Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 by Peter Knego
Peter Knego continues his visit to the famed Monfalcone-based Fincantieri shipyard with a press tour of Princess Cruises’ under-construction, 141,000 gross ton, 3,600 passenger ROYAL PRINCESS. Part two covers the massive new ship’s interiors and cabin mock-ups.
All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2013 unless otherwise noted.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
From Deck 18 (Sky), we headed down eleven levels to the aft portion of Deck 7 (Promenade), which is fully devoted to public rooms.
Our first stop was the cabaret show room, the Vista Lounge, which will feature nightly entertainment, from live bands to comedians and illusionists, plus themed parties and special events.
On the ROYAL and REGAL PRINCESS, the Vista Lounge will be slightly smaller than its equivalents on board the Grand Class ships. The reason for this was just a few steps ahead, past stacks of fittings and the shell of what will soon be the popular Wheelhouse Bar.
Princess Live! is an entirely new, 280-seat entertainment venue on midships Deck 7 near the Piazza. Hosted by the cruise director and special guests from around the ship, “The Wake Show” daily television program will be taped here with a live audience.
The Princess Live! studio will also be home to game shows, interactive cooking shows, art house films, enrichment classes, murder mysteries, trivia, and “Meet the Experts” presentations from the crew.
Nearby was the three-deck-tall Piazza, which is twice the size of those aboard the Grand Class. With a marble and brass-imbued ambiance, its function will be like a street-cafe with many dining and live entertainment options.
Deck 7 will feature a new-to-the-Princess-fleet Ocean Terrace seafood and sushi bar on the starboard side and the “1960s Rat Pack” inspired Crooner’s Bar, with its menu of 75 martini types on the port side.
Alfredo’s Pizzeria is located on the starboard side of the Deck 6 level of the Piazza and named for Princess’’ executive chef Alfredo Marzi. The first Alfredo’s was introduced to the fleet with the GRAND PRINCESS’ transformation of 2012.
Alfredo’s is a sit-down pizzeria with a view of the sea and a chance for guests to sip a glass of wine as their pizza is made-to-order in a stone oven. Nearby, a new Italian-inspired cocktail venue called Bellini’s overlooks the forward portion of the Piazza. Across the way on the port side, there will be a Photo and Video Gallery.
The Deck 5 (Plaza) level of the Piazza will feature a variety of eateries including the International Cafe with its 24-hour complimentary food offerings, from fresh pastries to paninis, salads and late night desserts and snacks. The Inernational Cafe is also the place for made-to-order, extra tariff specialty coffees.
Across from the International Cafe will be Gelato, the spot for homemade gelati, crepes, smoothies and other seagoing sweetness. Just ahead of that, there is Vines wine bar with some 30 wines-by-the glass and bottles for purchase. There will also be a twin tea tower of artisan-crafted varieties and infusions for up to 300 custom creations.
Also off the Deck 5 level of the Piazza will be Princess’ signature Tuscan-inspired specialty restaurant, Sabatini’s. The extra-tariff eatery is one of the most popular in the fleet and will be located adjacent to Vines wine bar, offering diners a conveniently close venue to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail. Décor will feature glass, marble, wood and mirrored detailing and a grand wine display. In addition to dinner, lunch will also be available here.
On aft Deck 6 (Fiesta), there is what will soon be the Concerto Dining Room, one of three equivalent-in-size traditional restaurants on the ROYAL PRINCESS. The Concerto’s design is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and will feature a rotunda in its center that will be surrounded by a fiberoptic curtain for the newly enhanced Chef’s Table Lumiere experience. Here, guests will be surrounded by a curtain of fiberoptic lighting providing a “soft wall” of privacy as they dine at a custom-made glass table set with deluxe china, cutlery and table accessories for an extraordinary dining experience.
Concerto designer Giacomo Mortola showed us a portion of the angular Art Deco-style Murano Glass chandelier that will crown the room.
From there, it was down to the Symphony Dining Room on Deck 5 where designer Teresa Anderson summoned the spirit of the space, which will also feature a private alcove in its center portion.
While the dining areas on the ROYAL PRINCESS will have an evolved sense of style, there will be some familiar ceiling treatments and soft fittings that correspond with those in the current Princess fleet.
The Art Gallery and Calypso Cove shopping arcade on Deck 7 will be connected by a spiral staircase to the Princess Casino on Deck 6. This mini-Atrium is just forward of the much larger Piazza. The Princess Casino will feature the latest in slots and table games.
We entered the massive Princess Theater on the Deck 7 level. At the far forward end of the ship, it will feature high-definition screens and a brand new lighting system to enhance each show. Four new productions will debut aboard ROYAL PRINCESS, including “Colors of the World,” an experiential journey through the destinations visited by Princess ships; “Spectacular!” a musical revue extravaganza; “Sweet Soul Music,” an upbeat tribute to Rhythm and Blues; and “What the World Needs Now,” a timeless, elegant show celebrating the music and style of the ‘60s.
On the ROYAL PRINCESS, the nightclub, now called Club 6, has been moved from the rafters to the heart of the ship on Deck 6, adjacent to the Casino and Piazza.
We wound up our visit on forward Deck 5, first at the Reception, which will feature a large water fountain between the Passenger Services and Shore Excursion desks.
The Lotus Spa was our final stop. No longer overlooking the bow from the top of the ship, it has surrendered that real estate with a view for a more practical location in the lower forward portion of the ROYAL PRINCESS. The treatment rooms were well on their way to completion with some handsome tile and stonework already fitted. The spa will house Princess’ largest-ever thermal suite with a hydro-therapy pool that will feature cascading rain shower and therapeutic air jets in various locations around the pool. There will be a Hammam (aTurkish-style steam bath), a Caldarium (Roman ceramic steam chamber), Laconium (dry heat chamber), Sensory Showers (Tropical Rain, Cold Mist, Rain Shower and Siberian), in addition to a salon, relaxation room and 18 treatment rooms.
Although we had nearly two hours on board, time whisked by. We stepped off onto the Deck 4 gangway, the SeaView Bar looming far above.
It was a quick “all aboard” as the coach sped us to yet another part of the massive shipyard, our last fleeting views of the ROYAL PRINCESS through tinted glass.
We stopped for a brief refreshment and then toured three of the ROYAL PRINCESS’ cabin mock-ups, beginning with a handsome Suite with a separate sitting area and bedroom.
Next up, a Mini Suite, which was quite comparable with its comfy equivalents on the Grand Class.
And it was a “wrap” with a handsome Outside with veranda cabin.
We will be returning to the ROYAL PRINCESS in June when she makes her debut at Southampton. Much more then!
End of ROYAL PRINCESS Pre-Decked!, Part Two (Interiors and Cabin Mock-Ups)
Very Special Thanks: Julie Benson, Karen Candy, Martin Cox, Brian Henriksen