Emerald Princess Cruise Review by cherylandtk: Ultra Relaxed On the Emerald
Overall Member Rating
Ultra Relaxed On the Emerald
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
I'll try to keep this brief. Most aspects of the cruise were great, we are still fans and will cruise again.
Best Parts: Efficient embarkation, quick and painless, even with a full (3400 pax) ship. Food in dining rooms well prepared, tasty, enough choices. Dining room service was good to excellent, even using Anytime Dining. Anytime Dining worked for us, had no waits, mostly ate early by choice. Flexibility of Anytime Dining is wonderful. Pools were refreshing and used a lot. Loungers were available even on sea days, but perhaps not in the location you might want (sun vs. shade or deck level). Ship was in great shape. MUTS was fun, even in the light sprinkle rain. Self-disembarkation was a breeze. We will certainly choose this option again.
Surprisingly disappointing parts: Clothing rules were not anywhere close to followed or enforced, seemingly anywhere. Shorts and short-sleeved aloha shirts in the dining room on formal nights. Bare-chested and shoeless men More inside the buffet (not just walking past, I mean serving themselves food and then sitting down and eating.) Girls and women using wet pool towels as 'clothing' sarong-style, also in the buffet areas. Dining room and buffet staff saw all this every day and did not even blink.
It made us wonder if we should re-think even trying to take the appropriate clothes on our next cruise or if we should just take tee-shirts and shorts for everything. Maybe it was the itinerary, maybe it was the passenger mix, maybe it was something else. I will say the line-up at the past passengers party (on formal night) was 100% appropriately dressed, so maybe it is a lack of experience.
Chair Hogs were about 30% of the lounge chair 'users', which is actually less than what I expected, but the Deck Staff did nothing to enforce the 30 minute rule OR to help passengers looking for a spot. "Go somewhere else" was their advice and assistance. Princess should either have the Deck Staff DO something or assign them to some other job. I saw four men standing by the bathrooms doing absolutely nothing to assist passengers on the last sea day.
Good, nothing extra special, but certainly adequate parts: Shore excursions were OK, I think we will go back to booking our own and get more time 'doing' and less time 'getting organized and talking'.
Entertainment was plentiful, although seating space is at the usual premium. Many small venues + full ship means that only about half the passengers can see the lounge shows even when they are performed four times per cruise.
Photo Ops were available, but not terribly pushy if you did not want to participate.
Did not use the Spa or Sanctuary, did not see anyone using Sanctuary when we went to the Lotus pool.
Treadmills were plentiful in the gym, many people ran on deck, too. Princess is trying to up the ante on their enrichment options, but it still needs some work. We had a guest island history lecturer onboard, who while qualified on paper, was an utter bore and not a very good public speaker. I attempted to go to ceramics the first day, but so did twice as many people as they had space for. I chose not to sit directly in the broiling sun for two hours without a fan or a cooling breeze just to paint a dish. Instead, I went back to my covered balcony and read for a while before taking a nap. Less
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