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21 day Med cruise entertainment and dining ?s


mjmiller
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Hubby and I have a 21 day Med booked on the Regal in 2022.  It's one of the infamous Princess cruises that are 7 day segments, that you can book as 7, 14 or 21 day.  I've looked thru reviews, queried this board, can't find my answers.

 

Because this 21 day is actually three 7 day legs, does that mean the entertainment will be the same each week?  The same big shows, the same champagne waterfall, the same balloon drop (do they still do that?), the same parties?  And does it mean that the MDR menu will be on a 7 day repeat?

 

I haven't sailed with Princess since 2003.  Does Princess provide good lecturers on a Med cruise?  Not typical port talk garbage - actual info re: history or culture, etc.

 

Are there other things I "should" know, that I'm not asking?  Actually, any advice, comments about the ship or the itinerary would be great too!  I already have tour options for most ports, but no final decisions yet.

 

thanks!

marcia

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We did this cruise on the Royal about three years ago and did the 2 days. There was only one of the things like the balloon drop etc. I think some of the production shows were repeated but they had new singers, comedians etc come on board during the cruise so there was plenty of variation there. The MDR menu had a few repeats but stayed pretty varied. The main repeat really was that they cut Valletta out for some reason I can't recall and rejigged a few ports which meant that we went to Kotor three times. Kotor and the sail in and out are among the best you will get but twice there would have been our preference.

The port talks were fantastic and I wish I could remember who did them (was it Julio something?). I never thought I would sit through port talks but this guy had a sense of humour and was also direct in telling you what was a ripoff. We sometimes went to his talks in the theatre but as the tour is port intensive we often just watched the recording on the cabin tv.

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Every time we've done B2B or B2B2B, which could be booked either as single sailings or one combined, the entire experience recycled with each sailing.  Meaning production shows repeated, menus were on the same rotation, etc.

Many of the pax were on single segments only, and it wouldn't be fair to them to change things for the benefit of the consecutive cruisers, even if booked as a "single" sailing.

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We have done this twice and it is a combination of things, depending on the management.  On one b2b2b the menu just kept repeating every 7 days, while on the other the menus were different for two legs, but then started to repeat on the third.  Entertainment did change.  I'm not certain, but believe that the champagne waterfall and Captain Circle parties occurred every 7 days.

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12 hours ago, mjmiller said:

Because this 21 day is actually three 7 day legs, does that mean the entertainment will be the same each week?  The same big shows, the same champagne waterfall, the same balloon drop (do they still do that?), the same parties?  And does it mean that the MDR menu will be on a 7 day repeat?

Hey mjmiller,

First, congrats on booking the 21-day extravaganza. Such a great itinerary and to book the full 3-week loop without experiencing the dread of needing to get off after one 7-day must be thrilling. Anyways, the main theater entertainment will definitely repeat. There might be a different one-time performer (such as a comedian, magician, cultural performance, etc.) throughout your cruise, but your patter and cruise director should make that obvious if you make it a point to attend. Parties themselves are totally the same since all cruise staff are running on a looped schedule of activities, but they might not occur at the same time weekly, since different port stops/timings will impact when they schedule things. And as already mentioned, balloon drops stopped in late-2019! Champagne waterfalls will stay the same (but again, timing is dependent on itinerary). I will let others speak on the MDR specifics.

 

12 hours ago, mjmiller said:

I haven't sailed with Princess since 2003.  Does Princess provide good lecturers on a Med cruise?  Not typical port talk garbage - actual info re: history or culture, etc.

When I cruised on the Med, there was an excellent port guide/destination lecturer named Johanna Grove. She specializes in the Mediterranean and gave succinct information and advice that was equally helpful/refreshing if you had done no research for the cruise or a lot. More unfortunate is not knowing whether or not she will have left the industry by the time cruises resume. Not all lecturers are made equal, of course, so I would visit one of the lecturer's sessions to gauge how useful they are to you. On a more pessimistic note, I would not be surprised if we were to find out by then that Princess might instead show videos of lecturers doing their presentations instead of actually flying them to the ships -- after all, there are plenty of video archives so any of them could be used. We'll have to wait and see.

 

12 hours ago, mjmiller said:

Are there other things I "should" know, that I'm not asking?  Actually, any advice, comments about the ship or the itinerary would be great too!  I already have tour options for most ports, but no final decisions yet.

