Arriving at Port Everglades around noon, we waited in a long line that moved very quickly. Our first venue was the Horizon Court for a bite to eat and then on to our interior cabin on deck 12. After unpacking, we explored the ship and located the Internet Cafe since the complimentary 250 minutes for platinum members was a new and greatly appreciated perk for me. We also located our favorite lite snack and dessert stop--the International Cafe, just off the Atrium.
We arrived at the Michaelangelo diningroom at 6:00pm for Anytime dining and made our reservation for the same time and table every night. Arnel, our main waiter, was very attentive throughout the whole trip. He often brought us extra goodies and was mindful of our requests--one night I just wanted vegetables so he brought me a big plate of every vegetable in the kitchen. The last night he brought us Baked Alaska, which was on the traditional dining menu but not on the Anytime dining menu. The food was not exceptional in taste, but we always found it to be very good.
The first two days were sea days with pleasant weather and we spent most of our time around the pools. Ice cream, burgers, dogs & fries, pizza is available near the pools. Wow! Wish they'd enforce the no reserving lounge chair rule! Lots of other activities available throughout the ship.
Nightly entertainment was hit or miss. We loved the Beatles and the comedian Steve Moris, who will soon open a show in Las Vegas--gotta go see him again! The Princess singers and dancers were okay, but so much of the same-just changed the era. Wish Princess would do a Broadway show (like RCCL). Barty, the piano man in the lounges, was good. Club Fusion had a dance band; we enjoyed Evolution.
Well, as I said in the beginning, we sailed the Emerald for the ports, and we weren't disappointed. The weather was spectacular so that helps to have a good time. First stop, Aruba, we walked around town and took the ship excursion Jolly Pirates. We visited two snorkel sites and were disappointed we didn't see more fish. Third stop was letting people jump off the rope swing (I think we spent more time here than at the snorkel sites). Aruba's beaches looked incredible with soft white sand so I'd like to explore more of this island.
Next day the snorkeling on Bonaire with the Sea Cow (ship excursion) was superb. Eric and his crew were first rate with the equipment, sites, and helping people in any way. We visited two sites, both incredible. If you haven't seen what's below that beautiful water, you need to experience it!
Grenada we took a tour with Mandoo, who can be found on the internet. He is so informative and passionate about his island.
In Dominica, we made prior arrangements for the Interlude for a Day at Papillote Gardens & Retreat, about a 4 mile taxi ride from the ship dock. We knew to wear our bathing suits to enjoy the 4 relaxing warm water mineral pools located throughout the lush 14 acre rain forest gardens. Our favorite was the pool by the rushing waterfall, where George, the manager, brought us refreshing fruit drinks. Lunch of chicken or fish with seasoned rice and vegetables is included and served in a lovely open-air restaurant. This is an incredible place! www.papillotegarden.org
St Thomas we booked Godfrey Tours (always use him; on the internet) for a very reasonably priced stop in town and then to one of our favorite beaches in the Caribbean--Coki Beach. No admission fee, lounge chairs $5, inexpensive snorkel equipment for rent, beach waiters that don't hassle you but will bring you eats & drinks. The beach has a nice sandy bottom with a rocky area to the right where all the fish hang out, but you can coax them out with a bite of food (dog bones sold here ,too) Good beach for children and beginning snorkelers. Coral World is next door with an aquarium and dolphin encounter.
Princess Cays, a short tender ride away, is a beautiful stretch of beach with all kinds of water activities available. The snorkeling is just okay here. The barbecue lunch is very good, but check the open and close time as it seemed brief.
This Southern Medley itinerary is great if you like port-intensive cruises. Six ports in 10 days allows you to cover a lot of ground--I mean water! We loved it!