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56 Copenhagen to Baltic Sea Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

This was our third cruise , the second with Princess, and from the moment we stepped on board we were thoroughly impressed. Our cabin had ample space for all our needs and the cabin staff wonderful. The room was serviced at least three ... Read More
This was our third cruise , the second with Princess, and from the moment we stepped on board we were thoroughly impressed. Our cabin had ample space for all our needs and the cabin staff wonderful. The room was serviced at least three times per day and done while we were absent from the room so it didnt interfere with us. The meals at the dining room were good if we didnt like something the waiters had no hesitation in getting something else for us. We were seated on a six table and had the same couples every night and found them to be great dinner companions. We only did one tour of the princess and that was to St petersburg. We did the 2 day tour and found that it served the purpose and we saw everything that we had wanted to see with that tour. All other ports we did on our own and found the cities very easy to get around and had no problems at all. Do some research on the internet so you have some idea of where to go and what to see. We would recommend the princess line if you are looking for a quiet cruise ...It isnt a line that encourages young children and most passengers on this cruise were aged 45 and above. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We flew into Copenhagen from London after self drive holiday. Arrived mid morn, taxi to Port and expecting to have to wait a while before could check luggage as there were still people disembarking, but were pleasantly surprised when our ... Read More
We flew into Copenhagen from London after self drive holiday. Arrived mid morn, taxi to Port and expecting to have to wait a while before could check luggage as there were still people disembarking, but were pleasantly surprised when our luggage was tagged and whisked away! Entered embarkation building and process from there was smooth and efficient. We were on board before 1300, directed to out Mini -suite, which we found out to our delight we had been upgraded to 2 days previously. All welcoming crew were very professional and everywhere. Very impressed with cabin layout and big balcony with 4 seats. Cabin steward very obliging and cabin well cared for. Needed more EU power points, only 1 to charge media devices in bathroom. Went off armed with maps to explore and found our way to Horizon buffet for lunch, very well set up. Thus begun a great cruise with very few complaints except breakfasts taken in Horizon where the food always seemed to be cold. We ate most meals in either of the Anytime dining rooms and every meal was lovely, the waitstaff and Maitre D very attentive and we rarely had to wait long for a 'share' table and met some lovely, interesting people from many corners of the globe. We were one of the very lucky 11 people who enjoyed the SUPERB Chefs Table dining experience which was worth every dollar and more. One of the highlights of our cruise. Also ate at Sabatinis to celebtrate a birthday and we loved the ambience and the food and superb service, especially 'corny' rendition of 'Happy Birthday', sung by our waiter! We enjoyed the Pizza outdoors when we needed a quick snack, loved 'Afternoon Tea' on the days we got there after getting back form day onshore and on at sea days when we had light snack lunch. We made full use of 'Coffee' card in International cafe, and I enjoyed delicious non-coffee cold creations introduced to me by Johannes, Customer Service Director we met there on day 2 who was more then hospitable towards us our whole cruise. We met some other Aussies whilst 'sailing away' from Oslo whom became firm cruise buddies.and met on back deck bar every afternoon for drinks, sometimes in wild weather. The Wheelhouse became our favourite bar and were very well looked after there by friendly familiar crew and enjoyed the Jazz Duo . Also moved on to other bars depending on Princess Patter music programme. Only made it to a couple of shows in Princess Theatre but enjoyed those. We booked our selection of port excursions after purchasing John Lawrences DVD prior to cruise. A definite MUST! We walked around Oslo, Aarhus, Tallin and did excursions in Warnemunde, to Rostock, St Petersburg, Catherines palace 1st day, canal cruise 2nd day but traffic made it a long drawn out day. Did excursions in Helsinki and Stockholm as big cities to explore on own in a few hours. Overall, our best cruise experience so far with each past cruise quite different. Big plus was Laundromats, downside there having to have enough American dollars, would be much easier to buy tokens or swipe cruise card. Found all crew very obliging and courteous, with minimal language barriers considering the many nationalities. Chose independent disembarkation which we changed on last evening as didn't want to get off too early as were checking in Copenhagen hotel for 5 nights post cruise. Our luggage was waiting for us on dock and we had a reasonable wait for taxi which we expected. Have already decided on Regal Princess Mediterranean cruise next July but a bit concerned re reviews on Royal Princess so far. Will keep eye on them.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We chose this cruise because of the port itinerary. Our focus is the ports of call, verses the ship itself. But both are highly recommended here. We made our own travel arrangements, including booking the cruise online. For the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the port itinerary. Our focus is the ports of call, verses the ship itself. But both are highly recommended here. We made our own travel arrangements, including booking the cruise online. For the first night we stayed at the Crown Plaza Copenhagen Towers, but I would recommend at least two nights in Copenhagen pre-cruise. This modern high-rise hotel is highly recommended and a common pre-cruise hotel. The advantage during summer is A/C and a quiet room. The nearby mall closes at 8pm. The front desk sells Metro tickets. Just about everyone we ran into in Scandinavia spoke English, most without an accent. We were extremely lucky with the weather for our cruise from August 8th to August 19th. No rain on excursion days and most days were sunny. Several days were warm enough to swim in the ship's pools. We were prepared for rain, but not for the wind during rain downpours: typical umbrellas reverse in the wind. We were extremely lucky the Emerald Princess has a very knowledgeable and independent