I see in your signature that you also plan to cruise with Princess on the Crown in February and I would say that you will definitely be well-acquainted with the new direction Princess is going by then. It's significantly more modern now in terms of the experience (read: more use in technology) but still retains a lot of the wood and brass you're probably thinking of when you reminisce to your last Princess experience. Personally, I really like the larger Princess vessels because I could find my own nook in a space as large as the ship (and also a much lower likelihood of seasickness on the larger vessels). 

 

The elephant in the room here is the pandemic. Normally, I'd share a lot more about crowds and how navigating through them might hamper your experience (and they still might anyways). But restrictions on crowd sizes (if they continue by the time you're cruising) could actually aid your time, since there won't be a run of the masses for specific venues (dining and entertainment-related, namely speaking). Of course, things might necessitate scheduling/booking and activities might be more pared down (like less traditional games and activities) to keep in mind any existing health regulations (less on CDC and more from the countries you're visiting). It's all very unpredictable right now so I would continue to wait and see. Go in prepared but don't hold too high of an expectation for everything you're anticipating. The Med is a wonderful itinerary and I'm sure you already know the focus is on the destinations, so the ship will ultimately be a very comfortable water taxi, regardless of how you make of your time on the cruise. I wish you the best on your planning and the trip!

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As others have said, some things will change and some will remain the same. The demographic of pax can radically change from one sailing to the next, which can impact how lively the atmosphere is. The menu is typically based on a 7 day rotation, however there may be some variations, and they could use a 14 day menu and then repeat; it’s up to the chefs onboard. The main shows will stay the same, but the guest entertainers may or may not change. The daily ship activities will typically stay the same unless there’s a change in cruise staff. Just having a new batch of pax really can make for a completely different Cruise experience; add to that new ports each week, and you’ll have an exciting 21 days! The only negative I heard from a pair of fellow pax who were doing 21 days like you was that they were tiiiiiiired from 21 days of touring. So worth it, though!! I’d do 21 days in a heartbeat! Have fun! 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks to you all for answering my questions.  I've done B2Bs before, but not like this where you can book 3 weeks as one trip.  I was hoping there would be some variation of entertainment and food, in consideration of those who do 2 or 3 weeks. 

 

If things are on weekly repeat, then it's a more leisurely cruise, as we won't feel we "have" to go to the entertainment every night.  If they change it up - great, something new to see.  Either way - it's ok.  🙂  I understand the Regal has such a great buffet at night, that many people don't even go to the MDR - maybe we'll try that on occasion if the MDR menu is on a weekly rotation.  Even with all the cruises we've done, we've never had dinner at the buffet!

 

And I'm absolutely not worried about 21 days of touring (plus add-on days in Rome of course!) - hubby and I do motorcycle trips that are much longer than that. And those are seriously tiring days.

 

Thanks for the well wishes! 

Edited by mjmiller
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On 2/2/2021 at 6:03 PM, snoozecrooze said:

I see in your signature that you also plan to cruise with Princess on the Crown in February and I would say that you will definitely be well-acquainted with the new direction Princess is going by then. It's significantly more modern now in terms of the experience (read: more use in technology) but still retains a lot of the wood and brass you're probably thinking of when you reminisce to your last Princess experience. Personally, I really like the larger Princess vessels because I could find my own nook in a space as large as the ship (and also a much lower likelihood of seasickness on the larger vessels).

 

I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the "new" Princess.  When we cruised Princess before, we were still relatively newbies.  Now we have a better basis to compare lines and ships and staff.  And actually, I remember the Sea Princess as being very light and bright, one of the prettiest ships I've been on.  The ship I always correlate with wood and brass was the HAL Rotterdam, which was beautiful as well.

 

 

On 2/2/2021 at 6:03 PM, snoozecrooze said:

On a more pessimistic note, I would not be surprised if we were to find out by then that Princess might instead show videos of lecturers doing their presentations instead of actually flying them to the ships -- after all, there are plenty of video archives so any of them could be used. We'll have to wait and see.

