, and a trip to Magen's Bay. We've also done land vacations to St. John. I would HIGHLY recommend doing St. John. It's not a hop-skip-and a jump away, but it's worth it. Especially if you're in port late. Cinnamon Bay and Trunk Bay are exquisite. 

 

In St Maartin, it was monsoon'ing (I'm not exaggerating) when we woke up. But the good news is it washed away the fingernails on our balcony. It stopped raining around 10am. We got off, walked to downtown, I was asked to buy pot no less than 4 times. Instead, I bought a water taxi ticket back to the ship. IMO, this island was much worst off than St Thomas in terms of storm damage. It's still pretty bad. In the past, we've done an island tour and Orient Bay beach. 

 

Since you're doing B2B, you're probably doing W. Caribbean too.

 

We don't get off the ship in Jamaica. But have enjoyed all-inclusive resorts in the past. 

 

Grand Cayman we usually bar hop, but have done 7 mile beach (so so beautiful, but crowded).

 

And Cozumel we usually walk around the port area and have lunch/drinks at Pancho's.

 

Have an amazing cruise!!

 

Andrew 🙂

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Loved this review.. it is currently freezing rain in Connecticut 

If the comforter is too warm for you, just ask your Steward to get you a top sheet.  ( goes under the comforter) 

We always ask for one, with never a problem .

Merry Christmas to you both!     

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Always enjoy following you and Brad on your cruises, your reviews are always entertaining and enlightening.  Lago Mar has been my favorite hotel since my very first cruise.  Love the wonderful buffet breakfasts before embarking on a cruise.  Love watching the ships come in, gliding by the hotel at five in the morning.  And love, love, love your Skipper, he is gorgeous!

Karen

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Andrew and Itchy & Scratchy-I much appreciate the follow up better news about Regal. Still grossed out about those nail clippings 😛

Sounds like it will be a good cruise.

We have been to Sabatini's and it was never that good. Last time we left as the service and food were not good.

Did anyone see the Crab Shack in the Horizon Court? I do not know if this has a regular schedule but I read they offer this once each sailing. You are right if you think I focus on eats. We are foodies and seafood is a favorite.
Thanks again and Merry Christmas to all.

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3 minutes ago, Loucat said:

Andrew and Itchy & Scratchy-I much appreciate the follow up better news about Regal. Still grossed out about those nail clippings 😛

Sounds like it will be a good cruise.

We have been to Sabatini's and it was never that good. Last time we left as the service and food were not good.

Did anyone see the Crab Shack in the Horizon Court? I do not know if this has a regular schedule but I read they offer this once each sailing. You are right if you think I focus on eats. We are foodies and seafood is a favorite.
Thanks again and Merry Christmas to all.

Ohhhh I should have mentioned that. We wanted to do the Crab Shack so bad. We called the DINE line the first day and were told they weren't doing it during our cruise. Despite a big flyer advertising it in our cabin on embarkation day. 

 

Alas....

 

Andrew

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Thanks so much for the review!  Sailing on our first Princess cruise in Feb on the Regal and this has me getting even more excited!  You and your partner make a gorgeous couple!

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Great review Andrew. I enjoy following you and Brad on the cruise. You guys looked very nice in your tuxedo.

 I like Skipper’s picture with his bowtie on 😁😁

Thanks again,

Tony

 

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Hey Andrew, I always enjoy reading your reviews.   I'll buy you a drink if ever we meet on a cruise ship!

 

...so you're saying I shouldn't clip my nails on the balcony, or should I just make sure to do it before a storm?

 

Jim

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13 minutes ago, jg21 said:

Hey Andrew, I always enjoy reading your reviews.   I'll buy you a drink if ever we meet on a cruise ship!

 

...so you're saying I shouldn't clip my nails on the balcony, or should I just make sure to do it before a storm?

 

Jim

I would actually encourage it, along with a fresh haircut on the balcony too. Apparently it's no holds barred on those spacious aft balconies! 😉

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Thanks for your review.  We love the Regal and are looking forward to our upcoming voyage on the Sky in late Feb.  I heard about your situation in St Marten via text message from a mutual friend of ours on these boards 😉😁.  Sounds like hurricane recovery is going very slowly there.

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Great review Andrew.  We've been on the Regal several times and I think we've met each other because you have that familiar look to me where I normally ask my wife "do we know that guy?"  LOL

 

Anyways, thanks for the review (and the fantastic pictures).  The Regal has been our favorite ship the past few years and we are booked on the Enchanted next December.  

 

Happy Sailing.

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10 minutes ago, WISH84 said:

Great review Andrew.  We've been on the Regal several times and I think we've met each other because you have that familiar look to me where I normally ask my wife "do we know that guy?"  LOL

 

Anyways, thanks for the review (and the fantastic pictures).  The Regal has been our favorite ship the past few years and we are booked on the Enchanted next December.  

 

Happy Sailing.

If you saw a drunk gay guy at crooners shoveling Hendricks by the gallon-full... then yep it was me! 

 

Considering Enchanted too. Skipping Sky due to no Crooners (I don't understand that decision...)

 

Andrew 🙂

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