This was our 6th Christmas cruise and 5th on the Emerald. We arrived in Port Everglades around noon and were on-board at 12:30 (we have priority Elite boarding). No issues there.
We had an obstructed view cabin on the Emerald (8) deck. Our cabin steward did a fine job keeping our cabin clean. We did not have any special requests this time.
We cruise at this time of year mainly to relax, read, enjoy the ship so we only took 1 private excursion on Bonaire (Bonaire Vista Tours - Excellent !). In Aruba we walked around in the morning, purchased some Aruba Aloe products and returned to the ship for lunch. It was a hot and sunny day so we did not leave the ship again until late in the afternoon for a stroll through the marina.
In the rest of the ports (Granada, Dominica, St. Thomas and Princess Cays) we did not leave the ship.
On the Granada morning, the captain made the Noro virus announcement. The service changes related to the virus put a damper on the rest of the cruise.
Menu choices in the buffer were reduced and served by crew members which was fine as we try to avoid the buffet. One positive outcome was that dining room was opened for lunch on all port days except for Princess Cays. There were no 'sale' tables setup every night in the Atrium to ruin the traffic flow and spoil the festive atmosphere.
Production shows and guest entertainers were reduced to 30 mins and repeated 3x a night. We did not like that change as it seemed that the comedian or singer got going and then suddenly the show was over. We did enjoy the comedian Sarge's 2 shows and did not see his 3rd one as we figured he already used his best material. The other show we saw was Delisco (winner of some show on E!). He was very energetic and good singer but with his attempts at comedy in between the songs, he only managed to sing about 4 or 5 songs during his show.
We were told that the priest that was on board had to leave the ship due the emergency right before sailing so there was no midnight mass. The cruise director Lee and his assistants did an excellent job with Sunday, Midnight and Christmas Interdenominational services.
One odd thing - on Christmas Day there was an enrichment lecture "Why do killers kill?". Rally? The lecturer could not pick a different topic for a Christmas Day?
All in all, it was a "good" not "great" cruise. I am not sure if it was due to cut backs or Noro precautions but something was missing from the Christmas spirit on the Emerald this year. Maybe we need to take a break from cruising at Christmas for a few years so we can appreciate it again.