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A team from Caladan Oceanic went hunting for in the Philippine Sea for the USS Johnston, a World War II ship that sank in 1944, when they came across something even more amazing – an world’s deepest-dwelling squid.

More than 20,000 feet below the surface, the two explorers inside the submarine captured a shadow trailing along the seafloor and a later investigation proved it was a young bigfin squid.

The squid, which featured long slender terminal arms and tentacle filaments, is the first to be observed at hadal depths that represents that deepest marine habitats on Earth.

The last time a bigfin squid was seen by human eyes was in 2014, but this specimen was just 15,400 feet below the surface.

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More than 20,000 feet below the surface, the two explorers inside the submarine captured a shadow (pictured) trailing along the seafloor and a later investigation proved it was a young bigfin squid

More than 20,000 feet below the surface, the two explorers inside the submarine captured a shadow (pictured) trailing along the seafloor and a later investigation proved it was a young bigfin squid

Bigfin squid – or Magnapinna – are known for their long arms and tentacles and can measure up to 22 feet in length, but the one spotted last month was a juvenile so it was not fully developed it measured just three inches long.

Alan Jamieson, a deep-sea researcher from the University of Western Australia, made the discovery of the squid in footage collected by the researchers, which was just released in December 2021 – but the sighting was earlier in the year.

While watching the footage, he spotted a showdown moving across the screen and sent the clip and still images to Mike Vecchione, a zoologist at the Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian Magazine reports.

And from the outline of the creature, Vecchione concluded it was a magnapinnid.

The last time a bigfin squid was seen by human eyes was in 2014, but this specimen was just 15,400 feet below the surface

The last time a bigfin squid was seen by human eyes was in 2014, but this specimen was just 15,400 feet below the surface

Alan Jamieson, a deep-sea researcher from the University of Western Australia, made the discover of the squid in footage collected by the researchers studying the Philippine Sea

Alan Jamieson, a deep-sea researcher from the University of Western Australia, made the discover of the squid in footage collected by the researchers studying the Philippine Sea

The shipwreck, however, was discovered in April 2021 – the squid was spotted shortly after during another dive to the wreck.

The remains of the USS Johnston area also the deepest on record, which the team has since full mapped and filled.

The WWII destroyer USS Johnston was destroyed 75 years ago in the Pacific during the largest naval battle in history, the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

The ship sank four miles to the bottom of the ocean, with the loss of 186 of her crew.

Bigfin squid ¿ or Magnapinna ¿ are known for their long arms and tentacles and can measure up to 22 feet in length, but the one spotted last month was a juvenile so it was not fully developed it measured just three inches long

Bigfin squid – or Magnapinna – are known for their long arms and tentacles and can measure up to 22 feet in length, but the one spotted last month was a juvenile so it was not fully developed it measured just three inches long

Pictured is an image of an adult bigfin squid

Pictured is an image of an adult bigfin squid

During a series of dives, the former US Navy officers were able to relocate the USS Johnston and then spent several hours surveying and mapping the remains of the 376-ft long ship.

Victor Vescovo, the American private equity investor, retired naval officer, and undersea explorer who led the expedition, spoke to the BBC about the challenges in locating the shipwreck – he also shared the footage with Jamison, which led to the discovery of the bigfin squid.

The shipwreck, however, was discovered in April 2021 - the squid was spotted during another dive to the wreck

The shipwreck, however, was discovered in April 2021 – the squid was spotted during another dive to the wreck

The vessel is famed for her brave action in the Battle off Samar. Outgunned by the Japanese, USS Johnston led an attack of a handful of lightships against a colossal fleet until it was surrounded

The vessel is famed for her brave action in the Battle off Samar. Outgunned by the Japanese, USS Johnston led an attack of a handful of lightships against a colossal fleet until it was surrounded 

‘The wreck is so deep so there’s very little oxygen down there, and while there is a little bit of contamination from marine life, it’s remarkably well intact except for the damage it took from the furious fight,’ he explained.

The vessel is famed for her brave action in the Battle off Samar. Outgunned by the Japanese, USS Johnston led an attack of a handful of lightships against a colossal fleet until it was surrounded.

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Renderings were recently unveiled for a stunning floating condo called Somnio, which will offer ultra-luxury apartments starting at £8.1million. 

But she’s by no means the only option for a cruise-ship-style life at sea. The Utopia and The World residential ships have already attracted buyers. But they too are expensive, with residences costing from $4.4million (£3.2million) in the case of Utopia and from $2million (£1.4million) for The World.

