ROYAL PRINCESS Triple Decked!, Part One

Peter Knego Decks! Princess Cruises’ brand new 141,000 gross ton ROYAL PRINCESS, the first in an entirely new class of ships for Princess Cruises. This installment takes a look at the outer deck areas and key public spaces atop the ship.

Princess Cruises

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All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2013 unless otherwise noted.

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ROYAL PRINCESS at Southampton.

At 1,083-feet, the 141,000-gross ton ROYAL PRINCESS is by far the largest ship in the Princess Cruises fold. The 3,600-passenger, 23-knot ship not only introduces an entirely new platform for Princess Cruises and umbrella company Carnival Cruises, she also brings some exciting new innovations to the fleet.

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ROYAL plate.

The ship was completed this past June by the Monfalcone-based Fincantieri shipyard near Trieste, where ROYAL PRINCESS’ twin sister REGAL PRINCESS, due to enter service in 2014, is currently under construction. These two ships are the largest ever built in Italy and will be followed by a similar, twin funneled ship for sister company P&O Cruises.

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ROYAL PRINCESS stern view.

The angular, no-nonsense ROYAL PRINCESS also represents a significant architectural departure from Princess’ distinctive GRAND and CROWN Class ships and their whale-inspired curvature.

This first Decked! top-to-bottom installment scratches the surface with ROYAL PRINCESS’ top and outer deck spaces and some key top deck interiors, such as the Fitness Center, Youth Center and Horizon Court buffet.

Deck 19 (Sky)

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ROYAL PRINCESS, midships Deck 19, facing forward.
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ROYAL PRINCESS Retreat as seen facing forward from Deck 19.

A wide observation and sunning platform tops the ship on Deck 19. The forward portion is sheltered from high winds via glass screens and offers an impressive view over the Retreat Pool area.

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ROYAL PRINCESS, Deck 19 platform, facing starboard.
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ROYAL PRINCESS, facing aft from Deck 19.
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ROYAL PRINCESS, aft from Deck 19 at night.

The aft portion of the observation platform overlooks the midships Lido Deck with its Fountain Pool (the largest on any Princess ship) and Plunge Pool. Note the massive LED screen for Movies Under The Stars. Measuring 34-by-20 feet, it is 30% larger than any others in the Princess fleet.

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ROYAL PRINCESS, funnel from aft Deck 19.
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ROYAL PRINCESS, Center Court, facing aft from port Deck 19.

Deck 19 resumes aft of the funnel with the upper terrace of the two deck Center Court, a sheltered sports arena of sorts.

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Center Court, facing aft from Deck 19.
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ROYAL PRINCESS, Center Court, facing forward from Deck 19.

Center Court can be used for basketball, tennis, volleyball and badminton and there is even a portable batting cage for baseball fans.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Lawn Court, facing starboard.
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ROYAL PRINCESS Lawn Court, facing forward.

At the far aft end of Center Court on Deck 19, the Lawn Court offers a turf area for putting, bocce ball, croquet and lawn bowling.

Deck 18 (Sports)

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ROYAL PRINCESS forward Deck 18 terraces.

Just forward of the Fountain Pool, Deck 18 forms a series of ascending terraces for sun loungers, not unlike those on the Fincantieri-built CARNIVAL DESTINY and CARNIVAL CONQUEST series of ships.

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ROYAL PRINCESS, facing forward from Deck 18 jogging track.
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ROYAL PRINCESS, jogging track and MUTS screen.

Deck 18 continues aft of the pool area with a double-lane jogging track with separate paths for runners and walkers. New to Princess, various outposts with outdoor exercise stations enable guests to work out on deck, if they choose.

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ROYAL PRINCESS, Deck 18 laps sign.
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ROYAL PRINCESS aft starboard Deck 18, facing forward.

Seven times around equals one mile.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Aft/port Deck 18 driving ranges, facing forward.

Adjacent to the lower level of Center Court, there is a driving range facility.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Center Court, facing forward from Deck 18.
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ROYAL PRINCESS Aft/starboard Deck 18 ping pong area, facing forward.

On the starboard side of Center Court on Deck 18, there is a dedicated ping pong area and, new to Princess, a simulated laser shooting range.

