By Marcia Levin
In the late 1990s my husband and I sailed on the Regal Princess. It was lovely, mid-sized, well decorated, and with comfy cabins, a great showroom (with great shows!) and a delightful way to sail from South Florida to the Bahamas and the Caribbean. We enjoyed the ship, it was truly a “Love Boat,” much like the 1970s hit television show set on Princess Cruises’ Island and Pacific Princess vessels.
We didn’t sail with Captain Stubing (Gavin MacLeod,) Doc (Bernie Kopell,) Isaac the bartender (Ted Lange,), Julie the cruise director (Lauren Tewes,) Gopher, the chief purser (Fred Grandy,) or Vicki, the delightful pre-teen daughter of Captain Stubing (Jill Whelan.)
A Regal Debut
Fast forward 15 years. The new Regal Princess debuted at Port Everglades earlier this month. Port Everglades will be her home base for seven-day Eastern Caribbean itineraries until the end of April.
And I finally DID sail with that intriguing and talented cast of characters who combined forces as “godmother” for the ship’s naming. It was, to put it simply, a hoot. They comfortably appear to slip back into character quickly, and characters they are!
Vicki, the actress has grown into a self-assured young woman with a family of her own. She served as mistress of ceremonies for a wonderful session prior to the actual naming. On a gold carpet – gold because the line celebrates its 50th anniversary next year – she introduced a passel of actors who had appeared on the hit television show numerous times. They included singer Jack Jones who recorded the eponymous “Love Boat” song; actresses Charo, Lee Merriweather, Loni Anderson, Marion Ross, Doris Roberts, Rich Little, Jamie Farr, Donny Most, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Dick Van Patten and Arian Zmed.
I sat in front of Little during one of the outstanding production shows in the Princess Theater and he was gracious and friendly. Then I rode down in an elevator with Charo and we coochi-cooed each other and I had a picture taken with Lauren Tewes.
Since Princess Cruise will celebrate the big 5-0 or golden anniversary soon, “gold” is the operative color in décor throughout the vessel. Carpeting, upholstery, pillows, walls, etc., are magnificent, yet subtle. She is indeed Regal, elegant, tasteful and welcoming.
An Amazing Vessel
The earlier Regal Princess is tiny compared to this amazing 142,229-ton vessel accommodating 3,560 guests. The ship has 1,780 staterooms, 1,438 with balconies.
Public rooms are sprawling, situated around a soaring marble and glass atrium, and feature numerous bars and lounges.
Around the Atrium don’t miss the varied restaurants, lounges and bars, that include Princess’ signature Wheelhouse bar, Alfredo Pizzeria, Bellini’s Bar, Seafood Bar, International Café, and restaurants like Crown Grill and Sabatini’s. Tradionalists may prefer Concerto and Symphony for anytime dining or Allegro featuring traditional two-seating dining. Horizon Court/Bistro, on Deck 16, is a Lido Court restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and with tea and themed buffets in the evening.
Something for Everyone
Sound like there’s something for everyone on Regal Princess? You betcha! There’s a gelato shop and an ice cream stand, pastries and pizzas and hamburger and hotdogs and all the usual bells and whistle gastronomic shipboard experiences. And all are available in majestic spaces.
The ship offers an outstanding youth and teen program, basketball, golf simulator, bullseye simulator, a wedding chapel, jogging court and lawn court.
A seven day cruise may not be time enough to enjoy everything on board.
The large vessel offers Movies Under the Stars, interactive shows at Princess Live! TV Studio, and music throughout the ship. A string quartet in the Atrium, piano music in the Wheelhouse Bar, rock and classic, Broadway and country – you can tap your feet almost anywhere. Entertainment is world class on Princess and has always been a big factor. And production shows in the Princess Theater are superb.
My only negative is the size of the staterooms. Although well put together, the bathroom disappoints in storage and size. A makeup mirror is strongly missed. Closet and draw space are good. The safe is well-placed. Television is hard to negotiate. But the balcony – coffee never tastes as well as when enjoyed at sea – makes up for a lot.
If you go:
Tel: (866) 335-6379