Emerald Princess Cruise Review by Autumn72: Mediterranean Medley cruise
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Mediterranean Medley cruise
Worst. Embarkation. Ever. Arriving in Southampton there were people everywhere. Lines were mixed in with various other lines. No one was sure what line they were in. It was as if no one had ever checked passengers onto a cruise ship before. They were confused over passports for non EU citizens and took ours. (They must have figured it out because they were returned to us a couple days later with no explanation.) When we finally got our cruise card and got through security lines, we had to walk outside in the rain around scaffolding to get onto the ship. We were waved past a group trying to figure out how to get a wheelchaired person up the very steep gangplank then waited on yet another line while they took security pictures and scanned folks in. Took over 2 1/2 hours. We have been on many cruises and have never seen anything like this chaos. We were starving but no food was in sight because it was off immediately to the muster drill ten minutes after we got to the cabin. More
Fortunately things looked up a bit after that somewhat. The cabin, a minisuite, was nice and the balcony huge compared to the one on the Royal Princess. We both could be out there at the same time! and there was room to stretch out. There was plenty of storage and the bed was comfortable. The room tended to be too warm and we requested a top sheet as the duvet was too hot to sleep under. We had them check the vents in the room but the temperature never changed, even set at the coldest point.
Due to the weather and a tug shortage we were 3 hours late departing. We never made that up and 4 days later arrived 4 hours late into Barcelona, causing us to have an abbreviated tour which basically missed seeing Barcelona. Leaving the ship in Barcelona was as organized as the embarkation disaster. It took 45 minutes to get off further decreasing our abbreviated time in Barcelona. We wondered if this was a brand new crew.
The food was good overall. We tend to eat in the Dining rooms and avoid the buffet whenever possible, although the few times we did eat at the buffet the food was also good. The pizza near the pool was surprisingly good and the milk and cookies in the afternoon is a treat. We tried Sabatini's which was good and ate at the Crown Grill twice which was very good. We tried the Crab Shack as well. It would have been better if they did not boil everything in Old Bay seasoning. A little change up of taste would have improved it greatly.
Best of all was the Chef's Table. We signed up with our Cruise Critic roll call friends and had a wonderful feast. It was so much fun. It began with a tour of the kitchens and appetizers and champagne in the kitchen then moved to a private area in the dining room where we enjoyed multiple courses and multiple wines. Desserts, a guitar player and signed cookbooks concluded the fun. If you get the chance, sign up for it. You won't want to eat for the next day or so but it will be worth it!
Princess has figured out that their theaters are too small for the amount of passengers and has gone to a 3 show schedule which helps. On other Princess cruises we have not been able to get to a show unless you get there a half hour early. The entertainment this time was fair. After a sampling, we skipped the shows and wandered the ship instead.
The casino which is normally packed, was quiet this cruise. The majority of the passengers were Brits - I guess they do not gamble much. We have never seen a casino so empty when we walked through.
The service was excellent overall. We did use the Lotus Spa this trip and while the services were good, the changing area could use upgrading. There were no slippers provided or privacy to change. The showers did not have a dressing area either.
The TV in the cabins was not the best. The guide never matched what was actually showing and the channels took turns being frozen on a Princess logo. They have merged the safety channel with the navigation info channel and the result is that it takes a really long time to see where you are after you watch how to lower a lifeboat for the 12th time.
The captain announced that we would be 45 minutes late getting back to port the day before we were due so that meant our tour to Windsor Castle was canceled and we would be heading straight to Heathrow to wait. Except that we did arrive on time and got to sit at the airport instead. Very disappointing.
Overall it was a good cruise with a few bumps. The itinerary was great with plenty of sea days and the weather cooperated. This was our third with Princess, the first one being good, the second one very good and this one back to good. We will give them another shot, but definitely not on the Emerald again. She is ready for an updating. Less
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Cabin review: Emerald Princess D611
The cabin, a minisuite, was nice and the balcony huge compared to the one on the Royal Princess. We both could be out there at the same time! and there was room to stretch out. There was plenty of storage and the bed was comfortable. The room tended to be too warm and we requested a top sheet as the duvet was too hot to sleep under. We had them check the vents in the room but the temperature never changed, even set at the coldest point. The couch was actually comfortable to sit and stretch out on. The room was quiet - we never heard our neighbors.Wi-Fi reception was excellent. After our trip on the Royal where I had to sit in the hall to get Wi-Fi, that was a real plus.
Port and Shore Excursions
Skip the tour. You can walk the entire city from the dock.
Nothing is open on Sunday in Genoa. Take that into account and take a beach day or a boat trip. It was tough even seeing the churches because it was Sunday. Overall you can walk it - skip the tour.
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