Back in 2018, we introduced 3 of our friends to the world of cruising, it was a great success and they have always said they would like to do another one and this cruise is the result. I spotted this cruise one weekend and it seemed to fit the bill for another get-together and when I sent out a WhatsApp message, the response was favourable so not long after we all booked.
I last sailed Princess back in 2009 and we came away thinking if maybe the right itinerary came along with a matching price then we would certainly consider them again, but 12 years later on, it never seemed to happen and during that time, Princess has been busy rebuilding their fleet and improving their image. We were impressed with some of the more recent reviews which have been very favourable, so what better than to try a taster to see how they fit after all this time.
Regal Princess is what the cruise line has categorised as a Medallion Class ship and this is because they have developed a whole new system to replace the old cruise card set up and with modern technology, you now have a medallion that is linked to a phone app, and just about everything can be done via the app/medallion. It opens your cabin door, you can use it to make purchases, order drinks, book dining, entertainment and lots more. You can even track your friend’s whereabouts on the ship if they allow that particular function.
Cabin selection was simple, with only 4 nights we decided to get somewhere midship which provided easy access to the main areas. We all have a balcony cabin but suspect the actual balcony won’t get too much use at this time of year.
The itinerary at the time of booking and later confirmed was as listed below, however, this was not the original route as there was a stop in Guernsey which was removed due to the island deciding not to accept any cruise ship visits in 2021 because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The result of which was Princess simply deciding to replace it with just a sea day and not another port.
|Saturday, October 30, 2021||Southampton, England||5:00 PM|
|Sunday, October 31, 2021||Rotterdam, The Netherlands||12:00 PM||10:00 PM|
|Monday, November 1, 2021||At Sea|
|Tuesday, November 2, 2021||At Sea|
|Wednesday, November 3, 2021||Southampton, England||7:00 AM|
One of the things that also attracted us to this cruise was for an extra £30 per day you could purchase Princess Plus which will cover you for the following extras.
At that price, you really cannot go wrong, and it remains to be seen how long it will remain at that price as it does seem to be unbelievable value.
Travelling these days does not come without the complications of Covid-19 testing and on this cruise, a negative Lateral Flow Test was required to board and because it visited a European Port (Rotterdam), another test within 2 days of returning along with a completed Passenger Locator Form for each person. On the 24th of October, the 2-day test was downgraded from a PCR to a Lateral Flow Test in an attempt by the UK government to help cut the cost of returning to the UK. I expected to be able to use the free service but unfortunately, you still need to go down official channels and a list of authorised test providers went live on 22 October with prices starting at £18 and going up to £39. The passenger locator form cannot be completed until you have an official booking reference from one of the companies on the list, and for this cruise, we ended up selecting Boots who had a fee of £21.00.
So if you are reading this, we have had a negative test result prior to boarding and we are all systems go.