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ROYAL PRINCESS aft layers from Deck 18.

Deck 17 (Sun)

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ROYAL PRINCESS Sanctuary, facing port from forward.
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The Sanctuary, facing starboard.

The forward portion Deck 17 begins with the Sanctuary, which accommodates up to 62 guests. Space can be reserved here for $15 for a half day or $25 for a full day

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ROYAL PRINCESS Sanctuary, facing aft from starboard.
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ROYAL PRINCESS Sanctuary lounging area.

Sheltered by a canvas dome, the ROYAL PRINCESS Sanctuary is 20 percent larger than those on Princess’ other ships. Passengers can utilize plush lounge chairs or circular daybeds, while Serenity Stewards provide healthy refreshments and music players with peaceful music.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Lotus Spa cabana.
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ROYAL PRINCESS Lotus Spa cabana treatment area.
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ROYAL PRINCESS Lotus Spa cabana relaxation area.

There are also two Lotus Spa Cabanas offering a private setting for a range of spa treatments.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Sanctuary Cabana.

There are also four private Sanctuary Cabanas available, beginning at $80 for a half day.

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Retreat Pool, facing aft.

Directly aft of the Sanctuary on Deck 17, the adults-only Retreat Pool offers more space and seating than the adult pools on other Princess ships.  It is presided over by a six-section Wyland mural of undersea life.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Retreat Pool cabanas.

Exclusive to ROYAL PRINCESS, eight new Retreat Cabanas can be reserved for a half day for $50. Additionally, gourmet picnic baskets can be ordered here for $40.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Retreat Pool, facing forward.

The Retreat Pool is served by the al fresco, 15-seat Retreat Bar.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Retreat Pool area, facing forward from starboard.

At night, the Retreat Pool area will turn into the “Chill Lounge,” a relaxed outdoor space with drinks and music.

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ROYAL PRINCESS starboard Deck 17, facing aft.

Deck 17 continues aft of the observation platform with open promenades that encircle the pool area.

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ROYAL PRINCESS, Seawalk and funnel.

On the starboard side, there is the top level of ROYAL PRINCESS spectacular, 60-foot long SeaWalk, an arc-shaped walkway that extends 28 feet from the side of the ship.

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ROYAL PRINCESS, facing forward from Deck 17 (top of SeaWalk).
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ROYAL PRINCESS Deck 17 SeaWalk, facing down/aft.

The SeaWalk offers some pretty staggering views from a 128 foot vantage above the ocean.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Deck 17 SeaWalk at sea, facing forward.
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ROYAL PRINCESS SeaWalk from inboard.

It also reminds guests of the ship’s massive proportions, peering into the superstructure and like a skyscraper to the street level, a view over the midships Deck 7 buttress.

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ROYAL PRINCESS starboard Deck 17, facing forward.
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ROYAL PRINCESS, port Deck 17, facing forward.

On the port side, Deck 17 projects outward in the same manner but surrounding a skylight atop the SeaView Bar, directly below.

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Fitness Center, facing aft.
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ROYAL PRINCESS, Fitness Center, facing forward.

On the aft starboard side of Deck 17, there is a well-equpped gym with treadmills, recumbent bicycles, elliptical machines, weight machines and a selection of free weights.

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ROYAL PRINCESS, Aerobics, facing forward.

Inboard of the gym, there is an aerobics and stretching studio.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Remix deck, facing aft.
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ROYAL PRINCESS Remix deck area, facing forward.

On the aft/port side of Deck 17, there is a trio of spaces that comprise the Youth Center. The Remix teen center has its own exclusive open deck space with loungers, a ping pong table and a large jacuzzi.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Remix, facing forward.
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ROYAL PRINCESS Remix, facing aft.

Inside, Remix has a chill lounge, TV viewing area and numerous games.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Shockwave, facing forward.
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ROYAL PRINCESS Shockwave, facing starboard.

Shockwave follows Remix and serves as the ‘Tween Center, replete with more parlor games, a mini-discotheque and TV viewing area.

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ROYAL PRINCESS, Pelicans toddler corner, facing aft.
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ROYAL PRINCESS, Pelicans, facing aft/starboard.

