Emerald Princess Cruise Review by kednad2ela: Transatlantic Cruise on the Emerald Princess
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Transatlantic Cruise on the Emerald Princess
After months of planning and anticipation, four of us (two couples), flew to Copenhagen for a 16 day transatlantic cruse through the north Atlantic. We chose the cruise because of the itinerary which included no more than 2 sea days in a row. We decided to fly into Copenhagen, two days early so we could explore Copenhagen.
We chose to use Princess transfers and hotels. Our hotel was the Kong Arthur. This is an old hotel which has had mixed reviews. The hotel was very nice. Check-in was very easy and efficient. The Princess representatives were available and helpful. The hotel staff were knowledgeable and helpful. The room was small, but adequate. The hotel had a buffet breakfast and provided a 20% discount for Princess passengers. The cost seemed high until we got use to Copenhagen prices. The buffet was very nice and very convenient. The cost at about 120 Kroners was quite reasonable for Copenhagen.
Our transfer from the hotel to the ship was efficient and pleasant. More We were dropped off at the ship, went through security, checked in, went to our cabin and onto the Horizon Court in a matter of minutes. The lines and waiting times were short.
We found the staff of the Emerald to be friendly and pleasant. We enjoyed getting to know our steward and the waiters in the dining venue. We chose to have traditional dining at a large table. We enjoyed our dining companions. The service in the dining room was always accommodating, but at times a little slow and disorganized. The food was varied. The menu was never repeated on the entire 16 day cruise. The quality of the food was good, and the presentation was always interesting. At times we wished that the presentation would have been a little less complicated.
Our cabin was a balcony cabin, on the starboard side. It was near the front of the ship. We were pleased with the size of the closet and the balcony. As usual the bathroom was small, but met our needs.
The ship had a lot of activities and entertainment. We often chose to skip some of the planned activities, but still stayed engaged. Four production shows were included in the evening programs. There were also a variety of entertainers including comedians, musicians, magicians, and jugglers. We would have appreciated a more detailed description of some of these people. For the most part the Princess Theater handled the crowds at the shows, but when these guest entertainers were scheduled into other venues, the capacity was not enough. We missed at least two shows because all the seats were taken at least an hour before the shows.
Princess provided three people to give lectures. These people were knowledgeable and professional in their presentations. We particularly enjoyed the talks about the upcoming ports.
Our 16 day itinerary was altered by the weather. Our stops at Belfast, Reykjavik, and Greenland were cancelled due to weather conditions. Everyone was disappointed by having to skip these ports, but the 30 foot seas that we avoided were not missed. The Captain communicated well as to why the change in course was necessary. Princess also worked to add stops at Cobh, Ireland and Saint John, New Brunswick. Princess also provided additional on board credit as compensation. We believe that the changes were needed and protected us and the ship. The itinerary change required us to be at sea for 6 days in a row. This was not ideal, but not as bad as we had anticipated. Again Princess and the staff of the Emerald, did everything they could to make us comfortable. Just yesterday, Princess gave each person on the cruise, credit on a future cruise. We very much appreciated this action.
I have written reviews of all the ports that were available, but we stopped at two ports that were not listed. The first was Kristiansand, Norway. We enjoyed this stop and found some very interesting things to see. We visited the Gimle Estate and enjoyed it. We also went to the Vest-Agder Museum. This is an open air museum which was very well done. They provided a costumed guide through part of the park. Our major problem in this port was that we chose to use the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus. Their published information and the salesperson told us that there were 7 stops and the buses would run every 30 minutes. In fact, they only made 6 stops and the buses ran nearly an hour apart. We spent most of the day waiting for a bus. In fact, we walked back to the ship because we did not feel comfortable that the bus would get us there on time. At the Vest-Agder Museum, the bus driver told us that the road was under construction so he could not get us any closer. Imagine our surprise when we got to the Museum and found several buses there. Kristiansand is a nice port with interesting things. However, I would never consider the Hop-On Hop-Off bus. It was Hop Off and hope you could Hop On again.