port lecturer: John Lawrence. He was very funny in person during his talks. Had I to do it over, I would have purchased and watched his DVD titled "Baltic Treasures" in advance. Also the book "Northern Europe by Cruise Ship" by Anne Vipond was useful along with the http://istopoli.com/cruise site. Princes Cruises has a downloadable PDF that describes the excursions which was very helpful and be sure to make your shore excursion reservations online before the cruise. You only have about 9 hours at each stop, so you have to spend your time wisely. The exceptions are Stockholm at 7 hours, so we will have to return on own someday, and at St. Petersburg which has a lot to see. The disadvantage of HOHO buses is sometimes you have to wait 30 minutes for the bus to pick you up. The advantage is price. Using cabs at key points will save you some sightseeing time. Small amounts of local currency via local ATM's for WC's and trinkets are a good idea. Some places require photo permits. City Halls are good attractions in Scandinavia. Oslo, Norway: Much is walkable; ship docks at city. National Gallery allows pictures except for one room. Need bus to get to worthwhile Vigeland Sculpture Park and need krone for the WC next to it; no ATM at park. (Norwegian Krone) Aarhus, Denmark: Most boring. We took ship's tour to see the countryside. Not sure what the best choice is here. Have some local currency via local ATM. (Danish Krone) Warnemunde, Germany: Instead of 6 hours traveling to/from Berlin, we took the ship's tour to Schwerin Castle, Lake Schwerin Cruise, lunch, & St Mary's Church. Well worthwhile. Castle allows pictures. We were lucky to visit Warnemunde during the sailing festival, highly recommended to watch during the sail out with horns blaring. (Euros) Tallin, Estonia: Walkable, no bus/tour needed. For WC need Euros and only good one is at entrance to Old Town. Take taxi to TV tower early in morning, if interested, otherwise long waits. Town Hall tower is very difficult to walk up. (Euros) Saint Petersburg, Russia: Took the most popular two day bus tour from Princess. My guess is a private tour would be better. With respect to the Peterhof Palace: long travel time, extremely crowded, long waits for WC, no pictures. Recommend seeing outside only. Outside WC there requires rubles (no line). Actually the Peterhof Palace was mostly destroyed in WW II, so what you are looking at inside is a new reconstruction. Other places have far better interiors. Hermitage museum allows pictures, and has great interiors, so maximize your time there. Be on deck as the ship leaves through a new narrow levy. (Rubles) Helsinki, Finland: HOHO bus a good choice here. (Euros) Stockholm, Sweden: Took John Lawrence's advice and did HOHO by boat and saw Vasa Museum first thing. Royal Palace Apartments were very worthwhile, but no pictures. Take cab to city hall for tour. Be on deck during the three hour entry or exit to Stockholm. We did not do Skyview, which requires reservations, so best to do on tour. (Krona) This was our first time with Princess. I was skeptical of the tipping system but it worked out fine. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Lounge music was varied and very good. Formal dining room service was excellent. What to drink at dinner was a problem, since only iced tea was free, in the formal dining rooms. This was the first cruise I signed up for free beverages and I am glad I did with all the free juices and sodas I could drink. Free afternoon tea was served in a formal dining room. The passengers were mostly older on this cruise. There were few children. Nevertheless, doing this port intensive cruise when you are younger is even better: lots of opportunities to do a lot of walking. There were plenty of taxi's on the way out. A flight leaving Copenhagen at noon seems about right except on Sundays, when 11am would have been good enough. You have to be out of your cabin at 8am. Having two point & shoot dedicated cameras are better than one, in case one fails (battery or lens lock), at a location you will never have a chance to return to. And since they have different specs, you pick the right one for the picture. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We booked our flight separately, flying Delta-KLM. Be sure to pay a little extra and get the Economy Plus; more leg room, more tilt, and two across. The food and refreshments were frequent and included. You get early boarding with the ... Read More
We booked our flight separately, flying Delta-KLM. Be sure to pay a little extra and get the Economy Plus; more leg room, more tilt, and two across. The food and refreshments were frequent and included. You get early boarding with the First Class. We were met at the airport by a team of efficient Princess representatives, who directed us to where to take our luggage (free handy carts) and to our bus. We were whisked to the ship's terminal and noticed a long line of people waiting to get aboard. We were pleasantly surprised to find our wait was only about 15-20 minutes and we received a handy pocket map of the ship, our room card and pictures taken for i.d. Once aboard we made our way to our stateroom, with the help of conveniently placed personnel to aid us on our way. It was disappointing to find our balcony stateroom very cramped. It wasn't as nice or roomy as on a smaller Princess Two people couldn't be about at the same time. One had to sit on the side of the bed with feet out of the way while the other maneuvered around the bed. Also don't drop the soap in the shower or you'll get a bump on your head. There was no room for a foursome card game or pre-dinner refreshments. Our daughter and her husband had to knock on our cabin door and wait in the passageway. We couldn't all fit in the room together. The first day or two it was bewildering trying to find our way around. The little pocket map really helped, and on each floor near the elevators you would find a plaque of the ship and the layout for the floor you were on. The food was prepared for any variety of ethnic people, special diets, etc. My complaint is that the vegetables were almost raw. I like al dente, but their cooked veggies were 1 degree from raw. The baked sweet potato slices were hard and undercooked. Since I like vegetables and heaped them on my plate, I must say there was quite a waste. We were assigned a table at dinner, but ate there only 3 times due to the noise level. The workers stations are nearby and noisy, even though they tried to be quiet and the surrounding tables were quite noisy. Perhaps more insulation is required.'s We dined in the Grill and Sabatini's which were well worth the cover charge, and also the anytime dining room and