PORT OF SAN FRANCISCO — We’re perched 128 feet above the ocean on a glass-bottomed walkway circling the top deck of the Royal Princess cruise ship. The enclosed SeaWalk extends more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel, creating the illusion that you’re walking alongside the 1,000-foot-long ship — like, on air — rather than inside it.
Much like the entire mega-cruise experience these days, it’s dizzying and electrifying all at once. Cruise lines are forever trying to out-do one another with the biggest (or smallest and most intimate) ships, with celebrity chefs helming the menu, rock stars as entertainment and slides, rides and more to bewitch families. Late last year, Carnival Cruise Lines announced it was putting a roller coaster — the Bolt — on its Mardi Gras ship, which is set to hit the high seas in 2020.
Earlier this month, Princess Cruise Line sent the 3,560-passenger Royal Princess, christened by the Duchess of Cambridge in 2013, on her maiden voyage to San Francisco before sailing to Alaska. The cruise line will be offering 10-day round-trip cruises on that route from May 26 through Sept. 13.