I just returned from a 10 day cruise on the Emerald Princess that sailed on 2-8-2009. I was very disappointed with this ship compared to the other Princess ships I have sailed on. To start with it took almost an hour and fifty minutes to get onto the ship. The said it was because it was an older terminal and had only one gangway to the ship. My room was an inside cabin on the Caribe deck and it was very nice. The stateroom attendant was excellent and did a great job.
We left Ft Lauderdale and encountered some rough seas for the next 2 days. Gale force 9 winds and 10 ft seas. We arrived at Antigua and could not get into the port due to the high winds and seas. We spent day 3 sailing around a group of islands to avoid the weather. We were able to get into all of the other ports and they were all very nice. The front desk staff was less than helpful when I needed to contact them and one staff member was just rude.
The choices in the dining rooms for the first three days was very bad and I ate in the Caribe Cafe for dinner and that was good. The food in the dining rooms and buffet was just OK not what I expected from Princess. It did improve after day 3. I had dinner at the steak house one night and it was outstanding. The entertainment was good and Fernandez a hypnotist was the highlight of the trip. The on board shopping was disappointing. There was not a great selection of watches and the ones they did have were priced on the high side for duty free shopping.
One evening during dinner the Captain made an announcement that there had been an outbreak of the Norwalk virus on the ship and they were putting strict rules in place to slow the spread of the virus. All things considered I will have to think twice before booking another Princess cruise.