the buffet. For a delightful treat, get a specialty coffee at the International Cafe and next to that is a delicious pastry, salad, quiche, and small sandwich counter to enjoy with your coffee. Nice place to meet a friend.The selection for the ports of call were excellent. Didn't enjoy Aarhus that much. St. Petersburg was the highlight but very, very crowded. The archipelagos on the way to Stockholm were beautiful...stay up to see the beauty of the area as you glide by; also the fjords in Norway. Warnemunde/Rostock, Germany was one of my favorites. Overall, the tours were well planned and educational. I had trouble understanding one or two guides. We noticed in the Princess Theatre that the shows were shortened to about 30 min. The crew singers, however, were excellent. Some amenities were missing such as the towel figures in your stateroom. I suppose corners have to be cut somewhere, but it doesn't feel as special to not have the extra niceties to remember that you were special and being pampered. We will not travel on such a large ship again as we felt we were lost in the shuffle of humanity. I didn't see or talk to the same people twice. I felt I was in a tenement building and the thought struck me, "what if there was a fire".On embarkation, it was very organized and easy to leave the ship. The buses were waiting and promptly took off for the airport making it easy for us. The hard part was when we were on our own. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We left from Copenhagen on the Emerald Princess on Aug 30th. I will divide this review into major sections but all in all it was an absolutely wonderful experience with great staff on a beautiful ship. Very intense itinerary but a short ... Read More
We left from Copenhagen on the Emerald Princess on Aug 30th. I will divide this review into major sections but all in all it was an absolutely wonderful experience with great staff on a beautiful ship. Very intense itinerary but a short nap every afternoon enabled us to enjoy the ship in the evening. PORTS OF CALL; We had been in Stockholm and Helsinki in the past so I will focus on the new ones for us. Oslo, wonderful port, went to the Viking museum and visited couple of churches, found the people friendly and very helpful. took excursion with Princess, very organized and efficient. AArhus great medievil city with original wall around it, found people very friendly and architecture interesting. St. Petersburg highlight of our trip, took the 2 day excursion, very interesting, guide was great. History so interesting and the architecture so intricate and amazing. Went to 2 different restaurants for lunch both good but not great. Copenhagen interesting city with a great Canal Boat tour, people very friendly. Saw Tivoli Gardens at night so beautiful all lit up. Stayed overnight in the Kong Arthur, beautiful hotel but no air conditioning so would not stay in the summer. We were very Blessed to have sunny weather during our entire cruise, people told us this is very unusual for this time of year. SHIP: Beautiful, many different food and bev venues, well kept, always clean, staff courteous. Very disappointed in the Main Dining Room food choices. The food was good just not many options. I asked every night we went (4) about Escargot, I finally was told one night they were available but not on menu so I ordered them. They had Lobster one ight that was the size of a prawn. It actually was served with prawns as they were so small. My favorite meals were actually in the Caribe Cafe where theme dinners were served most nights. My favorite was the Bavarian night with an unbelievably tasty roast pork, sauerkraut and potatoe pancakes. I know it sounds like a little thing but I love the fact that the staff brings you beverages while at the Buffet. We took a Celebrity cruise last year and this was not offered and it really made a difference. The Lotus Spa is wonderful, had a different massage each sea day which I needed desperately after all the walking on cobblestones. Never took advantage of the specialty restaurants though we usually do, so I can not comment. Cabin we were in a Balcony room on the Caribe deck, the balcony was huge with 2 reclining chairs, 2 upright chairs and a small table. It was like having another room, We had a balcony for the 1st time about 10 years ago and can't go back now. It is well worth the money, the entry and exit into and out of Stockholm is breathtaking. The Cabin itself was pretty roomy with large space for clothes, etc. Cabin steward was excellent, took really good care of us. MISC: John Lawrence, past cruise director was on our cruise and did all of the port tours, I was lucky enough to send away for his DVD on the ports beforehand and it really made a difference. You can google his name if interested. HAPPY CRUISING!!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We left on Aug. 20th for a land package and Baltic cruise with Princess Cruises sailing on the Emerald Princess which we had sailed before 3 times.Let me start by saying the pre-cruise was fabulas-Princess contrats with Globas and our ... Read More
We left on Aug. 20th for a land package and Baltic cruise with Princess Cruises sailing on the Emerald Princess which we had sailed before 3 times.Let me start by saying the pre-cruise was fabulas-Princess contrats with Globas and our 8night package began in Budapest. We then went by bus transport to Vienna,Prague and Berlin then joining up with the cruiseship in Copenhagen.Our land tour was very comfortable, the hotels lovely and our tour guide Martina was outstanding. She was a wealth of knowledge who knew her history as well as any historian I have ever heard-She even knew little known stories about kings and queens that would make you understand how oppulant and crazy these people were back in their day!! She was a joy to be with and you could tell loved her job!! It was a fantastic 8 nights!!! Once we got on the cruiseship we were a little disappointed. The entertainment was awful and they had 5 production shows where the singers and dancers weren't even dancing together with each other or the music. They only had one decent show the whole 11 nights and that was a ventriloquist who was hysterical,but otherwise all the entertainment was not good. Princess has really cut back on that and that is very disappointing. The food was just mediocure and the head waiter not very accomadating,saying if you wanted this or that he would ask the chef and then came back saying no to me (I am a funny eater and don't like most items on the menu)I have never had this on any other Princess Cruise we've been on. The ship was well kept up and our room was excellent, service by our cabin