My recent experience on board the Regal Princess was truly spectacular. Sailing the ten day Southern Caribbean Medley was even more exciting as it included New Years on board, and one of the most fun celebrations I’ve had in awhile.

If you’re thinking about a cruise aboard the Regal Princess, I’ve jotted down my thoughts and summarized my experience so that you can make the most of your Princess cruise.

Regal Princess Southern Caribbean Medley

Embarkation

Our cruise was a round trip journey from Fort Lauderdale. Ignoring the arrival time printed on our boarding documents, we arrived around 11am to the cruise port (after a quick stop at Total Wine to pick up our allotted two bottles of wine). The entire process was super quick and we were on board in less than twenty minutes. Hands down the fastest embarkation I’ve ever experienced. There were dedicated lines for Ocean Medallion passengers (we weren’t those), which I imagine would get you on the ship even faster.

What I love about Princess is that when you board, your stateroom is often ready. This meant that we could immediately drop our stuff off and head to Italian restaurant Alfredo’s, getting our cruise off to a great start.

The Ship

The Regal Princess is a newer addition to Princess’ fleet, inaugurated in 2014. It’s a beautiful ship that looks brand new, with no obvious signs of wear and tear that I encountered. The Piazza is stunning, with an abundance of gold and marble, and acts as the heart of the ship.

The Regal Princess is one of Princess’ larger ships, offering an array of activities, dozens of dining options (both included and for an additional fee), and accommodating over 3,500 passengers. While the ship is huge, there are many secluded spots that you can escape the crowds. Though for me, I love the energy and atmosphere of a this larger ship.

We spent most of our sea days at the adults only Retreat Pool (when we could snag a seat – nearly impossible on sea days), while the main pool on the Lido deck was a hub of energy with lots of kids running around. The Movies Under the Stars screen played family friendly movies and shows during the day. The adults only Sanctuary is a private relaxing space available for a fee.

Stateroom

Our stateroom on the Regal Princess was an interior cabin. We chose one of the sideways cabins as it provided more space than the traditional layout. Though not having a balcony was a bit of a letdown, the room was wonderful. It was spacious (more so than balcony rooms on other cruise lines) and had a ton of closet space. And the complete darkness was ideal for an afternoon nap before dinner.

Eating & Drinking

There is so much food on the Regal Princess. You could literally spend every minute eating something new. I found the food on the ship to be pretty good, though I personally found the Main Dining Room dishes to be hit or miss.

My favourite complimentary eateries on board were Alfredo’s for thin crust pizza, the International Cafe for breakfast pastries (or late night cookies), and the buffet. I don’t often gravitate to buffets, but the one on the Regal Princess was incredible. A great selection of dishes every night and an awesome salad bar hooked me. Oh and the soft serve ice cream counter on the Lido deck was always the perfect afternoon treat.

We ate at two speciality restaurants on our ten day cruise. Rustic Italian restaurant Sabitinis and the Crown Grill steakhouse were both exceptional. These two meals were by far the best we had on the entire cruise and definitely worth the additional charge.

Bars on board the Regal Princess are plentiful, each with their own vibe. We didn’t opt for the Premium Beverage Package but took full advantage of the twice daily happy hours and purchased a wine package, which gave us seven bottles of wine up to $45 for $217.

Evening Activities

We often ate late and perused the casino afterward. When we weren’t completely exhausted, we would visit Club 6 for the 2 for 1 (+$1) happy hour, which always drew a fun crowd.

There was entertainment nightly around the ship, including live music performances in the bars or Piazza. The Princess Theatre had two shows nightly at 8pm and 10pm including a magician, blues show, and a comedian but we never made it to one! Next time.

We had a lovely evening watching Wonder Woman at Movies Under the Stars. The padded chairs are quite comfortable and the blankets cozy. Movies Under the Stars is on most nights at 7ish and 10ish.

New Years on board

Spending our new years aboard the Regal Princess was a particularly fun experience. There were parties held throughout the ship (including many earlier in the day for those from other time zones) and a balloon drop in the Piazza. It was a designated formal night and everyone was given hats during dinner that most wore for the festivities. We opted for the party on the Lido Deck, which featured a live band and then the resident DJ. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a new years cruise on the Regal Princess to anyone!

Entertainment

The Regal Princess features a lot of entertainment daily like trivia, gameshows, and competitions. These activities are held for the most part in Princess Live, a dedicated space with theatre like seating. Most of the events are taped and available on your stateroom TV to watch later. While I found I always forgot about things happening in Princess Live, I sometimes watched the outcomes on my television later.

Ocean Medallion

Ocean Medallion is a feature currently being rolled out across Princess Cruise Line. The physical device acts as your key and personal concierge, and allows you to access your own personal guide for your cruise. It also comes with Medallion Net, heralded as the fastest internet at sea. We were able to test this claim and I can say it was one of the fastest connections I’ve experienced on a cruise line. As of right now, Ocean Medallion is only available to select passengers on the Regal Princess, but is scheduled to be rolled out across the fleet.

