ONBOARD THE REGAL PRINCESS — On a walkthrough Nov. 4 while the Regal Princess was docked and readying for its naming ceremony by the original "Love Boat" cast, the atrium appeared as busy as it would be on a regular embarkation day.
Invited guests streamed on and pulled up chairs in the Piazza, or settled into the bars and lounges ringing the atrium.
Several of those guests were travel agents inspecting the ship as part of the CruiseWorld conference in Fort Lauderdale.
Princess said the atrium on the Regal and Royal Princesses is 50% larger than its venues on its other ships — at 141,000 gross tons and 3,560 passengers, the ships are also the largest in the fleet. And the atrium is certainly an impressive sight, with bars, lounges and eateries on each deck.
There's Bellini's, for example, a bellini bar that's a new feature of the Regal and Royal Princesses and provides a perfect spot for sipping a drink and people-watching on the Piazza below.
Other spots include martini bar Crooners and Gelato for, well, gelato.
That's one thing about the Regal Princess: Passengers won't want for sweet treats. There's a hallway in the Lido buffet restaurant reserved strictly for desserts.
And there's also Princess' new partnership with chocolatier Norman Love, which takes several forms, including the option to buy wine and chocolate pairings at Vines wine bar — also to be found in the atrium.
Another area that took advantage of the Regal's size is the Lotus Spa, which occupies the forward third of Deck 5, not including the fitness center, which has its home on one of the top decks.
The highlight of the Lotus Spa is the Enclave, the Regal/
Royal's take on the thermal suite, dressed in a dramatic dark palette and devoted to a hydrotherapy pool with pounding jets of water, heated tile loungers, water beds and a collection of sauna and steam rooms.
The Regal was just one option available to agents as part of the CruiseWorld ship inspection program. In addition to the Regal and Ruby Princesses, it included vessels from Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, MSC Cruises and Disney Cruise Line.
As CruiseWorld kicked off in Fort Lauderdale, the Regal Princess was the closest to the show: It was docked in Port Everglades adjacent to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center, and its funnel and SeaWitch logo were visible from the convention center's windows.
Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald, who was the first keynote speaker at the show, made an early exit in order to be on hand for the ship's star-studded naming ceremony, which ran the gamut from the "Love Boat" cast to musician Charo (frequent guest star on the “Love Boat”) to Tori Spelling (daughter of the late "Love Boat" producer Aaron Spelling).
Take a walk through the Regal Princess with Rebecca Tobin.