steward very good. The ports of call were great and our two day call in Russia fantastic. We did NOT use the ship tour and instead used SpB tours which we found on cruisecritic and they were FANTASTIC!!! Half the price of the ship 2 day tour and we saw more and were in all the places the Princess tour takes you.They have a folkloric show right on the ship which is very good on the first night you are in St.Petersberg so going with SpB tours was GREAT!! You also don't have to worry about a visa because they take care of that all for you-so don't believe the cruiseline when they tell you-you can only go with a ship tour-NOT TRUE- In the rest of the ports we did Hop on Hop off buses which are right outside the ship right on the dock and very convenient and you save a lot of money by not using the ship tours. In all I would sum it up as a good time and for the money a very good choice if a Baltic Cruise is what you want. If you have the time I would highly reccomend the Pre-Cruise package! Budapest,Vienna,Prague and Berlin were the highlight of the whole trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
PRE CRUISE, SHIP, DINING, ENTERTAINMENT: We arrived day before around Noon & stayed one night at the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers which was very convenient & staff there very helpful. Next morning we booked a city/harbor tour ... Read More
PRE CRUISE, SHIP, DINING, ENTERTAINMENT: We arrived day before around Noon & stayed one night at the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers which was very convenient & staff there very helpful. Next morning we booked a city/harbor tour with a local tour company which allowed us to return to hotel by 1:00 PM; we took a taxi to cruise port (about $50) & arrived around 2:00 PM. Since we just attained Platinum status, embarking & disembarking was a breeze but have never had problems prior either. Used Princess transfer for disembarking day & was airport before 9 AM. The ship as well as our room was very clean and well maintained. Our room was in the rear on the Riviera deck (14th floor) just below the Caribe Cafe which was very convenient; also we did not hear any noise from above although we did experience some vibration from the motors but not enough to bother us. Also, had no problem with the mattress being uncomfortable. Room was very comfortable and loved the balcony which we used a lot due to nice weather. Used self serve laundry couple times & that worked well. Loved the non smoking throughout the ship except for just a few areas. We selected this cruise for the itinerary & were not disappointed plus we had spectacular weather the entire cruise. It is a very port intensive cruise so usually by evening we were tired & not concerned too much about the entertainment onboard or fabulous dining. We went one night to see the Princess singers & dancers & they were pretty good but one night was enough. We also went the one night a comedian performed & he was good and the night we were in St. Petersburg, we went to see the local folk music group performance which we enjoyed. Occasionally watched the entertainers in the Piazza area. Did not participate in daytime activities due to all the port sightseeing. We always ate breakfast & lunch in the Horizon Court or burgers or pizza for lunch. We only ate in the dining room twice, the formal nights and found the service good. On this cruise, did not see a lot of tuxes or formal type dresses on the formal nights. Remaining evenings we ate at the Caribe Cafe which worked well for us. I found the food overall to be good & a nice variety which lots of options so that we never went hungry. I do feel the evening dinner entree options are not as good as they used to be; those options are now at the Crowne Grille. Coffee seemed better than on past cruises. The only objection we had was the photographers but you can refuse & no pressure from them. Biggest problem was in the evening where multiple areas for photographs were setup & people waiting in line really caused a lot of congestion. PORTS: Lots of walking; old towns usually cobblestone streets & hills. Copenhagen city/harbor tour was good when you have limited time. City very clean, people are friendly & most speak English. Very good public transportation. Oslo we did on our own as we were docked in town & very walkable & very pretty. In the morning we walked across the street to old town & then continued into town to a square by the main pedestrian walk area; we went inside a cathedral for free in the square. Continued on to the central station square & over to the new opera house & walked along waterfront back to ship. After lunch walked along waterfront to City Hall area & went inside. Leaving port, very scenic. Aarhus we did on our own; from ship we walked to Gamle By Museum (an outdoor museum of a reconstructed old town) - about 20 minute walk each way & entry fee was $20. Then lots of walking at museum; stopped at cafe there for coffee & biscotti, about $10; used our credit card for everything. In town lots of outdoor cafes and pleasant. River runs through town; follow the river to the museum. Berlin we booked through Princess the train tour/bus city tour with lunch & Allied museum. Train ride each way 3 hours but train was very comfortable & with open windows was pleasant. We were very satisfied with this tour & got to see the highlights plus the meal was very good at the hotel. I would have liked another day at this port to see the port area & Rostock. Tallin we did on our own but took the bus shuttle for $10 round trip; shuttle tickets were at a booth as we got off the ship. Bus dropped us off in lower town near an outdoor market & just a few block away was the entrance to old town & the flower market was there. We walked up to the upper old town & saw all the sights before returning to the lower old town & stopping for a drink at a pub & people watch. A beautiful, charming old town. St. Petersburg first day we booked with Princess the Catherine Palace, lunch & city tour seeing St. Issac cathedral, Peter & Paul Fortress, Savior on Spilledd blood. A long day, lots of walking beginning with the lines getting off the ship & going through immigration. The palace is amazing & beautiful & can take lots of pictures except in Amber room. Lunch was very good with some musical russian entertainers. Got to see lots of St. Petersburg on the afternoon city tour with several stops. We were pleased with this tour & the guide was very interesting. We were glad we had not booked an evening tour, particularly since there was the folk russian musical group on board that were good. St. Petersburg second day we booked the canal cruise tour with Princess so