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Regal Princess

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The Proposition: The Regal Princess debuted May 2014 with 1,780 cabins, including 40 private-balcony suites (seven-day cruises start at $599/person). The ABC TV series The Love Boat was based on the memoirs of a former Princess cruise director, and the line lives up to that romantic legacy with private balcony dinners and wedding services at sea. 

The Regal Princess is an elegant floating resort offering dozens of activities and experiences. Exclusive to the Regal is the SeaWalk, a top-deck, glass-bottomed walkway that extends 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship (warning: It’s a wee bit terrifying at first).  Music plays in its multilevel piazza all day and evening (string quartet, piano, Caribbean beats, and the like). There is a casino and a world-class spa, and every night there is a musical production, comedy or magic show, or movie under the stars.

A fully equipped gym, jogging track, driving range, and a variety of other sports activities can help you keep off the pounds while at sea, a consideration worth noting given all the food options onboard: three main dining rooms (one with traditional seating, two with anytime seating) and two specialty restaurants, plus a range of informal options. And, since the Regal boasts the largest pastry shop at sea, expect lots and lots of desserts by master chocolatier and pastry chef Norman Love. 

Port days are an opportunity to disembark and explore the islands on your itinerary (you can sign up for scheduled tours or go it alone), while sea days provide a chance to relax or participate in ping-pong and boccie-ball tournaments, take a class, watch cooking demonstrations, play trivia, sing karaoke, and virtually any other activity you can think of. There are also youth and teen centers to entertain even the most truculent toddler or sullen teen. (www.princess.com)

Do: The Sanctuary

We love other people’s kids too, but this adults-only retreat is a welcome respite. You can bask in the sun, enjoy the sea breeze, or indulge in an open-air massage. With “serenity stewards” offering Evian water atomizers, smoothies, and more, it’s definitely worth the $20 half-day surcharge. 

Dine: Sabatini’s

While you’re mulling over the menu, nibble on marinated olives, spicy focaccia Grissini, and a rosemary flatbread with parma prosciutto, compliments of the chef. That might be a meal in and of itself, but take our advice and order the tris d’aragosta, or “lobster three ways”: lobster tail, lobster orzotto, and lobster bisque sauce. Pure lobster heaven.