Our cruise got off to a very unpleasant start, but it never stopped getting better once we were aboard the ship. An alarm turned off the air conditioning to the main waiting room in Port Everglades and since it was Sunday there was nobody around to fix it. We all felt like cattle being herded to market. One of the agents was missing from our assigned embarkation desk for a while so it took longer to get aboard; I wouldn't have minded so much if not for the heat.
Once we got aboard and settled into our cabin I went down to the Purser's desk to confirm our arrangements for our transfer to the airport at the end of the voyage. The agents there were extremely friendly and helpful; they answered questions I didn't know I had. Everything we needed (shore excursion and transfer tickets, etc) for the entire cruise was delivered to our stateroom when we needed it; there was no leg work for us to do. I was impressed with the lengths Princess goes through to make absolutely certain that all arrangements are handled so its guests can truly relax and "escape completely".
Having sailed on ships of varying size (this one being my largest) I wondered if the food quality would be as good as the smaller ships. I must say that Emerald Princess had the best food that I've ever had at sea. From the casual dining at the horizon court to the anytime dining in the Michaelangelo dining room everything was top notch. We especially enjoyed the English pub lunch on our days at sea in the Wheelhouse Bar. There was so much variety that we didn't get to sample everything; there simply wasn't time to do it all!
For those concerned about health and sanitation inspections, the Emerald Princess has scored 100% on all six inspections since entering service. I had an upset stomach from seafood on a previous cruise; this time I had no food-related illnesses whatsoever.
The Emerald Princess is a beautiful ship with plenty of amenities for everyone. We really enjoyed the movies under the stars; the crew brought out free fresh-from-the-oven cookies and popcorn. The shipboard entertainment in the Princess Theater was more spectacular than any other I've enjoyed.
The only criticism I have about the design of the ship is the lack of a proper jogging track. There's a fitness track that circles the mini golf course on the Sun deck aft, but it's very narrow with no straight segments. It's even difficult to speed walk at a good pace. Joggers and power-walkers were using the ship's promenade deck instead and there was constant danger of colliding with other passengers or slipping on the wet spots.
The staff were all very friendly and helpful, but I was a little put off at how they were pushing the "all you can drink" soda promo at the start of the voyage. After that everyone was fantastic.
Though I may give Royal Caribbean a try on my next voyage, I definitely would sail with Princess again.