Right royal ap­point­ments

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

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.

SUSAN KURO­SAWA

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