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101 Copenhagen to Baltic Sea Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

We picked the Emerald Princess primarily for the excellent Baltic itinerary. The ship itself is very similar to two other Princess ships we were on (the Sapphire and Star) and, like the others, a very attractive ship with good use made of ... Read More
We picked the Emerald Princess primarily for the excellent Baltic itinerary. The ship itself is very similar to two other Princess ships we were on (the Sapphire and Star) and, like the others, a very attractive ship with good use made of the cabin space. Service has suffered as it seems they've cut back on dining staff, but overall was still reasonable and the food still some of the best we've had on cruise ships. One exception is the pathetic coffee they serve; good, fresh brewed, coffee is available for purchase and available for free with a "coffee card" that is also good for 15 specialty coffees (e.g. lattes or espressos). Cards purchased on previous voyages are still good for specialty coffees but can no longer be used for unlimited fresh brewed coffee (or specialty teas) except for the voyage during which the card was bought. This is part of Princess's apparent latest policy of cutting back everywhere and being in the forefront of nickel-and-diming you at every turn. They don't, however, pressure you for sales, so the upside is it lowers the cruise cost for those, like us, who spend our money elsewhere. Speaking of Princess cutting back, we recently learned that effective 8/1/12 Carnival (the owner of Princess Lines) will not allow travel agents to give any cash or equivalent credits and will limit booking incentives to a $ 25 pp non-cash item. This seems very consumer-unfriendly and I think (and hope!) it comes back to hurt them. One other area Princess could usefully address is their Coupon book. For ourselves, and every one of the other passengers we spoke with, there is nothing of value here. For those who do Anytime Dining, it can be difficult to get a table during prime dining times (say 6:30 to 8). A good idea would be to speak with the Maitre d' your first day on the ship, give him a $20 or so tip in advance saying, "I know you'll be very helpful if we need anything this cruise." For different reasons we got to know our Maitre d' and we never had to wait for a table and always had top-notch service. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Before embarking on this cruise, I read quite a few negative reviews. I think many of them were over-critical, and possibly the result of being jaded from past luxurious experiences. Like other cruise lines, Princess has cut back on ... Read More
Before embarking on this cruise, I read quite a few negative reviews. I think many of them were over-critical, and possibly the result of being jaded from past luxurious experiences. Like other cruise lines, Princess has cut back on what is included in the base price. You have to pay for drinks (including soda, juice, and coffee), with the exception of the breakfast offerings. There are restaurants on board that require a cover charge, and pool areas that require a spa fee. All irritating, but I chose to ignore all of these options, and enjoy everything else. The ship: The Emerald Princess is a classy ship, in excellent condition. Decor consists of lacquered wood and brass. All of the public areas were comfortable and elegant. The only design flaw I could see was that it was difficult to walk from one part of the ship to another without having to go up and down to avoid blocked passageways. On the positive side, all of the stair climbing helps burn off calories! Stateroom service was not very personal, and was more like Motel 6. The food: I saw no need to spend money on specialty restaurants, since the food was so good in the main dining room. If you are patient, nearly all of the specialty food, such as lobster, are eventually served for free. The wait staff was very friendly, and their individual personalities showed through the stiff formality. Specialty cheeses and desserts were available 24-hours a day in the atrium, and pizza and burgers could be found near the pools. Entertainment: The shows are short, and shown more often, to try to make scheduling easier. The ship's dance crew put on a couple of really good shows, but overall the entertainment was less impressive than other cruises I have been on. (I guess I'm a bit jaded as well) The most valueable shows were the port lectures by John Lawrence. Listening carefully to his advice will save you time and money, as well as helping you to plan your port time. They were always repeated on the stateroom televisions. The ports: The ship visited 8 ports in 11 days, which was exhausting at times. I actually heard a few people complaining that it was too much, but my wife and I looked at it as a real value for the cost of the cruise. Be prepared for strenuous days. The port strike was resolved in Oslo Norway, so we were able to visit the port. The castle right next to the ship was incredible! The self guided tour allowed me to see it at my own pace, with time left over to visit the open air Viking Folk Museum. Aarhus Denmark was a small port, with not much to see. We made use of Denmark's free bicycles, and rode along the coast for a while before heading to the shopping district to explore and have a cold beer. We procrastinated too long, and arrived at the cathedral after closing hours (4 pm). Oh well, we had another beer instead. In Warnemunde Germany, we booked a tour through SPB that went to Rostock and Schwerin Castle. Our guide was relaxed and knowledgeable about the sites. She was actually part of the congregation of one of the old churches that we visited. Schwerin Castle was one of the highlights of the cruise. Lunch was included with the tour, and consisted of German sausage, sauerkraut, and a beer. Unlike the unfortunate people who went all the way to Berlin, we had time left over to walk around Warnemunde before boarding the ship. Tallinn Estonia was a warm and friendly medieval town. The people were vibrant, friendly, and willing to talk. I could see myself living there. We found a three story restaurant housed in a very old building, which was candle lit, and served wild game and a beer resembling mead in HUGE mugs: another highlight of the cruise. St. Petersburg Russia took about a day to grow on us. When we left the ship, we were greeted by some very serious Russian agents. It felt very oppressive. We booked the 2-day, as well as the Evening Fun Tour, with SPB tours. Our day guide was reserved and efficient. We must have seen every cultural sight there was. Well worth the money, and less costly than the Princess sponsored tour. The fun evening tour is what really won our hearts. Our tour guide, Sasha, was confident, outgoing, and funny. Ladies, keep an eye on your husbands around this cute young woman! Helsinki Finland was spread out, and therefore difficult to see in such a short day. We got to see the Temppeliaukio church, met some really friendly people, and enjoyed fresh fish in a farmer's market at the downtown docks. Stockholm Sweden was another highlight of the cruise. Unfortunately, the port had the shortest stay of the trip, so we changed our approach. We were the first people off the ship, and immediately grabbed a taxi into Old Town, where we stayed to explore the rest of the day. We were able to get pictures of the old palace, medieval church, and town streets before anyone else arrived. As the stores began to open, we sampled Swedish pastries, meatballs, herring, and of course...local beer! We made it back to the ship with a whole 5-minutes to spare. After the cruise, we spent 5-days in Copenhagen Denmark (it takes a minimum of three to get a good look at the city). We disembarked just as the International Jazz festival began. It rained a little bit just about every day, which was actually kind of nice. There is a lot to see here, and I think we covered about 80% of it. Kronborg Castle was definitely worth the 50-minute train ride to see. The underground ramparts really gave us a feel for the military life of its inhabitants. Climbing the tower at Our Saviour's Church was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. The staircase spirals around the outside of the tower, to dizzying heights. My fear of heights had me crawling the last few steps! In summary, I would definitely recommend this cruise. It is rich in Norse culture, and a bargain for the money. I hope to return to some of the countries visited, because I enjoyed them (and the cool weather) so much. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and were not sorry. The ports of call were all very interesting. The Emerald Princess: Pros: -great food (best we have had on a cruise ship), standard cabins with good storage; Good ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and were not sorry. The ports of call were all very interesting. The Emerald Princess: Pros: -great food (best we have had on a cruise ship), standard cabins with good storage; Good service; International Cafe is good for a quick lunch & snacks; disembarking was simple & fast but embarkation was a wait since everyone came at once (2-3 pm) CONS: -ship is not well suited to cooler climates as it has 3 pools - all outdoor and uncovered - that were seldom used as the weather was not that warm; doesn't have a promenade deck that goes all around; does not have a front viewing area (would have been nice when going through archipelagos). Our room was on the plaza deck behind the art gallery & near the piazza- was very convenient during this cruise as due to the cooler weather, all the activities centered around the piazza rather than the pools. Ship was pretty much walking distance from the sites in all cities except for Helsinki but we took the JOPO bikes (ship excursion) so did not need the shuttle bus. JOPO bikes are fun but expensive for a bike tour. Helsinki was the warmest day we had so the only day we used the pool deck. (around 21C degrees). The only other organized tour we took was SPE tours in St Petersburg booked with a group of 16 through cruise critics. Katya at SPE was very good, spoke excellant English and was very conscious to what we wanted to see. Had lunch the first day with borscht and beef stroganoff; second day we stopped at STOLLE (the pie place) for lunch. These were pies to die for!! We saw so much in St Petersburg but unfortunately could not take the hydrofoil to Peterhof as the wind was too strong. Much as I loved seeing everything, I would consider a more relaxed tour if I did it again (no fault of SPE but we are on vacation after all!. Did not really see anything of normal Russian life, only the spectacles of grandeur. We did not go to Berlin but instead went to Rostock and Schwerin by train using the Lander ticket (for 4 of us). In Schwerin we rented bikes at the railway station and had a lot of fun seeing all the sites. It was a Sunday so everything was closed in Rostock unfortunately. If to do again, I would have gone to Schwerin & spent more time in Warnemunde, a really nice & interesting little seaside town). Major likes: ARos museum in Tallinn; Vigeland park in Oslo; Schwerin on bikes; Tallinn walking around; Helsinki (everything); Stockholm the VASA; Copenhagen - free 3 hour Copenhagen tour at City Hall at 11 AM daily & harbour tour by the same folk at 4 pm each day (cost $17 including boat cruise). Note re Copenhagen - a 3rd metro line is being built so it is better not to stay near Tivoli right now as it is all under construction. The Nyhavn area is much prettier and interesting. We stayed at the Clarion Neptune & it was great -well located & breakfast plus a light supper are included in the price. Free Internet. Easy to take the metro from the airport to the hotel - cheaper & more convenient than a taxi. Finally, remember to bring clothes to layer as it can be cold & windy. Sometimes rain. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
