The cruise industry seems to be moving towards a “big ship” design. Ever since Voyager of the Seas debuted in 1999, the cruise industry has built larger and larger ships to both meet demand and to offer amenities other cruise lines could not. Unfortunately, many long time cruisers who cherish the intimate and classic designs of mid and small sized ships are being passed over when it comes to new ship designs. Thankfully, this past week, I discovered big doesn’t necessarily mean big.
Last week, I sailed aboard Princess Cruises’ relatively new Regal Princess. Debuting this past May in the Mediterranean, she’s a behemoth by industry standards (ranking as the 12th largest ship in the world) and a departure from Princess’ smaller sized ships of the past. Many cruisers, especially seasoned Princess guests, may find the Regal Princess’ 142,229 tons, 1,083 feet, 19 decks, and 1,780 staterooms intimidating; yet they shouldn’t. Upon boarding the Regal Princess in Port Everglades, I found myself strolling through the Piazza, the ship’s central atrium. I immediately felt a sense of familiarity, harkening back to my sailing aboard the Ruby Princess in February and my tour of the Caribbean Princess in 2013. As I looked around, I thought to myself that this atrium, while slightly larger, could belong to any mid-sized Princess ship. It was funny, because I knew the ship was much larger than past Princess ships, but it held on to its intimate and cozy atmosphere.
Later, after unpacking and grabbing a breath of fresh air from my private balcony, I took off to explore other areas of the ship. As I walked down the various decks, for example, Promenade, I was once again struck by the familiarity and atmosphere of Princess’ past ships. Making the left turn from the aft elevator bank, I passed by the Crown Grill on my left, and glanced o