However, there is good news for those with shallower pockets who want to live on a cruise ship. MV Narrative, a ‘residential community at sea’, has one to four-bedroom apartments and studios starting at just $366,667 (£268,170).

The new Storylines boat MV Narrative (pictured) has one to four-bedroom apartments and studios starting at just $366,667 (£268,170)

The new Storylines boat MV Narrative (pictured) has one to four-bedroom apartments and studios starting at just $366,667 (£268,170)

There will be 627 residences on the 741ft- (226 m) long Storylines ship, which is currently being built in Croatia and is due to launch in 2024. 

Florida-based Storylines says that its primary focus is on ‘providing more affordable entry-level options into the condo ship market’. The lowest-priced home is the 237-sq-ft (22 sq m) ’Discover’ apartment. 

The cost will soar, however, for those in the market for one of the two-storey penthouses, which are worth up to $8million (£5.8million). These homes can stretch to 1,970 sq ft (183 sq m).

There will also be the option to avail of a 12 month or 24-month lease, and owners can rent out their properties to make some money through Storylines’ ‘Guest at Sea’ rental program.

The ship will be all-inclusive, but residents will be charged a ‘living fee’ to cover expenses like maintenance and food.

Storylines' MV Narrative, pictured, is billed as a new ‘residential community at sea’

Storylines’ MV Narrative, pictured, is billed as a new ‘residential community at sea’

This rendering shows one of the more affordable options - the 'Breeze' home. The bedrooms will feature queen-size Murphy beds and 'luxury' mattresses to ‘ensure maximum comfort at night’

This rendering shows one of the more affordable options – the ‘Breeze’ home. The bedrooms will feature queen-size Murphy beds and ‘luxury’ mattresses to ‘ensure maximum comfort at night’

Pictured is a lower-priced 'Explore' home on MV Narrative. The most affordable residence is the 237-sq-ft (22 sq m) ’Discover’ apartment

Pictured is a lower-priced ‘Explore’ home on MV Narrative. The most affordable residence is the 237-sq-ft (22 sq m) ’Discover’ apartment

Each home will be fully furnished with ‘Italian designed’ furnishings, and residents can choose between two different layouts for their properties. Pictured is a mid-range 'Dream' apartment

Each home will be fully furnished with ‘Italian designed’ furnishings, and residents can choose between two different layouts for their properties. Pictured is a mid-range ‘Dream’ apartment 

Each apartment will be fully furnished with ‘Italian-designed’ items, and residents can choose between two different layouts for their properties. 

Every home will be decked out with full kitchens, flat-screen TVs, ‘climate control’ systems, adjustable mood lighting and stereo speakers, and the bedrooms will feature queen-size murphy beds and ‘luxury’ mattresses to ‘ensure maximum comfort at night’.

When the MV Narrative is offshore, homeowners can wine and dine at the ship’s 20 bars and restaurants, which include an oyster bar, a Chinese restaurant, and an ‘ice creamery’. They can also order twenty-four-seven from a home delivery service.

A bathroom in a 'Global' two-storey penthouse. These homes are priced up to $8million (£5.8million)

A bathroom in a ‘Global’ two-storey penthouse. These homes are priced up to $8million (£5.8million)

A kitchen area of the 'Global' two-storey penthouses on the ship, which is due to launch in 2024

A kitchen area of the ‘Global’ two-storey penthouses on the ship, which is due to launch in 2024

Each home will be decked out with flat-screen TVs, ‘climate control’ systems, adjustable mood lighting and stereo speakers. Pictured is a bedroom in one of the penthouses

Each home will be decked out with flat-screen TVs, ‘climate control’ systems, adjustable mood lighting and stereo speakers. Pictured is a bedroom in one of the penthouses

There will be ‘resident choice’ days on the ship, where those living on board get to choose where the MV Narrative docks next. Pictured is the upper level of a penthouse

There will be ‘resident choice’ days on the ship, where those living on board get to choose where the MV Narrative docks next. Pictured is the upper level of a penthouse

As for entertainment, the ship will feature one cinema, a microbrewery, three pools and a 10,000-book library.

The Spa and Wellness Centre will encompass a salon, a juice bar, a yoga studio, and a whirlpool. A statement notes that the spa is ‘perfectly situated with sweeping 180-degree views’.

What’s more, there’ll be a golf simulator, an art space, and a dance floor. A statement adds: ‘Residents are encouraged to start special interest clubs; perhaps you are a chess, photography, wine, astronomy or bridge aficionado? Start a club or join in on the fun.’