My wife and I, both in our early 60's, decided on the Baltic as our first cruise with Princess. Our only other cruise was with Royal Caribbean in the Med 2 years ago. We are not 'party people' so were looking for comfort, ... Read More
My wife and I, both in our early 60's, decided on the Baltic as our first cruise with Princess. Our only other cruise was with Royal Caribbean in the Med 2 years ago. We are not 'party people' so were looking for comfort, good food,good excursions and entertainment rather than bars, casinos, bingo or dancing. My sister in law has for years travelled with Princess and told us how good she thought they were.We decided to try them to compare with Royal Caribbean. We decided to try an inside cabin rather than a balcony just to see if we could cope with it. We had no problems and would go inside again. We went 'anytime dining' for dinner and thought that the food and service was excellent. Breakfast and lunch were taken in the self service Horizon area and again excellent food but a crowded at peak times. Entertainment quality was good but most of the evening shows were very short at 30-35mins long and this was my only complaint about the cruise. We were told by the Cruise Director that the time had been cut to fit 3 rather than 2 performances in per evening. I was not impressed!One thing I have to praise was SPb tours. We did tours with this company in Berlin,Tallin, St. Petersburg, Helsinki & Stockholm rather than with Princess, and our choice was based mainly on price and comments we read here on Cruise Critic. There were no problems even in St Petersburg! Your ticket was your visa and the guides were excellent. Think twice before paying the prices that Princess charge when this company is available. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
This review gives a brief overview of when it is best to take the tour offered by the cruise line or go on your own. Copenhagen: We arrived a couple of days early and enjoyed Copenhagen. I recommend the combined Hop-on Hop-off bus and ... Read More
This review gives a brief overview of when it is best to take the tour offered by the cruise line or go on your own. Copenhagen: We arrived a couple of days early and enjoyed Copenhagen. I recommend the combined Hop-on Hop-off bus and canal boat ride. You can see a lot of Copenhagen with this tour. Oslo: The ship docks a short distance from the main square. It's very easy to walk around town. Arhus: Similar to Oslo, the ship is close to the main area of town, including the art museum with the coloured panoramic view. The City Bus (#18) takes you to the Viking Museum. Warnemunde: If you have not been to Berlin, you should do the ship's tour. It's a long day and 3 hours each way on the train. You only get a taste of Berlin, but there is a lot of significance in the trip. Tallin: Take the shuttle bus into town and you can easily do the rest on your own, including the upper town with the beautiful cathedral. St. Petersburg: We did the ships tour and we were very pleased. There are a number of other local tours that are frequented. Unless you have been to Russia before, I would suggest that you do not do this city on your own. Also, everything is transacted in roubles. Be ready for exchange issues. Passport control also adds time. Don't be late returning to the ship because the ship will leave on time. The harbour channel is narrow and is managed similar to a busy airport. One ship was late and was delayed by 24 hours. Helsinki: Easy to do the town on your own unless you want to visit a specific site outside town. The shuttle bus helps. Stockholm: Small town, but many islands so you need help getting around. The ship's tour is ok. You may want to arrange a local tour because the shore stop is short. Great passages: The ship has to traverse some nice passageways. Take a seat in the Horizon Cafe after leaving Oslo, St. Petersburg and Stockholm to view the local scenery. On Ship: John Lawrence is an excellent on-ship commentator. He is a wonderful story teller. Don't miss his talks. He often sets up outside the library. Spend a minute or two with him. He is very interesting. Calypso Cove: There are some good bargains here if you are selective. Casino: So-so. Serious poker players need not bother. Craps is better for the fun. Transfer to CPH airport: The cost is about the same as a cab, but they handle all the luggage. It's worth it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
My husband and I began planning our 11 Day Scandinavian & Russian cruise over a year ago. The trip was planned as our one year anniversary celebration and we invited my sister and brother-in-law to join us. Overall I think that the ... Read More
My husband and I began planning our 11 Day Scandinavian & Russian cruise over a year ago. The trip was planned as our one year anniversary celebration and we invited my sister and brother-in-law to join us. Overall I think that the cruise was mediocre but the ports were so great that it made up for it. The only port we missed was Oslo because of a strike in the city. Booking process: I booked online during a promotional week and was promised a $50 on-board credit. Once my sister booked her trip, I e-mailed my contact at Princess to ask that our two parties be sat at the same table. This went fine. One week prior to the embarkation my sister was notified that they received an upgrade from an interior to a balcony room. I contacted Princess to ask why I hadn't received an upgrade since we had booked first. I was told that I didn't mark that I would like one and there was nothing they could do other than add me to the list. Two days later I received an upgrade to a window room. I later found out on the cruise that they took away our $50 on-board credit in exchange for the upgrade. So, basically my sister was able to get a balcony for free and I was charged $100 for a window. Flight/pre-cruise hotel: I booked air independently through Scandinavian Airlines. The flight was as comfortable as possible and the Copenhagen airport was very easy to navigate. They have a line of taxis waiting to take you downtown. I had booked two nights at the Grand Hotel in Copenhagen. We then arranged a taxi to the ship on embarkation day. Embarkation: This was the easiest and fastest embarkation I have ever experienced. We got there at about 12:20 and we were on the ship by about 12:45. Our luggage arrived in just over an hour. Very simple, very easy. Stateroom: We had a window stateroom that was on the Emerald deck. It was a nice location because it was just two floors above our dining room. This was larger than most staterooms and there was plenty of room for all our bags to be unpacked. The television channels offered a lot of good movies and port information. Ship layout: I was disappointed in the ship's layout. There were several floors that we weren't able to walk from the front to the back of the ship. This became a problem over and over again. Food: In general, the food was very mediocre. We tried practically every food place (that was free). I think my favorites were the tapas in the Vines wine bar. Dinners each night were good but not much really was great. I loved the pizza but was surprised that it wasn't open 24 hours. The buffet was never good and I eventually gave up. Room service was very prompt each time we ordered but the breakfast choices were very limited. Service: Our stateroom steward was Zeus and he was great. Our waiters in the Botticelli dining room were Oscar and Menino and they were also fantastic. The servers in the Wheelhouse Bar and Vines were very attentive. Anywhere else I went they just didn't seem to ever see you. I'm used to ships that when you sit down someone approaches right away to get your drink order. There appeared to be only one server for the entire Princess Theater so I never was able to order anything there. The Explorer's Lounge was the worst. I would have to signal the servers for about 5 minutes every time to get someone to come over. I would have just gone to the bar myself but I was playing Trivia so I couldn't get up. The buffet servers were sometimes attentive but it depended on the day. Sometimes it would be 10 minutes before someone would clear our plates. Spa: The spa services were great. Since we missed our stop in Oslo I was able to reschedule to that day without any problem. I got a hot stone massage that was sooo relaxing. Entertainment: The shows were very good. We saw the ventriloquist and the magician; I even was brought on stage for the magician. There was a piano player that did a show one night and he was great fun to see. We participated in a lot of trivia games and played Bingo a couple times. We loved listening to the Rick Kilburn Quartet and we stopped by before or after dinner almost every night. Disembarkation: We purchased a ship transfer to the airport because they sent out a letter stating that there could be a 2 hour wait for taxis. This was not true! There were probably 50 taxis waiting for passengers. The ship transfer was very easy, though. We put out our luggage the night before and then claimed it when we got to the airport. I am always nervous to let go of my luggage but this was not a problem. Excursions: We only booked one Princess excursion and I will never book another ship excursion again. The guide's commentary was terrible. When we got to the Vasa Museum she asked us to meet back at 10 am. At 9:57 my husband and I went to the meeting spot and no one was there. My brother-in-law finally came back with the guide about 2 minutes later saying that she had tried to leave without us. There were two other couples that also had just gotten to the meeting point and would have missed the bus. I am a very prompt person so when I was told 10:00, I didn't think that meant 9:50. Ports: I will review the ports individually but I will mention that other than our missed day in Oslo and some rain and a bad tour guide in Stockholm, they were all excellent. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
The Emerald Princess caters for just over 3000 passengers, and on our cruise though the majority of passengers were American as expected, there was a rich variety of nationalities present. The ship is spacious, kept immaculately clean, ... Read More
