This was my 6th cruise with Princess, and 2nd on the Emerald. I think it is a lovely, well planned ship. All of the personal that I came into contact with were helpful and courteous. The ship was clean and well maintained, and our problem with the balcony door was fixed after only three calls to the service desk. The first worker that came by simply didn't know how to fix the lock.
For the first time, we booked a mini-suite, and enjoyed the extra room and tub; it did make showering much easier. On these trips across the North Atlantic, and then ports in No. Europe you really cannot use the balcony much so from now on, in colder areas, we will save money and get an "ocean view" cabin. In fact, we went ahead and booked the same cruise for 2012, but added the Baltic part too. We can live with the smaller cabin and tight shower situation. We like the convenience of Deck 5 too.
Our big complaint, and one area of unhappiness with Princess, is the same so many of the reviews note; the beds are terrible! When we board, we always bring our own foam pads and then just leave them when we disembark. My wife even brings some extra pieces because she does have bad back problems. We just laugh in frustration when we see Princess bragging about their "luxury" mattress. Why, oh why, do they not upgrade them? It is likely too, that they should have jumped on the virus outbreak quicker.
We found the food at the Caribe Buffet excellent most evenings, and usually preferred eating there rather than in one of the DR's. We always take the "anytime dinning" option. Breakfast in Horizon went okay too; you just needed to take care and not bump other people's plates. My wife likes to order room service for breakfast, and does wish they had to larger menu, but it's not really a problem. Overall, we thought the food on Emerald was as good, or better even, than any we have had on our other ten or so cruises. I thought all of the beef was just excellent.
Overall, I give the Emerald an B+ rating, (the beds prevent an A) and am looking forward to our cruise next Spring.