Lectures and workshops ‘on and off the ship’ will also cover topics such as architecture, finance, local geography, philanthropy and art history. 

Pictured is the ship's 10,000-book library. Lectures and workshops ‘on and off the ship’ will also cover topics such as architecture, finance, local geography, philanthropy and art history

Pictured is the ship’s 10,000-book library. Lectures and workshops ‘on and off the ship’ will also cover topics such as architecture, finance, local geography, philanthropy and art history

One of three pools on board. The ship's Spa and Wellness Centre will feature a yoga studio, and a whirlpool

One of three pools on board. The ship’s Spa and Wellness Centre will feature a yoga studio, and a whirlpool

Pictured is the ship's Marina Lounge. Residents will be charged a ‘living fee’ to cover expenses such as maintenance and food on board the ship

Pictured is the ship’s Marina Lounge. Residents will be charged a ‘living fee’ to cover expenses such as maintenance and food on board the ship

The ship will spend between one and five days docked in ports around the world. A sample itinerary shows that residents will be able to explore the likes of Venice, the Maltese capital of Valletta, and Athens on a tour around the Mediterranean. 

There will also be ‘resident choice’ days, where those living on board get to choose where the ship docks next. Residents are welcome to invite guests on board when the ship is docked.  

For more information visit storylines.com.

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The North Pole is the least hospitable place in the world. In 1895, the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen spent weeks living on an ice floe during an expedition that tried and failed to reach it. The first people – a group of Russian scientists – to set foot there did so only in 1948.

By any measure, I am pretty much the least likely person to try to reach the North Pole. I never try to get fit by hauling a tyre after me. I own the bare minimum of outdoor gear.

Above all, I dearly love my creature comforts.

Le Commandant Charcot, pictured, has been designed to reach the very heart of the polar regions, both in the Arctic and Antarctic

Le Commandant Charcot, pictured, has been designed to reach the very heart of the polar regions, both in the Arctic and Antarctic

Pictured is a seating area on Deck 9 of the new cruise ship, which was launched by the French cruise company Ponant

Pictured is a seating area on Deck 9 of the new cruise ship, which was launched by the French cruise company Ponant

But now I have the chance, as with €300 million of technological and environmental innovation behind it, Le Commandant Charcot, a new ship from the French cruise company Ponant, has been designed to reach the very heart of the polar regions, both in the Arctic and Antarctic – and in some comfort.

When I join the ship at Longyearbyen in Norway’s Spitsbergen archipelago – the last human settlement for more than 400 miles – my first impression is of elegance rather than brute ice-breaker strength, and I discover that underneath, it’s a gentle beast, powered by liquefied natural gas and batteries and designed to deliver minimal vibration, thanks to clever things going on around the hull.

There are two bridges so the ship can go backwards as well as forwards, all waste is sorted and stored on board, and there are significant reductions of emissions: 25 per cent less carbon, 85 per cent less nitrogen oxide and 95 per cent lower fine particle emissions.

The Gastronomic Restaurant Nuna on Deck 5. 'Ponant ships already have an enviable reputation for food but this ship takes it further,' writes Sarah

The Gastronomic Restaurant Nuna on Deck 5. ‘Ponant ships already have an enviable reputation for food but this ship takes it further,’ writes Sarah 

The ship is powered by liquefied natural gas and batteries and designed to deliver minimal vibration

In the spa, guests can relax in the snow room (pictured above) as well as take to the sauna and treatment rooms

The ship is powered by liquefied natural gas and batteries and designed to deliver minimal vibration. In the spa, guests can relax in the snow room (pictured on the right) as well as take to the sauna and treatment rooms 

Two hanging basket chairs, pictured, are suspended by a window in the cruise ship's spa area

Two hanging basket chairs, pictured, are suspended by a window in the cruise ship’s spa area

Sarah says of the ship: 'My first impression is of elegance rather than brute ice-breaker strength, and I discover that underneath, it’s a gentle beast'

Sarah says of the ship: ‘My first impression is of elegance rather than brute ice-breaker strength, and I discover that underneath, it’s a gentle beast’

But being of a non-technical disposition, it’s the windows I love most, which allow me to take a leisurely breakfast where I can compare the foam on my cappuccino to the ice floes outside.

The whole ship is a delightful blend of ingenuity and engineering. The fire pit and the outside swimming pool on the top deck are all heated from the ship’s waste energy. There are no plastic bottles on board – sea water is filtered to provide cold, room-temperature and sparkling drinking water.