The Emerald Princess caters for just over 3000 passengers, and on our cruise though the majority of passengers were American as expected, there was a rich variety of nationalities present. The ship is spacious, kept immaculately clean, and we found the staff to be friendly, attentive and polite at all times. Our cabin steward, (David from Mexico), was excellent. Both embarkation and disembarkation were smoothly handled by the Princess staff, again as expected. The ship is very stable and in fact there is little feeling of sailing, apart from seeing the sea. This may be an advantage to anyone who fancies the idea of cruising but may be hesitant about sea motion - there just wasn't any on this Baltic trip. (This may be be different on, say, a transatlantic crossing.) There is a wide variety of entertainment on board which should offer something for most tastes. Despite the fact that the cast of singers and dancers were both talented and energetic, I found the stage shows to be rather 'tired' and lacking in any innovation. By contrast, the singing duo of Allan and LaDonna were superb.In terms of dining, there is considerable scope for improvement. The food was always well presented, but the quality ranged from 'excellent' through to 'uninspiring'. Generally, however, the quality was very good, but definitely not luxury cruise standard. Despite the restaurant staff apparently working hard, the eating experience in the main dining rooms was disappointingly slow. The system is that the waiters visit the kitchen to collect meals for several tables at a time. This means that you can be sitting around waiting for others to 'catch up' while you wait for your next course. On more than one occasion we waited for 30 minutes before our order was even taken. If your preference is for long, slow, chatty meals, then you'll have no problem. I was, however, pleased that we could easily obtain a table for two, with no pressure to share. The buffets provided a good choice of foods, generally of a high standard. They can, however, become very crowded at normal meal times. Much has been written about the different tipping philosophies between Americans and Europeans or Australians. In addition to the $11 per person per day standard gratuity, there is also an additional 15% added to every bar bill, including a bottle of wine bought at dinner. As a Scot, this was hard to bear! Shore excursions are not cheap, but are exceptionally well organised by Princess staff and their representatives. We enjoyed three, two in St Petersburg and one in Stockholm. At other ports we chose the option of exploring on foot or by local 'hop-on, hop-off' coach. Unfortunately our 'River & Canal Cruise' in St Petersburg was curtailed by a third, was limited to the canals, and so we only saw the magnificent riverside palaces from the bus. Quite a disappointment.Other niggles included piped music virtually everywhere - it's actually quite difficult to find a quiet place on board, even although the ship is as big as it is. And finally, in line with Princess's apparent aim of getting you to part with as much money as possible, there are the ships' photographers who are constantly photographing passengers. Like the alcohol and internet access, prices for the photographs are extortionate, and it would be interesting to know how many printed photographs are shredded on each cruise. I full appreciate that each traveller will have their own expectations and experiences. My expectations were based on two previous cruises with Princess, one with Star Clippers, and one with NCL. Although the Emerald Princess has much to commend it, I feel that it falls short of the mark. Did we have a great cruise? Yes, most certainly. Would I sail on the Emerald Princess again? No. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
This eleven day tour of scandinavia and the baltic region with Princess was a great experience. All of our expactations were met and exceeded. Pre cruise concerns...sea sickness, lack of interest in drinking, gambling, dancing amounted ... Read More
This eleven day tour of scandinavia and the baltic region with Princess was a great experience. All of our expactations were met and exceeded. Pre cruise concerns...sea sickness, lack of interest in drinking, gambling, dancing amounted to nothing. There were heaps of things for us to do both aboard and ashore. I loved the art history and gem lectures, jewellery shopping (excellent prices for amber), art auctions, scenery, tour of the galley, variety of dining experiences, quality of food. We had three full days at sea...one unexpected as we couldn't land in Oslo due to a general strike and seven ashore days. We were disappointed in missing Oslo but actually appreciated the day (first day of cruise) to explore the ship and recover from our jet lag. On two of the shore days - Aarhus and Tallinn - we did our own thing and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. On the other five days we did Princess shore excursions. All of them were managed brilliantly. They were exhausting days but absolutely brilliant. Of 3200 passengers only 11 were children. There were people from all over the world but mostly Americans. Many people we talked to were seasoned cruisers...quite a few had clocked up over 10 cruises many with Princess. The food, service and entertainment were much much better than I expected. Don't use " The Love Boat" as a reference guide! We used the specialty restaurants, Crown Grill and Sabatinis for formal nights. Other nights we did Anytime Dining in Michaelangelo and Da Vincis. A couple of times we had room service. We had breakfast at Horizon Court most days. All of the food was high quality and the service was excellent. We hardly felt any boat movement...mostly we had calm or mild seas. We will definitely cruise with Princess again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
My family and I were very disappointed at the quality of Princess cruises. There was not a single thing that didn't go wrong during the cruise. Our toilet broke (we waited for someone to come fix it for over an hour), the guest ... Read More
My family and I were very disappointed at the quality of Princess cruises. There was not a single thing that didn't go wrong during the cruise. Our toilet broke (we waited for someone to come fix it for over an hour), the guest services desk was unhelpful and rude, terrible shows, and I even found several pieces of hair that were not mine on my pillow!!! As for the food- the Crown Grill was a better dining option but there is a surcharge. Lamb rack was delicious! Also heard good things about Sabatini's. However, the regular buffet, Michelangelo, and Botticelli dining rooms (anything that is free) provided bad service and even worse food. I am not a snob when it comes to traveling but if I've paid a decent amount on a cruise I would expect staff members to put a bit more effort in ensuring customer satisfaction. Also, you can expect to be constantly pestered to buy spa packages and drinks. I really do not recommend this cruise ship at all. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
I am an equal opportunity cruise line passenger, but I prefer Princess as I like the laid back atmosphere and consistent service. A cruise is what you make of it, so I'm not going to complain about anything. We flew into ... Read More
I am an equal opportunity cruise line passenger, but I prefer Princess as I like the laid back atmosphere and consistent service. A cruise is what you make of it, so I'm not going to complain about anything. We flew into Copenhagen and took the ship's transportation to the port. It was about 30-40 minutes to the ship and another 30-40 minutes to go through the check-in process and board the ship. There is not much to do in the immediate port area, so it's best to explore the ship and get your bearings. Our ship left on May 23rd under sunny skies and temps in the upper 60's. We were very lucky, as this was the first week in many with warm, sunny weather. The Baltic was very calm, as we were sailing close to land most of the time. Sailing into the fjord of Oslo was gorgeous. I was in the gym around 7am watching as we slowly sailed up the fjord on the glassy water, zig zagging our way through the narrows during the 3 hour approach to Oslo. Unfortunately, the port authority of Oslo decided to go on strike this day, so we were denied entrance and were forced to turn around and sail right back out of the fjord. The day was beautiful as we sailed slowly for 3-4 hours down the fjord while John Lawrence, the port lecturer, narrated our passage. The sun was shining and temps were in the mid 70's, so the day was not a loss. Because of our denial into Oslo, we arrived in Aarhus at 8am rather than noon the following day. What a cute port town! An easy 10-15 minute walk into town with an ATM on the way, Aarhus is very easy to walk around. Again, the temps were in the 70's with the sun shining, so all of the Danish locals were out enjoying the day. The ship didn't leave until 7pm, so it was great to sit up on deck and enjoy a movie before getting ready for the evening. One thing about the Baltic cruise is that the sun rises in the 4am hour and sets in the 10 or 11pm hour. It's great to enjoy the outdoors and walk around the deck after dinner and view the beautiful sunsets. If you have a balcony, the sun will stream into any crack in the curtains as early as 4:30am, so be prepared. We docked in Warnemunde, Germany the following day, Saturday, with another warm, sunny day. All of the Germans were rushing toward the beach in Warnemunde so if the weather is nice, enjoy the day with the rest of the country. The beach is HUGE. You dock right in the town with only a 5 minute walk or so to everything. We chose not to go to Berlin, but to enjoy the local towns. We took a river ferry for about 10 or 15 euros up the river 45 minutes to Rostock. This is a very nice town with a great pedestrian area and a beautiful church. Lots of Germans come here to do their shopping. We ate lunch along the river, then took the return ferry to Warnemunde and walked around with the hoardes of Germans. Many people here do not speak English, as this is part of former East Germany. We had a lovely day at sea with more sunshine, then the next day in Tallinn, Estonia. Another fantastic port! Maybe a 15 minute walk into the walled city with cute shops along the way. There are two main gates to the city, so make sure to see both of them. This is very walkable. There is an upper town and a lower town with lots of colorfully buildings and some beautiful churches. Great shopping, especially amber. We found a couple of different places to stop for a beer or wine and just enjoyed the people watching. English was not a problem here. This was by far our favorite port! One thing to know is that you lose 2 hours of time on your way to Russia, then gain it back over the next couple of days. Our arrival into Russia was seamless. We booked a non-ship tour through Alla Tours and lined up to leave the ship at 6:30am. Yes, the passport control was rigid, but we still made it off the ship and through to our tour guide within 30-45 minutes. The first day in St Petersburg was fabulous and we were lucky to have nice weather. Upon returning to the ship around 6pm, the passport line was very long and you have to be patient. Russia is all about patience. Our second day was rainy, and it's very important to have a GOOD umbrella. Get one that has wind vents at the top. Sharper Image sells a great one for $29. Every other person on our tour had their umbrellas turn inside out except for us. After 2 days in opulent St Petersburg, Helsinki was a real let down. We took the bus into town, which was easy. The city architecture is boring and grey. We immediately took the ferry to the fortress of Suomenlinna which is a little island just off shore. It was nice to walk around, but nothing was open yet, so it was boring. We also walked to the Rock Church, but so did 1000 other people because there really isn't anything else to do. The port area downtown is alive with fisherman and you can get lots of fresh fish and reindeer dishes and eat it right there at picnic tables. We tried to find a cafe for a beer, but the beer was 12-15 euros apiece, so we went back to the ship early. The next morning, we sailed slowly through the archipelago into Stockholm and although it was raining, the scenery was unbelievable. With only a short day in Stockholm, we took the shuttle (for a fee) into town and walked to the Gamla Stan area. This is a very cute island with the palace and lots of shops in narrow streets. I would love to to back to Stockholm when the sun is shining and for longer than a few hours. Again, the sail out of Stockholm was just gorgeous and sometimes, you felt so close to an island that you could throw a rock from your balcony and hit land. This is a cruise where you MUST have a balcony as you are always close to land and wonderful things to see. This is a cruise to enjoy the ports and then rejuvenate at night on the ship. We always found good food, good entertainment, nice people and were never at a loss for something to do. Our flight from Copenhagen left at 10:45, so were were assigned to leave the ship between 7-7:30. Leaving the ship was very efficient and we took the Princess shuttle to the airport. The Copenhagen airport is one of the best airports I've ever been to, so getting there early is no problem. We were lucky enough to get upgraded to first class for our flight to JFK, so this was a fantastic end to a fantastic cruise! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Emerald Princess- Great - -cabin design is excellent - closet area huge and open - situated such that it blocks light from opening bathroom door so as not to disturb DH when you make a mid-night visit - adequately spacious room w/ ... Read More
