Love, Friendship, and Travel: Girlfriend Getaway on The Regal Princess
Do you have those days when you throw your hands up? You wish you could transport yourself to someplace and just chill. No worries. No email. No Facebook.
My friend Lisa and I were asked go on the inaugural cruise of Princess Cruises’ newest ship, the Regal Princess. Talk about a respite!
I’ve been on a few cruises, but Lisa? For years she said, “no cruises for me.” But she changed her mind earlier this year when her family took their first cruise, so she was just as excited as I was to get going on another city at sea. Let’s hear it for a girlfriends’ weekend!
Our excitement about the inaugural Regal Princess cruise knows no bounds.
“But ladies, what can we expect?” We’re so glad you asked. Let us give you the scoop.
The staterooms were lovely, but small, as is to be expected on a ship. But they’re very functional.
We each had our own balcony cabin, but they were the perfect size for two people and we’d have been comfortable even if we’d shared a cabin. The balcony has room for two people to easily sit and sip their morning coffee while looking out across the water.
But what about when reality sets in? It’s unlikely that most people cruise alone, so how will the cabins work for a party of two or more?
If you’re going for a girls’ weekend, you and your friend can definitely share a cabin. But if I were cruising with my entire family, I’d book two cabins — one for me and my husband, one for the teens. If you have younger children, I doubt you’d need that extra room. Definitely check out the Regal Princess stateroom schematics on the website.
Let’s talk outlets. As a girl who has some major hair issues, outlets matter. There are no outlets in the bathroom and only a few on the desk. Serious outlet struggle! But I think that’s more of a me issue than something you should worry about!
My stateroom attendant was awesome. He was on top of everything and always had my room made up as quickly as possible.
Don’t sweat the size of the room — I mean it. Everyone says it, but it’s true: You won’t be in the room unless you’re sleeping. And this is coming from an extreme introvert who needs her time alone. I could always find somewhere to zen — a deck chair, a bar stool, a café table. The ship is big enough that you can be alone if you want to be, or you can turn the corner and join the fun.
I give extra points for having a large closet and many, many drawers that will accommodate even the most passionate overpacker. You know how you get to your hotel room and you find a total of five hangers to handle the clothes of four people? None of that here. I had plenty of hangers for my eleventy billion outfits — which is the equivalent of the amount of clothing a family of four would pack for a cruise.
No, YOU overpacked.
The spa is one of the busiest places on the ship. If you’re going to book a treatment, do it in advance — probably even before you step foot on the ship.
You’ll probably have the best luck if you book your treatment for the port day instead of the at sea day. We found there were more times available and the treatments were a little less expensive.
The Lotus Spa is a true respite at sea.
The spa has an area called The Enclave. It’s an extra cost to hang out in there — we thought it should have been included, especially considering the cost of treatments. Most spas include the entire facility when you book a treatment, so this was a surprise.
And — this important — you should know that it’s a co-ed spa (separate locker rooms, of course).
I had my very first hot stone treatment. I don’t know if it was the fact that the treatment was 80 minutes or that it was my first hot stone treatment or that I was just completely relaxed for the first time in a long while, but it truly was one of the best massages I’ve ever had.
I had the 80-minute hot stone massage too and left the spa completely blissed out.
My treatment room had a window and was fairly bright, even with the shade down. I prefer a dark room so I can really relax. Lisa’s room was dark. Be sure to specify what kind of room you want when you book.
The pools were beautiful. The ship has several, but we spent our time at the adults only pool, The Sanctuary. It’s set back away from the main pool and is much quieter and relaxing. We loved the semi-privacy.
Waiting for the evening festivities to start!
The Sanctuary has two parts. The part we frequented was open seating, but you could reserve a basic cabana (we did) — two chaise lounges and a table — but plenty for our needs. They run $80/day to reserve (worth it, especially on the day at sea).
You’ll never want to leave. And that book (play)? Isaac (Ted Lange) wrote it.
Waiting for the evening festivities to start!
The other part of The Sanctuary was behind another wall and required paid reservations for both lounge chairs and cabanas — and these were some swanky cabanas. When we say swanky, we’re talking a seating area, a flat screen TV, beverages, art on the wall, and more. If it had been an option, we’d have happily used those cabanas for our cabins.
Regal Princess luxury lounging at its finest.
We loved the international café in the atrium. It had baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and muesli. So good.
Coffee shop pastries to die for. You could find us here every day.
The restaurants were top-notch. The service was impeccable, something you’d expect on a ship of this caliber. And? They know how to cook a steak. I’m particular about my steak and I was pleasantly surprised when everything was cooked perfectly (you’d be surprised how many places can’t cook steak).
All dolled up and ready to eat!
Lisa’s recommendation? There’s a tiny gelato shop in the atrium which has some of the best tasting gelato. Of course, she says that every time she eats gelato, but this time she truly means it! She tried three flavors just to be sure. I’m thinking she really does mean it this time.
Did someone say gelato? Outta my way!
On port day we started out with our spa treatment, then headed out to see what fun could be had on the island. We were signed up for paddle boarding. Have you done it? It’s harder than it looks.
I did indeed stand up several times and then collapsed in a huge heap — that stuff’s exhausting, yo.
Work hard, play hard. Then nap.
The only logical solution was to head to a clamshell (a covered lounge chair) for a nap.
Lounging with or without clamshells.
As a red-head, I burst into flames when I’m in the sun for more than 10 minutes. So, good friend that she is, Lisa kept moving the clamshell so I wouldn’t get sunburned. I had no idea because I was comatose from the spa, the paddleboarding, and general fun we’d been having for the previous few days.
For the Kids
The kids areas are divided up by age group. And holy cow did they look like fun. Of course, anything with skee ball looks like fun to us. Princess has partnered with the Discover Channel to provide some really cool science experiment options for the older kids.
Lisa trounced me in skee ball. She has a wicked arm.
Each Princess cruise ship has at least one godparent. The Regal Princess godparents? No big — only cast of The Love Boat! That’s right. Captain Stubing, Vicki, Julie, Isaac, Gopher, and Doc — and 25 of the celebrity guests from the show — were on hand to christen the Regal Princess. It deserves it’s own post with a ton of pictures, stories from the cast, and some video of Charo. Yes, Charo. If you’re a Gen Xer you won’t want to miss that post.
The Love Boat cast? We can die happy now.
The Final Word
There’s so much. Too much. This is just a sampling of what we did! All in all we had an amazing vacation. A three-day cruise on the Regal Princess is a perfect way to take some time away and regroup.
Caribbean sunset at sea.
Check out more of the adventure in our Storify: “Girlfriends Cruise The Love Boat“:
About the girls gone traveling:
Lisa Lehman Artist by trade. Maker by birth. Dreamer. Addicted to chocolate. Lover of wine. Self proclaimed fashionista. “Ink” connoisseur. Captivated by nature. Spellbound by fire. Enchanted by the written word. Seeking authenticity. View and purchase her work at Studio Jewel. Follow her on Twitter @StudioJewel.
Melanie Nelson has been blogging since 2004 (though she recently sold her site). She’s the author of Facebook All-In-One For Dummies (1st ed.) and is currently an editor at Social Media Examiner. Follow her on Twitter @Chilihead.
Disclosure: Girl Gone Travel writers were guests on the Regal Princess as part of this media event for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.