We have always been big fans of Princess Cruising and have cruised with them many times – we especially loved our Coral Princess cruise in Alaska! However, my husband and I recently got the opportunity to cruise one of the newer and larger ships in the fleet, the Royal Princess! This is one of their ships that was actually built for the new Ocean Medallion Technology, and it was very impressive! We did a four night cruise to Catalina and Ensenada, and chose to stay onboard and enjoy all of the Royal’s amenities and take advantage of the Medallion Class technology.
What a beautiful weekend on the Royal Princess!
First of all, the Royal is an absolutely beautiful ship. Her layout is quite different from the older “standard” Princess ships that we are used to, and it was fun to explore (although we still didn’t scratch the surface!) The atrium is large and spacious with numerous bars and cafes (we especially love the Vines Wine bar), and everything looked beautiful with all the Christmas decorations! While the Royal has the traditional Horizon Court Buffet, there’s also a Horizon Bistro, with sandwiches, pastries, and more upscale cafe-style casual offerings and more modern seating. The fitness center and spa are also different on this ship, actually facing out on the starboard side of the boat rather than forward. We also appreciated the adult only pool and relaxation area that is complimentary for all Guests aged 18 and over, which is still separate from the paid private amenities and seating in the Sanctuary. Unfortunately, we did not get to try any of the specialty dining, but we hear it’s spectacular and it definitely looked that way! Our favorite spot to hang out in the evenings was the Wheelhouse Bar, where the crew is friendly and the drinks are delicious!
What a ship! So much to explore and experience!
Now – let’s talk about this Ocean Medallion stuff! Guests can use the Ocean Medallion before they even get on the ship! By downloading the app, you can pre-load a fun family photo, a security photo, and input all your immigration information. By doing this ahead of time, it made boarding the ship a breeze! Rather than stand in a lengthy check in line, we just did a quick check in at a computer terminal with a Princess Agent, and literally walked on board with our medallions! By default you are sent a lanyard to wear your medallion around your neck, but we did pay $10 a piece for a wrist band that stored the medallion much more like the “Magic Band” technology that’s offered at Walt Disney World.
Check In With Ocean Medallion was easy!
The Medallions act as your cruise card to get on and off the ship, your room key, your credit card (there is no need to sign for drinks or additional merchandise purchases because they can see who you are by your medallion – amazing time saver and guest experience game changer!) Onboard, in addition to your photo you can create a fun “character” (we both chose colorful sea turtles) and when you walk by stations on various decks, you will see yourself “swim” into the screen. Your chosen photo also appears whenever you you scan your medallion at one of these stations, and you can get customized directions to your stateroom (which is linked as well) or any where you need to be onboard. Our favorite part about the medallions is that you are recognized as you approach your stateroom door, which then flashes your photo on the screen and unlocks the door for you before you even touch the handle. You can also use the Medallion app to order drinks from anywhere on the ship – it’s free if you’re out in public areas, but they do charge gratuity for Room Service delivery like they would with a standard order.
Easy door opening, ship mapping, games and mobile drinks are all perks of Ocean Medallion!
As always, the crew was extremely kind and gracious on Princess. We had a wonderful relaxing getaway and would highly recommend this ship for cruisers, either on a short getaway voyage or a longer one! While it’s definitely geared for middle aged and above, there are some great kids areas and options that make it a wonderful ship for families and all ages as well!