Emerald Princess- Great - -cabin design is excellent - closet area huge and open - situated such that it blocks light from opening bathroom door so as not to disturb DH when you make a mid-night visit - adequately spacious room w/ balcony -cabins on Riviera deck in low 600's will feel ship's vibration, being under stacks and will hear late night and early morning furniture moving noise from Horizon Court dining area directly above as they move tables and chairs to floor clean every day. -same area cabin is very stable and does not experience rocking/rolling at all, even in rough seas - staff very friendly and responsive - John Lawrence lectures on each port- comprehensive knowledge of history, geology, customs, economy, etc. - interesting and often humorous - accompanied by slides - also guides as we pass by interesting areas - Princess broadcasts these on ship's TV also - great Russian folklore presentation on ship first night in port at St. Petersburg (you don't really need to take the excursion offering into city for one of these) - remarkably good prices on-board for items also found in ports - matroyshka Russian nesting dolls were cheaper that those in port! Okay or not so great- - food often bland in regular dining rooms, but some stand-out meals -Crown Grill meats covered in heavy sauce, masking flavors, or just bland - every port was very interesting, but needed more time in Stockholm (7:00 am to 1:30 pm only) - major disappointment when capt. chose not to go into Oslo because of pilot's strike, while other ships did go in and were able to leave as well - entertainment by Princess dancers and singers very good, comedians okay to not so good - on-board activities are game formats, gambling, shopping, spa, walking on deck, nothing of cognitive interest except for Lawrence lectures - remember to put your do not disturb tag in door lock if you are in your room after say 9:00 am and you have hearing impairment or are doing something like showering or hair drying that would prevent your hearing steward's knock on cabin door before entering -ship's city maps need more detail and indication of where ship may be docked Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
THE SHIP - large and immaculate, knowledgeable and friendly crew, probably a little biased as we were upgraded from a mini-suite to a penthouse suite...no idea why but obviously very much enjoyed the extra perks, the biggest one being the ... Read More
THE SHIP - large and immaculate, knowledgeable and friendly crew, probably a little biased as we were upgraded from a mini-suite to a penthouse suite...no idea why but obviously very much enjoyed the extra perks, the biggest one being the free Internet! THE FOOD - we went for anytime dining, sat with different travellers most nights, met some great new friends. Also frequented Sabatini's as the food and service were first rate and very much worth the service charge. The theme meals were also well done, with the exception of the sushi, still a long way to go there. GETTING OFF AND ON - pretty much seamless given that there were a couple thousand passengers. Absolutely NO issues with disembarking when were were on a non-Princess tour. If anything, it was easier to join our small Saint Petersburg tour than to go on the Princess tour. Having Princess handle all airport/hotel connections made life very simple, recommended. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We (mother, father, 24 yr old daughter) flew into Copenhagen the morning of the cruise. We usually prefer to give ourselves more time but our work schedules would not allow for this. After a rather unfriendly meeting with the Danish ... Read More
We (mother, father, 24 yr old daughter) flew into Copenhagen the morning of the cruise. We usually prefer to give ourselves more time but our work schedules would not allow for this. After a rather unfriendly meeting with the Danish immigration official I discovered my luggage did not make the trip. Not to worry I was handed "the essentials kit" at the airport so what more could I need? Other than underwear, socks and a formal outfit and party shoes? Filing the lost luggage claim took some time so we missed the transfer bus. The Princess rep outside was sympathetic to our plight and sent us in a taxi to the port. As Platinum members we were checked in quickly and were onboard and in our inside cabin on the Aloha deck by 12 noon. After a quick bite in the Horizon Court we crashed for some much needed sleep. I still kept hoping that a miracle would happen and my luggage would appear but that did not happen. We met our cabin attendant Rico and he did a fine job without being intrusive. He did have a thing for straightening up the room and every day we had a treasure hunt trying to find where he put things away. Dinner in the Botticelli dining room was good. We had a table for 3 as we requested and our waiter Mateo and Katarina the assistant did a fine job keeping us well fed. I have a food allergy and Mateo was very careful to be sure I had no problems. I found that the staff such as the waiter and cabin attendant were very good and showed genuine concern for our needs and preferences. I also found the general staff such as in the casino and Horizon Court was less concerned. Several times when asked a question or asked to do something they would snap back at you. I was surprised at their irritated comments. I also witnessed a shouting match between 2 deck attendants by the pool. They had a long and loud very public discussion about a difference of opinion. I was really surprised at that one. The first morning the captain made an announcement that the stop in Germany was canceled due to high winds in the channel that would cause dangerous conditions for the ship. Many people were disappointed because they had tours to Berlin planned. I hope they were able to get their money back from those private companies. I was disappointed because I was hoping that I would be able to be reunited with my luggage. The ship also decided this would be the first formal dinner which was unfortunate for me as all I had was the same jeans and cotton shirt that I had put on Monday afternoon to fly to Copenhagen. I also had only my sneakers for shoes. The ship had promised me some generic formal clothes they keep in stock for such emergencies but when I went to collect them I was told they had run out so I was out of luck. Many people had luggage missing and they were overwhelmed. I did do some shopping in the ship stores but they do not have socks, underwear or shoes available. I made do with what I could get; needless to say we did not do photos that night. Thursday we did stop in Stockholm and stayed there overnight till 2PM Friday. The trip through the fiords was a real treat. Stockholm was a lovely town and easy to get around. The ship had a shuttle into town but it was easy to just walk into town. Follow the blue line painted on the pavement. They do need to refresh the paint a little as it disappeared at critical moments but we were able to figure it out and find our way. It was much cooler than we expected on this trip and I wish we had packed heavier clothing. Sweden is also very expensive just a warning to those planning this cruise. The changing of the guard at the palace and the palace tour were both very interesting and enjoyable. Then good news at 10:15pm on Thursday my battered pink suitcase appeared at the cabin door. Rejoice! Lesson learned- pack a change of clothes in your carry on. I will not get caught again. Friday afternoon we set sail for Finland and enjoyed the reverse trip through the Fiords of Sweden. My husband got some great video of the journey. Saturday in Finland we did use the ships shuttle as it was not walkable into town. We walked around Helsinki including a stroll around the flea market. There was a souvenir store right at the dock where I could get some postcards and stamps and even a mailbox to mail them. We also picked up a few trinkets to bring home. Saturday and Sunday were days in St Petersburg. We booked the 2 day ships tour. It was great and we saw everything there was to see as shown by the 500 photos I took. A stop at a souvenir store where the prices were in Euros was a big help as we saw many items we wanted to bring home to friends. Each day the tour included a lunch including Russian Vodka. The first meal was not so great and the vodka was more like paint thinner but the second day was quite tasty and the vodka was smoother and drinkable. They also provided entertainment. It was amazing to see the beautiful churches with the beautiful mosaics. We were lucky to have cool but clear weather to do all our touring. Our guide was very informative. We had a group of 30 but they provided headphones and receivers so we were able to hear all the explanations. I confess that after a while I got my Catherine's and Alexander's confused but that's just me. Tuesday was a delightful surprise as we visited Tallin, Estonia. It was a warmer day and we could walk around without a sweater. Tallin was a nice friendly town and we enjoyed a beer in a sidewalk cafe in the town square. The ship docked right in town and it was a very short walk to the old town. Wednesday was an at sea day . It was cold and rainy and we really could not sit out on deck. The blah food in the Horizon Court was getting boring. My daughter wanted a plain turkey sandwich for lunch and she was told in the Horizon Ct that this was not possible. We finally went to our cabin and ordered on though room service. I know on past cruises they had a deli area where they would make sandwiches but when I asked I was told that never happened. Thursday the stop in Aarhus Denmark was a waste of time. There was nothing bad about it but nothing great to see either. We arrived early 7:30am and left at 2pm. The stores didn't open until 10am so we just walked around and returned to the ship early. Friday was Oslo, Norway. It also was quick stop leaving at 1:30pm. We were able to just walk into the town and see the harbor area. We also did some shopping for some Norwegian sweaters and hats. We were able to use credit cards for our purchases even though we didn't have a pin. We had been warned that this might be a problem. Disembarkation was quick and easy. We booked a post cruise stay at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel. The hotel was nicely located. Our room was clean and large. The transfers ship to hotel and hotel to airport the next morning were smooth and hassle free. The entire cruise we used Euros, credit cards, and some Danish Kroners. We did not get all the Swedish or Norwegian Kroners or Rubles and we did just fine shopping. In general it was a great trip. I would suggest bringing some warmer clothes. Reading reviews I got the impression it was warmer but Aug 9 to the 20 it was cool most days. I feel the food on Princess has sadly gone down in quality. Many people we spoke with felt the same way. This was our 7th Princess cruise and we missed the delicious cuisine we had enjoyed on past cruises. The layout in the Horizon Court was also annoying. The buffet was like a giant pinball machine with people bumping into each other trying to find what was being served and the returning to get it. The layout at the coffee area was also not right. The cups were on the far left and the coffee on the far right with condiments in the middle. It made it awkward to get the morning coffee. On most days for breakfast and lunch we had great difficulty finding a table. Occasionally a staff member would help but most days we were just on our own. The last major difference was the attitude of some of the staff members. I was really surprised when I got snapped back at. I am a happy camper on vacation and am always grateful for the hard work of others to make sure we have a good vacation. I always say please and thank you. I do not expect to be made to feel like an idiot when I ask how we could get a turkey sandwich. I was very happy when I called room service and found that staff member was "old school" and very helpful and friendly. Many fellow passengers thought that this attitude problem was due to the fact that gratuities are automatic and not based on actual service rendered. I understand that this was cause by some rude people who did not give tips or gave much less than the suggested amount. I don't know what the answer is. I am just making an observation that I notice a change and I am sad that this is happening. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Copenhagen We flew SAS from Newark non-stop to Copenhagen economy - very nice service, drinks free of charge during meals, food very good for airline fare. Reminded me of bygone days in the US. These days we make a habit of flying ... Read More