had the morning to rest up. Also, no lines when getting off ship. The canal cruise was nice but we saw much of the same areas we had seen the day before so would not do that again. For us, seeing one palace and an overview of the city was enough. Helsinki we did on our own & used shuttle near ship for $12 round trip to get to town as it was quite a long walk. In town bus dropped us off by the Swedish Theatre & we walked to the Rock church & went inside. On way back we stopped at the railway station & went inside, bought a newspaper from US & then stopped at Stockmans Dept store (no charge for restrooms). From there we walked down the Esplanade to the waterfront market area which is beautiful. Beautiful city with park area along the Esplanade & lots of outdoor cafes; nice city to wander around. Stockholm we did on our own & walked from ship to old town, Gamla Stan; follow blue line & then continue on sidwalk along waterfront (to your right) until you ssee sign pointing to right for Gamla Stan, cross bridge (first one) & Gamla Stan to your left up a few blocks you will see sign for Palace. Great place to wander around all the nice little shops & cafes. About 30-40 minute walk each way. Leaving the port, the Archipegalio is beautiful scenery. Would recommend this cruise ship & particularly this itinerary if you are interested in beautiful, old European countries with lots of history. People were all very friendly & helpful and we primarily used our Visa credit card for everything in the ports. . Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We had a great time on this 11-day Princess Cruise of the Baltic aboard Emerald Princess. We are experienced cruisers who had done a similar itinerary once before about 11 years ago. We loved Scandinavia on that trip and wanted to go ... Read More
We had a great time on this 11-day Princess Cruise of the Baltic aboard Emerald Princess. We are experienced cruisers who had done a similar itinerary once before about 11 years ago. We loved Scandinavia on that trip and wanted to go again. We chose this cruise because it also went to Oslo, Norway which we hadn't seen on our first trip. After watching the weather reports for several weeks prior to our tour, we were prepared for lots and lots of rain. In fact, the cruise before ours experienced rain every day of their trip. We were delighted when we were greeted by sunny skies for most of our trip. We only had rain parts of two days and felt very lucky. Embarkation was a snap here. We had taken a taxi from our hotel to the pier and were greeted by Princess personnel, who unloaded our luggage and pointed us to the check-in area. We are Platinum members of Princess' Captain's Circle but we didn't even need our preferred check-in benefits. We just walked right up to the counter, showed our passports and were welcomed aboard the ship. One of the best embarkation experiences ever. Our cabin was the usual (great) balcony cabin. We were on the Caribbe Deck (10) which gives you a much larger balcony than those on other decks. We had taken another cruise on Ruby Princess (Emerald's twin sister) a few years ago and had horrible water pressure and fluctuations in the hot/cold. We were worried this might be the same because the ships were built at the same time. We needn't have worried. Our water pressure and temperature were the best we've ever had on ANY cruise ship. Bravo! Our cabin was right across the hall from the self-serve laundromat. It was nice and convenient on the one day we did laundry. And we didn't notice any noise from its proximity the rest of the time.The food on the trip was fine, but in general the food on all cruise ships seems to be going downhill. You now have to pay extra in a specialty restaurant for the quality you received every night in the main dining room every night. There were a couple of nights when there was nothing on the menu that sounded appetizing and we ended up getting the "always" available steak or chicken instead. They did have the one night when lobster was served in the dining room and that was very good. Their cream of mushroom soup is also excellent. And we always found the service in both the dining room and buffet to be top notch. We dined at the specialty steak house one night and enjoyed a fabulous dinner. The steaks here rival Morton's and other great steakhouses on shore, so it is worth the $25 pp cover charge. The Horizon Court (buffet) was its usual chaotic experience with people criss-crossing back and forth through the lines and people trying to go both directions in a cafeteria situation. The fact that Emerald Princess has an additional buffet area (Caribbe Court) at the aft of the ship does seem to take a bit of the pressure off the Horizon Courts (port and starboard) but it was still challenging trying to find a table most mornings. I really wish Princess would take a cue from their parent company Carnival in this regard...it's probably the only area in which Carnival is better than Princess. Carnival has a huge buffet area with food stations spread out throughout the area. So you don't find a bottleneck of passengers all in one area at the same time. And they have plenty of tables so it never seems to be an issue trying to find a seat. Please, Princess, take heed and address this when designing your new ships or remodeling your existing ones!We rated the entertainment lower than normal on this cruise because there were no comedians included. We have been on so many cruises that we generally don't go to the main song/dance shows anymore. But we do love the comedy shows that we have enjoyed on most cruises. This time there wasn't ONE comedian in 11 days. Princess needs to correct this on future sailings. The one MAJOR problem we had was with an unexpected "course correction" when we were leaving St. Petersburg. We were still in the main harbor in completely smooth water when suddenly at 7:15 p.m. the ship listed violently to port and then just as violently back to starboard. We were in our stateroom watching a movie and we almost fell off the bed. A large bottle of water on top of the refrigerator went flying across our cabin. We were on the 10th floor and when we rolled back to starboard, we could see water and a red buoy directly outside our cabin. It's disconcerting when you are on the 10th floor and suddenly you are at water level. We talked to other passengers who were in the main dining room and had bottles of wine go crashing to the floor and many plates were broken. In the Horizon Court they had a flood when all the pools and hot tubs emptied. The Horizon Court was closed until the next morning, with only the Caribe Court in operation. There were crew member everywhere trying