Comparing the Emerald Princess to other ships we have been on, many things were missing. Primarily, the quality of food was inferior. We actually never found anything we were crazy about, which is unusual for us. Wait, just remembered this apple strudel at breakfast, only in the main dining room, that was superb! MMMM! But that's it! Some things were downright disgusting, especially in the buffet restaurant. No lobster, no chocolate night, no BBQs by the pool deck. Eggplant fritter was two limp, gooey strips of suspicious zucchini-looking material dredged in raw corn meal. Actually crunchy like sand. Yuck! Even the desserts were so-so. Not worth getting fat over. I think we may have lost weight on this cruise! Never have left dessert on my plate on other ships. Scrambled eggs were grainy, watery and dense, could not even eat. So tried an omelet next day. Like rubber and greasy. We actually resorted to Frosted Flakes and oatmeal by week's end if we could not go to the dining room. Orange juice was always warm, watered down, you had to get your drinks from the staff which sometimes did not come until you were just about done with meal (no juice or milk machines as on other cruises) Buffet setup was crowded and stressful. After a day or two we stopped going there, except on formal nights, we had no choice. We did not have room to pack our fancy clothes; on Jet Blue, the extra luggage charge discouraged us.
As far as dining, we don't like sitting with other people or waiting for a table. Probably like most folks, since we always seem to get stuck with loudmouth, classless, poop heads. Solution? Ask the anytime dining maitre'd for a table for two and reserve it all week. Worked out great. Would have preferred one more secluded by a window (they put them pretty close together), but will ask for that next time.
Entertainment was just fair, except the comedians were very good. Productions were OK, not "WOW" like ones on Holland America. They tried really hard, the shows were just not exciting. (We enjoyed karaoke more then the shows!)Cruise Director Peter was pretty boring, but his assistants were awesome and funny for games and trivia(Frenchie, Mark, Ryan) The pool band STUNK. Lead singer was worse than karaoke, always off key and vocals were drowned out by the music. Just got the feeling everything was bargain and corners were cut to the point of being obvious and they did not seem to care.
We bought a soda card for $45 but it had 15% gratuity added so was $52. OK, should have told me it was $52. But then, only choices were Coke, Diet Coke, Ginger Ale and Sprite. Sprite Zero? Oh that's in a can, you'll have to buy that. Huh? And when you asked for soda or water in a bar? Long faces because it must not have added to their tip structure. Don't ask for lemonade in a bar, have to go to restaurant to get that. Bottled water was expensive ($3 for a tiny one they pushed as you got off the ship in ports) and tap water tasted bad. Ice cream choices all week were chocolate and vanilla soft serve. Want popcorn or candy with movie? Have to buy it. Never felt so nickel and dimed before on a ship. Dining areas were not glamorous as we had noted on other ships, they were nice. Room stewards work very hard; staff around ship did not seem as friendly as Holland America (whose strictly Philippine and Indonesian staff flashed sparkling smiles non stop and joked with passengers, got to know your names, made you feel special). And on Emerald the crew show was no where near the grand production as we saw on Holland America; there's was AMAZING!
Could never find a chaise by the pool, was always crowded with people saving them with towels and no one said anything. Pools were small so we did not go in. People did smoke on balconies even though it was prohibited. Smoke from casino was evident in the entire end of the ship. The beds were very comfortable, shower OK, but tiny. Lines getting on and off ship were pretty long, but well managed.
We had a good time on the islands visited and the itinerary was awesome, we did not do any excursions but taxied to beaches and snorkeled. The independent tour with Maximum Chill Out on St. Lucia was great ($65 per person) Ask for Sir Louie, he was great.
Had a great time but will not take Princess again. They make you feel like a second class passenger by giving the royal treatment to people who have cruised a million times or ones who pay $20/day extra (there is a "Sanctuary" which you cannot go into unless you pay or are otherwise special.) Everyone should get this treatment as far as I am concerned. You have to cruse with them 20 times before you get a $25 on board credit?? Wow, can ya spare it?
We embarked the day after the presidential election to find, they don't have Fox News... are you kidding me? Let me off now... the most watched of all cable news?? Stuck with CNN, we were going nutty. Sorry Princess, that doesn't cut it, we want real news. I guess if you can get on board for really cheap, go Princess. But we won't again. All things compared, they don't measure up. Too many corners cut.