In the spa, there’s a snow room as well as a sauna and treatment rooms, an indoor swimming pool, and two hanging basket chairs by a window. The 123 staterooms have a quietness of design, and all have a heated balcony too because even though they are stuffed with gadgets, including Nespresso machines and televisions, they are no competition for the scenery outside.

The 123 staterooms have a quietness of design, and all have a heated balcony too, according to Sarah

The 123 staterooms have a quietness of design, and all have a heated balcony too, according to Sarah 

The guestrooms on board are stuffed with gadgets, including Nespresso machines and televisions

Pictured is the main lounge on Deck 5. 'Though all announcements and talks are in both French and English, the ship is very French in ways that please,' Sarah writes

The guestrooms on board – such as the one pictured on the left – are stuffed with gadgets, including Nespresso machines and televisions. Pictured on the right is the main lounge on Deck 5. ‘Though all announcements and talks are in both French and English, the ship is very French in ways that please,’ Sarah writes

And though all announcements and talks are in both French and English, the ship is very French in ways that please. The toiletries in the staterooms are from the cult Gallic brand Diptyque, in refillable bottles. Ponant ships want to be Kermit-green while being extremely luxurious.

The cruise is very expensive but the cost includes all meals and highly superior wines, including unlimited Veuve Clicquot champagne and spirits.

Ponant ships already have an enviable reputation for food but this ship takes it further, with the menus in the three restaurants on board under the command of Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse.

Above is the Wellness Lounge Nuan on Deck 9 of the ship. Sarah recommends Le Commandant Charcot for those who want 'comfort' as well as adventure

Above is the Wellness Lounge Nuan on Deck 9 of the ship. Sarah recommends Le Commandant Charcot for those who want ‘comfort’ as well as adventure  

Pictured is the indoor swimming pool in the spa. Guests can also go for a dip in the outside swimming pool on the top deck

Pictured is the indoor swimming pool in the spa. Guests can also go for a dip in the outside swimming pool on the top deck

Sarah writes: 'It’s the windows I love most, which allow me to take a leisurely breakfast where I can compare the foam on my cappuccino to the ice floes outside.' Pictured is Restaurant Sila on Deck 9

Above you'll see open-air bar Inneq, which is based on Deck 9 of the new cruise ship

Sarah writes: ‘It’s the windows I love most, which allow me to take a leisurely breakfast where I can compare the foam on my cappuccino to the ice floes outside.’ Pictured on the left is Restaurant Sila on Deck 9. On the right, you’ll see open-air bar Inneq, which is also based on Deck 9 of the new cruise ship

The captain makes clear his priorities, again in typically Gallic style. ‘I will make an announcement if we see any wildlife,’ he says. ‘Even if it is during meal time. Even though this is a French ship.’

In fact, on my first day, it’s during a talk that there’s an announcement that two polar bears have been sighted. The ship glides to a halt and we head out on to the decks and balconies. A mother bear shows purpose as she crosses the ice, her cub doing pratfalls into piles of snow.

Later that day, when a mother with younger cubs moves away, we don’t follow; it’s a deliberate policy. As one of the naturalists on board points out: ‘We don’t want them to miss a meal. Polar bears need all the calories they can get.’

Scientists are also on board Le Commandant Charcot – the ship has two laboratories and scientific research will form part of every voyage. The scientists also give talks. I attend one with Camille Lique of the University of Brest, who is researching climate change. She is asked whether ships such as Le Commandant Charcot are damaging the environment. She thinks for a moment: ‘A handful of ships won’t make a difference to the Arctic’s eco-balance but hundreds would,’ she says.

According to Sarah, the cruise is 'very expensive' but the cost includes all meals and 'highly superior wines'

 According to Sarah, the cruise is ‘very expensive’ but the cost includes all meals and ‘highly superior wines’

Pictured is The Observation Lounge Anori on Deck 9, where passengers can watch out for wildlife

The menus in the three restaurants on board are under the command of Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse

Pictured on the left is The Observation Lounge Anori on Deck 9, where passengers can watch for wildlife. The menus in the three restaurants on board – one of which is pictured on the right – are under the command of Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse

From the ship, Sarah can see 'whales throwing the odd spout or tail, surrounded by glorious, utterly beautiful nothingness'

From the ship, Sarah can see ‘whales throwing the odd spout or tail, surrounded by glorious, utterly beautiful nothingness’

A bar in the main lounge on Deck 5. 'Ponant ships want to be Kermit-green while being extremely luxurious,' Sarah says of the ship's approach to sustainability