to squeegee water off the decks and use wet/dry vacs to vacuum up the water. One crew member told us that the galley was a total mess. The thing that amazed us was that there was total silence on the part of the captain until a full hour had elapsed. He then came on the intercom and basically blamed the incident on the Russian pilot who had been aboard to get us out of the harbor. Passengers were livid and everyone was speculating that they were too busy contacting their legal department to let us know what was going on. Again, we had NO CLUE what had caused the problem. I thought, what was that? A rouge wave? But you look outside and the water is completely flat! We did speak with one elderly woman the next day who had just gotten out of an elevator when this happened and she was thrown across the elevator lobby and crashed into the opposite wall. She was bruised but was able to continue with the cruise. We wonder if anyone else was hurt. In this day and age after the Costa Concordia incident you would think that cruise lines would be more proactive in communicating with passengers in the event of something like this. We are veteran cruisers and don't plan to stop cruising because of this, but there are other people who will probably never set foot on a cruise ship again because of it. You need to do a better job communicating with people. And for God's sake, don't let that Russian pilot anywhere near any of your ships ever again! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Princess's transfer service was outstanding. We were met at Copenhagen airport's luggage claim and escorted a waiting bus. We were brought to our hotel and our bags were brought to our room. Two days later we left them outside ... Read More
Princess's transfer service was outstanding. We were met at Copenhagen airport's luggage claim and escorted a waiting bus. We were brought to our hotel and our bags were brought to our room. Two days later we left them outside our hotel door and the bags were delivered to our stateroom. The last night of the cruise the bags were picked up then staged in a building next to the airport bus drop off location, and there were many Princess people directing passengers to their bags then into the airport terminal. Check-in at the ship was very fast with no waiting in line. For us, we stayed at the wrong pre-cruise hotel, the Kong Arthur. Although the room and bathroom were large and very nice, the hotel is "green," carbon neutral with no air conditioning. The outside temperature got up to 73 degrees but our room was 89 and only went down to 79 at night with all the windows open, which also allowed a lot of noise inside. The hallway also felt like a sauna and we didn't get the proper rest following our long flight. The buffet breakfast was really good but not included with the room price. Not a problem for us, but the metro transportation station is a 5-7 minute walk away and the most touristy areas, like Tivoli, Nyhavn, Stroget shopping street, are 15-20 minutes away. Our stateroom was very nice with a comfortable bed, desk and chair, tv cabinet with refrigerator, small table, 2 small end tables, a large open closet, a shelf unit with safe, and lots of mirrors that made the room appear larger. The balcony was spacious for more than the 2 of us and our cabin attendant kept the room spotless and the ice bucket full. In the bathroom there was a 2-prong U.S.-style electrical outlet (the prongs had to be the same size), a 3 prong outlet above the desk and another one behind the flatscreen tv. The European-style 2-prong plug we used at the hotel did not fit into the stateroom's outlets. The Eucalyptus scented bath products were a minor problem for this allergy sufferer. Room service for coffee a couple of mornings and for bottled water and sodas on other occasions was prompt. Other than during the first day's emergency muster drill, the ship seemed half empty. It was never overcrowded in the main dining rooms, the Horizon Court buffet, the main showroom, lounges, casino, etc. About 3 non-smoking nights at the Casino was appreciated. Food was good and the service was excellent in the dining room. Water glasses were not allowed to be empty and used dishes immediately were picked up. Even the service in the buffet was good. As soon as you were seated people were taking beverage requests. We purchased and easily used up one coffee card for a slight savings. One problem did occur at the Internet Cafe the day before disembarkation. The printer wasn't working during the day and caused a lot of problems for people trying to print airline boarding passes. The problem was fixed in the evening and they had a special 15 minute package that we used in addition to the 15 free minutes coupon found in our stateroom. The highlight of on board activity was John Lawrence's port lectures. The day before each port, he outlined in some detail useful information and history of the city we were about to visit. The in-person shows were better than watching the tapes on tv in the cabin, as he injected a lot of humor into the live lectures. As a bonus, he also gave a lecture about the last Russian czar's family, Nicolas & Alexandra, Anastasia and the other children. He was also available almost every evening to answer questions. The shows were good, although the best was our night in St. Petersburg. Guessing we would be too tired for an evening excursion, and we were, we were pleasantly surprised to find a local Russian folk dance/song group performing in the on board theater. Although the people who went into town for evening performance were pleased, I don't think we missed much by staying on the ship. After investigating private shore excursion companies, we decided to use Princess. They may have cost more but each was excellent and well-prepared. After meeting on board, we would march off the ship and onto our tour bus. A tip is to go to the gathering place early. As soon as a busload of people were there, they were led off the ship early. Many times I saw private company's on the dock waiting for their guests or at venues waiting to get in. We always walked straight inside buildings and a couple of times, most notably at the Peterhof summer palace outside St. Petersburg, we were the first group inside. See our port reviews for more information. Sometimes there was a line to get back on the ship and the worst lines were in St. Petersburg the first day to to through Russian Customs upon entering, then returning, but not too bad to make us late. Overall, we were very pleased with the Emerald, the Baltic itinerary (although skipping Aarhus and spending more time in Stockholm would have been great), and highly recommend this cruise Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
