Emerald Princess Cruise Review by ellobogrande: Our 5th anniversary adventure on the Emerald Princess
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Our 5th anniversary adventure on the Emerald Princess
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
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 More 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. Less
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Cabin review: IIA508
Small and slightly claustrophobic but adequate for sleeping and cleaning up. Shower was a bit of a pain; the curtain doesn't glide open and closed very well and water gets out easily. Convenient access to all decks via nearby stairs and elevators.
Port and Shore Excursions
The Jamaica Bobsled adventure is quite a thrill ride and the chairlift ride to the top of the mountain provides some breathtaking scenery. Though it's a beautiful park, the rides aren't cheap and the souvenirs are overpriced. Go up, ride the bobsled, enjoy the scenery, and come down.
Dunns River Falls is an adventure that I would definitely recommend experiencing once in your life if you have the physical stamina. Buy a pair of watershoes and an underwater camera.
Though the locals are friendly some of them can get downright pushy trying to sell you things and asking for tips. If you do the Dunns River Falls excursion be prepared to deal with some of the worst of this when you're ready to leave the park. You're forced to run a gauntlet through a maze of souvenir huts. Walk the path in the middle quickly and stride with purpose like you're trying to catch a bus that leaves in 2 minutes. Don't slow down for anything and just keep saying "no thank you, no thank you, no thank you" until you are out. Don't be surprised if someone doesn't try to block your path to stop you; one lady practically accosted us. I'll never go back to Dunns River Falls again unless they make an alternate exit that bypasses the huts. Similar experiences have made many a cruiser decide never to set foot ashore in Jamaica again; don't let it stop you but just be ready for it.
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