Thursday, March 13, 2014

Royal Princess Aft Balcony Stateroom

For our 2013 Royal Princess Christmas Cruise, we were delighted to find a deal before booking on balcony staterooms.  Having enjoyed our aft balcony stateroom on the Norwegian Epic (the aft is the rear of the ship... these balconies face backwards), my dad scoured the deck plans to find the deck with the largest aft balconies.  That deck is the Dolphin deck, or deck 9.  My sister and I were in room D729 and our parents were in the adjacent room D731.  The actual name of this category of room is "Premium Deluxe Balcony Stateroom" ....but that was just too lengthy for the title of this post.

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One of the benefits of sailing on the newest ship in the fleet is that the furnishings in the room are up-to-date and free of heavy wear and tear.



Our beds were in the twin configuration. There isn't much of a difference between queen and twin in the layout except where they put the nightstand... one doesn't give you more usable floor space as it did in our oceanview stateroom last Christmas.

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The difference between the Deluxe Balcony Stateroom and the standard Balcony Stateroom is that the Deluxe has the love seat, while the deluxe has a split vanity.  There was no pullman bunk in this room, but I peeked under the love seat, and it appears that it does fold out.  I am unsure whether the occupancy of this room is a maximum of 3 or 4 people.  I believe that the sofa bed would be very small for two people to share.

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I have written about this stateroom several times in reviews, and I have yet to talk about the television.  Not only is it very large, but it has watch-on-demand television.  This means that instead of flipping through channels, you select shows to watch by flipping through them on the screen and selecting them with your remote.  There is a great selection of television series (including the Love Boat), recently released movies, and sports.  If you enjoy watching the replays of the previous night's entertainment, you have nothing to fear - all of the entertainment which takes place in the Princess Live venue is recorded and available to watch on demand on your stateroom television the next day.  There are also no commercials.  It is truly like watching Netflix.  My only complaint about the on-demand television is that ours was glitchy and didn't work a few times when we really wanted to watch Love Boat or The Middle before going to bed.

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I complained about the small size of the shower on the Island Princess. There is much improvement in the Royal Princess showers. There is plenty of room inside - it really isn't tiny at all. And there is a little shelf to put your bottles and prop your leg on for shaving. LOVED IT!

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And finally.... the balcony!

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I highly recommend getting an aft balcony on the Dolphin deck. Sure, there is a little more vibration and ship noise in the rear of the ship, and you feel a lot more movement, but the balcony itself is spectacular, especially in comparison to what they consider a "deluxe" balcony on the Royal Princess (aka just enough room to squeeze in two chairs, and ottoman, and a table). Ours was partially covered and partially uncovered. We could look onto the balcony below us (deck 8/Emerald - completely uncovered and half the size of our balcony) and the balcony above us was setback and looked down on us (deck 10, also smaller than the deck 9 balcony).

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One concern with aft balconies on the Royal Princess is soot.  Apparently there is an issue with their Movies Under the Stars outdoor television screen which causes soot to deposit towards the back of the ship.  Perhaps we were extremely lucky, but we did not have significant problems with soot on our cruise.  In fact, I never visibly noticed soot and it never prevented us from using our balcony.  The only time I came in contact with it was when I was outside on the balcony after it rained and went back inside to look at the bottom of my feet and realize they were black.  But other than that, I never saw soot and have no complaints about it.
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