A bar in the main lounge on Deck 5. ‘Ponant ships want to be Kermit-green while being extremely luxurious,’ Sarah says of the ship’s approach to sustainability 

Whilst Sarah is impressed by the staterooms, she says that 'they are no competition for the scenery outside'

'Delightful as they are, I try to finish every meal early so I can just look out of the window,' Sarah admits

Whilst Sarah is impressed by the staterooms, she says that ‘they are no competition for the scenery outside’.  ‘Delightful as they are, I try to finish every meal early so I can just look out of the window,’ she admits

On Deck 9, in the Explorers Lounge, all is softness and curves, with floor-to-ceiling windows and curvaceous Swarovski telescopes with which we can spot the wildlife as we hit 83 degrees and upwards. Alongside polar bears are walruses, seals and swooping sea birds. And whales throwing the odd spout or tail, surrounded by glorious, utterly beautiful nothingness.

However, watching the ship progress soon becomes my very favourite thing. Delightful as they are, I try to finish every meal early so I can just look out of the window. It’s like an immersive, gargantuan version of breaking open a frozen puddle and unlike any trip I’ve ever taken or probably ever will again.

Calling Le Commandant Charcot an ice-breaker feels wrong. It slices elegantly through the ice as well as weaving in and out of open water, more like a couture seamstress than a ship.

I become fascinated by the ice, ultra-thin when it’s just forming, dark grey against the water, with white spots that look like bacteria, then round pancake shapes as it grows. And it isn’t smooth – there are ridges where ice floes have crashed into each other.

Sarah says Le Commandant Charcot 'slices elegantly through the ice as well as weaving in and out of open water'

Sarah says Le Commandant Charcot ‘slices elegantly through the ice as well as weaving in and out of open water’

During one of the final evenings of Sarah's trip, one of the naturalists on board spots a polar bear on the horizon (above)

During one of the final evenings of Sarah’s trip, one of the naturalists on board spots a polar bear on the horizon (above)

On day six, we slide up to the North Pole using battery power and the movement of ice floes. Our arrival is therefore utterly quiet. There seems to be no colour at all. The High Arctic is a desert, one of the passengers reminds me. It feels like being suspended in nothingness with the thinnest of blue lines on the horizon of the white sea ice and the white sky.

We arrive at 90 degrees north at a distinctly civilised 11am, with canapes and magnums of champagne. The French may not be the first to arrive at the North Pole, but they do it with infinite style. And it staggers me that I can be at the top of the world so very easily.

There is a helicopter on board but it’s being kept for emergency rather than recreational use. Passengers can travel across the ice by hovercraft, but there’s also low-impact kayaking and snow-shoeing. Even though I feel my iPhone’s activity tracker doesn’t give me quite enough credit for my exertion levels, it allows me to get close up to different types of snow, deep drifts of clouds, and steel-grey sea ice just below the surface.

When the sun comes out, everything looks like the most artisanal of cake frostings as far as the eye can see, with ice crystals dancing in the distance.

Sarah and her fellow passengers visiting the Arctic's ice floes in a Le Commandant Charcot Zodiac boat

Sarah and her fellow passengers visiting the Arctic’s ice floes in a Le Commandant Charcot Zodiac boat 

Sarah, pictured, is enamoured by the 'beautiful wilderness' of the polar regions

Sarah, pictured, is enamoured by the ‘beautiful wilderness’ of the polar regions

I’m just marvelling at the total lack of life here – there are no birds and no polar bears come this far north as there isn’t enough food for them. Then, bizarrely, somebody spots a submarine far away on the horizon. It’s assumed to be Russian until the captain makes contact and we learn that it is American.

We slowly start to head back to Norway, visiting other floes along the way – blobs of ice drifting slowly south – and we explore them by Zodiac boats. On a millpond-smooth sea with so much sea ice, there’s almost no swell.

During one of our final evenings, one of the naturalists spots another polar bear. With the sun starting to set, the ship stops. 

The bear moves slowly towards us, first visible only through binoculars but lolloping closer, swaying from side to side as it walks across the ice towards the edge of the water.

My iPhone doesn’t need to zoom to capture the bear’s apparent curiosity about the ship as he comes nearer. As we head towards civilisation, he sniffs the air, and stares at us before slowly walking towards the sunset and back into his beautiful wilderness.

TRAVEL FACTS

Sarah Turner was a guest of Ponant. A 15-night voyage from Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen in July and August 2022 aboard Le Commandant Charcot starts at £28,870pp, including flights (ponant.com).

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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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