In the first in a series of reviews from my most recent cruise on the Regal Princess, I am going to review my stateroom and share my thoughts on having a balcony.
Before booking the cruise, I’d agonised over which stateroom to book. Through my research before booking the cruise I’d scoured the deck plans, read different forums and decided on a mid-ship balcony stateroom.
Cruise Tip: Mid-ship staterooms are sought-after and therefore tend to be priced higher than similar staterooms elsewhere on the ship. If you choose a stateroom mid-ship just outside the ‘expensive’ zone, it will still have all the benefits of a mid-ship stateroom like a central location and reduced movement without having to pay the inflated price.
Having never had a balcony before, I thought of it as a novelty, a bit of a treat, so booked port side in the hope that it would offer wonderful views of the Caribbean islands I was going to visit – how wrong was I! Here were the ports of call and the side of the ship that docked:
- For Lauderdale – Starboard
- Amber Cove – Starboard
- St Thomas – Starboard
- St Maarten – Starboard
- Fort Lauderdale – Starboard
- Princess Cays (tender)
- Montego Bay, Jamaica – Port
- Grand Cayman (tender)
- Cozumel – Port
Cruise tip: If you’re looking at a similar Caribbean cruise, my advice would definitely be to book a starboard side stateroom, so that you can watch the ship come into port from the comfort of your balcony.
I stayed in Stateroom A506 on Aloha deck, just a short walk from the elevators. When we sailed in January 2017 we were surprised to find that there were no central staircases mid-ship but learnt that there were plans to introduce staircases whilst the Regal was in dry dock in Spring 2017.
Our stateroom was an adequate size for two people with plenty of wardrobe space for a fortnight’s worth of clothes (including formal wear) for both of us. Our cabin steward was more than happy to provide us with additional clothes hangers in order for us to hang the majority of our clothes. All I would say is that the size of the stateroom really did mean that we had to keep everything tidy and in its place to avoid clutter and this did become more challenging as the cruise progressed after we’d accumulated daily Princess Patters and souvenirs from each island.
Our bathroom had a shower with ample room to manoeuvre, although I must point out that I am a petite 4 ft 11 inches, which does have its advantages in these situations. The sink had plenty of room either side of the basin for toiletries as well as underneath for further storage of wash bags and towels. I used the washing line in the shower cubical to dry swimming costumes and any clothes I’d hand-washed during the cruise.
Video tour of our port side balcony stateroom on Aloha deck
The bed was a great size and very comfortable which made it ideal for chilling out before dinner and well… sleeping in! The only thing we noticed was that having a balcony room meant that the light came into the room in the mornings, which made sleeping in on sea days a little more challenging.
We only took advantage of room service once for breakfast when we had an early start in one of the ports. I definitely preferred the cold items like the pastry, orange juice and fruit salad rather than the warm breakfast muffin, which was a bit soggy and difficult to eat early in the morning.
We didn’t decide to eat in our room at any other time, preferring to visit the restaurants, buffet or main dining room for our meals but our friends raved about the room service burger, which was their favourite on the ship.
The Regal Princess had a great selection of TV channels and on demand films to choose from. We watched several films when we returned to the stateroom on a night time and if you missed the Movie Under the Stars it was available to watch in your stateroom.
Balcony: Pros and Cons
As I’d mentioned earlier in this post, booking a balcony was definitely a treat, having only had internal and outside cabins previously, but would I book a balcony next time?
The answer is… I’m not sure.
Pros to having a balcony:
- Being able to check the weather and dress accordingly
- You can watch from your balcony the cruise ship coming into port and leaving port
- It is an additional space to relax
Cons to having a balcony:
- More light in the room during mornings
- The view will depend on which side the cruise ship docks in port
The view of Fort Lauderdale from our balcony
The simple fact was that we didn’t really use our balcony that much and so it was nice to be able to look outside but it wasn’t something that we couldn’t live without. Some cruisers say that a balcony is an essential and that they would never book an internal room but for us we have already tried other types of stateroom and can see the value of other configurations. I know that if we had to choose between cruising more in an inside stateroom or cruising less in a balcony stateroom, I would not hesitate to opt for an inside stateroom!
What do you think? Let me know your thoughts on the different staterooms that you’ve stayed in and if you think a balcony is a necessity or an optional extra.