Copenhagen We flew SAS from Newark non-stop to Copenhagen economy - very nice service, drinks free of charge during meals, food very good for airline fare. Reminded me of bygone days in the US. These days we make a habit of flying foreign carriers and it paid off again! Early arrivals in both directions. We purchased the Copenhagen Card before leaving, which is highly recommended if you spend a few days in Copenhagen in advance as we did. Very frequent and efficient train service, hop on/hop off buses and admission to almost every venue in the City. We stayed at the Tivoli Hotel for about $170 per night, located about a 10 minute walk from the Central Train Station but a bus was available right at the hotel door to get you into the transit system. We took in Amelienborg Palace and the National Museum. Food is very expensive - makes London look like a bargain - but a beautiful city and well worth the cost. Everyone speaks English in our experience. Embarkation We did take a taxi to the ship for about 200kr (divide by 5 for dollars) - not bad but I spied an S Tog Station (the suburban rail network) from our balcony about three blocks away. More on that later. Check in a breeze. We sailed for Oslo at 1800 on a beautiful afternoon. Princess assigned us a table with 4 other couples and we all hit it off fabulously for the duration. The usual lines and confusion on the first night but all was smooth for the rest of the cruise. Service I have to give it to Princess - the service in the dining room, lounges, and room stewards was and is flawless - this is our seventh cruise on Princess. Soiled plates on the open decks and buffets are instantly removed as well when the passenger is finished - I don't know what you can ask for more in this area. The ship is in excellent condition and if anyone tossed paper on the floor (which I am sure someone did!) I never had the chance to see it laying around. Food We found the food very good - although the buffet offering may not be what it once was in the past. Again, cheerful service and good quality in the dining room. I must say the Crown Grill was a disappointment. We found both the food and the service to be indifferent although I have seen others on the forum have had a much better experience. Maybe they were having a bad night but the lobster I had in the dining room a few nights later was much better. We have been to Sabatini's three times on earlier trips and that was more in line with the overall excellent standard mentioned above. Shore Excursions I will not go into a blow by blow of every port. We did two Princess tours - Berlin and St.Petersburg. After the spend on those two, we either walked our did hop on/hop off buses which are readily available shipside on every port. I was impressed with the logistics behind the Berlin tours. The ship docks in Warnemunde adjacent to the railway station. Princess chartered two trains to move several thousand people to Berlin. Your carriage (coach) is assigned before you leave the ship and after a short walk the rail car attendants are holding up individual car signs along the platform. It all moved very smoothly. Just by the luck of the draw we were assigned the only first class carriage on the train - I'll remember that the next time I get on the "wrong line" at the bank! Snacks were served in both directions by - again - by cheerful railway tour employees who seemed to want you to enjoy the experience. The train ride was three hours in each direction which only allowed for the highlights in Berlin but we knew that from the start. Some passengers opted for a much shorter run to Rostock instead but the vast majority made the journey to Berlin. The two day tour in St.Petersburg was quite a trek but also worthwhile. The Tallinn, Aarhus, and Stockholm visits were all great. The only negative was Helsinki, and maybe because that was on a Sunday when everything was closed. We did note the parks were full of trash and broken wine bottles - perhaps something had gone on Saturday night. Weather has generally good - much better than I had expected in the Baltic. Apparently the cruise prior had skipped Warnemunde because of bad weather. Disembarkation Again a breeze - strolled off at 7:15 - no line. This time, since we had only two suitcases on wheelies, we walked to the S Tog station at Nordhavn. It did require a change at Central Station but we arrived at the Airport at 8:05 for the grand sum of $7 each. This is only an option if you are a light packer. Conclusion This is a great cruise (particularly if you love history) and we felt the major shore excursions were well done. The port talks were invaluable in planning where we didn't have a booked tour. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Our first time with Princess and I hope it won't be our last! A smooth embarkation at Copenhagen- we had Princess flights and transfers- and we were soon exploring the ship and having a bite to eat in Horizon Court. The itinerary ... Read More
Our first time with Princess and I hope it won't be our last! A smooth embarkation at Copenhagen- we had Princess flights and transfers- and we were soon exploring the ship and having a bite to eat in Horizon Court. The itinerary was great although we weren't ever so struck with Aarhus. The weather was much better than we anticipated and although the Princess trips we took were expensive they did work out to be very enjoyable. The ballet in St Ptetersburg was unforgettable and was probably one of the highlights of our trip. The food could not be faulted really and our waiter remembered our preferences and made helpful suggestions.As expected on an American line it was not possible to get a decent expresso. I was itching to pop aboard Costa Pacifica when we moored across the water! Our main criticism was the entertainment. An excellent String Quartet played at afternoon tea-time and at other times in the atrium but it would have been good to know their schedule so as not to miss the performances. Sometimes the entertainment in the lounges was non-existent and after 11p.m. it was more a case of "Ghost Princess"! But agreat trip and we wanted to go round again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
From August 9th to 20th we took our first cruise and it was just fabulous, fabulous to the point that we are now planning a European river cruise for next summer. The Emerald Princess was a beautiful ship which was well maintained by an ... Read More
From August 9th to 20th we took our first cruise and it was just fabulous, fabulous to the point that we are now planning a European river cruise for next summer. The Emerald Princess was a beautiful ship which was well maintained by an excellent staff who were more than helpful. The quantity and quality of food was as good as we have had at numerous 5-star resorts and the specialty restaurants were well worth the extra fees. The Internet Cafe was somewhat disappointing as internet service was quite slow even while in port which resulted in our spending a lot of money just to keep in contact with people. Due to inclement weather we were unable to dock and consequently missed our excursion to Berlin, that was disappointing. We were so impressed by the fact that our ship took us right into the middle of Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn,Aarhus and Oslo. The only negative item about our whole cruise was the harassment inflicted by Princess Cruises organization and staff on those of us who did not take their excursions at St. Petersburg. We had an excellent excursion there with SPB! Last but not least, we would like to thank CRUISE CRITIC and its members for all the help we got prior to setting out on our first cruise. Sincerely, Kate and Jerry Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
The Emerald Princess is a beautiful ship, very clean and in very good condition. All members of the crew were very friendly and tried to help and serve you all the time. We didn't use the traditional dining rooms because ... Read More
The Emerald Princess is a beautiful ship, very clean and in very good condition. All members of the crew were very friendly and tried to help and serve you all the time. We didn't use the traditional dining rooms because we prefer a more casual atmosphere. The food at Horizon Court and Cafe Caribe was of very good quality and there were a lot of choices at every time of the day. Bar service at Horizon Court / Cafe Caribe was faster than on other Princess ships in the past. We went once to the Crown Grill and had probably the best steaks ever (try the three types of salt they are offering, they give your steaks different and delicious tastes). Also try the ice cream at the International Cafe on Deck 5, it's only US$ 1.50 for three scoops and the taste is like in an Italian "Gelateria" and don't miss the shows of the artists in the piazza! COPENHAGEN We arrived one day before sailing at Copenhagen and stayed at the Imperial Hotel which is very close to the railway station, city hall and the main shopping area. The Imperial is a 4-Star-Hotel and we paid US$ 260 for a nice double standard room including breakfast. The only negative point was that the safety deposit box in our room did not work and we asked twice at the reception to fix it, which they promised to do but nobody of the housekeeping showed up. Although we had only a few hours time we were able to see some of the most important things in this beautiful city. We had a nice dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and thanks to our PX reservation we made on the internet we didn't have to wait for a table. EMBARKATION The embarkation was the easiest and fastest we have ever seen. It took us about 10 minutes from leaving the taxi at the pier to get onboard the ship. There was no waiting time at all, although we had no pre-printed boarding passes, luggage tags or a credit card registered before. DISEMBARKATION AND TRANSFER TO CPH AIRPORT The disembarkation process was very smooth. For the first time we booked a Princess transfer to the airport and were very happy to have chosen this option. They take your luggage directly to the airport where you easily find it and pick it up in just a minute and the check in area is just a few yards away. Check-in at CPH was terrible. You can check in only at the self service machines and the SAS system did not recognize our booking code, so we had to go the “self-service-check-in-assistance-counter”. It seemed that there were quite a lot of people having similar problems, because it took us an hour to check in. The same day there were thousands of people from four different cruise ships leaving the city and so the small terminal 3 of CPH was crowded and there were only two (!) counters open to assist people having problems with the self-service check-in. Overall our 10th cruise and 5th with Princess was a great vacation and we already booked our next Princess cruise for 2012 in the Mediterranean / Greek Isles. Having also tried Carnival, Celebrity and MSC myself and my wife also Costa we found for us in Princess the best cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Having always wanted to tour Scandinavia we opted for a cruise, as this would enable us to visit all the capital cities in the easiest way possible. We chose Princess because they had one of the best itineraries among the 5-star cruise ... Read More