This was our 2nd Princess cruise. Last year did the Grand Mediterranean on the Ruby and loved it, so I had high expectations. I was a little nervous as I knew the Emerald is due for dry dock in a few months. The Emerald Princess exceeded ... Read More
This was our 2nd Princess cruise. Last year did the Grand Mediterranean on the Ruby and loved it, so I had high expectations. I was a little nervous as I knew the Emerald is due for dry dock in a few months. The Emerald Princess exceeded my expectations. We arrived at the ship about 2:00pm and were in our cabins by 2:15pm. We had 2 balcony rooms with adjoining balconies. I was pleased with the size of the rooms and pleasantly surprised to see that the closet and storage areas were just as large as in a mini-suite. Mustering: Relatively painless, done on the 1st evening in various lounges or restaurants and it lasted about 30 minutes. Food: We dined the 1st night in Sabitini's as it was a gift from our travel agent. The food and service were excellent. There is a lovely view out the back of the ship. All of our other dinners were anytime dining in the Michelangelo Dining Room. We had the same wait staff (Edwin and Yulia) every night but one, and had an outstanding experience. One of our party is a vegetarian and a little picky. Every night the head waiter (Martins) came to our table to go over the choices for the next evening. Several nights they served her veggie burgers from the Trident Grill near the pool! We thought that most of the food was great. The only exception was probably the steak entrees which we thought were good, but not great. We also did the Chef's dinner for the second time which is really special and well worth the money. They really make you feel like a VIP. Most mornings we did not have time for breakfast and grabbed a muffin or yogurt parfait from the International Cafe. Good quick food, and my husband loves the cappuccino and brewed coffee. They had 3 pub lunches on our 11 day cruise and we ate at all 3 of them. My 18 year old son LOVES Princess's fish and chip and bread pudding! I love the pizza but only managed to eat it once. Entertainment: We generally do not do a lot of shows, but even with our busy itinerary managed to see a few. The variety show with ventriloquist Steve Hewlett was funny and entertaining. It was not Vegas show quality, but I wasn't really expecting that type of show. I would say the same for the magician, Luca Volpe. He was not Houdini or David Copperfield, but I would not expect someone world class to be on a cruise ship. We enjoyed the short show. The farewell shoe with Pianist Liam Stewart and juggler Tibor Szobo was excellent. We also enjoyed Liam (this was his 1st cruise!) most night in Crooners and Tibor in the Piazza. Our favorite show in the Princess theater was the International Crew talent and variety show. It was really fun to see the young lady who served us coffee in the International Cafe perform a traditional Indonesian dance and the bartender from Crooners belly dance. Shore Excursions: We did not use Princess's shore excursions, we did all ports on our own except for St. Petersburg where we did a private tour for the 4 of us. The Emerald's port lecturer, John Lawrence was excellent and we had preordered his DVD on the Baltic ports. (johnlawrencecd dot com) I felt that this and cruise critic more than prepared us to do our ports on our own. I love the flow of the Emerald and for having over 3000 passengers it almost never seemed crowded. There were 2 exceptions. 1.) Some port days everyone tried to disembark at the same time and this was not pleasant. Security did do a good job of moving the crowd quickly. and 2.) On sea days and some evenings the shops would set up tables in the halls outside of the shops. Even though almost all of the merchandise could be found in the shops for the same price, it tended to create a shopping frenzy with the passengers. Disembarkation: We were supposed to meet in Michelangelo restaurant at 7:50am and wait to be called. We had a nice breakfast in Da Vinci dining room at 7:15am and by the time we got to Michelangelo at 7:53am a lady told us our group had already been called and to proceed to the ramp on deck 4. We had our luggage and were in a mini-van taxi by 8:05am. We heard a lot of stories about a lack of taxis, but there were plenty there when we disembarked. The taxi from the port back to the Marriott was 162.58 DKK or approx. $26.97. A few final thoughts: I would definitely recommend both the Emerald Princes and this itinerary! Almost everyplace we went took credit cards and we had no trouble with businesses accepting our sign and swipe card. I researched credit cards to make sure that I would not be charged conversion fees. I used a Capital One Master Card. I used local ATMs to get a small amount of currency in each country. I only used cash for tipping, and a few small businesses that did not accept credit cards. I researched ATM cards and used one that does not charge any fees and returns all other bank fees to the user. I used Capital One and Charles Schwab bank ATM cards. Don't forget to ask for a signed tax free form to get you 18-25% VAT tax returned to you. The amount you need to spend varies in each country, but it is usually anything greater than $20-$45. You take your receipt and the signed tax free form to the global tax free desk in the airport when you leave Europe and they will either give you cash or put the money back on your credit card. This took us about 20 minutes at the airport. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Embarkation: We took a cab from hotel by Central Train terminal, it was about 250 dkk and worth not trying to find our way from the hotel. We did go right at 1pm, there was a long line but moved quickly. Bags were taken as soon as we got ... Read More
