Boomers on Royal Princess and Regent Princess Cruise Ships

These two ships are recent additions to Princess Cruises and my wife wanted to sail with the Royal Princess. We just did the reposition cruise on the Royal from the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal down to Fort Lauderdale with three stops in the Caribbean.

It is hard to answer when people ask me what is the best cruise line for baby boomers and just as hard to compare ships because it really is up to your personal taste and desires. But having taken 22 cruises and having sailed on the Royal with 2600 guests with Princess Platinum or better cards, here are some observations. The sweet spot of the ages on this cruise was say mid 60’s to early 70’s, so we now fit it perfectly.  That is kind of strange since we used to think the people were older, now they are our fellow baby boomers.

The Royal is a nice big glitzy ship with 3560 guests and 1700 crew but you don’t feel too crowded. There are some large spaces like the Piazza atrium which some felt was too much for their taste but most people liked it. We noticed there is no problem finding a seat at the bar lounges and around the Piazza atrium’s three levels. That was nice.

Atrium on Royal Princess cruise ship
Atrium on Royal Princess

 I must say the food and the Royal’s singers and dancers were the best I have seen. Also we had no problem at all with our anything dining getting in without any wait. Those are a big part the cruising experience right there.

Smaller things people were complaining about were no stairs above deck 8 on the center of the ship. Shower curtains rather than glass doors. A small balcony in their cabins.

Alfredo's on Royal Princess
Alfredo’s

But as the cruise got on you saw many positives like I have mentioned above with the food, shows and no wait to dine. There is Alfredo’s  Pizzeria, a new no fee restaurant with is nice for lunch and a full size Gelateria bar serving ice cream and Italian crepes. The SeaWalk on the side of the ship was fun to walk across and look down 128 feet to the ocean under your feet.

Top of the SeaWalk give a good view.
Top of the SeaWalk gives a good view.

The Movies Under the Stairs on Pool side was amazing. It is the largest movie screen of any cruise ship. It look great even during the day. The sound qualify was amazing and resulted in some great pool parties during the day.

The Princess Theater has the most up to date technology and the digital props on stage were amazing.

I loved the Royal’s ship horn which plays part of the Love Boat Theme which I capture here as we were leaving Antigua. The passengers on the Carnival ship next to us got a kick of it and cheered us goodbye!

The Royal Princess (and Regent Princess) are beautiful ships and you should give them a try. They will be sailing the Caribbean this Winter through April.

More about Cruises for Boomers
Celebrity Equinox Cruise Photos
Cruise Travel Tips
British Isles Cruise
Veterans Cruise Discounts

Celebrating 100 years

Celebrating 100 years
By Sunny Lockwood

While many dream of traveling around the globe to see such wonders as the Pyramids of Egypt or the Great Wall of China, there is an equally spectacular site in the western hemisphere. And it is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.

What is it? The Panama Canal

This 50-mile waterway, connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, changed our world. When it officially opened in 1914, it cut nearly 8,000 miles off the shipping routes from New York to San Francisco,

Considered the eighth wonder of the world, today the Panama Canal accommodates more than 14,000 ships a year carrying cargo ranging from automobiles to grain, on their passage between the oceans.

More than 10 percent of all U.S. shipping goes through the canal.

Cruising the Panama Canal

But for travelers who want to not only view interesting places but actually experience them, cruising through the Panama Canal is unforgettable. Cruise lines offer an array of such trips from a variety of starting ports.

Depending on a traveler’s pocketbook and calendar, transits can be partial (where the ship enters the canal, goes to Gatun Lake, then turns around and goes back out the same locks used to enter the canal) or full (entering the canal from one ocean and exiting at the far end into the other ocean).

When my husband and I cruised on Holland America’s ms Zuiderdam in 2012, it took more than eight hours to make the entire transit.

Our 82,000-ton ship barely fit in the locks, and being smoothly lifted and lowered 85-feet as the locks filled or emptied, was like riding a magic carpet.

There are three sets of locks at each end of the canal. Two lanes allow two ships to move through the locks at the same time. Each ship climbs up three locks at the start of the canal, and then down three at the end.

Lock chambers are 1,000-feet long and 110-feet wide.

One of the magical aspects of our transit through the locks, then through the nine-mile cut through the Continental Divide (think Rocky Mountains), then through the huge man-made Gatun Lake, and out the locks at the Canal’s far end, was that we and our ship did the transit exactly like that first ship had when the canal opened on August 15, 1914.

No computers at all. Everything is run by gravity and electricity. Gravity fills and empties the locks, lifting ships 85 feet above sea level at the beginning of the Canal, and then lowering them again at the end. And the electricity that opens and closes lock doors, and runs everything else at the canal is created by the canal’s dams. It’s all very self-sufficient.

