Right royal appointments
THE triple-height piazza atrium — with swooping staircases, sparkly chandeliers and glossy marble floors — is the hub of the ship. Entertainment in this gilded square could include anything from hula-hoop demonstrations and acrobats to classical musicians and cooking demonstrations or, on the shake-down cruise, wine and chocolate pairings by the splendidly named Norman Love. Confections and 15 desserts from this master chocolatier under the Chocolate Journeys banner are a new signature feature of Princess ships; even the Lotus Spa is spreading the sweetness with choc scrubs, massage oils, body masks and treatments. • Features aboard Regal Princess (and sister Royal Princess) include movies under the stars (blankets, ice-cream in waffle cones and popcorn provided) and “dancing” fountain displays; and the adults-only Sanctuary haven with adjacent Retreat Pool, private cabanas and picnic baskets on call. • Dining options cover the casual Horizon Court buffet, bistro and pastry shop; three dressy dining rooms; two pizzerias with mosaic murals; gelato bar; and a barbecue grill. There are 10 lounges and bars, including casual nooks on deck. At Vines Bar, there about 30 wines by the glass and canapes as intriguing as lamb chop lollipops. The best food is at Sabatini’s with Tuscan-inspired decor and fab pasta. At the International Cafe (proper espressos), look for the amazing sugar-spun “sculptures”, including edible flowers and baskets, made by Indian-born confectioner Naresh Kumar. • Entertainment includes musical extravaganzas to rival the West End in the two-level Princess Theatre (if it’s offered, do a backstage tour and see the ingenious stacking and storage system for hundreds of stage-ready costumes and gowns) and musicians in most bars and lounges. Daily activities in the Princess Pattern newsletter could include trivia quizzes, zumba fitness sessions, tea tastings and presentations by Lotus Spa staff on the likes of acupuncture, hair styling and cosmeceuticals. • SeaWalk is a glass-floored promenade that extends about 8m beyond the contours of the ship’s starboard side; it’s almost a 40m drop to the ocean, so looking down is not recommended if you are afraid of heights, even though the glass is a sturdy 28mm thick. • At the Lotus Spa, have your tight muscles massaged, book an anti-ageing facial, or buy a day pass for The Enclave, with hammam, herbal steam room, sauna, hydrotherapy pool and warm-tiled lounging beds. • All “outside” staterooms have a balcony and are exceptionally comfortable and well-appointed. Budget digs are the inside cabins (no windows) and there are 36 wheelchair-accessible options, including suites. Throughout the accommodations, layouts are spacious, decor is in tones of pale olive and harvest colours, and extra touches are thoughtful, including top-quality bed linen and plenty of storage.