Royal Princess Tour & Lunch with Princess Cruises

Monday, September 14, 2015

Celebrate 50 years of luxury on the seas with Royal Princess Cruises--follow along on my tour & lunch!
Royal Princess Tour and Lunch with Princess Cruises |

It's like an entire city, effortlessly gliding across the face of the water. Behind its facade of hundreds of balconies, in the heart of the ship lies more restaurants than you could count on one hand, pools, spas, bars, shops, theatres and more.

We were invited to take a tour of Princess Cruises's Royal Princess ship and sample a luxurious three-course menu. Over the course of our five hours onboard, the word luxury would escape from my lips time and time again. Before then, a virgin to the open seas and someone who had never set foot in a cruise ship, I was blown away by the sheer vastness of it, the luxury and the glamour.

As soon as I stepped inside and saw the gold plated atrium railings, the glistening chandelier and the gleaming marble floors, velvet-lined chairs and decadent buffets, I instantly got it. I know now why people board cruise ships and set sail for days on end. You feel like royalty. That's no exaggeration, either!

We began our day with a tour of the ship, starting in what was my favourite bit, one of the galleys or kitchens. As far as the eye could see, there were starkly clean food preparation areas, veritable acres of stainless steel and an army of chefs and cooks, their lofty toques like proud columns.

Immaculate galley kitchen on board the Princess Cruises Royal Princess ship |

It was from one of these very galleys that our decadent three-course meal would later arrive. The food was absolutely decadent, unbelievably fresh and mouthwatering. I started my meal with a seafood assiette sampler: lobster medallions, pickled cucumber, sour cream and caviar along with beetroot, orange and dill cured salmon gravalax and ahi tuna poke with avocado and dressed baby shrimps.

Starter of Seafood Assiette Platter |

My main was a gluten-free rack of lamb with seasonal baby vegetables and garlic potatoes. There was a delicious redcurrant jus that accompanied the dish, too.
Main of gluten free rack of lamb with seasonal vegetables |

We finished our courses with a lovely dessert, one developed in honour of Princess Cruises 50th anniversary! It was nothing short of decadent and divine.
50th anniversary dessert aboard Princess Cruises Royal Princess |

When you speak to anyone about a cruise, there are always two things they mention: the food and the entertainment. We got to sample a bit of both on our whirlwind tour of this brilliant ship. Before we tucked into that three-course meal, we had cocktails near the pool including a special 50th anniversary cocktail and salty freshly popped popcorn while two bartenders, Jorge from Peru and Rommel from the Philippines wowed us with a fantastically daring performance.

Fresh popcorn and 50th anniversary cocktail from Princess Cruises |

I wish I had scribbled the contents of this drink on a napkin whilst on the ship because it is one that I would love to recreate! It's full of cherries, vodka (I think), kirsch and lemonade. Don't hold me to that, I could be completely wrong, but it was fantastic! Let's just say if someone had presented me with that concoction on my birthday, I would be pleased!

Princess Cruises 50th anniversary cocktail |

Whilst we knocked back the bevvies (let me tell you, they slipped down a treat and I might have had a cheeky two!) Jorge and Rommel wowed us with their routine. From juggling with bottles of Malibu to catching fifths of vodka in Boston shakers, balancing a tower of wobbly drinks on an elbow and the grand finale pulling off a pouring rainbow of martinis, these boys outdid themselves. Just look:

Jorge and Rommel wow the crowd with entertainment |

Rommel from Philippines balances drinks and liquor bottles on his arm |

Peruvian Jorge master the rainbow martini |

Jorge mid-pour on the impressive rainbow martini |

Of course, the ship is more than just dozens of restaurants and bars. There are other amenities on board including sport tracks and gyms, lounge areas, kids zones, mini golf, theatres, TV stations and casinos and my personal favourite: The Sanctuary and the exclusive, adult-only poolside cabanas complete with luxurious towels, wide screen tellies and adjacent spa. I could have moved in. 

Pool deck aboard the Royal Princess ship |

Adult-only cabanas aboard the Royal Princess |

Solitude and relaxation epitomised on the Royal Princess |

One of the private cabanas with widescreen telly on Royal Princess |

Adult-only spa near The Sanctuary on Royal Princess |

The Sanctuary, a haven for relaxation aboard Royal Princess |
I boarded the Royal Princess having never been on a cruise ship and having all sorts of preconceived ideas, I'm happy to say that they were all broken. I was blown away by the choice of food, the insane variety and the laid back atmosphere. Everywhere you turned, there seemed to be something to do, a show to see, a board game to play or a sun lounger to soak up some vitamin D on.

Every member of staff we passed greeted us with a smile and most went out of their way to ensure that we were enjoying ourselves and felt at home and well looked after, even with our brief foray into the world of luxury cruises. The food is only rivaled by Michelin-starred meals I've had (and only loosely). My other major concern was about cleanliness--you hear so many horror stories about diseases spreading on a ship, but in every room, in every area of the ship, there are sanitation stations and guests are repeatedly encouraged to sanitise their hands before entering.

We didn't see every inch of the ship, so I cannot comment on the size and the comfort of the rooms, and this is something that I'm quite concerned about. Whilst there is so much choice and variety, not knowing how comfortable and/or spacious the rooms are, makes me still slightly hesitant to book a cruise, although, I'll admit, in the days following my tour, I have made several inquiries! 

For me, the bottom line is this: I am 80% certain that I would like to take a cruise at some point. A very big thank you to Princess Cruises and their PR firm for organising this fantastic tour and for inviting me along! 

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