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Travel writer Jo Kessel filmed the razzle dazzle aboard the Regal Princess, putting the ship’s ‘luxury’ bedding, mini-suite bathtub and giddying 16-deck-high glass walkway to the test. Her footage has the inside scoop on the ship’s entertainment and the best places to wine and dine on board. 

There’s an expectation of VIP treatment on a cruise ship with ‘Princess’ in its name – and I certainly got it on the Regal Princess. 

A video I shot of my mini-cruise from Southampton to Rotterdam on board the 3,500-passenger vessel starts by exploring the outdoor features, from multiple pools and hot tubs to an al fresco gym. 

Jo Kessel aboard the Regal Princess on a mini-cruise from Southampton to Rotterdam

Jo Kessel aboard the Regal Princess on a mini-cruise from Southampton to Rotterdam

There are umpteen ways to burn calories outside, including golf – although my swing would not have impressed Tiger Woods.

Moving on, I put some unique amenities to the test. 

First up: beds. Sleep’s key on holiday and American cruise line Princess has hired slumber experts to design the bespoke ‘Luxury Beds’ – available to purchase in the US if you fancy burning $1,700 (£1,250) on a mattress and $100 (£75) per pillow! 

Jo starts her trip by exploring the 3,500-passenger ship’s outdoor amenities, such as the hot tubs (pictured)

Jo starts her trip by exploring the 3,500-passenger ship’s outdoor amenities, such as the hot tubs (pictured)

The adults-only swimming area. Jo says that there are 'multiple pools' on board

The adults-only swimming area. Jo says that there are ‘multiple pools’ on board 

Jo takes to the ship's walking and jogging track. 'There are umpteen ways to burn calories outside,' she says

Jo takes to the ship’s walking and jogging track. ‘There are umpteen ways to burn calories outside,’ she says 

Jo enjoys a workout at the Regal Princess cruise ship's 'al fresco gym'

Jo enjoys a workout at the Regal Princess cruise ship’s ‘al fresco gym’ 

‘My swing would not have impressed Tiger Woods,’ Jo says, after her stint on the putting green

What did this travel writer make of hers? The mattress felt good, pillows and sheets too. Watch on for the verdict.

Mine’s normally a balcony stateroom, but this voyage saw me upgraded to a mini-suite. 

The footage highlights the perks of this accommodation, which includes extra space and two different types of bubbles. 

'The mattress felt good, pillows and sheets too,' Jo says of her bed. American cruise line Princess hired slumber experts to design the bespoke ‘Luxury Beds’, she reveals

‘The mattress felt good, pillows and sheets too,’ Jo says of her bed. American cruise line Princess hired slumber experts to design the bespoke ‘Luxury Beds’, she reveals

Jo usually opts for a balcony stateroom, but this voyage sees her upgraded to a mini-suite (pictured)

Jo usually opts for a balcony stateroom, but this voyage sees her upgraded to a mini-suite (pictured) 

'A mini-suite’s bathroom boasts a full-sized tub - a rarity on a cruise ship,' Jo writes

‘A mini-suite’s bathroom boasts a full-sized tub – a rarity on a cruise ship,’ Jo writes 

One’s a welcome bottle of champers; the other’s the soaking-in variety. A mini-suite’s bathroom boasts a full-sized tub – a rarity on a cruise ship. 

Cue lots of lazing in a bath filled with frothy foam.

Gone are room keys that resemble credit cards.

The main deck on the ship features a stage between two pools. In the evening it transforms into a fountain that stars in nightly sound and light shows

The main deck on the ship features a stage between two pools. In the evening it transforms into a fountain that stars in nightly sound and light shows

Jo brandishes her 'Medallion' - a touchless technology system that has multiple functions

Jo brandishes her ‘Medallion’ – a touchless technology system that has multiple functions 

Jo sips on a colourful cocktail beside the ship's main pool and cinema area

Jo sips on a colourful cocktail beside the ship’s main pool and cinema area 

REGAL PRINCESS BY THE NUMBERS

Regal Princess, built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, made her debut in 2014. She measures 217ft (66m) high, 1,083ft (330m) long and weighs 142,229 gross tonnes.

Guests can explore 19 decks, and the ship boasts more than 1,400 balconies. The ship can accommodate 3,560 guests and there are 1,346 international crew members onboard.

Instead Regal Princess pioneered the ‘Medallion’ – a touchless technology now rolled out fleet-wide. 

This is a 10p-sized disc worn as the pendant on a necklace or wristband and that performs multiple functions (all shown in the film) like opening cabin doors, paying for purchases and clocking on and off the ship. 

