My Dad and I flew to Florida 2 days before we set sail on a 10 day Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the Emerald Princess. We stayed at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina and enjoyed the view of the harbor from our 10th floor tower room. We used the Bed & Breakfast pre/post cruise ship package which included shuttle service to the ship.
Since this was my Dad's last cruise, he's 87 and starting to slow down, we decided to go 1st class and choose a Penthouse suite for this cruise. I was doubly pleased when I learned these suites where located in the mid-ship area,
less motion, when the seas are angry. It was a real treat to have the priority status on embarkation and it did not take very long to board the ship.
When we entered our cabin, we knew we were going to enjoy this trip! I had done my research when booking this cruise and luckily got the room we wanted. Dad was sooo pleased!! We had a beautiful fresh flower arrangement, a one time free bar and soft drinks, luxury shampoos/conditioners, body lotions, bath gels, bath salts, jacuzzi and a clear glass shower, 2 TV's, moderate size closet, free laundry, plus the same amenities in all the other cabins. Approximately, a half-hour after we entered our room, we were given a welcome aboard bottle of Korbel champagne. Heaven!! We had a DVD player, but the ship did not have any DVD/CD's...they said the disks were being damaged so they stopped that service. Bring your own!!
When we went out to the balcony, and were surprised to see 2 teak deck chairs, a dining table, another small table, and 2 lounge chairs. The lounge chairs were turned towards the balcony dividers between each cabin, because they we too long, to face the sea, when the foot rests were fully expanded. I turned the lounge chairs around anyway,and left the foot rests folded under the chairs. Perfect!! I then placed the small table between the lounges so we could put our drinks/books on it whenever we were outside. We spent a lot of time outside. The fresh air and looking out at the sea was relaxing. Bring your binoculars and cameras.
We were invited to the 2 formal dinners that were having, but we chose not to go...we each got a boutonnier and 8 large chocolate-coated strawberries prior to each dinner. Wonderful!!
Another perc we enjoyed, was breakfast at Sabitin's every morning. No long line-ups and the food was great!! Suite passengers also can have one free dinner at either Sabitini's or the Crown Grill. Since this trip was for Dad, he choose the Crown Grill...I had the rock lobster and Dad had the beef chop. It was so huge, he was unable to get through half of it. The meal was excellent...also, when you order carbinated water or alcohol, you will be billed for it. Normally, these dinners are $25/person...we went to Sabitini's 4 nights later and had another wonderful meal. I highly recommend taking advantage of these 2 restaurants, they're worth it. You can also order breakfast, lunch and dinner in your room or out on the balcony. We only ordered lunch once this way, as we enjoyed going about the ship for our meals. We also ate at the Horizon and Cafe Carib once, and found the food was good, there's a large selection to choose from. Our lunches were spent at the International Cafe, the soups and small sandwiches were soo good.
We never made it to any of the entertainment shows, we're early risers and by the time 9/10 o'clock rolled around, we were beat. We did go to the Princess theatre, and saw "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" at 10 in the morning....great movie! At night, the theatre is used for the live entertainment. We tried to see "Looper" a few days later, but they had problems with the projector.
We did 4 Island excusions...We enjoyed them all!!
Antigua--Nelson's Dockyard, Shirley Heights & Blockhouse
Barbados--Atlantis Submarine Sceninc Adventure
St. Kitts--Scenic Railway Ride & Circle Island Drive
St. Thomas--Paradise Point Aerial Ride & Mountain Top
On Grand Turk, we spent most of the afternoon at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, the food and beer was good, but expensive. We enjoyed the entertainment and the use of the pools!
Overall, my Dad and I had a wonderful time and great onboard services! I know it is $$$$ to pay for a suite, but nothing can replace the joy my Dad experienced on his last voyage....it was worth it!!!
There are other free or discounted amenities that come with suite passengers...the spa, portraits, shops etc...we didn't participate...we just took our time and enjoyed ourselves.
The service from our cabin stewart and waiters was excellent, we filled out the information cards the ship provided to voice your opinions. If I can ever afford to go Suite again, I'll certainly do it!