Embarkation: We took a cab from hotel by Central Train terminal, it was about 250 dkk and worth not trying to find our way from the hotel. We did go right at 1pm, there was a long line but moved quickly. Bags were taken as soon as we got out of the cab, Princess has lots of people at the port directing you, very efficient. Probably took us 20 minutes to get to a check in clerk but again very efficient. Our keys were ready and we were on the ship pronto. It was raining and there isn't cover from check in to ship gangway but they had staff with umbrellas. Security takes your picture when you board the ship and it is in the system for them to check as you board at each port. Our room was ready and our room steward Karn greeted us and reviewed the safety drill time and where we could eat, the refrigerator in room, fruit orders and how everything operates. He did a great of cleaning up the room 2x a day and keeping us supplied with amenities. Food: We ate in the buffet, International Cafe, Da Vinci formal at 5:30pm, Sabatini's and Crown Grill on this trip. I liked the buffet better this trip then my first. Salad offerings at Horizon Court were great and you do have problems at peak times finding a place to eat in the dining area or on deck but there are many servers around to assist you and serve beverages. They also had varied offerings for all meal periods. I really liked the International Cafe salad and sandwich offerings, the greek salad is escellent as is the chicken salad with apples. The staff is ready for busy times and very pleasant. The seated dining at 5:30pm is a bit too early but our wait staff, Stephen and nino were very efficient and remembered out likes. The way the kitchen can feed so many people daily and well is amazing. Stephen has worked for Princess for around 20 years and is a big cheerleader for the company, took time to tell us of new innovations and how Princess is better than other lines. Nice to see positive employees. Afternoon Tea was fun but too close to our seating for dinner, so we just enjoyed scones and cream vs whole experience. Sabatini's was excellent, nice view on high deck. Adagio has got to be the best kept sectret for drinks, small and intimate, a string quartet played on night, was never crowded. We had a balcony so was amazing going into Oslo, Helsinki and especially Stockholm which has 58 miles through the archipelago to port. I couldn't believe going in how quiet it was considering how big the ship was, like on glass. You are so close to the islands...it was breathtaking. I would suggest in Stockholm, get up early to see the entrance into port for a few hours. My only complaint was the spa. Spa is predatory...my college aged daughter wanted acupuncture and I said yes to one visit. The acupunturist signed her up for $1000 of treatments including $190 worth of vitamins( 2 bottles) for weight loss. She wears a size 2 or 4! My daughter told me what happened and we went immediately back to the spa and the manager said she would have Julie call us. Julie did call and asked for my daughter, I said I was the person paying and would like to cancel the treatment, I was Ok with the first treatment only. She then asked me if me daughter knew she wouldn't be "cured" without the treatments and I said yes. So later I discovered only part of the cost was refunded. I didn't realize she had given the vitamins, so went back with the vitamins and they were supposed to be credited. Spa person told me she would call when the acupuncurist credited it...never got the call, went back and was told it was done. It wasn't....Also spa manager Dana is not hospitable. I went on first sea day for a 9am pedi and asked to cancel sanctuary times since it was so cold, she told me I had to go myself and cancel. I asked how to get there, bottom line is couldn't find it so got on house phone to do it. This is a hired company by Princess and they are all about $$$. You don't even get to relax during a pedi, no magazines, just upsell from the staff on other treatments. Enjoyed all the excursions booked through Princess. In Berlin we were delayed and the ship had to wait about 45 minutes for our train to get back. Stress free, lots of people we talked to were not booking excursions through Princess becasue of cost, I felt they were well run and decent value. We did walk off to leave ship at 5:30am due to early flight home, easy to walk off with luggage and catch a cab to airport, $500 dkk but take credit cards too. TAKE YOUR OWN HAIRDRYER! one in room is worthless:) Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
I travelled the Baltic on the Emerald Princess with my 82 year old mom. Once aboard, our balcony mini-suite was comfortable and roomy, as described. Meals were fine, although occasionally the evening menu was a bit too eclectic and ... Read More
I travelled the Baltic on the Emerald Princess with my 82 year old mom. Once aboard, our balcony mini-suite was comfortable and roomy, as described. Meals were fine, although occasionally the evening menu was a bit too eclectic and out there for my taste, and I'm a foodie. Their standard "always available" menu is excellent. The Horizon buffet was very good with many choices. Evening entertainment included ballroom dancers (so-so), a magician (so-so), a juggler (amazing and hilarious), a Beatles tribute band (great fun) and the EP singers and dancers (fantastic). Playing throughout the ship was a truly fine classical string quartet (all lovely young ladies), a soft jazz combo with singer, Evolution cover band, and a few others. Something for everyone. Onto the shore excursions, comments are listed individually. But a few points about Russia: It's all about the bathrooms, and traffic. We did EP excursions both days, but also had a special AAA tour to St. Catherine's. Guides were competent, knowledgeable and utterly humorless. We used EP but if I were to do it again, I'd try something else. It's difficult to appreciate the sights when you're so frustrated by the iron control the Russians still exert over their guests. Check your other options. Also YOU WILL BE LATE to everything, so don't book two excursions too close together in time. You will leave late, and you will arrive back late, up to a couple hours. Save yourself stress and don't plan things too close together. Personal add-on to Bergen, Norway. After the cruise I spent 4 days in Bergen on my own. What a lovely city! But not for the disabled or those who need level ground. It's all on steep hills, and they're so steep there are staircases between the streets. I booked a cozy, utterly simple room with Ingrid's Summer Rooms. She is lovely, the room is clean, quiet, with shared bath and fridge. There's a grocery store 5 minutes away. I ate nothing at a restaurant. It's terribly expensive to do anything in Norway, but I did do the Norway Active tour for my splurge and loved every minute of it. PS, there's also a Noa Noa store near the beginning of the light rail. I got the 48 hour Bergen card and it was well worth it for me. Even with the price of the card I saved over 500 kroner on the things I did. It includes all bus and light rail, a big plus. 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
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
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
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
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
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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