It’s the perfect, hands-free pandemic accessory.

Next up are a couple more exclusive-to-Princess offerings. 

The stage sandwiched between the top deck’s swimming pools transforms into a fountain that stars in nightly sound and light shows. 

Then there’s the ‘Sea Walk’ – a 16-deck-high glass walkway that cantilevers over the edge of the ship. 

Walking its length (seeing the sea beneath your feet) is giddying stuff. 

Fear sees many a passenger retreat after a couple of steps. 

The ‘Sea Walk’, pictured, is a 16-deck-high glass walkway that cantilevers over the edge of the ship

According to Jo, food is of a high standard throughout the Regal Princess

Don’t worry. The film shows there’s plenty of conventional entertainment too, from live music venues to a theatre that stages West End-style musicals to the spa.

Finally we see Regal’s cuisine.  

While food is of a high standard throughout the ship, my favourite dishes are Italian speciality restaurant Sabatini’s mushroom risotto and Crown Grill steakhouse’s filet mignon.

Jo relaxes in the ship's Lotus Spa. 'There’s an expectation of VIP treatment on a cruise ship with "Princess" in its name,' she says

Jo relaxes in the ship’s Lotus Spa. ‘There’s an expectation of VIP treatment on a cruise ship with “Princess” in its name,’ she says 

'I felt like royalty from start to finish,' Jo says of her trip aboard the Regal Princess. She's pictured here in the three-tier atrium, which 'bustles with bars and glitters like a tiara'

‘I felt like royalty from start to finish,’ Jo says of her trip aboard the Regal Princess. She’s pictured here in the three-tier atrium, which ‘bustles with bars and glitters like a tiara’

The video ends in the dazzling, three-tier atrium, which bustles with bars and glitters like a tiara. 

Did Regal Princess live up to its name? Actually, yes! I felt like royalty from start to finish. 

For more videos from Jo, visit her YouTube channel – Go With Jo

Regal Princess docked at Fort Lauderdale. The ship sets off on Caribbean cruises from the US port from November to April

Regal Princess docked at Fort Lauderdale. The ship sets off on Caribbean cruises from the US port from November to April

TRAVEL FACTS

November to April, Regal Princess sails Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale in the US, returning to Europe for spring/summer 2022

A seven-night Mediterranean cruise with stops in France and Italy on Regal Princess departing Barcelona on Saturday Mar 26, 2022 costs from £489pp (the ‘Princess Fare’) or £699pp Princess Plus (an all-inclusive option adding drinks, Wi-Fi and ‘crew appreciation’). 

For more information visit princess.com. 

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Buyer pledges US board for defence firm Ultra: Private equity buyer promises to create separate boards for its American and UK businesses










The private equity buyer of Ultra Electronics has promised to create separate boards for its American and UK businesses in a bid to ease national security fears, The Mail on Sunday can reveal

Defence specialist Cobham – owned by US private equity giant Advent – is buying Ultra for £2.57billion. Ultra makes components for the submarines which are part of the UK’s nuclear deterrent. 

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has asked the Competition and Markets Authority to scrutinise the deal on the grounds that it may threaten national security. 

The watchdog is due to report back on January 18. A decision from the Government on whether to conduct an in-depth probe or wave the deal through will then follow.

Security fears: Ultra makes components for the submarines which are part of the UK's nuclear deterrent

Security fears: Ultra makes components for the submarines which are part of the UK’s nuclear deterrent

Kwarteng last year banned Ultra from sharing sensitive national security details with Advent. He warned that foreign investment ‘must not threaten national security’. 

Sources close to the deal said that Cobham hopes that, by creating separate boards, it will underline its commitment to preventing national security leaks. 

The move is among a series of commitments Advent and Cobham are expected to make to secure the takeover – including pledges on UK investments and jobs. Ultra is headquartered in London, but makes the bulk of its revenues in the US. 

Advent bought Cobham in 2020 and swiftly sold off a string of assets. Cobham’s move on Ultra had sparked concerns that it too could be broken up. 

However, one analyst said: ‘There are fewer non-core businesses that could be easily sold off at Ultra so that’s less of a concern.’ 

It has also emerged that formidable US hedge fund Davidson Kempner’s European arm appears to be betting against the deal. The firm has taken a £28 million short position in Ultra. 

The shares closed last week at £31.64 – below Cobham’s £35-a-share offer price – suggesting that most investors believe the takeover will be completed, but that there is an element of uncertainty. 

Advent and Ultra declined to comment.

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