Princess Pelicans completes the trio of spaces in the Youth Center on aft/port Deck 17 and caters to toddlers and kids.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Pelicans play deck, facing aft.
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ROYAL PRINCESS Pelicans jungle gym.

Princess Pelicans also has its own open deck space at the far aft end of Deck 17 on the port side.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Platinum Studio facing starboard.

Inboard of the Youth Center on aft/port Deck 17 there is the Platinum Studio, where formal portraits can be taken.

Deck 16 (Lido)

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ROYAL PRINCESS Fountain Pool, facing port (from Deck 17).

Deck 16 begins with staterooms and suites that lead to the midships Lido area. The open-air, all-ages, fresh water Fountain Pool is served by the al fresco Mermaid’s Tail bar, Prego’s Pizzeria (pizza by the slice) and the Trident Grill (burgers, hot dogs, etc.) forward and flanked by two Jacuzzis. It is surrounded with garden-style furnishing, bar height tables and stools and chaise lounges.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Dancing Fountains by day.

On an island aft of the Fountain Pool, there is an island area equipped with 85 computerized water jets that can project streams of water up to 33 feet into the sky.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Dancing Fountains at night.

At night, the pool area transforms with architectural lighting effects showcasing an interactive sound and light show featuring the Dancing Fountains.

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Night walk.

On the starboard side, guests can walk across a dramatic glass-bottomed walkway in the SeaWalk. The glass panes are 1.1 inches thick.

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Seaview Bar, facing forward.

On the port side, as if the spectacular views from the 30-seat SeaView Bar, at sunset and midday, bartenders will show off their impressive bottle-tossing and mixing skills.

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ROYAL PRINCESS splash pool, facing forward.

Aft of the Dancing Fountains platform, there is a fresh-water plunge pool and more seating. Aft of the plunge pool, the Calypso Cabana boutique offers sundries like suntan lotion and sunglasses and Swirls serves up complimentary soft serve treats.

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ROYAL PRINCESS, Horizon Bistro, facing aft.
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Horizon Bistro, facing aft from center.

On the ROYAL PRINCESS a great deal more space per passenger has been allocated to the main buffet eatery, the 1,118-guest Horizon Court. The forward portion, the Horizon Bistro, has a French Bistro style ambiance.

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ROYAL PRINCESS Horizon Bistro pastry area, facing port.

There are some exclusive new action stations in the ROYAL PRINCESS’ Horizon Court, including the Crab Shack and Fondues restaurant and a dedicated pastry shop.

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ROYAL PRINCESS, Horizon Court, facing aft from starboard.
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Horizon Court, facing forward.

The aft portion of Horizon Court has a more modern, restrained flair with its chestnut wood tones and marble accents.

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ROYAL PRINCESS, Outrigger Bar, facing port.

The 30-seat, al fresco Outrigger Bar on aft Deck 16 includes a Margarita Bar with made-to-order burritos and other Mexican specialties.

Deck 8 (Emerald)

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ROYAL face.

Not a passenger area but an interesting space, nonetheless, the fo’c’sle on Deck 8 has a crew pool and sunning area and a view of the ROYAL PRINCESS’ “face”, with its protruding bridge, a first in the Princess fleet.

Deck 7 (Promenade)

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ROYAL PRINCESS, midships port Deck 7, facing forward.
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ROYAL PRINCESS, midships port Deck 7, facing aft.

In lieu of a wrap-around promenade, which was sacrificed to provide more balconied staterooms, the ROYAL PRINCESS does have buttresses with seating and deck chairs on Deck 7.

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ROYAL PRINCESS SeaWalk from below.
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ROYAL PRINCESS  SeaWalk overhead.

And, if you look up from the Deck 7 buttresses, there is an impressive view of the SeaWalk or SeaView Bar, depending on which side you choose.

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ROYAL PRINCESS, Aft/port Deck 7, facing aft.

At the far aft end of Deck 7, there is another alcove with deck chairs on either side.

End of ROYAL PRINCESS Decked!, Part One. Much more to come…

Very Special Thanks: Julie Benson, Karen Candy, Martin Cox

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea.  With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications.  Knego also runs the website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India.  He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
Peter Knego

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