Emerald Princess Cruise Review by donanddiane: 19 DayTransatlantic Trip of a Lifetime
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19 DayTransatlantic Trip of a Lifetime
I have always loved to plan vacations, so my new husband said, "plan the vacation of your dreams for our honeymoon". With pleasure, I started planning our 19 day Transatlantic voyage to Europe.
Embarking was easy and efficient. We waited in line for about 25 minutes before the process started.
The food was just a little disappointing. I had expected fine dining every evening, and though the food was not bad at all, it was not as good as I had expected. We ate in the dining room almost every evening with the traditional seating time. Our servers were excellent. Breakfast was enjoyed at the Horizon Cafe 95% of the time. The food was good and the selection was great. We had pizza once at the pizzeria which was good. The International Cafe's food was okay. We had sushi at The Vines and it was the freshest and best sushi I had ever eaten. We ate at Sabatini's, their specialty restaurant, and though the food was good, it was not great, as expected. However, the More service was excellent. We are coffee drinkers and payed for a coffee card which was well worth the price of the card. Least I forget, High Tea every afternoon at 3:30 in the dining room, was excellent.
We are not drinkers or dancers, so we always went to the Princess Theater for entertainment. We found the entertainment to be 50/50. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. The entertainment in the Piazza was usually very good.
The ports of call were excellent as were the excursions. I chose this cruise based on the ports of call and they did not disappoint.
The next time I book a long cruise, I will choose a ship that has more recreational activities on board. The Emerald Princess does not have the bells and whistles of other ships; no rock climbing wall, no golf simulator, no skating rink. There were 2 ping pong tables, a basketball hoop and paddle tennis, but the paddle tennis was only available 2 hours a day because it doubled as the basketball court. There were movies under the stars every afternoon and evening, however don't forget that it gets very cold at sea in April/May in Europe. And remember to get there early or their won't be an available lounger or blanket to stay warm with.
I tried to keep exercising while on the ship to cut down on any weight gain from all the rich foods. The Lotus Spa had every piece of equipment as my gym at home does. The only problem for me was that there were not enough stationary bikes. There were only 5 and one was broken and never fixed during the duration of the cruise. I was always waiting for a stationary bike.
If you enjoy a cigar occasionally, there is a speakeasy for your cigar enjoyment. However, be prepared to be overwhelmed by cigarette smoke. The Speakeasy was used by guest cigarette smokers as well as the crew/staff. Not an enjoyable environment at all if you're a cigar connoisseur.
If you're looking for a quiet, kid-free environment, with great ports of call, at a great price, this may be the cruise for you.
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Cabin review: I
Interior cabin on the Dolphin Deck. We did not feel cramped at all. Plenty of clothes storage and hanging space. Bathroom size was adequate. There was a refrigerator and safe in the cabin. Vanity mirror had plenty of over-head lighting. Lighting in the cabin was good. The cabin creaked at night when at sea. No other noises were heard. Our cabin was located middle/aft and felt very little movement even while sailing in the middle of the Atlantic. The unused bunks on both sides of our cabin made it hard to get out of bed and were easily bumped into with a shoulder or head.
Port and Shore Excursions
This was our last port of call and our last day on the ship. We packed and did not go ashore. By this point, we were tired.
We did not choose a ship's excursion because the ship docks just a short distance from the town hall. Dress warm. It's quite chilly in Copenhagen in May. For approx. $35. pp, we jumped on a Hop on Hop off bus at the pier, which took us all over Copenhagen pointing out the highlights of the City. We took a canal boat tour with Netto. Although this was only $8 pp, it was a great tour except for the fact that the noise from the engine drowned out the tour guides voice making it impossible to hear what she was saying. Either do the boat tour or the HOHO bus tour because they are very similar tours. We stopped at a local restaurant, very quaint and very old, and had 2 berry pies and a pot of coffee. Cost was about $40. Then we headed back to the ship. An enjoyable day.
We advance booked a tour with a local tour agency. We visited Lanhydrock House, a 15th century English house/mansion in Cornwall where we toured the house and beautiful, vast gardens. There was a cafe and gift shop on the grounds. The bus driver took scenic routes to and from our destination showing off the beautiful rolling green landscapes of England. A very enjoyable day.
My husband and I took different Princess excursions. I went to Paris and he went to Normandy. It is a two hour drive to Paris from Le Havre. The tour guide was very good and descriptive with her dialogue. I loved experiencing Paris and seeing the beautiful architecture and cathedrals. However, there is so much to see that it's impossible to see it properly in just 4 hours. My husband loved his excursion of Normandy.
We did an "On your own" Princess Excursion because we wanted to guarantee getting back to the ship on time since London is 2.5 hours from the port of Dover where our ship was docked. Luckily we did because it was a bank holiday on the day we visited London and the traffic was a nightmare. It took our tour bus 1.5 hours just to get out of the city and the ship was waiting for us.
As soon as we arrived in London, we hailed a taxi to Buckingham Palace where the changing of the guard was about to begin. Again, since it was a holiday, the crowds were 5 deep, making it almost impossible to see. But at least I did see the Palace. We got on the HOHO bus which was recommended by Frommer's online. My recommendation would be to "Not get on a HOHO". The person taking our money over-charged us and the ear buds were not working.
If you are not the adventurous type while traveling abroad, stick to the ships excursions even though they are quite a bit more expensive. It's a once in a lifetime trip, and you don't want to miss anything.