Having always wanted to tour Scandinavia we opted for a cruise, as this would enable us to visit all the capital cities in the easiest way possible. We chose Princess because they had one of the best itineraries among the 5-star cruise lines. What can I say; we absolutely loved this cruise - "we" being my wife and I in our mid 40s, my daughter (24) and my son (20). We had a balcony double stateroom and the grown up offspring had an internal stateroom directly opposite us, which worked very well e.g. they could nip into our cabin to use the balcony or borrow things from us!!! The staterooms were of a high standard and were kept immaculate by our stateroom steward "Reynaldo" from the Philippines. They had everything we needed e.g. minibar, hairdryer, plenty of storage space and hangers, a mini safe, full ice-bucket (refilled twice a day), decent TV with good selection of movies, mainstream TV shows, info on upcoming ports and other cruises as well as activities onboard, weather conditions and up to date details of the voyage. A nice touch was the self-service Laundromats on every deck, which cost £1.25 per wash and the same for a dry. Just be aware that you need US $ notes to change for quarter (25c) coins and if you don't have these, you will be charged currency exchange at $4. This was a port intensive tour with only 2-sea days, one of which was hot and sunny and the other was damp and dull. The food was of an excellent standard, particularly in the main dining rooms. As it was our first time with Princess and the menus were always interesting and of high quality, we did not feel the need to try the speciality restaurants (Sabitini's Italian Restaurant $20 charge each or Crown Grill $25 each). We used the Horizon Court on the first night for dinner, which is a self-service buffet. The food was of a good standard and there was plenty of choice but this is very much casual dining. All other nights we chose Da Vinci's using "Anytime Dining" were we just rocked up when ready to eat and opted to share tables. A couple of times there were just the four of us but for the most part we enjoyed the company of strangers, mainly from the USA but also Sweden, UK, Australia and Canada. This made for a very interesting trip and we met some very nice people. For breakfast we used Horizon Court most mornings with the exception of one day in the Da Vinci and one day we had breakfast sent to our stateroom. Horizon Court has most choice but it is a bit of a zoo on port days. However, we always managed to get a table although on one day we had to find a covered table in the pool area as the dining room was packed. They do have two waiters covering the pool area so we were still able to get water and juice from them. There was plenty of entertainment, just not enough time to do everything. We liked Movies Under the Stars and enjoyed a few balmy summer nights lying on padded sun loungers watching pretty up to date movies and being served popcorn, cookies and milk by the staff. Embarkation and disembarkation were fast and efficient, we did not join the ship until nearly 4 pm and it was very quiet. We enjoyed the refined but not snobby atmosphere, the staff were attentive, friendly and helpful. Onboard drinks prices were fine, particularly being from the UK. The wines at dinner ranged from around £15.50 (incl 15% gratuity) upwards and they had at least 10 different cocktails permanently priced at around £2.87 (incl 15% gratuity). A pleasant surprise was the off licence prices for drinks to take home. A 1ltr bottle of Capt Morgan's Spiced Gold was under £8 if you purchased two (£18 for one in Tesco!). Makeup and perfume were also excellent value compared to the UK. We did our own sightseeing in all ports with the exception of St Petersburg were I had got four groups together via the cruisecritic rollcall for our cruise and used Guide-Guru at only US $240 each for 2 full days of sightseeing in a 16 seater minibus, including lunch on both days, a metro trip and hydrofoil back from the Peterhof. This also included entry to all museums, galleries and palaces. We used public transport in all other ports, usually opting for the day-tickets, which we paid for in local currencies. You do not require public transport in Tallinn, as it is very walkable from the ship. In Aarhus we used the public transport to get to a Viking Moot at Moesgard but that is a once a year event and you don't need transport if staying in the city. I could go on for ages and have written reviews for each port separately but the bottom line is this cruise was top notch. If you want any specific further info regarding the ship or the ports, e-mail me at kevin.belam@ntlworld.com and I'll help you. Ports of Call: OSLO (Port Location - Akershusstranda). A lovely city, particularly poignant as there were floral tributes everywhere in memory of those killed the previous week. We used public transport, get a 24 hr card from the Tram stop at Akker Brygge (4 min walk from ship) - you will need Norwegian Kroner (70 each adult and 35 for anyone 20 years or younger) then use Tram 12 from Akker Brygge to Vigelandsparken for the sculpture park then return to the city centre on Tram 12 and get off at the Domkirke then just walk the rest of the city. Top sights are: 1. Vigelandsparken (park). 2. Domkirke (Cathedral). 3. Kvadraturen (Old City Area). 4. Stortingset (Parliament Bldg). 5. Radhuset (City Hall). 6. Oslo University. 7. Nasjonalgalleriet (National Gallery bldg). 8. Det Kongelige Slott (Royal Palace), Changing of the Guard at 1330 hrs. 9. Norges Hjemmefrontmuseum (Norway's Resistance Museum). 10. Akershus Slott eg Festning (Akershus Castle and Fortress). 11. Opera House. 12. Oslo Ice Bar. 13. Aker Brygge Wharf. AARHUS (Port Location - Cruis3 Terminal, Kovnogade). Decent sized city with some nice residential areas. No need for transport unless you visit sights 8 and 9. Once you cross the main road on leaving the ship, turn left to head towards the city centre. Top sights are: 1. Sankt Clemens Bridge 2. Stroget (pedestrian high street). 3. The Frederiksbjerg Quarter (M.P. Bruunsgade, Jægergårdsgade). 4. The Latin Quarter (Klostergade, Volden, and Borggade). 6. Vestergade district & Møllestien 5. Toldboden. 6. Aarhus Theatre. 7. Den Gamle Nationalbank - Nykredit. WARNEMUNDE (Port Location - Cruise Centre, 30 Am Passagierkai). We lived in Berlin for 3 years so did not use this port to go to Berlin. Instead we got the train from Warnemunde to Rostock, which was only about 4 Euro each return. When you leave the ship, turn left and train station is about a 5-minute walk. We walked all around Rostock then returned by train to Warnemunde and walked round there. This with Tallinn is a good value for money compared to the rest of the port calls on this cruise. It is a lovely non-tacky seaside resort. Top sights are: 1. Fisch Market. 2. Warnemunder Vogtei (Bailiwick of Warnemunde & Tourist Info). 3. Heimatmuseum (Local History Museum). 4. Wartnemunder Kirche (Church). 5. Seepromenade am strand (promenade and beach). 6. Sand Sculptures on the beach Pier 7. 7. Leuchtturm (Lighthouse). 8. Westmole (Western Breakwater). 9. Alter Strom (mall of Warnemunde). 10. Yachthafen Hohe Dune (Yacht Harbour). 11. Bahnof (Train Station) ROSTOCK 1. Hauptbahnof (Station). 2. Steintor (Stone Gate). 3. Standeshaus (House of the Estates). 4. Rathus (City Hall) & Kerkhoffhaus. 5. Marienkirche (St Marien Church). 6. Hausbaumhaus (House Tree House). 7. Universitatsplatz (University Place). 8. Kloster zum Heiligen Kreuz Convent. 9. Kropeliner Str & Tor (Kropelin Gate). 10. Fischer Bastion view of city harbour. 11. Stadhafen (city harbour). 12. Waterfront. 13. Petrikirche (St Petri Church). 14. City Wall. 15. Nikolaikirche. 16. Document & Memorial Place STASI (closed on Mondays) TALLINN (Port Location - Old City Harbour, Pier 25). The best place to buy amber and also the best value port call on this cruise. No need for transport, the walled city is about a 10-15 minute walk from the cruise terminal, where there is an open-air crafts market for last minute souvenirs once you have checked out the city. Don't bother with the areas outside the walled city unless listed below (i.e. Freedom Square). Top sights are: 1. Vabaduse Valjak (Freedom Square). 2. Okupatsioonide Museum (Occupation Museum). 3. Kiek in de Kok & Bastion (Bastion and Tunnels). 4. Taani Kuninga aed (Danish King's Garden). 5. Aleksander Nevski Katedral (Cathedral). 6. Toompea Castle and Tall Hermann's Tower. 7. Vaateplatvormid (Viewing Platforms). 8. Toomkirik (Cathedral of St Mary the virgin). 9. Raekoja Plats & Raekoda (Town Hall & Square). 10. Katarlina Kaik (St Catherine's Passage). 11. Meistrite Hoov (Master's Courtyard). 12. Puha Vaimu Kirik (Holy Spirit Church). 13. Suurgildi Hoone (Great Guild Hall). 14. Mustpeade Maja (House of the Brotherhood of Black Heads). 15. Oleviste Kirik (St Olav's Church). 16. Suur Rannavaray & Peks Margareeta (Great Coastal Gate & Fat Margaret's Tower). SAINT PETERSBURG. It is simply not practical to self-tour St Petersburg. In addition to having to fork out big bucks for a VISA for each member of your group, the distances between some of the major sights outside of the city (Peterhof and Catherine's Palace in particular) coupled with the language just make it too much hassle. So you have to bite the bullet and pay a tour company, that way you don't need a VISA and they will take care of everything. I got four groups together via the Cruisecritic roll call for our cruise to form a party of 16 at a cost of US $240 each if paying in US $ cash. This included two full days of sightseeing in an air-conditioned 18-seater Mercedes mini-bus. Be aware that irrespective of the company you choose (e.g. Guide-Guru, Denrus, SPB, TJ, etc). Your guide is likely to be freelance and they all seem to be very knowledgeable and professional. The Princess organised tour was US $399 each so ours was nearly $200 less but also included lunch on both days, a metro ride and journey back from the Peterhof to the city on a hydrofoil. HELSINKI (Port Location - Hernessaari Terminal, Hernesaarenranta). Bus 16 from Hernesaaren Laituri (Times: 0719, 0744, 0809 or 0834) to Ritarihuone arr 12 mins. Return from Kauppatori stop 2005 (Times: 1311, 1331, 1351, 1410, 1420, 1430, 1450) arr 15 mins. Buy an all day ticket at 7 Euro each and you can use this for the buses, trams, metro and the ferry to Suomenlinna Island. Top sights are: 1. Presidentinlinna (Presidential Palace). 2. Uspenski Cathedral. 3. Luotsikatu Street (Jugendstil architecture). 4. Senaatintori (Senate Square). 5. Tuomiokirkko (Cathedral). 6. Aleksanterinkatu (Shopping Street). 7. Esplanadin Puisto (Esplanade Park). 8. Pohjoisesplanadi (street with 19th century stone bldgs). 9. Esplanadi (esplanade promenade). 10. Kauppatori (City Market). 11. Kauppahalli (Old Market Hall). 12. Kaupungintalo (City Hall). 13. Kaivopuisto Park. 14. Suomenlinna Island. 15. Mannerheimintie (Main thoroughfare). 16. Central Train Station. 17. Eduskuntatalo (Parliament Building). 