Where to begin... In short, most of the ports and islands were nice. The weather was fantastic, and the specialty restaurants, those that require additional fees to enjoy, were amazing, both in food quality and service. One photographer, Rachel, was a dear, and we loved her. But the Cruise Director, Billy London, and the Captain of the Emerald Princess were dreadful and practically ghosts. The Captain has no personality and spirit which I believe trickles down to the crew and therefore the passengers. The Cruise Director and his staff did little to nothing... I never found a fun, exciting deck party, and even the sail away on day 1 was weak... especially compared to the P&O ship that was behind us in the Caribbean... same company but they were rocking! To clarify, I left very positive comments on board for those who deserve it, but everyone needs to be warned about how BAD the EMERALD PRINCESS is as of right now, Nov. 2011.
This was the most inactive, unsponsored and dull ship I have been on. Granted, I have only taken two cruises to date, but more likely than not, this will be my last cruise with Princess... it reminded me once again, you get what you pay for... but actually, we did not get a "great deal" on this ship. This attitude of diminished expectations was shared by many other passengers that I talked to onboard, including an amazing couple we befriended who have cruised hundreds of days to date.
The biggest complaint I have is the lack of service and bad attitude of many, many crew members. For example, room service did not deliver ice for the drinks we ordered, and responded, "That's not my job..." When this was reported, no response from the "Consummate Hosts at Princess" ....
When we had a disaster for an excursion in Dominica, which is likely unsafe and should be removed from Princess itineraries (like other cruise lines have done), we approached the Shore Excursion desk to share with them ... not seeking a refund or anything at that point, but we were dismissed by Ava, who then lied to us about her manager's availability. When the manager, Rex, did come out, he was more useless and lacked more courtesy and professionalism than Ava. I've received better service from big-box store greeters and fast food employees than either of these two and many other Princess team members on the Emerald Princess. A 2nd excursion we took on Bonaire, which is a lovely island, was also a disaster as the guide barely spoke English and our "guide" became one of the fellow cruisers, who knew as little about the island as I did... but did Princess care, nope! I was dismissed and told to fill out a form, which I did, and never received a reply, despite the blue book in our cabin saying they want to make things right while we are on board. I guess I'll be calling my credit card now to take up the dispute that way... again, EPIC FAIL IN CUSTOMER SERVICE AND MANNERS.
I was shocked by the lack of service and attentiveness on this cruise and honestly, I was embarrassed that I recommended it to those who traveled with me. I don't know when or if I will try Princess again. Please think twice before you try this line.