Southern Caribbean Medley Ports

Regal Princess
Regal Princess
Regal Princess

Princess Cays

Princess Cays is my favourite ‘private’ island of any of the cruise lines. It’s quite a large area with a lot of chairs on the beach. While there are a lot of people around (the majority of the ships 3,500 passengers), there’s plenty of space for everyone – especially if you walk further to the edges. Located on the island of Eleuthra, there’s not too much to do outside of Princess Cays as it’s on the southern tip far from other sites on the island. You can leave the private area, and checkout the vendors that set up a market just outside. 

One of the greatest things about Princess Cays is that food is included and so are drinks if you have a beverage package. The BBQ buffet was pretty good, as were the three food trucks selling tacos, wraps, and jerk chicken. For families, there are play areas for kids.

Swimming in the ocean was fun but it was quite rocky where we were so you really had to look where you were walking when heading into the water. It was quite painful if you accidentally stepped on the rocks, and we saw a lot of people having difficulty. Water shoes are definitely recommended! You have to tender to access Princess Cays, but it wasn’t too painful (unlike those rocks!).

Regal Princess
Regal Princess
Regal Princess

St. Thomas, USVI

Our cruise visited St. Thomas just a few months post Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Though there was a good deal of structural damage and debris, it was pretty much business as usual. Magen’s Bay is truly lovely, and one of the best swimming beaches I’ve been to. It can get quite busy here when multiple cruise ships are at port, but, again, walking to the far ends will spare you the crowds. All in all, it’s a lovely place. 

Once you have your fill of the beach, head back to the port and visit some of the shops or head to Frenchtown Brewing if you’re into craft beer (you can read my article on the brewery for Prostly Magazine) and a pizza at Pie Whole.

Regal Princess
Regal Princess
Regal Princess

Martinique

Princess changed the itinerary from Dominica to Martinique, made necessary after the hurricanes. – and our stop at Martinique was on New Years Day. As expected, nothing was open and everyone was a little fuzzy from the night before. There were boats going to a beach, but we didn’t know if anything would be open (food & drink wise) and honestly didn’t have the energy. 

All in all, I don’t think Martinique got it’s fair shake. It’s a sizeable island that isn’t entirely focused on tourism. It was the most complained about destination on our cruise, but I think it would be an excellent stop when it’s not a major holiday. 

Regal Princess
Regal Princess
Regal Princess

Grenada

Grenada was a spectacular port. Like Martinique, it’s a large island with a diverse economy. But what I didn’t expect was just how green and lush it was. I had just been in Costa Rica a few weeks prior and honestly they were quite similar.

We did a private tour arranged by the Grenada Tourism Board with a wonderful local guide, Roger. He curated an excellent day for us including Annandale Waterfall, Jouvay Chocolate plantation, spice manufacturing facility, and endless epic views. Oh, and the most delicious roti ever. 

We docked super early and had to be back on board by 2, which was a bit of a bummer. We would’ve loved to explore the town more and visited the West Indies Brewing Company, which opens later in the afternoon.

Regal Princess
Regal Princess
Regal Princess

Bonaire

The tiny island of Bonaire is a province of the Netherlands, so there are a lot of Dutch tourists and expats. You can walk right off the boat and into town, which has a decent selection of restaurants and shops. A highlight is the craft brewery Bonaire Brewing Co., which makes a few beers on the island and imports others from the Netherlands. 

But you should definitely get out of town and explore Bonaire. My recommendation is to rent a golf cart from Bonaire Cruisers and drive the island. There’s a stall set up at the port where you can sign up (or book in advance) and then head to the main office in town to get started. Remember to bring your driver’s license with you.

Bonaire is spectacular. It’s such an interesting landscape with a lot to see as you drive along the coast. Salt lands, pink lake, abandoned slave huts, and countless small beaches along the way. Definitely make the drive to the stunning Sorobon Beach.

Bonaire is also a diving paradise, so if that’s something you’re interested in experiencing book an experience with Dive Friends Bonaire.  

Regal Princess
Regal Princess
Regal Princess

Curacao

The colourful island of Curacao is the largest of the ABC islands. Explore Willemstad, admire the colourful buildings, and watch the Queen Emma swinging bridge in action. Don’t miss Nettobar, a beloved dive bar whose specialty is a homemade green rum that the King of Holland enjoys on his visits to the island. The floating market is a unique experience with vendors primarily from Venezuela selling their produce.

There are 35 beaches on Curacao if all you want to do is lie in the sun. The always popular Mambo Beach is pretty developed with several restaurants (and even a Starbucks) and Blue Bay Beach is another large beach close to the port. Less touristed beaches like Knip Beach and Playa Cas Abou are a bit of a trek but you can higher a taxi to take you if you want a more local experience.

Other experiences in Curacao include the Hato Caves and a visit to the Curacao Liqueur Distillery where they produce the original Blue Curacao among other varieties.  

More Regal Princess Photos

Regal Princess Patters

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