 

The elephant in the room here is the pandemic. Normally, I'd share a lot more about crowds and how navigating through them might hamper your experience (and they still might anyways). But restrictions on crowd sizes (if they continue by the time you're cruising) could actually aid your time, since there won't be a run of the masses for specific venues (dining and entertainment-related, namely speaking). Of course, things might necessitate scheduling/booking and activities might be more pared down (like less traditional games and activities) to keep in mind any existing health regulations (less on CDC and more from the countries you're visiting). It's all very unpredictable right now so I would continue to wait and see. Go in prepared but don't hold too high of an expectation for everything you're anticipating.

 

You brought up a few aspects about covid effects that I hadn't considered.  Assuming we get to go on our planned cruises (after many cancellations and rebookings), we have had two main concerns - 1) will we have to wear masks inside and on excursions?  2) will we have to book excursions thru the cruiseline?  Those both could be deal breakers.  So time will tell.  The possible changes you brought up - fewer live activities, scheduling/booking activities, etc. - wouldn't bother me as much.  However, we have friends joining us, one of whom is not a fan of cruising, and I don't want their experience diminished.  Still hoping for the best!

 

Thanks for your detailed response.

 

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Having done an awful lot of those kind of cruises we can respond based on the past.....but who knows what we will get in the future.  With multi-segment cruises (this is often the case with longer Princess cruises) the main Production Shows in the theater will usually be repeated on each segment.  The singers/dancers only have a few (2-4 shows) in their repertoire so they are almost always repeated from cruise to cruise.   The Guest Entertainers may or may not vary and that is simply luck of the draw.  Guest Entertainers are under contract and will often move between ships located in the same part of the  world.  So we have often had situation where we would see a magician or singer, they would leave the vessel to head to another ship, and would be back for another show and a following segment.  On other cruises there were no repeats of Guest Entertainers.   As to fluff stuff like Champagne Waterfalls, balloon drops, etc. they are generally repeated on each segment.   That being said (and this sound crass) having cruised for over 40 years when you have seen one Champagne Waterfall that is enough :).  And the same goes with most Captain's Welcome aboard speeches, farewell speeches, etc.   In fact in the past few years we have been on more and more cruises (we cruise on many lines) that have simply eliminated welcome aboard shows.

 

And we could talk about the last night when waiters will sometimes sing a song.  Those who have been on more then a few cruises will often sing along since the passengers know the routine better then many of the waiters :).  

 

As to the menus we have been on some Princess cruises when the exact same menus were repeated.  But other times the menus will vary although many of the popular items (such as Prime Rib) are often repeated on at least one menu of each voyage.  A hotel manager once told us that the menus are sometimes varied because of supply issues (they can only make what they have onboard).  But I will honestly say we never care because it simply gives us a chance to try different items (there are always choices).   I would suggest that the OP try a very long cruise (such as 60 day plus) and then one really gets the opportunity to try new things.

 

Hank

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Just now, Hlitner said:

Having done an awful lot of those kind of cruises we can respond based on the past.....but who knows what we will get in the future.  With multi-segment cruises (this is often the case with longer Princess cruises) the main Production Shows in the theater will usually be repeated on each segment.  The singers/dancers only have a few (2-4 shows) in their repertoire so they are almost always repeated from cruise to cruise.   The Guest Entertainers may or may not vary and that is simply luck of the draw.  Guest Entertainers are under contract and will often move between ships located in the same part of the  world.  So we have often had situation where we would see a magician or singer, they would leave the vessel to head to another ship, and would be back for another show and a following segment.  On other cruises there were no repeats of Guest Entertainers.   As to fluff stuff like Champagne Waterfalls, balloon drops, etc. they are generally repeated on each segment.   That being said (and this sound crass) having cruised for over 40 years when you have seen one Champagne Waterfall that is enough :).  And the same goes with most Captain's Welcome aboard speeches, farewell speeches, etc.   In fact in the past few years we have been on more and more cruises (we cruise on many lines) that have simply eliminated welcome aboard shows.

 

And we could talk about the last night when waiters will sometimes sing a song.  Those who have been on more then a few cruises will often sing along since the passengers know the routine better then many of the waiters :).    On long Holland America "Grand Cruises" one claim is that menus are never repeated...which has been true in our experience.  But "menu items" are often repeated.

 

 

As to the menus we have been on some Princess cruises when the exact same menus were repeated.  But other times the menus will vary although many of the popular items (such as Prime Rib) are often repeated on at least one menu of each voyage.  A hotel manager once told us that the menus are sometimes varied because of supply issues (they can only make what they have onboard).  But I will honestly say we never care because it simply gives us a chance to try different items (there are always choices).   I would suggest that the OP try a very long cruise (such as 60 day plus) and then one really gets the opportunity to try new things.