18. Rock Church (Temppeliaukion Kirkko). 19. Bulevardi (Eira and Ullanlinna districts). STOCKHOLM (Port Location - Berth S167 Stadsgarden). Use Royal Sightseeing(Rederi Mälaren Stockholms Taxiflotta) for HOHO boat. SEK 100 each (400 = £40.65). Just short walk from the ship. More info on www.rederimalaren.se. From the Stadsgården 167 into the Old Town or City Center its about 10 minutes by taxi. Its approx SEK 150-180. We recommend Taxi Stockholm, Taxi Kurir, Taxi 020 or Transer Taxi. You can catch a local bus, a single ticket is SEK 30. From the pier to the bus stop is approx 10 minutes walk. There is also a day ticket for the public transport for SEK 100. Valid on metro, tram and a ferry boat too. Changing of the guards at the Royal Palace is at 12.15 Mon-Sat and at 1.15 on Sun. Main sights using the HOHO boat: Gamla Stan (Old Town area), Kungliga Slottet (Royal Palace), Storkyrkan (Cathedral), Riddarhuset (House of Nobility), Riksdaghuset (Parliament Bldg), City Hall, Blasieholmen (waterfront area), Nybroplan (Hamngatan street, east from Bybroplan, shopping district), Vasa Museum (via hoho boat), Skeppsholmen & Kastelholmen island (via HOHO boat), Djurgarden (island) via Grona Lund (HOHO boat stop). Then back to Cruise Berth Terminal via HOHO boat from Grona Lund. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was our 7th cruise and probably the best yet. We like lots of ports, and this cruise featured 8, with only 2 days at sea. We had a balcony for only the second time. I thought the temperature might be too cool for us to enjoy the ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise and probably the best yet. We like lots of ports, and this cruise featured 8, with only 2 days at sea. We had a balcony for only the second time. I thought the temperature might be too cool for us to enjoy the balcony, but that was not the case. Most days it was great. And, here is something we hadn't thought about--On the Baltic, in the summer, it is daylight from about 4:00 a.m. until after 11:00 p.m. So, we had more time than expected to enjoy the balcony. One evening my wife read on the balcony until about 11:00 p.m. with just the natural daylight. On the Emerald Princess the staff was the friendliest we had ever encountered. Everyone was eager to please. And, the food was way above the norm. We used the ship's excursions only in Helsinki and Stockholm. For St. Petersburg we had arranged, in advance, for a two-day Insider Tours excursion. It was excellent! For slightly less than we would have paid for the ship's bus-load excursion, our group of 4 had our personal car, driver, and tour guide. It was a great deal! In the other ports we were on our own. Really, there were no complaints at all. It is true that they seem to rush you off the ship way to early on disembarkation day, but remember they have to clean every room and space before 3,000 different folks come aboard starting in the early afternoon of that same day. So, that is just something one has to accept. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was the first time we had a balcony and it was wonderful to be able to open our doors at anytime and breathe in the fresh air...not sure I want to go back to an interior room after this holiday. The staff were all very pleasant and ... Read More
This was the first time we had a balcony and it was wonderful to be able to open our doors at anytime and breathe in the fresh air...not sure I want to go back to an interior room after this holiday. The staff were all very pleasant and greeted us with a smile. The room was cleaned to perfection twice a day with chocolates on the pillow each night. Room service,when used, was prompt and the food was as requested and hot. We tried the Princess theatre but decided it wasn't really how we wanted to spend our time. The smaller venues were much more appealing and featured bands for dancing and an excellent vocalist that was flown in for 2 nights to entertain. We went to 2 of the restaurants that required a $25pp charge. Sabatinos and Crown grill were excellent. The extra cost was a hit to the pocket book but the quality of the food surpassed the regular dining areas and was quieter for a special meal away from the crowd. We were too busy with excursions to enjoy the Santuary pool area but I could see this area would be worth paying for if the cruise had more days at sea or for those not interested in getting off the ship. Embarkation was painless but the disembarkation had us leave the ship much sooner than we would have liked. The ride and getting our luggage was very smooth but... We had to wait over 2 hours at the airport for the service counter to open. They said taxis would be a huge problem and taking their shuttle was the smartest plan. This was not so! The taxis were lined up waiting and would have been available at a proper time for us to relax on board and leave the ship at a sensible time yet still be off the ship before 11 am. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We cruised the Baltic with the Emerald Princess in June 2011. First, the non-cruise stuff. We went to Stockholm for three days, then Gutenberg for a day and a tour of the Volvo factory, and finally Copenhagen for three days. At the ... Read More
We cruised the Baltic with the Emerald Princess in June 2011. First, the non-cruise stuff. We went to Stockholm for three days, then Gutenberg for a day and a tour of the Volvo factory, and finally Copenhagen for three days. At the end of the cruise, we went to Bergen and took a six day tour of Norway. I'll comment in port reviews on the length of time the ship spends in ports. Air arrangements: we used miles, except for SAS from Copenhagen to Bergen. Embarkation took a little time. No champagne on boarding. We had a balcony room. The balconies are not as useful as in the Caribbean, so we took a room with a smaller balcony. We were on it on occasion, usually for breakfast. Our steward was outstanding and usually invisible. Room service was just average. For the first time, Internet was reliably available in our room. (We used about 850 minutes as we had to keep in touch on business matters.) We had the late seating for dining. I think the food was a notch lower than last year. In particular, the beef was of a lower grade. Service was great. We ate in the dining room for breakfast and a few lunches. Service was decidedly less than with our regular waiter for dinner. One waiter refused my wife's request for grilled chicken for a chicken Caesar even though, according to a sign in the kitchen, "chicken is always available." We had the Chef's Table dinner. Tour of the kitchen, hors d'oeuvres and champagne in the kitchen, dinner in the dining room. $75 per person. Well worth it. I tried to do the ultimate ship tour, but it was cancelled. We renewed our vows, with a crowd of 12 people we met on the ship. We did Sabatini's one night. Not as impressive as the Crown Grill. You dine at their pace. Everyone in the room eats at the same pace. If the food is not to your liking, it is still what's on the menu. When we ate breakfast in Horizon Court, things went smoothly until we needed a table. And we're not bashful about asking to share. Some of the folks we shared with were talkative, some were really stand-offish. The ship was sold out. There really was never a problem or a crowd, other than in Horizon Court for breakfast. We used the spa and spa pools. Never crowded. One massage, which was good, and my wife had her hair done twice. I'll cover ports in other reviews. We took the Princess tours in Stockholm, Helsinki, Berlin and Tallinn. All Tours in St. Petersburg. (Great!). On our own in Arhus and Oslo. We purchased Princess transfers to CPH for a flight to Bergen. $34 each. A bargain. Less than one hour from stepping off the ship to tying my shoes after airport security. We're trying to figure out next year's cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We enjoyed our cruise on the Emerald Princess. Our meals at 8:15 in the Boticelli Dining Room were good, the choice varied and service was good. The air conditioning and cold draft at our table made it uncomfortable during dinner. We ... Read More
We enjoyed our cruise on the Emerald Princess. Our meals at 8:15 in the Boticelli Dining Room were good, the choice varied and service was good. The air conditioning and cold draft at our table made it uncomfortable during dinner. We mentioned this several evenings but nothing was done to improve our comfort level in the room. Our cabin was well located and well serviced. Clean towels were always provided and our ice bucket kept full of ice. Our room attendant always had a kind word to say to us. Even though the weather was cool, rainy and cloudy a lot of the time, we enjoyed relaxing in the hot tub and swimming in the heated pool. At times the buffet was very crowded and it was difficult to find seating. We were impressed with the cleanliness and freshness of the food at the buffet. Our group of six arranged a private tour with White Nights to tour St Petersburg. We corresponded with Kate on line to set up the package. Kate was prompt in her replies and adjusted the tour to suit our wishes. When in St Petersburg, our tour guide, Dasha, was a delight. Dasha spoke perfect English, was on time, polite and very knowledgeable about St Petersburg. Since it was her place of birth she had a special love for the city. We were able to bypass line ups, find quiet places for her to speak to us when viewing the very crowded Hermitage and Catherine's Palace. The van we used was very comfortable and the driver excellent. When touring Berlin our group of six hired SPB Tours. We travelled by tour bus with about 40 people to Berlin, a 3 hour ride, met our tour guide in Berlin, had a 4 hour tour in a small van for the six of us, 3 people faced forward and 3 faced backward making visibility poor. We returned to the ship by tour bus, a 4 hour ride due to heavy traffic. Our tour guide spoke excellent English, since he was from Australia, but his love, knowledge and enthusiasm for Berlin was not nearly as good as we experienced in St Petersburg. We joined a Princess Cruise Tour in Oslo which had 40 people in the group. It was difficult to hear our guide and we missed the intimacy we experienced on our other tours. The on board shore tours lecturer John Lawrence was very good. If we missed the talks we watched them on TV in our room. We also enjoyed the TV play by play description of points of interest as we left Stockholm. On board all public areas and washrooms were always clean. An enjoyable vacation. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We have cruised with many different cruise lines and itineraries, but this was our first time with Princess and with the Baltic. I must say that both are pretty darned impressive. As experienced cruisers, however, we found ourselves making ... Read More
