We arrived early into Ft. Lauderdale and stayed at the BW in town that offered a complimentary shuttle, breakfast and transfer to the ship. A short walk took us to many restaurants and retail shops for last minute items.
We were welcomed at the port and directed where to proceed to check in. My husband had lost track of an item through the xray machine and we were unfortunately not able to recover. Come to find out later that all items left behind at the Terminal were transferred to the ship.
After a few moments of stepping on to the Emerald, we were directed by smiling crew directing us to our appropriate deck to find our stateroom. We were immediately welcomed by our stateroom attendant (Elizabeth), who made us feel welcomed as we unpacked for the week.
We found the inside stateroom to be very "roomy", the design allows for a long open closet area with oversized shelves which proved to be ample room for our family. We rotated the upper bed sleeping arrangement since it was not comfortable. We found that the twin beds in the room were not very comfortable, and may need updating. My husband complained that his mattress had a deep slant on the one side.
With the best intensions, we planned on visiting the fitness center. However, we opted to sleep in most mornings and filled up our days with other activities.
It was very busy in the buffet area for lunch, many people trying to figure out which direction to go and many just there to look at the offerings. But, this is after all the first day on board and everyone is trying to figure out port, starboard, aft and forward on the ship.
The cuisine in the dining room was very good, shrimps were on the small size in the nightly shrimp cocktail, but the salads and soups were tasty and the main entrees were very good. The assortment of rolls and bread sticks was nice which lasted through the voyage. I did not care for the "unsalted" individually wrapped butter, it tasted sour to me and I would have preferred the real thing with my roll.
We opted for Personal Choice dining on this voyage. We enjoyed a different staff each night (you may request a particular dining team); and many times we enjoyed sharing a table with other passengers which is always a pleasure and lends itself to a good time.
The entertainment on board was good and provided a good balance of comedy, live orchestra music and string instruments. On the last night the crew passed out balloons to the audience and we had a balloon toss before the show started. This is not something you see every day, people of all ages acting like children -- priceless!!
The service at the Captains Circle desk and Guest Services was very professional.
We love to play trivia when we cruise, if there was a game, we were there. Our winnings was a hat and a deck of cards. We tried to win the passport cover, but it was never in the cards.
We utilized the pressing and laundry service while on board (complimentary to elite members); and found that all items where returned timely for evening attire.
We booked the catamaran champagne snorkel to St. John when in St. Maarten. We thought that the 40 minute ride to the dock was a little too much but it was worth the friendly service on board the reward of arriving at the snorkel destination of St. John.
We felt a sense of "tradition" on Princess. You could always catch up on an episode of a "Love boat" show and other old time movies. The staff was overly friendly and ready to please.
Although we never patronized, the casino offers several "smoke free" days over the week which is nice for non-smokers.
The "Movies under the Stars" was presented nicely. The crew will cover all the lounge chairs with a heavy pillow top cover and top with a cozy red plaid blanket. Pizza, hamburger and fries always near by.
We dined two night in Crown Grill, this is a wonderful intimate dining experience with premium cuts of beef and whole lobster offerings.
The boutiques on board offered several items at all different price ranges. There was a small sale of items on the last port day. The Elite members receive a 10% discount in the boutiques.