 

Hank

 

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1 hour ago, Hlitner said:

That being said (and this sound crass) having cruised for over 40 years when you have seen one Champagne Waterfall that is enough :).  And the same goes with most Captain's Welcome aboard speeches, farewell speeches, etc. 

 

And we could talk about the last night when waiters will sometimes sing a song.  Those who have been on more then a few cruises will often sing along since the passengers know the routine better then many of the waiters :).  

 

I would suggest that the OP try a very long cruise (such as 60 day plus) and then one really gets the opportunity to try new things.

 

It's funny to me, some repetitive things I'm "tired" of, yet others I look forward to. We haven't been to a Welcome Aboard show for many years. But I love Carnivals farewell song in the MDR and I sing along. I think I went to a port shopping talk once. Blah. But I still ooh and aah over the towels animals, which sadly, may not come back post covid.

 

One (of the many) thing I really enjoyed about river cruising was the regional entertainment brought onboard at various ports, like the glassblower and the oompah band. It would obviously be much harder logistically to do with ocean cruises, and the smaller venues required would necessitate multiple shows, but I'd love it if they did something similar. I suppose some of the more expensive lines may do something like this... But those aren't in our budget.

 

And I personally would love a really long cruise that went to parts of the world I haven't visited yet. But hubby won't do it. I'm shocked he's doing 21 days with me. I'm order to pull it off, I'd probably have to have multiple cabinmates over the duration.

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3 hours ago, mjmiller said:

 

It's funny to me, some repetitive things I'm "tired" of, yet others I look forward to. We haven't been to a Welcome Aboard show for many years. But I love Carnivals farewell song in the MDR and I sing along. I think I went to a port shopping talk once. Blah. But I still ooh and aah over the towels animals, which sadly, may not come back post covid.

 

One (of the many) thing I really enjoyed about river cruising was the regional entertainment brought onboard at various ports, like the glassblower and the oompah band. It would obviously be much harder logistically to do with ocean cruises, and the smaller venues required would necessitate multiple shows, but I'd love it if they did something similar. I suppose some of the more expensive lines may do something like this... But those aren't in our budget.

 

And I personally would love a really long cruise that went to parts of the world I haven't visited yet. But hubby won't do it. I'm shocked he's doing 21 days with me. I'm order to pull it off, I'd probably have to have multiple cabinmates over the duration.

We have only done a few river cruises (Europe, China and Egypt) but also enjoyed the local talent and sometimes interesting crew talent.   Carnival is a line (in our past) upon which we have only enjoyed 3 short cruises and they were all very good (I think many Carnival "bashers" have not actually cruised on the line).   Long Ocean cruises are, at least to us, an entirely different experience then shorter (I would call that less then 21 days) cruises or River cruises.   When we board a ship for a truly long cruise (measured in weeks/months) it is an amazing experience where all the troubles of the world seem to disappear as we walk up the gang plank.  Because of the long length, many things seem to slow down when compared to shorter cruises.  I think the best part is that we have lots of time to make new friends among both passengers and crew.   I do hope it works out for you and your DH discovers that he actually likes the longer voyage.  When we did our first really long cruise (it was 62 days) I was concerned that DW might not like the long length (and it was on a smaller vessel with fewer then 600 passengers).  But on our last night she said, "I think we could do another 62!"  :).

 

Hank

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On 2/19/2021 at 12:54 AM, mjmiller said:

And actually, I remember the Sea Princess as being very light and bright, one of the prettiest ships I've been on.  The ship I always correlate with wood and brass was the HAL Rotterdam, which was beautiful as well.

Ah, yes, you make a great point in that the wood and brass don't necessarily combine to make for a dark ship. They're merely prominent accents in an otherwise bright, beige-ish environment. And the Regal will be a lot glitzier and shinier relative to the rest of the older fleet, so yes, the brightness definitely envelops the place. 

 

And you're so right about the concerns you listed. I want to tell you that by summer 2022 in Europe, you probably won't have to worry about excursion restrictions. But of course, nobody really knows what will happen by then. And I'm sure your friend will love the experience; it's definitely going to be 21 days of bliss! Have a lovely trip and do share with us about your times abroad when you're back!

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