We have cruised with many different cruise lines and itineraries, but this was our first time with Princess and with the Baltic. I must say that both are pretty darned impressive. As experienced cruisers, however, we found ourselves making some mental comparisons with previous experiences. Hopefully this review will help others get a sense of expectations. THE GOOD: Somehow Princess has really figured out the embarkation and disembarkation process. This may be a function of some proprietary magic Princess has or with the Danish authorities in Copenhagen, but getting on the ship for the first time and off for the last was a breeze. We arrived at the port at noon, were directed to the waiting staff for processing, were issued room card keys and got on the ship. Period. The stateroom was ready for occupancy so there was none of that hanging around the lunch buffet with 3,000 other folks with all manner of carry-on luggage. We were ready to sail. Getting off was just as easy and from the time we left the stateroom and arrived at the Copenhagen airport was no more than 40 minutes. Of note is that we had pre-processed on-line and had purchased shuttle service from the port to the airport...this is highly recommended. Other items such as service/ attentiveness of the wait staff and room attendants, cleanliness of facilities, quality/quantity of food,entertainment and overall cruise experience are on par with other premium cruise lines and we consider them the price of entry to the category. Really good...but not remarkable. THE BAD: One baffling fact is that Princess prides itself on being the industry leader in food service by introducing 24-hour dining; yet access to their health club facilities is very limited being open from 7a-10p every day (in the interest of the war on obesity, you'd think these two would be reversed) . This fact coupled with a pretty aggressive Baltic itinerary put some logistical strain on our daily work-out regime as many of the port tours start around 7:30 or 8:00 am. Additionally, while casino and food court opening/closing times are listed in the daily "Princess Patter", there is no mention of the work-out facilities, nor are there special "walk-a-mile" programs as found on other ships. Deck 7 which is the Emerald's official walking deck, includes two sets of stairs and is usually being hosed down by maintenance folks early in the morning. The treadmills in the facility are in dire need of regular maintenance. Please be aware of this if this type of thing is important to your vacation experience. We had pre-arranged locally-based tours for Berlin and St Petersburg, so our experience with the Shore Excursion Desk is limited to a very mediocre (and expensive) city highlight tour of Helsinki. This is where we found out that most of the ports we visited have "Hop-On; Hop-Off" bus tours available with excellent recorded commentary in a variety of languages for a fraction of the Princess tour price. This became our preferred mode of city touring. Tour desk personnel were obviously trained to steer people to their proprietary offerings to the point where they would give us incorrect and conflicting information. Off-setting this bias however was John Lawrence, the on-board port lecturer. He really knew his stuff and provided valuable historical and practical information on each port of call. John kind of looks like Kelsey Grammer and kind of sounds like John Houseman. I'm not sure John is available throughout this cruising season, but he really added value to our cruise experience. By the way, Cruise Critic was very useful in helping us connect with TJ Tours in Russia. While the process of signing up for one of their tours may seem a little confusing at first, this is a top-drawer outfit which offered smaller tour groups better access to some of the most crowded tourist sights at a cost of some $100 cheaper than the Princess offering. The Princess information is written in a manner that would lead one to believe that the only way to get off the boat in Russia is to have a privately arranged visa or to use the Princess tour. Not so. Do yourself a favor and check this out. THE TRULY UGLY: For those interested in accessing the internet on your cruise, please be aware that the ship's offering is expensive and almost worthless. You'd expect slower service than DSL with a satellite-based system. What you wouldn't expect is to pay hundreds of dollars for a service that works only occasionally with non-responsive screens that read "service not available. Too many users are logged on". This seems like a fairly simple fix...build in more capacity. This was an unexpected disappointment. Overall, we truly enjoyed our experience on the Emerald Princess and its various ports of call in the Baltic. Given the above, however, we may look to another cruise line for our next adventure. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Overall, this cruise was excellent, and I would highly recommend it to others. We were traveling with a group of 45 people, and so flew together and stayed in Copenhagen prior to embarkation at the Hotel Copenhagen Island. The ... Read More
Overall, this cruise was excellent, and I would highly recommend it to others. We were traveling with a group of 45 people, and so flew together and stayed in Copenhagen prior to embarkation at the Hotel Copenhagen Island. The Hotel Copenhagen Island was fine. It was a bit of a walk to the central area, but not too bad, maybe 1.5 miles. They did have a wonderful breakfast buffet. This was my first cruise, so I cannot compare the Emerald Princess to other cruiselines. Our embarkation process was extremely well-organized. We were on the ship and all our luggage delivered within an hour or so. The Emerald Princess was a well-appointed ship. Food was quite good, for the most part, although the fish at dinner was not very good on several occasions, rather tough. The service was quite good and most of the ship's staff were very friendly, and several were really outstanding in their friendliness and service. The staterooms were very well organized. We had plenty of room for both my husband and my clothes to be hung up, and folded in drawers, room for the suitcases to be stored, and room for our stuff in the bathroom. While our balcony was not large, it was fine for the two of us to be able to sit out. Our steward did a great job keeping everything tidied up while we were out of the room. The ship did offer a number of activities, however, we generally used the pool and hot tub after a busy day of shore touring. We took two shore excursions, canal tour in Stockholm and a city cruise in Helsinki. It was raining and cold during the canal tour, somewhat putting a damper on how nice it would have otherwise been. The bus tour in Helsinki was not particularly good, and I would recommend others to find an alternative. If you take this cruise, make sure to be up and outside on the way to Stockholm through the archipelago - this is absolutely one of the most beautiful sights you will see! In St Petersburg, we created a private, customized tour for six of us, using SPB Tours. It was simply outstanding and I would highly recommend it. It was also slightly less expensive than the ship excursion in St Petersburg, and was far better with only six of us, and customized to us. We also used SPB in Berlin, although I'm not sure I'd recommend going to Berlin from Warnemunde again, as it was a long (3+ hr) trip each way, so it was a very whirlwind tour of Berlin, and an exhausting day. Those who stayed in the Warnemunde area raved about how nice it was. Altogether, although it was a very busy vacation, and we were on the go, we visited ports which we would otherwise probably never see, and which were well worth visiting. This was a great cruise itinerary. We did have one very bad experience on the ship, with the spa. I would NOT RECOMMEND that anyone use the Lotus Spa, although some of the services themselves were quite good (i.e., my husband had a wonderful massage). We booked spa services online in February. We had a printout of our reservations, along with our shore excursions. When we arrived onboard, we were told that those reservations had been changed, some deleted, because of some vague "issue with the internet booking", which it seemed hinged around the fact that "all the day-at-sea appointments get booked online and then we have no more appointment slots for those wishing to schedule on the ship" - in other words, they moved or cancelled our appointments in order to book what turned out to be longer and more expensive services. When we complained about this, and requested that the services which we had prebooked, be honored, the spa manager had quite a condescending (and noncaring) attitude, but we were given access to a private steamroom, but when one of us went to get her card so marked, the spa manager greeted her with the comment: "Oh, you are the Complains!". I do not appreciate spending a good deal of money, expecting reserved services to be honored, and when they are not, being treated in an insulting manner. As an example, my husband went for what we had scheduled as a 50-minute, $119 Swedish massage. He woke up at the end of the massage and was presented with a charge of $165 for a 75-minute massage, which is what he was told "was in the computer". This is a classic bait and switch. In addition, we were presented with very hard sell for products: me when I went for a facial, and my husband after a massage. When I am paying for services, I do not expect to be given a high-pressure sell on products. DO NOT USE THIS SERVICE. We did take these concerns to ship management, and met with the Manager of Customer Relations, who seemed to take everything seriously. We also reported this on the post-cruise survey. To date, however (now 2 weeks later), we have not heard anything else. We went to two shows at night, one a magic show, and the other a Cole Porter review, both of which were quite entertaining. Disembarkation was as well organized as embarkation; speedy and efficient. We traveled on IcelandAir through Reykjavik and had no problems with our flight, other than on our trip home, the airport in Copenhagen seemed very chaotic at checkin. There were very long lines for check-in/baggage check which were not well-queued, so lines were snaking all over the place making it difficult for travelers to tell where they should be standing. We could never figure out why it was so long! But still uneventful. On the whole, other than the spa, I would strongly recommend the Emerald Princess, this particular itinerary, and SPB Tours, especially in St Petersburg. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Overall we were very satisfied with this cruise. We traveled with 2 other active couples like ourselves who are all in our early 60's. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We know what to expect from Princess and have found ... Read More
Overall we were very satisfied with this cruise. We traveled with 2 other active couples like ourselves who are all in our early 60's. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We know what to expect from Princess and have found them to be consistent in all areas. The food ranges from good to very good. The entertainment is okay. We never feel pressured to make purchases on board like we did on Norwegian. They ask once if you would like a drink, put a napkin down to indicate you were asked and do not bother you again. We never take pictures anymore and saying no thanks one time is sufficient. There is still pressure to take shore excursions through Princess but we know how to get around it and I will talk more about this when I talk about the ports. Our room steward Tarahut from Thailand was very attentive to detail and Juan in the Michelangelo dining room was outstanding. We had anytime dining, never had to wait and requested Juan each night and half the time he had an open table. Otherwise we found the service to be very good from anyone. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. We arrived after 2PM to embark as Princess suggested and there was no line. Princess offers a transfer to the airport for $34 pp when leaving. We took the train for $8.00 pp US money which Princess never tells you about. It is a 17 minute walk from the ship on a well marked sidewalk. You change trains once. The person selling tickets will tell you where to change. People in Denmark are amazing. It is a total of 45 mins from the ship to the airport via the train. We were very lucky on this cruise as the weather was very warm and sunny. Many people only packed for cold weather. Big mistake. Check the forecast before you leave as we did. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Emerald Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.5 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.0

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