We are mid 60's, fairly active, and have done 22 cruises on various lines. This was our 8th on Princess and 3rd on the Emerald. The Emerald is one of the few ships that offers a 10 night cruise, which is why we keep returning to her. The previous 2 cruises were on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. We were on her 4 months ago.
EMBARKATION - we flew in the morning of the cruise and arrived at the terminal at about 11:30. We waited in a line and at about 11:45, we were allowed into the Platinum waiting lounge. We were aboard by 12:30. Dropped carry-ons in our cabin and went to the dining room for lunch. We usually go to the Horizon, but decided to try this and it was much more relaxing. We will do this again. We had planned a CC get together at Outriggers Bar for sailaway. About 30 people came and it was nice to put faces to screen names. Sailing was scheduled for 4:00, but we did not sail until almost 6:00. It seems that the ship sails "late" many times. I wonder if the sail a way party is held at 4:00, so as to allow the early diners to participate. Otherwise the 5:30 diners would miss it if it were held at true sail a way.
Cabin - we were in an inside (C-233). This was the same cabin we had in December. Very quiet and convenient to most other decks. We asked our steward for a top sheet and robes. Both quickly arrived.
NORO VIRUS - we were informed on day 3 that NORO was suspected. Salt and pepper shakers were removed from tables and constant cleaning was observed. On day 5, we were informed that more cases had occurred. We were now "served" our food in the Horizon court. We washed our hands quite often and were using our knuckles to push elevator buttons. Fortunately, we did not become ill.
PLATINUM - one of the "perks" we enjoy is an Elite Lounge Happy Hour each day in Skywalkers from 5 to 7. Due to the NORO, appetizers were no longer available after day 5, but drinks were still sold.
FOOD - we normally eat our breakfasts and dinners in the Cafe Caribe. This way we can try small portions of different dishes. Due to the NORO, and not being allowed to serve ourselves, we at most dinners in the dining room. We had anytime dining and always shared tables with others. We met people from many different places and enjoyed our meals. We do not "do" formal nights. There were 2 of them, and on these nights we ate in the specialty restaurants. Nice experience.
ENTERTAINMENT - we feel Princess lacks in this area, BUT there have been changes made since our cruise in December. (New Cruise Director) We enjoyed both comedians, the Beatle Maniacs, and both house bands were VERY good. One new thing was that the featured performers did shows 1 night in the theater, and then a second night, they did a different show in Club Fusion. Although difficult to see, it offers a much more "intimate" experience.
PORTS - we had previously visited all of these places. We did beach days in St Thomas and Aruba. We shopped and had drinks in Bonaire. We simply walked the towns and stopped for drinks in Grenada and Dominica. We did not go ashore in Princess Cay. It was used as a "sea day". Nice to have a quiet ship to ourselves (almost).
Dis-Embarkation. Our flight was at 11:15. We chose to do self-disembarkation. We walked off the ship at 7:45. We took a taxi to the airport and were through security by 8:45. Flight home was on-time.
SUMMARY - Emerald is a nice ship with a good crew. This was the most enjoyable of our 3 cruises aboard her. The passengers seemed a more "lively" bunch, with much dancing in the clubs at night. We had a very nice, relaxing cruise, which is what we were looking for. We will probably be on her again next winter, but may try another ship if we can find a 10 day cruise.