The second port that was not available on the Cruise Critic list was Cobh, Ireland. The ship docked right in town so it was easy to walk to the sights. A tourist information office is about 2 blocks away and people in the center were very helpful. We walked up to the Cathedral and got a splendid view of the town and the harbor. We also enjoyed the Titanic Experience which was next to the peer. The museum is located where the Titanic left on its voyage. The next morning we took the train into Cork, Ireland. The train leaves from the peer every 30 minutes. We tried once again to use the Hop-On Hop-Off bus in Cork. It worked better than in Kristiansand, but was still not great. We enjoyed getting to see the city, but did not find any outstanding attractions. The return train to Cobh worked well and most of the people on the train were from the ship. This was an unscheduled stop for the Emerald, and the people of Cobh made us feel most welcome.
Our final destination was New York City. We arrived in New York in the early morning. Seeing the Statue of Liberty as we sailed into port was neat. Our disembarkation, tour and transfer to the airport was handled well.
Overall, we had a great trip. 6 days at sea does give you time to sleep in and relax. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Our ship came into a berth in Halifax that required a bus ride into the heart of the tourist area. The shuttle was provided to us free. We were dropped off at the main cruise terminal in Halifax. It housed the Canadian Immigration Museum. Since it was not open when we arrived, our plan was to return and visit later before returning to the ship. As it turned out, we had done all the sightseeing we wanted by the time we got back to the terminal. We walked along the waterfront on a nicely maintained board walk. We found a Tourist Information Office along the way. The people were helpful and verified our plans for the day. Our next stop was the Atlantic Maritime Museum. It was a pleasant museum which included a display of Titanic material. The disappointment was that the Acadia that is part of the museum was not open the day we were there. We left the museum and headed to the Citadel. The Citadel is not far away, but the walk is steeply uphill. The Citadel has two films available, but we did not take time to view them. We did want to see the changing of the Guard. If you want to see the event, you need to be outside the fort. There is no view of the Changing of the Guard from the inside. The Citadel could take most of a day to see everything. They do have costumed guides that will provide information on events surrounding the Citadel. We left the Citadel and walked 5 minutes to the Public Gardens. The Gardens are very nice and well maintained and free. When you leave the gardens you are in the downtown area of Halifax. After eating a late lunch we walked back to the Cruise Terminal and returned to the ship by shuttle.
Since we had been in Oslo before, we decided to see the sights on our own. When we left the ship we walked about 15 to 20 minutes into the Tourist Information Center near the Oslo City Hall. e bought 2 Oslo Cards for about $58 USD. This was a discount from the published rate because we were on a cruise ship. We discovered that the City Hall was closed to the public because an election had just occurred. We then went a block to the Nobel Peace Center. Admission was free with the Oslo Card. This was a nice museum and we could have spent quite a bit of time learning about all the Nobel Peace Prize winners. We left the Nobel Center and crossed the street to catch a public ferry to the Bygdoy peninsula. We visited 5 museums, all of which were free with the Oslo Card. The museums were the Fram Museum, The Kon-Tiki Museum, the Norwegian Sea Museum, the Viking Ship Museum, and the Norwegian Folk Museum. I especially liked the Fram Museum and the Norwegian Folk Museum. All of them had interesting exhibits, however. The Folk Museum is an open air museum which had some costumed guides who told us about the exhibits. It is a museum which could take a full day to see everything. We used the city bus to move between the museums. Our plan was to leave Bygdoy peninsula and visit the Vigeland Sculpture Park. We chose to return to the ship rather that go to the sculpture park. We had time, but not more energy. The Oslo Card turned out to be a great bargain for us.
City Tour, Bay of Fundy, and St. Martin
We were on a sightseeing bus. The guide was informative. We got to see a lot of New Brunswick. The tour advertised that we would see the "reversing rapids' twice. We only saw them once. The concept was explained, but it would have been more useful to actually see them running both ways. St. Martin was a quaint little village and the seashore was nice. We did get a tour of a lot of the town of Saint John.
Old City Market
Part of our tour was to visit the Old City Market. It was ok, but not an outstanding stop on the tour.
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