We have just returned from a 10 night New England and Canada cruise on Emerald Princess. We have not cruised with Princess for 9 years and sad to say we found that standards had slipped during that time. Nothing wrong with the layout of the ship, it was clean and all the staff were delightful.
Firstly we were surprised to find the bathrooms to be identical in size and layout as 9 years ago, we had hoped that they might be a little larger on the newer ship. We have recently been cruising on Celebrity and their bathrooms have a good size shower and have more space and storage.
Our main disappointment was the quality of the food, both in the buffets and the main dining room.Very little choice in Horizon Court at lunchtime and what there was, was most unappetising.Breakfast was OK but again the layout was poor and became crowded with long queues. The plates and mugs were plastic and you stirred your coffee with a wooden stick!!
Evening choices in the Botticelli dining room again were quite uninspiring and not very well presented. Just what you might expect if you went for lunch at a local pub and certainly not the fine dining we had expected. If you opt for the early sitting you may well be allocated in the 'Botticelli'. Be warned that you get a lot of engine vibration in there as it is located at the back of the ship.
Dress code was another bone of contention. It clearly states that on formal nights gentlemen should wear tuxedo or dark business suit. What a joke, about 10% wore tuxedo,70% a suit,10% sports jacket with open neck and no tie and the remainder were allowed into the main dining room in scruffy jeans,t shirts and trainers!!! We complained to the Maitre D who informed us that he could not stop them coming in dressed like that. Wrong there I think, he certainly could have denied them entrance but obviously did not want the confrontation!! Princess should address this problem and if they won't enforce the dress code they should do away with formal nights.
One bright note is that we found the International Cafe on deck 5 serves lunch, lovely filled rolls, a small selection of salads, soup and quiche plus all sorts of desserts. You only pay extra for drinks there, the food is included .
We were surprised by the lack of hand gel dispensers which were only to be found by the buffet. We saw none anywhere else, not even at the entrance to the main dining rooms or public washrooms. On Celebrity you get squirted when you re-enter the ship after being onshore as well.
Entertainment was much as expected and we did like the small lounges where all sorts of music was played.Movies under the stars seems like a good idea but it was far too cold in late October to be sitting outside at night!
Disembarcation was the quickest and most organised we have ever had on a cruise - well done to Princess for that.
So we shall be returning to Celebrity for our next cruise where hopefully standards of food and dress will still be as expected.