Our trip was a spectacular and historic experience.

This centennial year would be the perfect time to visit this engineering wonder of the world. And cruising along its watery pathway is both inspiring and sobering (when you consider that more than 26,000 lives were lost in the building of this most famous short cut).

My only suggestion to make the trip more meaningful, would be to do some historical research into the building of the Canal. As you learn about the dream and how hard it was to make it all come true, you’ll appreciate the amazing journey across the Isthmus of Panama.

About the Author

Sunny Lockwood and her husband, Al, have traveled by foot, car, rail, air and cruise ship. Wherever they go, they capture unforgettable moments – Al with his camera and Sunny with her reporter’s notebook. Their work for newspapers and magazines has won national, regional and local awards. Cruising Panama’s Canal, savoring 5,000 nautical miles and 500,000 decadent calories is their first travel memoir. It’s available at amazon.com.

Connect with them on Facebook: Cruising Panama’s Canal

coming out of the Culebra Cut and into Gatun Lake
View from the Crow’s Nest, which is above the bow of ms Zuiderdam. We are coming out of the Culebra Cut and into Gatun Lake. Gatun Lake covers about 180 square miles and makes up the center of the Canal.

Celebrity Equinox Cruise Ship Photo Blog

Just back from a 10 night Caribbean cruise on the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship, my second cruise on this beautiful ship.  I have now taken 19 cruises and I think the Equinox is the best so far. Here are some of my photos of the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship.

Photo Blog of Celebrity Equinox Cruise Ship

The Lawn Club on the Deck 12
The Lawn Club on the Deck 12

The lawn club is amazing. Up on the top of the ship are two large areas of real grass!  We played bocce ball and was in a golf putting contest (which I won, see photo below).  The lawn club area makes this ship and the other solstice class ships really unique.

ship lawn putting contest
Putting contest at Lawn Club

 Well that is not all, right next to the Lawn Club is the Corning Glass Show. Given a couple of times a day while at sea, you have got to see this. True artisans at work.

Corning Glass Show on Equinox
Corning Glass Show
Rear deck of Celebrity Equinox
Rear deck of Celebrity Equinox

On the same level at the rear of the ship, there is a bar and sitting area. Up above you will the outside tables from the appropriately named Oceanview Cafe. This must have been St Thomas.

Dance Class
Dance Class

There is always some activity going on in the many foyers of the Equinox.  I believe this is some sort of dance exercise group. You don’t sign up, just show up. In the evenings there  games here.

Speaking of foyers, this one below is the Grand Foyer on Deck 3. Part of this foyer is the elevator atrium that shows four glass elevators as they go all the way to the top of the ship. Quite a sight. In the Grand Foyer there is always something going on, like dance classes, demonstrations, formal dancing, and mini “interactive” shows by the ship’s entertainment cast.

Grand Foyer on Eqinox
Grand Foyer

One evening the cast came down the stairs of the Grand Foyer and gave a mini show which turned into a dance party. It was wild!

Interactive Show on Equinox
Interactive Show on Equinox

The main entertainment area is the Princess Theater where two shows a night are staged. I liked this theater because there were no chairs and tables to bang around and camp your sitting.  Comfortable and every seat is a good seat, even in the balcony.

Princess Theater on Equinox
Princess Theater

On a returning sea day there is a great brunch from 10am to 2pm.  Do not miss this, it is excellent.

Brunch on Equinox
Brunch

 

One reason not to miss the brunch is the beautiful original food and ice carvings. Bring your camera like I did.

Food Carving on ship
Food Carvings

By the way, we took a cooking class at the Murano Specialty restaurant and really enjoyed it.  You get a great meal with the package. You have to ask the restaurant about this as I don’t think it is advertised.

Cooking Class Murano
Cooking Class

Of course there is a 24 hour computer room (staffed during the day)

computer room aboard the Equinox
Computer Room

Other rooms include a library

Library on Equinox
Library

 

And a card game room

card game roon on the Equinox
Card Game Room

Of course on a Caribbean cruise the pool area is very popular. Entertainment stage, hamburger and hotdog grill and bar right there too.

pool on the Equinox
Outdoor pool

But we liked the Adult Pool in the Solarium.

adult pool Equinox
Adult Pool

This little cafe is also in the solarium. They serve healthy food and have fresh fruit drinks and smoothies which we like.

Cafe in the solarium
Cafe in the solarium

Well there are many more attractive places on the Celebrity Equinox but this should give you an impression of this beautiful ship.

Boomer Cruise Vacations
Boomer Travel

Oh, I better let you see the outside of the Equinox.

Celebrity Equinox
Celebrity Equinox